On October 29, 2002, President George W. Bush signed Public Law 107-252, the “Help America Vote Act”, which represented the federal government’s response to the controversial (and close) 2000 presidential election. HAVA may not have been the perfect response to the challenges facing the American election system, but it’s been significant.
Regular readers of the blog know that I usually end my posts with a “stay tuned!” Today, I wanted to prove that I follow my own advice and keep you up to date by sharing some updates on topics I’ve blogged about here, including a medical delay in a U.S. Supreme Court case, a tiny town that just wants to go away, an honor (and return) for a longtime election official and the latest in a controversy involving a Secretary of State.
After a week of mostly bad news on the blog, it’s nice to share the electiongeek equivalent of a handful of candy corn – electionlineWeekly’s annual Halloween edition, which features Athens County, OH’s Great Pumpkin, San Francisco’s Columbarium and a Georgia candidate’s war on zombie voters.
Alabama’s new law prohibiting crossover voting in primary runoffs – and the Secretary of State’s full-throated support, including jail time for violators – is creating controversy. What’s at issue isn’t “election integrity” but instead that of a political party. If Alabama really feels such a policy is necessary, it should make sure it is informing voters of the law and doing all it can to ensure that no one violates it, unwittingly or otherwise.
In a surprise move yesterday, the Kentucky State Board of Elections dismissed the state election director and deputy director without providing an explanation for the dismissals. The deputy suggested the dismissals may have been related to issues he raised about the Board’s operations, but for the time being no one knows what exactly happened in Frankfort. [UPDATED with news of the deputy’s allegations]
A Berkeley, CA postal worker was recently convicted and dismissed after last fall’s discovery that he had discarded about 100 voter guides in a recycling bin rather than deliver them. I’ll be curious to see if this (admittedly isolated) incident does anything to fuel the push to move away from printed voter guides in California.
Election officials often who feel like no one notices their work may appreciate a recent story out of Dillwyn, VA, where the town clerk’s retirement meant that none of the candidates for mayor or town council filed for re-election, resulting in an all write-in vote. It illustrates the key role that an election official can (and usually does) play in keeping local elections moving – not just for voters, but candidates as well.
If you’re in the election field and use social media, you may have noticed that election offices are getting more active – and creative! – online. electionline’s Mindy Moretti noticed the same thing and (as she does) decided to write about it for this week’s newsletter. It’s encouraging to see these offices out there doing their bit to raise the tone on social media and bring key election-related information to their voters.
The Massachusetts Legislature is currently moving a bill that will reimburse localities for their costs associated with implementing early voting. It reflects, in part, the growing acceptance of early voting in the Bay State – though it’s a little concerning that localities are being reimbursed after incurring costs rather than supporting early voting in advance. Still, it’s better than nothing.
The U.S. Election Assistance Commission has just released the latest installment in its new “EAVS Deep Dive” series – this time, taking a look at Americans’ growing use of ballots cast outside the Election Day polling place. It’s a fantastic resource – and evidence of the EAC’s effort to make EAVS data useful for the very same election officials who are required to provide it.