Louisiana: Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser draws ire of Secretary of State Tom Schedler with statements about voting laws | State Politics | theadvocate.com

Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler has blasted recent remarks from Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser about the state’s voting laws as being “irresponsible.” The News Star reported on Monday that Nungesser, a Republican who took office in January, told the Ouachita Parish Republican Women that he wants better Republican voter turnout, but he claimed that Democrats busing in voters during the state’s early voting period remains a hurdle. “They don’t have to bring them to their precinct,” the report quotes Nungesser as saying. “They bring them all to one place, and if they can’t find their name, they’re allowed to fill out a piece of paper and vote. And if the election is not contested, that vote will count. Now they have a whole week to bus people who have no idea why they’re going there but to pull a lever for someone.” The News Star story didn’t include a response from Schedler, who is also a Republican, but on Tuesday, the Secretary of State’s office sent a news release criticizing Nungesser’s remarks as “nonsensical” and expressed personal offense.

Louisiana: Schedler now wants to keep Election Assistance Commission | USA Today

Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler, in a break with other state election officials, now says the Election Assistance Commission should remain in place. His view marks a reversal of his earlier position that the commission, which helps states run their elections, should be eliminated. ‘’I kind of like what I see now,” Schedler said in a recent interview. “And I’m willing to take a look-see attitude.” Schedler heads the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), but he said he was speaking only in his capacity as Louisiana’s secretary of state in offering his revised position to shut down the federal agency.

Louisiana: ‘Drastic change’ coming as Louisiana shifting to iPad voting, and it won’t be cheap | The Advocate

When Louisiana voters go to the polls to elect a governor in 2019 — if all goes to plan — they will cast their ballots on iPads. Secretary of State Tom Schedler said he’ll ask the incoming administration of Gov.-elect John Bel Edwards and the Legislature for money to roll out this new way of voting. The idea was first broached in 2014 by a presidential commission. A few counties, such as Denver and Los Angeles, already are experimenting with it, but Louisiana could become the first state to adopt the new technology. “It is a drastic change. We’re going to take it slow, but this is the best way to go,” Schedler said. His plan is to replace voting machines with tablet computers over the next three years, starting with the big parishes around Baton Rouge, Lafayette and New Orleans. This will give time to work out the kinks and train staff, as well as voters, on how it all works. “Money is the big obstacle. But we don’t have a choice,” said Schedler, a Republican who also is president of the National Association of Secretaries of State.

National: Hanging chad redux? Old voting devices could create new crisis, report finds | The Guardian

The United States is heading for another catastrophe in its voting system equivalent to the notorious “hanging chad” affair that shook the country in 2000 and propelled George W Bush into the White House, experts on electoral procedures are warning. The voting technology deployed by most states around the country is now so antiquated and unreliable that it is in danger of breaking down at any time, the experts say. Some states are having to go on eBay to buy spare parts for machines that are no longer manufactured. The extent of decay in America’s electoral infrastructure is laid bare in a new report from the Brennan Center, a nonpartisan institute at the New York University School of Law specializing in democracy and justice. Having consulted more than 100 voting specialists in all 50 states, the center concludes that the country is facing an impending crisis in the way it conducts elections. As Louisiana’s secretary of state Tom Schedler put it to an official hearing recently: “It’s getting a little scary out there.”

Louisiana: Nearly half of Louisiana lawmakers automatically re-elected | Times-Picayune

Nearly half of Louisiana’s state lawmakers have won re-election to new four-year terms without having to campaign, when no one signed up this week to challenge them. Twenty of 39 senators and 49 of 105 House members drew no opponents during the three-day candidate registration period that ended Thursday. Their names won’t appear on the Oct. 24 ballot because they were deemed “elected unopposed.” One unopposed House candidate who will take office in January has never served in the Legislature. Secretary of State Tom Schedler said he was stunned how many officials around Louisiana were elected automatically when no one qualified to run against them, about 43 percent of the 1,150 offices on the ballot statewide. He called it an “astounding figure” and cited continued voter apathy, locally and nationally.

Louisiana: iPad voting might be coming to Louisiana | The Times-Picayune

It won’t be available during this election, but Secretary of State Tom Schedler wants to bring iPad voting to Louisiana in the next two or three years. If reelected this fall, Schedler said he would look to transition Louisiana from its traditional voting machines to iPads. The shift would cost a fair amount of money – a rough estimate puts it somewhere between $45 million and $60 million. So Schedler might first look to lease the equipment to bring the cost down initially. iPad voting would also run as a pilot program in select locations before consideration was given to launching it statewide, according to Schedler’s office.

