National: Today’s voting freakout: noncitizens are coming to steal your election | Los Angeles Times

With only a few days left before election day, pretexts for panic over the sanctity of the ballot box are dwindling down to a precious few. Two political scientists from Virginia’s Old Dominion University have done their part, with an article on the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage politics website asserting that control of the Senate could be “decided by illegal votes cast by non-citizens” on Tuesday. The column by Jesse Richman and David Earnest is based on their longer paper in the journal Electoral Studies. Their methodology already has been challenged by other political scientists who argue that Richman’s and Earnest’s statistical sample doesn’t warrant their conclusions. That hasn’t kept some right-wing pundits from using it as a justification for the wholesale restrictions on voting imposed by Republican state governments across the nation. That’s because the Old Dominion researchers conclude that the noncitizens at issue tend to skew Democratic.’s headline was “Study: Voting by non-citizens tips balance for Democrats.” RedState’s was “Study: Illegal votes can determine elections; Voter ID not sufficient.” Keep your eye on that RedState headline for a clue to how the study, as meager as it is, will be misused in the voter ID wars. What Richman and Earnest say isn’t that Voter ID is “not sufficient”; they say it’s not effective. In fact, they call it “strikingly ineffective” at stemming non-citizen voting.

National: Judicial election outrageous ads: Campaign contributions break records. | Slate

f you really think about it, who among us hasn’t been accused on television of coddling child molesters? A few years ago, in the spirit of Halloween, we created an “Evil Men in Black Robes” Halloween Spooktackular, pulling together some of the worst in scary judicial election attack ads. Well, they’re baaaaack, and some of them are worse than ever. This time it’s not just the judicial candidates literally inhabiting the pockets of special interests (although we do have a creepy pocket judge again), but also sitting judges accused of coddling child molesters, rapists, and more. In 39 states, some or all judges must face some kind of election—often a partisan one. These races used to be about as interesting to watch as Bingo night. But now, it’s all Law and Order, and all the time. The ads are scarier than the shows they interrupt.

Alabama: Voter ID law changes absentee ballot process for elderly, disabled voters |

Voters who will be unable to go to the polling place on Nov. 4 must request an absentee ballot by today. “If a voter will be out of the county on the day of the election, has a physical illness, is in the military or is a student, is working as a poll worker or works a shift of over 10 hours or more, that voter may request and vote an absentee ballot,” Secretary of State Jim Bennett said. Absentee ballot applications can be downloaded from and mailed to the Absentee Election Manager in the county where the voter is registered. (You can see that list here). A voter may also request an application by phone or receive an application from their Absentee Election Manager in person.

California: Los Angeles officials to consider ballot measures to change election years | Los Angeles Times

Can changing when Los Angeles votes reverse a long-term decline in turnout? Los Angeles lawmakers Friday are set to consider letting voters decide whether city elections should be moved to even-numbered years. The City Council has asked its lawyers to prepare two measures for the March 3 ballot aligning city and school board elections with state and federal contests. But some activists are warning that such a move could cause voter participation to decrease even more. Hans Johnson, president of the East Area Progressive Democrats, pointed to results from the June primary, which showed slightly more than 16% of L.A. voters casting ballots. That’s down 7 percentage points from the May 2013 mayoral runoff, when around 23% of voters took part. “This process is being rushed forward with a lack of review of the implications,” Johnson said.

Georgia: Minority Voter Registrations Unprocessed in Georgia Senate Race | Bloomberg

At least 40,000 minority voter registration applications had yet to be processed as of last week in Georgia as a close vote for a U.S. Senate seat approaches. The applications are among more than 80,000 submitted since March by a voter registration organization called the New Georgia Project, along with the NAACP and other groups. New Georgia revealed the figure in an affidavit filed in Fulton County Superior Court on Oct. 24.

