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.
Long lines, voting machine malfunctions, and untrained poll workers scattered throughout the state. Alabama, on November 6, had its share of Election Day problems similar to what other states experienced. Georgia and Florida had reportedly lines that lasted as long as waiting to get on a ride at Six Flags, according to media reports. Cries about voter “suppression” or “fraud” in each state — depending on a critic’s partisan leanings — have erupted ever since Election Day. “Elections are an incredibly complicated process and there are so many moving parts for it all to go right on Election Day,” said Richard Fording, a political science professor at the University of Alabama. “There will inevitably be mistakes made.” But almost as common as election-related snafus are the subsequent calls for reform. And in Alabama, there will be a push in 2019 for legislation to address some of the problems experienced on November 6.Full Article: After Midterms, will Alabama reform the way you vote? | al.com.
Georgia: Fulton County has technology problems on first day of early voting | Atlanta Journal-Constitution
On the first day of early voting in Georgia, election precincts in Fulton County encountered technology issues that created long lines. A spokesperson for the county, April Majors, said the issue was with the machine used by poll workers to verify voter registration. Because the machine wasn’t working, poll workers had to verify voters’ information manually, which took much more time than the machine would have. In an emailed statement at 12:40 p.m., the county’s department of registration and elections said, “Fulton County’s early voting polling locations at libraries are experiencing network technical issues. Unfortunately, they are unable to quickly verify voter’s registrations.” They county followed up with another emailed statement about an hour later, saying all early voting locations were back to “normal operations.”Full Article: Fulton County has technology problems on first day of early voting.
North Carolina: Bipartisan Furor as North Carolina Election Law Shrinks Early Voting Locations by Almost 20 Percent | ProPublica
In June, the North Carolina General Assembly passed legislation mandating that all early voting sites in the state remain open for uniform hours on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., a move supporters argued would reduce confusion and ultimately make early voting easier and more accessible. But with the start of early voting only weeks away, county election officials across the state — who previously had control over setting polling hours in their jurisdictions — say the new law has hamstrung their ability to best serve voters. Some officials in rural counties say they’ve had to shrink the number of early voting locations to accommodate the law’s longer hour requirements and stay within their budgets. A ProPublica analysis of polling locations shows that North Carolina’s 2018 midterm election will have nearly 20 percent fewer early voting locations than there were in 2014. Nearly half of North Carolina’s 100 counties are shutting down polling places, in part because of the new law. Poorer rural counties, often strapped for resources to begin with, are having a particularly difficult time adjusting to the new requirement.Full Article: Bipartisan Furor as North Carolina Election Law Shrinks… — ProPublica.
Indiana: Federal judge rejects Attorney General’s attempt to scrap early voting decree | The Herald Times
A federal judge Thursday rejected Attorney General Curtis Hill’s attempt to unravel the consent decree reached earlier this summer requiring Marion County to establish satellite voting sites in November and in future elections. Senior Judge Sarah Evans Barker said Hill’s objections to the consent decree reached between the county election board and Common Cause of Indiana and the local branch of the NAACP are without merit. Common Cause and the NAACP sued last year to require Marion County to provide more than one location for voters to cast ballots in advance of the election. The consent decree requires the election board to have six satellite voting sites in November.Full Article: Federal judge rejects Hill attempt to scrap early voting decree | State | heraldtimesonline.com.
Florida: A day after judge blasts state, counties act fast to hold early voting on campus | Tampa Bay Times
A day after a judge struck down Florida’s ban on early voting on college and university campuses, the Gainesville-area supervisor of elections asked the University of Florida to make its student union available for early voting in the November general election — including on a day when the Gators have a home football game. In addition, Tampa’s chief elections official, Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer, said he has begun talks with USF leaders about holding early voting at the Marshall Student Center on the campus. The developments come as both parties prepare to mount aggressive get-out-the-vote efforts in a year when Floridians will elect a governor, U.S. senator and other top elected officials and decide whether to restore the right to vote to most convicted felons and ban offshore drilling off the Florida coast.Full Article: A day after judge blasts state, counties act fast to hold early voting on campus | Tampa Bay Times.
