Voting Blogs: New IG Report Sets Off Debate About MOVE Act Implementation | Election Academy

Three years after the enactment of the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act of 2009, a new report by the Department of Defense’s inspector general found that MOVE’s requirement of installation voting assistance offices (IVAO) on all non-warzone facilities is not being implemented across the globe. More specifically, IG researchers attempted to call every IVAO identified by the Federal Voting Assistance Program. The report says the “results were clear,” with about half of IVAOs unreachable. Those findings have touched off an interesting debate in Washington. One of the IG’s recommendations is to amend MOVE to make IVAOs discretionary, not mandatory.

Voting Blogs: Non-Retrogression, Equal Protection, and Ohio’s Early Voting Case | Election Law @ Moritz

The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has set an expedited briefingschedule in the Obama campaign’s case over early voting in Ohio. The state’s brief is due this coming Monday (9/10), with Obama’s response a week later (9/17), and the state’s reply (if any) the Friday of that same week (9/21). As this appellate process gets underway, I wish to make one observation about an innovative and intriguing aspect of the federal district court’s unexpected order, issued last Friday. (In separate development, the district court has ordered Ohio’s Secretary of State Jon Husted to appear at a hearing next Thursday (9/20) to explain his response to the court’s Friday order.) The district court ruled that the state must restore for Ohio’s entire electorate the three days of early voting immediately preceding the traditional Election Day. These three days existed in 2008 and more recently, until taken away in 2011 by a convoluted series of legislative enactments (combined with some implementing directives from the Secretary of State). The district court did not base its ruling on the ground that these three days of early voting are constitutionally compelled. Rather, the court relied on the ground that the state had left open the possibility that these three days of early voting would be available only to military voters this year, and that the state did not have an adequate justification for differentiating among military and non-military voters in this way. (For further details on the court’s ruling, see my colleague Steve Huefner’s insightful analysis from the day of the district court decision.)

Voting Blogs: OFA v. Husted: Understanding the Ohio Early Voting Decision | Election Law @ Moritz

Today’s federal district court ruling in Obama for America v. Husted raises several interesting issues. The case, which began only last month, quickly achieved some notoriety as an attack on military voting rights protected both by state law and by the federal Uniformed and Overseas Citizen Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA), though in fact it was merely an effort to leverage some of the additional accommodations that Ohio was offering military (or UOCAVA) voters into a basis for restoring early in-person voting for all Ohio voters. In that regard, today’s decision provides exactly the relief that the Plaintiffs desired, subject to an appeal to the Sixth Circuit. Before exploring some implications of today’s decision, it may be helpful to consider some background. From 2005 to 2010, Ohio’s early voting law permitted early in-person voting up through the Saturday, Sunday, and Monday before Election Day, a three-day period during which close to 100,000 voters may have voted in the 2008 presidential election. In 2011, however, the Ohio legislature amended the applicable statutory provisions to halt early voting at 6:00 p.m. on the Friday before Election Day. Unfortunately, the legislative process by which Ohio arrived at this reduced early voting period was not a model of clarity.

Voting Blogs: Ending the Voting Wars | Rick Hasen/TPM

Over the last few days I’ve been describing some of the major problems with our elections which I cover in The Voting Wars. Too many U.S. jurisdictions allow our elections to be run by political partisans. Local officials have too much control, and often lack adequate training and resources. Political rhetoric has been ratcheted up and mistrust has been building thanks to spurious and exaggerated claims of voter fraud (and in some cases voter suppression) by political provocateurs. Social media inflames partisan passions and could push the next election meltdown into the streets. What can be done to end the voting wars? We might begin by asking about the goals of a fair and effective election system. Most people of good faith considering this problem likely would agree with this statement: an election system should be designed so that all eligible voters, but only eligible voters, may freely cast a vote which will be accurately counted. If we were able to design our system of running elections from scratch, the best way to achieve this goal would be to use a system of national, nonpartisan election administration. The people who run our elections should have their primary allegiance and owe their professional success to the fairness and integrity of the political process and not to a political party. This is how it is done in Australia, Canada, the U.K., and most other serious democracies.

