National: Voter registration deadlines could see more online glitches | Nolan D. McCaskill/Politico

A cut cable, an equipment failure at a data center, an online traffic overload that crashed a website — online voter registration systems have already had their share of snafus this election season, amid record-breaking registration totals in battleground states. With registration deadlines approaching in more than a dozen states, voting rights groups and party officials warn there could be more glitches on the horizon, resulting in the disenfranchisement of would-be voters. Registration deadlines were extended last week in Virginia and two weeks ago in Florida after web outages prevented residents from registering online for hours, prompting lawsuits from voting rights groups and even allegations of voter suppression. Jeanette Senecal, senior director of mission impact at the League of Women Voters, said other states should be taking the outages seriously because online systems in states across the country sometimes fail even on regular days. “It can also forecast problems with the state system to support their polling place finder or their ballot lookup or their voter verification system,” she warned. “All of these systems to tend to be connected to one another.”

Wisconsin: Judge sides with Democrats, re-opens online registration | Scott Bauer/Associated Press

A federal judge ordered that Wisconsin reinstate online voter registration to make it possible for more people to cast absentee ballots ahead of the April 7 presidential primary and spring election, handing Democrats who sought even broader changes in light of the coronavirus pandemic a partial victory. U.S. District Judge William Conley issued the ruling Friday night, just hours after both sides submitted written arguments. The state and national Democratic parties brought the lawsuit and were opposed by Republicans who control the state Legislature as well as the Wisconsin and national Republican parties. Under state law, the deadline for Wisconsin voters to register online to cast absentee ballots was Wednesday. But Conley ruled that the state must open online registration again because of disruptions to daily lives caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. The Wisconsin Elections Commission said in a statement late Friday night that it was working to comply with the court’s order and reopen online registration “as soon as we can make and test the changes to our systems. ”

Wisconsin: Democrats sue to extend deadlines for online voter registration and counting absentee ballots | Patrick Marley/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Democrats sued Wisconsin election officials Wednesday to extend absentee balloting for the April 7 presidential primary because the coronavirus pandemic has confined many people to their homes. The lawsuit by the Democratic National Committee and the state Democratic Party also seeks to drop a requirement that voters provide a copy of their photo ID when they request absentee ballots. The lawsuit is also aimed at giving people more time to use the web to register to vote — and to do so without providing proof of residence. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Madison, argues that some of Wisconsin’s voting laws should be set aside because the world is in the grip of a pandemic that has forced voters to stay at home.  “In this unprecedented situation, the regulatory scheme (for the election) has become hostile to voting rights and, as a direct result, thousands of Wisconsin voters are likely to be disenfranchised,” attorney Marc Elias wrote in his filing.

New Jersey: New Jersey will soon allow you to register to vote online | Brent Johnson and Matt Arco/NJ.com

Looking to register to vote in New Jersey? You will soon be able to do it online under a bill Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law Tuesday. The new law (S589) requires the Garden State’s secretary of state to create and maintain a secure website to allow eligible voters to register to vote using an online form. It takes effect in June. It’s the latest move Murphy and his fellow Democrats who control the state Legislature have made to open up voting in New Jersey. They have also expanding mail-in voting, made voter registration automatic when you apply for a driver’s license, and restored voting rights to people on probation and parole. New Jersey is the 38th state to institute online voter registration, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The District of Columbia also has it and Oklahoma is phasing in a similar program.

South Dakota: State House bill for online voter registration | Anderley Penwell/KOTA

A State House Bill has been introduced that would allow South Dakota voters to register to vote online. House Bill 1050 is sponsored by the Committee on Local Government at the request of the State Board of Elections. If passed, the county auditors will still be in charge of maintaining voter registration records in their respective counties and any eligible voter with a valid drivers license or state-issued ID card can register to vote through the online system.

Thailand: Enthusiasm crashes Thailand election website on first day of early-voting registration | The Straits Times

Thailand’s website for early-voting registration crashed on Monday (Jan 28) morning after a huge number of voters rushed to secure their balloting rights, leading to speculation that the upcoming election could see a high turnout. The March 24 poll will be the country’s first general election in seven years. Early voting this year will take place from March 4 to 17. The online registration opened after midnight on the website of the Department of Public Administration. But the website went down in the morning after too many voters tried to access the site at the same time. The Election Commission’s (EC) deputy secretary-general Nat Laosisavakul said the crash was due to a large number of people entering the website. The failure, in particular, affected those registering for overseas voting, he said.

