May 2016

(One More) One More Time: Ohio Court Re-Establishes “Golden Week”

Yesterday, Ohio’s on-again/off-again “Golden Week” – during which voters can register to vote and cast an early ballot – was once again re-instated by a federal trial court. It’s a big deal – not just because Ohio is such a key state, but also because of the issues involved and because of the potential for key rulings by federal appellate courts (and maybe even the eight-member SCOTUS).

Land of Lincoln Leap: Is Illinois Next on Automatic Voter Registration?

Even as the 2016 election rapidly approaches, legislators in Illinois are moving ahead on a bill that would add the Land of Lincoln – this year! – to the list of states offering automatic registration, but the state board of elections is saying they’re not sure the state can or should move so quickly. Still, it’s consistent with the state’s previous rapid-fire approach to registration reforms.

Minnesota to Switch from Caucus to Primary for 2020 Presidential

Minnesota’s governor has signed a bipartisan bill switching from a presidential caucus to a primary starting in 2020. The change will allow more voters to participate and will also allow the state to use its well-regarded election system to manage the process. It’s a nice change from the typical cycle of “complain now/forget later/complain again in four years” that is common in presidential years regarding election laws.

electionlineWeekly Looks at New Virginia Election Data Project

This week’s electionlineWeekly spotlights the new Virginia Election Data Project, a cooperative effort between the state, localities and the elections team at The Pew Charitable Trusts. It’s a really nice use of election data to examine and illuminate the voting process and highlight potential areas of improvement – and could be a model for other states.

War in Wicomico: Library, County Exec Battle Over Space for Voting Machines

In Wicomico County, MD on the state’s Eastern Shore, the library and the county executive are fighting over access to the library building for voting equipment storage. It’s a battle that’s emblematic of the ongoing struggle that election offices nationwide face in balancing operational needs with limited budgets – which often conflicts with other local programs’ similar challenges.

Connecticut to Adopt “Streamlined” Automatic Registration with DMV

Back in February, I wrote about a legislative proposal by Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill to join the small but growing list of states offering automatic voter registration to eligible residents. It didn’t happen in the legislature, but yesterday the SoS and the state DMV announced an administrative agreement to bring it to the Nutmeg State.

A Dollar Short: New Mexico Auditor Says Elections Persistently Under-Budgeted

New Mexico’s State Auditor has written a letter to the interim Secretary of State saying that the state’s elections have been persistently underbudgeted for almost a decade – and that the shortfall is being covered by a variety of methods that could be costing the state money. The letter comes against a complicated partisan backdrop as the state will elect a new SoS this fall.