Voting Blogs: Pennsylvania Refuses to Comply with U.S. Dept. of Justice Photo ID Document Request | Brad Blog

Pennsylvania has refused to turn over documents that the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) had sought in order to determine whether the state’s new polling place Photo ID restriction law is in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) and other federal laws. As previously reported by The BRAD BLOG, on July 23, Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez submitted afour-page letter [PDF] to Carol Aichele, the Acting Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (coincidentally, the wife of Gov. Tom Corbett’s Chief of Staff), requesting information in electronic format for 16 broad categories of documents that the DoJ felt were needed to evaluate whether the Keystone State’s Photo ID law complied with federal laws barring discriminatory election laws. In an Aug. 17 letter [PDF], the Commonwealth’s General Counsel, James D. Schultz, responded to Perez, by telling him that PA would not comply with what Schultz described as an “unprecedented attempt to compel [PA], a state not within the purview Section 5 of the VRA, to present information concerning compliance with Section 2 of the VRA.”

Voting Blogs: The Effects of Florida’s HB1355 Early Voting Law on Turnout | electionsmith

As was reported widely in the press, if not entirely accurately, last Thursday night a Washington, DC, panel of federal judges handed down a unanimous ruling that restrictions placed on early voting in Florida should continue not to be implemented in the five counties covered by Section 5 of the 1975 amendments to the 1965 Voting Rights Act.  Florida, said the judges, “has failed to satisfy its burden of proving that those changes will not have a retrogressive effect on minority voters.” With respect to early voting, House Bill 1355–which was passed on party line votes by the Florida legislature and signed into law by Republican Governor Rick Scott in May 2011–is likely to have a differential impact it is likely to have on racial and ethnic minority voters in the 2012 general election.  In addition to my testimony before the US Senate on the topic, I’ve co-authored with Professor Michael Herron of Dartmouth College a soon-to-be published article in Election Law Journal that reveals the heavy reliance of early voting by minorities in the 2008 general election.  We found that in the 10 Florida counties that offered voting on the final Sunday of early voting in 2008, there was a surge in turnout among minority voters, especially African Americans.  That final Sunday of voting was eliminated under HB1355. Since then, Florida voters have participated in two statewide primary elections in 2012 under a dual system of elections, which very well may violate state law.

Voting Blogs: GOP Admits Early Voting Cutbacks Are Racially Motivated | The Nation

Earlier this month I reported how Ohio Republicans were limiting early voting hours in Democratic counties, while expanding them on nights and weekends in Republican counties. In response to the public outcry, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, who intervened in favor of limiting early voting hours in Democratic counties, issued a statewide directive mandating uniform early voting hours in all eighty-eight Ohio counties. Husted kept early voting hours from 8 am to 5 pm on weekdays from October 2 to 19 and broadened hours from 8 am to 7 pm from October 22 to November 2. But he refused to expand early voting hours beyond 7 pm during the week, on weekends or three days prior to the election (which is being challenged in court by the Obama campaign)—when it is most convenient for many working Ohioans to vote. Rather than expanding early voting hours across the state, Husted limited them for everybody. Voter suppression for all!

Voting Blogs: Voter Fraud & The Inherent Corruption in Populism | The League of Ordinary Gentlemen