New Jersey: Governor Wants to Give You Fewer Reasons Not to Vote | The New York Times

Ballots disqualified for dubious reasons. Hourslong wait times. Onerous identification requirements. Broken polling stations. The frustrations millions of people experienced during November’s midterm election have made voting rights a polarizing issue, thrusting it to the top of statehouse agendas across the country. While some states are wrestling with expanding voter access, others are seeking to further restrict access to the ballot under the guise of combating voter fraud, which is extremely rare. Now, in New Jersey, Gov. Philip D. Murphy, a Democrat, is pursuing a series of bills that would significantly expand access to the ballot for hundreds of thousands of voters. “The package of reforms in New Jersey would place the state at the forefront of the country in terms of voter access,” said Wendy R. Weiser, the director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice. The bills call for changes across the electoral spectrum: allowing online voter registration and early voting up to 30 days before an election; same-day voter registration; permitting those on parole and probation to vote; and making 17-year-olds who turn 18 by the general election eligible to vote in party primaries.

Texas: 5th Circuit temporarily blocks online voter registration for Texas drivers | The Texas Tribune

Texas will not be required to meet a 45-day deadline to implement online voter registration for drivers — for now. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday temporarily blocked a lower court ruling that mandated a voter registration system that would allow drivers to register to vote when they renew their driver’s licenses online. The requirement was part of U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia’s ruling that Texas was violating a federal voter registration law — also known as the “Motor Voter Act” — that’s meant to ease the voter registration process.

Ireland: Online voter registration proposed | Irish Examiner

An online voter registration system to make voting more user friendly is being proposed by the Government. The new register would be anonymous and people would be identified only by a number in order to protect victims of domestic violence and stalking. “If somebody has a barring order for domestic violence against their husband or wife, we don’t want the electoral register to be accessible when it is a public document, that somebody can go on — or a stalker —and see where their potential victims are living,” said minister of state for local government and electoral reform, John Paul Phelan.

Florida: ‘A mess’: Florida’s online voter-registration system panned | Politico

As a hurricane threatened Florida, Gov. Rick Scott balked at extending Tuesday’s voter registration deadline for a week as Democrats want, in part because the state has an online system to sign up new voters. But thousands of Floridians have told some elections supervisors in recent days that the system isn’t working — despite claims from the state that the problems had been fixed and that the effort has been “immensely successful.” “A mess!” Palm Beach County Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher told POLITICO by email. Florida Democrats are suing Scott’s secretary of state, Ken Detzner, in federal court to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline, which is Tuesday, for at least a week due to the approach of Hurricane Michael.

Michigan: House approves online voter registration | Detroit Free Press

With just more than a month to go before the Nov. 6 general election, the Michigan House of Representatives unanimously approved a package of bills Wednesday that will allow people to register to vote online. While the Senate still needs to concur on technical changes made to the bills, the legislation is expected to go into effect next year and be ready before the next presidential election in 2020.

Texas: Thousands of Texas voter registration applications filed using online tool could be invalid | Dallas Morning News

More than 2,000 Texans who registered to vote using an online tool provided by a California nonprofit could be in for a rude awakening on Election Day — they are not, in fact, officially registered. In September, vote.org, which uses technology to increase voter turnout and bring more people into the political process, rolled out the tool to help Texans register for the November election. It was available in Dallas, Bexar, Cameron and Travis counties ahead of Tuesday’s registration deadline. Applications began rolling in, even from outside those four counties. But on Monday, the office of the secretary of state, the top elections administrator, told the nonprofit the applications submitted through it weren’t valid because they didn’t have original signatures. 

Singapore: Electronic voter registration on the cards for next General Election | TODAYonline

The Elections Department (ELD) plans to introduce electronic voter registration at the next General Election (GE), with a tender to procure the necessary equipment set to be called later this year. This comes after the Government previously announced plans to pilot e-registration at a few constituencies during the Presidential Election last September. But the effort did not materialise as there was no contest. Responding to TODAY’s queries, an ELD spokesperson said on Tuesday (Sept 11): “If all goes according to plan, we intend to implement this across all polling stations at the next GE.”

Tennessee: Election site is not allowing naturalized citizens to register to vote | Daily Dot

On Friday, a 30-year-old culinary student and Nigerian immigrant in Nashville, Tennessee, attempted to update her voter registration information so that she could vote in the state’s upcoming primaries. The woman, Funmilayo Ekundayo, had voted in two previous elections, so updating her registration should have been routine. But after getting through the second step of Tennessee’s multistep online voter registration system, which rolled out in 2017, Ekundayo was told by the website that records showed she was “not a citizen of the United States.” It was just days before Tennessee’s July 3 deadline to vote in the August primaries.

