voter education

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Texas: Report: Few high schools in Texas comply with voter registration law | Austin American-Statesman

No private high schools and just 14 percent of public high schools in Texas requested voter registration forms for their students from the Secretary of State, according to a report released Wednesday by the Texas Civil Rights Project. The organization as well as the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law found that 198 out of 1,428 public high schools requested the forms. In total, the organizations said, six percent of high schools in Texas requested forms. Schools can receive the forms from other organizations, such as the county, but the Texas Civil Rights Project argued during a press conference Wednesday that the state’s low youth voter registration and turnout rates prove that’s not effective even if that’s the case.

Full Article: Report: Few high schools in Texas comply with voter registration law.

Missouri: Secretary of State seeking dismissal of voter ID lawsuit | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft filed a motion Tuesday to dismiss a lawsuit against the state’s new voter ID law. In a statement, Ashcroft said the certified results of the Aug. 8 special elections in two legislative districts showed that “Missouri’s photo voter ID law works.” The law took effect June 1. Days later, the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri and the Advancement Project filed a lawsuit in Cole County on behalf of the Missouri NAACP and the League of Women Voters. 

Full Article: Missouri secretary of state seeking dismissal of voter ID lawsuit | St. Louis Public Radio.

Texas: Trump administration: Trust Texas on voter education spending | The Texas Tribune

Federal courts should trust Texas to properly educate voters on new ID rules ahead of the 2018 elections instead of insisting that money be spent on a marketing campaign, President Trump’s justice department argued in a filing Monday. The filing, part of the Trump administration’s recent support for Texas in its years-long battle over the state’s 2011 voter ID law, comes despite widespread criticism of Texas’ voter education efforts ahead of the 2016 election. U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos is considering what, if any, consequences Texas should face following her April ruling that lawmakers intentionally discriminated against minority voters by passing the nation’s strictest voter ID law six years ago.

Full Article: Trump administration: Trust Texas on voter education spending | The Texas Tribune.

Nepal: The baffled voters | Umesh Raj Regmi/The Kathmandu Post

The recently concluded first phase of local elections have pointed to a marked need for voter education. The Election Commission of Nepal (ECN) has recognised that it is urgent to educate voters to ensure free, fair and credible elections. Making potential voters and stakeholders aware of their voting rights, and getting them to cast their votes properly and confidently is a continuous process. Much effort has been made to convince people to go cast their votes, but little has been done to make sure that they mark the ballot paper correctly. Consequently, an unexpectedly large number of invalid votes were found even in metropolitan areas.

Full Article: The baffled voters - Oped - The Kathmandu Post.

Texas: In Texas, almost all non-voters have a photo ID — but few understand the voter identification rules | The Washington Post

Over the past 12 years nearly 20 U.S. states have adopted voter photo identification laws, which require voters to show a picture ID to vote. These laws have been challenged in numerous lawsuits, resulting in a variety of court decisions and, in several instances, revised legislation. Supporters argue that photo ID rules are necessary to safeguard the sanctity and legitimacy of the voting process by preventing people from impersonating other voters. They say that essentially every U.S. citizen possesses an acceptable photo ID, or can relatively easily get one. Opponents argue that that’s not true; that laws requiring voters to show photo ID disenfranchise registered voters who don’t have the accepted forms of photo ID and can’t get one easily. Further, they say, these laws confuse some registered voters, who therefore don’t bother to vote at all. Opponents also point out that there are almost no documented cases of voter impersonation fraud. Supporters counter that without a photo ID requirement, we have no idea how much fraud there might be.

Full Article: In Texas, almost all non-voters have a photo ID — but few understand the voter identification rules - The Washington Post.

Editorials: Time is running out to explain Missouri’s new voter ID rules | The Kansas City Star

Missouri is heading toward a slow-motion pile-up in about six weeks, when the state’s new voter ID law kicks in. State officials, including Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, must speed up efforts to educate Missourians about coming changes to their fundamental right to vote. After June 1, barring legal intervention, Missouri law will require voters to present an acceptable form of photographic identification to cast a ballot. Alternatively, those without a photo ID will be required to sign a statement, under penalty of perjury, attesting to their name and address. Election authorities will be allowed to take a picture of the voter. Those provisions are onerous enough in a state where turnout is typically, and depressingly, low. But it will scare some voters, particularly the poor and elderly, who may be reluctant to sign a legal document they don’t fully understand in order to cast a ballot.

