Alaska’s Lt. Governor, a Democrat, recently replaced the longtime state election director with a newcomer to elections, albeit one with local government experience and a background hailed by native Alaskan leaders currently engaged in litigation with the state. [UPDATED FROM ORIGINAL TO CORRECTLY IDENTIFY CURRENT AND FORMER GOVERNORS]
The Federal Voting Assistance Program at the Department of Defense has released its 2014 report, which shows some gains in participation by military and overseas voters but also highlights areas where the work continues to improve both voter-facing activities as well as data collection under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA).
A standing-room-only crowd in Richmond yesterday debated a proposal by the Virginia State Board of Elections to eliminate eligibility checkboxes from the voter registration form. It’s a thorny policy issue that strikes right at the heart of the access vs. integrity divide – but one that may become less intense as more voters register online AND might benefit from a better approach to design.
Alaska is currently considering whether to move forward with an initiative that would tie voter registration to Alaska Permanent Fund dividend applications. While the specifics are unique to Alaska, the plan is part of a new trend across America to link elections more closely to the everyday lives of current and potential voters.
Brian Newby’s latest ElectionDiary looks at a proposal by his colleague – Tabitha Lehman of Sedgwick County, KS – that would use a portion of political contributions to fund voting technology improvements. It’s a long shot, to be sure, but if nothing else it may kickstart a conversation about a problem that otherwise may run headlong into a fiscal buzzsaw of debt and taxpayer fatigue.
Former Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White is vowing to take his case all the way to the US Supreme Court after the state high court refused his request to overturn the remaining charges against him.
The Knight Foundation has announced the winners of its News Challenge on Elections, including 10 full project winners receiving at least $200,000 and another dozen prototype projects receiving $35,000 each. Congratulations to all the winners – including lots of familiar names – the result of all this work should be interesting to see!
The Technical Guidelines Development Committee announced recently that it will be convening public working groups to help with the voting system standards process. If successful, the process will open up to more voices and hopefully reduce the “innovation lag” between R&D and the market in the field of voting technology.
VoteCal, California’s new statewide voter registration database more than 10 years in the making, is beginning to roll out in a pilot phase this week. VoteCal is very important given its relation to several enacted and desired policy changes – and an aggressive implementation calendar that will have VoteCal in place for next year’s elections.
More than six months after reports of missing votes in Mineral County, NV a lawsuit has been filed alleging machine malfunction and efforts to cover it up at the state level. It’s a fascinating case that is being watched as far away as the Philippines given the increasingly international nature of the voting equipment market.