Ireland: Online voter registration system to deal with dead voters and multiple votes | The Irish Times

Online registration for voters is to be introduced, the Department of Local Government has said. The online system will use a “single identifier” which is most likely to be an individual’s Personal Public Service (PPS) number. It is expected to take two to three years to implement and will replace 23 different forms with one form for registration. The array of forms currently include change of address, the supplementary registration and various postal voting forms. Minister of State John Paul Phelan said the voter registration problem was the biggest issue that continually arose in elections and referendums; that “people are registered in multiple places because they’ve moved houses and also the continuation of people being on registers years after they’ve passed away”.

United Kingdom: Electronic voter registration opens in Northern Ireland | BBC

People in Northern Ireland can now register online to vote. Those not currently on the electoral roll will be able to input their details in a process which takes a few minutes, the chief electoral officer has said. Electronic voter registration was introduced in all other parts of the UK in 2014. Up to now in Northern Ireland, paper forms had to be filled out and returned to a local election office.

United Kingdom: Online voter registration to be introduced in Northern Ireland | Belfast Telegraph

From the 18th June people in Northern Ireland will be able to register to vote online. The new service is being introduced by the Electoral Office to make the registration process easier for the public. … Sinn Fein deputy leader Michelle O’Neill welcomed the news. “Online registration was introduced in Britain a number of years ago and it is Sinn Féin’s view there was an unjustifiable delay in extending it to the north. I want to commend the efforts of Francie Molloy MP and Colm Gildernew MLA in lobbying to end the delay in rolling out the scheme in the north.”

Texas: 5th Circuit temporarily blocks online voter registration for Texas drivers | The Texas Tribune

Texas will not be required to meet a 45-day deadline to implement online voter registration for drivers — for now. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday temporarily blocked a lower court ruling that mandated a voter registration system that would allow drivers to register to vote when they renew their driver’s licenses online. The requirement was part of U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia’s ruling that Texas was violating a federal voter registration law — also known as the “Motor Voter Act” — that’s meant to ease the voter registration process.

Texas: How a federal lawsuit could open the door to online voter registration in Texas | The Texas Tribune

From Jacquelyn Callanen’s perch in the Bexar County elections office, the period following Texas’ voter registration deadlines is best described as a paper tsunami. Some of it arrives by mail. Some stacks are delivered by volunteer voter registrars. The secretary of state’s office sends over a handful of boxes filled to the brim. No matter the carrier, last-minute drives to register people by the 30-day deadline ahead of each election typically leave local elections offices with a surge of work. To make sure prospective voters make it onto the rolls in time for Election Day, county offices have to hire temporary workers to help thumb through and process tens of thousands of voter registration cards and applications. “We hope and pray that all the cards are filled out completely,” Callanen said.

Guam: Voter registration online or at DMV debated | KUAM

The Guam Legislature and the Guam Election Commission want to give residents a chance to kill two birds with one stone at the Department of Revenue & Taxation. Talks of automatic voter registration were up for discussion at today’s Mayors Council of Guam meeting. Both parties are hoping to gain support from local village mayors in their effort. Senator Regine Biscoe Lee and GEC Director Maria Pangelinan made an appearance before the Mayor’s Council special meeting today to discuss an important topic of the year – voter registration.

New York: Board of Elections To Roll Out ‘Electronically Assisted’ Voter Registration | Gotham Gazette

New York’s voting and registration laws have long been derided as onerous and needlessly restrictive, falling far behind most other states that have implemented modern methods to register and cast a vote. While significant changes to state election laws are being debated in Albany ahead of a new state budget, the New York City Board of Elections may improve, albeit incrementally, people’s access to the ballot by soon providing digital aid to register to vote. The Board of Elections, a quasi-state agency funded by the city, is set to roll out a new website in the coming months which will provide New Yorkers with an “electronically assisted way” to fill out a voter registration form and an absentee ballot application, according to BOE Executive Director Michael Ryan, who testified at a budget hearing of the City Council’s Committee on Governmental Operations on Monday. The two electronic forms would still have to be printed and either mailed to the BOE or delivered in person, in accordance with current state law.

Michigan: Online voter registration gets overwhelming support in state Senate | Detroit Free Press

People would be able to register to vote online under a package of bills passed by the state Senate on Thursday by an overwhelming bipartisan majority. Michigan residents who have driver’s licenses or state identification cards would be able to take advantage of the online registration. The bills, which passed on 35-1 votes in the Senate, were touted as a nod to the advances of technology and a convenience for Michiganders, by state Sen. Steve Bieda, D-Warren.

