The Voting News


National: Voter ID Laws May Have Actually Increased The Likelihood Of Voter Fraud—By Hackers | Fast Company

Over the past 16 years, only 10 cases of voter impersonation—out of 146 million registered voters—have ever been identified. And yet each election, a vocal political contingent made up primarily of Republicans complains about an alleged epidemic of voter fraud and impersonation. To combat it, they propose—and in many cases successfully pass—laws requiring voters to provide verification of their identity with an ID card, along with verbal confirmation of various pieces of personal data, before they are permitted to vote. As election officials become more reliant on electronic databases, the potential for hackers to commit voter manipulation and election fraud has gone way up. But it’s these very voter ID laws that are partly to blame, despite legislators’ claims that they would make elections safer, according to Joseph Kiniry, CEO of Free and Fair, a provider of secure election services and systems. “The best thing [hackers] could do is to screw up that data prior to the election,” says Kiniry. Read More

National: 15 States Wielding New or Stricter Voter ID Laws in Run-Up to Presidential Election | AllGov

In a state where everything is big, the 23rd Congressional District that hugs the border with Mexico is a monster: 8 1/2 hours by car across a stretch of land bigger than any state east of the Mississippi. In 2014, Rep. Pete Gallego logged more than 70,000 miles there in his white Chevy Tahoe, campaigning for re-election to the House — and lost by a bare 2,422 votes. So in his bid this year to retake the seat, Gallego, a Democrat, has made a crucial adjustment to his strategy. “We’re asking people if they have a driver’s license,” he said. “We’re having those basic conversations about IDs at the front end, right at our first meeting with voters.” Since their inception a decade ago, voter identification laws have been the focus of fierce political and social debate. Proponents, largely Republican, argue that the regulations are essential tools to combat election fraud, while critics contend that they are mainly intended to suppress turnout of Democratic-leaning constituencies like minorities and students. Read More


National: Should Selfies Be Allowed in US Voting Booths? | VoA News

The state of New Hampshire is appealing a decision that allows voters to take pictures inside voting booths. It would like to join other U.S. states that have banned any voting booth documentation in the form of digital images or photography being shared on social media or otherwise. In other words: No selfies with your ballot. “It’s natural that people — particularly young people who are participating in the democratic process —want to make a record of their specific act of casting a ballot,” John Hardin Young, Chair of the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Election Law, told VOA. “That can include taking a photograph with their phone of the actual ballot face as it’s marked. In a way, we are really at loggerheads. On the one hand, we want everyone to participate. On the other, we do want to make sure that the ballot box remains secret.” Read More

Voting Blogs: President Obama Nominates Nevada’s Kate Marshall to EAC | Election Academy

Last week, President Obama sent the Senate a new nominee for the vacant fourth seat on the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, replacing Matthew Butler, his choice in November 2014. His choice, Kate Marshall, is a Democrat and former Nevada State Treasurer who was the party’s unsuccessful candidate for Secretary of State in 2014. … The Republican National Lawyers’ Association called the nomination President Obama’s “third strike,” noting Marshall’s lack of elections background and criticizing Democrats for “view[ing] the EAC [as] a place to reward partisans for their service to the liberal movement” and saying “[i]t is sad that the left has so little regard for election administration.” If and when Marshall’s nomination progresses in the Senate, don’t be surprised to hear similar views in committee or on the floor. Read More

Illinois: House backs Democratic redistricting amendment | Reuters

A Democratic bid to transfer the highly coveted political power of drawing legislative boundaries from state lawmakers to the Democratically controlled Illinois Supreme Court overwhelmingly passed the state House of Representatives on Tuesday. The proposed amendment to Illinois’ constitution sailed through the House on a 105-7 vote and now must be approved by a three-fifths majority in the state Senate by Friday in order to be placed on the Nov. 8 general election ballot. Since Democrats controlled the state legislature and the governor’s office after the 2010 census, they won the once-a-decade right to draw new legislative district boundaries. The process enabled the party to build super-majorities in both the Senate and House. Read More

