March 2016

Rhode Island Poised to Become Newest OVR State

The Rhode Island legislature has overwhelmingly passed a bill that would establish online voter registration and permit participation in interstate exchanges like ERIC. If signed by the governor, the bill will add the nation’s smallest state to a growing list of states and the District now offering the ability to register or update voter records online.

Infamous or Not? Iowa Supreme Court to Consider Landmark Case on Felon Disenfranchisement

Today, the Iowa Supreme Court will hear a case challenging the implementation of the state Constitution’s disenfranchisement of people convicted of “infamous crimes.” That policy, which has been a moving target recently but currently disenfranchises all felons, is dividing local officials over the importance of a “bright line” between eligible and ineligible felons – and if so, where to draw it.

“Five Questions” with Retiring Leon County Supervisor Ion Sancho

Leon County, FL’s Ion Sancho is retiring this fall after a long and distinguished career in elections. Before he leaves, he’s done a “Five Questions” interview with Sunshine State News, covering a wide range of topics and revealing why his energy and commitment has meant so much to his community, his state – and the field – for nearly thirty years.

New Math: Forecasting Turnout Gets More Complex as Elections Do

Long lines in Arizona during last week’s primary highlight the need for better forecasts of turnout – and as elections get more complex the issue is not just how many voters will show up, but where and when. At the same time, those forecasts need to include a prediction of how many people need extra time and attention due to eligibility or other issues.

And I’m (Almost) BACK IN THE GAME!

Thanks to amazing medical professionals, patient friends/colleagues and an incredibly supportive family, I’m ready to come off the “disabled list” … blogging, electiongeekery and shenanigans resume Monday, March 28!

When You’re Seventeen: Controversy Erupts Over Voting in Ohio Primary

Controversy (and the inevitable lawsuit) has erupted in Ohio, where plaintiffs – including the Sanders campaign – are suing the Secretary of State over a rule that says 17-year-olds who will be 18 on Election Day in November cannot cast ballots for President in next week’s March 15 primary. They say that’s disenfranchisement; he says it’s the law.

Maine Makeover? State Discusses Switching Back from Caucus to Primary

Maine is one of a number of states with presidential nominating caucuses that is discussing whether to switch back to primaries. That decision – which encompasses questions of cost, procedure and timing – needs to ensure that whatever path the state chooses enjoys full investment (financial and otherwise) from policymakers.

Long Lines at New ASU Polling Place Prompt Questions, Changes

Student turnout for early voting at Appalachian State University overwhelmed the on-campus site, resulting in long lines – likely the result of poor planning that put all voters (including same-day registrants) in the same line for check-in. The problem has been resolved but it’s a useful lesson for jurisdictions across the country as November (and its high turnout) approaches.

Jeremy Epstein on “My Day as a Pollworker”

Voting technology expert Jeremy Epstein is one of those election geeks who “walks the talk” as a pollworker … he recently shared a short summary of his day at the polls, which is an excellent peek inside the polling place on Election Day and a useful preview of the issues everyone at the polls will face this fall.