Editorials: Double voting? Not necessarily: Widespread voter fraud in Maryland is unlikely | Baltimore Sun

The recent report by Election Integrity Maryland that there may be as many as 164 individuals who voted in both Maryland and Virginia in the 2012 election hasn’t exactly caused the Maryland Board of Elections to press the panic button. There’s a reason for that: The numbers don’t prove fraud and more likely point to clerical error. That’s not to suggest the Fairfax County Electoral Board should not seek criminal investigation, as officials announced last week, into 17 possible cases of duplicate voting in that Northern Virginia county — such due diligence is entirely appropriate — but the chances that such incidents will result in fraud convictions are slim. If there’s one thing experience has taught, it’s that duplicate voter registration is almost always the result of nothing more nefarious than people moving from one state to another and registration rolls not being expunged in a timely manner. Trumped up horror stories about voting irregularities have fueled a Republican-led push to enact voter identification laws that are far more likely to discourage voting, particularly by young, elderly and minority voters who are less likely to have government-approved ID, than it is to uncover organized (or even disorganized) attempts to alter election outcomes. Voter fraud is not unknown, it’s simply uncommon.

Editorials: Sky-high stakes in Texas voter ID trial | Zachary Roth/MSNBC

For students at Prairie View A&M, a historically black university about an hour’s drive from Houston, the right to vote has never come easy. In the early 1970s—soon after 18-, 19-, and 20-year-olds gained the franchise—the Waller County voting registrar began requiring that students answer questions about their employment status, property ownership, and other issues before they could be added to the rolls. He was stopped by a federal court, in a key ruling for student voting rights. A few years later, local officials tried to move school-board elections from April to August, making it harder for Prairie View students to vote—a scheme that was blocked by the Justice Department. Then in 2004, the local prosecutor sent a letter to election administrators saying Prairie View students weren’t automatically eligible to vote at their college address, and threatening the possibility of arrest, before backing down amid an outcry. That same year, the county tried to cut early voting hours on campus—again, it was stopped by the federal government. And in 2008, the county acknowledged in a settlement with the Bush Justice Department that it had rejected voter registration applications in violation of federal voting law, primarily affecting Prairie View students.

Editorials: Will Texas Get Away With Discriminating Against Voters? | Ari Berman/The Nation

Imani Clark, Aurica Washington, Crystal Owens and Michelle Bessiake are students at Prairie View A&M and Texas Southern University, two historically black colleges in Texas. They do not have a driver’s license or own a car, and do not possess one of the five forms of government-issued identification required by Texas to vote. They can no longer vote with their students IDs in Texas, where a handgun permit is a valid voter ID but a student ID is not. The four students are among the plaintiffs challenging the constitutionality of Texas’s voter ID law in federal court in Corpus Christi this week. The trial before Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos, an Obama appointee, is expected to last two to three weeks. In August 2012, a three-judge district court in Washington found that the law discriminated against black and Hispanic voters under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. The court called it “the most stringent [voter ID law] in the country.” But after the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder freed states like Texas with a long history of voting discrimination from having to approve their voting changes with the federal government, Texas wasted no time in implementing the blocked law. “With today’s decision, the state’s voter ID law will take effect immediately,” Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott announced hours after the court’s ruling. Groups like the Justice Department, NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the Mexican American Legislative Caucus are now challenging the law under Section 2 of the VRA, which remains on the books.

Editorials: Can Afghanistan Survive Its Presidential Election? | Eurasia Review

Nearly thirteen years since the United States and its allies undertook one of the largest efforts at nation building in recent history, prospects for Afghanistan’s future peace and prosperity are facing critical threats. The Taliban and affiliated insurgent groups continue to destabilize much of the countryside. Uncertainty as to prospects of a negotiated peace deters capital investment and propels the flight of the country’s best and brightest. Following the second round of presidential elections in June, the equitable and constitutional transfer of executive power from President Hamid Karzai to his successor is in a state of jeopardy. In May this year, President Barak Obama announced a near total drawdown of US troops in Afghanistan by the end of 2016. At the moment, the fate of the Afghan people is most uncertain. Yet as dispiriting as this state of affairs is, Afghanistan is not yet lost. While its insurgency is persistent, the Taliban lack the means and popular support to retake control of the state. Warlords-cum-politicians recognize that they have more to lose by taking guns to the hills than by brokering negotiated deals. Its increasingly educated and globally aware youth comprise nearly two-thirds of its population. And given its mineral resources and position as a geographic bridge for regional trade and energy transit, Afghanistan is not without economic opportunities.

