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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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.

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.

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.

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.

Wisconsin: DMV retraining workers on voter ID | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The Division of Motor Vehicles began retraining hundreds of workers Tuesday as more instances came to light of state officials providing incomplete or inaccurate information about the ability of people to get IDs for voting. “We still have plenty of time to right any wrongs that may have occurred,” DMV Administrator Kristina Boardman told reporters. She made her comments just hours before groups suing the state asked a federal judge to suspend or soften the voter ID law for the Nov. 8 election. In court filings, the groups cited instances of voters not receiving IDs or being told wrong information about whether they could get them. “Taken together, this evidence makes clear that the state does not have — and is incapable of implementing — a functioning safety net for its strict voter ID law,” attorney Joshua Kaul wrote.

Wisconsin: DMV workers at 7 more stations give wrong voter ID info | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Workers at seven Division of Motor Vehicles stations across Wisconsin provided inaccurate or incomplete information about the availability of IDs for voting, newly released recordings show. “You’re not guaranteed to get an ID card. Nothing’s guaranteed,” a worker at the DMV station in Hudson told a woman on Wednesday. That conflicts with what Attorney General Brad Schimel’s office has claimed in court documents. His assistants have claimed all DMV workers have been trained to tell people they will get credentials for voting within six days, even if they don’t have birth certificates. The recordings could further roil litigation over Wisconsin’s voter ID law. On Friday, a federal judge ordered the state DMV to investigate an incident in which three DMV workers gave incorrect information about whether a Madison man could get an ID without a birth certificate. The recordings were made by the group VoteRiders, which assists voters in getting IDs and describes voter ID laws on its website as “challenging and confusing.”

Wisconsin: DMV gives wrong information on voter ID | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

State officials told a judge they had trained workers to make sure people could easily get IDs for voting, but an audio recording was released Thursday of Division of Motor Vehicles employees telling a man he couldn’t get one quickly because he didn’t have a birth certificate with him. “You don’t get anything right away,” one DMV employee said on the recording. How IDs are handled is “up in the air right now,” said another. The recordings were made Sept. 22, the same day Attorney General Brad Schimel filed court documents claiming DMV “field staff are now trained to ensure that anyone who fills out these forms will receive a photo ID, mailed to them within six days of their application,” even if they don’t have a birth certificate. The Nation first reported on the recording, which was made by Molly McGrath, the national campaign coordinator with VoteRiders, a group opposed to voter ID laws that also helps people get IDs.

Texas: Judge Orders Texas Officials To Reprint Misleading Voter Education Materials | News One

A federal Judge in Texas has ruled the state violated an agreement it made in July to soften its voter ID law, one of the strictest in the country and as a result, will have to reprint their voter education materials. In July, a court ruled that the Texas voter ID law discriminated against Blacks and Hispanics who were less likely than Whites to have government-issued photo ID’s. Texas officials agreed to ease the photo ID restrictions allowing other forms of identification to be used, but the phrasing in their voting guidelines did not make that clear. According to the agreement made in July voters would be allowed to cast their ballots with a signed affidavit and a paycheck, bank statement, utility bill or other government document that included their name.

Texas: Judge Orders Texas to Rewrite Voter ID Education Materials | The Texas Tribune

A federal judge has ordered Texas to issue new voter education materials, siding with those who accused state officials of misleading voters about identification requirements for the November elections. U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos on Tuesday ordered changes to certain press releases, posters placed at polling locations and materials on state websites related to voting in the Nov. 8 elections. She is also requiring that “all materials related to the education of voters, poll workers, and election officials that have not yet been published shall reflect the language” of a prior court order allowing those who arrive at the polls without one of seven forms of photo identification required under state law to cast a ballot. Ramos’ order came after the federal government and other groups challenging the state’s photo ID law — ruled discriminatory by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit — accused Texas of circulating “inaccurate or misleading information” about a temporary fix she ordered for the upcoming election.

