Voting Blogs: Facts, Darn Facts, and Super PACs | Brennan Center for Justice

Recently, the Montana Supreme Court upheld the state’s ban on corporate independent expenditures. This is a direct rebuke of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC, which struck down a federal ban on corporate independent expenditures, largely based on the assumption that such spending inherently cannot corrupt elected officials.

The majority opinion in Citizens United, authored by Justice Kennedy, concluded that “independent expenditures do not lead to, or create the appearance of, quid pro quo corruption” and that “there is only scant evidence that independent expenditures even ingratiate.” But, thanks to a procedural quirk, the case shot up to the Supreme Court before anyone in the case could engage in any real fact-finding. So, Kennedy’s conclusion was little more than an untested hypothesis, not supported by any hard evidence.

When presented with evidence of corruption in a similar case, Justice Kennedy came to a totally different conclusion. Caperton v. Massey dealt with a West Virginia Supreme Court justice who failed to recuse himself from a case involving a CEO who spent nearly $3 million on independent expenditures in support of the justice’s election. Because the independent expenditures constituted the vast majority of spending in the judicial election, Justice Kennedy concluded that the justice should have recused himself because “no man is allowed to be a judge in his own cause, [and] similar fears of bias can arise when…a man chooses the judge in his own cause.”

Voting Blogs: Argument preview: Texas, the courts, and minority voters | SCOTUSblog

At 1 p.m. on Monday, the Supreme Court will hold 70 minutes of argument in three cases — being heard on an expedited schedule — on the new election districts that Texas will use in 2012 balloting for the state legislature and for its expanded delegation in Congress.  Arguing for the state of Texas, with 30 minutes of time, will be former U.S. Solicitor General Paul D. Clement, now in private practice in Washington with the Bancroft law firm.  He will be followed by Principal Deputy U.S. Solicitor General Sri Srinivasan, arguing for the federal government as an amicus, with ten minutes.  Arguing next, for the challengers to the state legislature’s redistricting maps, with 30 minutes, will be Jose Garza, a private attorney in San Antonio who has been representing the Mexican American Legislative Caucus in these cases.


Just as the Supreme Court’s controversial ruling two years ago in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission has become a major influence on the financing of the 2012 elections, the Court’s coming decision this Term on three legislative redistricting cases from Texas may have a strong impact on who wins some key election contests — and might even help settle control of the new U.S. House in the Congress that gathers next January.   The ruling also may bring a severe test of the constitutionality of America’s most important law on the voting opportunities of minorities, the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  For a case that could be decided on very narrow grounds, it has developed potentially historic proportions.

Voting Blogs: Western Populism and Corporate Electioneering: The Montana Supreme Court | Election Law Blog

One of the historical oddities about today’s debates over corporate money and elections is that the issue maps so directly onto partisan political differences, at least among national political players.  As I’ve noted before, the deeper, long-term pattern historically has been quite different.  Starting at least in the Jacksonian era, with Andrew Jackson’s war on the Bank of the United States — in significant part, because of allegations that the Bank was playing a role in partisan political contests — there have been longstanding alliances against corporate money in politics that united more conservative populists in the west and midwest with more liberal progressives in the east and that transcended conventional partisan divisions.

Arizona’s John McCain, of course, was a principal architect of the restrictions on corporate electioneering the Supreme Court struck down in Citizens United.  And within the US Supreme Court, manifestations of that deep historical pattern can be seen in the fact that several Justices from the western United States who otherwise were considered conservatives or moderates strongly endorsed the power of government to limit the role of corporate money in elections — Justice O’Connor (from Arizona), Justice White (from Colorado), and Justice Rehnquist (sixteen years in private practice in Arizona). But there is no one on the Court now who appears to reflect that western-style populist resistance to corporate electioneering.

Voting Blogs: No Photo ID Required to Vote in GOP’s Iowa Caucus | BradBlog

For all of their years of claims that massive voter fraud is going on at the polling place, such that Photo ID restrictions are required to ensure the integrity of the vote, you’d think that when Republicans have a chance to run their own elections, they’d be sure to want it to be as “fraud” free as possible.

