More than 90 percent of absentee ballots for the 2018 runoff election have to be remade, according to V.I. Board of Elections Chairman Arturo Watlington Jr., an unavoidable reality of the short time span between the General Election and the runoff. On Tuesday, Watlington said board members on St. Thomas counted 273 absentee ballots — of which, more than 250 will have to be remade because they are not “official” runoff election ballots and cannot be fed into the voting machines. Watlington said the two weeks between the Nov. 6 General Election and Nov. 20 runoff election gave little time for elections officials to order and receive new ballots.Full Article: Absentee ballots can’t be read by voting machines | News | virginislandsdailynews.com.
A voting rights group on Monday called for a “full review” after finding several errors on absentee New Hampshire. But the secretary of state’s office said the group is wrong in one instance and that other issues are being addressed as part of the usual pre-election process. A small number of ballots are sent 45 days before the election to military members and others overseas. The New Hampshire Campaign for Voting Rights said Londonderry’s ballots listed a candidate under the wrong party, the Bedford ballot lists a candidate twice and another candidate was left off ballots for Auburn, Sandown and Chester. The group’s director, Liz Wester, called the errors “unacceptable.”Full Article: Group raises questions about absentee ballot errors | News | heraldcourier.com.
Virginia: Virginia judge won’t force count of 55 absentee ballots in close delegate race | The Washington Post
A federal judge in Alexandria declined Friday to force a count of 55 absentee ballots that could help determine control of the Virginia House of Delegates. In the race to fill the seat held by retiring Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford), Republican Robert Thomas is ahead of Joshua Cole by 82 votes. Cole’s campaign filed suit arguing that 55 absentee ballots that arrived in Stafford County the day after the Nov. 7 election were late because of postal-office problems and should be counted. Judge Claude M. Hilton disagreed. “These ballots were late,” he said. Everyone, Hilton added, wonders sometimes “what’s wrong with the mail.” But he saw no evidence of “improprieties” here.Full Article: Virginia judge won’t force count of 55 absentee ballots in close delegate race - The Washington Post.
Nevada: Absentee ballots could become more accessible for disabled voters | Las Vegas Review-Journal
It may become easier for registered voters with disabilities to get Nevada absentee ballots on a long-term basis.
Senate Bill 447 would allow registered voters with a physical disability to request an absentee ballot for every election they are eligible to vote in. The Senate Legislative Operations and Elections Committee heard the bill on Monday without taking action.
California: State takes issue with Contra Costa elections chief over double-voting concerns | East Bay Times
The California Secretary of State’s office is taking exception to the Contra Costa County elections chief’s call for a change in how vote-by-mail voters are accommodated at election-day polling places, and wants to see evidence backing allegations made last week that following state rules allowed double-voting in the June 7 primary election. Secretary of State spokesman Sam Mahood said Monday his office as asked Contra Costa Registrar of Voters Joe Canciamilla to provide evidence that 113 people successfully voted twice in the primary election in that county. Canciamilla said this week he will comply.Full Article: State takes issue with Contra Costa elections chief over double-voting concerns - EastBayTimes.com.
A bill to keep voters from casting ballots using the names of dead people received preliminary approval Monday in the Arizona Senate even though there was no evidence that type of fraud was occurring in the state. Arizona conservatives are pushing the legislation in the wake of legislative victories that include limiting the collection of early ballots and erecting more hurdles to get initiatives on the ballot. Republicans say the measures help protect against voter fraud while Democrats argue the moves limit voter participation.Full Article: Senate tentatively OKs bill aimed at curtailing voter fraud - Washington Times.
Saying it will maintain election integrity, Gov. Doug Ducey on Wednesday signed legislation to make felons out of those who collect the ballots of others to bring them to the polls. HB2023, which takes effect later this year, will allow judges to impose a presumptive one-year prison term and potential $150,000 fine for the current practice by civic and political groups of going out to see if people remembered to return the early ballots they had requested by mail. Ducey’s signature came just hours after the measure gained final Senate approval on a party-line vote. And it came moments after state Republican Party Chairman issued a statement saying the change “restores the public’s respect for a process that had potentially dangerous implications and provided too much opportunity for fraud and tampering with an election.”Full Article: Ducey signs bill to make ballot harvesting a felony | Arizona Capitol Times.
