early voting

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National: US Justice Department eyes voting rights changes for American Indians, Alaska Natives | Associated Press

The U.S. Department of Justice is seeking legislation that would require state and local election officials to work with American Indian tribes to locate at least one polling place on or near each tribe’s land. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said the changes are needed because “significant and unnecessary barriers” exist for American Indians and Alaska Natives who want to cast ballots. American Indians sometimes have to travel great distances to vote, face language barriers and, in places like Alaska, do not have the same amount of time to vote as others. The Justice Department outlined its proposal in letters Thursday to House Speaker John Boehner and Vice President Joe Biden, after a year of consultation with tribes on voting access. Read More


Voting Blogs: One county at a time, vote centers coming to Texas | electionlineWeekly

Some revolutions start with a shot and others take time to build. In Texas, a slow-building revolution is moving one county at a time to switch the largest state in the lower 48 to a vote center system instead of the traditional precinct-based polling places. Since beginning a pilot program of vote centers nearly a decade ago just over 10 percent of the state’s 200+ counties used vote centers in the most recent statewide election and more are petitioning to make the move. While not willing to call the pilot an outright success because of the still small sample of counties using the system, the secretary of state’s report to the 84th Legislature on the program said anecdotally, vote centers do make easier for voters and elections officials alike. Read More

long_line

Florida: Miami-Dade plans to finish redrawing voter precincts in advance of 2016 presidential election | Miami Herald

At long last, Miami-Dade County plans to finish drawing new voter precincts, a once-a-decade task that contributed to waits of up to seven hours outside the polls on Election Day in 2012. Later this year, the Miami-Dade elections department plans to send updated registration cards to the county’s nearly 1.3 million voters. About 12 percent of them will find they’ve been moved to a different polling place, under a proposal scheduled for county commissioners’ approval Tuesday. That’s far less than the 55 percent of voters Elections Supervisor Penelope Townsley said last year would be displaced in 2015. Her office redrew a minimal number of precinct boundaries — only the ones of the most crowded precincts — to displace as few voters as possible before the 2014 gubernatorial election. Read More

National: Record number of Americans can register online, vote early | Associated Press

Oh, how times have changed since the days of punch card ballots and hanging chads. Come 2016 when the nation picks its next president, a record number of Americans will have the option of registering online and voting early. That has some people warning of voter fraud, while others are celebrating the flexibility as a way to make sure more people are heard on Election Day. “This year has been a good year for opening access,” said Dale Ho, director of the American Civil Liberties Union voting rights project. But “these things can turn on a dime as long as partisans detect ways to gain advantage by changing the rules.” Among the biggest change next year: more voters will be able to go online to register to vote, according to data released Wednesday by the Pew Charitable Trusts, a nonpartisan public policy group. Read More

FILE - This Oct. 2,2012 file photo shows voters wait in line to pick up their ballots inside the Hamilton County Board of Elections after it opened for early voting, Tuesday, in Cincinnati. Stock up on munchies and make sure the batteries in your TV remote are fresh. With this year's presidential election razor-close to the finish, Tuesday could be a long night. Even if the presidency isn't decided until after midnight EST, there will be plenty of clues early in the evening on how things are going for President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney. Obama has more options for piecing the 270 electoral votes needed for victory, so any early setbacks for Romney could be important portents of how the night will end.   (AP Photo/Al Behrman, File)

National: Democrats Play Hardball on Voting Laws Ahead of 2016 | TIME

There was a rare détente in the fight over early voting in Ohio last month. The ACLU and the NAACP came to a compromise with the Republican Secretary of State. Early voting days would be reduced from 35 to 28 days, but early voting hours were extended to include Sundays and after work on some weekdays. “We have an incredibly robust system of early voting thanks to this settlement,” said Freda Levenson, executive director of the state’s ACLU chapter. Secretary of State Jon Husted likewise called it a victory for Ohio voters. But for Democrats looking ahead to 2016, that wasn’t enough. Just two weeks after the settlement was reached, a team of Democratic-aligned lawyers filed another lawsuit, claiming that Ohio’s voting laws still make it too difficult blacks, Hispanics and young people to vote. The most prominent attorney behind the new challenge? Marc Elias, the go-to lawyer for Hillary Clinton’s emerging campaign. Read More

Voting Blogs: New Pew Report Chronicles Trends in OVR Nationwide | Election Academy

Online voter registration is increasingly in the news, as more and more states enact laws allowing eligible citizens to register or update their records. Too often, though, the discussion of what happens after enactment – when OVR goes from requirement to reality – gets lost in the back-and-forth over the political impact of registration reforms. That’s why it’s so important that the elections team at The Pew Charitable Trusts has released a new report entitled Online Voter Registration: Trends in development and implementation. The report, which Pew calls a “brief,” lives up to its name by packing an incredible about of information into 12 pages. Read More

Ohio: Suit challenges Ohio’s voting system; elections chief balks | Associated Press

A new federal lawsuit alleging that Ohio’s voting arrangements disproportionately burden Democratic-leaning voters drew swift criticism from the political battleground state’s Republican elections chief Monday. The top lawyer to Democrat Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, Marc Elias, is among those representing the Ohio Organizing Collaborative and three individuals in the suit brought Friday _ though Elias also represents the state and national Democratic parties and other Democratic clients. Read More

Nevada: Senators approve proposal to dump Nevada’s caucus system | Associated Press

Nevada’s caucus system for presidential nominees is on shaky ground after senators approved a measure seeking to replace it with a primary election. Senators voted 11-9 on Tuesday to approve SB421, with Democrats opposing. The measure now moves to the Assembly. The bill would preserve Nevada’s influential position as one of the earliest states to nominate a presidential candidate. But it would change the selection process from a gathering of only the most motivated party activists to a regular election among all voters. Read More

Ohio: Democrats sue State of Ohio, Husted, others over voting issues | Toledo Blade

Democrats, including an attorney for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, sued in federal court on Friday to block laws and orders they claim are designed to throw roadblocks between the voting booth and traditional Democratic constituencies. Among the issues challenged is Ohio’s shortened early voting period, which has already been the subject of a recent settlement under a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, League of Women Voters of Ohio, and others that led to the reinstatement of some in-person early voting hours for future elections. Read More

Minnesota: Senate passes elections bill, would allow early voting, restore felon voting rights | StarTribune

The Senate passed a wide-ranging elections bill 39-28 on a mostly party line vote that would expand early voting and restore voting rights to felons once they are no longer incarcerated. The bill would automatically register eligible voters when they apply for a driver’s license or state identification card or have it renewed. It would also allow 16- and 17-year olds to “preregister” to vote. A driver’s license applicant could opt-out of registering to vote. Read More