Voting Blogs

Articles about voting from the blogosphere.

Voting Blogs: Texas Voter ID Laws and Hurricane Harvey Join in Election Maelstrom | State of Elections

Hurricane Harvey made landfall as a category four hurricane on the South Texas coast on August 25, 2017. Harvey was the first major hurricane to make landfall in the continental United States since Hurricane Wilma made landfall in 2005. The storm stalled over Texas through the next several days, dropping 51.88 inches and 27 trillion gallons of rain over parts of Houston, the state’s most populated city, and causing nearly $200 billion in damages spread from Rockport in South Texas to Beaumont near the Louisiana border. As those affected by the storm struggle to piece their homes, their livelihoods, and their families back together, one could not fault them for not thinking about how Harvey might affect their ability to vote in the upcoming November 2017 statewide elections (which mainly concern proposed amendments to the state constitution) or the 2018 statewide elections. Read More

Voting Blogs: Ballot Ordering: A Recurrent Controversy in Virginia? | State of Elections

In at least the two most recent “big” elections in Virginia, the 2016 Presidential race, and the 2017 race for Governor, there has been some controversy over the method used to decide which order candidates appear on the ballot. In March 2017, the Corey Stewart campaign issued a press release accusing Ed Gillespie’s campaign of “manipulating the Virginia Board of Elections in a last-ditch, rule-breaking effort to have Ed’s name placed at the top of the [primary] ballot.” Virginia law provides that ballot order for primaries is determined by the time that a candidate files for the office, on a first come first served basis. If candidates file simultaneously, ballot order is determined by lottery. The Stewart campaign went so far as to camp out in front of the Board of Elections offices the night before in order to be first, but alleged that Gillespie’s campaign was pressuring the Board to consider their filings simultaneous. Read More

Voting Blogs: 20th Century Law Can’t Regulate 21st Century Technology | Ciara Torres-Spelliscy/Brennan Center for Justice

Unless you’ve been residing in a cave for the past 12 months or so, it is overwhelmingly evident Russia tried to covertly manipulate the 2016 election. The latest to announce that they were unwitting participants in this campaign is Google, which revealed Monday that the Russians had surreptitiously spent tens of thousands of dollars in ads on YouTube, Gmail, and ads associated with Google search. This effort has not only drawn the attention of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, but both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, who reportedly will hold hearings November 1. Of all the online providers involved in this affair, none have come in for as much criticism as Facebook. Two days after Trump’s election, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told a crowd at a tech conference at the Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay, Ca.,  “the idea that fake news on Facebook…influenced the election in any way is a pretty crazy idea.” Read More

Voting Blogs: Challenges to Better Security in U.S. Elections: The Last Mile | Brian Hancock/EAC Blog

Every election has a set of outcomes. Usually it’s winners and losers, but occasionally – and perhaps not coincidentally in presidential elections – there are also outcomes that shape our perceptions about the fairness and efficacy of our elections. In 2000, it was the hanging chad and the role of the Electoral College. In 2012, it was long lines. And in 2016, it was cybersecurity. Once an issue is introduced into the election ecosphere, it often remains a permanent and recurring part of the landscape. For example, a recent Google search of the words “cybersecurity elections” produced over 12 million hits. And at nearly every election-related forum I’ve attended during the past year, cybersecurity was a key topic of discussion. The 2016 election elevated the profile of election security issues and demonstrated a need for state and local election officials not only to reassess their readiness, but to educate the public about this important work and the role it plays in securing elections. Read More

Voting Blogs: Stars not aligned for new Travis County, Texas voting system | electionlineWeekly

The best laid plans of mice, men and elections officials often go awry and that’s exactly what happened to 12 years of studying and planning for Travis County, Texas Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir. Long before anyone ever thought to mention Russians and elections in the same breath, Travis County began looking for a way to improve the security of the county’s voting system and provide a verifiable paper trail. DeBeauvoir was upset that activists were attacking elections administrators for the design of voting systems and the purchase of DRE voting systems that did not have a paper trail. Read More

