New York: The Shocking Final Count: What Happened in the Queens District Attorney Race | Vivian Wang/The New York Times

The polls had closed. Most of the votes had been tallied. Tiffany Cabán, the public defender and democratic socialist whose insurgent candidacy for Queens district attorney galvanized political observers nationwide, had declared victory. And then, late Wednesday, a twist: A count of paper ballots that had not been totaled on primary night pushed Melinda Katz — the Queens borough president and establishment favorite — ahead, by the barely there margin of 20 votes. The news thrust the borough, as well as the broader New York political world, into chaos. It threw a major victory for the left wing of the Democratic Party into doubt, and it inspired immediate recriminations about traditional party forces. But the race isn’t over yet, as the vote now goes to a manual recount, automatically triggered by the tiny margin. Ms. Cabán’s team has promised to fight for every vote, in what could turn into a protracted, expensive legal battle. Here’s what you need to know.

Virginia: Democrats claim absentee ballots in a key House race were uncounted | The Washington Post

Nearly a week after Election Day, Democrats and Republicans were closely monitoring three races that could determine control of Virginia’s House of Delegates. The parties were especially focused on the House seat being vacated by retiring Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford). Republican Robert Thomas is ahead of Joshua Cole by 86 votes. Democrats claim 55 absentee ballots mailed in that race by active-duty military voters went uncounted because they were left in the Stafford County registrar’s mailbox on Election Day — an account the registrar disputes. “It’s disgraceful that the registrar and two members of the Stafford County Electoral Board refuse to count military votes,” Susan Swecker, chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Virginia, said in a statement.

Colorado: In Saguache County On Election Day, Mail-In Ballots Were Sitting In A Crime Scene | CPR

Sagauche County had an unusual problem with its election on Tuesday. The Post Office in the town of Saguache was burglarized Monday night, turning it into a crime scene and making it difficult to retrieve mail-in ballots. The county’s clerk and recorder, Carla Gomez says there were only six ballots at the Post Office that day. She says most of the county’s voters drop their ballots off in-person. “We were obviously concerned because we wanted to pick up any ballots that we needed to collect to get through the day and there was no mail available because the post office was closed,” Gomez said. “So what I did then was just notify the Secretary of State’s office immediately.”

California: State’s big change in voting rules is off to a rocky start for 2018 | Los Angeles Times

Perhaps no part of California has thought more about the future of voting than Orange County. And yet when it comes to a sweeping change to state elections, the county has decided to take a pass. In fact, recent events serve as a cautionary tale that changing elections is hard, even when the plan is praised by “good government” advocates as the kind of reform that will make voting fit in better with the way we live and work. Less than two weeks ago, the Orange County Board of Supervisors quietly scrapped years of work by its elections officials on a plan to swap neighborhood polling places for universal absentee ballots and a limited number of all-purpose vote centers. There, voters could access a variety of election services — including last-minute registration, a few voting booths and a place to drop off absentee ballots. There would also be ballot drop boxes in heavily trafficked areas of the county.

Arizona: Democrats cry foul over Maricopa County election officials’ inaction | Associated Press

The state Democratic Party on Monday slammed Maricopa County election officials who decided not to try to verify questionable signatures on some early ballots. Spencer Scharff, the party’s director of voter protection, said the county recorder’s office wasn’t following rules outlined in the state election procedures manual. That manual said election officials must make a reasonable effort to contact early voters if there are questionable signatures before discarding their ballot. “They’re clearly violating that requirement by failing to call them,” Scharff said. “We’re doing everything we can to encourage the county to simply follow the law.”

California: Yes, They’re Still Counting the Presidential Primary Votes | The New York Times

We like to think of California as the center of the tech universe. But, apparently, all that know-how has not helped us figure out how to run more efficient elections. Three weeks after the state’s Democratic presidential primary, half a million votes remain uncounted. The final tallies, whenever they come in, are not expected to change the result. Hillary Clinton declared victory the night of the June 7 primary, when she was up by more than 10 points. In videos, in blog posts and on social media, some supporters of Bernie Sanders are pointing to the uncounted ballots as evidence that Mr. Sanders was robbed. Long waits for final totals are not rare in California. Most of the 2.5 million votes that were not counted by June 7 were mail-in ballots that were not returned until Election Day, or even a few days after.

