Efforts to improve election administration and address the long lines that greeted voters on Election Day shifted to Capitol Hill on Thursday as House and Senate lawmakers unveiled related bills. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., introduced legislation that would establish a competitive-grant program within the Justice Department to provide states with incentives to improve their voting processes. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., quickly pledged to co-sponsor the bill, citing the “embarrassment” that long lines caused Virginia last week. “In Prince William County, folks waited for up to three hours. In Chesapeake, Va., folks waited up to four hours. It was remarkable that it was five days after the fact before we even knew the results in Florida,” Warner said on the Senate floor.Full Article: Democrats Propose Speeding Up Voting : Roll Call News.
no-excuse absentee voting
Voting Blogs: Non-Retrogression, Equal Protection, and Ohio’s Early Voting Case | Election Law @ Moritz
The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has set an expedited briefingschedule in the Obama campaign’s case over early voting in Ohio. The state’s brief is due this coming Monday (9/10), with Obama’s response a week later (9/17), and the state’s reply (if any) the Friday of that same week (9/21). As this appellate process gets underway, I wish to make one observation about an innovative and intriguing aspect of the federal district court’s unexpected order, issued last Friday. (In separate development, the district court has ordered Ohio’s Secretary of State Jon Husted to appear at a hearing next Thursday (9/20) to explain his response to the court’s Friday order.) The district court ruled that the state must restore for Ohio’s entire electorate the three days of early voting immediately preceding the traditional Election Day. These three days existed in 2008 and more recently, until taken away in 2011 by a convoluted series of legislative enactments (combined with some implementing directives from the Secretary of State). The district court did not base its ruling on the ground that these three days of early voting are constitutionally compelled. Rather, the court relied on the ground that the state had left open the possibility that these three days of early voting would be available only to military voters this year, and that the state did not have an adequate justification for differentiating among military and non-military voters in this way. (For further details on the court’s ruling, see my colleague Steve Huefner’s insightful analysis from the day of the district court decision.)Full Article: Election Law @ Moritz (Commentary: Non-Retrogression, Equal Protection, and Ohio’s Early Voting Case).
Connecticut: Constitutional Amendment on No Excuse Absentee Ballots Goes To Voters Now | Courant.com
The Senate on Wednesday approved a rare Constitutional amendment that would make it much easier to vote by absentee ballot, requiring no reason or excuse at all. The measure, if passed by voters in a statewide referendum in November 2014, would remove all restrictions on obtaining absentee ballots, which are currently granted under certain circumstances such as being away at college or being disabled. The House has already approved the measure. The Senate voted 21-14 in favor of the amendment on a party-line vote. One Democratic senator, Edith Prague of Columbia, was absent. Sen. Gayle Slossberg, a Milford Democrat who co-chairs the legislative committee that oversees elections, said the move would open up voting for more citizens who arrive home too late to cast a ballot by the time the polls close at 8 p.m. “This is important to commuters,” Slossberg said.Full Article: Constitutional Amendment on Absentee Ballots Goes To Voters Now - Courant.com.