For years, the ways in which voters in New York have been stymied by the state’s antiquated voting laws have stood in stark contrast to the state’s liberal reputation. During last year’s contentious midterm elections, New York was the only state in the nation that held separate state and federal primary elections, a bifurcation that almost seemed designed to suppress voter turnout — which is generally thought to favor incumbents. Early voting? Voting by mail? Same-day voter registration? All are fairly basic voting reforms now found in many states, but not in New York.Full Article: Early Voting and Other Election Reforms Coming to New York - The New York Times.
same day voter registration
Proposed legislation would allow Indiana residents to register to vote on Election Day. Sen. Timothy Lanane, D-Anderson, has filed the bill for the legislative session beginning Jan. 3, and it has drawn mixed reactions in Northwest Indiana along party lines. “Once again, I am filing a proposal to allow for same-day voter registration in Indiana. Requiring Hoosiers to register to vote 29 days before an election is an unnecessary obstacle for people to exercise their constitutional right to vote,”Full Article: Election Day voter registration proposed in Indiana - Post-Tribune.
Amid heightened conversation across the country about voting rights and who has access to the ballot, Maryland voters are deciding whether to amend the state constitution to allow people to register on Election Day. The Democratic-backed initiative, which was opposed by most Republican lawmakers and has not been endorsed by Gov. Larry Hogan (R), is one of two statewide questions on the ballot for the midterm elections. … Maryland already allows residents to register during early voting, which this year ends Thursday, but they cannot do it on Election Day.Full Article: Voter registration: Maryland ballot questions include casino lockbox, Election-Day voter registration - The Washington Post.
State elections officials on Thursday added a third proposal to the Nov. 6 ballot that would expand voting rights in Michigan. The Board of State Canvassers voted unanimously to certify signatures for a ballot initiative that would amend the Michigan Constitution to allow for no-reason absentee voting by mail, guarantee continued straight-party voting and let residents register to vote up to and on Election Day. The approval from canvassers comes a day before the deadline for inclusion on the November ballot and roughly a week after the ballot committee Promote the Vote asked a federal judge to force state certification of the proposal.Full Article: Voting rights proposal certified for Michigan's November ballot.
A group trying to get a voting rights proposal on the November ballot is suing state election workers for not validating the initiative despite the group having the necessary number of signatures. Promote the Vote filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Eastern District Court Tuesday claiming Michigan’s Secretary of State, Board of Canvassers and Bureau of Elections has violated the Constitution by not yet authorizing their ballot proposal, which would allow citizens to register on Election Day and allow no-reason absentee voting. The suit claims the state agencies are in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendment. The group collected 432,124 signatures during its petition drive, more than the 315,654 signatures necessary to get a proposal on the ballot, according to the suit. The Bureau of Elections, however, determined that there were insufficient valid signatures when it examined a sample of 500.Full Article: Voting rights group files lawsuit over ballot proposal | MLive.com.
Michigan: Group submits signatures for ballot measure to expand voting in Michigan | The Detroit Free Press
More than 430,000 signatures were submitted Monday for a 2018 ballot initiative to expand voting in Michigan by allowing absentee ballots to be cast for any reason and implementing measures such as same-day voter registration. Organizers of the Promote the Vote constitutional amendment include the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, the League of Women Voters and the NAACP’s state and Detroit branches. “Democracy is most effective when the most possible people participate,” ACLU of Michigan Executive Director Kary Moss said during a news conference outside the state elections bureau. “It is time that we had voting reforms in the state because people have died to win and exercise their right to vote. Voting should be easier, it should be accessible and it should be something that everybody can do.”Full Article: Group submits 430,000 signatures for Michigan voting measure.
Massachusetts’ top court on Monday unanimously upheld a state requirement that people must register to vote 20 days before an election, ruling in a case that could impact the ability of thousands of citizens to cast ballots. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in favor of the state’s top election official by reversing a lower court judge’s 2017 ruling that concluded the registration cut-off violated the state’s constitution. The 7-0 ruling by the top court came in a lawsuit filed in 2016 by the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts on behalf of two organizations, Chelsea Collaborative and MassVote, and several individual qualified voters.Full Article: Massachusetts top court upholds 20-day voter registration cut-off | Reuters.