Indiana: Software woes mean long waits for some Indiana | Associated Press

An election official in Hancock County said software problems that created long waits at some polling places led some people to leave without ever voting in Tuesday’s primary. Hancock County’s Clerk of the Courts, Marcia Moore, said the software vendor for the county just east of Indianapolis “really let us down” Tuesday morning with computer glitches. Moore said as long lines formed at some of the largely rural county’s 12 voting centers some people left “because they were frustrated that the line was slow.” No voters were turned away from polling places, but Moore said some left because they worried about being late for work. She said one of the software problems affected computer servers, while another caused some election ballots to exclude county commissioner’s races. Read More

Missouri: Voter ID law wins Missouri Senate approval | The Kansas City Star

Missouri Republicans have been trying to enact a voter ID law for more than a decade. Tuesday they overcame a major hurdle, striking a deal with Senate Democrats that ended a filibuster and paved the way for voters to decide whether to amend Missouri’s constitution to allow the state to require a photo ID before casting a ballot. The Missouri Senate voted 24-8 to approve voter ID legislation. A second voter ID bill amending the state’s constitution is expected to be approved later this week. “For 10 years we’ve gotten nothing,” said Sen. Will Kraus, a Lee’s Summit Republican who has sponsored the voter ID bills for several years. “This is an historic step forward.” The voter ID issue has threatened to derail the legislative session for months. Democrats had vowed to block the measure, which they argued could disenfranchise thousands of Missouri voters. Until this week, they had made good on that promise. Read More

Missouri: Despite deal, lawmakers predict voter ID fight to keep going | Associated Press

Missouri lawmakers from both parties see the voter ID issue as far from settled, even as the Republican-controlled Legislature is poised to tighten the state’s requirements after Democrats managed to stall a pair of proposals for about a month. Senate Republicans passed a bill on a 24-8 party-line vote Tuesday that would require voters to show photo identification at the polls. A constitutional amendment that would allow that measure to be enacted is still awaiting a vote. Both proposals would go into effect only with voter approval. Missouri Republicans have sought to establish a photo ID requirement to vote for a decade. The state Supreme Court struck down one measure in 2006, saying the cost to obtain the identification was an unconstitutional burden on voters. So this year, Republicans proposed that the state would pay for voters’ IDs. They also proposed changing the state constitution to allow lawmakers to set photo ID requirements for voting. Read More

Montana: Judge tosses closed primary lawsuit, but fight is not over | Associated Press

A federal judge on Monday dismissed a lawsuit that sought to allow only Republican-registered voters to participate in its primary elections. But the legal fight to throw out Montana’s century-old open primary system isn’t over yet. U.S. District Judge Brian Morris dismissed the lawsuit by the Montana Republican Party and 10 GOP county central committees that claimed open primaries allow Democrats and independent voters to influence the outcome of their elections. The system violates Republicans’ freedom of association and forces candidates to change their message to appeal to “crossover voters,” the lawsuit said. The dismissal comes at the Republicans’ request after after a series of rulings by Morris, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court that ensured the June 7 primary elections will remain open to all registered voters. Read More

Montana: State attorneys defends campaign finance law ahead of elections | Associated Press

Montana attorneys on Tuesday defended the state’s new campaign finance disclosure law against a gun-rights organization that wants parts of it struck down before next month’s primary elections. The Virginia-based National Association for Gun Rights claims the law passed by state legislators last year would force it to register as a political committee for making issue-advocacy statements that are protected by the First Amendment. The law imposes burdens — filing reports, disclosing contributors and opening a bank account among them — on groups that “simply desire to talk about matters of public concern,” the association’s attorney, Matthew Monforton, said in court filings. State attorneys argued the law does not prevent so-called social welfare groups such as the National Association for Gun Rights from speaking freely, but it requires disclosure from those who do.

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