The Democratic Party of Virginia is seeking a preliminary injunction to stop the State Board of Elections and the commonwealth’s 132 local registrars from purging names from their voter registration lists. The move, less than a month before statewide elections, comes ahead of the Oct. 15 deadline to register to vote. A judge will hear the injunction request Oct. 18 in U.S. District Court in Alexandria. The purge list of 57,000 voters — broken down by locality and provided to local registrars by the State Board of Elections — is “replete with errors” and includes thousands of voters who reside in Virginia and who are lawfully registered to vote, according to a memorandum filed late last week in support of the Democratic Party’s motion. The State Board of Elections said in a statement that it is required by federal law to “conduct list maintenance activities to ensure the accuracy of the voter rolls.” It says it does not cancel voters by itself but directs local registrars to “carefully review all data” to ensure it properly cancels registrations.Full Article: Chesterfield registrar delays purge of voter rolls - Richmond Times-Dispatch: Chesterfield County.
Hundreds of thousands of inactive Wisconsin voters have been removed from local voting rolls as government officials undergo regular maintenance. More than 220,000 voters were removed in May by the Government Accountability Board, the nonpartisan agency tasked with overseeing the state’s elections and campaign finance laws. “Local clerks have recorded who all voted in November, and who didn’t. We can see who hasn’t voted in the last four years, and those people get postcards,” said Reid Magney, a GAB spokesman. If voters didn’t respond to the postcard mailed to their address, they are listed as inactive voters and removed from local voting rolls. The GAB conducts this regular maintenance of voting rolls during odd-numbered years after a presidential or gubernatorial election.Full Article: Inactive voters removed from polling lists | The Marshfield News-Herald | marshfieldnewsherald.com.
The governor is expected to sign a measure into law that would redefine how elections in Colorado are run, allowing same-day voter registration and having ballots mailed to all registered voters. Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper is expected to sign the Democrat-sponsored bill Friday, according to two people working closely with the measure. They asked to remain anonymous because an official announcement had not been made. The bill passed with unanimous support from Democrats, but not a single Republican voted for it, citing concerns about voter fraud with same-day registration. Republicans also argued the measure would be a game-changer for future elections, and some called the measure the most important of the session that was packed with contentious legislation.Full Article: AP NewsBreak: Colorado elections bill being signed - The Denver Post.
Secretary of State Scott Gessler has won the latest but perhaps not the last battle over whether ballots should be mailed to inactive voters. Denver District Court Judge Michael Martinez sided with Gessler, who adopted a rule last year blocking clerks from automatically sending mail ballots to inactive voters in city and school board elections in a suit brought by Denver Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson. Martinez said Denver’s status as a home-rule county did not exempt it from following state election rules. “I think it’s fundamentally an equal-treatment issue,” Gessler said. “The rules and provisions El Paso County uses needs to be the same ones that Denver uses. … You can’t have one county, for instance, that wants to leave the polls open for an hour and another that leaves them open for 20.”Full Article: Judge tosses Denver clerk's inactive voter suit against Scott Gessler - The Denver Post.
Colorado Democrats are planning sweeping changes to how elections are run in the state, to the dismay of Republican leaders who say they’ve been excluded from crafting a bill that that would allow same-day voter registration and require mailed ballots to every eligible voter. A bill of more than 100 pages is expected to be introduced this week, likely sparking a big partisan fight over whether the changes benefit one party over the other. Supporters of the changes, which also include eliminating the so-called “inactive voter” status, say the goal is to make voting more accessible. “I think people are like me, they just want people engaged in the Democratic process,” said Democratic Sen. Angela Giron, one of the bill sponsors. She insisted they didn’t exclude Republicans from the process. Republican Secretary of State Scott Gessler, who oversees elections and has butted heads with Democrats on a range of issues, said the bill was “written in complete secrecy excluding anyone who may have a different point of view.”Full Article: Colo. Democrats push for big election changes - The Denver Post.
Many people who turned up to cast their vote on Saturday were surprised to find out they were one of 240,000 West Australians that were not listed on the electoral roll, prompting the WA Electoral Commission to look to other states for a solution. WA Electoral Commissioner Warwick Gately said while the commission often contacted people at what were believed to be their new addresses, the onus was for voters to respond and provide their details so they could be enrolled. Some people simply chose not to turn up, despite voting being compulsory. Mr Gately said a solution which had been picked up in New South Wales, was to enrol people automatically as a result of change of address information supplied to government departments. For this to happen, legislative change is required.Full Article: Electoral Commission bids for change | Bunbury Mail.
