early voting

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New York: Budget allocates $24.7M to improve voting process — publicly funded elections delayed | The Legislative Gazette

Election reformers are seeing mixed results in the new state budget passed this week. On one hand, New Yorkers will now be able to vote before Election Day, register to vote online, and polls will open earlier for upstate primaries. Additionally, employers will be required to give all workers three hours of paid time off to vote, and with a new $14.7 million allocation, voters will be able to sign in at polling places using an electronic sign-in book. The e-poll books keep track of data such as voter registration, voting history and verification and identification of voters. This will bring the state’s system up to date with 21st century technology. More than half of the states in the U.S. use electronic polling books already. On the other hand, many good-government groups and activists are angry that the budget did not establish a system of publicly financed campaigns that rely on a small-donor matching system, coupled with lowered contribution limits. Instead, a commission will study the feasibility of such a system for legislative and statewide offices, and will issue a report in December. Proposed by the Fair Elections for New York campaign, a small-donor matching system would give a voice to New Yorkers who cannot afford to donate large sums of money to political candidates. It is also seen as a system that allows more people to run for political office.

Full Article: Budget allocates $24.7M to improve voting process — publicly funded elections delayed – The Legislative Gazette.

Connecticut: Merrill wants constitutional amendments for early voting, registration | Journal Inquirer

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill announced her legislative proposals Thursday, two of which require constitutional amendments allowing for a minimum of three days of early voting before Election Day and allowing 16-year-olds to register early to vote. The proposal to allow 16-year-olds to register two years before their 18th birthday would require them to visit the Department of Motor Vehicles, but Merrill said she envisions allowing them to register at school, their town hall, or anywhere voters can register. Merrill, a Democrat, said 16-year-olds usually have their first interaction with the DMV when getting their driver’s licenses, and her proposed amendment would make it more likely that younger people are involved in the voting process as soon as they turn 18.

Full Article: Merrill wants constitutional amendments for early voting, registration | Newsletters | journalinquirer.com.

Thailand: Enthusiasm crashes Thailand election website on first day of early-voting registration | The Straits Times

Thailand’s website for early-voting registration crashed on Monday (Jan 28) morning after a huge number of voters rushed to secure their balloting rights, leading to speculation that the upcoming election could see a high turnout. The March 24 poll will be the country’s first general election in seven years. Early voting this year will take place from March 4 to 17. The online registration opened after midnight on the website of the Department of Public Administration. But the website went down in the morning after too many voters tried to access the site at the same time. The Election Commission’s (EC) deputy secretary-general Nat Laosisavakul said the crash was due to a large number of people entering the website. The failure, in particular, affected those registering for overseas voting, he said.

Full Article: Enthusiasm crashes Thailand election website on first day of early-voting registration, SE Asia News & Top Stories - The Straits Times.

New York: Cuomo signs ‘transformative’ early voting bill, other election reforms | Auburn Citizen

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday signed legislation making New York the 38th state to allow early voting.  The bill, which the Democratic-led state Legislature passed last week, establishes a nine-day early voting period before election days. The early voting period would conclude on the Sunday before an election. Democratic lawmakers attempted for years to adopt an early voting system, but the bill was blocked by Republicans when the GOP controlled the state Senate. With Democrats now in the Senate majority, the bill cleared that legislative hurdle. “Early voting is going to be transformative for the system,” said Cuomo, who has, for years, included early voting in his annual legislative agenda. 

Full Article: Cuomo signs 'transformative' early voting bill, other NY election reforms | Eye on NY | auburnpub.com.

Connecticut: Merrill wants amendment to allow early voting | Journal Inquirer

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill is leading a push to amend the state constitution to allow voters a minimum of three days of voting before Election Day, but the proposal is being panned by Republican leadership, which says Merrill should focus more on protecting the democratic process from voter fraud. The Connecticut Constitution now requires voters to cast their ballots in person on Election Day or meet certain requirements to vote by absentee ballot. The proposed constitutional amendment Merrill announced Tuesday would remove from the constitution restrictions on absentee ballots and require a minimum of three days of early voting.

Full Article: Merrill wants amendment to allow early voting | Politics & Government | journalinquirer.com.

Wisconsin: Judge eliminates early voting limits approved by GOP lawmakers during lame-duck session | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Moving swiftly, a federal judge on Thursday struck down limits on early voting that Republican lawmakers approved last month in a lame-duck session. In a five-page ruling, U.S. District Judge James Peterson concluded the new limits on early voting are invalid because they so closely mirror ones he struck down as unconstitutional in 2016. His decision also threw out parts of the lame-duck laws affecting IDs and other credentials that can be used for voting. “This is not a close question: the three challenged provisions are clearly inconsistent with the (2016) injunctions that the court has issued in this case,” Peterson wrote. 

Full Article: Wisconsin lame-duck lawsuit: Judge eliminates early voting limits.

