Voting Blogs

Articles about voting from the blogosphere.

Voting Blogs: NASS releases facts and findings on cybersecurity in 2016 election | electionlineWeekly

Rigged! Hacked! Tampering! Fraud! Even before one vote was cast in the 2016 election, rumors swirled about the integrity of the election. The cacophony of misinformation and innuendo has not stopped since the election and all of this has caused some Americans to lose faith in the electoral system. In the days leading up to the election a survey by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that only 4 in 10 Americans had a high degree of confidence that their votes would be counted correctly nearly a third of all who responded thought there was a great deal of voter fraud in the country despite the lack of evidence. This week, the National Association of Secretaries of State released the State Election Officials Report Facts & Findings on Cybersecurity and Foreign Targeting of the 2016 U.S. Election. The report is an effort by NASS to help improve voter confidence and show for a fact that the election was not “hacked”. Read More

Voting Blogs: The epic journey of American voters | Dana Chisnell/Center for civic design

In most of the U.S., getting to vote is not easy. Sure, it’s pretty straightforward to determine who is eligible: You must be a citizen of the United States and at least 18-years-old to cast a ballot in federal elections. But after that, there’s very little that is straightforward about U.S. elections. In hearing from hundreds of voters through several research projects over the last 5 years at the Center for Civic Design, we have learned a lot about the path to Election Day. During the 2012 presidential election we looked at 145 county election web sites to see what information was most prominent on them, and then asked 40 voters to try to find answers to their questions about the election on their local election department websites. In 2013 through 2015, we interviewed more than 100 first-time and low-propensity voters to understand their information needs. Then, leading up to the 2016 presidential election, we followed 50 voters through their processes for getting informed about that election for about 8 weeks. Read More

Voting Blogs: Get them while they’re young California 16- and17-year-olds can now pre-register online | electionlineWeekly

According to a study by the Pew Research Center, 92 percent of teens report going online daily — including 24 percent who say they go online “almost constantly.” With that in mind, California is bringing Muhammad to the mountain by allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote using the state’s online voter registration portal. “Online pre-registration will help more young people vote as soon as they are eligible. Whether they’re at school or at home or hanging out with friends, young Californians can pre-register to vote in just minutes in their smartphone, tablet or laptop,” said Secretary of State Alex Padilla. California is one of 10 states and the District of Columbia that allows 16- and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote and also one of 34 states and the District of Columbia that allows people to register online to vote. As far as we know, it’s the only state that allows those pre-registrants to use the online portal. [Update: Massachusetts and Utah also allow pre-registrants to do so online. Thanks to our alert readers for letting us know!] Read More

Voting Blogs: The Demise of North Dakota’s Voter Identification Law | State of Elections

In one sense, North Dakota’s voting laws are lax as North Dakota is the only state without voter registration requirements.  In another sense, North Dakota’s voting laws are anything but lax as a federal district court recently found North Dakota’s voter identification law (also referred to as “HB 1332”) to be unduly burdensome. In his opinion in Brakebill v. Jaeger, District Judge Daniel L. Hovland determined HB 1332 to be unduly burdensome to North Dakota’s Native American population, writing that “[t]he public interest in protecting the most cherished right to vote for thousands of Native Americans who currently lack a qualifying ID and cannot obtain one, outweighs the purported interest and arguments of the State.” Judge Hovland granted a motion for a preliminary injunction against the law, barring North Dakota from enforcing the law (but not striking the law down). Read More

Voting Blogs: 15 States File Amicus Brief Seeking Clarification on NVRA, Non-Voting and List Maintenance | Election Academy

Fifteen states have filed an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief in the U.S. Supreme Court asking it to hear a case in order to clarify if and how states may use evidence of non-voting as a factor in removing voters from the rolls. The question stems from an Ohio case I wrote about last April. There, plaintiffs challenged the state’s “supplemental process” for list maintenance, which uses failure to vote over a two-year period as a trigger for mailings seeking confirmation that the voter still wishes to vote. The allegation is that the use of non-voting as a trigger violates the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), which expressly prohibits the removal of voters simply for failure to vote. Read More

Voting Blogs: Is election observing in Central Asia a lost cause? | Anne Rennschmid/openDemocracy

To varying degrees, the post-Soviet states of Central Asia are governed by autocrats. These ruling elites have little to no interest in democratic governance, monopolising politics helping those in power to stay in power – in some cases, for life. Last month, Turkmenistan’s president Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov was re-elected with 97% of the vote. In neighbouring Uzbekistan, acting president Shavkat Mirziyoyev won elections held in December 2016 with 89% of the vote. In cementing his position, Mirziyoyev slammed the door on hopes for a more pluralist approach to politics than his late predecessor, Islam Karimov who has ruled the state since it had started to exist. These political systems concentrate lawmaking and executive powers in the office of the president. From Tajikistan to Turkmenistan, political parties represented in parliaments are pro-regime and far from providing political alternatives. Any form of meaningful opposition has been extinguished by a policy of intimidation by powerful state security apparatuses. Consequently, the public mostly remains passive, and with no democratic structures, elections are a sham. Read More

