The Voting News

Georgia: ‘Textbook voter suppression’: Georgia’s bitter election a battle years in the making | The Guardian

Georgia’s hard-fought and bitter governor’s race still isn’t over. Nor was it just a gubernatorial campaign pitting rightwing Trump acolyte Brian Kemp against insurgent Democrat Stacy Abrams and her bid to become the first African American woman governor in US history. Instead it was a battle years in the making, and it was not so much about who to vote for – but who could vote at all. Kemp has declared victory and handed in his resignation as secretary of state – the very office that oversees this contentious election. The outgoing governor Nathan Deal, has declared him the victor. There’s just one catch. Abrams’ campaign team is still counting the votes. Her campaign manager, Lauren Groh-Wargo, said from the campaign headquarters Thursday: “All of the votes in this race have not been counted. All the voters of Georgiadeserve to be counted before the now-former secretary of state announces his victory.” According to a statement posted on the Georgia secretary of state’s website while Kemp was still in that role, counties have until 9 November to verify provisional ballots and until 13 November to certify the results. Read More

National: Aging Machines Will Mean More Long Lines To Vote, Experts Say | Fast Company

While the midterm elections appear to have avoided any major problems with foreign interference, voters and poll monitoring groups across the country reported hours-long lines, unexpected delays in opening polling places, and technical issues with voting machines. “We received reports quite quickly on election day of a number of polling sites in Harris County, which is the home of Houston, of polling sites not only not being open at 7 a.m. but of significant delays,” says James Slattery, senior staff attorney at the Texas Civil Rights Project, which won a court order keeping polls open late at locations with delayed openings. … Experts say it’s not surprising that technical problems popped up at polling places—after all, many states and local jurisdictions are still running systems purchased under the federal Help America Vote Act, a law passed by Congress in 2002 in wake of the disputed 2000 presidential election between George W. Bush and Al Gore. Read More

National: Democrats Say Their First Bill Will Focus On Strengthening Democracy At Home | NPR

Democrats will take control of the U.S. House in January with big items topping their legislative to-do list: Remove obstacles to voting, close loopholes in government ethics law and reduce the influence of political money. Party leaders say the first legislative vote in the House will come on H.R. 1, a magnum opus of provisions that Democrats believe will strengthen U.S. democratic institutions and traditions. “It’s three very basic things that I think the public wants to see,” said Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.), who spearheads campaign finance and government ethics efforts for the House Democratic Caucus. He said H.R. 1 will “demonstrate that we hear that message loud and clear.” But even Sarbanes admits the quick vote is just a first step. Republicans, who control the Senate, are unlikely to pass the bill and President Trump is unlikely to sign it. “Give us the gavel in the Senate in 2020 and we’ll pass it in the Senate,” Sarbanes said. “Give us a pen in the Oval Office and we’ll sign those kinds of reforms into law.” Read More

National: Election Day Was Filled With Frustrations, Claims of Mischief and Glimmers of Hope | ProPublica

Election Day in America brought its familiar mix of misery and allegations of mischief: Aging voting machines crashed; rain-soaked citizens stood in endless lines; laws that many regarded as attempts to suppress turnout among people of color led to both confusion at the polls and angry calls for recounts and investigations. The root causes have been at play for years. The neglect of America’s elections infrastructure, after all, has persisted, and all levels of government are responsible. And since the Supreme Court in 2013 voided a key part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, local governments have been emboldened in crafting hotly debated requirements for people to cast their ballots. But that is not the whole story of what happened last Tuesday. A handful of states had ballot measures aimed at making it easier for people to vote or designed to take some of the politics out of how the country’s electoral districts are drawn up. In nearly every case, Americans seized the opportunity — with what the vote totals suggest was enthusiasm. Read More

Editorials: Our voting machines are aging fast. Congress should improve them. | The Washington Post

One of American elections’ biggest vulnerabilities can be found in one of the most obvious places: the voting machines themselves. The country’s voting infrastructure may not have been tampered with this time around, but experts say outdated systems and an overreliance on hackable electronics mean that if someone wanted to attack the next election, they might well get away with it. Even absent an interference attempt (or at least one that officials are aware of), the problems with voting machines during last week’s midterms were manifest and manifold. In Texas and several other states, technological flaws led to some votes reportedly getting flipped from one candidate to another. In North Carolina, some systems did not work because of the humidity. New York also experienced large-scale breakdowns. Read More