State elections officials removed about 52,000 inactive voters from Louisiana’s voter rolls after November’s presidential election, according to new secretary of state office statistics. State Elections Commissioner Angie Rogers said election laws require the purge of voter registration rolls once every two years or so, to remove the names of people who have not voted in the past two federal elections or any state or local race during that time period. “They have never voted in any state or federal election,” Rogers said. “They are obviously not here or don’t want to vote.”Full Article: State removes names of inactive voters | Home | The Advocate — Baton Rouge, LA.
A Colorado state district court judge on Monday ruled that state law allows county clerks the authority to send ballots to “inactive failed to vote” voters in mail-in-only elections. The decision comes in a case where Secretary of State Scott Gessler sued Denver County Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson in 2011 for sending mail ballots to such so-called “inactive” voters. District Court Judge Edward D. Bronfin ruled against Gessler — an election-law attorney — saying that Johnson’s interpretation of the law is correct and that clerks statewide are permitted to mail ballots to inactive voters.Full Article: Colorado judge denies Scott Gessler on "inactive voters" lawsuit - The Denver Post.
The voting rights of thousands of Colorado citizens were protected today as a state district court judge blocked Secretary of State Scott Gessler’s controversial interpretation of Colorado’s mail ballot election law. Under Sec. Gessler’s reading of the law, county clerks could not mail ballots in elections conducted only by mail to voters who did not vote in the most recent general election. In effect, thousands of eligible voters — including many longtime voters — would not be able to vote unless they jumped through new and burdensome hurdles. Colorado election law gives counties the option of conducting certain elections by mail. In these elections, there are no traditional polling places; instead, citizens vote by mailing in ballots sent to them by county election administrators. Just before the November 2011 election, Sec. Gessler issued an order prohibiting counties from mailing ballots to voters who did not vote in the last general election (2010). These voters, so called “inactive-failed to vote” voters, could only be sent mail ballots if they submitted to a confusing and burdensome administrative process to “reactivate” their status by effectively re-registering to vote.Full Article: Colorado Victory: Judge Rules for Voting Rights | Brennan Center for Justice.
Arizona’s largest counties plan to ask lawmakers for authority to purge some inactive voters from the permanent early-voting list in an effort to decrease the number of provisional ballots cast in future elections. Nearly half of Arizona voters who cast provisional ballots at the polls in the 2012 general election were asked to do so because they previously had signed up for permanent early voting, meaning ballots already had been sent to them in the mail, according to The Arizona Republic’s analysis of statewide election data. In Maricopa County, the state’s largest, more than 59,000 voters who signed up for early voting nonetheless showed up at the polls to cast ballots on Election Day, according to county elections data. Some county elections officials hope to see statutory changes that would allow them to evaluate whether certain voters on the permanent early-voting list should remain there.Full Article: Arizona counties eye early-voting list overhaul.
Colorado’s county clerks have gotten off to an early start lobbying the legislature for election reforms after the previous session in which several proposals were killed during a divisive election year. The County Clerks Association met with lawmakers on Monday for an informational session to outline several proposals ranging from an all-mail ballot delivery system to shortening voter registration deadlines and eliminating contention surrounding mailing ballots to inactive voters. “Our goal today is to start a conversation on providing convenient, transparent and legal elections,” Donetta Davidson, former secretary of state and current executive director of the Colorado County Clerks Association, told the small group of lawmakers. Several of the legislators represented members of the House and Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs committees, which will likely be the first committees to see the bills. “Obviously accessibility and integrity is one of the issues; balancing those and making sure we meet those,” continued Davidson.Full Article: Legislators hear concerns of county clerks | Colorado Statesman.
Colorado: Scott Gessler, Colorado’s ‘honey badger,’ may be most closely watched election official | The Washington Post
Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler has a deeply partisan past, a dedicated cadre of supporters, a long list of enemies, a colorful nickname bestowed by liberal detractors and a Web site dedicated to “watching” him. The scrutiny will only get more intense between now and November as the “honey badger of Colorado politics” — a reference to the ferocious, fearless animal — presides over voting in a battleground state that could help decide the presidency. Gessler may be the most closely watched election official in the country, heightened by Colorado’s prominence, his ready-to-rumble personality and a series of loud disputes with what he has termed the “angry left.”Full Article: Scott Gessler, Colorado’s ‘honey badger,’ may be most closely watched election official - The Washington Post.
Denver Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson on Wednesday sued Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler, challenging a rule from his office to block ballots from being mailed to inactive voters in city and school board elections. “The election rules adopted in August by the Colorado secretary of state prohibiting the mailing of ballots to inactive-failed-to-vote voters in nonpartisan and coordinated elections infringes on Denver’s status as a home rule city and county,” Johnson said in a statement. “We believe that the secretary of state is overstepping his authority by trying to control who gets ballots in local municipal elections.Full Article: Denver clerk sues Gessler over mailing ballots to inactive voters - The Denver Post.
Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler is disputing Democratic allegations that state residents are being stripped from voting rolls without adequate notice. He said the state, as required by state and federal law, checks voting rolls against other databases and puts people who have moved outside their parishes on an inactive list. The state sends two separate postcards to the address listed on the voting rolls, allowing a voter who was incorrectly made inactive to correct the record and return to active voting status, Schedler said. Voters can also correct the record by filling out an online form. Even if inactive voters don’t respond to the postcards and show up to vote on Election Day, they can still cast ballots by certifying they still live at their original addresses.Full Article: Louisiana secretary of state defends inactive-voter list | NOLA.com.
The postcards by the Secretary of State’s office that Dianna Duran said are designed to clean the voter rolls of inactive voters and those who have moved are reaching at least some who do not fit either definition. And those who have received them say they are confusing. The mailers say in bold letters, “Confirmation of Voter Registration” and, “Please detach complete and return this postcard no later than Oct 9, 2012.” In smaller letters below, the postcard says: If this card is not returned and you do not vote in any election from the date of this notice through the November, 2014 general election, your name will be removed from the voter registration list. And the postcards are causing confusion over whether or not the recipients have to reply to the postcards to be eligible to vote.Full Article: Voter purge postcards sent to active voters | New Mexico Telegram.
Colorado: Gessler’s proposed changes to election rules draw heated objections | The Colorado Independent
Over the course of a five-hour rulemaking hearing Monday, Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler probably got the message that a lot of people are unhappy with proposed rules that would stop county clerks from mailing ballots to inactive voters in some elections, change the way canvass boards are selected and give county clerks more power to determine how much access election watchers have. About 40 people signed up to testify at this week’s hearing; nearly all of them spoke in opposition to one or more of Gessler’s proposed rule changes, which covered three general areas. “It was pretty much all opposition,” commented Luis Toro, executive director of Colorado Ethics Watch, who did not speak. “I don’t think it (the opposition) will change anything, though,” he said. The rules, (pdf) either as presented by Gessler or as revised by his office as a result of the hearing and written testimony, could go into effect as early as Monday, at Gessler’s discretion.Full Article: Gessler’s proposed changes to election rules draw heated objections | The Colorado Independent.
Information circulating via mass emails stating that voters who have not voted since the 2008 General Election must re-register to vote 25 days prior to Election Day Nov. 6, 2012 in order to be eligible to vote is false. The State Board of Elections addressed the rumors in a news release Monday. According to the SBE, there is “absolutely no requirement to re-register in Virginia.” Voters are not removed from the rolls solely for the reason of not voting. Because of the questions raised in the mass emails, it is recommended that voters check their registration status to ensure it is current.Full Article: State Board of Elections debunks re-registration rumor.
After the Shelby County Election Commission purged more than 30,000 inactive voter records, voters are concerned about whether their votes will count this August. “Why all of a sudden that thirty two thousand voters records are purged from Shelby County in the last five months,” asked concerned voter Kermit Moore. At the main library in Memphis Saturday, State Representative G.A. Hardaway hosted a voter’s right’s forum. Richard Holden Administrator of Elections explained voters who haven’t been to the polls in 8 years were removed from their system. “We want every vote to be counted and not to be lost,” said Holden, “even those that have been purged, if they’re still alive and still in Shelby County can re register by simply submitting an application by Tuesday.”Full Article: Shelby County elections facing changes in August - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee.
Denver officials and Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler are positioning for another fight over when the clerk’s office may mail ballots to inactive voters — a battle that could have ramifications for the November presidential election. Late last week, Gessler’s office proposed a new rule it says clarifies that clerks may not mail ballots to inactive voters in a “coordinated” election, or an election held simultaneously with another political entity. The issue took on new significance this week, when Denver Public Schools announced it could ask voters in November for a $500 million property tax increase. That would make Nov. 6 a coordinated election in Denver, reopening the debate over whether Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson may mail ballots to inactive voters — who are overwhelmingly Democrats and unaffiliated.Full Article: Denver clerk Johnson, Secretary of State Gessler reignite ballot fight - The Denver Post.
State elections officials and lawyers for Democratic plaintiffs in a voter purge lawsuit have agreed to ask a federal judge to appoint a special master to look into missing voter files. The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports the request is being made as part of a lawsuit filed against the state by former Democratic U.S. Rep. Lincoln Davis, who says he was wrongfully kept from voting in the state’s presidential primary in March. Plaintiffs’ attorney George Barrett told the paper that the two sides have agreed to ask U.S. District Judge Kevin Sharp to appoint the special master to investigate claims that 11,000 voters’ records contain partial or completely blank voting histories. “We’ve asked the court to appoint a special master to investigate those facts and see what happened, if anything,” Barrett said.Full Article: Special master sought in missing voter files case » Knoxville News Sentinel.