Florida elections officials were wrong to block on-campus early voting sites in Gainesville and Tallahassee, lawyers for the League of Women Voters of Florida told a federal judge Monday.
But attorneys representing the state argued there was no indication that college students — or anyone else — would have voting rights abridged due to an advisory opinion under scrutiny in the federal lawsuit filed this year by the League of Women Voters and other plaintiffs. U.S. District Judge Mark Walker gave no indication how he would rule after hearing nearly three hours of arguments Monday in the case, which involves the state’s position about early voting locations at the University of Florida and Florida State University.
US Virgin Islands: Elections officials push early voting later … again | Virgin Islands Daily News.com
Early voting has been delayed — again. According to Elections Board Chairman Arturo Watlington Jr., early voting for the Aug. 4 Democratic primary will now begin Monday and end July 25. The announcement, made Thursday at a Board of Elections meeting, marks the third delay in early voting for the primary, with dates previously scheduled for July 10 and July 14. The date changes are largely because of a delay in paying a Nebraska-based contractor — Elections System and Software — an estimated $18,000 for developing and shipping the ballots to the territory, according to Watlington.Full Article: Elections officials push early voting later ... again | News | virginislandsdailynews.com.
We’re about to have a gubernatorial election in the state of Michigan. But do many people care enough to go out and vote? The truth is many people won’t go vote. History tells us only about four to maybe five out of ten people have voted in the state’s gubernatorial election since 1962. Now, a nationwide report on voter turnout is criticizing Michigan’s leaders for not making enough changes to entice voters to come to the polls on a regular basis. The report from the Center for American Progress found that Michigan could boost voter turnout by more than 235,000 “if the state adopted new policies to reduce barriers and make voting more convenient”. “92 million eligible Americans did not vote in 2016 and 143 million didn’t vote in 2014,” Center for American Progress Voting Rights Manager Danielle Root said. “That is a problem and that includes Democrats, Republicans, Independents and everybody in-between. We all need to come together to fix that.”Full Article: wzzm13.com | National group says Michigan needs early voting opportunity.
North Carolina: New state law will mean fewer places to vote early in some counties | News & Observer
The cost to implement a recently-passed state law has left many North Carolina counties’ boards of elections unsure how to manage early voting for this November’s midterm elections, and some are planning to offer fewer voting locations to comply with the law. While all counties must have a central early voting site open during business hours, most counties have also used additional “one-stop” voting sites, operated by volunteers and temporary paid staffers. Those sites accommodate voters for whom the central polling place, usually located at the Board of Elections office, is less convenient.Full Article: Early voting locations in NC: Impact of SB 325 | News & Observer.
A federal judge has set a hearing for this month in a case by university students seeking to overturn the state’s ban on early voting at public college campuses. Mark Walker, now chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, will consider their motion for a “preliminary injunction to prevent Secretary of State Ken Detzner from enforcing” the ban. That’s at 9 a.m. July 16, dockets accessed Thursday show. The hearing will be held in the U.S. Courthouse in downtown Tallahassee. A reply to a motion to dismiss also is due this Friday, dockets show.Full Article: Challenge to early voting ban on campuses heading to court – Florida Politics.
Legislation allowing early voting in Delaware has died in the state Senate, more than a week after it was declared to have passed the House despite falling short of the two-thirds vote requirement. The Democratic Senate majority leader announced late Saturday that the bill would not be considered on the final night of this year’s legislative session because it did not have enough votes.
The Delaware House of Representatives on Thursday approved two bills that would expand voting rights by allowing early voting and same-day registration. Both bills passed solely on Democratic support. They now go to the Senate. House Bill 400, which passed 22-18 with one absent, would allow an individual to register to vote on Election Day at a polling place. A person would be required to provide identification or another document displaying his or her name and address, such as a utility bill, paycheck, bank statement or government document. Approved by a 25-15 margin, with one member absent, House Bill 90 would let Delawareans cast ballots in elections for state, county and Wilmington offices “at least” 10 days before the actual date.Full Article: Same-day registration and early voting pass Delaware House - Delaware State News | Delaware State News.