There’s nothing so democratic as a lynch mob, as concerned citizens of Ohio and Pennsylvania have recently shown. In Pennsylvania this week, a judge upheld Act 18-2012, the now-famous piece of anti-voter-fraud legislation. Voter fraud has been a huge topic of concern in the past several years, and not entirely without reason.  Since the year 2000 there have been 2,068 documented cases of reported voter fraud throughout the United States.  In Pennsylvania in 2008, in fact, a temporary employee at ACORN named Luis R. Torres-Serrano was accused of submitting over 100 false voter-registration cards to election officials.*  Act 18-2012 can be viewed, therefore, as a shining example of populist outrage forcing the state to right a wrong. Except that it isn’t. Although there have been 2,068 reported cases of voter fraud over the past eleven years, Act 12-2012 only targets one specific kind of fraud: in-person voter impersonation.  The number of those cases is significantly less.  Since 2000 there have been only 10 cases of voter-impersonation charges made – that’s nationally, for all elections.  The lawyers for the state, in fact, admitted that not only were they “not aware of any incidents of in-person voter fraud in Pennsylvania,” they agreed that even without the law such fraud wasn’t really “likely to occur in November of 2012.” Initially GOP officials estimated that they thought the law would adversely affect about 90,000 voters that did not have the type of ID now required.  They have now revised that number to over 758,000 voters, about 9% of the state’s overall adult population.

Voting Blogs: Getting Disabled Voters Off the Sidelines? | Election Academy

Last week, USA Today ran a story about a study of disabled voters that suggests that as many as 3.2 million disabled voters are “sidelined” in the electoral process. The study, Sidelined or Mainstreamed? Political Participation and Attitudes of People with Disabilities in the United States by Lisa Schur of Rutgers and Meera Adya of Syracuse, finds that this large number of “sidelined” voters is the product of several different factors: lower motivation and reduced mobility plus, in some cases, the persistence of barriers at the polls. This last observation is somewhat puzzling given the apparent focus – especially since passage of the Help America Vote Act – on improving accessibility for disabled voters. And yet, as the study found, accessibility issues remain: a GAO report from 2009 found that only 27 percent of polling places nationwide had “no features that might impede access to the voting area for people with disabilities”, with another 45 percent presenting some barriers but offering curbside voting.

Voting Blogs: Pennsylvania Voter ID Law Could Disenfranchise ‘Super Voters’ | TPM

Johnson-Goldwater. Nixon-Humphrey. Nixon-McGovern. Carter-Ford. Reagan-Carter. Reagan-Mondale. Bush-Dukakis. Clinton-Bush. Clinton-Dole. Bush-Gore. Bush-Kerry. Obama-McCain. There’s a small group of Pennsylvania voters who have cast a ballot in each of those elections — and every November election — the state has held over the past 50 years. But thanks to the new voter ID law passed by Republicans last year, a large chunk of them don’t currently have the means to participate in 2012. Nearly one-fourth of the senior citizen voters who have cast a ballot in the past 50 consecutive elections (including November 2011) lack a valid state-issued ID and could be prevented from casting a ballot in November, according to a new PA AFL-CIO analysis of data provided by the state. Pennsylvania’s “Voter Hall of Fame,” organized by the Department of State, is a list of 21,000 inductees who have voted in 50 consecutive general elections. Of the 5,923 of them who are currently registered voters, 1,384 of them either have no valid state ID or have an ID which expired before Nov. 6, 2011, which would make it invalid at the polls under the state’s voter ID law.

Voting Blogs: Veterans: Romney Lying About Obama Suit’s Effect On Military Voters | TPM

Several veterans slammed Mitt Romney on Monday for opposing and mischaracterizing an Obama campaign lawsuit which would expand early voting rights to veterans, cops, firefighters and all Ohio voters. Romney had claimed — falsely — that the Obama campaign opposed allowing members of the military and their families to vote in-person in the three days before the election. Actually, the Obama campaign wants all people in Ohio — including, for example, veterans, cops and firefighters — to be able to vote during that period. The Romney campaign has not responded to TPM’s multiple requests for comment on whether they believe Ohio firefighters and cops are worthy of early voting rights. “When it comes to Mitt Romney, I feel like he lives in bizarro world,” Iraq veteran and former Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA) told reporters in a conference call organized by the Center for American Progress on Monday. “He’s suppressing millions of votes across our country in this election, and then he lies and says that President Obama is trying to do the same thing, when it couldn’t be further from the truth.” Murphy said Romney’s opposition to the lawsuit was part of a coordinated effort to suppress the vote.

