election day registration

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New Mexico: Election Day voter registration clears first committee | The NM Political Report

A bill to allow voters to register on the same day they vote cleared its first House committee Wednesday. The House, State Government, Elections & Indian Affairs Committee advanced the proposal on a party-line vote. The bill aims to let voters register or update their voter registration during early voting or on Election Day, and vote on the same day. Currently, voters must register four weeks before the election to be eligible to vote. One of the bill’s Democratic co-sponsors, Patricia Roybal Caballero of Albuquerque, said the legislation “is the ultimate access bill to allow voters to access the electoral process as openly as possible.”

Full Article: Election Day voter registration clears first committee | The NM Political Report.

National: From Carter To California: Automatic Registration Is The New Endgame For Elections | Huffington Post

President Jimmy Carter took office in 1977 with the conviction that it should be easier for citizens to register to vote. To accomplish that goal, he wrote to Democratic secretaries of state that year urging them to support legislation that would allow voters to register on Election Day. “The continuing decline in American voter participation is a serious problem which calls for the attention of all of us in public life,” Carter wrote. Advisers to Carter and Vice President Walter Mondale had concluded that Election Day registration, which they called “universal registration,” would boost low turnout rates. They cited laws passed in Minnesota and Wisconsin after the 1972 election that allowed citizens to register at the polls, which placed both states in the top five for highest turnout in 1976. But tucked away in their correspondence about the election reform proposals was an acknowledgment that the United States’ neighbor to the north had made it even easier for citizens to vote, by registering them automatically with government data.

Full Article: From Carter To California: Automatic Registration Is The New Endgame For Elections.

Editorials: Minnesota should pursue reasonable strategies to make voting easier | Minneapolis Star Tribune

Minnesotans who defeated a proposed photo ID amendment to the state Constitution in 2012 may be following a North Carolina voting rights trial with a certain degree of smugness. They may think that democracy-loving Minnesotans wouldn’t stand for the moves that have landed the North Carolina Legislature in federal court, accused of suppressing the African-American vote. We’d like to think so, too. But we must note that while North Carolina lawmakers shaved a week off that state’s early voting period, Minnesota does not permit early voting at all — though it does offer “no excuses” absentee voting, which is more administratively complex and prone to voter error than actual early voting. Minnesota also does not allow preregistration for 16- and 17-year-olds and “out-of-precinct” voting, both of which North Carolina allowed, then dropped in 2013. Minnesota 17-year-olds are allowed to register only if they will be 18 on Election Day.

Full Article: Minnesota should pursue reasonable strategies to make voting easier - StarTribune.com.

National: The Battle to Keep the Vote: State by State | Newsweek

Republicans—with a helping nudge from the United States Supreme Court’s conservative majority (of which more below)—are passing restrictive voting laws in states where they control both branches of government. Meanwhile, Democrats are expanding voting rights in states where they dominate the governing process. Two Democrats, Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Representative John Lewis of Georgia, also introduced a bill in Congress at the end of June that would require states (mostly in the South) to get federal approval for any changes in any statewide voting laws or procedures. This battle is especially important for a presidential election year, when voter turnout is significantly higher than in midterm elections. Much of the difference in the turnout is made up of prime Democratic constituencies—the young and minorities—which explains why Democrats are so set on increasing turnout and Republicans would prefer to restrict it.

Full Article: The Battle to Keep the Vote: State by State.

Connecticut: General Assembly Passes Law to Strengthen Voting Process | The Hartford Guardian

That’s because a new law will help enhance the voting process, state officials said on Wednesday after the General Assembly passed a Senate Bill: “An Act Strengthening Connecticut Elections.” Secretary of the State Denise Merrill joined the Registrars of Voters Association of Connecticut in praising Governor Dannel P. Malloy’s signing the bill into law. Officials said the law will establish qualification standards and certification for all Registrars of Voters. It will also establish qualification standards and certification for Registrars, require training and remove Registrars from office if they are found to be “in extreme cases of negligence or dereliction of duty,” according to a press release.

