Next Tuesday, Duluth, MN will vote on whether to adopt ranked choice voting for its city elections. It’s a question that has divided voters on questions of whether it will affect turnout, campaign tone, usability and outcomes – and is informed in part by the experience of previous elections in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
A recent column on ballot observer operations in Washington State is not only an insightful look at the process of managing ballots but also serves as a model for similar stories because it goes beyond the immediate story to highlight the issues and challenges facing state and local election administration.
New Mexico SoS Dianna Duran has resigned, leaving the state with the task of replacing her – first by appointment and then by special election – at the same time it is working to prepare for the 2016 election.
Rock Hill, SC just ran an election where, thanks to a late withdrawal, a city council candidate got 179 votes in an uncontested race that cost the city $4,500 – or about $25 per vote. It’s a useful reminder that election costs are sometimes driven not by big things like policy or technology but but little things like human nature. Controlling costs on the big things, however, can make the little ones hurt less.
Louisiana will be choosing a new Secretary of State in this Saturday’s election – and the state faces a choice between incumbent Tom Schedler and challenger Chris Tyson. The candidates have staked out a variety of differences, ranging from the importance of experience to the proper role of the state in registering voters and encouraging turnout.
Montana SoS Linda McCulloch has directed counties to work with tribal governments on establishing satellite voting centers that offer registration as well as voting. Tribal activists are concerned the plan gives counties too much freedom to refuse.
Paul DeGregorio and Adam Ambrogi have a fantastic new post up at the Democracy Fund blog that looks at the issues and challenges facing election officials in 2016 – and a list of all the different resources and tools available to help confront and overcome them. It’s a great read and worth bookmarking and saving as the election year approaches.
NPR’s Pam Fessler has a new piece with a wide-ranging interview with EAC Chair Christy McCormick on voting technology and other issues – and the federal government’s plans (if any) to be of assistance. Hint: It likely won’t involve new federal funds.
Peggy Nighswonger, who has been Wyoming state election director since 1996, has stepped down citing “philosophical differences” with the new SoS – apparently involving the relative emphasis on registering new voters vs. preparing for the 2016 election.
Pew’s election team has a new issue brief with survey data from 2014 showing that most voters waited in line less time than they expected and that many who had planned to cast ballots by mail ended up doing so in person – either by casting their ballot or returning their mail ballot at a polling pace or some other central location. It’s valuable “customer service” data of use to both election officials and policymakers.