Voting Blogs: Commissioner Masterson’s Notes from the Road 3.13.15 | EAC Blog

As my fellow Commissioners and I begin our work at the Election Assistance Commission we have embarked on a “listening tour” across the country to figure out where to start after several years without a quorum at the EAC. One message is clear at every stop. As Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler said recently: Addressing the House and Governmental Affairs committee Wednesday, Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler sent out an S-O-S on the condition of the state’s stock of voting machines. “I just will tell you that it’s getting a little scary out there,” Schedler said, reminding lawmakers, “Voting machine equipment is all 15-20 years, plus.” Sulphur Rep. Mike Danahay, part of a contingent investigating new voting technology with Schedler, noted, “They’re having to scavenge parts off old machines to keep the current machines running.”

Louisiana: Sending Out an S-O-S for Voting Machines | WRKF

Addressing the House and Governmental Affairs committee Wednesday, Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler sent out an S-O-S on the condition of the state’s stock of voting machines. “I just will tell you that it’s getting a little scary out there,” Schedler said, reminding lawmakers, “Voting machine equipment is all 15-20 years, plus.” Sulphur Rep. Mike Danahay, part of a contingent that’s been investigating new voting technology with Schedler, noted, “They’re having to scavenge parts off old machines to keep the current machines running.”

Louisiana: State officials address voting issues, technology changes | KSLA

Voting in the state of Louisiana could be changing in the next three to five years. The machines that are in use now are becoming a thing of the past. Officials are having to use parts from older machines to keep some of the current machines running. The Secretary of State’s office said that Louisiana needs to move to voting via tablets in the near future. Technology is on their radar, but so is addressing problems with the current voting system. “The participation of voters is weak,” Schedler said Wednesday before a house committee. He said registering voters is no issue, but getting people back to take part in the process is a problem, particularly among the 18-26 year old crowd. He added the more opportunities people have to vote, be it early voting or by absentee, the turnout has decreased.

Louisiana: Early voting days will not be extended after judge denies state representative’s motion | The Times-Picayune

Early voting will not be extended after 19th Judicial District Court judge Todd Hernandez denied part of motion by state Rep. Marcus Hunter, D-Monroe, filed earlier Tuesday. Early voting will be closed Thursday for Thanksgiving and Friday for Acadian Day. Hunter asked for a temporary restraining order to keep Sec. of State Tom Schedler from closing registrar offices Friday so that the early voting period would be open longer. Hernandez denied that motion, but he did set a hearing date for Dec. 4 to hear the merits of the original motion. By then, the early voting period would have closed. The general election is just two days later on Saturday, Dec. 6.

Louisiana: Mixed results in suit over voter registration | Shreveport Times

A federal appeals court order dealing with Louisiana’s enforcement of a national law on voter registration was mostly a victory for the state. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed complaints that the state wasn’t providing required voter registration forms to people applying for government benefits by Internet, telephone or mail. It also rejected an argument that the state violated a law requiring that registration forms be provided to people who don’t explicitly reject — in writing — the opportunity to register. The appeals court did rule that the Secretary of State’s office has the power to make other state agencies comply with the federal act. Secretary of State Tom Schedler said Thursday he disagrees with that part of the ruling, saying it conflicts with the state’s constitution.

Louisiana: Jam-packed election causing new snags | Associated Press

When the doors closed on the candidate sign-up period for the fall elections, Secretary of State Tom Schedler said it seemed “crazier” than usual. A few days later, when he received the data, he understood why the three-day qualifying felt so slammed. Louisiana has more offices up for election and more candidates on the November ballot than for any election over the last 23 years, according to a tally provided by Schedler’s office. To make it even more complicated, the secretary of state is seeing significantly more objections filed to candidacies winding their way through the courts and more candidates dropping out of races after paying their filing fees. The history-making election cycle is causing Schedler to consider recommending changes to the timeline for candidate sign-ups — and is certain to have names on the ballot in the Nov. 4 election of people who were deemed unqualified to run or have dropped out of the race. “At some point we’ve got to pull the trigger and let that ballot go to print, and that’s it,” he said. “We already know that it won’t be cleared up by the time for ballots to be printed.”

Louisiana: Secretary of State speaks of number, cost of elections | Press Herald

Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler has worked hard to add a new dimension to his job, while streamlining and updating the whole voting process. “Louisiana ranks third in the country of eligible voters registered to vote,” Schedler told a gathering of businesspersons and elected officials Friday. “In our state, 84 percent of eligible voters are registered to vote.” While a good percentage of persons are registered to vote, the problem, Schedler said, is “nobody shows up to vote.” One reason? “We have way too many elections in Louisiana,” he said. From January 2005 to December 31, 2010, Louisiana held 70 elections, according to the Legislative auditor. It was the highest number of any state.