Texas: Federal Judge Says Texas Election Officials Need to Follow Voter ID Court Order | KUT

A federal judge sided again today with plaintiffs in the long legal battle over Texas’ voter ID law. This time, the U.S. Department of Justice joined the group of Texas voters challenging the state’s law, arguing Texas election officials were misleading voters about court-ordered changes to the law. According to lawyers in the case, during a hearing for that motion today, U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos ordered state officials to do a better job of communicating the changes she ordered several weeks ago. Chad Dunn, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs in the voter ID case, says he doesn’t understand why the state deviated from language both sides had previously agreed upon. “But, the communications going forward are going to accurately reflect what the court ordered as an interim remedy, and voters are going to have the correct information,” he says.

California: More than 235,000 votes didn’t count in June’s U.S. Senate race, and some think ballot designs are to blame | Los Angeles Times

A bumper crop of U.S. Senate candidates and the resulting challenge in designing ballots may be why more than 235,000 California voters had their selections for the race rejected in June. “Our research shows a clear problem with complicated ballot designs,” said Philip Muller, an election data analyst whose firm creates online voter guides. Muller and partner Davit Avagyan sorted through election results from all but six California counties to see how many “over-votes” were cast in the U.S. Senate race — ballots on which voters chose two or more candidates. Because elections officials have no way of knowing which of those candidates was the preferred choice, those Senate votes weren’t counted. Election officials warned this past spring of potential confusion with a ballot listing 34 candidates who were in the race to replace Sen. Barbara Boxer. Under the state’s top-two primary rules, only Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris and Orange County Rep. Loretta Sanchez advanced to the Nov. 8 general election.

Texas: State misleading voters on rules on IDs for voting, Department of Justice complains | Dallas Morning News

The U.S. Department of Justice accused Texas officials Tuesday of waging a misleading voter education campaign and squandering money the state was ordered to spend on clarifying the voting process for those without certain forms of government-issued ID. A federal judge will hear arguments on Monday In a letter filed in federal court, lawyers for the department said Texas was advertising a standard “incorrect and far harsher” than is accurate when describing the circumstances under which individuals without specific forms of ID are allowed to vote. The department said Texas officials are teaching citizens and poll officials that Texans without photo ID can still cast a ballot, but only if they truly “cannot” obtain certain forms of ID. In reality, Texans only need to sign a form claiming they have a “reasonable impediment” to obtaining those forms of ID in order to be allowed to vote. A reasonable impediment could include anything from a restrictive work schedule to a “family responsibilities.”

California: This 224-page California voter guide is heftiest one ever, thanks to 17 ballot measures | Los Angeles Times

In a season replete with clothing catalogs and campaign flyers, the biggest item stuffed in mailboxes this fall may be the Nov. 8 statewide voter guide, coming in at a record-setting 224 pages. The information booklet covers all 17 statewide ballot propositions, a document that election officials believe is the most voluminous election guide in California history. And it hasn’t come cheap: The total cost for printing and mailing, done in Sacramento and taking seven weeks to complete, will come close to $15 million. “It could have been worse,” said Kim Alexander, president of the nonpartisan California Voter Foundation.

North Carolina: Some election mailers still say voters will need ID at polls | WRAL

Some voters are getting mixed messages about voter ID rules when they receive registration information from their local county board of elections. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the state’s 2013 law that required most voters to show photo identification at the polls. In a subsequent August order, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to put that 4th Circuit order on hold. However, a concerned viewer sent WRAL News pictures of material that was part of a packet sent to a newly registered voter in Alamance County that touted the now defunct ID rules. The packet, postmarked Sept. 2, bears a large box with red type that says, “BEGINNING IN 2016, VOTERS WILL BE ASKED TO SHOW A PHOTO ID WHEN VOTING IN PERSON.” The same card carries instructions for what voters who might not have appropriate IDs should do. In a separate black and white alert box on a different portion of the material, it bears a conflicting message that reads, “ALERT: PHOTO ID NOT REQUIRED TO VOTE.”