Full Article: CT Passes Law to Strengthen Voting Process | The Hartford Guardian.

National: Voting rights become a proxy war in the 2016 presidential election | The Conversation

Republicans – with a helping nudge from the United States Supreme Court’s conservative majority (of which more below) – are passing restrictive voting laws in states where they control both branches of government. Meanwhile, Democrats are expanding voting rights in states where they dominate the governing process. Democrats Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Representative John Lewis of Georgia also introduced a bill in Congress at the end of June that would require states (mostly in the South) to get federal approval for any changes in any statewide voting laws or procedures. This battle is especially important for a presidential election year, when voter turnout is significantly higher than in midterm elections. Much of the difference in the turnout is made up of prime Democratic constituencies – the young and minorities – which explains why Democrats are so set on increasing turnout and Republicans would prefer to restrict it.

Full Article: Voting rights become a proxy war in the 2016 presidential election.

New Jersey: Christie attacks ‘Democracy Act’ as DNC attempt to up voter fraud | NJ.com

Gov. Chris Christie came out swinging Thursday evening against the so-called “Democracy Act,” the state Legislature’s latest effort to improve New Jersey’s dismal voter participation. The bill would, among other things, include automatic voter registration upon applying for a driver’s license. It was passed by the state Assembly on Thursday. State Senate Democrats hope to have it on Christie’s desk shortly. Speaking on his monthly radio show on New Jersey 101.5 FM, Christie was adamant: “I don’t think that people ought to be automatically registered to vote. … Is it really too much to ask to ask someone to fill out a form?”

Full Article: Christie attacks N.J.'s 'Democracy Act' as DNC attempt to up voter fraud | NJ.com.

National: New report ranks voter turnout in all 50 states | The Pampa News

As the nation commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Nonprofit VOTE releases its biennial voter turnout report, America Goes to the Polls 2014, based on final data certified by state election offices. The report ranks voter turnout in all 50 states to look at major factors underlying voter participation in this historically low-turnout election. While just 36.6% of eligible citizens voted, the lowest in a midterm since World War II, turnout varied widely across states by as much as 30 percentage points. Maine led the nation with 58.5 percent turnout among eligible voters, follow by Wisconsin at 56.8 percent, and Colorado at 54.5%. Nevada, Tennessee, New York, Texas and Indiana made up the bottom five all with less than 30 percent of their eligible voters participating. “Clearly there’s much work to do to foster a healthy democracy when well below half the electorate votes in a national election,” states Brian Miller, executive director of Nonprofit VOTE. “The good news is that higher turnout states show us how we can increase voter turnout across the nation.”

The America Goes to the Polls 2014 report is available at http://www.nonprofitvote.org/americagoestothepolls2014.

Full Article: New report ranks voter turnout in all 50 states - The Pampa News: News.

Voting Blogs: New Paper Uses Google Web Search Data to Suggest EDR Could Have Added 3-4 Million Voters in 2012 | Election Academy

My friend and colleague Mike Alvarez of CalTech shared a new paper appearing in Political Analysis yesterday that not only has interesting conclusions about the effect of registration deadlines but also suggests that readily-available but under-appreciated data on web searches could help us get a better handle on how voters perceive the election process. The paper, “Estimating Voter Registration Deadline Effects with Web Search Data” by Alex Street, Thomas Murray, John Blitzer and Rajan Patel, dives into the search data available via the Google Trends website and examines when in 2012 people searched for voter registration in comparison to registration deadlines.

Full Article: New Paper Uses Google Web Search Data to Suggest EDR Could Have Added 3-4 Million Voters in 2012 - Election Academy.

New Jersey: ‘Embarrassing’ 32 % voter turnout has senator introducing Election Day registration bill | NJ.com

A key Democratic state senator says he will introduce legislation allowing voter registration on Election Day as a new study shows New Jersey voter turnout lagged the nation last year and more than 50 percent showed up at the polls in states that have such laws. New Jersey ranked 40th in voter turnout last year, with only 32.5 percent of registered voters casting ballots, according to a report released today by Nonprofit VOTE, a non-partisan research group based in Boston. The national rate was 37 percent. All three of the top voter turnout states allow voters to concurrently register and cast a ballot on Election Day: Maine at 59 percent, Wisconsin at 57 percent, and Colorado at 55 percent, according to the report.

