Pew

Tag Archive

National: Study: U.S. voters face shorter waits, but voting methods are changing | Atlanta Journal Constitution

New data from the 2014 midterm elections show a vast majority of national voters waited 10 minutes or less to cast their ballot, while a surprising number of people who requested mail ballots either didn’t vote or returned their ballot in ways other than by mail. In short, states have gotten better at getting voters in and out of the polls quickly. But with mail voting increasing in popularity, both voters and election officials still face planning challenges when it comes to absentee and mailed ballots. The report from the Pew Charitable Trusts comes as the nonpartisan research and public policy organization readies a comprehensive review of how each state fared during the 2014 election. That “elections performance index” is due out at the beginning of next year, ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

Full Article: Study: U.S. voters face shorter waits, but voting methods are... | www.ajc.com.

National: Record number of Americans can register online, vote early | Associated Press

Oh, how times have changed since the days of punch card ballots and hanging chads. Come 2016 when the nation picks its next president, a record number of Americans will have the option of registering online and voting early. That has some people warning of voter fraud, while others are celebrating the flexibility as a way to make sure more people are heard on Election Day. “This year has been a good year for opening access,” said Dale Ho, director of the American Civil Liberties Union voting rights project. But “these things can turn on a dime as long as partisans detect ways to gain advantage by changing the rules.” Among the biggest change next year: more voters will be able to go online to register to vote, according to data released Wednesday by the Pew Charitable Trusts, a nonpartisan public policy group.

Full Article: Record number of Americans can register online, vote early - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com.

Voting Blogs: New Pew Report Chronicles Trends in OVR Nationwide | Election Academy

Online voter registration is increasingly in the news, as more and more states enact laws allowing eligible citizens to register or update their records. Too often, though, the discussion of what happens after enactment – when OVR goes from requirement to reality – gets lost in the back-and-forth over the political impact of registration reforms. That’s why it’s so important that the elections team at The Pew Charitable Trusts has released a new report entitled Online Voter Registration: Trends in development and implementation. The report, which Pew calls a “brief,” lives up to its name by packing an incredible about of information into 12 pages.

Full Article: New Pew Report Chronicles Trends in OVR Nationwide - Election Academy.

National: New Survey Highlights the 2014 Voting Experience | Pew Charitable Trusts

A nationwide study of voters’ experiences during November’s midterm federal election found that approximately 40 percent of respondents cast their ballots early or by mail. The 2014 Survey of the Performance of American Elections (SPAE)—conducted by Charles Stewart III, the Kenan Sahin distinguished professor of political science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts—surveyed more than 10,000 registered voters nationwide. Among the findings:

  • 41 percent of voters cast ballots before Election Day.
    o 16 percent voted early in person or in-person absentee.
    o 25 percent voted by mail.
    o 59 percent voted in person on Election Day.
Full Article: New Survey Highlights the 2014 Voting Experience.

Texas: House Lawmakers Debate Online Voter Registration | Texas Public Radio

A committee of House lawmakers heard the reasons why the state of Texas would be better served with an online voter registration system, but some groups remain skeptical about the possibility of voter fraud. As of April, 19 states offer online voter registration. Last legislative session Texas came very close to passing their own version but it was not added the calendar for a final vote. In this period between sessions, lawmakers are re-considering the same thing. David Becker is with the Pew Research Group and testified how this is working in other states. He said online voter registration reduces incidents of voter fraud because there is not a third party involved. “Another big advantage of online registration is its accuracy, because voters are directly putting their information in you get a lot less data entry errors. All of that is going to be correct and often checked against the motor vehicles data base,” Becker said.

Full Article: House Lawmakers Debate Online Voter Registration | Texas Public Radio.

National: Get Ready for the Datapalooza of Election Performance! | American Prospect

During the brief time in the election cycle when the voting booths are actually open, we hear a lot how smoothly elections are going—where voters are waiting in long lines, where ballots are getting rejected, and the like. Elections expert Doug Chapin, who heads the University of Minnesota’s Elections Academy, calls it “anec-data”—anecdotes substituting for hard numbers.  In a presidential election, we tend to hear all about problems in swing states, since the national press corps is already there, but we’re less likely to hear about issues in Montana or Connecticut, where the election outcome is almost a foregone conclusion. Good data would make it easy to compare states’ election performance, and more importantly, let us see how states are improving or declining from one election to the next. That’s why Pew’s 2012 Elections Performance Index is a big deal. Released this week, the index uses standardized data from the U.S. Census, the Elections Assistance Commission, and a major survey to assess states on 17 different variables and judge just how well they are running their elections. Because Pew offered an index for 2008 and 2010, we can now compare two different presidential elections to actually see whether election administration is getting better or worse—rather than just guess. It’s the first time such a tool has been available. For the most part, the results are encouraging. A quick perusal shows 40 of the 50 states have improved since 2008—wait times are down an average of three minutes and online registration is spreading quickly, with 13 states offering online voter registration during the 2012 election, up from just two in 2008. (Since the election, another five states have started offering it.) Many of the top-performing states in 2008, like North Dakota, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Colorado, stayed on top in 2012 while low performers, like Mississippi, Alabama, California, and New York remained at the bottom.