Florida: Secretary of State wants lawsuit over early voting ban on college campuses moved to state court | Orlando Weekly
Secretary of State Ken Detzner is asking a federal court to let the state courts decide a dispute over whether early voting sites should be allowed on state university or college campuses. In May, the Florida League of Women Voters filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Tallahassee, alleging the constitutional rights of students at the University of Florida and Florida State University were being violated by a 2014 interpretation of a state law by Detzner’s agency that found early-voting sites were not specifically authorized on university campuses. The lawsuit alleged the state was placing “an unjustifiable burden on the voting rights of hundreds of thousands of eligible Florida voters” and that Detzner’s policy “disproportionately” impacted the state’s younger voters.Full Article: Florida wants lawsuit over early voting ban on college campuses moved to state court | Blogs.
North Carolina: This early voting plan would take away a popular day. It’s speeding through the North Carolina House | News & Observer
popular day for early voting would be eliminated under a proposal that supporters say is meant to bring uniformity to the 100 North Carolina counties’ one-stop voting schedules. The proposal to change early voting has bipartisan support and is speeding through the legislature. It was made public late Wednesday night and received a preliminary vote of approval in the state House on Thursday afternoon. House Speaker Tim Moore moved on to a vote before lawmakers were able to signal that they wanted to talk about the proposal. “Aren’t we going to debate the bill?” Rep. Marcia Morey, a Durham Democrat, could be heard asking while House members were voting.Full Article: Early voting changes proposed for NC elections | News & Observer.
The effort to expand early voting in Rhode Island appears headed for an impasse for the fifth year in a row. Advocates for Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea’s proposal, which has stalled in House and Senate committees, say they remain hopeful lawmakers will revisit the measure, but legislative leaders demurred when asked whether it would be considered again. Senate President Dominick Ruggerio told The Associated Press no decision has been made. “We’re looking at early voting. We had the hearings,” he said. “Some people like it. Some people don’t.” Residents can already apply for “emergency mail ballots” at their city or town halls within 20 days of an election. Those ballots proved increasingly popular in 2016.Full Article: Early voting looks headed for impasse again in Rhode Island - Fairfield Citizen.
Early voting earned positive reviews during its inaugural run in Massachusetts, but lawmakers have so far been hesitant about implementing the voter convenience for this year’s primary elections — historically low-turnout affairs in which some incumbents face challengers. “If we are going for good government, good democracy, why are we so hesitant to pass legislation that’s going to do just that?” Cheryl Crawford, executive director of MassVote, told the News Service on Tuesday. “A lot of our elections are won in the primaries.” In interviews, those familiar with the reform say it expanded voting opportunities in the 2016 general election but needs to be adequately funded to ensure that cities and towns of all sizes are able to accommodate voters over what are effectively multiple election days.Full Article: Lawmakers hesitant to apply early voting to primaries - Lowell Sun Online.
A new lawsuit accuses Gov. Rick Scott’s administration of making it more difficult for young people to vote by preventing early voting at public buildings on state university campuses. The election-year complaint filed Tuesday by the League of Women Voters seeks to strike down a four-year-old interpretation of Florida’s early voting laws by Scott’s chief elections officer, Secretary of State Ken Detzner. Detzner’s office issued an opinion in 2014 that the Legislature’s expansion of early voting sites to include “government-owned community centers” does not include the student union building on the University of Florida campus in Gainesville. The city of Gainesville asked if the Reitz Student Union building on the UF campus could serve as an early voting site in 2014. The state said no.Full Article: Florida’s early voting ban on campus challenged in court | Tampa Bay Times.
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.Full Article: Senate Dems look to simplify voting process ahead of federal and state primaries – The Legislative Gazette.
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.Full Article: Judge orders early satellite voting precincts for Marion County | 2018-04-25 | The Indiana Lawyer.