Michigan House Endorses Straight-Ticket Ban, Ties It to No-Excuse Absentee Voting

The Michigan House passed its own version of a straight-ticket voting ban, raising the appropriation to $5 million and tying the bill to another establishing no-excuse absentee voting. The linkage of the two bills may slow progress on both, but local election offices – many of whom oppose the changes – are likely nervous about the prospect of not one but two big changes in an election year.

Brazos County, TX Vote Centers See High Number of Out-of-Precinct Voters

Brazos County (College Station) TX used vote centers in its most recent election and discovered that some locations had a high number of “out-of-precinct” voters who found that particular location to be more convenient than the one nearest their home. Such data can be helpful in identifying the best locations for polling places as people “vote with their feet.”

“Shanda” (Disgrace): NY Assemblyman Calls for Election Materials in Yiddish

A New York state assemblyman is calling upon the NYC Board of Elections to add Yiddish to the list of languages used on voter registration and other election materials. It’s a fascinating issue, given the combination of growing demand for alternate languages and the challenges election offices face in making sure those materials are not only literally correct but also make sense.

Payment Due: Las Cruces Invoices Candidates for Recount Costs

Las Cruces, NM has invoiced two municipal candidates a total of about $5,400 for costs incurred during a recent recount. The candidates are reviewing the bill – and may have grounds to contest it given that it relies on statutory language that was challenged and changed at the state level. Until then, the City is awaiting payment for additional costs for which it likely didn’t budget.

Using Design to Prevent Downstream Frustration – Will It Fly in Elections?

A new blog post by design expert Jared Spool examines how jet engine companies are using design thinking to spot problems before they happen, reducing passenger frustration by preventing unplanned flight cancellations. This kind of “downstream” thinking is crucial in many industries – including election administration.

Adam Ambrogi and Brenda Wright on the Importance of DMV, Agency Registration

A new National Law Journal op-ed by Demos’ Brenda Wright and the Democracy Fund’s Adam Ambrogi highlights the importance and value of using public agencies like DMVs to help citizens register to vote and maintain their voter records. It’s an effort that is already seeing results in some states – and is like to reach even more in 2016 and beyond.

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.