June 2016

“It’s Not Just About Prettying Things Up”: Profile of Election Design Guru Drew Davies

Election design has grown rapidly in recent years – both in what it has to offer and how many election officials are paying attention. A new profile of Oxide Design’s Drew Davies illuminates how knowing the basics of design – and how to apply them to election administration, whether it’s ballots, forms or polling place layouts – is a vital 21st Century skill for election officials nationwide.

And Then There Were Twenty: Ohio and Three Other States Join ERIC

On Monday, Ohio’s Governor signed legislation to add the Buckeye State to the list of states that will offer online voter registration to their eligible residents. Yesterday, Ohio took another step to modernize its voter registration process by joining the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) – an effort which, unlike OVR, will take effect this year.

Catching Up: Updates on Some Recent Stories

For someone who almost always closes his posts with “stay tuned,” I’m not as good as I’d like to be on followup … to that end, here’s an update on three recent stories – OVR in Ohio, proof-of-citizenship in Kansas, and the library in Maryland’s Wicomico County – that deserve just a little more followup than a link on Twitter. All three of these stories illuminate how conflicts between different players in the election administration process can affect and shape election policy.

electionlineWeekly’s Mindy Moretti on Democracy at DC Jail

With tomorrow’s District of Columbia’s primary marking the end of the presidential preference season, my friend and colleague Mindy Moretti visited the D.C. Jail to see how inmates are given the opportunity to cast ballots. It’s a fascinating story … and shows how the District Board of Elections takes the time to ensure that every eligible voter who wants to can cast a ballot.

Q&A with Bill Lewers, Author of “The Gatekeepers of Democracy”

Bill Lewers, author of The Gatekeepers of Democracy – a first-of-its-kind novel about pollworkers – recently took some time to answer a few more questions about the inspiration and process for his book … and shared some war stories about his own experiences working Election Day in Fairfax County, VA.

Investigation or Intimidation? Controversy in Siskiyou County, CA

Tuesday was a big day in California as Golden State voters went to the polls – but there was extra excitement (not the good kind) in Siskiyou County on the Oregon border, where the county sheriff engaged in a series of pre-Election Day actions that he said were intended to prevent voter fraud but were widely criticized as voter intimidation of the county’s Hmong population.

William & Mary Law School Launches Election Law e-Benchbooks for State Judges

William & Mary’s Wythe School of Law is home to one of the most active and creative election law programs in the nation – and yesterday released an online resource that is intended to bring their work to state court judges across the nation who likely will need it in resolving election law disputes in the wake of the inevitable rush on courtrooms that characterizes the run-up to Election Day.

NYC Comptroller Report Criticizes BOE Equipment Inventory Tracking

New York City’s Board of Elections has come in for withering criticism after the April presidential primary, with reports of voters being improperly removed from the rolls – but now a new audit by the city’s Comptroller highlights severe problems with equipment inventory. It’s likely to be the latest flashpoint in the running battle between NYCBOE and its critics in city government – and the press.

Pre-Election Q&A with Orange County, CA’s Neal Kelley

California’s primary is tomorrow – and is shaping up to be a big deal, with numerous races on the ballot in addition to President. Over the weekend, the Voice of OC ran a Q&A with Orange County, CA registrar Neal Kelley, whose office is at the epicenter of election preparations in his part of Southern California.

Calling All Election Geeks (Present and Future): The University of Minnesota Wants You!

Now, more than ever, there is attention to the field of election administration and the people who keep the nation’s democracy – and the voting systems that support it – running, and running well. The University of Minnesota is helping to open up the field to the next generation of election officials by offering online, graduate-level courses leading to a certificate in election administration. Check us out!