The Arizona Secretary of State’s Office has rejected Pima County’s proposal to do a pilot project creating digital scans of ballots. The measure had been a key element of the county’s efforts to improve election procedures by electronically auditing a certain percentage of ballots. In a memo dated Wednesday, Assistant Secretary of State Jim Drake said the recent election has “once again demonstrated that our election machines are incredibly accurate and reliable.” As a result, the office doesn’t want to pay for bolstered audit measures. Pima County, then, should expect more of the same.
Connecticut’s top election official is tossing around the concept of early voting and expanded access to absentee ballots, putting the Land of Steady Habits more in line with the vast majority of states. Secretary of the State Denise Merrill met Wednesday with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, a fellow Democrat, to gauge his support for a constitutional amendment that could open the door to voting alternatives.
Democrats in the Florida Senate on Thursday filed the first legislation arising out of concerns over voting difficulties, seeking to expand early voting times and the places where early voting can occur. The measures would also eliminate a requirement that people who have moved into a community from outside the county vote a provisional ballot on Election Day if they hadn’t earlier changed their legal address.
The marathon waits faced by thousands of voters in this month’s 2012 election should never have to happen again. That was the goal voiced by Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez on Wednesday. He convened an election advisory group to identify what went wrong during the election and what steps can be taken locally to fix them. Wednesday’s gathering by the advisory group was its second one this week. At least two more meetings are expected before the group starts coming up with remedies. “It’s just not right that any voter in Miami-Dade County has to stand in line for five hours to cast a vote,” Gimenez said.
Local election officials likely won’t have to wait around on Christmas Eve for candidates to file for office or pay out thousands of dollars in overtime costs because of a proposal awaiting Gov. Pat Quinn’s signature. The Daily Herald reported this month that because of the local election calendar, the last day for candidates to file for offices like school board is set for Christmas Eve. But legislation approved by the Illinois Senate Thursday would push that final date back to Dec. 26. The House already approved it, and Quinn’s spokeswoman says he supports the plan. Local offices then would be free to close or observe holiday hours on Christmas Eve.
Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz proposes that we use some kind of electronic scanning system to evaluate voter signatures. I have no idea how good signature comparison software is these days, but I do I know that my own signature isn’t very consistent. Would automatic signature matching software really work well enough to recognize that all of my signatures are mine while rejecting forgeries? I’m skeptical. If one person’s absentee ballot is incorrectly rejected because someone or some software thinks their signature does not match, that would seem to me to be a violation of that voter’s civil rights. If signature matching has a higher likelihood of failing for one group of people than for another, then signature verification can be said to systematically deny voting rights to that group.
Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz on Wednesday relaxed two administrative rules he’s seeking to enact regarding complaints about noncitizens registered to vote in the state. The changes do away with a written complaint form that had drawn criticism from civil libertarians and immigrants rights groups and extend the period in which voters whose eligibility has been challenged may contest the complaints against them. Schultz cast the changes as the results of a robust public debate over the last few months.
A two-day recount put Minnesota State Representative Mary Franson 12 votes ahead of Bob Cunniff, apparently sending her to a second term in the House. There are not enough ballots in question to give Cunniff the lead. The State Canvassing Board is to certify the vote Tuesday. Franson, R-Alexandria, picked up one vote Thursday during the Otter Tail County recount on Fergus Falls. Franson and Cunniff, DFL-Alexandria, each gained a vote during Wednesday’s Douglas County recount.
A Republican lawmaker in Montana is pushing legislation to restrict voter identification in the state to driver licenses and tribal ID cards. State Rep. Ted Washburn (R-Bozeman) told The Huffington Post that his proposal would prevent out-of-state residents from coming into the state with the purpose of registering to vote. He said by moving to the use of a driver license as the primary form of identification, anyone registering to vote would need to have lived in the state for at least 60 days, since state law requires residents to obtain a Montana driver license within that time frame. Under current law, residents can register within 30 days of moving and can present a utility bill as proof of residency.
The election boards in each of New Jersey’s 21 counties have certified their election results with the state. Many elections officials, however, expect they’ll be adjusting the totals for some time as provisional and federal overseas ballots continue to trickle into their offices. There aren’t enough outstanding late provisional ballots to alter the results of the Robert Menendez/Joe Kyrillos Senate race or the Barack Obama/Mitt Romney Presidential election. But for local races, such as school board and council elections, incoming ballots could make a difference. In Cumberland County, some of the unofficial election results—from polling places—were overturned by the addition of mail-in and provisional ballot counts. Meanwhile, Gloucester County and Morris County results remained unchanged.