Editorials: Raising bars to legitimate voters is election irregularity | Roger Chesley/The Virginian Pilot

Fairfax County election officials have asked local, state and federal authorities to investigate whether 17 people may have voted twice in the 2012 general election – once in the county, and again in Maryland. Such allegations are shocking. They also need to be considered in context. Photo identification wouldn’t have thwarted the double voting, if it occurred, because voters in these cases didn’t need to impersonate somebody else. Still, Republican-controlled legislatures have passed laws in many states, including Virginia, requiring photo ID – keenly aware that the constituencies that tend to vote for Democrats are less likely to have them. Virginia’s new law took effect July 1. The Virginia Voters Alliance, a conservative advocacy group, examined full names and birthdates in data it purchased from the commonwealth and Maryland. Reagan George, president of the alliance, told me he turned over the information on suspect voters to Fairfax officials. “We’ve moved past the point of stuffing ballot boxes,” said George, who lives in the county. “Voter fraud has become sophisticated.”

Editorials: Why internet voting is a very dangerous idea | Marc Ambinder/The Week

Unless you’re one of those ornery folks who believe that only politically engaged Americans should vote, there aren’t many good reasons to oppose efforts to expand access to the ballot. Voter fraud is quite rare, and voting fraud — an organized effort to illegally disrupt elections — is hard to organize. So you might think that any restriction on the way someone can vote will unfairly marginalize potentially legitimate voters. That’s true, with one big exception: internet voting. No doubt — nationwide internet voting has an intuitive appeal. It would decrease the costs of elections. It would dramatically increase turn-out. It would allow marginalized communities to avoid harassment at polling sites. It would speed the vote count. A majority of voters regularly endorse the idea. There are two main reasons, though, why internet voting is, at best, a dream best realized 20 years in the future — if ever. The internet is not secure. It does not matter whether results are sent to an air-gapped system, because there’s plenty of technologies that jump air-gaps, and we know that big governments (like ours) use them to spy.

Editorials: What if Alabama elected multiple congressmen per district? A radical reform proposal | Brendan Kirby/AL.com

No one would dispute that Alabama is a Republican-leaning state, but an electoral reform group contends the current voting system distorts GOP dominance. Presently, six of seven members of the U.S. House of Representatives are Republican. But the state is not 85 percent Republican. The Maryland-based Center for Voting and Democracy, in an analysis of the upcoming 2014 election issued last month, puts the Republican percentage at 63 percent. In “Monopoly Politics 2014 and the Fair Voting Solution,” the center details how gerrymandered districts and winner-take-all elections have reduced the number of competitive districts across the country to a handful. The group also argues that the system encourages polarization and increases the number of voters with virtually no chance of electing representatives of their choice. “In contrast, fair representation voting systems provide nearly everyone with a real chance to elect a preferred candidate in every election and make it likely that large groups of like-minded voters (those who vote for similar candidates) will win seats in proportion to their share of the vote,” the report states.

Editorials: The skulduggery of ousting Illinois candidates | Chicago Tribune

We know, we know: Politics ain’t beanbag. But politics doesn’t have to be rotten and nefarious either. Yet oodles of people who run for office in this state will tell you of strong-arm tactics they endured, sometimes from their own party, to get their names on an Illinois ballot. It’s shameful. Sincere candidates who believe in public service spend months walking door-to-door collecting signatures — one of the purest elements of democratic elections — only to get kicked off the ballot through dishonest means. The latest allegation of skulduggery accuses Republican Party leaders of trying to remove Libertarian Party candidates from the Nov. 4 ballot, ostensibly to protect GOP candidate for governor Bruce Rauner. Rauner would compete more easily in a one-on-one race with Gov. Pat Quinn with no Libertarian candidate siphoning off votes. Rauner says he knew nothing of the alleged intimidation.