Full Article: 'Embarrassing' 32 percent voter turnout has N.J. senator introducing Election Day registration bill | NJ.com.

Connecticut: State praises New Haven’s same-day voter registration | New Haven Register

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill swung by City Hall Friday to deliver a citation honoring the fact that New Haven accommodated the most Election Day voter registrations out of any Connecticut municipality, totaling more than 600. “Election Day registration is designed to increase voter participation and the last election was the state’s first big one,” Merrill said as she stood alongside Mayor Toni Harp, City Clerk Michael Smart and staffers from the registrar’s office. “More than 14,000 were able to vote who wouldn’t have been able to otherwise, because they had not been on the list for whatever reason, and chose to recognize their right to vote on Election Day.”

Full Article: State praises New Haven’s same-day voter registration.

Utah: Task force would tackle low-voter turnout in Utah | The Salt Lake Tribune

Utah has gone from a state with one of the highest rates of voter turnout in the nation to one of the lowest in the past 30 years, and a group of Democrats and Republicans are banding together to find out why. Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox and Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Millcreek, revealed a new piece of bipartisan legislation Friday, HB200, that would create a task force to find out why Utahns are not voting. Arent said the task force would study voter trends in Utah and other states, review possible administrative barriers to voting, and look at other Utah-specific issues that might be affecting the turnout.

Full Article: Task force would tackle low-voter turnout in Utah | The Salt Lake Tribune.

Illinois: Will county clerk: amend voter registration law | Chicago Tribune

Will County Clerk Nancy Schultz Voots continues to press state legislators for more time to implement a new law requiring all county clerks to provide Election Day registration in all precincts by the March 2016 election. She has provided them with a cost study, detailing that it would cost Will County more than $1.3 million to buy electronic equipment, implement the technology and train election judges to provide registration in all 303 precincts. “They should have done a cost study before implementing the law,” she said after presenting her figures to the county board’s finance committee Tuesday.

Full Article: Will county clerk: amend voter registration law - Daily Southtown.

Illinois: Cook County Clerk Lauds Signing Of Voter Rights Bill | Journal & Topics

About a year ago, Cook County Clerk David Orr penned an op-ed calling for a “voter registration renaissance” in Illinois. Many of the components of Orr’s “All In” plan, most notably Election Day registration and increased government agency registration, will become reality when signed into law Saturday (Jan. 10) by Gov. Pat Quinn. “It’s fitting that Gov. Quinn, a longtime champion of democracy, will sign a voting rights bill as one of his final acts,” Orr said. “We fought hard for a comprehensive package that will address year-round voter registration issues, which ultimately will enhance the accuracy of the voter rolls, increase participation and improve efficiency.” Orr commends SB 172 sponsors Speaker Michael Madigan, Leader Barbara Flynn Currie and Sen. Don Harmon, as well as President John Cullerton, for moving swiftly to adopt changes to modernize the state’s voter registration system. Orr also applauds the many voting rights groups who advocated for the changes.

Full Article: County Clerk Lauds Signing Of Voter Rights Bill - Journal & Topics Newspapers Online: News.

Illinois: Quinn signs election bills into law | Associated Press

Gov. Pat Quinn has signed two bills making changes to Illinois election law. One allows a 2016 special election to replace late Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, and the other makes permanent several changes voters saw in November’s election. Topinka died last month after winning a second term. There’s been disagreement about succession plans. Republican Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner says his appointee should stay in office for four years. He plans to name Republican businesswoman Leslie Munger. But lawmakers in the Democratic-controlled House and Senate approved the special election plan Thursday, which cuts Munger’s term to two years. Munger has said she’ll run in 2016.