Nonetheless, despite onerous polling place Photo ID requirements now passed into law in about a dozen states where the GOP controls both the legislative and executive branches, voters will be able to cast their ballot in next Tuesday’s “First-in-the-Nation” Republican Iowa Caucuses without bothering to show a Photo ID — even though the Republican Party itself sets their own rules for voting there.

Unlike most primary elections where an official state election board or agency sets the rules and runs the registration and balloting processes, the Iowa Republican Party runs its own state caucuses, determines the rules, tabulates all the votes and announces the results to the public and media themselves. They have complete control over the entire process, and yet they don’t bother to ask their own voters to show a state-issued Photo ID before casting their ballot. I wonder why that would be?


Voting Blogs: Wondering About GOP Caucus Count | Iowa Voters

The eyes of the world are upon us, but not only to see who is declared the winner of the GOP caucus Tuesday night. Some are trying to see just how the votes get added up. A reader from Florida writes:

While researching the Iowa Caucus process I came across your website. I was just wondering if you were aware that the Iowa GOP has decided to tally the votes in an undisclosed location this year due to an anonymous threat to ’shut down’ the caucus. This is very concerning to me and I was wondering what your take is being that you’re much more familiar with the Iowa election process than I am. I have heard that Iowa is one of the most transparent states in terms of voting, but wouldn’t counting the votes in secret open up the potential for serious vote fraud? Knowing that the Iowa GOP is not very fond of the current front runner in Iowa I am even more suspicious.

Indeed. It’s easy to imagine the whole Republican Party in the corner with Mitt Romney, hoping to hold off the Paulites and the Gingrich disaster, willing to do anything to save their careers from the hoi polloi. Might they even move their vote counting to an undisclosed location? Sure, even their beloved VP hangs out there!

Voting Blogs: How urgent is the Section 5 issue? | SCOTUSblog

While much of the rest of the nation was diverted for the holidays, a group of lawyers in Washington pressed on to prepare new legal papers in hopes of getting a speedy decision — perhaps in time for the 2012 elections — on the constitutionality of the federal law that many consider history’s most important guarantee of minorities’ voting rights.  Having barely missed the chance in 2009 to get the Supreme Court to strike down Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, challengers are seeking to set up a new test case as quickly as they can.  They may get their wish, at least in lower federal courts.

Three days after Christmas, attorneys for a group of opponents of Section 5, who live in the small community of Kinston in eastern North Carolina (population about 24,000), urged the D.C. Circuit to take unusual steps to decide their case in close tandem with an already pending challenge there from Shelby County, Alabama.   The Kinston lawyers even offered to forfeit the usual opportunity for an oral argument, if that would move the case along.

“The public has a compelling interest in a prompt and definitive resolution of Section 5′s facial constitutionality during the upcoming election year,” the attorneys said in a motion to expedite their appeal, and to assign it to the same three-judge panel that is reviewing the Shelby County case.  “Section 5 will have a sweeping effect on the 2012 elections, because it will affect redistricting, voter-identification laws, polling-place locations, early-voting hours, and any other voting change” in all or parts of 16 states that are subject to Section 5. The Justice Department, the attorneys told the Court, does not object to those requests.

Voting Blogs: Politics and Pictures: Rhode Island and its new voter ID law | State of Elections

In elections past, Rhode Island has not required photo identification for a ballot to be counted. However, with the passage of a new law the state has at least superficially joined the ranks of states which have approved legislation that will hamper the voting rights of its most vulnerable citizens. Yet the truth may not be so simple. Rhode Island’s law is less restrictive and more benign than legislation passed by other states which may explain the unique politics behind the passage of RI’s new photo identification bill.