Voting Blogs: Should We Have VIP Lanes for Military Voters? | Diane Mazur/Election Law Blog

The Obama campaign has challenged an Ohio law that extends the early voting period for members of the military, but not for civilians.  The focus is on the three days right before Election Day.  Under the new law, service members stationed in Ohio can continue to vote in person on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday before the election, but civilians can cast early votes only through Friday.  When the Obama campaign asked a federal court to open the full early voting period to all voters, Mitt Romney accused the President of trying to undermine military voting rights. Republicans said the lawsuit questioned whether it was constitutional to ever make accommodations for military voters.  This characterization is inaccurate, and silly.  There is a long history of accommodation for military and overseas citizens to vote by absentee ballot (for example, the federal Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act), and this is a settled understanding. The Ohio law is the first, as far as I know, to grant extra voting privileges to service members voting in person, not by absentee ballot.  The Obama campaign is not arguing that service members are never entitled to accommodation based on the unpredictable circumstances of their assignments, but only that it is arbitrary to hold “military-only” voting days when all voters are physically present and able to vote in person.  If the election offices are going to be open, we should let everyone in the door.

Voting Blogs: Romney Would Restrict Voting Right For 900,000 Ohio Vets | ThinkProgress

When I read stories this weekend that said the Obama campaign was suing to restrict the voting rights of military in Ohio, my blood got boiling. Of course, Think Progress has already documented that story, inflamed by the Romney campaign, is patently false. In fact, the Obama campaign was suing to block an Ohio law which restricts a very successful early voting program in the state. The President’s campaign was trying to keep expanded voting rights in place for everyone, military included. So, why am I still so disturbed? Because Mitt Romney, by supporting the Ohio law that would do away with three days of early voting for all but those covered under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voter Act (‘UOCAVA’), is supporting the restriction of voting rights for as many as 913,000 Ohio veterans. This includes military retirees with over 20 years of service and multiple deployments. In short, Mitt Romney supports efforts to make voting more difficult for the very people who have put their lives on the line after swearing an oath to uphold our Constitution and democracy. Once you leave the military, you are no longer covered by UOCAVA. Your voting rights are the same as any civilian. That means the early voting law which Mitt Romney wants to undo, provided hundreds of thousands of Ohio veterans with more of an opportunity to vote. By all accounts, Ohio voters liked and used the early voting law. In 2008, nearly one-third of all ballots was cast under the early voting measures, surely many of them veterans.

Voting Blogs: Viviette Applewhite Voter ID Case: Bring on the Poll Taxes and Literacy Tests | Politics 365

The trial over Pistolvania’s voter identification law (a law someone brilliantly described as “a bad solution looking for a problem”) continues in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  I would say that it’s not going to end up well for the state, but you never know with these Commonwealth Court Judges. This is what Judge Simpson said: “This is a high-profile case. There’s a lot of anxiety here,” he said. “There will be a lot of people very unhappy with my decision no matter what I do.” But, he said, “take heart,” because the case will likely go to higher courts before it is over. Oh ohh. Anyway, I don’t want to get into a lot of legalese, but the state has to show a compelling state interest if this law is to be upheld. This is the type of scrutiny that is applied to laws such as this that deals with voting rights.