Full Article: Editorial: Time is running out to explain Missouri’s new voter ID rules | The Kansas City Star.

Iowa: Democrats question GOP’s spending on voter ID | The Gazette

After debating a voter ID bill for more than five hours Monday, Rep. Bruce Hunter wasn’t about to ignore its $700,000 cost. Hunter, D-Des Moines, challenged the line item in the Secretary of State’s budget during a meeting Tuesday of the Administration and Regulation Appropriations Subcommittee. He challenged any committee member to explain why the money was needed to implement House File 516, which is awaiting final approval in the Senate. Hunter and fellow Democrats repeatedly asked majority Republicans what problem they were trying to solve. There have been few problems with voter fraud and impersonation, “but we give them $700,000 to chase Don Quixote,” Hunter said. “Given the cuts in other departments, it is unconscionable to put in $700,000 for a problem that doesn’t exist,” he said.

Full Article: Democrats question GOP's spending on voter ID | The Gazette.

Iowa: Budget includes funding for voter ID initiative, cuts for other programs | Des Moines Register

Legislative Republicans unveiled a budget proposal Tuesday that includes nearly $650,000 to implement a new voter ID initiative but makes $1.4 million in cuts to other departments and programs. Republicans said they were glad to support the Secretary of State’s voter identification plan, but Democrats were immediately critical that it would come at the expense of other programs such as the Iowa Public Information Board and the Child Advocacy Board. “Given the cuts of every other department, this is unconscionable that we would put $700,000 into a problem that doesn’t exist when we have other problems that do exist and we’re cutting those departments,” said Rep. Bruce Hunter, D-Des Moines. The proposal would provide about $47.4 million in funding to administration and regulation services. It’s part of the state’s overall $7.245 billion spending plan, which includes cuts to nearly every area of the state budget.

Full Article: Iowa budget includes funding for voter ID initiative, cuts for other programs.

Texas: Study: Texas voter education campaign failed to prevent ID confusion | The Texas Tribune

Texas’ court-ordered $2.5 million voter education campaign failed to prevent widespread confusion about the state’s identification rules ahead of the 2016 general election, according to a study released Monday. And such a misunderstanding may have kept some eligible voters in key political battlegrounds from showing up to the polls, the University of Houston study found. A federal judge last year ordered the Texas Secretary of State’s office to spend $2.5 million educating Texans about its voter ID requirements ahead of the 2016 elections. The requirements were relaxed after a federal appeals court last year ruled that Texas’ strict 2011 ID law discriminated against minority voters. The education efforts — a mix of television and radio advertisements and online media — fell short, the research suggested.

Full Article: Study: Texas voter education campaign failed to prevent ID confusion | The Texas Tribune.

Missouri: Ashcroft says governor’s offer isn’t enough money for Voter ID | St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Missouri’s top election official said Tuesday he’ll need far more money than Gov. Eric Greitens offered in his budget plan last week to effectively implement the state’s new photo ID law before August elections. The law, pushed by Republican legislators and approved by voters last year, requires Missourians to show a photo ID before voting or sign a legal document swearing they are who they say they are. In response to heavy Democratic criticism that it would prevent the elderly, disabled and poor from voting, Republicans also required the state to pay for IDs for those who can’t afford them. Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, who is tasked with letting voters know about those changes, estimated it would take between $1.1 million and $1.5 million to do so in the next fiscal year. 

Full Article: Ashcroft says governor's offer isn't enough money for Voter ID | | stltoday.com.