California: ‘Still Sanders’ activists cling to hope of ‘flipping’ California | The Washington Post

It was billed as a “Still Sanders” rally, a way to shame CNN and the rest of the media for covering up the success of Bernie Sanders’s campaign for president. It took over a street in Hollywood area of Los Angeles yesterday — coincidentally, a day that Sanders was appearing on CNN to discuss his future plans. And to the faithful, it shared new information about how Sanders, counted out in California, was gaining ground. “It is absolutely true that San Francisco has flipped for Bernie,” said organizer and emcee Cary Harrison. This was not true. The consolidated city-county of San Francisco gave a victory to Hillary Clinton, of 116,359 votes to 99,594 for Sanders. As of June 24, there were no mail-in or provisional ballots left to count. Yet for a small group of Sanders diehards, California’s ridiculously slow count of mail-in and provisional ballots is a source of hope, and evidence of media’s failure. Since election day, three of the 58 California counties that at first seemed to vote for Clinton flipped to Sanders. A 12-point Clinton victory margin has shrunk to nine points. The relative lack of coverage here fuels events like the Still Sanders march, a look at a world in which the Vermont senator remains in the hunt for the presidency.

Ohio: Conflicting court rulings put Ohio’s voting rules in limbo | Associated Press

Ohio voter Keith Dehmann failed to list his birthdate when casting his absentee ballot in the 2014 general election and later tried to remedy the mistake. That same year, Linda and Gunther Lahm mixed up the envelopes for their absentee ballots and then overlooked birthdate errors when fixing the problem. All three eligible voters in the key swing state had their ballots tossed under laws one federal judge has ruled unconstitutional, and another found otherwise. The conflicting decisions for absentee and provisional ballots have put the state’s rules — and its voters — in legal limbo ahead of the presidential election as the issue is appealed.

California: 1.4 million ballots still to be counted | KPCC

More than 7 million ballots have been counted across the state from last week’s primary election. But in California, counting votes takes a long time: as of Thursday, the Secretary of State’s office reported there are still about 1.4 million ballots remaining to be counted. In Los Angeles County, the latest numbers from the registrar’s office shows about 350,000 ballots still need to be counted. About 1.7 million ballots were cast and counted so far. The Secretary of State has about a month to process all ballots statewide. Counties have to submit their results to the state by July 8, and the state has until July 15 to certify the statewide results. As for how many people voted, the numbers will go up as more votes are counted, but right now statewide voter turnout is tracking at about 41 percent.

California: One week later, almost 2 million California primary ballots still must be reviewed | Los Angeles Times

Elections officials across California continue to work through a stack of unprocessed ballots, now totaling more than 1.9 million potential votes in last week’s local and statewide races. About 60% of the unprocessed ballots are in just a half dozen counties. By law, local officials have another three weeks to count votes, a process slowed down in part by the large number of ballots cast by mail. This is also the first year for a new state law allowing any ballot received 72 hours after election day to be counted, as long as it was postmarked in time.

Ohio: 4,100 ballots tossed in 2014-15 for technical errors, lawsuit says | Cleveland Plain Dealer

Nearly 12 percent of absentee and provisional ballots rejected by Ohio elections boards in 2014 and 2015 general elections were bounced for technical issues, according to documents filed in federal court Thursday. Those technical issues — names that don’t exactly match voter records, missing or incorrect dates of birth, improper voter ID or conflicts in voters’ addresses — are the target of a lawsuit. The suit claims that state rules enacted in 2014 violate constitutional rights and disproportionately hurt African-American, Latino and poor voters. In addition to identifying 4,105 ballots disqualified for technical errors, data collected by the plaintiffs show that the rate of disqualification varies widely from county to county. In the 10 largest counties, that rate was as low as 1 percent and as high as 24.8 percent. Unless the boards of elections are able to contact a voter to get a ballot corrected, the voter’s ballot may not be counted and the voter may never know.