Editorials: Afghanistan’s disputed election: It takes two | The Economist

It seems everyone wants the Afghan presidential election to be over and done with. Except, maybe, for the two contenders. In the latest attempt to derail an audit of the votes, which was set in motion six weeks ago, Abdullah Abdullah (pictured above) declared on August 27th that he was leaving the process—less than a week before the next president is supposed to be inaugurated. Mr Abdullah, who claims his opponent, Ashraf Ghani, rigged more than 1m votes, has accused auditors of keeping fraudulent ballots in the tally. Faulting the United Nations for not taking his concerns seriously, he said the criteria for invalidating votes are not thorough enough to weed out all the fraud. Wednesday morning, August 27th, no observers from his team were to be found at the headquarters of the Independent Election Commission when the day’s audit began. Consequently, Mr Ghani also withdrew his observers.

Editorials: People hate politics. So why is nobody talking about campaign finance reform? | Jaime Fuller/The Washington Post

After more than a year of campaigning, New Hampshire Senate candidate Jim Rubens (R) has decided on his closing message: the “disconnect between voters in New Hampshire and politicians in Washington, D.C.” He was campaigning in Groveton, a small town of about 1,000 near the Canadian border, when he walked into a diner (as all candidates in New Hampshire inevitably do). “The entire room erupted,” the former state senator said. “People were ready to vent their frustrations. I’ve been involved with politics in this state for 20 years, and I’ve never felt the dissatisfaction more than I do now.” His anecdotal evidence is backed up by empirical data; when Gallup asked Americans what the top problem facing the nation was, many of the top answers have been variations on grumbling about the state of government today.

Editorials: End of straight-ticket voting in North Carolina tinged with racial, age bias | Bob Hall/News Observer

Tucked deep inside North Carolina’s election revision law that has stirred great passion is a provision that barely gets noticed. It’s not part of any lawsuit, but it eliminates a method of voting that affects more people than nearly any other part of the new law. This change also illustrates how lawmakers can manipulate rules to harm one group of voters but wind up harming a large number of their own supporters, too. In 2012, a solid majority – 56 percent – of North Carolina voters marked one box on their ballots to indicate their choices in more than a dozen races, from governor to county commissioner. It’s called straight-ticket voting, and in 2012 it involved 1.4 million ballots for Democratic candidates and 1.1 million for Republicans. In an ideal world, our schools, TV stations and other media would teach people about civics and citizenship, the importance of voting, the candidates and offices on the ballot, and how to determine who’s a goat, not just a donkey or elephant. Instead, voting is discounted, and contests are covered like a horse race – who’s ahead in the polls and who’s got the most money behind him.

Editorials: How to fix Yakima’s racially polarized elections | The Seattle Times

Last week’s federal court ruling ordering Yakima to discard at-large citywide elections in favor of a more representative process prescribes a needed fix, but leaves much of the rest of the state underrepresented at the local government level. The vast majority of Washington cities use at-large voting systems. That’s democracy, but not the most representative democracy. Subtly, and sometimes intentionally, at-large elections leave distinct geographic communities completely unrepresented. It’s why Congress passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Editorials: Top-two primary will not serve Oregonians well: Guest opinion | Blair Bobier/The Oregonian

There are three things Oregonians need to know about Measure 90, the top-two election proposal on the November ballot. First, top two will severely restrict voters’ rights to vote in all November elections. Second, top two is undemocratic. Third, there is absolutely no evidence that top two will improve our elections. The right to vote is the most precious right in our country; it is the right on which all other rights depend. Freedom of choice in the election process is what differentiates a democracy from, say, a dictatorship. Although the big business backers of top two focus on the effects their proposal will have on primary elections, the November election is where it will truly wreak havoc with the democratic process.

