Secretary of State Corey Stapleton said Tuesday he’d oppose any effort to allow Montanans to change absentee ballot votes that are cast before Election Day. Most states, like Montana, do not allow early voters to change their minds. That became an issue last month when then-candidate Greg Gianforte assaulted a reporter a little over 24 hours before his election as Montana’s sole representative in the U.S. House. Reaction to the assault sparked questions by those who had already voted if they could change their ballots. By then 259,558 of the 383,301 who would cast a ballot had already voted, or nearly 68 percent. “I would be very much opposed to letting people change their vote,” Stapleton told a legislative interim committee Tuesday in response to a question about if he would support a change in the law. “I think it’s much better to wait until Election Day and (vote) once.”
part of a push to reshape the state’s often-criticized voting laws as time winds down on New York’s annual legislative session. Former gubernatorial and congressional candidate Zephyr Teachout joined good-government groups and labor unions Tuesday for a last-gasp rally, hoping to convince the the state Legislature to approve voting reforms — including one that would allow early voting — before leaving the Capitol. State lawmakers are scheduled to break for the year on June 21.
The U.S. Supreme Court decisions in the past 30 days rejected efforts by North Carolina lawmakers to make it harder for African Americans to vote while also packing them into as few districts as possible to diminish their electoral influence. In the latest ruling, announced May 21, the Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s opinion that North Carolina’s efforts to draw new lines for congressional districts unfairly packed two districts with African American voters and thus limited their ability to influence other political contests. The court agreed that majority-black districts might help the candidates favored by black voters win elections. But it said that North Carolina lawmakers had gone too far by drawing the lines in an effort to dilute the number of African Americans voters in other districts.
Secretary of the State Denise Merrill says it’s time Connecticut update its constitution to allow for early voting. She says early voting would address the 21st century needs of voters. “It reduces long lines on Election Day and it gives people multiple opportunities to vote. You know it’s a different world than it was 200 years ago and people are mobile and busy.” Merrill says that getting more people to vote is key to creating a healthy democracy.
The majority of Gallatin County voters did not agree with the rest of the state’s decision Thursday to elect Republican candidate Greg Gianforte to the lone congressional seat, according to election results on the secretary of state’s website. Final results show the county was in favor of Cut Bank Democratic candidate Rob Quist, who earned a 14-point win in the Republican candidate’s backyard. Libertarian candidate Mark Wicks had 4 percent of the vote in Gallatin County. In total, Gallatin had 76,633 registered voters, according to the secretary of state’s website. Charlotte Mills, clerk and recorder for Gallatin County, said 35,491 absentee ballots were cast and a little more than 6,000 voters went to the polls.
If early voting comes to Connecticut, it will be late — following at 37 other states and the District of Columbia. A sharply divided House of Representatives took a small step Tuesday toward putting the issue to a referendum vote, though not before 2020. The House voted 78 to 70, with two Republicans joining 76 Democrats, for a resolution authorizing a referendum on a constitutional amendment allowing early voting. Connecticut is a rarity: The terms for casting ballots early or by absentee ballot is dictated by the constitution. If passed by the Senate, the road to change still is long and uncertain. The General Assembly elected in 2018 would have to vote in 2019 for the same resolution if voters get to have their say in 2020. Even if approved at referendum, the constitutional amendment only would allow legislators to consider a bill permitting early voting in the 2021 session.
Nevadans may get another weekend of early voting. Assembly Bill 272 would allow county elections officials to have early voting last until the Sunday before Election Day. Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson, D-Las Vegas, told the Senate Legislative Operations and Elections Committee on Wednesday that the measure is intended to increase voter access.
Iowa voters soon will need to show identification at the polls under a new law signed Friday by Gov. Terry Branstad. The measure overhauls Iowa’s election laws through a series of changes that Republicans say are needed to ensure the integrity of the process and to prevent fraud, but which Democrats and others argue will suppress votes by creating barriers for the poor, elderly, people with disabilities and minorities. “Protecting the integrity of our election system is very important,” Branstad said at a public bill signing Friday. “And we’re very proud that Iowa has a tradition and history of doing so, and this is going to strengthen our ability and make it more effective and efficient.”
South Korea: Voters swamp ballot booths as early voting in presidential election kicks off | The Straits Times
Hundreds of thousands of South Koreans flocked to polling stations across the nation on Thursday (May 4) to choose their next president, two months after the previous one was ousted from office in disgrace and amid regional tension over a belligerent North Korea. Instead of voting on the scheduled election day of Tuesday (May 9), many chose to cast ballots earlier as they have to work or have other plans, such as a trip to vacation hot spots. Some 3,500 polling stations are open across the nation from 6am to 6pm from Thursday to Friday.
Indiana: Common Cause, NAACP sue over Marion County early-voting site | Indianapolis Business Journal
Marion County’s single location for early voting provides unequal access to the ballot, argues a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday by Common Cause and the NAACP. Plaintiffs in the case allege Indianapolis’ sole early-voting precinct is discriminatory and constitutes voter suppression. The lawsuit takes aim at the system in which one of the three unelected members of the Marion County Election Board, most recently Republican Party member Maura Hoff, has vetoed multiple early-voting locations in the state’s most populous county. The result has been sometimes-long lines at the only location for early voting, the Marion County Clerk’s office in the Indianapolis City-County Building.