New Hampshire: Attorney General: Send voter suit over Election Day registration to state Supreme Court | Union Leader
The attorney general wants the state Supreme Court to take over the lawsuit filed by the state Democratic Party and the N.H. League of Women Voters over a new election law, Senate Bill 3, which establishes requirements for Election Day voter registration. The key issue is an April decision by Superior Court Judge Charles Temple ordering the state to turn over its voter registration database to the plaintiffs, who say they need the data to make their case. “The court exceeded its authority in ordering the release of the (database), and has put in jeopardy the privacy rights of over a million active and inactive New Hampshire registered voters,” according to the motion filed by Associate Attorney General Anne Edwards, representing the state in support of the law.Full Article: AG: Send voter suit over Election Day registration to state Supreme Court | New Hampshire.
Democratic lawmakers last week introduced legislation that would make Delaware the 19th state with same-day voter registration. Under the bill, Delawareans could sign up to vote and cast a ballot on the same day. “Our goal as a society should be to encourage more people to be part of the electoral process, not less,” main sponsor House Majority Whip John Viola, D-Newark, said in a statement. “Right now, we have an arbitrary deadline to register to vote of three weeks before an election. “Some people, often young people or those who just moved to the state, don’t think to register to vote until it’s right before the election, and by then it’s too late. Election Day registration has been around for decades and is proven to safely and effectively increase voter turnout, so it’s time for Delaware to take this step forward.”Full Article: Democrats push same-day voter registration - Delaware State News | Delaware State News.
A new house bill introduced Wednesday in Dover would make it possible to register to vote on Election Day, making The First State the 19th in the union to adopt Same Day Registration. Under HB 400, a person could register to vote at his or her polling place on the day of a presidential, state primary, general or special election. All they would have to do is show a valid government issued photo ID, a current utility bill, a bank statement or other government document that displays name and current address.Full Article: Bill introduced to allow for Same Day Registration - WMDT.
A Washington House committee is considering a bill that would allow people to register to vote and then cast ballots on the same day. The bill is sponsored by Sen. Patty Kuderer (D-Bellevue). “If you look at the five other states that have same-day voter registration, you’ll see that they have increased their voter participation, in some cases, as much as 10%, which is significant by any measure.”Full Article: WA House Committee Considers Same-Day Voter Registration | Spokane Public Radio.
Massachusetts is still fighting a ruling that struck down its voter-registration deadline of 20 days prior to an election, but the state on Thursday proposed same-day voter registration in the commonwealth. Secretary of State William Galvin filed the bill on Jan. 25, six months after Suffolk Superior Court Judge Douglas Wilkins struck down the 20-day rule as unconstitutional. The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts represented the challengers who brought the underlying suit, including voter Rafael Sanchez, and the groups Chelsea Collaborative and MassVote.Full Article: Massachusetts Inches Toward Election-Day Voter Registration.
Washington: State bills allowing same-day voter registration, local redistricting to empower minorities move ahead | Sequim Gazette
The state Senate passed several bills aimed at expanding access to voting and promoting minority representation in local governments through redistricting. On the evening of Jan. 17, in a reconvened Senate floor vote session, the body passed SB 6021, which would allow voters to register for elections in-person up until 8 p.m. on the day of an election and eight days before if registering online or by mail. The bill passed 29-20 and now goes to the House.Full Article: State bills allowing same-day voter registration, local redistricting to empower minorities move ahead | Sequim Gazette.
Indiana: Lawmakers push for Election Day voter registration, no-excuse absentee voting | Indianapolis Star
Election Day voter registration and expanded voting by mail should be considered by next year’s Indiana General Assembly, a panel of lawmakers decided Thursday. The committee’s chairman Sen. Greg Walker, R-Columbus, said he already is drafting legislation for the upcoming legislative session that would allow Hoosiers to mail in absentee ballots without having to provide an excuse required under current law. Hoosiers currently have to send in an application eight days before election day in order to receive an absentee ballot. On that application, they have to choose one of the 11 specific reasons available to vote absentee, such as working during the full 12 hours the polls are open or being away from the county during that same time period. Already, the state doesn’t check a person’s excuse to make sure it’s valid.Full Article: Lawmakers push for same-day voter registration.