Full Article: Get Ready for the Datapalooza of Election Performance!.

Pennsylvania: Voter ID Law Faces Lawsuit From ACLU | Stateline

The fierce battle over Pennsylvania’s voter ID law goes to trial on Monday in a state courtroom in Harrisburg. The legal fight began with a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania and other groups in May 2012. A state judge temporarily blocked the voter ID law from affecting Election Day 2012, but only after the state Supreme Court intervened. The Pennsylvania ACLU argues the voter ID law is unconstitutional because it infringes on the right to vote and could disenfranchise voters.

Full Article: Pennsylvania Voter ID Law Faces Lawsuit From ACLU -- Stateline.

Voting Blogs: Measuring Elections: Data, Not Anecdotes | The Canvass

Anecdotes are illustrative, evocative and memorable—and a staple of election policy debates. Just think back to February’s State of the Union Address, when President Obama introduced Desiline Victor, the Floridian who waited six hours to vote. The President was illustrating why he created a bipartisan election commission. But anecdotes make a weak foundation for public policy. Instead, “evidence-based management” is underpinning all kinds of government services these days, whether the topic is health care, transportation, criminal justice, education or election administration. For election administration, finding “evidence” is tricky. Every state, and frequently every jurisdiction, conducts elections differently, making comparisons difficult. Data is not gathered uniformly nationwide as it is in many other government arenas. Election costs are hard to track because they’re borne by several levels of government. You get the idea—it is hard to get facts and figures to support election evaluation.

Full Article: The Canvass March 2013.

Voting Blogs: Supposing is Good, But Finding Out is Better (cont.): Pew on Lines in 2012 | Election Academy

I spent the last couple of days with my old friends at Pew, who hosted the Voting in America 2012 conference in Washington, DC. There was a TON of good content – you can watch the first day’s activities via archived video on CSPAN3, or searching on the (very active!) Twitter hashtag #VIA2012. Early on day one, Charles Stewart of MIT presented preliminary data on the Survey of the Performance of American Elections (SPAE), which once again asked voters about their voting experiences in 2012. Here’s Pew’s summary of the results.

Full Article: Supposing is Good, But Finding Out is Better (cont.): Pew on Lines in 2012 - Election Academy.

Voting Blogs: Early Indicators on Voters Blocked by ID Requirements | The Thicket

One of the big questions in the elections arena is, how many people who want to vote don’t have an ID?  So far, the answers to this question have been partial, theoretical or politically calculated.  NCSL does not have the “right” answer, either, but we can offer three distinct data points that may have value to election officials or researchers as we approach the presidential election. In Michigan, where the photo voter ID law permits people to sign an affidavit in lieu of presenting an ID, 2,651 people did just that during the February 28 presidential primary election. That was out of 1,216,310 votes cast, or 0.22 percent. The Secretary of State collected the data on affidavits so his agency would have a clear understanding of how the affidavit is used.  Michigan HB 5061, which would put a reporting requirement on the use of affidavits in statute (among other elections-related changes), has passed the House and is under consideration in the Senate. In two states that are implementing strict photo voter ID for the first time this year, recent elections have provided a bit more data.  

Full Article: Early Indicators on Voters Blocked by ID Requirements - The Thicket at State Legislatures.

Voting Blogs: Early Indicators on Voters Blocked by ID Requirements | The Thicket

One of the big questions in the elections arena is, how many people who want to vote don’t have an ID?  So far, the answers to this question have been partial, theoretical or politically calculated.  NCSL does not have the “right” answer, either, but we can offer three distinct data points that may have value to election officials or researchers as we approach the presidential election. In Michigan, where the photo voter ID law permits people to sign an affidavit in lieu of presenting an ID, 2,651 people did just that during the February 28 presidential primary election. That was out of 1,216,310 votes cast, or 0.22 percent. The Secretary of State collected the data on affidavits so his agency would have a clear understanding of how the affidavit is used.  Michigan HB 5061, which would put a reporting requirement on the use of affidavits in statute (among other elections-related changes), has passed the House and is under consideration in the Senate. In two states that are implementing strict photo voter ID for the first time this year, recent elections have provided a bit more data.  

Full Article: Early Indicators on Voters Blocked by ID Requirements - The Thicket at State Legislatures.

