My friend Mindy Moretti has a great story in the latest electionlineWeekly newsletter about a collaboration in Minneapolis that’s bringing designers and election officials together on a project to benefit voters.
Voter fraud is a constant topic of discussion in the field of elections, with fierce policy battles over the wisdom and impact of laws intended to combat ineligible voters from casting ballots at the polls. But a recent story out of North Carolina is a helpful reminder (to me at least) that many stories of “fraud” are actually just sad stories of people who either thought they were doing the right thing or didn’t realize they weren’t.
Los Angeles County, CA is signalling that it is beginning to take steps to move its new voting system from prototype to production with the issuance of a Request for Information for vendors to offer input on building one or more components of the system. It’s an exciting and encouraging step – and means the County’s highly-anticipated design is getting closer and closer to becoming a reality.
North Dakota’s Governor has signed a revamped voter ID bill even as plaintiffs argue that it fails to fix a problem that led a federal court to block it last year. The state’s voter ID battle encapsulates much of the debate in states across the nation today, with legislatures and plaintiffs wrestling (usually in court) about what is the appropriate solution for voters who lack ID – an affidavit or additional forms of ID.
California voters could soon have the opportunity to decide whether to support a $450 million state bond for new voting equipment, if the Legislature adopts a bill recently introduced to put the bond on the June 2018 ballot. If it does pass and make it on the ballot, voter approval would provide local officials with a significant boost in equipment funding – but there are many steps to take in the next year before that happens.
Utah is considering how to schedule a special Congressional election – its first since 1930 – after this week’s surprise announcement that Rep. Jason Chaffetz will not seek re-election and may be stepping down soon. The decision about how and when to hold the special election is obviously important politically, but it will also be important to local officials tasked with running the election.
County election officials in Washington State are wrestling with a proposed new requirement that they increase the number of ballot drop boxes available to Evergreen State voters. They are concerned about cost, and it’s an uncomfortable position for local officials to be in: opposing measures that will improve access for some voters because of fears it will reduce the resources available to serve all voters.
The State of Alabama will be holding a statewide special election for the U.S. Senate later this year after the new Governor announced that the vote would no longer wait until November 2018. Given concerns about the original date, there appears to be widespread support for the change – making the Yellowhammer State that unusual place where everyone seems happy to be voting sooner than later.
Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske’s recent allegations, that the state Department of Motor Vehicles has allowed ineligible noncitizens to register to vote, are raising eyebrows and ire in the Silver State. The controversy is almost certainly related to the upcoming campaign for passage of an automatic registration (AVR) bill, which was recently vetoed but will go before voters in 2018 – and it could be a doozy.
Late last week, the Iowa Legislature voted to approve a new voter ID bill and send it to Governor Terry Branstad for his expected signature. If the Governor does sign the bill, it will bring widespread changes to Iowa election law and present challenges for county auditors – both in implementing the law and tracking the inevitable resulting litigation – and it will undoubtedly will draw lots of attention in Iowa and nationwide.