April 2016

The Survey SAYS! electionlineWeekly on Missoula County, MT’s Voter Poll

The latest electionlineWeekly looks at a recent partnership between Missoula County, MT’s election office and the University of Montana to assess how well voters think their needs and concerns are being addressed. Obviously, not every state or local jurisdiction is going to have the funds to conduct such a study, but the idea – especially the partnership with students – is one worth exploring in other places.

Two WV Counties Resist Move to OVR

Clerks in two West Virginia counties are refusing to accept online registrations, citing a litany of concerns about the system’s security. The SoS disputes those concerns, but it is powerless to force the counties to comply because the law establishing OVR allows counties to opt out. Still, pressure is growing on the clerks to change their positions as voters are frustrated at being required to complete and return paper forms.

Seventh Circuit Revives Wisconsin Voter ID Challenge

Yesterday, a federal appeals court revived a narrow “as-applied” challenge to Wisconsin’s voter ID law and sent it back to a lower court for trial. The case argues that the ID law – which was upheld broadly in 2014 – creates special hardships for certain voters unable to obtain necessary documents and thus should be altered to protect them. It’s a big case that reflects the new direction of the ID fight nationwide.

New Pew Interactive Tracks OVR Implementation Nationwide

The election team at The Pew Charitable Trusts has a new online interactive that allows you to see how the states that have moved to OVR are making it work in practice. Resources like this are invaluable both in explaining to policymakers, the media and the interested public how OVR works in the states as well as serving as a repository of information for further innovation and development in the field.

“Sunday Q&A” with Virginia Elections CIO Matthew Davis

The Richmond Times-Dispatch has a “Sunday Q&A” with Department of Elections CIO Matthew Davis … it’s a fascinating look at the work of elections in the Old Dominion and a terrific opportunity for an election administrator to give readers a chance to see how – and why – election preparations are proceeding as November 2016 approaches.

electionlineWeekly Looks at Collin County, TX Voter Line Wait App

Long voter lines have been in the news lately – and are on the minds of election officials everywhere as turnout surges around the country. Offices nationwide are looking for ways to help voters navigate Election Day, and the latest electionlineWeekly has a story by Mindy Moretti looking at a resource from Collin County, TX (suburban Dallas, Plano) that can literally fit in the palm of a voter’s hand.

Bad Day in St. Louis: Severe Ballot Shortages Plague Municipal Elections

St. Louis County, MO had a nightmare day yesterday for its municipal election, as ballot mistakes and shortages led to a (rather late) court order, angry voters and widespread calls for investigations into what went wrong. It remains to be seen what, if any, effect this will have on the County’s preparations for this fall’s presidential general election.

Vendor, State Blame One Another in Massachusetts Ballot Printing Dispute

Massachusetts’ state elections office and a ballot-printing vendor are blaming one another for a dispute during the presidential primary that resulted in the vendor’s termination. At issue are the quality and type of printing, as well as the state’s choice of voting equipment and the numbers of ballots ordered for various parties’ primaries. It’s not a good situation seven months from the general election.

Mountain State Surprise: West Virginia Voter ID Compromise Also Adds Automatic Registration

Two years ago, I pooh-poohed a proposal by Ohio State’s Dan Tokaji suggesting a “grand bargain” between the parties on voter ID and registration reform. Last week, West Virginia proved me wrong, doing just that in a legislative compromise (just signed by the Governor) that puts in place a non-photo voter ID requirement while also launching automatic “opt-out” registration at the DMV.