March 2017

electionlineWeekly on Seminole, FL’s New “Do It Yourself” Elections Website

In this week’s electionlineWeekly, Mindy Moretti talks to Seminole County, FL’s Mike Ertel about the election office’s new website, which was built in-house after he realized it needed an upgrade to better serve the County’s voters. It’s a great story of an election office finding a way to serve voters while also being careful with public resources.

Return To Sender: USPS Error Results in Returned Ballots in Loveland, CO

Some Loveland, CO voters got a surprise recently when their mail ballots for an April 11 special election came back as undeliverable because of an error at the post office regarding the city’s post office box. It’s just the latest example of the concept of “no small stuff in elections” and a useful reminder that there are always potential vulnerabilities in the system outside of an election official’s control.

Fargo Considers “Approval Voting”

Fargo, ND is considering a switch that would make it the first community in the nation to use approval voting, where voters can vote for as many candidates as they like in a given race with the highest vote-getter prevailing. A task force studying the issue has suggested it wouldn’t significantly affect the election process, which could make it an interesting policy choice for the city.

Arkansas Governor Signs New Voter ID Bill Into Law

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson has signed a new state voter ID bill into law, capping a legislative effort to update a bill that was blocked in the courts in 2014. It’s likely to see another court challenge, which could also alter or shape a companion state voter ID referendum campaign in 2018.

US Virgin Islands Prepare for Special Election Despite Controversy, Tight Budget

The U.S. Virgin Islands are moving ahead with an April 8 special Senate election despite a lingering controversy over the vacancy – and concerns that there are insufficient funds to run the election. It’s an extreme example of the degree to which political and legal developments (over which election officials usually have zero control) can have significant impact on time and resources spent on election activities.

Nevada Governor Vetoes AVR, Voters to Decide

Yesterday, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval vetoed a bill that would have established automatic voter registration in the Silver State – but voters will get a chance to decide its fate at the polls next year. Don’t be surprised to see AVR become the subject of intense scrutiny – and heated rhetoric – given the sharp divide on the issue between the two parties, both in Nevada and across the nation.

Nebraska SoS John Gale Will Not Seek Re-Election

Nebraska’s John Gale, one of the nation’s longest-serving Secretaries of State, has announced that he will not seek re-election in 2018. Whoever replaces him in the Cornhusker State will have huge shoes to fill.

Wrongly Accused Voters Seek Changes to North Carolina Protest Process

Last year’s hotly-contested North Carolina gubernatorial election generated considerable controversy after the post-election battle to decide the winner – and now a group of voters wrongly accused of voter fraud as part of the process is seeking changes in how the state handles election protests.

electionlineWeekly on New California Online Pre-Registration Initiative

The State of California has just launched a program that aims to get more young people ready to participate in the election process by pre-registering to vote online at age 16. Mindy Moretti has the story in the latest electionlineWeekly about this inventive approach to bringing young people into the voting process.