Ohio: State heads into presidential primary with unresolved ballot problems | Akron Beacon Journal

For nearly two years, election officials in Northeast Ohio have known that the state’s failure to keep pace with modernization at the U.S. Post Office could result in absentee ballots getting tossed, even if voters followed the rules perfectly. Beacon Journal interviews last week revealed that officials in at least Summit, Stark and Portage counties were aware in 2014 that a problem loomed as the U.S. Postal Service increasingly used bar codes to process mail and did not print the time and date across the postage stamp. State law continues to require an old-fashioned postmark, and as a result last year, nearly 1,800 absentee ballots were rejected in Summit and Cuyahoga counties alone. Now, with Ohioans only weeks away from voting in a highly charged presidential primary — and their governor among the contenders — the issue remains unresolved and there is no guarantee that ballots dropped in the mailbox will get counted.

Arizona: House committee OKs bill outlawing early ballot collection | Associated Press

A House committee has passed a measure that would block voter-outreach groups from collecting and dropping off early ballots as the state prepares for the 2016 election season. The proposal would make it a felony for anyone but a family member, roommate, caregiver, postal worker or candidate to collect early ballots from another person in an act sometimes called “ballot harvesting.” The House Elections Committee chaired by Ugenti-Rita passed the measure along party lines in a 4-2 vote Monday. The outcome of the legislation could impact the state’s general and primary elections if the bill is signed into law and enacted before elections take place.

Florida: Voters told to update signatures in advance of presidential primary | Miami Herald

With a presidential primary right around the corner, many Florida voters are being told they must update their legal signatures to ensure that their absentee ballots will be counted. Hundreds of thousands of voters have received letters from county elections supervisors urging them to fill out new voter registration forms or risk having their ballots rejected. The practice of signature verification is becoming increasingly common as more Floridians vote by mail rather than at early voting sites or on Election Day. Now that the Legislature allows voting by mail for any reason, experts say it’s inevitable that it will become the preferred way of casting ballots in Florida. “You MUST complete the enclosed voter registration application and check the ‘signature update’ box so that we can update your voter registration record,” reads a letter from Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections Penelope Townsley. “If you plan to vote by absentee ballot in an upcoming election, be sure to submit your signature update at least 15 days prior to the election.”

Ohio: Blind voters sue Jon Husted over website accessibility | Cleveland Plain Dealer

A national advocacy group for visually impaired people and three Ohio voters are suing Secretary of State Jon Husted, claiming some services provided by Husted’s office are in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The complaint, filed Monday in federal district court in Columbus, alleges the state’s voter services website is inaccessible to visually impaired voters and the state’s system of paper-only absentee ballots infringes on their right to vote. Visually impaired people use screen access software that reads websites aloud or displays the text on a Braille device. The secretary of state’s website, which allows voters to update their registration information and request absentee ballots, is incompatible with screen access software, according to the complaint. Blind voters must then complete forms on paper, which they cannot do without human assistance.

Ohio: Summit County voters not pleased absentee ballots weren’t counted for missing postmarks | Akron Beacon Journal

Fred Lefton took his and his wife’s absentee ballots to the post office the Sunday before the Nov. 3 election with more than enough stamps on them to cover the postage. He put the ballots into the mailbox there and assumed they would be postmarked the next day and sent to the Summit County Board of Elections. A few weeks later, Lefton received a letter from the elections board informing him that when the ballots arrived, they lacked a postmark and couldn’t be counted. Lefton, who cared deeply about issues on the ballot, was outraged. “It really is upsetting to know that you go to the trouble of casting a ballot and putting postage on it and it isn’t counted,” said Lefton, a pharmacist who lives in Hudson. “With some of the things, the vote went the other way. So why am I voting?”

Michigan: House to take up absentee, straight-party voting today | Detroit Free Press

The House is poised to take up legislation that will make it easier to vote by absentee ballot, but eliminate straight-party ticket voting at the same time. Republicans in the Senate have already passed the elimination of straight-ticket voting, which Democrats believe is a partisan ploy to skew elections toward the GOP. The House Elections Committee will take up the legislation today after it voted Wednesday to pass a bill that would allow people to get an absentee ballot without providing a reason for needing to vote on a day other than Election Day. State Rep. Lisa Lyons, R-Alto, said she’d like to see the two bills passed together to ensure smooth and efficient elections.

