September 2016

Election Officials’ Not-So-Secret Weapon Against Doubts: Resilience

Concerns about “hacking” or “rigging” of election results have continued to grow in recent weeks, with a crescendo in the media that is impossible to ignore. Still (taking a cue from an enlightened bunny), I strongly believe that election officials can demonstrate resilience – and weather the current storm – because of the many ways in which they can show their work to protect voters and the voting system.

Hook, Line and Username? OK Election Officials Report Phishing Scam

“Phishing” – a scam which involves impersonating a trusted entity in order to obtain personal information – is a growing problem online. Election officials in Oklahoma are warning voters there that, as the general election season heats up, a new phishing expedition is being carried out in the guise of the State Electoral Board. Scams like these highlight the importance to election officials of protecting voter information.

ASU Student Union to Host Early Voting After Chancellor Rejects Alternate Site

Early voting at Appalachian State University will once again take place at the Plemmons Student Union after the university chancellor rejected a request to move to a new off-campus location. The dispute highlights the challenges non-partisans face when dealing with decision-makers who often see these issues through a partisan lens.

NH Ballot Selfie Case Reaches Appeals Court

New Hampshire’s law banning “ballot selfies” – blocked late last year – reaches a federal appellate court today. The case turns on the clash between free-speech concerns and efforts to protect the integrity of the voting process, and may end up confronting the court with the familiar problem of how much credit to give a theoretical threat against voting when weighing an actual restriction based on that threat.

DC Circuit Blocks Proof of Citizenship Requirements for 2016 Election

Late Friday, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, on a 2-1 vote, issued an injunction in a case challenging the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC)’s inclusion of state proof-of-citizenship laws on the federal voter registration form. The order likely settles this matter for now – but given the lengthy history of this dispute and a likely split at the EAC, not forever.

electionline Q&A with David Becker and Amy Cohen on New Venture

Earlier this week, David Becker and Amy Cohen – two well-known figures in the election community – announced that they had launched a new non-profit focused on continued improvements to the nation’s voting process. My friend and colleague Mindy Moretti sat down (virtually) with the two of them for a Q&A in the latest electionlineWeekly.

EVN’s Top Ten List on Election Security

There’s been a lot of attention recently in the media on potential threats to the election system from hackers – but the focus has tended to be on what might happen or who plans to get involved. What’s been lacking up until now is a sense of what can be done about it; fortunately, members of the Election Verification Network (EVN) have developed a “Top Ten list” for election offices seeking to do something right now.

Appeals Court Resolves Dispute Over Last-Minute Ohio Poll Extension

An appeals court handed down an opinion resulting from a court-ordered poll extension in Ohio in March following a serious traffic accident. It’s a must-read for anyone – but especially non-lawyers – interested in how our legal system interacts with the election process … especially on seemingly arcane issues like standing and mootness that can suddenly become important when it’s Election Day and problems arise.

63 Days to Go: Another Election Law Reset from Rick Hasen

Labor Day has come and gone, and with nine weeks – 63 days?! – to go until the big day on November 8 the key election law disputes across the nation are intensifying as the finish line nears. UC-Irvine law professor Rick Hasen has the latest roundup over at his (invaluable!) Election Law Blog. Here’s hoping all of the disputes get resolved sooner than later so Election Day can be as smooth as possible for everyone involved.