Editorials: How Low Voter Turnout Helps Public Employees | Pacific Standard

There’s been some talk recently about the effects of off-cycle elections—that is, elections that are held on a different date from national elections—on voter turnout and representation, particularly with respect to Ferguson, Missouri. This is a particularly interesting feature of American elections because it is something that we know depresses voter turnout substantially, and yet it persists. Why do we continue to hold these low turnout elections? Sarah Anzia explains this nicely in her dissertation and new book on off-cycle elections. The key to understanding these elections’ persistence, Anzia shows, lies not in knowing how few people turn out to vote in them, but just who turns out to vote. Basically, it’s people with a personal stake in the election. When the election is dominated by teachers, firefighters, and police officers, and their immediate friends and family, policies will follow. The electorate in a presidential election consists of tens of millions of people, only a few of whom stand to directly benefit in a personal, material way depending on who wins. The vast majority of voters have some sense that things would be somewhat better under their chosen candidate than under the other one, but in a much more abstract way. And for the most part, these same people are voting in all the contests further down the ballot that day, including races for Congress, state legislature, city council, and school board.

Editorials: Federal appeals court should decline request to reinstate Wisconsin voter ID law | Journal-Sentinel

Gov. Scott Walker and Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen are asking a federal appeals court to reinstate Wisconsin’s voter ID law immediately after the court hears oral arguments on Sept. 12 so that it would be in pace for the November election. We think that would be a mistake — first, because the law isn’t needed and second, because a ruling so close to the election may not leave enough time to effectively implement the law, resulting in confusion at the polls. That serves no one any good. Better to leave things as they are for now, and let voters go to the polls with no worries about whether they’ll need an ID. We’ve made the point before, but we’ll make it here again: Voter ID is a solution in search of a problem. There have been very few cases of voter impersonation in Wisconsin, the kind of fraud that a voter ID would prevent. At the same time, numerous groups have testified about the difficulty some people — mainly, minorities, the elderly and students — would have in obtaining an ID.

Editorials: Left and Right Agree: Increase Voter Turnout in Ferguson | John Fund/National Review

I’m always looking for areas where the Left and the Right can agree on a policy reform, even if it is for different reasons. One has emerged from the tragedy of Ferguson, Mo. In the aftermath of Michael Brown’s shooting, many blamed some portion of the tension there on the striking racial gap between the police force, which is 94 percent white, and Ferguson’s African-American population, which makes up two-thirds of the city. Not only the police force but also the rest of the local power structure in Ferguson is dominated by whites. Ferguson has seen enormous demographic change in the last 20 years, with the percentage of its black population growing from 25 percent to 67 percent. But five of its six city council members are still white, as is the mayor. The school board has six white members and one Hispanic.

Editorials: Modernized voting: If it can be secured, Utah is the place to discuss change | Jon Cox/Deseret News

I read with interest the recent columns by Jay Evensen regarding the future of Internet voting in Utah. Evensen seemed to draw two conclusions in his argument: (1) Utah should not be concerned about reducing barriers to vote, and (2) electronic voting has inherent security risks that make it a difficult proposition. I absolutely agree with his second point, but take issue with the first. Some believe that potential voters must first run a marathon or climb Mount Timpanogos to prove their civic worthiness. By winnowing the field of potential voters, they argue, we will be left with only those who are truly capable of self-government. Evensen seems to agree. “Civic duty should require some effort,” he said. “Voting shouldn’t be a whim.” Unfortunately, waiting in line to cast a ballot does not lead to a more informed citizenry any more than a two-hour trip to the DMV would somehow lead to safer drivers.

