August 2015

Learning Through Doing? Summit County, OH Deadlocks on State Senator as Pollworker

Summit County, OH has an unusual problem: a GOP state senator wants to serve as a pollworker – and Democrats on the county board of elections are in favor while GOP members have concerns. As a result, the SoS will decide. The dispute rests on issues of partisanship and control over the process – but the prospect of an elected official seeing the Election Day experience first hand is kind of exciting.

EAC Advisory Clears Iowa’s Use of Federal Funds for Fraud Investigation

The EAC has cleared Iowa’s use of federal HAVA dollars to fund voter fraud investigations starting back in 2012. Critics worry that the ruling could open the door to similar programs elsewhere – but that’s unlikely given that most states’ HAVA cupboards are long bare. If nothing else, the ruling finally closes the books on a strange program and allows both Iowa and the EAC to move forward on other far important tasks.

Stealth Upgrade? PA Apparently Moving Toward OVR Implementation

It appears that Pennsylvania is making plans to join the growing list of states offering online voter registration – but is doing so quietly, with few public details. That’s understandable given the state’s long-running partisan fights over voter ID, but with the 2016 elections approaching rapidly it’s important for the state to bring everyone concerned into the OVR loop.

Latest electionlineWeekly Examines U.S. Postal Service and Vote-By-Mail

This week’s electionlineWeekly takes a look at a new USPS internal report recommending a greater push for vote-by-mail business. The agency isn’t going to implement those recommendations – preferring to focus its revenue efforts elsewhere – but it is planning to focus on ensuring that existing VBM ballots receive the highest level of service. That’s key as the number of those ballots continues to grow.

Do What I Want, How I Want It: Utah County Prohibits VBM in Upcoming Sales Tax Vote

Utah County has informed cities using VBM that they will not be allowed to do so in an upcoming tax vote. It’s a problem for those jurisdictions now but also suggests that local decisions about VBM – and attendant worries that election rules give some voters a bigger say in election outcomes – could soon become sources of controversy just like early voting in other places nationwide.

Please, Mr. Postman: Orem, UT Gets 1,270 Mail Ballots Delivered Late

Orem, UT is scrambling to count a huge delivery of ballots postmarked on or before Election Day that arrived the day after. The story is the latest to document the impact of postal changes on mail ballot delivery – and highlights the importance of coordination between election offices and the USPS to make sure that mail ballots arrive in time to be counted.

Go Ahead and Take That Ballot Selfie: Federal Court Strikes Down NH Law

A federal court in New Hampshire struck down the state’s law prohibiting “ballot selfies” as an unconstitutional limitation of the First Amendment. The state was worried about compromising ballot secrecy and facilitating coercion or fraud – but the court wasn’t buying it. It will be interesting to see what this means in New Hampshire – and nationally – going forward.