On Sept. 12, a New Hampshire Superior Court judge allowed Senate Bill 3 — a bill that changes the proof of residency requirements for voters who choose to register same-day — to take effect but blocked a portion of the bill imposing fines on voters who are unable to produce the required documents. Hanover town clerk Betsy McClain said that before the bill, voters who chose to register same-day could verbally confirm their residency and sign a document on-site if they were unable to produce proper identification on voting day, swearing under penalty of perjury that they live in the town of Hanover. Now, these voters will need to fill out a different form and return to the clerk’s office within 10 days of registration to provide proof of residence. Acceptable proof of residence documents include a driver’s license, a utility bill or, according to McClain, “[proof of] residence at an institution of learning.”Full Article: New Hampshire judge lets voting law SB3 stand | The Dartmouth.
At the summer study committee on election laws, it was announced lawmakers are planning to file bills for same-day voter registration and the ability to vote by mail. While we don’t have details on these bills there were plenty of suggestions on improving voting laws. In a time where many issues can cause divide, some want election laws to be different. “Voting in elections should be among the most inclusion activities we experience as Hoosiers,” said Julia Vaughn with the organization Common Cause. “Our assumption should be that people want to participate.”Full Article: Indiana lawmakers set to propose voting by mail, same-day registration | WISH-TV.
Voting-rights advocates are floating a proposal that could make it easier to vote, but the state’s top election official is dead-set against it, raising the possibility of voter fraud. The idea is election-day registration, a system used by 16 states and the District of Columbia, where voters can register or update their voting information at the polling place on election day. “All the states that have election-day registration are at the top of voter turnout,” voting-rights expert Kevin Kennedy said in the keynote speech at “Democracy Tomorrow,” a daylong voting-rights seminar held Friday at Wichita State University’s Hughes Metropolitan Complex. About 10 to 15 percent of voters take advantage of the same-day option in the states that have it, Kennedy said. It especially attracts late deciders, who may not think about voting until the election is upon them, he said. While some election officials consider those voters to be lazy, “I’m thinking they’re busy,” he said.Full Article: Idea could make voting easier, but faces Kobach opposition | The Wichita Eagle.
The Seventh Circuit on Friday found no evidence that allowing same-day voter registration in large Illinois counties discriminates against voters in small counties, and vacated a preliminary injunction won by a Republican congressional candidate. Republican Illinois congressional candidate and Tea Party leader Patrick Harlan sued the Illinois State Board of Elections in 2016, claiming a state law guaranteeing same-day registration for high-population counties only benefits urban Democrats. Illinois requires counties with a population of over 100,000 allow citizens to register when voting, but smaller counties don’t have to – and none do because of the cost and logistics involved. Only 20 Illinois counties out of 102 allow same-day registration, but these counties account for 84 percent of the state’s population.Full Article: Seventh Circuit Upholds Same-Day Illinois Voter Registration.
Efforts to streamline access to the ballot in Massachusetts are picking up steam after a court tossed out a state’s 20-day voter registration cutoff deadline. Voting right advocates say they’re renewing their push for two measures, including one that would let eligible voters register on Election Day and a second that would create a new automatic voter registration system. The rekindled interest comes after Suffolk Superior Court Judge Douglas Wilkins ruled Monday that the requirement that voters register at least 20 days before an election violates the Massachusetts Constitution and potentially disenfranchises thousands of would-be voters.Full Article: Court ruling renews push to streamline voter ballot access - Fairfield Citizen.
Foxboro Town Clerk Robert Cutler grimaces when asked about same-day voter registration. “We’d definitely need an updated computer system,” Cutler says, “and the state hasn’t gotten that ready yet.” Same-day voter registration — citizens not yet signed up to vote being able to walk in to a polling place on Election Day and cast a ballot — is a possibility in Attleboro area communities as a result of a lawsuit by the Massachusetts chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU claims that the 20-day deadline to register before the election is unconstitutional and unnecessary in these days of vastly improved technology.Full Article: Same-day voter registration worries local town clerks | | thesunchronicle.com.