Utahns will likely no longer have to wait two weeks to find out election results in tight races. HB21, a bill requiring clerks to update vote counts between Election Day and the official canvass, has already sailed through both the House and the Senate with overwhelming approval. It now awaits Gov. Gary Herbert’s signature. The proposed law change comes after voters waited anxiously to know the winner of two high-profile, neck-and-neck races last year: the Salt Lake City mayor’s race and Proposition 1 in Salt Lake County. Elections officials deemed both races too close to call on Election Day, with thousands of lingering vote-by-mail ballots still making their way to clerks.Full Article: Bill striking two-week wait on vote counts already on governor's desk | Deseret News.
A proposed state law that would prohibit taking someone else’s early ballot to a polling place is getting mixed reactions here, with some saying it would deny home-bound or disabled people their right to vote and others saying the measure would help prevent electoral fraud. In San Luis, it has been a practice for decades for campaign workers of candidates for city and county offices to collect early ballots from voters who presumably can’t get to the polls on election day, or who otherwise need help voting. But ballot collecting – sometimes called “ballot harvesting” – has also raised concerns that the practice leaves open the possibility that vote collectors could pressure voters to vote a certain way, or that the ballots could be trashed or altered before being delivered to the poll.Full Article: Ballot law idea raises concerns - Yuma Sun: News.
Republican lawmakers approved a measure Thursday that would make felons out of people who return the early ballots of others to the polls. The 34-23 House vote, with every Democrat present opposed, was propelled by arguments that the current system is ripe for fraud. Rep. Heather Carter, R-Cave Creek, also voted against the measure. Rep. J.D. Mesnard, R-Chandler, cited testimony from Maricopa County Elections Director Karen Osborne who spoke during a prior attempt to enact this provision. She told lawmakers there have been situations where individuals claiming to be county election workers have gone door-to-door trying to pick up ballots. “This is a problem,” he said.Full Article: House passes bill making it crime to turn in others' early ballots.
House Republicans have reintroduced a pair of bills that would make it nearly impossible for voter-outreach groups to collect and drop off early ballots as the state prepares for the 2016 election season. The proposals 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 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. Early ballot voting makes up 60 percent of all voting in the state, a Secretary of State spokesman said. Both Republicans and Democrats engage in early ballot collection efforts, though Democrats tend to collect more. There is no evidence that voter-outreach groups have ever tampered with or tossed early ballots.Full Article: Lawmakers introduce bills outlawing early ballot collection - HeraldCourier.com: News.
With presidential primary elections two months away, the U.S. Postal Service has yet to explain why nearly 9 percent of Summit County mail-in ballots were missing postmarks and had to be thrown out. And no one has come up with a solution for the future. The unusually high number of botched ballots led the Summit Board of Elections to subpoena postmasters to a hearing last month. While postal officials skipped the hearing, Ohio Secretary of State John Husted’s office has since taken up the issue statewide. During the last presidential election in 2012, more than one-third of Ohio voters mailed their ballots.Full Article: Will your mail-in vote count in the presidential primary? Ohio Secretary of State working on solution | cleveland.com.
Former state Sen. Melanie Sojourner testified Wednesday it was a “great concern” to her that Adams County officials stored absentee ballots and other records in cardboard boxes after the November election. She also argued that her loss in that election should be overturned because she believes poll workers improperly assisted some voters at the Bude precinct in Franklin County. Sojourner testified on the opening day of a hearing being held by a five-member Senate committee that’s considering her complaints about the District 37 race in Adams, Amite, Franklin and Pike counties.Full Article: Ex-state senator questions election process in 2 counties | SunHerald.
Florida: Elections supervisors to court: Decide Senate redistricting by March 15, please | Florida Politics
Florida’s election supervisors are asking the courts to resolve the state Senate redistricting saga by March 15 to protect the “quality and integrity of the (voting) process.” The Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections filed its notice Wednesday with Circuit Judge George Reynolds, who is in the process of deciding how to redraw the state’s 40 senatorial districts. Reynolds, who sits in Tallahassee, held a trial on the matter last week. His recommendation goes to the Florida Supreme Court, which has the final say on a new map. With Florida’s primary election on Aug. 30, the supervisors need lead time “to remap and re-precinct their counties following approval of new Florida Senate districts by this Court.” Absentee ballots must go out 45 days before the primary, and new polling locations will have to determined.Full Article: Elections supervisors to court: Decide Senate redistricting by March 15, please - Florida Politics.
