New Yorkers would be able to cast their ballots early under new legislation set to be introduced in the City Council Wednesday. The bill sponsored by Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) would open select polling places for local elections two weeks before election day. “New York is currently last in the nation for voter turnout,” Kallos said. “And part of that is because two thirds of the United States and Washington DC offer early voting to residents, and New York doesn’t.”
Uzbekistan is ready to hold elections to the legislative chamber of the parliament (Oliy Majlis) Dec. 21, the Chairman of Uzbekistan’s Central Election Commission (CEC) Mirza-Ulugbek Abdusalomov said Dec. 17. He made the remarks at a briefing for the diplomatic corps, representatives of international organizations accredited as observers, and the media. “The activity program for preparation and holding of elections, adopted in May, allowed organizing the entire electoral process at a high democracy level, to provide conditions for full realization of the citizens’ electoral rights and the active participation of political parties in the formation of public bodies,” he said.
Editorials: As another early voting measure comes around, expect more Christie amnesia | Star-Ledger
Another early voting bill has passed through the Senate, and though it is likely to face the same grim fate as its progenitors once it reaches the governor’s desk, its necessity has never been more apparent. The lesson derived from a recent report by the Constitutional Rights Clinic at the Rutgers School of Law is watertight: Opening polling sites for days or weeks before Election Day would revitalize civic interest, increase turnout, and prevent the chaos that can result from weather emergencies. Speaking of which, the study specifically cites the Keystone Kop choreography of Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in 2012, calling the measures she took that year “illegal, insecure, and confusing,” and asserting that her unauthorized executive decisions “unilaterally altered New Jersey election law.”
D.C. could soon return to a September primary date for local elections, abandoning a brief and controversial experiment with holding the primaries in April. Under a bill set to be considered by the D.C. Council on Tuesday, the city’s primary election would be moved to the first Tuesday in September, effectively reversing a 2011 bill that pushed the primary date to the first Tuesday in April. That bill was passed to put D.C. in compliance with a federal law requiring 45 days between a primary and general election, to better allow military and overseas voters that chance to cast absentee ballots. It also aligned the city’s presidential and local primaries, which prior to 2012 had been held on different dates. But legislators, candidates and voters seemed to have had a hard time adjusting to the new electoral calendar, which required candidates to campaign in wintry weather and left incumbents who failed to win re-election a nine-month-long lame duck period. It also seemed to depress turnout; the April 1 D.C. primary saw less than 27 percent of registered voters actually cast ballots, a historic low for the city’s mayoral primaries. ”Given the District’s unique position of having no voting members of the House of Representatives or Senate, District-wide elections have a deep impact on the lives of D.C. residents. Therefore, it is of paramount importance to maintain an electoral process that meets the needs and desires of the District’s residents while maintaining accessibility for military and overseas voters,” said a report from the Council’s Committee on Government Operations, which last week approved the measure.
A pilot program that allowed same-day voter registration in Illinois in the Nov. 4 election would become permanent under legislation that passed the House Wednesday. Besides allowing people to register and vote on the same day at polling places, the bill would allow extended early voting, as well as make it easier for students to vote at college campuses. The legislation passed the Democrat-controlled House on partisan lines by a 70-44 vote. It’s been amended from the original version that passed the Senate — also controlled by Democrats — so a concurrence vote would need to happen in that chamber before it can be sent to Gov. Pat Quinn. Quinn supported the pilot program, so it’s expected he’d sign the bill into law.
New Jersey’s Senate has passed a bill requiring each county to open at least three polling places for voters to cast their ballots early days before an election. The measure would expand access and ensure the integrity of the voting system, sponsor Sen. Nia Gill said Monday. ”We will avoid the issues that we faced in Sandy of invalid votes, of people voting by fax machine,” said Gill, D-Essex. Republicans voted against the legislation because it’s unnecessary, said Sen. Joe Pennacchio. ”We already have early voting. We have absentee voting, and anybody can walk into a county clerk’s office 45 days before the election and actually cast their vote,” he said.
Less than six weeks after a report found New Jersey’s election system after Superstorm Sandy was chaotic and left voters vulnerable to hackers, the state Senate passed a measure to allow early voting. The legislation is seen by proponents as a more effective solution to voting in emergencies while getting in line with most other states. Rutgers University School of Law found that in the 2012 election, one week after Sandy knocked out power to power to 2.4 million homes and businesses in New Jersey, a directive to allow voting by fax and email “increased the chaos clerks experienced trying to run the election.” The report also noted that New Jersey law does not allow for Internet voting.
Despite Arizona’s progress in lowering the number of provisional ballots cast in the recent general election, results in several legislative and congressional races were again delayed because voters continue to drop off their early ballots at the polls. The number of early ballots left to count after this year’s Election Day dropped 38 percent compared with 2012. Experts and election officials attributed the decline to this year’s decreased turnout. The number of provisional ballots cast statewide, however, dropped by more than 60 percent compared with 2012, when Arizona was embarrassed on the national stage as record numbers of provisional and early ballots went uncounted for two weeks after the polls closed, leaving key races hanging in the balance. Election officials said there were fewer provisional ballots cast this year due to voter-education efforts by the state and Maricopa County, the county’s use of easier-to-notice yellow early ballots, and its new electronic poll books that helped lessen the number of provisional ballots cast in the wrong polling places.
Louisiana: Early voting days will not be extended after judge denies state representative’s motion | The Times-Picayune
Early voting will not be extended after 19th Judicial District Court judge Todd Hernandez denied part of motion by state Rep. Marcus Hunter, D-Monroe, filed earlier Tuesday. Early voting will be closed Thursday for Thanksgiving and Friday for Acadian Day. Hunter asked for a temporary restraining order to keep Sec. of State Tom Schedler from closing registrar offices Friday so that the early voting period would be open longer. Hernandez denied that motion, but he did set a hearing date for Dec. 4 to hear the merits of the original motion. By then, the early voting period would have closed. The general election is just two days later on Saturday, Dec. 6.
New voting restrictions and poll workers’ unpreparedness and confusion kept somewhere between 30,000 and 50,000 eligible North Carolinians from voting in this fall’s general election. That’s the conclusion of a new report from Democracy North Carolina. The voting rights watchdog analyzed 500 reports from poll monitors in 38 counties and 1,400 calls to a voter assistance hotline to come up with its estimate, which does not include the thousands of people who might have voted before Election Day if the law had not cut the early voting period by a full week. The report found that most of the problems were due to three changes made by the law passed last year by the Republican-controlled legislature and signed by Gov. Pat McCrory: the repeal of same-day registration, which allowed qualified citizens to register and vote during the early voting period; the repeal of out-of-precinct voting, which allowed people to cast a valid provisional ballot at different polling sites in their county on Election Day; and the repeal of straight-party voting, which created backlogs at polling places and led to long waits for many. (Read the full report, which includes examples of specific challenges faced by voters, online here.)