National: FVAP simplifies absentee voting | Observation Post

When service members take an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States of America, they also vow to defend freedom and the right to vote. Voting is essential to maintaining our democratic republic and is accessible to service members through voting assistance programs. The Installation Voting Assistance Office and Federal Voting Assistance Program provide Marines, sailors and family members accessibility to vote in upcoming elections.

Editorials: Tossed ballots show need to update Ohio law | The Columbus Dispatch

There was disturbing news from the Summit County Board of Elections last week. The absentee ballots of 861 voters who mailed their selections to the board were disqualified, even though they had done nothing wrong. What their ballots lacked was a postmark, or at least the kind required by Ohio law. The disqualified ballots from the Nov. 3 election represent 9 percent of the mailed-in absentee ballots in the county. No one familiar with Ohio’s role in presidential elections could ignore easily the thought that such a disqualification rate next year — multiplied across this battleground state — could throw the national results into controversy and lawsuits.

Ohio: Postal Service to develop policy for postmarking absentee ballots after concerns raised about discounted ballots in Summit County | Akron Beacon Journal

The U.S. Postal Service will develop a policy on postmarking absentee ballots in light of concerns raised this week by Summit County elections officials about nearly 900 ballots discounted because they lacked postmarks. “We will be talking to the Ohio Secretary of State to reach a mutual understanding of acceptable postmarks for absentee ballots and develop a uniform policy addressing all concerns to help prevent this from happening again,” David Van Allen, a postal spokesman, said Thursday in a written statement.

Ohio: Dispute over changes to Ohio’s voting system heads to trial | Associated Press

Democrats in the swing state of Ohio have filed a federal lawsuit claiming a series of voting-related changes made by Republicans disproportionately burden voters who lean Democratic and violate certain constitutional rights. The state’s Republican elections chief contends the voting process is fair and has called the lawsuit politically motivated. … The Ohio Organizing Collaborative filed the lawsuit in May in Columbus federal court. But attorneys for the nonprofit recently withdrew the organization from the case, saying it lacked the “institutional capability” to remain a plaintiff. The state’s Democratic Party and Cuyahoga and Montgomery county parties took its place. They join three Ohio residents who are also plaintiffs. They are suing Jon Husted, the state’s Republican elections chief, and Mike DeWine, Ohio’s attorney general, over the voting policies.

National: Should soldiers’ votes get counted? That’s not as easy as you’d think. | The Washington Post

Americans want their soldiers to vote. But often they can’t. Despite absentee balloting, military personnel deployed overseas often just cannot participate in elections. For most of U.S. history, military personnel have not been able to vote. State laws and constitutions often specifically restricted military personnel from participating in the franchise. Attitudes about voting soldiers started to change when the Civil War called large numbers of citizens for military service—but action was tempered by partisan politics. The Civil War was the first time the United States had large numbers of soldiers deployed during a presidential election. Politicians of both parties were convinced that the army would vote for the commander-in-chief, Abraham Lincoln, a Republican. As a result, most states with Republican governors and legislatures passed laws enabling soldiers to vote, while most states led by Democrats did not. Those voting soldiers probably helped Abraham Lincoln in Maryland and influenced a few local elections in various states.

South Dakota: Only 27 voters used state’s $668K program to help military members vote | Rapid City Journal

Secretary of State Shantel Krebs is considering ending a voting system paid for with a $668,000 federal grant but which attracted only 27 voters. Krebs told legislators last week that the high cost might force her to shut off the electronic voting system for military personnel started by her predecessor, Jason Gant. But Gant said he is proud of the effort, even though only 27 military personnel used it to cast ballots in the 2014 election. Krebs said the system was developed using a $668,000 grant from the Federal Voting Assistance Program. State records show Gant signed a contract on Aug. 23, 2013, to pay a software company to build the iOASIS program for military personnel. It was intended to be a much-faster and more attractive substitute for traditional absentee ballots.