A bill that will make it all but impossible for voter-outreach groups to boost turnout by collecting early ballots from voters was advanced by an Arizona House panel dominated by Republicans on Wednesday. The proposal makes it a felony for anyone but a family member, caregiver or candidate to collect more than two early ballots from voters during a two-year election cycle. Republican Secretary of State Michele Reagan is backing the last-minute amendment to Senate Bill 1339. The proposal failed in the House elections committee last week, but it was revived and added to an unrelated bill. The appropriations committee approved the amended bill on a 9-5 party-line vote.Full Article: House panel OKs bill making early ballot collection illegal - ABC15 Arizona.
Alabama’s mandate that runoff elections be held 42 days after an inconclusive federal primary pre-empts the right of overseas military personnel to participate via absentee ballots, the 11th Circuit ruled. “In our nation’s recent history, active military personnel and their families have faced severe difficulties exercising their fundamental right to vote,” said U.S. Circuit judge Stanley Marcus, writing for the three-judge panel. “For affected service members, the decision to serve their country was the very act that frequently deprived them of a voice in selecting its government,” Marcus added. To remedy the problem, Congress in 1986 passed the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, which provides that a state must send absentee voters a ballot 45 days before a federal election.Full Article: Courthouse News Service.
The number of uncounted votes in Alaska’s tightly fought U.S. Senate race grew by 21,000 between Wednesday and Friday — and more than 5,000 of those were votes that hadn’t been predicted in early accounts of the number of ballots outstanding. After election night on Tuesday, incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Begich trailed Republican challenger Dan Sullivan by 8,000 votes, or 3.6 percent, and both campaigns have been closely watching as state elections officials collect additional ballots cast by mail, or at more than 200 so-called “absentee in-person voting locations” around the state, where people could vote early. More than 40,000 ballots will likely be counted starting Tuesday, though the number will probably climb even more before then. To win, Begich would have to reverse election night trends and win a substantial majority — though his allies have pointed out that in the count following Election Day in 2008, Begich overcame a 3,000 vote deficit to Republican Ted Stevens and ultimately won by 4,000 votes. The spike between Wednesday and Friday was a reflection of state elections officials’ new accounting for more than 13,000 provisional ballots, 2,200 absentee ballots submitted by fax, mail or email, and some 5,200 ballots cast early at the in-person absentee voting locations across the state.Full Article: Uncounted votes grow in Alaska Senate race | Alaska Dispatch.
In November of 2007, Clayton Anderson participated the most ordinary of elections—voting on a handful of local ballot proposals for his Houston suburb. But Anderson cast his ballot in an extraordinary fashion. He was traveling at 17,000 miles per hour, floating in microgravity at more than 200 miles above Earth. The vote made Anderson one of a handful of astronauts who have voted from beyond the reaches of Earth’s atmosphere, both on the International Space Station and Russia’s Mir station. “To be able to hit the button and send it and know that it was coming from outer space to go to somebody down on the Earth through that process—that was pretty cool,” Anderson said. For Anderson, the process held special meaning. His wife, Susan Anderson, was the NASA leader who headed the 1997 effort to allow astronauts to vote from space—a year before her husband was chosen to be an astronaut and a decade before he went into orbit. “We could only dream that I would be able to use that capability,” he said.Full Article: How Astronauts Vote From Space - Tech - GovExec.com.
Connecticut: Ballot question in November could help change the way state votes | The Norwich Bulletin
There will be a constitutional question on the Nov. 4 ballot asking residents to empower the state Legislature to consider changes to the way people vote. The Connecticut Constitution states that ballots must be cast in person on Election Day with only a few exceptions: illness or disability; absence from the town; or religious prohibitions from going to the polls on the scheduled day. The ballot question will read: “Shall the Constitution of the State be amended to remove restrictions concerning absentee ballots and to permit a person to vote without appearing at a polling place on the day of an election?”Full Article: Ballot question in November could help change the way state votes - News - The Bulletin - Norwich, CT.
Election officials are preparing for the possibility that the Puna lava flow could potentially disrupt voting in next month’s general election. Hawaii’s election chief outlined plans at a state Elections Commission meeting on Friday, but some critics fear a repeat of problems that happened during the primary due to Tropical Storm Iselle. “Please prevent another man-made disaster caused by the Elections Office,” said State Sen. Russell Ruderman (D-Puna, Kau). He recommended mail-in ballots only for next month’s election for precincts in lower Puna that could be affected by the lava. “We do not know at this time which precincts will be accessible, which neighborhoods will be accessible,” said Ruderman.Full Article: Election preparations for Puna lava threat - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL.