This week’s issue of electionlineWeekly features the latest of Mindy Moretti’s now-famous “exit interviews” – this time with Josh Franklin, who may not be well-known to casual observers of American elections but is recognized as a key player by hard-core electiongeeks nationwide. He’s leaving NIST to work on election issues with for the Center for Internet Security – and he’s also one of the more interesting people in the field, which shines through in this conversation.
Articles by Doug Chapin
The U.S. Election Assistance Commission is once again hosting an annual Language Access for Voters summit next Tuesday, July 24 at the Newseum in Washington, DC. It looks like an amazing event with many of the smartest people in the field – and if you are in the DC area, there are few places with a better view of the city than the Newseum! Check it out …
A federal court in New Hampshire is hearing a lawsuit challenging some localities’ practice of discarding mail ballots if the voter signature on the ballot doesn’t match the one on file. The stats indicate that the impact is concentrated in a small number of communities and wards, suggesting that the problem is varying enthusiasm of enforcement by local moderators. Don’t be surprised if the state, like others sued on similar practices, is required to notify voters and give them an opportunity to “cure” the signature problem.
The City of San Francisco has announced the availability of voter registration for non-citizens in school board elections in response to a citywide referendum. It’s an interesting program and one which is being eyed in other communities, with all of the attendant excitement and nervousness about what it could mean for participating voters.
On Friday. the U.S. Department of Justice announced indictments against Russian nationals, accusing them of interfering in the 2016 Presidential election – including specific attempts to penetrate state and local election systems. While the existence of such outside threats are no longer news, the depth and breadth of the attacks in 2016 add clarity to the nature of the threat. Needless to say, these indictments will add even more urgency to the work to make the nation’s election systems more resilient.
The latest electionlineWeekly features a new report from the National State Geographic Information Council (NSGIC) on the use of mapping technology in election administration. Projects like these definitely put the “geek” in electiongeek, but they offer improved accuracy of the election map (no small thing in the wake of stories about mis-assigned voters in close elections) as well as creating endless opportunities for innovation.
Local election boards across North Carolina are once again tasked with approving early voting locations and schedules – and once again there are partisan deadlocks over specific locations, including in Wake County (Raleigh) regarding early voting at North Carolina State University. This controversy is just the latest in North Carolina regarding election administration; for whatever reason, the legislature seems intent on changing election laws and policies every cycle, leaving counties to pick up the pieces.
Alan Greenblatt of Governing Magazine has a look at several states where the 2018 elections will include questions about voting and elections themselves. Taking a question to the voters is occasionally required as part of the formal process for changing state law – but more often than not it’s a tactical decision aimed at bypassing parttsan gridlock or opposition – and the questions themselves will both affect and be affected by local politics in the run-up to November.
Ohio’s Secretary of State has announced that the Buckeye State will restart the “supplemental process” for voter list maintenance, with some updates, in the wake of a favorable ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. Voters will have more options to check, verify and update their address – and will also get a second notice immediately before their record is cancelled.
Last week, the Commonwealth of Kentucky entered into a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice regarding required maintenance of its voter rolls under the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA, or “motor voter”). It’s the latest reminder that it sometimes takes a federal court – whose orders have priority over just about anything else – to spur action on (and resources for) otherwise-stalled voter list maintenance processes at the state and local level.