The law will be implemented in two stages. “The first stage will require non-photo ID beginning Jan. 1, 2012. The second stage will require photo ID beginning Jan. 1, 2014.” For the upcoming 2012 election, voters are able to vote by establishing their identity through possession of forms of ID that do not have their photo, “including without limitation”: a birth certificate, social security card, or government-issued medical card. The language “without limitation” can reasonably be construed as meaning that “any current photo identification that includes the name and photograph of the voter will be accepted.”

Voting Blogs: No Photo ID Required to Vote in GOP’s Iowa Caucus | BradBlog

For all of their years of claims that massive voter fraud is going on at the polling place, such that Photo ID restrictions are required to ensure the integrity of the vote, you’d think that when Republicans have a chance to run their own elections, they’d be sure to want it to be as “fraud” free as possible.

Nonetheless, despite onerous polling place Photo ID requirements now passed into law in about a dozen states where the GOP controls both the legislative and executive branches, voters will be able to cast their ballot in next Tuesday’s “First-in-the-Nation” Republican Iowa Caucuses without bothering to show a Photo ID — even though the Republican Party itself sets their own rules for voting there.

Unlike most primary elections where an official state election board or agency sets the rules and runs the registration and balloting processes, the Iowa Republican Party runs its own state caucuses, determines the rules, tabulates all the votes and announces the results to the public and media themselves. They have complete control over the entire process, and yet they don’t bother to ask their own voters to show a state-issued Photo ID before casting their ballot.

Voting Blogs: Justice Department Blocks South Carolina’s Voter ID Law | TPM

The U.S. Department of Justice will block the voter ID provisions of an election law passed in South Carolina earlier this year because the state’s own statistics demonstrated that the photo identification requirement would have a much greater impact on non-white residents, DOJ said in a letter to the state on Friday. The decision places the federal government squarely in opposition to the types of voter ID requirements that have swept through mostly Republican-controlled state legislatures.

Officials in DOJ’s Civil Rights Division found a significant racial disparity in the data provided by South Carolina, which must have changes to its election laws precleared under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, because of past history of discrimination. The data demonstrated that registered non-white voters were 20 percent more likely than white voters to lack the specific type of photo identification required to exercise their constitutional rights, according to a letter sent to South Carolina and obtained by TPM.

“Put differently, although non-white voters comprised 30.4% of the state’s registered voters, they constituted 34.2% of registered voters who did not have the requisite DMV-issued identification to vote,” Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez, who heads the Civil Rights Division, wrote in the letter to South Carolina. “Non-white voters were therefore disproportionally represented, to a significant degree, in the group of registered voters who, under the proposed law, would be rendered ineligible to go to the polls and participate in the election.”

Voting Blogs: Election Results Websites Heading to the Cloud | GovTech

As more people go online to see polling results on Election Day, the increased traffic can wreak havoc on IT infrastructure not designed for huge spikes in demand. But experts agree that the cloud is starting to gain momentum for hosting those sites, due to the belief that the cloud is more reliable and can upscale quickly to avoid crashes.

Andy Pitman, industry solutions manager for Microsoft, said in addition to the technical benefits of the cloud, by not maintaining expensive infrastructure for a capability that’s only used sporadically each year, using cloud technology for elections reporting and results can also save governments money.

Voting Blogs: Thousands protest over alleged Russian election fraud |

The exact number of protesters present is unknown; estimates for the Moscow protest vary from twenty thousand to one hundred thousand, and rallies on a more minor scale also took place in other Russian cities—including Saint Petersburg. Voice of America (VoA) reported the demonstrations as the largest pro-democracy protests since Vladimir Putin came to power eleven years ago. Other reports describe the demonstrations as the greatest since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Police estimated that ten thousand people were present at demonstrations in St. Petersburg. Corruption and a rejection of Putin were the most commonly-cited grievances from questioned protesters.

Opposition leader Evgenia Chirikova told VoA the protests were in favour of fresh elections, and the release of political prisoners. During the demonstrations, protesters chanted “[p]olice, part of the people” at the riot police. Echo of Moscow host Alexei Venediktov described the protesters as “the new generation, the Putin generation”. These people “voted, had their votes stolen, and now they want a fair system”, said Venediktov.

