early voting

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New York: Senate Democrats look to simplify voting process ahead of federal and state primaries | The Legislative Gazette

The New York State Senate Democratic Conference is sponsoring a package of bills to simplify the voter registration process for primary, general and special elections after releasing their own report researching low voter turnout. The Senate Democratic report, “Why Don’t More New Yorkers Vote? A Snapshot Identifying Low Voter Turnout,” explains in the executive summary that New York was “41st in turnout in the nation, and [was] worst in the Northeast” during the 2016 general election. This conclusion was based on “unofficial results” available on the state election board’s website cited in the study and an additional study done by the U.S. Election Project. Read More

Indiana: Judge orders early satellite voting precincts for Marion County | The Indiana Lawyer

A federal judge Wednesday ordered Marion County to establish at least two early satellite voting precincts in time for the November general election, though the court refrained from requiring them in time for the May 8 primary election. Senior Judge Sarah Evans Barker issued an injunction in a suit brought by Common Cause and the NAACP. The suit filed in 2017 alleged that the county election board’s decision in recent years to permit early voting in just one location countywide provided unequal access to the ballot and violated voting rights in Indianapolis, particularly for minority voters. Read More

Connecticut: Long road ahead for Connecticut early voting, despite House approval | New Canaan News

Early voting will not occur in Connecticut before 2021, if ever, the House of Representatives determined Thursday. Only a simple majority of representatives approved of asking voters on the ballot whether Connecticut residents should be allowed to vote before election day. Many Republicans voiced concerns that creating more voting days would be expensive for town. Meanwhile, Democrats said the provision would allow more people to access the polls.  … The simple majority means major hurdles are ahead before the state constitution could be amended to permit early voting. Read More

Illinois: Push For Changing State’s Early Voting | Alton Daily News

There’s a growing push to change how Illinois handles early voting. The first day of early voting for the March 20th primary was Feb. 8. That’s 40 days before the election. Board of Election Commissioners for the City of Chicago spokesman Jim Allen told a crowd at an Illinois Campaign for Political Reform event on Thursday that Illinois’ early voting law is unworkable because it requires local election offices to be ready a month and ten days before the actual election day.  “Forty days is a Biblical number. It doesn’t work for elections,” Allen said. “It’s time in the desert, it’s time on the mount, it’s not early voting time. We were doing great with 15 to 20 days for many, many years.” Read More

New York: Funding for early voting excluded from state budget | The Legislative Gazette

Despite months of lobbying by voting reform activists, local and county officials and good government groups, lawmakers in Albany failed to include funding for early voting in the final version of the 2018-2019 budget. The completed spending plan, which was finalized early Saturday morning ahead of the start of a new fiscal year, does not include Gov. Cuomo’s proposed early voting plan. The proposal, which was outlined in the 2018 State of the State address in January, would have implemented up to 12 days of early voting ahead of election day. New York is currently one of 13 states that does not have early voting beyond absentee ballots. Read More

Georgia: Bill cuts down on voting hours despite Democrats’ opposition | Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A bill advancing in the Georgia Legislature would reduce voting hours in the city of Atlanta and limit early voting on Sundays.
The legislation would force Atlanta’s polls to close at 7 p.m. instead of 8 p.m. and allow voting in advance of Election Day on only one Saturday or Sunday. The House Governmental Affairs Committee approved the legislation, Senate Bill 363, on Wednesday. The committee’s five Democrats opposed the bill, while the committee’s majority Republicans all supported it, though a hand count of “yes” votes wasn’t taken. The bill was filed by Republican Sen. Matt Brass after Democratic Sen. Jen Jordan won a special election in December to represent a district that covers parts of Atlanta and Cobb County.  Voting in Cobb County ended at 7 p.m., an hour earlier than in Atlanta. Read More

Rhode Island: Secretary of state pushes for early in-person voting | Associated Press

Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea says it’s time for Rhode Island to allow early in-person voting. The Democrat is proposing to allow people to vote during normal business hours for a 20-day period before primary and general elections, and on the weekend prior to each election. It’s one of a handful of election-related bills submitted at Gorbea’s request. She is also proposing moving the state primary to August instead of September. Most states allow qualified voters to cast a ballot in person during a designated period prior to Election Day. In Rhode Island, some people vote early and in-person now by going to their town halls and applying for an emergency mail ballot, which is a paperwork intensive process, Gorbea said. Read More

New York: Money for early voting added to budget | The Daily Gazette

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has proposed $7 million in funding for early voting in New York state after initially planning to leave the cost of implementing early voting to counties. County officials and voting advocates have complained that the initiative Cuomo proposed in his executive budget in January lacked funding, fearing the cost would be a new unfunded mandate from the state. Cuomo announced the proposed funding on Monday, as a 30-day amendment to the executive budget he proposed last month. The proposal would allow people to start voting 12 days before Election Day, beginning in 2019. The change would encourage voting, Cuomo said, by giving people more time to vote and reducing lines at polling places on Election Day. Read More

Illinois: Election equipment up to the task? | IllinoisHomepage

Early voter season is in full swing and now some are raising the question about election equipment. Many counties are using systems more than a decade old. Some fear it could impact votes. It’s important to note, voter machines are only used twice a year. By law, they have to be checked and repaired constantly before use. Still, the non-profit Illinois Campaign for Political Reform is calling for a statewide assessment. They say outdated technology is a threat to election security, especially since cyberattacks are more common. There hasn’t been a statewide effort to update voter machines since the federal government granted the state $2 billion in 2002. Local governments are responsible for paying and updating their systems. Read More

Illinois: Early voting starts, but not for all | Associated Press

Early voting for the primary election is supposed to start Thursday across Illinois, but millions of voters won’t have the option because of pending candidate challenges. The state’s four most-populous counties have delayed the start of in-person early voting, with Cook and DuPage waiting until as late as Feb. 21 in order to get final decisions on several candidate challenges. Lake County plans to start Feb. 16 and Will County election officials say they’ll keep voters updated on their website and hope to be ready within days of a decision. But elsewhere, particularly in smaller counties downstate, clerks proceeded Thursday, offering caveats to voters who want to cast ballots. The result could be confusion for voters. Read More