Online voting registration is an idea whose time has come. And why not? It’s favored by all 67 election supervisors in the state, most legislators and the League of Women Voters. Currently, Florida law says those registering to vote must mail or deliver a paper registration form to an elections office, or they can apply when getting a driver’s license at the Division of Motor Vehicles. After confirming eligibility to vote, the elections office then must manually transfer prospective voters’ information into its computer database — not a very nimble process. If Floridians could register online, the information could more easily and more accurately be transferred. But the idea is getting a lot of pushback from Secretary of State Ken Detzner, who also is the state’s elections chief. In the past two weeks, Mr. Detzner has testified before two state Senate committees. Each time, he offered up dire consequences for online voter registration.
Michigan would eliminate February elections under legislation approved Thursday by the Michigan House, limiting local and statewide elections to three dates a year. Supporters say optional February elections often feature single-issue ballot questions on school millages or bonds but are marked by low voter turnout. “This is pro-taxpayer and good government legislation,” Rep. Lisa Lyons, R-Alto, said in a statement. “…It just makes sense that questions of increased taxes or fees are posed in elections when more voters participate.”
US Virgin Islands: Senators question Elections board members, vow changes | Virgin Islands Daily News
Senators grilled Elections board members and staff Tuesday night about the 2014 primary, General and run-off elections. Senate President Neville James said at the beginning of the Committee of the Whole hearing that the purpose of the meeting was to talk about the issues that came up during the 2014 election cycle, and not to discuss election reform. He said election reform would be a topic for a future hearing. During Tuesday’s committee meeting, senators often were frustrated by the lack of a unified voice from the Elections board members. Sen. Kenneth Gittens said every time someone made a statement, some board members would be nodding in agreement and some would be shaking their heads in disagreement. “Not even a choir singing here today, everyone with their own sheet of music,” Gittens said.
Voting rights advocates and Ohio’s top election official have settled a lawsuit over controversial cuts to the pivotal presidential state’s early voting period. The deal, announced Friday morning between Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, and the ACLU, undoes some but not all of the damage to voting access caused by last year’s cuts. It restores one day of Sunday voting and adds weekday evening hours, but lets stand the elimination of a week when Ohioans had been able to register and vote all in one day. It also ensures that all counties will have the same voting schedule — something Husted had named as a priority and that voting rights advocates too say will reduce confusion. Both sides called it a win.
Rhode Islanders would be able to register to vote online and vote early in person under new legislation promoted by Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea. The new legislative package, dubbed Voting and Elections Modernization Act of 2015, would, among other things, make early voting available up to 28 days prior to an election using the emergency mail-balloting process. Under the proposal, voting would be available on the weekend before Election Day in 2016. By 2018, in-person early voting would be available on two weekends prior to Election Day.
Rhode Islanders would be able to register to vote online and vote early in-person under new legislation promoted by Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea. The legislative package, dubbed Voting and Elections Modernization Act of 2015, would among other things make early voting available up to 28 days prior to an election using the emergency mail balloting process. Under the proposal, voting would be available on the weekend before Election Day in 2016. By 2018, in-person early voting would be available on two weekends prior to Election Day. “I think it’s important that elections are modernized and adapt to people’s lives and schedules and commitments,” Gorbea said.
Early voting technically started Tuesday in the special election for the state Senate District 16 race even though there’s only one candidate on the ballot, but a proposed constitutional amendment on the 2016 ballot could negate the need for further such elections. Former Sen. Michael Lamoureux resigned late last year to become Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s chief of staff, which left the seat vacant. Then-Gov. Mike Beebe declared a special election to be held Tuesday, April 14, with one week of early voting to precede it. Greg Standridge defeated Stan Berry in the Republican Primary runoff election in February. No other party or Independent candidates filed for the seat, leaving Standridge unopposed in the April election in the district covering Newton and Pope counties and parts of Boone, Carroll and Van Buren counties.
With its current equipment inventory, the Forsyth County Board of Elections would have to make a tough choice for the 2016 general election: offer fewer early voting sites than it did in 2012 or offer fewer electronic voting machines at each site. Steve Hines, elections director for Forsyth County, presented those scenarios to election board members on Tuesday as part of his pitch for new equipment. He put in a budget request this year for about $1.4 million to replace the county’s voting equipment, which is about 10 years old. County commissioners will decide in the next few months whether to approve the request. In the 2012 general election, Forsyth County had 15 early voting sites, Hines said.
I am informed that the city secretary for the City of Bartlett in Williamson County has asserted once again for the fourth year running that there is “no state law” requiring the city to conduct early voting within its city limits during the entirety of the early voting period for the May election, and that despite the fact that in-person early voting is to be conducted from April 27, 2015 through May 5, 2015, there will only be one day of early voting within the City of Bartlett city limits; namely on Saturday, May 2nd. This is both annoying and wrong, and a disservice to the voters of that city, but it may also be a shortcut chosen by other political entities as well, given that various other entities inside Williamson County also have weirdly truncated and limited early voting. Last year, in response to complaints about the lack of early voting, the Temple Daily Telegraph ran a story asserting the city’s position that an election services contract with Williamson County justified the lack of early voting locations. The story is behind a paywall, but there’s not much point in reading it, given that the city’s premise is wrong and is flatly contradicted by state law, as I’ve explained before.
A Republican bid to cut early voting in Georgia – which was slashed once already not long ago – failed last week after voting rights activists mobilized against it. A measure that would have cut the maximum number of early voting days that counties could offer from 21 days to 12 passed a House committee in February, and its prospects for passage in Georgia’s GOP-controlled legislature looked good. It would have left only one weekend of early voting, and just four hours on Sunday. But when the state’s legislative session ended Thursday, the bill hadn’t received a full house vote. That means its supporters would have to start from square one when the legislature reconvenes, or tack the cuts on to a different measure. The effort’s apparent demise came after feverish organizing by a broad coalition of voting rights, civil rights, good government, and Democratic groups.