Illinois: Lawsuit filed against Rock Island County Clerk for voting machine issues |

Rock Island County Republican Chair Bill Bloom filed a lawsuit against the County Clerk because of issues with the voting machines. For about a week prior to the lawsuit, voters in the county have been complaining that the touch screen voting machines have been switching their votes when they make a selection. The suit was filed Friday afternoon, October 31, 2014. Bloom said he filed the suit “as a result of [Rock Island County Clerk Karen Kinney’s] lack of response on the intermittent problem.” In the lawsuit, Bloom said he is asking the court to require the Clerk to recalibrate all voting machines before the November 4th election. Click here to read the lawsuit.

Kentucky: Voting law leaves many out of election | Courier-Journal

His mailbox has been stuffed with campaign letters, his TV plastered with political ads. But Brian Wright of Louisville won’t be casting a ballot Tuesday in Kentucky’s election. He’s among an estimated 7.4 percent of voting-age Kentuckians — including 22.3 percent of black voting-age residents — barred from casting ballots because of a felony conviction, a disenfranchisement rate that is third-highest in the nation, according to the Sentencing Project, a reform advocacy group. “I want to have a voice,” said Wright, 33, who pleaded guilty in 2008 to drug possession, receiving five years of probation and losing the ability to vote. Kentucky is one of only four states where all felons permanently lose their right to vote unless it is restored by the governor, said Marc Mauer, executive director of the Sentencing Project. He argued the state’s high exclusion rate is “quite likely to have a real impact on elections.”

Michigan: Voting machines reaching end of useful life | The Oakland Press

The machines that will count ballots on election day Tuesday aren’t your grandparents’ voting machines. No punch cards. No levers to pull. Those went the way of the dinosaur after the 2000 election 14 years ago, when punch card voting resulted in the “hanging chad, dimpled chad” controversy in Florida, invalidated a couple million ballots, and delayed the outcome of the presidential election as recounts and courts sorted it all out. When the smoke cleared, Republican George W. Bush claimed Florida’s electoral votes and the presidency even though Democrat Al Gore won the nation’s popular vote. What came after that was the Help America Vote Act of 2002, which in part required states to replace punch card voting with updated electronic voting machines built to federal standards. Congress, so far, has appropriated $3.8 billion to assist states with the upgrades. The updated optical scan machines were first used in Oakland County in 2005.

New Hampshire: Law Banning Ballots on Facebook Draws a Legal Challenge | Wall Street Journal

A New Hampshire legislator has sued the state, arguing that a new law banning voters from displaying their marked ballots violates the First Amendment’s guarantees on free speech. The lawsuit, filed Friday in federal court in Concord, N.H., takes aim at an unusual new law passed by the state earlier this year. The law specifically bars voters from taking pictures of their ballots and posting them on Facebook or other social media sites. The law reads:

659.35 Showing or Specially Marking Ballot. I. No voter shall allow his or her ballot to be seen by any person with the intention of letting it be known how he or she is about to vote or how he or she has voted except as provided in RSA 659:20. This prohibition shall include taking a digital image or photograph of his or her marked ballot and distributing or sharing the image via social media or by any other means.

People who willfully violate the law are subject to fines of up to $1000.

Oregon: Online voting? Probably by 2020, Secretary of State Kate Brown says |

Secretary of State Kate Brown says Oregon isn’t quite ready for online voting. But it will be soon enough. She even has a year in mind. “I believe by 2020 there will be electronic voting,” Brown said Thursday at Riverwood Assisted Living Center in Tualatin, where she met with Washington County election workers to help elderly voters cast their ballots.  Already there are signs that Oregon, the first state to embrace mail-only voting, is starting to move away from paper. The secretary of state’s office has been dipping its toes into Internet voting technology, although Brown acknowledges advances would be necessary — both in cyber security and voter confidence — for a fully-fledged electronic system to work. Brown acknowledged she has some security concerns about a completely computerized system, however. The paper trail left by mail-in ballots is more transparent and leaves an easy way for county clerks to conduct a recount if necessary, she said. Voters can even go see the ballots counted in person.