Editorials: Fix Voting Rights Act, end suppression, upgrade equipment before 2020 | Sherrilyn Ifill/USA Today

In many ways, Election Day 2018 was a good one for American democracy. Millions of people turned out to vote. An unprecedented number of women are headed to Congress, including the first Native American women and the first Muslim-American women to serve on Capitol Hill. In Florida, voters restored voting rights to more than a million people who had been disenfranchised for past felony convictions. In Michigan and Maryland, they approved same-day registration. In Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, and Utah, they said yes to fair legislative districts. But at the same time, the election provided evidence of what many activists and experts have been saying for years: the machinery of our democracy needs serious maintenance. Together, aging infrastructure and resurgent voter suppression have jeopardized equal voting rights in the United States, turning what should be a source of national pride into cause for alarm. Read More

Editorials: Election security requires federal action: Think of it as an infrastructure opportunity  | Adam K. Levin/The Hill

The framers were futurists in many ways. The original thinking behind our various methods of choosing elected officials was both original and quite literally world-changing, but the system needs an update as technology changes. Pundits will debate certain aspects of our election process. It doesn’t matter which ones. Some decry the soundness of the electoral college in a post-agrarian world (that discussion can wait till 2020), while others focus on the challenges of presenting the public with a truly representative slate of candidates. All such discussions are in the weeds so far as the single most important electoral issue we face. The issues out there are legion, but the secure transport of data is paramount. The way election systems information moves from place to place is key among the myriad attack vectors currently pointed at our nation’s democratic process. This must change. Read More

Voting Blogs: Counting Ballots Pursuant to Law is Not Stealing an Election | Steven F. Huefner /Election Law @ Moritz

It has been less than 72 hours since polls closed on the 2018 congressional midterm elections, and for candidates and their supporters who do not yet know the outcome of close contests, patience – not unsubstantiated or false allegations of election rigging – MUST be the order of the day. As any close observer of U.S. elections knows, once the polls close each state then conducts a carefully structured process of tallying the votes. Critically, as any close observer also knows, the Election Night “results” are not only unofficial, they are also still entirely preliminary and will almost inevitably change, perhaps considerably. With the dramatic rise in the use of mail-in absentee voting over the past decade, election officials increasingly must deal after Election Day with a significant volume of paper ballots that have arrived around Election Day (each state sets its own rules for when the ballots must arrive). Meanwhile, provisional ballots also require individual review and processing after Election Day. These post-election processes are not some mere afterthought; rather, they are critical components of determining the official election outcome, and they must be respected as essential to the overall integrity of the election. Read More

Alabama: Lawsuit demands black student votes be counted in Alabama | al.com

Attorneys representing black students at Alabama A&M University filed a federal lawsuit Friday asking that the students’ votes in this week’s mid-term election be counted. As evidence, the lawsuit includes screen shots of the Alabama Secretary of State’s website showing the four students filing the lawsuit as ineligible the day of the election and eligible two days later. Secretary of State John Merrill is the state’s chief election officer responsible for the balloting, and the lawsuit names him and Madison County Board of Registrars Chairman Linda Hairston as defendants. It was filed in federal court in Huntsville Friday by the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund. Hairston and Merrill declined comment early Friday afternoon. Read More

Arizona: How many Arizonans couldn’t vote because they were purged? | Arizona Republic

How many Arizonans were unable to vote in the general election because they were purged from the rolls over out-of-date addresses that stemmed from violations of federal voting laws? State elections officials told The Arizona Republic this week that they had no way of knowing because there is no process to track voters affected by the routine removals. The Arizona Secretary of State’s Office knew before Tuesday’s election that the registrations of about 390,000 Arizonans since November 2016 were not automatically updated when they changed the address on their driver’s licenses — a requirement under the National Voting Registration Act of 1993, unless a voter opts out of such updates. Some of those voters might, however, have cast provisional ballots, which can be counted if elections officials determine after the fact that they are legitimate. As of Friday, an estimated 50,000 provisional ballots have been cast across Arizona with an additional 11,000 out-of-precinct ballots from Maricopa County voting centers. This estimate does not include Mojave and Gila counties, which haven’t released data yet. Read More