Konstantin Kosachyov, a United Russia parliamentarian, dismissed the concept of discussions with the protest organisers. “With all respect for the people who came out to protest, they are not a political party,” he stated. Student Daniil Klubov, a leader of the St. Petersburg rally, told the BBC that he does not “belong to any political movement” and is “just a student who is tired of all these lies”.

Voting Blogs: AAUGH! South Carolina GOP Funding Decision Scrambles Counties’ Primary Plans | Doug Chapin/PEEA

Earlier this week, the South Carolina GOP stunned election officials by announcing that they would not, as promised, be paying $650,000 to the cost of the state’s January primary but would instead limit their contribution to $180,000 from filing fees by the candidates in the January 21 vote.

Party officials claim their decision is required by the recent state Supreme Court ruling – described by the party chair as a “game changer” – that the state and county election officials are required to run the primary as part of their authority under state law. The party’s executive director suggested that county election officials only had themselves to blame: “The state party was negotiating in good faith with these four counties through the state Election Commission, and yet they filed a hugely expensive lawsuit knowing this was one of the potential outcomes.”

Voting Blogs: Real Solutions Needed on Voter Deception | Brennan Center for Justice

Last week, Paul Schurick, the campaign manager for former Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich, was convicted of two counts of conspiracy to violate election laws and two counts of election fraud for orchestrating a scheme of robo-calls intended to deter 100,000 Democratic African-American voters from voting in the City of Baltimore and Prince George’s County Maryland.

The robo-calls, delivered in a woman’s voice, assured Democratic voters that the Democratic Governor Martin O’Malley had already won the election as of 6:00 p.m. on Election Day 2010. “Our goals have been met. The polls are correct and we took it back. We’re OK. Relax. Everything’s fine. The only thing left is to watch it on TV tonight.”

At trial, Schurick argued his intention was to anger voters sympathetic to his candidate in order to motivate them to vote. A jury rejected his argument and found Schurick’s intent was to mislead and discourage Democratic African‑American voters from going to the polls. Schurick’s conviction comes in the midst of a robust national debate about the importance of ballot security and how to protect American elections.

Voting Blogs: Voting Rights Debate Promises Burgeoning Partisan Battle | Legally Easy

This year-end, new battles over the Voting Rights Act are emerging, but they are new battles inextricably embedded in the history of discrimination and civil rights. Signed by President Johnson in 1965, Section Five of the Voting Rights Act, requires 16 southern states with a history of discrimination to pre-clear any voting procedure changes with the Justice Department, or a panel of federal judges.

While the provision was reauthorized in 2006 with strong bipartisan support, it is being challenged today in five lawsuits claiming that the United States has reached a level of electoral equality that precludes the need for Section Five. But, as it stands, Section Five still places the sixteen states under the watchful eye of the federal government, and ensures that the burden of proof remains on each jurisdiction to establish that any proposed changes do not have the purpose or effect of discriminating based on race or color.

The situation currently threatening mayhem during the budding 2012 election season is the redistricting of  Texas. After the 2010 census, the significant population increase in Texas meant the bestowal of 4 new congressional seats — and an almighty battle for control of these new seats. And consider this: democrats are currently outnumbered 23 to nine in the state’s 32-member U.S. House delegation, and Republicans control both U.S. Senate seats, the governorship, the state Legislature and most statewide offices.

Voting Blogs: Forensic Analysis Finds Venango County E-Voting System ‘Remotely Accessed’ on ‘Multiple Occasions’ by Unknown Computer | The Brad Blog

Acording to the Initial Report from a landmark independent forensic audit of Venango County, PA’s touch-screen voting system — the same system used in dozens of states across the state and country — someone used a computer that was not a part of county’s election network to remotely access the central election tabulator computer, illegally, “on multiple occasions.” Despite the disturbing report, as obtained by The BRAD BLOG and posted in full below, we may never get to learn who did it or why, if Venango’s County Commissioners, a local judge, and the nation’s largest e-voting company have their way. And that’s not all we won’t get to find out about.