Editorials: The voter turnout conundrum in Los Angeles | Los Angeles Times

It’s one of the worst ideas we’ve heard in a long time: Last week, the Los Angeles Ethics Commission floated a plan to offer cash prizes as an incentive to get Angelenos to vote in local elections. Sheer desperation, as far as we can tell, led the commission to propose an election day lottery, with a jackpot of $1,000 or more that might persuade more registered voters to go to the polls. Would it work? Probably. But it’s still a bad idea. The folks pushing the lottery concept are well-intentioned and obviously disheartened by Los Angeles’ record of terrible voter turnout. Just 23% of registered voters bothered to cast a ballot in last year’s mayoral election. Last week, turnout was an abysmal 9.5% for a Los Angeles Unified School Board special election. But dangling a cash prize over the polls is a cynical and superficial pseudo-solution that fails to address the deeper reasons why people don’t vote. If the Ethics Commission and the City Council want to increase engagement and participation on election day — and they should — they would do better to focus on specific changes that make it easier to cast a ballot, while also getting to work on larger, longer-term reforms that could help counter the pervasive civic malaise that prevents so many Angelenos from feeling engaged in the democratic process.

Editorials: Florida’s New Redistricting Plan: Round Two | Linda Killian/Wall Street Journal

Florida Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis heard arguments Wednesday about whether to throw out the Florida Legislature’s redrawn congressional map, which critics say unfairly advantages Republicans, hurts minority voters and is unconstitutional. Under order by Judge Lewis, the legislature met in special session in early August and issued a revised congressional map on Aug. 11. But a coalition led by Common Cause and the Florida League of Women Voters says the new redistricting plan contains only minimal changes and still violates the state constitution. The nonprofit coalition charges that both the original and revised redistricting plans were drawn up by Republicans behind closed doors with no public input.

Editorials: Ferguson Voter Registration Drive Infuriates Conservatives | Brian Beutler/New Republic

During a brief moment of calm late last week—when the police stood down and protesters celebrated a short-lived victory and it seemed as if the story had undergone a permanent transition—I wrote an article drawing a single line between the trampling of liberties in Ferguson, Missouri, and broader, less violent social phenomena, like voter suppression. Since then, the police have taken another volte-face, public opinion about the events in Ferguson has polarized along racial lines, and the combination of the two has elicited a conservative response that neatly underlines my point. I’m not talking about responses to the details of Michael Brown’s shooting, or the emergence of looters and outside agitators. I’m talking about the reflexive hostility with which conservatives reacted to the news that protesters in Ferguson had organized a voter registration drive. “If that’s not fanning the political flames, I don’t know what is,” Missouri GOP Executive Director Matt Wills told the conservative website Breitbart. “I think it’s not only disgusting but completely inappropriate.” Breitbart described the drive as “efforts by liberal organizers to set up voter registration booths”—a rendering that reflects a few revealing assumptions. But let’s begin with the overarching one—that these organizers are engaged in something nefarious; that their real goal here is to advance ideological or partisan interests, unrelated to those implicated by the civic unrest.

Editorials: How to boost voter turnout in L.A. — and it isn’t offering prizes | Los Angeles Times

In a wondrous proposal that says more about the decline of civilization than its authors surely intended, the Los Angeles Ethics Commission has come up with a way to boost voter turnout in L.A. city elections: Make voters eligible for cash prizes. The recommendation may fail to persuade the City Council to enact such a plan, and even if it does, the particulars — two $25,000 awards? one $50,000 windfall? 500 all-you-can-eat coupons to In-N-Out Burger? — remain to be determined. The plan’s purpose is to arrest the decline of voter participation in municipal elections, which has been falling for decades and hit an all-time low of 23% in last year’s mayoral run-off. Then again, it would be almost impossible to design a system more likely to produce low turnouts than L.A.’s elections. They are held in the spring of odd-numbered years, when potential voters are just coming up for air after the saturation coverage and ad blitzes of presidential and gubernatorial contests. More fundamentally, by the terms of California’s Constitution, city officials don’t have all that much power over public affairs. Separately elected school boards run the schools, while county supervisors are in charge of health and welfare programs.