Voting Blogs: Is the fight over voter ID laws a prelude to a constitutional crisis? | Constitution Daily

Lyle Denniston looks at the Voter ID issue possibly affecting the legitimacy of the next president, if opponents of such measures can prove voter suppression existed during the election. The statements at issue: “This November, restrictive voter ID states will provide 127 electoral votes – nearly half of the 270 needed to win the presidency.  Therefore, the ability of eligible citizens without photo ID to obtain one could have a major influence on the outcome of the 2012 election.” – Brennan Center for Justice,  at New York University School of Law, in a new report, “The Challenge of Obtaining Voter Identification,” July 17

“[Mitt Romey] as president…might find himself as frustrated as Obama.  Democrats are planning to challenge his legitimacy, on grounds of Republican-imposed voter ID laws with disparate racial impact.” – Fred Hiatt, Washington Post editorial writer, in an op-ed column on July 30, “A blocking election: The motivation for voters has become stopping the other guy”

“What should Democrats do if Romney comes to power on the strength of racially suppressed votes?…Mass demonstrations would be in order.  So would a congressional refusal to confirm any of Romney’s appointments.  A presidency premised on a racist restriction of the franchise creates a political and constitutional crisis…” – Harold Meyerson, Washington Post columnist, in op-ed comments on July 25, “The illegitimate aims of voter suppression”

We checked the Constitution, and …

Voting Blogs: Better Design, Better Elections | Brennan Center for Justice

Design problems continue to have a major impact on elections. In 2008, the Brennan Center for Justice publication Better Ballots documented how design errors continued to plague elections, leading to the loss of hundreds of thousands of votes. The report made several policy recommendations to alleviate this chronic problem. This report continues the work of Better Ballots, detailing a few of the biggest design flaws in the elections of 2008 and 2010. Unlike Better Ballots, which only discussed Election Day ballots, this report also includes voting machine error messages, provisional and absentee ballot envelopes, and voter education materials. The quality of design of all of these materials can be the difference between counting and losing voters’ intended choices. Download the Report (PDF)

Voting Blogs: Obama, Democrats suing to block military voting in Ohio? Update: No | Hot Air

Well … maybe, but that depends on what remedy the lawsuit demands.  The DNC, Ohio Democrats, and the campaign for Barack Obama’s re-election have indeed filed a lawsuit in Ohio over an exception for early voting for members of the military and civilians overseas, claiming it sets up an unconstitutionally “disparate” treatment from other voters.  But does that mean eliminating the exception altogether, or extending it to everyone? … Breitbart’s Mike Flynn and these military groups assume that the lawsuits intend to restrict access to the military to the Friday deadline, the same as everyone else in Ohio. …  But is the remedy sought by Democrats to force members of the military to adhere to the Friday deadline, or to eliminate the deadline altogether?  Neither the KTVU nor theBloomberg reports make it clear what remedy the plaintiffs seek — and that’s really the crux of the issue here.

Voting Blogs: No, Democrats Aren’t Trying To Register Kids And Dogs To Vote | TPM

No, Virginia, Democrats aren’t trying to register your dog to vote. As Drudge Report readers already know, Mitt Romney’s campaign sent a letter to Virginia officials on Wednesday complaining that the “dubiously named” Voter Participation Center has been sending out voter registration forms “pre-populated with names and/or information belonging to the recipients’ dead relatives, minor children, non-citizen relatives, already registered voters, convicted felons, and cats and dogs.” The letter, signed by Romney general counsel Kathryn Biber, asks Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli and Charles Judd, the chairman of the state board of elections, to investigate the voter registration campaign, claiming it may be in violation of several state laws. It claims the Voter Participation Center’s tactics “amount to, or at the very least induce, voter registration fraud.”

Voting Blogs: What Matt Bai’s Missing in His Analysis of Whether Citizens United is Responsible for the Big Money Explosion | Election Law Blog

The other day I linked to Matt Bai’s iece upcoming in Sunday’s NY Times Magazine, “How Much HasCitizens United Changed the Political Game. The article discusses (though inexplicably does not link to) my recent Slate article, “The Numbers Don’t Lie.”   I promised a response to the article (I gave Matt an extensive interview in his writing of the piece), and here it is. The relevant question is whether Citizens United and its aftermath (namely, the decision in SpeechNowfrom the DC Circuit, and two FEC rulings) is responsible for the explosion of outside money sinceCitizens United.  A few reactions, beginning with the most important.