The battle for election integrity continues in Venango, with the County Commissioners teaming up with e-voting vendor Election Systems & Software, Inc. (ES&S) on one side, and the county’s renegade interim Republican-majority Board of Elections on the other. The Commissioners and ES&S have been working to spike the independent scientific forensic audit of the county’s failed electronic voting machines that was commissioned by the interim Board of Elections. Making matters worse, the Board has now been removed from power by a county judge, a decision they are attempting to appeal as the three-person board and their supporters continue to fight the entrenched establishment for transparency and accountability in the rural Western Pennsylvania county.

Voting Blogs: Forgotten But Not Yet Gone: Is This the End of the EAC? | Doug Chapin/PEEA

On Friday. U.S. Representative Glenn Harper [R-MS] posted a press release on Facebook suggesting that the two remaining members of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission had resigned, leaving the agency with no members and rendering the EAC, in his words, a “ZOMBIE AGENCY.”

Harper, of course, is the sponsor of recent legislation to terminate the EAC, which was approved earlier this month in a largely party-line vote in the House. If indeed the EAC is now empty (while the resignations aren’t yet public, I have no reason to doubt the reports are accurate) we may be seeing the beginning of the end of the EAC and its duties under the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA).

There will be lots of opportunities to discuss the work of the EAC – and more importantly, what will happen to that work if the agency does indeed disappear – but as part of that discussion I think Congress as an institution needs to own its role in the birth and life of the EAC and what impact it might have had on the agency’s performance and potential demise.

Voting Blogs: Supreme Court Will Hear Texas Redistricting Cases | Election Law Blog

“The Supreme Court, working late on a Friday, agreed to rule on the constitutionality of three redistricting plans for the two houses of the Texas legislature and its U.S. House of Representatives delegation, and put on hold temporarily a U.S. District Court’s interim maps.”

Given what the Court did, with no stated dissents, it is not clear why this had to wait until Friday at 7 pm eastern to issue. More importantly, it is also not clear what is supposed to happen now in Texas.  What districts can be used, if the districts crafted by the three-judge court are now “stayed pending further order of this Court?”

The case will be argued on January 9.  It is possible the Court will grant an interim order before then addressing which districts should be used. (Perhaps that was the reason for the delay, and it did not come together.  Were they cobbling together a plan and/or an order?  Were there dissents?)  Or the Court may try to rush an opinion soon after argument.

Voting Blogs: Voters want information online, but will they find it? | electionlineWeekly

“Am I registered to vote?” “Where is my polling place?” “What’s on my ballot?” These are common questions voters routinely ask before heading to the polls and casting their ballots. But easily finding answers to these questions depends, to a large extent, on whether their state election agencies are providing information and tools on their websites.

To determine how well states are helping voters prepare to vote, in 2010 the Pew Center on the States launched a nationwide assessment of the 50 states and the District of Columbia’s election websites. The assessment was conducted by the California Voter Foundation and the Center for Governmental Studies, two nonprofits with decades of online voter education experience, and the Nielsen Norman Group, evaluating more than 100 detailed criteria based on three categories: content, look-up tools, and usability.

The results are in Pew’s new report, “Being Online Is Still Not Enough.” The 2010 assessment built on and expanded an earlier, 2008 Pew analysis of state election website look-up tools and usability.

Voting Blogs: Colorado’s super-secret ballots | State of Elections

Colorado is currently in the midst of a heated legal dispute over whether images of local ballots should be made available for public scrutiny in an election dispute. The controversy started in 2009, when Marilyn Marks lost the Aspen city mayoral election to Mick Ireland. Marks petitioned to view images of the anonymous ballots (sometimes referred to as TIFF files), but the city denied her request.