Voting Blogs: New Florida Data Suggests HAVA’s Approach to Disabled Voters Isn’t Working | Election Academy

The latest Election Data Dispatch from Pew finds that in the recent GOP primary in Florida, only 49 voters (or 0.03%) used the disabled-accessible voting machines in Miami-Dade and Orange counties, two of the state’s largest. Accessible machines for disabled voters – one per polling place – were one of the federal mandates on state and local election offices included in the Help America Vote Act. Inclusion of this provision was widely seen a victory for the advocates for disabled voters, given the perceived failure of previous efforts to make voting more accessible such as the Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act (VAEHA). Post-HAVA, however, the preferred technology for this mandate – direct recording electronic (DRE) machines, known popularly as touchscreen machines – became the focus of a fierce debate about the security and transparency of electronic voting. Indeed, in the early years of the debate advocates for the disabled and advocates for verifiable voting often found themselves on opposite sides of the argument or even opposing sides in a courtroom.

Full Article: New Florida Data Suggests HAVA's Approach to Disabled Voters Isn't Working - Election Academy.

Voting Blogs: Pew Study Shows Need for Modern Voting System | Brennan Center for Justice

Today, the Pew Center on the States released a report detailing some of the serious flaws in our voter registration systems, the lynchpin of election administration. Their study reaffirms what election administrators and voter advocates have known for a long time — that the voter rolls are filled with errors, and an unconscionable percentage (almost a quarter, according to Pew) of American citizens who are eligible to vote are not registered. The flaws identified in the Pew study are the result of an outdated, paper- based voter registration system that is not only inefficient and costly, but prone to inaccuracy. Worse, the clunky system leaves off millions of eligible voters or contains errors in their records that could prevent them from voting effectively. The question is no longer whether we should upgrade the system, but how we should do so. Recent technological innovations point the way to the solution: modernizing the system.

Full Article: Pew Study Shows Need for Modern Voting System | Brennan Center for Justice.

National: U.S. Voter Registration Rolls Are in Disarray, Pew Report Finds | The New York Times

The nation’s voter registration rolls are in disarray, according to a report released Tuesday by the Pew Center on the States. The problems have the potential to affect the outcomes of local, state and federal elections. One in eight active registrations is invalid or inaccurate. At the same time, one in four people who are eligible to vote — at least 51 million potential voters — are not registered. The report found that there are about 1.8 million dead people listed as active voters. Some 2.8 million people have active registrations in more than one state. And 12 million registrations have errors serious enough to make it unlikely that mailings based on them will reach voters. 

Full Article: U.S. Voter Registration Rolls Are in Disarray, Pew Report Finds - NYTimes.com.

Voting Blogs: Data for Democracy Four Years Later: Pew’s Election Administration By The Numbers | Doug Chapin/PEEA

There’s nothing like a good sequel, so – on the heels of an updated military and overseas voting reportreleased a few weeks ago – the election team at Pew has released Election Administration by the Numbers, an update of its 2008 Data for Democracy (page | full report).

Pew’s work in this area is part of their larger interest in developing an Elections Performance Index – a data-driven, evidence-based tool for assessing how well state election systems are serving their citizens as both voters and taxpayers. Pew’s Index, inspired by the Democracy Index work of Yale Law School professor Heather Gerken, is a (typically “Pew-y”) hands-on effort to use data (as opposed to “anecdata”) to understand and shape election policy.

Full Article: Data for Democracy Four Years Later: Pew's Election Administration By The Numbers - Program for Excellence in Election Administration.

National: Summit addresses military and overseas voters – despite progress, challenges remain | electionlineWeekly

The Overseas Vote Foundation (OVF) hosted its Sixth Annual UOCAVA Summit last week, where participants highlighted progress made and noted the challenges that still remain in ensuring that military and overseas voters can successfully cast their absentee ballots.

A new report from the Pew Center on the States noted in the past two years, 47 states and the District of Columbia enacted laws to protect the voting rights of military and overseas citizens. This year’s election will be the first presidential election since many of these changes went into effect. The report, Democracy from Afar, found that many states have implemented changes to their laws or administrative codes.

Full Article: electionlineWeekly.

National: Military, overseas voting easier, report finds | Politico.com

For military and overseas voters from 47 states and D.C., casting a ballot in 2012 will be a much different — and easier — experience than ever before. Since the 2009 passage of the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act, which called for improved election access for those living or serving abroad, 47 states and D.C. have enacted new laws and reforms to protect this group of voters, the Pew Center on the States study released Friday found. The 2012 election is the first presidential contest where these voters will cast ballots with the newly implemented legislative and administrative changes. Pew found that 38 states and D.C. now have rules meeting or exceeding the MOVE act’s requirement to send absentee ballots no later than 45 days before a federal election, and eight states also moved their primary dates to accommodate that condition.

Full Article: Military, overseas voting easier, report finds - Mackenzie Weinger - POLITICO.com.