Voting Blogs: Helping to build a voting time estimator | Kurt Sampsel/electionlineWeekly

Everyone in the election field knows how important it is to minimize waits at the polls, and in recent years, we’ve seen big advances in using data to help predict and avoid polling place stress. But while there’s a lot of research on overall wait times, there’s little data out there that addresses one critical piece of the puzzle: the amount of time it takes to vote a ballot. For that reason, the Center for Technology and Civic Life is working with software developer Mark Pelczarski to build a tool that will estimate how long it will take voters to mark a ballot based on its contents. Once it’s ready, the tool will be available for free in the Election Toolkit. Read More

Voting Blogs: Pence-Kobach, the First Day of Hearings, and the Von Spakovsky Affair | More Soft Money Hard Law

The Pence-Kobach Commission just conducted its first public hearing, and its leadership may have hoped to use the occasion to recover a degree of credibility or measure of respectability for its operations. If that was the plan, it did not work out well. The Vice Chair Kobach started the day in retreat from claims, published the Friday before, about illegal voting in the last New Hampshire Senate election. This is the latest example of his utter disregard of the facts and appetite for sweeping, false claims that have been enough to disqualify him as a serious participant in the national discussion of voting rights.It certainly makes a mockery of his leadership of a presidential Commission supposedly conducting an impartial inquiry into the risks of illegal voting. Then the Campaign Legal Center released an informative email that it obtained by FOIA request to the Department of Justice for materials relating allegations of voting fraud in the 2016 election. Read More

Voting Blogs: Modernizing voting system guidelines and testing | Center for Civic Design

If you have ever looked at the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG), you might be overcome by the sheer size of the document and the level of detail included. If your state requires federal certification for the voting systems you use, the VVSG 1.0 (2005) or 1.1 (2015) are the specifications used to test the voting systems against. We all learned a lot from the process of creating and refreshing the VVSG over the years. In the meantime, so much has changed. The technology has changed, the market of voting technology has changed, laws have changed — elections have changed. We all learned a lot from the process of creating and refreshing the VVSG over the years. In the meantime, so much has changed. The technology has changed, the market of voting technology has changed, laws have changed — elections have changed. On September 12, 2017, the Technical Guidelines Development Committee (TGDC), a committee formed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), adopted a new version of the VVSG, which they’re affectionately calling VVSG 2.0. Read More

Voting Blogs: Analysis: Heritage Foundation’s Database Undermines Claims of Recent Voter Fraud | Brennan Center for Justice

The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity relies on a database produced by the Heritage Foundation to justify baseless claims — by President Trump and some of the panel’s members — of rampant voter fraud. But according to an analysis of the database by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, the numbers in the database reveal exactly the opposite. Claims that the database contains almost 1,100 proven instances of voter fraud are grossly exaggerated and devoid of context, according to Heritage Fraud Database: An Assessment. It confirms what numerous studies have consistently shown: Voter fraud is vanishingly rare, and impersonating a voter at the polls is less common a phenomenon than being struck by lightning. “The database includes an assortment of cases, many unrelated or tangentially related, going back decades, with only a handful pertaining to non-citizens voting or impersonation at the polls,” writes the author. “They add up to a molecular fraction of the total votes cast nationwide. Inadvertently, the Heritage Foundation’s database undermines its claim of widespread voter fraud. Read More

Voting Blogs: New Senate Amendment Would Provide Resources To States For Election Cybersecurity | Election Academy

Senators Amy Klobuchar (DFL-MN) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) have proposed an amendment (SA656) to the defense authorization bill that would provide states with federal dollars to upgrade their election cybersecurity. The bill, which borrows in large part from Klobuchar’s HACK Act introduced earlier this year, would require the federal government to establish best practices for cybersecurity and set up “election technology improvement grants” to help states fund improvements to meet those best practices based on a state plan laying out those proposed improvements. … You’d think that an amendment like SA656 – which both addresses the issue of cybersecurity AND makes (scarce) money available to states – would be an easy win, but there is apparently resistance because of concerns of federal intrusion into state and local control over election administration. Read More