Voting Blogs: The FEC and the Draining of Swamps | More Soft Money Hard Law

Former FEC Commissioner Ann Ravel left a lengthy note as she left town to explain how bad things had gotten at the FEC. Her agency would not help drain the swamp; a bloc of Commissioners had scuttled the agency’s mission to enforce campaign finance disclosure and limits. Republicans promptly disagreed. So the Democrats and Republicans, at odds over enforcement policy, also disagree about the extent and seriousness of their disagreements. With the agency down to 5, and most of the Commissioners’ terms having expired, the question is what happens post-Ravel. There has been talk that the Trump Administration may make a full round of nominations and look to reshape the agency. Speculations have included the possibility that the Administration would end the long-standing deference to the other party in the nomination of half of the Commission and perhaps stack the deck, maybe by putting Independents in place of the Democrats. The law limits parties to half the seats; it does not guarantee a party any of the seats. Read More

Voting Blogs: Election Assistance Commission Offers Election Technology Training Course | EAC Blog

Whether they think they are, want to be, or were trained to be, the Election Official of 2017 is also an Information Technology (IT) Manager. IT management requires a unique set of attitudes, knowledge and skills, all of which are necessary to plan, direct and control contemporary elections.  The Election Assistance Commission recognizes this challenge and now has resources available for local election administrators wishing to hone their IT management skills. After the adoption of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) in 2002, election officials were forced, in a matter of just a few years, to move from managing voluminous paper poll books, paper voter registration application forms and (often) paper ballots to managing electronic statewide voter registration databases, e-poll books and either DRE or optical scan voting systems with their accompanying computer-based election management and ballot building systems.  The ramifications of the shift from managing paper to managing computer based systems cannot be underestimated. In less than a decade, election administration posed new demands on its practitioners, who were asked to understand and successfully implement increasingly complex technologies. A few election officials with sufficient resources were able to hire skilled computer technicians and engineers to augment their staff. The vast majority, however, were forced to become more dependent upon systems vendors to integrate new technology into their local election environment while trying as best they could to effectively manage this new paradigm. Read More

Voting Blogs: A Closer Look at Husted’s Allegations of Non-Citizen Voting in Ohio | Project Vote

Yesterday, Ohio’s secretary of state, Jon Husted, issued a press release congratulating himself for finding 385 non-citizens who were registered to vote in 2016, 82 of whom allegedly voted. Husted then goes on to claim there may be more illegally registered non-citizens on the Ohio voting rolls, but the federal government won’t give him access to their non-citizens database to search. If you’ve been following this issue at all, you can probably guess what we have to say about it.

Scale Matters. Three hundred and eighty-five may sound like a large number in some contexts—bank fees, for example—but not when we’re talking about a state voter file. As Carrie Davis, Executive Director of the Ohio League of Women Voters, noted in a press release yesterday:

“In November 2016, Ohio had 7,861,025 registered voters and, of those, 5,607,641 cast ballots in the November election. Husted’s 385 registered amounts to 0.004898% of total registered voters, and his alleged 82 votes cast amount to 0.001462% of the 5,607,641 total votes cast in November 2016.”

So, while the tone of Husted’s announcement is troubling, the findings of the investigation seem to bear out his own saner words from just one month ago: “While we should always continue to work to improve our election system, we don’t need to perpetuate the myth that voter fraud is in the millions,” he said. “It exists, but only in isolated cases.” Read More

Voting Blogs: New EAC Chair Matt Masterson on Priorities in 2017 and Beyond | Election Academy

Last week, Matt Masterson became the new Chair of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. On Friday, Chairman Masterson posted a blog entry at the EAC website (with a similar but shorter op-ed in the Hill) that lays out the priorities for the EAC in 2017 and beyond:

Today I was elected Chairman of the Election Assistance Commission.  This is an honor and responsibility I do not take lightly.  In their respective terms as Chair, both Commissioners McCormick and Hicks propelled the EAC towards fulfilling our mission set forth by HAVA, to better serve election officials and American voters.  I hope to build on the momentum they created and push the EAC even further. In my year as Chairman, much of the EAC’s work will be influenced by two key things.  First, the lessons learned and feedback from election officials as a result of the 2016 Presidential Election.  The EAC’s #BeReady16 campaign received a great deal of praise from election officials from around the country and I want to build off that success with a new effort, #GamePlan17.  The focus of #GamePlan17 will be to provide election officials with tangible planning strategies and information for the 2018 mid-term election and then to help turn those planning strategies into concrete actions to be taken heading  into 2018. The goal being to help election officials protect their most valuable resource… time. Read More