1. As I told Matt, and what’s missing from this piece, is the realization that there was considerable legal risk in giving to a 527 before Citizens United and its aftermath. As one reader to commented to me, “Matt’s article suggests that not much has changed post-Citizens United because even prior to the CU decision, “you would have been free to write a check for any amount to a 527 . . . .”  This is untrue and all three groups Matt cites were determined by the FEC to have violated federal law during the 2004 cycle.  ACT paid a $775,000 fine (  SwiftVets paid a $299,500 fine (  Club for Growth paid a $350,000 fine (”

Voting Blogs: Florida Secretary of State Voter Purge Netted 10 “Potential Noncitizens” who may have Voted | electionsmith

That’s right. 10. Out of 11.2 million voters on the official statewide rolls as of April 1, 2012. Here’s some quick analysis… Approximately 0.000088496% of the current statewide voter roll may have voted illegally once (or perhaps more) over the past decade or so. The percentage is even less when you consider the tens of MILLIONS of votes cast in local and statewide elections in Florida since 2006. Notwithstanding the hundreds of Florida citizens who have been falsely accused by the Florida Secretary of State as being “potential noncitizens” who are corrupting the integrity of our voting system, it’s great to see that Governor Scott has exposed the myth of voter fraud in Florida. Or not.

Voting Blogs: Florida Secretary of State Admits Identifying “Potential Non-citizens” using “Obsolete” Data | electionsmith

Of course, you wouldn’t know that reading the completely misleading headline in the “AP NewsBreak” story rushed to publication by theWashington Post and numerous other outlets. The real headline should be, “Florida Secretary of State Admits Identifying “Potential Noncitizens with ‘Outdated’ Data.” The pending agreement with the Department of Homeland Security is hardly a “victory” for the GOP, as the Washington Post’s headline screams. It is true that the Department of Homeland Security reached a pending agreement with the Florida Department of State to allow the Division of Elections to access the federal SAVE database — Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements — so as to more accurately identify “potential noncitizens” who might be incorrectly registered to vote in Florida. (Lord knows, the Florida Secretary of State needs help in its endeavors, as I’ve recently documented elsewhereextensively.

Voting Blogs: Judges Seem Ready To Mess With Texas’ Voter ID Law | TPM

A panel of three federal judges in D.C. posed skeptical questions on Friday about Texas’ voter ID law during closing arguments in a trial about whether the measure is discriminatory. The panel of federal judges — George W. Bush appointee Rosemary M. Collyer, Clinton appointee David S. Tatel and Obama appointee Robert L. Wilkins — hopes to issue a ruling on the case in “quick order,” according to Collyer, who expressed doubts about the findings of Texas’ experts in the case. John Hughes, a lawyer for Texas, argued in his closing arguments that people who want to vote already have an ID or can easily get it. Hughes argued that if the state’s voter ID law really disenfranchised anyone the D.C. “courtroom would be filled” with Texans who couldn’t obtain voter ID. In one of the more awkward exchanges, Hughes offered a semi-defense of literacy tests after one judge said that the reason literacy tests were racist years ago was because of inequalities in the education system. The judge asked if it was Texas’ theory that there would be a problem with literacy tests today. Setting aside other laws banning literacy tests and poll taxes, Hughes said he did not believe a literacy test would violate Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

Voting Blogs: ‘Got Voter ID?’ States Educational Campaign Efforts Vary Widely | TPM

Mark Goins is the Coordinator of Elections in the Tennessee Secretary of State’s Office. He’s also guy in charge of educating Tennessee voters about the state’s new voter identification requirement. While other states have hired outside public relations firms to get the word out about the regulation, he’s been doing everything in-house. That includes outreach to specific communities statistically less likely to have a form of photo identification which meets the new requirements, which was conducted by members of his staff on top of their other responsibilities. “I’ve got a younger person in the office, he’s in his 20s, so he was kind of coordinating the college voters, so that was kind of his job,” Goins told TPM. “I’ve got a minority, well I hate to use the word minority, but I’ve got a person of color within the office who was the minority outreach, if you will, if you use that term. She was the person who went to some NAACP meetings.” As several states prepare to implement voter ID laws passed by their legislatures in November, TPM’s interviews with elections officials show that education efforts are all over the map.

