Marion County Republicans are offering a deal on a seven-year stalemate over early voting, but Democrats aren’t biting. Common Cause is suing to force Marion County to offer more early voting locations. State law lets either party block early voting, and Republicans have. The lawsuit notes their counterparts in heavily Republican neighboring counties have expanded early voting, while Democratic-dominated Marion County has been limited since 2010 to the City-County Building, which is hard to reach and has little nearby parking.
A record 806,043 New Zealanders have already voted, two days ahead of Saturday’s election. The advance voting statistics from the Electoral Commission show that by this day three years ago, 717,579 people have been to the polls. And by this stage in the election run-up in 2011, a total of just 334,558 votes had been cast. The numbers do not include overseas votes. A staggering 133,781 people voted yesterday alone, in what has been one of the most hotly-contested general elections in years. The release last night of the latest 1 News Colmar Brunton poll, conducted from September 16-19, saw National arrest a slide in the polls to rise six points to 46 per cent. Labour was down seven points to 37 per cent.
Indiana: Secretary of State: No link between early voting access and turnout. Democrats: Get real.| Indianapolis Star
Republican Secretary of State Connie Lawson told a committee of state lawmakers Wednesday that she doesn’t see a correlation between early voting access and voter turnout. The statement comes a few weeks after an IndyStar investigation found that state and local Republicans have expanded early voting in GOP-dominated areas and restricted it in Democratic areas. Common Cause Indiana, the Indiana State Conference of the NAACP and the local NAACP Branch, filed a lawsuit in May against the Marion County Election Board and Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson, due to the scarcity of early voting locations in Marion County. In the lawsuit, the organization said the lack of early voting opportunities discriminates against African-American voters and violates the constitution.
Election day in Germany isn’t until September 24. But what if the decisive votes have already been cast? More and more Germans are choosing to vote early, which also changes who loses and who wins. More people in Germany are skipping the trip to the voting booth and casting their ballots ahead of election day. In 2013, 24.3 percent of German voters cast their ballots early and by mail, and Cristina Tillmann, director of the Future of Democracy Program at the Bertelsmann Foundation, said that number could rise even further this time around. “Mail-in voting is here to stay,” Tillmann told DW. “It’s become a full-fledged alternative to going to the polls in the real lives of voters, so it’s no longer an exception, even if it’s legally still defined as one. Parties and election workers need to reckon with a quarter or even 30 percent of voters casting their ballots early.”
Let’s be honest: Republicans have gamed Indiana’s voting system to their advantage. They gerrymandered congressional and legislative districts in their favor after the 2010 Census, helping the party gain supermajorities in the Indiana House and Senate. They’ve also suppressed the number of early voting sites in Democratic areas while encouraging their expansion in counties where Republicans dominate. Consider that in Marion County, population 939,000, voters can cast early ballots at only one location, at the City-County Building in congested Downtown. Republicans repeatedly have blocked proposals to open more voting centers in Indy.
Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill has intervened in a lawsuit filed earlier this year by a civic group that alleges discrimination in access to early voting. Hill specifically wants to defend a 2001 state statute cited in the complaint. The statute requires a unanimous vote of a three-member board — comprising of a Democrat, a Republican and the county clerk — to expand early voting. An IndyStar investigation published earlier this month highlighted how the law has been used by state and local Republicans to restrict early voting in predominantly Democratic areas while expanding voting access in Republican-held areas. In the court filing, Hill says the Marion County Election Board does not “adequately” represent the state’s interest. He said Indiana is “left to wonder whether MCEB (Marion County Election Board) intends to provide any defense of the statute at all, or instead intends to enter into a consent decree permanently guaranteeing multiple satellite early voting facilities at its desired locations in Marion County.”
Voting Blogs: Federal Lawsuits Challenge Indiana’s Wildly Disparate Precinct, Early Voting Site Laws | The Brad Blog
In two separate federal lawsuits, Common Cause v Marion County Board of Elections (May 2, 2017) and Indiana NAACP v. Lawson (Aug. 9, 2017), both challenging restrictions on voting rights in Indiana, civil rights organizations have sought to block what they describe as unconstitutional Republican schemes that, with “surgical precision”, seek to depress the vote in large minority, Democratic-leaning counties while contemporaneously enhancing voter turnout in white, Republican-leaning counties. The lawsuits entail two sets of laws. One of the lawsuits seeks to block a law that specifically targets Lake County — and only Lake County — for precinct consolidation and/or elimination. Lake County sports the state’s second largest African-American population and its largest Hispanic population. The other lawsuit challenges a voter suppression scheme that significantly reduces early absentee voting sites for a significant number of African-American (Democratic) voters in Marion County, even while mostly white (Republican) voters in neighboring counties benefit from a significant expansion in the number of available early absentee voting sites.
Indiana: After Obama’s 2008 Win, Indiana GOP Added Early Voting in White Suburb, Cut It in Indianapolis | Slate
n 2008, Barack Obama squeaked out an unexpected win in Indiana thanks in part to his huge margin of victory in Marion County, which has a large population of black Democrats. The state’s Republicans got to work right away, cutting early voting in Marion County, which includes the state capital of Indianapolis, while expanding it in a nearby suburban county filled with white Republican voters. That’s the distressing but entirely predictable upshot of a blockbuster report published by the Indianapolis Star on Thursday. The Star found that between 2008 and 2016, Republican officials reduced the number of early voting stations in Marion County from three to one, resulting in a 26 percent decline in absentee voting in the 2016 presidential election. (Early votes are cast via absentee ballots.) Meanwhile, officials added two early voting stations to the neighboring Hamilton County, which is populated primarily by white Republicans. The county saw a 63 percent increase in absentee voting in 2016. There is now one early voting station for every 100,000 voters in Hamilton County and one for every 700,000 voters in Marion County. In total, the number of people who voted in Marion County decreased by 11,261 between 2008 and 2016 and increased in Hamilton County by 27,376—this “despite an increase of registered voters in both counties,” the Star reports.
Indiana: Republicans limit early voting in Democratic Marion County, encourage it in GOP strongholds | Indianapolis Star
State and local Republicans have expanded early voting in GOP-dominated areas and restricted it in Democratic areas, an IndyStar investigation has found, prompting a significant change in Central Indiana voting patterns. From 2008 to 2016, GOP officials expanded early voting stations in Republican dominated Hamilton County, IndyStar’s analysis found, and decreased them in the state’s biggest Democratic hotbed, Marion County. That made voting more convenient in GOP areas for people with transportation issues or busy schedules. And the results were immediate. Most telling, Hamilton County saw a 63 percent increase in absentee voting from 2008 to 2016, while Marion County saw a 26 percent decline. Absentee ballots are used at early voting stations. Population growth and other factors may have played a role, but Hamilton County Clerk Kathy Richardson, a Republican, told IndyStar the rise in absentee voting in Hamilton County was largely a result of the addition of two early voting stations, which brought the total to three.
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.”