Do you like tracking packages when you buy things online? Try it with a ballot for May’s special election. Multnomah County will offer a service that tracks ballots and notifies voters whether they were accepted or rejected. Voters can visit a county website to receive text, email and phone messages. The pilot program will be offered by i3ballot at no cost to voters or the county. Participants will be surveyed after the election, said Tim Scott, Multnomah County’s director of elections. The pilot will track delivery from the county to the participant and the ballot’s return trip through the Postal Service. People who take ballots to drop boxes or specified locations, such as a library, will be notified after processing, Scott said.
Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted said Jan. 14 he’ll continue to push to allow Ohioans to register electronically to vote and for a system that will enable those casting ballots by mail to track their submissions online. Husted offered the recommendations during the winter conference of the Ohio Association of Election Officials, where he recapped election-related accomplishments of the last year and gave a snapshot of some of his priorities in advance of the 2016 presidential contest. Husted continued to call for state lawmakers to pass legislation to allow voters to register online. Eligible residents already can update their information via the secretary of state’s website.
Voting Blogs: Dude! Where’s my ballot? Democracy Works pilots new ballot-tracking program | electionlineWeekly
Even in this day and age where just about everything is done online, elections officials nationwide are still tied to their telephones. In the days leading up to an election, elections offices can field hundreds of phone calls each day as anxious voters want to check on the status of their mail ballot. Not only can and does this put a strain on understaffed and overworked elections offices, it can put a strain on voters who get busy signals or are put on hold. Democracy Works — which most of you may recognize as the nonprofit parent organization for TurboVote — is working on a pilot project that will help alleviate some of this pressure on both the elections officials and the voters. “From the beginning of TurboVote, we knew that to improve elections for everyone, we needed to work with the people who actually run them,” said Kathryn Peters, co-founder of TurboVote. So Democracy Works partnered with Reboot, a service-design consultancy to shadow election administration in six offices in Colorado, Texas, Missouri, Kentucky, Florida, and Vermont in 2013.
The ballot bar code lawsuit, White v. Reed, is now eight years old and does not appear to be ending any time soon. The lawsuit claims that bar codes on the ballot envelope and on the ballot itself violate the Washington law that states, “No paper ballot or ballot card may be marked in any way that would permit the identification of the person who voted that ballot.” Multiple motions have been filed, briefed and argued, but the only clear result is that San Juan County is likely to save money by abandoning the Mail-in Ballot Tracking system previously used here. County Auditor Milene Henley said that after Superior Court Judge Don Eaton decided that the tracking system violated a state law that requires any voting system to obtain federal certification, she decided not to appeal that decision, but instead to abandon the MIBT system, even though Henley insists that the MIBT system did not in any way compromise ballot secrecy.