Michigan: Slower mail delivery may prevent some absentee ballots from being counted | Michigan Radio

Time’s running out faster than you may think to mail an absentee ballot for next week’s election. Roughly half of the votes in some of next week’s elections are predicted to be cast absentee. But some absentee votes won’t be counted. Lansing city clerk Chris Swope says changes in the way the post office processes the mail is adding a day to the delivery of absentee ballots.

Virginia: State launches online application for absentee ballots | Richmond Times-Dispatch

Virginia voters who are unable to make it to the polls for next month’s election now have the option of applying online for an absentee ballot. The Virginia Department of Elections launched a new website feature Wednesday morning that allows voters to sign an application electronically using their Social Security number and information on a driver’s license or identification card issued by the DMV.

Mississippi: Hinds County absentee ballots muddle education initiative | The Jackson Clarion-Ledger

The ballot sent out to absentee voters in Hinds County has complicated what many say is an already confusing voting process. According to the sample ballot approved in September by the governor and secretary of state, the two proposed constitutional amendments should be clearly differentiated on the ballot. The options for voters who vote to change the state constitution should read “FOR Initiative Measure No. 42” and “FOR Alternative Measure No. 42 A,” the two dueling education initiatives. However, the ballot sent to absentee voters in Hinds County leaves out the last “A” in “FOR Alternative Measure 42 A,” leading to concerns that voters intending to vote for Initiative 42 could accidentally vote for Initiative 42A instead. 525 ballots have been sent out to Hinds County voters as of Tuesday, according to the circuit clerk’s office.

Virginia: Use of electronic signatures for absentee-ballot requests causes alarm | The Washington Post

Some Republican elections officials expressed concern Tuesday over a practice both major parties are using to streamline the process of signing up absentee voters, saying it encourages voter fraud. Earlier this year, members of the state Board of Elections said that voters may sign ­absentee-ballot request forms electronically instead of printing the forms, signing them with a pen and ­e-mailing back a scan or mailing the forms through the post office. The change allows voters to skip the step of printing the forms. That guidance was offered during a contentious primary this summer, when House Speaker William J. ­Howell (R-Stafford) set up a secure Web site to make it easier for voters to request absentee ballots electronically.

Utah: New by-mail voting could mean election night mystery: Who won? | The Salt Lake Tribune

Waiting up late to see who wins on election night may be frustrating Tuesday. More municipal primary races than usual may remain undecided — for up to two weeks — because many ballots will still be in the mail. Most major Utah cities switched this year to voting primarily by mail, including seven of the eight Salt Lake County cities holding primaries Tuesday. Fourteen of the 16 cities in Utah’s largest county will also vote by mail in the Nov. 3 general election — all but Taylorsville and West Valley City. By-mail ballots must be postmarked by Monday, the day before the election. So they may trickle in over several days. State law prohibits updating vote counts publicly between election night and the final official vote canvasses by city councils — which must be held between seven and 14 days after the election.

Mississippi: Concerns about number of absentee ballots | WREG

Five of Mississippi’s 82 counties are reporting high rates of absentee voting, the state’s top elections official said Tuesday. Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann said about 5 percent to 6 percent of voters usually cast absentee ballots. Hosemann said the rate so far this year is nearly 14 percent in Noxubee County, 11 percent in Quitman County, 8 percent in Claiborne County, 7 percent in Tallahatchie County and 6 percent in Benton County. All five are Democratic-leaning counties.

Editorials: It’s time to make no-reason absentee voting available to all Michiganders, without restrictions | Jon Sherman/

Election Day is the time eligible Michiganders are able to exercise one of their most fundamental American rights: the right to vote. It’s the time when voters have a chance to make their voices heard. But sometimes life gets in the way on Election Day. Maybe you’re working a long shift and can’t take time off to get to your polling place; maybe you don’t have reliable transportation; maybe you or your kids get sick and you aren’t able to leave the house. Sometimes we just don’t have time to get to the polls, but that doesn’t mean we don’t deserve to have our voice heard. Imagine that instead of having to plan ahead and wait in line at the polls on Election Day, you could cast a ballot without having to leave your home. It would certainly make voting more convenient and would help in building a democracy that represents all people in our state.