She then filed suit in state court under the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA), but the district court ruled against her. She appealed to the Colorado Court of Appeals, which reversed the lower court in September of this year, holding that the contents of the ballots should be released.

The substance of the issue is that the city contends that the images constitute ballots, and thus are barred from public release by the provision of Colorado’s constitution which protects the secrecy of ballots as well as local regulations as to the disposal of ballots. The Court of Appeals’ holding rejected both of these arguments, holding that the images are not ballots, and that the state constitutional protection only extends to the identity of the voter, not to the substance of the ballot.

Voting Blogs: What Price Accountability – and Who Pays? Weston, CT and Election Auditing | Doug Chapin/PEEA

The small town of Weston is unhappy after one of its precincts was randomly selected for a statewide audit of voting machines required under Connecticut law. Auditing laws have become more common in recent years in response to concerns about the accuracy of voting machines. The idea is that jurisdictions shouldn’t wait for recounts and close elections to assess the accuracy of their voting systems; rather, they should regularly test their machines to ensure that the number of votes counted match the number of votes cast. That seems sensible – and yet the implementation of such requirements inevitably creates new issues.

In Weston, the town’s displeasure is mostly related to the cost of conducting the audit. According to The Daily Weston, town officials estimate that hand-counting three races in the selected precinct will cost the town $2,500 to cover the cost of poll workers to do the count. Weston’s First Selectman calls the audit an “unfunded mandate” – and in one sense, she’s correct; there doesn’t appear to be any state funding for the costs of the audit. Deliberately or not, Connecticut has shifted the costs of accountability to its towns – and as budgets remain tight that may require a second look. If the State wants an audit but isn’t willing to pay, then towns are justified in asking whether such a requirement is fair.

Voting Blogs: New York gets $2.5 million for technology upgrades for absentee voting |

New York’s absentee voting system has received almost $2.5 million from the federal government for technological upgrades. Earlier this month, the Federal Voting Assistance Program awarded the state money to ensure a smoother voting process for New York’s 40,000 overseas voters, with the goal of offering better online access to registration tools and absentee ballot systems.

State Board of Elections spokesman John Conklin said the money would be distributed among all 62 counties on a need basis. Conklin said that some of the money will be spent on improving the process of overseas voters accessing their ballots. He said that currently the local Board of Elections sends out an email when the ballot is ready and the voter can use that email to sign into a website that allows them to print out their ballot and access additional voting information. With this grant, Conklin said this will now be easier for the voter.

Voting Blogs: Meet the Political Reform Group That’s Fueled by Dark Money | Mother Jones

An upstart political reform group called Americans Elect is looking to blow apart the Democrat-Republican duopoly that dominates American politics. Its imaginative scheme: nominating an independent presidential candidate over the internet. The group is on the ballot in a half-dozen states, and the national buzz surrounding its initiative is growing—but so too are the questions about who’s bankrolling this effort and the security of the outfit’s voting procedures.

Americans Elect rose from the ashes of Unity08, a group formed in 2006 to increase access to the electoral system for independent presidential candidates. Via Americans Elect’s website, registered voters can sign up as “delegates” and nominate “any American [they] believe can be a great leader.” (For reference, the site offers a lengthy list of current political figures.) In April, delegates will winnow the field of candidates to six finalists,  each of whom will then select a running mate from another party (if a finalist decides not to run, he or she can decline). And in June, Americans Elect plans to hold an online convention to decide which candidate will appear on the Americans Elect ballot line.

To become certified as a political party, the group must first collect a certain number of signatures in each state. All told, Americans Elect plans to spend $10 million on this effort.So far the group has been certified in six states, including key swing states Florida and Michigan. Certification is pending in California. That’s an encouraging sign for a group hoping to starting an electoral revolution.

Voting Blogs: The Saga Continues: New York’s MOVE Act Waiver Denied | Doug Chapin/PEEA

In a trip through the archives yesterday, I mentioned the ongoing drama in New York State about whether or not the state’s September 2012 primary would be moved up to give military and overseas voters enough time to vote in compliance with the MOVE Act.