Voting Blogs: My Voting Struggle: Two Hours in New York City | Jonathan Backer/Brennan Center for Justice

During New York’s June federal primary, I became personally aware of the enormous barriers that exist for many Americans to cast their votes. When I went to vote, a poll worker informed me that my name did not appear in the voting book. I had my registration card with me, but she said that I still could not vote if my name did not appear in the book. The poll worker offered me a provisional ballot, but I insisted that I wanted to ensure that my vote would count. She then offered to write an order allowing me to appear before a trial court judge to prove my eligibility, something she said she had never done in five years as a poll worker. At the New York City Board of Elections, the staff looked up my information and said I was not affiliated with a political party. Since New York has closed primaries, this explained why I did not appear in the voting book. But I remembered very clearly registering as a Democrat. I asked the staff to print out a copy of my original voter registration form, which showed that I had crossed out my selection of a minor party before settling on the Democratic Party. This happened because the volunteer with whom I registered reminded me about New York’s closed primary rules. Wanting to vote in primaries, I had asked the volunteer if I should fill out a new registration form, but she said that crossing out my original choice and initialing the change would suffice. The Board of Elections said this invalidated my party selection and informed me I would be unable to vote. I refused to accept this and said my intent was perfectly clear on the form. The Board of Elections staff said my intent did not matter. At this point, I demanded to appear before a judge.

Voting Blogs: Minnesota Election Law Ballot Measure – So Much More than Just Voter ID | Brennan Center for Justice

This week, Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie announced the title of the ballot measure addressing election administration for the November election. The new title of the measure is: CHANGES TO IN-PERSON & ABSENTEE VOTING & VOTER REGISTRATION; PROVISIONAL BALLOTS. Some proponents of the measure have cried foul, arguing this title is misleading. In fact, it is painfully accurate. Many voting rights advocates, including this blogger, have been loosely referring to the measure as the “Voter ID Amendment.”  But the proposed amendment is much broader than simply drastically increasing the ID requirements for voters. This amendment goes further by limiting how registered voters are verified, impacting more than in-person voting on Election Day. It will undermine the long tradition of Election Day registration that many believe accounts for Minnesota’s consistently high voter turnout rates. Beyond that, it will affect how voters confined to their homes can vote and will necessitate the creation of a cumbersome and costly provisional balloting system.

Voting Blogs: Tennessee program to provide photo IDs missing most voters who need it | Facing South

In 2011, as part of a nationwide push for new restrictions on voting, Tennessee enacted one of the most stringent voter photo ID requirements in the country. In response to criticism that it would disenfranchise voters, state lawmakers agreed to issue free photo ID cards to make sure eligible voters aren’t wrongfully denied the vote. But a Facing South analysis shows that, less than four months from Election Day, Tennessee’s photo ID program is reaching only a fraction of those who likely need it. The Tennessee law, which went into effect Jan. 1, 2012, prohibits voters from casting a ballot unless they show a photo ID at the polls, with a few exceptions, such as for those who are hospitalized. Student IDs don’t count, and neither do locally-issued IDs like library cards, although handgun carry permits do. Critics argued the bill posed an especially big problem for the elderly: A unique Tennessee law allows residents over 60 to get driver’s licenses without a picture. According to state records, more than 230,000 Tennessee seniors have such licenses — 126,000 of whom are registered to vote — meaning they wouldn’t be able to vote with those IDs.