Connecticut: Advocates revive push for early voting by Constitutional amendment | Hartford Courant

Saying it’s time for Connecticut to join 39 other states, advocates started pushing Tuesday for a rare constitutional amendment to allow early voting. Unlike most states, Connecticut permits voting in person only on Election Day from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. While the final details are not set, an early voting system could potentially allow voting on the three weekends before Election Day. Voting would likely only be permitted at town halls in order to curtail the costs from opening every polling place around the state, lawmakers said. While Democrats in the state House of Representatives and Senate are pushing strongly for the measure, Republicans who have voted against the idea in the past are urging caution and saying state officials instead should be more concerned about voter fraud.

Full Article: Advocates revive push for early voting by Constitutional amendment - Hartford Courant.

Delaware: Early voting, other election reforms proposed in Delaware | Delaware News Journal

More than half of all registered voters in Delaware cast a ballot in November — the highest turnout for a midterm election in the state in at least two decades. Even more voters are expected to cast ballots in 2020 when President Donald Trump and Gov. John Carney will be running for a second term. But some say the state’s voting laws are actually keeping eligible voters from participating in state and federal elections. After multiple failed attempts in recent years, House Democrats now believe they are just weeks away from enacting a trio of reforms designed to remove some of those hurdles, as they see it.

Full Article: Early voting, other election reforms proposed in Delaware.

New York: Lawmakers approve election reforms, including early voting | NBC

New York state lawmakers approved a series of reforms intended to make it easier to vote on Monday, including giving voters 10 days of early access to the ballot box prior to Election Day and consolidating primary dates. The reforms were passed by the new Democratic majority in the state Senate. Similar reforms have died in the legislature in recent years, thanks to Republican control in the Senate. The bills are expected to be signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who commended the legislature for taking “quick action” on the issue, soon. “At a time when the federal government is doing everything it can to disenfranchise voters, we are taking action to make it easier for New Yorkers to participate in the democratic process and crack down on corporate influences in our election,” Cuomo said in a statement on Monday.

Full Article: New York lawmakers approve election reforms, including early voting.

New York: With New Voting Laws, Democrats Flex Newfound Power in New York | The New York Times

After years of lagging behind other states, New York radically overhauled its system of voting and elections on Monday, passing several bills that would allow early voting, preregistration of minors, voting by mail and sharp limits on the influence of money. The bills, which were passed by the State Legislature on Monday evening, bring New York in line with policies in other liberal bastions like California and Washington, and they would quiet, at least for a day, complaints about the state’s antiquated approach to suffrage. Their swift passage marked a new era in the State Capitol. Democrats, who assumed full control this month after decades in which the Legislature was split, say they will soon push through more of their priorities, from strengthening abortion rights to approving the Child Victims Act, which would make it easier for victims of childhood sexual abuse to sue their assailants.

Full Article: With New Voting Laws, Democrats Flex Newfound Power in New York - The New York Times.

New York: Early Voting and Other Election Reforms Coming to New York | The New York Times

For years, the ways in which voters in New York have been stymied by the state’s antiquated voting laws have stood in stark contrast to the state’s liberal reputation. During last year’s contentious midterm elections, New York was the only state in the nation that held separate state and federal primary elections, a bifurcation that almost seemed designed to suppress voter turnout — which is generally thought to favor incumbents. Early voting? Voting by mail? Same-day voter registration? All are fairly basic voting reforms now found in many states, but not in New York.

Full Article: Early Voting and Other Election Reforms Coming to New York - The New York Times.

New Jersey: Governor Wants to Give You Fewer Reasons Not to Vote | The New York Times

Ballots disqualified for dubious reasons. Hourslong wait times. Onerous identification requirements. Broken polling stations. The frustrations millions of people experienced during November’s midterm election have made voting rights a polarizing issue, thrusting it to the top of statehouse agendas across the country. While some states are wrestling with expanding voter access, others are seeking to further restrict access to the ballot under the guise of combating voter fraud, which is extremely rare. Now, in New Jersey, Gov. Philip D. Murphy, a Democrat, is pursuing a series of bills that would significantly expand access to the ballot for hundreds of thousands of voters. “The package of reforms in New Jersey would place the state at the forefront of the country in terms of voter access,” said Wendy R. Weiser, the director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice. The bills call for changes across the electoral spectrum: allowing online voter registration and early voting up to 30 days before an election; same-day voter registration; permitting those on parole and probation to vote; and making 17-year-olds who turn 18 by the general election eligible to vote in party primaries.

Full Article: N.J.’s Governor Wants to Give You Fewer Reasons Not to Vote - The New York Times.

New York: Coalition wants ‘fair elections’ legislation to be Albany’s first priority | The Buffalo News

A coalition of 175 grassroots and community groups is pushing Albany to pass a “fair elections” package that includes such elements as small-donor public financing, closing campaign funding loopholes and early voting. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and other Democratic leaders have supported various forms of such legislation in the past, but fair elections proposals had been consistently blocked by Republicans who long controlled the state Senate, organizers say. Now that Democrats control both the legislative and executive branches in New York, the Fair Elections for New York coalition wants elected officials to pass fair elections legislation right away. About 25 representatives from the coalition held a news conference Monday on the steps of Buffalo City Hall to press for the reforms.

Full Article: Coalition wants ‘fair elections’ legislation to be Albany’s first priority – The Buffalo News.