Missouri: Republicans vow to fund photo ID implementation in tough budget year | St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Missouri Republicans are committed to funding the rollout of a voter-approved photo ID law taking effect this year, even as declining tax revenue and growing Medicaid costs have led to a budget shortfall of nearly $500 million. The law requires Missourians to show photo identification before voting, or sign a binding legal document that says they are who they say they are. But it also requires the state to foot the bill to provide photo identification to anyone who doesn’t have one and wants one, absorbing the costs of any documents needed along the way, including birth certificates, divorce decrees, marriage licenses, social security cards or naturalization papers to prove citizenship. Without sufficient funding for those costs, the personal identification requirements “shall not be enforced,” the law says. 

Full Article: Missouri Republicans vow to fund photo ID implementation in tough budget year | Political Fix | stltoday.com.

Iowa: Secretary of State: No extra money for voter ID outreach | Associated Press

Iowa’s top election official doesn’t plan to ask the Legislature for extra money to educate the public about a voter identification requirement that could soon become law, a move that advocacy groups say could impact how many people find out about the change. Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate intends to use existing office funds to pay for voter education and outreach in connection to his proposal to require ID at voting polls. His office provided the details in response to a public records request by The Associated Press. “We are not asking for any additional funding for this, because educating and encouraging people to vote is part of the duties this office already conducts,” said Kevin Hall, a spokesman for Pate, in an email Wednesday.

Full Article: Iowa election official: No extra money for voter ID outreach | Iowa news | siouxcityjournal.com.

Texas: Attorney General: Voter ID education documents can be withheld from public | San Antonio Express-News

Details of how Texas spent a big chunk of $2.5 million of taxpayer money for a voter ID education campaign during last November’s election will remain secret. Attorney General Ken Paxton’s Office has ruled that the Texas secretary of state’s office can withhold records from the public showing where the state bought television and radio ads to promote court-ordered changes to a controversial voter ID law. The ruling also allows for the names of an estimated 1,800 community groups that partnered with the state on the education campaign to remain hidden from public view. A voter ID lawsuit has been winding through the courts since 2013, and the U.S. Supreme Court could decide as soon as this week whether it will hear an appeal from Texas. The law was weakened for the November election by a federal judge, who also ordered the state to conduct a robust education effort, after it was found to discriminate against minorities.

Full Article: Texas AG: Voter ID education documents can be withheld from public - San Antonio Express-News.

Texas: Voter ID ad dollars do not go far | Houston Chronicle

Texas is not taking part in a discount offered by broadcasters that could have allowed it to air up to four times more television and radio ads to educate the public about changes to the state’s voter ID law. The Texas Secretary of State’s office has been running a 30-second voter ID television and radio spot in English and Spanish for almost two weeks, and has estimated that it will spend at least $1.3 million on a paid media campaign through Election Day to fulfill a court order. Experts, though, have said the TV and radio spend is not nearly enough to spread a message on airwaves in a state the size of Texas, which has 20 total television markets and two of the most expensive in the country in Houston and the Dallas/Fort Worth area. The Texas Association of Broadcasters, which represents the state’s over-the-air television and radio industry, offers a discount program that guarantees to triple or quadruple the ad buying power of a strapped-for-cash government agency or nonprofit seeking to get out a general education message. However, state broadcasters, who use public airwaves to disseminate their programming, said Texas’ voter outreach program did not qualify for the TAB discount.

Full Article: Texas voter ID ad dollars do not go far - Houston Chronicle.

Wisconsin: State must provide more voter ID info | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

A federal judge on Thursday ordered the state to provide more information to the public about how they could easily get voting credentials even if they don’t have birth certificates, but declined to suspend the voter ID law. U.S. District Judge James Peterson said his order would “patch up” the system used to provide voting credentials to people with the most difficulty getting IDs, but acknowledged it would be an imperfect, temporary solution. He said the state would have to implement broader changes to that system later, but there is not enough time to do that before the Nov. 8 election. Under the 2011 voter ID law, people can get free IDs for voting, but a small group of people face challenges in getting them because they don’t have birth certificates or have problems with their documentation.

Full Article: State must provide more voter ID info.