Voting Blogs: Revisiting Fraud and the 2012 Mexican Presidential Election | The Monkey Cage

In view of the large amount of attention yesterday’s post on the potential for vote buying in the 2012 Mexican presidential election has received, we are very pleased to have a second follow up post-election report on this election from  Marco A. Morales, a Ph.D candidate in the Department of Politics at New York University, that addresses more directly the question of the potential for and consequences of electoral fraud in this election. In addition to his graduate work in political science, Morales has also served as a public official under both PRI and PAN administrations, most recently – under the current PAN administration – as Press Counsellor and Spokesman for the Mission of Mexico to the United Nations, and Director General for Political Analysis at the Office of the Mexican Presidency. The official tally for the Mexican presidential election has now been released. After all votes have been counted (and recounted whenever there were discrepancies in the tallies) the results advanced by the PREP and the expedite count remain virtually unchanged: PRI’s Peña Nieto has38.21% of the vote, PRD’s López Obrador 31.59%, and Vázquez Mota 25.41% of the vote. This means that a difference of over 3.3 million votes between the front-runner and the second place remains virtually unchanged. (Or in other words, that there was human error on the vote counts, but no systematic error). Yet, for outside observers, this could seem like a convoluted process taking an exceptional amount of time. And that would be a correct observation. Nevertheless, that is what the electoral law dictates. So what exactly is going on, and why?

Voting Blogs: No ID? The Marginal Cost Of Voting In Pennsylvania | The Faculty Lounge

In my recent post about the new PA voter ID law, I noted that a very, very significant number of registered voters – up to 18% of all registered voters in Philadelphia (home to half of the state’s African-American population) – may not currently possess an identification card that will allow them to vote in November. Supporters of these laws argue that requiring people to get an ID is a small price to pay in order to prevent voter fraud.  It seems worth figuring out what the actual supplemental cost of voting is for those who currently lack required ID. I therefore present may totally back-of-the-envelope calculation of the poll-tax assessed by PA’s voter ID law.  I use the working assumption that time is worth 7.25/hour.  This is a fiction if the preparation time does not actually displace paid labor, but does allow us to monetize the cost of voting to be allocated to ID acquisition.  I assume that photocopies cost .15 per page and that all mailings can be done for .45 first class postage.  I also assume that this is all occuring in Philadelphia County, where there is public transportation to help you get to one of the five DMV locations in the county.  In other counties, a person without a driver may have to spend even more to get cab service.  Of course, some people will be able to get a ride – but given gas prices (and the cost of parking in cities), it seems unlikely that the effective cost of such travel will be less than the SEPTA public transit fare of $2 each way.   More elaborate details on my calculations appear at the bottom of the post.  And yes: I recognize that some people miss work, school or other activities in order to vote.  I assume, however, that this cost is borne by all voters.

Voting Blogs: Report on Anchorage Ballot Problems Highlights Importance of Turnout to Election Planning | Election Academy

Dan Hensley, an outside attorney hired to investigate Anchorage’s troubled April election delivered hisreport to the Anchorage City Assembly last week. The report highlights management issues in the municipal clerk’s office – including the clerk’s “hands off” style that led to inattention to election preparations by the deputy clerk – but Hensley found that the biggest problem contributing to the widespread ballot shortages on April 3 was the deputy clerk’s failure to anticipate voter turnout. In particular, he found that the combination of a mayoral election year and a controversial gay rights initiative should have alerted the deputy to the strong likelihood of a turnout above the levels experienced in 2010 and 2011. Moreover, he learned that other members of the staff had alerted the deputy to higher rates of absentee ballot requests – a key indicator of turnout – which she failed to take into account.

Voting Blogs: So what’s going on in the Texas redistricting cases? | Texas Redistricting

After an extended period when the courts and parties were generating redistricting news it seemed almost hourly, things have gotten much quieter. In fact, in the  preclearance case in Washington, no pleadings, orders, notices, or advisories have been filed or entered since April 2.  Nada. And most parties seem to have more or less given up trying to predict when a ruling on the maps can be expected.