Editorials: We need a fairer system for choosing House members | Katrina van den Heuvel/The Washington Post

In the original conception of our Constitution, the House of Representatives was to be the branch of government that best reflected the will of the people. House members cannot serve without being elected — vacancies are not filled by appointees — and they must face the voters every two years. Notably, the House holds pride of place as the first branch of government to be described in the Constitution. The framers move directly from “We the People” to the House, underlining the notion that, for our Constitution (and our government) to function, representatives must be accountable to the people. Unfortunately, as we near the 2014 midterm elections, the reality of House races today clashes with that goal. Let’s start with the connection between votes and seats. In 2012, we faced a major choice between the major parties and a mandate on President Obama’s first term. In the presidential race, Obama defeated Mitt Romney in the national popular vote by almost three percentage points, and Republicans suffered the worst performance in Senate elections by any major party in a half-century.

Editorials: Where Voting Is Now Easier | New York Times

At a time when many states are making it harder to vote, 16 states have provided some good news over the last year by deciding to go in the opposite direction. In various ways, they have expanded access to the polls, allowing more people to register or to vote more conveniently. The list, compiled by the Brennan Center for Justice, includes these states:
• Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, Virginia and West Virginia. They created online registration systems, a big improvement over unreliable and inconvenient paper systems.
• Colorado and Louisiana. They will allow 16- and 17-year-olds to preregister when they apply for a driver’s license. Colorado also added Election Day registration, and it is encouraging mail-in voting without an absentee excuse.
• Maryland. It will allow same-day registration during early voting, which was expanded from six to eight days.
• Delaware. It will allow most felons to vote immediately after completing their sentences.

Editorials: Floridians tried to stop gerrymandering, and Republicans gerrymandered anyways. We’re about to see who wins. | Aaron Blake/The Washington Post

In 2010, Florida’s voters passed two constitutional amendments aimed at reducing partisan gerrymandering. Amendments 5 and 6 held that districts must not be drawn to “favor or disfavor” a party or incumbent or dilute the influence of minority voters. Democrats and advocates for redistricting reform hailed the passage of the measures, arguing that they could kneecap the GOP’s ability to continue its domination of a congressional map in what is otherwise a swing state. We’re about to find out whether there’s any truth to that. Republicans held 19 of the state’s 25 districts following the 2010 election. With the amendments in effect and the state’s map expanded to 27 districts in 2012, Democrats added four seats, for a total of 10 of the state’s 27 districts. But that had as much or more to do with the GOP losing a few swing seats than with the new redistricting rules. Indeed, the rules weren’t really legally tested until this year, when a judge last month ruled that two of them needed to be redrawn because they were drawn for partisan purposes. The GOP-controlled state legislature approved a new new map this week, with very minimal changes.

Editorials: There’s No Good Argument For Voting Restrictions | Seth Michaels/TPM

In last week’s Kansas primaries, officials turned away a 97-year-old woman named Beth Hiller at the polling place. The reason? She didn’t have an ID with her. Thanks to a recent state law, Hiller had to get back on the shuttle and head back to her nursing home without getting to exercise her most basic right. In theory, conservatives are supposed to oppose laws that don’t solve a problem and have unintended consequences. But voter ID is the clearest example we have of a law that helps nobody and hurts lots of people — yet these laws have been a major priority for Republican legislators across the country. A report from the Brennan Center identifies 22 states, including Kansas, that have implemented new voting restrictions since the Republican wave of 2010. Take North Carolina, where unified Republican control was followed almost immediately by a sweeping set of changes restricting access to the polls. For no good reason, North Carolina cut out a week worth of early-voting days, ended same-day registration, and put a strict voter ID requirement in place, among other changes.

Editorials: Troubling Texas voting changes face court scrutiny | Carl Leubsdorf/Dallas Morning News

It’s August, and most of the federal government is on vacation. Members of Congress are on their annual August state or district “work period,” President Barack Obama is at Martha’s Vineyard, and the Supreme Court is off until early October. But not all of the federal machinery is idle, especially in Texas. In San Antonio, a three-judge federal court is hearing the latest arguments in a case challenging state legislative and congressional redistricting plans favorable to the GOP. Another court, in Corpus Christi, plans to hear a case Sept. 2 that questions the constitutionality of Texas’ voter identification law. The latter case exemplifies the Republican effort in states with GOP governors and legislatures to limit turnout among Democratic-leaning minority groups. The verdict could significantly affect the political futures of Texas and other states where the Justice Department filed or joined similar suits. Both Texas cases stem from the 2013 Supreme Court decision ruling unconstitutional the 1965 Voting Rights Act section that gives the department power to review in advance voting changes in states like Texas with a history of racial bias.