Louisiana: Appeals court examines state’s voter-registration obligations | The Advocate

A federal appeals court is considering whether Louisiana must help its poor citizens on public assistance register to vote when they interact with state agencies online, over the telephone or through the mail. If a lower court ruling from early this year is overturned, an ever-growing share of people who register online won’t be granted the protections guaranteed by the National Voter Registration Act, plaintiffs’ attorneys argued Tuesday before a three-judge panel of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Secretary of State Tom Schedler wants the court to overturn a ruling by U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo that Louisiana violated federal election law by failing to make registration opportunities available through the Department of Health and Hospitals and the Department of Children and Family Services. The suit was filed in 2011 by Luther Scott Jr. and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Louisiana: Secretary of State expresses concern with New Jersey online voting | NOLA.com

Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler expressed concern Monday morning over New Jersey’s weekend announcement it would be allowing those displaced by Hurricane Sandy to vote online.  “Quite frankly, I don’t think we’re there yet,” Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler told press assembled in Baton Rouge this morning. Referring to New Jersey’s recent announcement the state will allow displaced citizens to vote by email or fax as “overseas voters,” Schedler added “I’m very concerned about the methodology.”

Louisiana: New, smaller districts create voting machine shortage in Louisiana | The Advertiser

When local governments developed new election districts after the 2010 Census, they drew so many small precincts that it forced the state to purchase additional voting machines and limit the number of machines at each precinct. Secretary of State Tom Schedler said Wednesday that local governments went overboard. “We have precincts with one voter,” Schedler told a joint meeting of the House and Senate Governmental Affairs committees. “Several have three or four.” In Lincoln Parish, local officials increased the number of voting precincts from 42 to 102. “There’s no way the population doubled,” Schedler said. “It’s just out of control,” said Sen. Mike Walsworth, R-West Monroe, reacting to Schedler’s report.

Louisiana: State takes ‘middle-ground approach’ to voter identification | The Town Talk

Voters in Louisiana will show identification Nov. 6 to cast ballots for president and on local issues. And they’ll do it without the controversy kicked up by new voter ID requirements around the country. Republicans say new laws that require voters to show state-issued photo ID guard the election system’s integrity. Democrats say the requirements discourage low-income people and minorities from voting. “Louisiana falls in the middle, and for right now, it does seem like a good, moderate approach,” said Ryan Teten, a Ph.D. in political science who teaches about campaigns and elections at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Louisiana: Secretary of State defends inactive-voter list | NOLA.com

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.

Louisiana: Secretary of State’s website crashes during election | WVLA

Secretary of State Tom Schedler says he and his staff are looking into what crashed their website, which slowed results on election night. If you were paying attention to the races this past weekend, you probably noticed when the Secretary of State’s website shut down. Everyone, including the news media, couldn’t get the numbers they needed.

Schedler says it had to do with the amount of people accessing the website with smartphones. He says with people checking on the elections inside and outside the state, the website was bound to crash.

National: Officials warn of fraudulent voter registration website | The News Star

A fraudulent registration website, www.registertovote.org, offers a false voter registration form which claims to register citizens to vote in any state.

Secretary of State Tom Schedler and the staff of the Elections Compliance Unit are warning citizens who want to register to vote to do so by visiting www.GeauxVote.com.

The Louisiana voter registration form provided on the website is not the approved Louisiana registration form and requests information from the citizen that the official form does not such as height, weight and employment information. The official online registration system at www.GeauxVote.com is secure and protects the personal information for all citizens who register to vote.

Louisiana: Secretary of state’s office unveils 110 new absentee vote counters | NOLA.com

Secretary of State Tom Schedler’s office began training parish election officials Monday on how to use new digitized absentee vote-counting machines that will be used for the first time in the Oct. 22 statewide elections. The state will be using new equipment to record absentee ballots in the Oct. 22 elections.

Commissioner of Elections Angie Rogers said the new machines will speed the process of counting absentee ballots by local officials on election night and will feed into the secretary of state’s system which also includes early voting and election day totals. Rogers said that the state bought 110 new scanners and updated its laptop computers  with $2.5 million in federal Help America Vote Act dollars. She  said no state money was used in the purchase.

Louisiana: Secretary of State vows to fight federal lawsuit | The News Star

The U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit earlier this month against Louisiana alleging the state has violated its obligations to the National Voter Registration Act by failing to provide voter registration services at various public assistance offices such as the food stamp offices and Medicaid offices.

The Justice Department filed the suit July 12. The complaint alleges that Louisiana officials have not routinely offered voter registration forms, assistance and services to the state’s eligible citizens who apply, recertify or provide a change of address for public assistance, disability services or benefits.

Secretary of State Tom Schedler said his office will fight the accusations, and he said he doesn’t want to just settle the suit for the sake of settling.