Full Article: Quinn signs election bills into law - News - The State Journal-Register - Springfield, IL.

Colorado: More workers, training helped avoid delays in voting, registrars say | Journal Inquirer

Changes made by the registrars of voters after problems with long lines in the 2012 election successfully addressed problems, the registrars reported recently. There were “no major issues” in November’s voting, registrars said. Two years ago, the registrars office came under fire for not being prepared for the last presidential election when voters were forced to wait in line for hours.
That was the first election after 10 precincts had been consolidated into eight, with polling places at Washington and Nathan Hale schools dropped to reflect shifting legislative district boundaries.

Full Article: More workers, training helped avoid delays in voting, registrars say - Journal Inquirer: Page One.

Voting Blogs: Thousands of Americans use same-day registration this year | electionlineWeekly

You’ve all heard the story. The young couple in Chicago waiting hours to use the city’s new same-day registration system to register to vote and then finally casting their ballot just after 3 a.m. on November 5. What you most likely haven’t heard about are the thousands of Americans in other parts of Illinois, Connecticut, Colorado and nine other states and the District of Columbia that utilized same-day registration with little to no problem on November 4. While same-day registration took some well-publicized legislative and legal hits in Ohio and North Carolina recently, it is working and by many accounts working well in other jurisdictions. In fact, it’s working so well in Montana that the residents overwhelmingly defeated a referendum this November that would have eliminated that state’s election day registration.

Full Article: electionlineWeekly.

Illinois: Same-day voter registration on its way to becoming permanent in Illinois | UPI

The Illinois House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a bill that would make the voter registration process easier during a time when other states are coming under fire for tightening restrictions on voting. Illinois tried out a pilot program in the Nov. 4 election allowing voters to register on Election Day. Since then, the Illinois Senate passed legislation to make that program permanent and with a couple tweaks to the bill, the House gave its stamp of approval Wednesday. After the Senate OKs the amended legislation, it is expected Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn — who supported the pilot program — will sign the bill into law. 

Full Article: Same-day voter registration on its way to becoming permanent in Illinois - UPI.com.

Voting Blogs: Illinois Poised to Enact Sweeping Election Bill Including Election Day registration: What’s Next? | Election Academy

The Illinois Legislature has just approved sweeping election legislation (SB 172) that would make changes to just about every aspect of the state’s election process, including making the state’s pilot Election Day registration (EDR) program permanent. The bill is off to outgoing Governor Pat Quinn (D) for his expected signature, meaning that the state is about to see a wide variety of changes in when, where and how citizens register and cast their ballots. So what’s next? Here are a few things to watch:

+ The votes on the legislation were partisan, with Republican legislators resisting the notion that sweeping changes were necessary so soon after the 2014 election but before Quinn is replaced by Republican Bruce Rauner, who defeated him for re-election in November.

Full Article: Illinois Poised to Enact Sweeping Election Bill Including EDR: What's Next? - Election Academy.

Editorials: Texas should learn from states that led in voter turnout | Elaine Ayala/San Antonio Express-News

Secretaries of state across the country have begun to report their voting statistics, and the United States Elections Project out of George Mason University is eagerly awaiting them. It will be deep into January, however, before its analysis will be completed. Already, however, indications are that history has repeated itself — the states that historically have done the best job of getting voters to the polls were on top again. Think Oregon, South Dakota, Alaska, Wisconsin and Maine. Texas is expected to come in at the bottom again with one of the lowest voter participation rates in the country. What do the best voting states do? It’s not too surprising. They’re liberal in their openness, having instituted same-day registration, or voting by mail, or in one of the most interesting cases (North Dakota) no voter registration at all. These high-turnout states share some characteristics. They have higher educational and income levels. They’re whiter and older, and many of them have had highly competitive elections in which no one party dominates. They’re states that UTSA political scientist Patricia Jaramillo has called “moralistic states,” which encourage participation, as opposed to “traditionalistic individualist states” that don’t encourage voting beyond those already engaged.

Full Article: Texas should learn from states that led in voter turnout - San Antonio Express-News.