New York has always had its own timetable with regard to implementation of federal election laws; the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has taken the state to court numerous times to enforce the Help America Vote Act’s requirements for a statewide voter registration database and accessible voting technology.

Voting Blogs: Texas Voter ID law approval hits new snag | Postcards

Texas provided “incomplete” information on the state’s voter ID law that does not enable federal officials to determine whether the new law would illegally discriminate against minorities, officials said this afternoon. That means that it will likely delay the scheduled Jan. 1 start of enforcement of the new law, which will require Lone Star voters to show an approved photo identification before they can cast ballots. However, the next statewide election is the March primary, and it was unclear if the delay would affect that election.

Justice Department officials have 60 days to decide whether the new law violates the Voting Rights Act, once they receives the information from Texas officials.The law was a hot-button issue for conservative Republicans that Gov. Rick Perry had elevated to an emergency issue to get it quickly passed into law last spring. Democrats, voting-rights advocates and minority groups had harshly criticized the law, but were unable to block its passage in the Republican-controlled Legislature.

Voting Blogs: Locals Watching G.O.P. War on Voting Rights |

Ninety-seven-year-old Emma Lee Green balances an armload of old books and yellowing papers around the stacks of musty files in her San Bernardino attic. She remembers well the days of Jim Crow, poll taxes and literacy tests that barred many African-American citizens from the voting booth.

Americans set their clocks back one hour last Sunday. But a wave of new voting restrictions could turn back the clock to the days poll taxes and literacy tests meant to stop African-Americans from voting. She witnessed first-hand the valiant struggle to ensure that all American citizens could raise their voices on Election Day.

Voting Blogs: Voters in Oregon cast ballots with the help of iPads | electionlineWeekly

“I Voted” took on a whole new meaning during the recent special election in Oregon when nearly 100 voters cast their ballots with the help of iPads. The tablet device, which many people associate with surfing the Web, was used to allow disabled voters better access to their ballots. According to Steve Trout, elections director for Oregon, the elections division hatched the idea of using the iPad for accessible voting as a way to save money and provide greater access.

“We have been spending large sums of money on our accessible voting system but having very few people use it. We wanted to see if there were alternatives that were less expensive, provided greater utility and were easier to use for both voters and election officials,” Trout explained. “We played around with the idea here long enough to think it was worthy of a pilot.”

Voting Blogs: To Be Young, Mobile and Unable to Vote | The Demos Blog

Last Tuesday, Mainers went to the polls and successfully defended Same-Day Registration in their state. Earlier this year, the Maine legislature had repealed the decades-old practice based on baseless claims of rampant voter fraud — fraud that Charlie Webster, Chair of Maine’s Republican Party, and Charlie Summers, Maine’s Secretary of State, failed to prove, try as they did, after dramatically launching an investigation of 206 University of Maine students originally from out of state.

Young would-be voters are being picked on all over the country — from the photo ID laws that don’t allow student IDs (as opposed to concealed handgun licenses) to changing domicile requirements so that out-of-state students are prevented from voting — because students are “foolish” and “vote with their feelings.” Plus, now they are also poor, so they really shouldn’t vote.

Voting Blogs: New effort to tighten Maine election law | The Kennebec Journal

Now that Maine voters have made clear their support for same-day voter registration, the focus shifts to another hot election-related proposal that will come up during the 2012 legislative session: voter ID. The bill requiring voters to show photo identification in order to cast ballots comes up after voters rejected by a 3-2 margin Tuesday another move to tighten the state’s election laws. That vote repealed a law requiring voters to register at least two days before an election. In doing so, voters reinstated Maine’s long-standing same-day registration policy.

“Legislators should move very cautiously in erecting any new barriers given this overwhelming vote,” said Shenna Bellows, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Maine. Tuesday’s tally “absolutely indicates that voters resent barriers to our constitutional voting right,” she added.