New York: Cuomo’s Election Day Holiday Call Surprises Even Advocates | NY1

If they didn’t know already, the breakdowns on Election Day reminded voters that New York has some of the most antiquated voting laws and processes in the country. From a lack of early voting to the fact that voters must declare a party affiliation more than six months before a primary, New York can make voting hard. “On this issue, we’re way far behind. New York is one of only 13 states that doesn’t have early voting,” said Susan Lerner, the executive director of advocacy group Common Cause New York. “Texas adopted early voting in 1996. So it’s embarrassing.”

Full Article: Cuomo's Election Day Holiday Call Surprises Even Advocates.

Wisconsin: Early voting limit challenged in federal court | Associated Press

The fight over restricting early voting in Wisconsin returned to federal court Monday, three days after Gov. Scott Walker signed into law a new limit passed during a lame-duck legislative session. A coalition of liberal groups, with the support of former Democratic U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, asked a federal judge to block implementation of the early voting restrictions. The same judge in 2016 struck down a similar two-week early voting limitation as unconstitutional. Attorneys for the groups argued that Republicans called the lame-duck session “as part of a partisan attempt to retain and regain power” and the early voting limitation was “in direct violation” of the court’s 2016 order.

Full Article: Wisconsin’s early voting limit challenged in federal court | The Seattle Times.

Wisconsin: New limits on early voting resemble ones judge threw out | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Gov. Scott Walker and other Republicans are claiming lame-duck legislation would make early voting uniform across the state — a contention that was rejected by a federal judge two years ago. That same judge is expected to weigh in on the matter again if Walker signs the early voting restrictions in the coming weeks. Republican lawmakers included the early-voting limits in lame-duck legislation they sent to Walker last week that would also curb the powers of Walker’s Democratic successor, Tony Evers, and incoming Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul. Wisconsin had a record round of early voting for a midterm election last month, helping Democrats win every statewide office. The legislation would limit early voting to a maximum of two weeks.

Full Article: New limits on Wisconsin early voting resemble ones judge threw out.

National: ‘Election Night’ Is an Outdated and Dangerous Relic of the Past | New York Magazine

Traditionally, for people involved in electoral politics, Election Day is Judgment Day, when all those strenuous efforts to win (or in the case of media and academic folk, to report on or analyze) public office come to an end as the last poll closes. Election Night, accordingly, is in all but a few rare cases the time when the judgment of the people is discerned. Political people are wired from an early age to think of Election Day and Election Night as the key moments of drama in their often tedious profession. But the old dramatic cycle is making less sense every day. With the advent of early voting, Election Day often stretches over weeks. And with slow counts caused by mail and provisional ballots becoming more prevalent, Election Night isn’t always what it used to be, either.

Full Article: Are ‘Election Day’ and ‘Election Night’ Archaic?.

Oklahoma: County officials resist efforts to expand early voting in Oklahoma | Enid News & Eagle

As the popularity of early voting continues to rise, some lawmakers are reviving a plan to make it easier for Oklahomans to vote. But they likely will run into continued resistance that has given Oklahoma the shortest in-person early-voting period among the many states that allow early voting. Senate Minority Leader Kay Floyd, D-Oklahoma City, said Senate Democrats are preparing legislation that would extend the time voters have to cast ballots through the in-person absentee option. Oklahoma currently has the shortest early voting period of the 37 states that offer early voting. State law allows voters to cast in-person absentee ballots on three days before Election Day: from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Full Article: County officials resist efforts to expand early voting in Oklahoma | State | enidnews.com.

Rhode Island: Secretary of state proposes early voting | Associated Press

The demand for mail ballots in the recent election shows the need to allow for early voting, Rhode Island’s secretary of state said Wednesday. Democrat Nellie Gorbea said about 17,000 traditional mail ballots were returned for the Nov. 6 general election, up from about 11,500 in 2014. She said nearly 11,000 “emergency mail ballots” were returned within 20 days of the election, up from nearly 5,000 in 2014. Gorbea, who was elected to a second four-year term, said she’ll once again push for a bill to allow early voting at city and town halls within 20 days of an election. The legislative session begins in January. Gorbea said it would make voting more convenient, secure and eliminate mistakes that disqualify some mail ballots. Voters would cast ballots in person just as they would if it were Election Day.

Full Article: Secretary of state proposes early voting in Rhode Island.

Arizona: Navajos seek court order to fix early ballots | Associated Press

The Navajo Nation is seeking a court order to allow tribal members to fix problems with signatures on early ballots in Arizona’s general election — a request that could delay the state from certifying ballots next month. Voters statewide were given more time to address mismatched signatures after Republicans alleged in a lawsuit that Maricopa and Pima counties contacted voters illegally after Election Day about signatures on ballot envelopes that didn’t match those on the voter file. A lawsuit filed this week by the largest American Indian reservation makes a broader argument to count ballots that Navajos properly filled out but didn’t sign. It alleges Navajos have fewer opportunities to participate in early voting and not enough translators to tell tribal members with limited or no English proficiency how to complete early ballots so they aren’t thrown out. The tribe said more than 100 votes cast by Navajos were disqualified.

Full Article: Navajos seek court order to fix early ballots | News | mohavedailynews.com.