Editorials: Texas is wasting time and money in defending the GOP’s political advantage | Houston Chronicle

Texans know about lines, including the sword-drawn line Col. William Barrett Travis allegedly scraped through soon-to-be-bloody Alamo sand to distinguish the brave from the not-so-brave. These days a three-judge federal panel meeting a few blocks from the Texas shrine is examining in tedious detail a set of lines that won’t be erased by an early-morning breeze. They’re drawn, not in sand, but on computers. Since these lines will determine for years to come how Texans choose their elected representatives, the state’s politically invested are fighting almost as ferociously as the two armies that clashed at the Alamo. Unfortunately, the fight will last a good deal longer than the 13 days it took the Alamo to fall.

Editorials: How the Open Source Election Technology Foundation is Remaking the Voter Experience | TechPresident

In its report released earlier this January, the Presidential Commission on Election Administration noted how an online registration tool developed by the Open Source Election Technology (OSET) Foundation that being used by Virginia and groups like Rock the Vote “highlights the way that voter information can be entered by a user in one setting and, through a simple platform, seamlessly integrated with a state’s registration list.” Now, ahead of the 2014 midterms and with an eye to 2016, OSET”s Trust the Vote Project is stepping up its efforts to expand that functionality and other election innovations across the country, at the same time that the Bipartisan Policy Center has taken up the task of more broadly implementing the commission’s recommendations as a whole throughout the states. As techPresident wrote at the time, the commission’s report highlighted how it had identified technology and data problems at the root of the “long lines” that President Obama had directed the commission to address. “We have been working on various piece of what I call the overall ecosystem…of election administration,” Gregory Miller, co-founder and chief development officer of OSET said in a recent interview. “We’ve been looking at the pieces that do not require federal certification since the federal certification model is so broken.” While OSET has also been involved in discussions about changing the certification model, the more immediate focus of the initiative, he said, has been improving the voter experience rather than ballot transactions.

Editorials: Open primaries something Dems, GOP can agree on | Albuquerque Journal

It’s rare in New Mexico when Democrats and Republicans see eye-to-eye on an issue. So it’s refreshing to see Republican Gov. Susana Martinez support a reasonable plan put forth by two Democrats, Sen. Bill O’Neill and Rep. Emily Kane, that would open up party primaries to independent voters. O’Neill and Kane plan to introduce legislation in January that would allow voters who decline to state a party affiliation to choose whether to vote in the Democratic or Republican primary, but not in both. Members of a party could not vote in the other party’s primary, which had been a sticking point for many partisans. The goal is to increase voter participation – only about 20 percent of eligible voters cast ballots in the June primary – and to attract young voters who increasingly don’t want to affiliate with either party.

Editorials: Compulsory voting for Sydney businesses makes a mockery of democracy | Jason Wilson/The Guardian

The decision by the NSW state government to automatically enrol Sydney businesses and compel vote in city council elections might seem like a petty, parochial matter. At a basic level, it could look like a political game arranged to get rid of the current mayor. The full details of the arrangements are yet to emerge, but on the basis of yesterday’s news it seems that non-resident businesses owners will have to vote; residents with businesses will have to vote more than once; and presumably those with several rate paying businesses will get a vote for each one. Clover Moore’s decade-long administration will very probably come to an end as a result. While the political right once needed to invoke totalitarianism and spies to fiddle the political system, now, apparently, the world-historical danger that requires an effective gerrymander in favour of business is bike lanes and public art.  No one really believes the justifications that have been trotted out by premier Mike Baird, and nor are they expected to. The players know that their explanations misdescribe the underlying political and social realities, they know we know, they mouth the words anyway, and we too-readily accept that this is just what politics is.