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.
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.Full Article: Long road ahead for Connecticut early voting, despite House approval - New Canaan 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.”Full Article: Push For Changing State's Early Voting | Alton Daily News.
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.Full Article: Funding for early voting excluded from state budget – The Legislative Gazette.
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.
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.Full Article: Secretary of state pushes for early in-person voting | Myrtle Beach Sun News.
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.Full Article: Money for early voting added to budget | The Daily Gazette.
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.Full Article: Election equipment up to the task? | IllinoisHomepage.
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.Full Article: Illinois early voting starts, but not for all - Fairfield Citizen.
Millions of voters in the Chicago area could see a nearly two-week delay in the start of early voting over ongoing candidate ballot challenges, election officials said Monday. Early voting was slated to start across Illinois on Thursday. However, due to objections to several candidates’ paperwork that haven’t been resolved, ballots won’t be ready on time, said Chicago Board of Election Commissioners spokesman Jim Allen. He estimated early voting will be available Feb. 21, possibly earlier. “Programming and testing of the equipment in the city’s more than 1,000 ballot variations in four languages is still under way,” Allen said in a statement.Full Article: Chicago area could see nearly 2-week delay of early voting - Fairfield Citizen.
It’s time New York state finally changed its antiquated voting rules and procedures that are perpetuating the state’s low voter turnout, Democratic lawmakers in the Legislature said Tuesday as they announced yet another election reform package. New York ranks among the bottom in terms of voter turnout, a situation Senate Democratic Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, of Yonkers, called “extremely embarrassing” during a news conference detailing some of the 13 voting rights bills aimed at making it easier for New Yorkers to cast ballots. Among the Democrats’ top priorities is allowing early voting, which already is in place in 34 states.Full Article: NY State Lawmakers Again Pushing for Voting Reforms | New York News | US News.
When Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo proposed reforms to make voting easier in New York state, including allowing early voting before Election Day, he left something out: the cost. His proposed 2018-2019 state budget released earlier this week doesn’t include any money for launching the initiative, but an estimated $6.4 million in costs are to be paid collectively by county Boards of Elections, which administer the local election systems. It is exactly what county officials had feared. Counties say that isn’t fair to them, and voting rights advocates who had been hopeful there would be money for the initiative were disappointed.Full Article: No state money for early voting in budget | The Daily Gazette.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is backing up his plan to institute early voting in New York by including it in his budget proposal. The governor’s 2018-19 executive budget, which was released Tuesday, would allow early voting and same-day voter registration. Before same-day voter registration is adopted, a constitutional amendment is required. It’s the second time Cuomo’s budget included the early voting proposal. Early voting was in the 2017-18 executive budget, but was not included in the final state budget agreement.Full Article: Cuomo includes early voting in NY budget proposal | Eye on NY | auburnpub.com.
The top election official in Massachusetts has scheduled the state’s 2018 primary for September 4th — the day after Labor Day. Secretary of State William Galvin is also proposing legislation to allow five days of early voting for the primaries. The date of the primary had to be moved up to avoid conflicts with Jewish holidays that fall this year on the second and third Tuesdays in September. A primary later in the month might not allow for any potential recounts to be completed in time to meet a federally-established deadline to mail general election ballots to military personnel stationed overseas, according to Galvin’s office.Full Article: Early Voting Expansion Proposed To Include Massachusetts Primary | WAMC.
Cities and towns spent more than $1 million to cover the costs of holding mandatory early voting periods in 2016, Auditor Suzanne Bump has found, costs that the Legislature may be on the hook for reimbursing. Bump determined in February that parts of the state’s early voting law imposed an unfunded mandate on municipalities. In a letter she sent Monday to the governor, legislative leaders and state budget writers, Bump pegged the total unfunded mandated early voting cost to municipalities at $1,063,978.14 and asked that the Legislature make municipalities whole in a supplemental budget. “Early voting is an important addition to our democratic processes and funding the expenses incurred by our municipalities will make it that much stronger,” Bump wrote in the letter.Full Article: State owes municipalities more than $1M for early voting, auditor says | WWLP.com.
When Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo last week proposed reforms to make voting easier in New York state, he left something out: The cost, and how the additional expenses of maintaining early-voting sites would be covered. Cuomo’s proposal includes allowing people to vote before Election Day, no-excuse absentee voting, same-day registration and automatic voter registration — all ideas that would require approval from the Legislature, and in some instances would require amending the state constitution. They are all, however, items that progressives believe would get more people to vote. “We should make voting easier, not harder,” Cuomo said in his annual State of the State address in Albany on Wednesday.Full Article: Counties worry about cost that could come with early voting proposal | The Daily Gazette.
Despite all the passion and hype that often accompany local and state elections, many New Yorkers still choose not to vote. In fact, New York is near the bottom when it comes to voter participation, placing 41st among the 50 states in the percentage of its citizens who cast ballots in the 2016 general election. And that was a move up from its 44th-place finish from the 2012 election. Now, with the 2018 legislative session slated to open Jan. 3, a coalition of good-government groups and labor unions is pushing to make New York the 38th state to allow early voting.Full Article: Push on for early voting in NYS | Local News | pressrepublican.com.
Despite all the passion and hype that often accompany local and state elections, many New Yorkers choose not to vote. In fact, New York is near the bottom when it comes to voter participation, placing 41st among the 50 states in the percentage of its citizens who cast ballots in the 2016 general election. And that was a move up from its 44th-place finish from the 2012 election. Now, with the 2018 legislative session set to open Wednesday, a coalition of good-government groups and labor unions is pushing to make New York the 38th state to allow early voting. They contend that expanded opportunities for voters to make their choices will pump up participation.Full Article: Groups push for early voting in NY | Local News | thedailystar.com.
A bill that would let voters casting in-person absentee ballots use an electronic voting machine is getting widespread support from municipal clerks, who argue the change would reduce costs while increasing public confidence.
Currently, those voting absentee in person must fill out paper ballots, seal them in an envelope and sign the envelope. They then aren’t opened and tallied until Election Day, a timeline some clerks and the bill’s author argued strains poll workers and taps into local resources. Under the bill from Rep. Janel Brandtjen, R-Menomonee Falls, those ballots still wouldn’t be tallied until Election Day, although municipal clerks would have to post a daily tally of ballots cast – if the municipalities opted into giving its voters the option to cast ballots that way. “This is really just about instead of putting it in an envelope, you as a voter have the opportunity to feed it into a machine,” Brandtjen said Nov. 28 at an Assembly public hearing on the legislation.
Senator Reginald Thomas of Lexington has pre-filed legislation that, if approved in the 2018 Regular Session, would allow in-person early voting three Saturdays preceding any primary, general, or special election. Bill Request 49 (BR 49) would allow qualified Kentucky voters in their county of residence to cast their ballot in-person any time between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., three Saturdays prior to the election date. Under this legislation, county clerks will designate a location within his or her office where the early voting ballots shall be cast privately and secretly.Full Article: Sen. Reggie Thomas Pre-Files Bill To Bring Early Voting To Kentu - LEX18.com | Continuous News and StormTracker Weather.