National: Democracy Live launches voting app to view election ballots on smartphones | Puget Sound Business Journal

Democracy Live launched its LiveBallot app and website Thursday to provide American voters with online access to their ballot ahead of Election Day. The LiveBallot social-balloting technology can offer every registered U.S. voter a digital replica of the ballot they’ll see at the polls, plus candidate bios, contact information and links to recent news articles about them. The information can be shared on social media. “LiveBallot is the only app that delivers a customized ballot to each of the 200 million voters in the U.S.,” Democracy Live President and CEO Bryan Finney said in an interview. “For the first time in election history, voters will have a virtual replica of their ballots on their personal devices, computers and in their hands ahead of Election Day.”

Full Article: Democracy Live launches voting app to view election ballots on smartphones - Puget Sound Business Journal.

Texas: State Election Officials Say Voter ID Change Ads Should Be Airing ‘Any Day Now’ | KUT

Texans across the state will soon be inundated with TV and radio ads ahead of this year’s presidential election. However, the ads won’t be from candidates running for office, but from the state of Texas. The state-funded ads are intended to inform voters of the recent court-ordered changes to Texas’ voter ID law. When Texas lost a legal battle over its voter ID law earlier this year, they were given a couple of instructions. They had to change the law and make it easier for people to vote this November. They also had to let Texas voters know what changed, and they have to spend $2.5 million doing that. Alicia Pierce, a spokesperson with the Texas Secretary of State’s office, says TV and radio ads have just been shipped to markets for all 254 counties in the state – and they should be airing “any day now.” “It does take time from once it leaves the studio to actually get up on air, but they were approved and could be running as soon as today,” she says.

Full Article: State Election Officials Say Voter ID Change Ads Should Be Airing ‘Any Day Now’ | KUT.

Wisconsin: Judge blasts state over voter ID | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Ripping the Division of Motor Vehicles for giving out inaccurate information, a federal judge said Wednesday he would order Gov. Scott Walker’s administration to make changes to how it treats people who seek voting credentials but was unlikely to suspend the voter ID law. “I think the training that was provided to the DMV counter service was manifestly inadequate,” U.S. District Judge James Peterson said during a daylong hearing. “The DMV has a lot of competencies, but one of them is not communicating to voters what they need to get an ID. “I don’t know why we’re here a month before the election.” Peterson was reacting, in part, to recently released audio recordings of DMV workers supplying people with inaccurate voter ID information.

Full Article: Judge blasts state over voter ID.

Wisconsin: Judge rips Wisconsin officials over voter ID law confusion | Associated Press

A federal judge considering a challenge to Wisconsin’s voter ID law ripped state officials Wednesday over inadequate training for Division of Motor Vehicles workers after some employees recently gave prospective voters erroneous information about obtaining alternative credentials to cast a ballot. Liberal advocacy group One Wisconsin Institute asked U.S. District Judge James Peterson to block the entire law, citing a flurry of reported problems at DMV field offices. Despite his criticisms of the credential program, Peterson said at the conclusion of a hearing that he was reluctant to block the mandate. A federal appellate court has already found the law constitutional, leaving him uncertain whether he even has authority over the law, the judge said. He added that he wants to respect legislators’ decision to adopt the requirement to protect election integrity.

Full Article: Judge rips Wisconsin officials over voter ID law confusion | U.S. News | US News.

Wisconsin: Experts Say Judge ‘Unlikely’ To Change Voter ID Law This Close To Election | Wisconsin Public Radio

A federal judge has scheduled a hearing for next week to consider a motion by voter ID opponents to block the law ahead of the Nov. 8 election. Western District Court Judge James Peterson will also use the hearing to discuss a state investigation into recordings that allegedly show eligible voters being turned away from getting IDs. “The parties should be prepared to discuss whether any of the relief requested by plaintiffs is necessary or appropriate,” Peterson wrote. The audio recordings were made public by a group called VoteRiders. In a sworn declaration to the court, the group’s Molly McGrath said they feature Wisconsin Division of Motor Vehicle employees giving people incorrect advice about what to do if they lack IDs. For example, one of the recordings features a man being denied an ID and directed away from a petition process for people who can’t easily get identification.

Full Article: Experts Say Judge 'Unlikely' To Change Voter ID Law This Close To Election | Wisconsin Public Radio.