Michigan: Online voter registration plan on the move in Michigan Legislature | Detroit News

Michigan residents with a valid identification card could register to vote online under advancing legislation backed by Republican Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, who argued the proposal would improve existing processes without jeopardizing security. The Senate Elections Committee unanimously approved the five-bill package Thursday morning after grilling Johnson on anti-hacking protocols, sending it to the floor for consideration. A House panel debated similar legislation later Thursday but did not immediately vote on the measure. The online system “would safeguard and add great efficiency to one of the most significant, fundamental rights of Democracy: one citizen, one vote,” Johnson told lawmakers. “This legislation would give me one more tool in my toolbox to improve technology, service and to keep our elections secure.”

New Hampshire: Online Voter Registration in New Hampshire? Secretary of State’s Open to Studying It | NHPR

New Hampshire is one of about a dozen remaining states that doesn’t allow online voter registration — but a bill introduced this year could change that. Similar proposals surfaced in 2016 and 2017, but neither gained traction — in part, because they lacked buy-in from the Secretary of State’s office. Now, Deputy Secretary of State Dave Scanlan said they’re open to the idea, but they want the proposal to go through a study committee for more consideration first.

Idaho: Secretary of State launches online voter registration | Associated Press

Idahoans can now register to vote online for the first time. Secretary of State Lawerence Denney announced Tuesday that the move will offer convenience to voters and cut down administrative work for county election officials. “Today, Idahoans can not only find out things like where to vote, whether they are registered to vote, or whether the county has received their absentee ballot, but also register to vote online,” Denney said. Online registration requires voters, who would have to have a state-issued ID, to fill out an electronic application that is then sent to state elections officials for validation. The Idaho Transportation Department will provide digital copies of voter signatures from state-issued driver’s licenses to become part of the voter registration database.

Florida: New online voter registration a great tool, elections officials say | Orlando Sentinel

Most people do just about everything online today. They pay their bills. They make hotel reservations and file their income tax returns. Now, residents can use their computers to register to vote or change their party affiliation as Florida recently joined 35 other states and the District of Columbia to offer online voter registration. Central Florida elections officials are lauding the online service as a “great tool” that will encourage more people to sign up to vote and improve the accuracy of voter rolls. “The online voter registration process has opened the door to a lot of folks who have not previously registered to vote,” said Michael Ertel, Seminole County Supervisor of Elections. “When I first registered to vote back in the late ’80s, I had to take a forward step. I had to go to the supervisor of elections office. Since that time, elections offices have come to the voters.”

New York: Online Voter Registration on Verge of Passage in New York City | Gotham Gazette

As New York State’s archaic election and voting laws continue to dampen voter turnout, the New York City Council is about to take a step to encourage participation. The City Council’s governmental operations committee will vote on Tuesday, November 14 to approve a bill allowing online voter registration for city residents, Council Member Ben Kallos, chair of the committee, told Gotham Gazette on Thursday. The bill is then expected to pass the full City Council on Thursday. “With the historic low in turnout on Tuesday, online voter registration will be an essential tool to help more residents become voters,” Kallos said in a phone interview, referring to the 22 percent of registered voters who showed up to the polls to vote for mayor. Following the committee vote, the bill will head to the Council floor for a vote at its next stated meeting, he said.

Florida: Online voter registration form may violate law that created it, elections chief says | Sun Sentinel

Florida’s new online voter registration form violates the very state law that created it, Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher said Tuesday. “The law requires no differences [between in-person registration and] online,” Bucher told the Palm Beach Legislative Delegation. “But in the online program, voters must provide their exact name from the Department of Highway Safety and the last four digits of their Social Security number, and the date of issuance [of their driver’s license].” In-person registrants can provide either their Social Security number or their driver’s license number but do not need to supply both. With much fanfare, the Florida Department of State debuted online voter registration at the beginning of October. The online registration system was created under a bill passed by the Florida Legislature in 2015. That bill was filed by state Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, a member of the Palm Beach Legislative Delegation.

South Africa: IEC goes online to capture voter addresses | ITWeb

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has turned to technology to support its efforts to capture the addresses of over 26 million registered voters before 30 June 2018. In 2016, the Constitutional Court ordered the IEC to correctly capture the addresses of all registered voters on the voters’ roll before the 2019 general elections. Yesterday, the IEC unveiled MyIEC, an online portal that allows South African voters to submit or update their registration details when they have changed address or when there has been a change in their identity number. … The implementation of online systems in relation to the democratic voting process often brings up concerns of security, especially where citizens’ sensitive information is concerned.