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.Full Article: DMV retraining workers on voter ID.
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.”Full Article: DMV workers at 7 more stations give wrong voter ID info.
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.Full Article: DMV gives wrong information on voter ID.
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.Full Article: Judge Orders Texas Officials To Reprint Misleading Voter Education Materials | News One.
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.Full Article: Judge Orders Texas to Rewrite Voter ID Education Materials | The Texas Tribune.
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.Full Article: Federal Judge Says Texas Election Officials Need to Follow Voter ID Court Order | KUT.
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.”Full Article: Texas misleading voters on rules on IDs for voting, feds complain | Dallas Morning News.
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.Full Article: This 224-page California voter guide is heftiest one ever, thanks to 17 ballot measures - LA Times.
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.”Full Article: Some election mailers still say voters will need ID at polls :: WRAL.com.
Last week, voting rights advocates accused North Carolina Republicans of mounting a procedural end run around a panel of federal appeals court judges, which had ruled that a 2013 election law targeted African-American voters “with almost surgical precision” and struck it down. On Wednesday, they leveled virtually the same charge against Republicans in Texas, where a 2011 election law was invalidated this summer by another federal appeals court. This time, the advocates had the support of the Justice Department. In one of the nation’s most closely watched voting rights cases, the appeals court ruled in July that the Texas law, which required voters to show one of seven government photo IDs before casting a ballot, discriminated against minorities who lacked the IDs and could not easily get them. A lower court later ordered state officials to let people without IDs vote by signing a statement that they “cannot reasonably obtain” one — and told the state to spend $2.5 million to educate voters and local election officials on the relaxed requirement.Full Article: Court Filing Accuses Texas of Misleading Voters Without IDs - The New York Times.
Texas is spending $2.5 million to spread the word about changes to its voter ID law before the November election but will not release details about how the money is being used. More than half of that taxpayer money will go toward an advertising campaign, according to court filings. Yet state officials will not say which markets they intend to target with television and radio spots. As part of its outreach effort, the state will send “digital tool kits” to an estimated 1,800 organizations across Texas to engage local communities on voter education. State officials will not identify those groups. And documents related to both have recently been sealed by a federal judge at the request of Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office.Full Article: Texas withholds details of $2.5M voter ID education effort - Houston Chronicle.
Texas on Wednesday kicked off a voter education campaign ahead of the November elections amid heightened scrutiny of the state’s voter ID law. Under an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice and minority rights groups, the state is required to spend $2.5 million to educate voters about its voter ID requirements. Registered voters will be able to cast a ballot Nov. 8 without a photo ID under the agreement, which came weeks after a federal appeals court ruled that Texas’ 2011 voter identification law was discriminatory. The inaugural Vote Texas event on Wednesday, at which Secretary of State Carlos Cascos told students at the University of Texas at Austin to get into the habit of voting at a young age, was planned before the agreement, Cascos said.Full Article: Texas Launches Voter Education Campaign Amid Scrutiny of Voter ID Law | The Texas Tribune.
Google is pulling another lever on its influential search engine in an effort to boost voter turnout in November’s U.S. presidential election. Beginning Tuesday, Google will provide a summary box detailing state voting laws at the top of the search results whenever a user appears to be looking for that information. The breakdown will focus on the rules particular to the state where the search request originates unless a user asks for another location. Google is introducing the how-to-vote instructions a month after it unveiled a similar feature that explains how to register to vote in states across the U.S.
The search giant said its campaign is driven by rabid public interest in the presidential race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. As of last week, it said, the volume of search requests tied to the election, the candidates and key campaign issues had more than quadrupled compared to a similar point in the 2012 presidential race.
Television spots aimed at educating voters about North Carolina’s voter ID law are being canceled. One million informational posters and push cards are outdated and most likely headed for the trash. Binders carefully created as election bibles for each of the state’s 2,700 precincts need a heavy edit, with no time to waste. Election officials are scrambling to comply with last week’s federal appeals court ruling striking down North Carolina’s voter photo identification mandate and other restrictions Republicans approved three years ago. Photo identification was required for the first time in this year’s primaries, but barring another court decision, it is no longer mandated. The appellate ruling also extends early voting to 17 days, up from 10; and adds seven days of same-day voter registration. … The ruling effectively returns North Carolina to the rules it had before August 2013. But navigating the state’s election rules was already made more difficult by other federal court rulings against North Carolina this year, and some voters told The Associated Press that this latest ruling could add to the confusion.Full Article: N Carolina voter ID ruling means another election disruption.
The European Union (EU) has called for voter education to enhance effective participation in next month’s elections. EU Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) chief observer Cecille Kyenge said this yesterday when she met some Copperbelt civil society organisations at Mukuba Hotel in Ndola to discuss their activities and contributions to the electoral process. Ms Kyenge said the voters were an important component in the electoral process and that having met Ndola-based civil society organisations, the mission was pleased with their strong dedication.Full Article: Zambia: EU Calls for Voter Education - allAfrica.com.
The state Elections Commission is working to implement polling place changes and new voter education requirements in light of a federal judge’s ruling on Wisconsin’s voter ID law. U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman ruled Tuesday that voters who can’t obtain a state-issued ID must be allowed to sign an affidavit to verify their identity at the polls. Then they can vote on the spot. Adelman also directed the Elections Commission to train poll workers and educate voters about the affidavit. The Elections Commission is figuring out how to implement those changes, with just about three months to go before November’s general election, said spokesperson Reid Magney. “A lot of the details, it’s just too early to discuss at this point,” Magney said.Full Article: Elections Commission Navigates New Voter ID Requirements | Wisconsin Public Radio.
Wisconsin: State’s New Elections Commission OKs Spending $250K On Voter ID Education Campaign | Wisconsin Public Radio
The newly minted Wisconsin Elections Commission elected officers and approved spending on an education campaign for the state’s voter ID law during its first meeting Thursday. The commission will spend $250,000 on a public education campaign before the November election to remind people to bring an ID to the polls, and tell them how to get one if they don’t have it. Commissioner Don Millis wants to avoid money going towards TV ads that aren’t likely to run during prime time.Full Article: State's New Elections Commission OKs Spending $250K On Voter ID Education Campaign | Wisconsin Public Radio.
Voting Blogs: Election Toolkit launches: Free and low-cost tech tools will help promote civic engagement nationwide | electionlineWeekly
This election year, election officials will have a new collection of tools to help them engage their communities in the electoral process and improve how elections are run throughout the U.S. The Election Toolkit, an online library of resources for election officials, includes tools like a free app to measure voter wait times, guidelines on how to create short videos and infographics, and a collection of civic icons and illustrations. All of the tools in the Toolkit are either free or low cost and come paired with step-by-step instructions, making them accessible to any election official, regardless of their budget or tech skills.Full Article: electionlineWeekly.
Wisconsin: Legislature’s budget committee approves $250,000 for voter ID education | Wisconsin State Journal
The Legislature’s budget committee Monday approved spending $250,000 for a public education campaign on the controversial voter ID law. The campaign, details of which still must be settled by the new Elections Commission, would inform the public about the need to bring a valid photo ID to vote in the upcoming fall primary and general elections. The money would pay for radio and television public service announcements, website ads, online videos and possibly ads at movie theaters, on buses and on social media. The campaign includes English and Spanish ads newspapers can run, but doesn’t include funds for print ads, spokesman Reid Magney said. The committee passed the motion unanimously with one member absent after addressing concerns raised by a Republican lawmaker that the campaign would be a “waste of money” because most people already know about the law.Full Article: Legislature's budget committee approves $250,000 for voter ID education | Politics and Elections | host.madison.com.