The Center for Public Integrity recently conducted an interview with 2017 EAC Chair Matt Masterson on a wide range of topics regarding the agency, its future, and its plans for 2017 and beyond. It contians some good (preliminary) news on the agency’s budget and is a reminder of the key role the EAC plays in helping states and localities run elections nationwide.
Oregon’s Secretary of State is moving to extend, from five to ten years, how long voters can remain on the rolls before having their status switched to inactive. He says his plan is motivated in part by the success of Oregon’s “new motor voter” automatic registration system – though there may yet be some partisan drama. It will be interesting to see how the plan plays out in both the election and political spheres.
New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez has rejected a bill that would have consolidated state and local elections because of concerns it would weaken local laws requiring photo ID to vote.It’s notable that both sides in the Legislature felt strongly enough about consolidation that they were willing to compromise on voter ID – but that agreement goes by the wayside for now with the Governor’s pocket veto.
Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan is asking the state Attorney General for guidance on an emerging dispute with two of the state’s largest counties over the question of access to the state’s voter registration databases. The request involves a classic question about the structure of such databases – but says much more about the current rocky relationship between state and local officials.
The elections team at The Pew Charitable Trusts has released a new resource for tracking the use of electronic pollbooks nationwide. As the technology becomes more common, tools like this will be invaluable in helping states keep track of how and where they’re being used at the polls.
Last Friday, after weeks of controversy and maneuvering, the Montana legislature rejected a last-ditch “blast” attempt to establish an all-mail ballot for the May 25 statewide special Congressional election. Now, the county election officials who had supported vote-by-mail as a cost-saving measure are scrambling to get ready for next month’s vote.
Yesterday, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission held a public hearing examining the designation of elections as “critical infrastructure” by the Department for Homeland Security. At that meeting, DHS tried to emphasize that the designation won’t limit states’ control over the election process – but states remain skeptical.
Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a case seeking to revive New Hampshire’s prohibition on “ballot selfies.” While yesterday’s (in)action by the Court isn’t a definitive endorsement of ballot selfies, it does suggest that opponents of ballot selfies will have to find different ways, and justifications, for blocking them at the polls.
I’ve written in the past about the ongoing conversation between California counties and the state about election funding, but a new article by John Myers in the LA Times brings the issue into sharp focus for 2017. There is some optimism that the state is coming around on some kind of partnership to ease the mandate crunch – but until it comes together all the counties can do is wait, watch – and hope.