November 2015

Outgoing Kentucky Governor Restores Voting Rights for Former Felons

Outgoing Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear’s executive order restoring voting rights to thousands of individuals previously convicted of nonviolent felonies is generating support for its impact on those potential voters but also some pushback from lawmakers who believe the change should have been done legislatively.




San Mateo County’s High All-Mail Turnout: California’s Future?

San Mateo County’s November election – which featured mail ballots and a Colorado-style “ballot delivery” system – had a higher turnout than similar previous votes. Prepaid postage may have been a factor, but if the higher turnout numbers can be replicated elsewhere it could generate momentum for statewide adoption in California.



Turnover in Grays Harbor Blamed on Workload, Lack of Resources

Washington’s Grays Harbor County is losing its fourth election official in two years – a situation the auditor says is due to a mismatch between duties and resources under a tight county budget. Unfortunately, county legislators don’t seem to see the urgency and it looks like the office will have to scramble to be ready for 2016.


Forward? Wisconsin Legislature Eliminates GAB

The Wisconsin Legislature passed and sent the Governor a pair of bills that replace the state’s nonpartisan Government Accountability Board with two bipartisan commissions. The change generated fierce partisan controversy – and will likely leave the election commission with new leadership in a presidential election year.


Charles Stewart’s Latest: “Managing Polling Place Resources”

Charles Stewart has a new report via the CalTech/MIT Voting Technology Project that examines how to use data and analytical tools to manage polling place resources. These tools are invaluable both in predicting line length (and thus the voter experience on Election Day) as well as highlighting policy and budgeting choices for localities regarding election administration.



The Case of the AWOL Pollworker

A head election judge near Pittsburgh decided to skip work on Election Day and give rides for money instead … with voting equipment and ballots still in his car. It’s a new (and amusing) twist on the old “no show” story, but one that election officials have to plan for – and worry about – as they prepare for Election Day.