False Start: Vermont Experiences Issues with AVR Rollout

2017 marked the year that Vermont joined the list of states offering automatic voter registration (AVR), but the state recently had to pause its rollout after some inaccurate data from the state DMV resulted in some ineligible voters being registered. The experience is a reminder that the key to success with AVR is good communication between state agencies providing data (usually DMV) and election offices.

We Still Need the EAC

Tomorrow, the Committee on House Administration (CHA) will convene to markup H.R. 634, the “Election Assistance Commission Termination Act.” The bill, part of an ongoing campaign by the Committee Chair, comes at a time when the EAC may be more important than ever to help state and local election officials cope with scrutiny of – and potential changes to – the nation’s election system.

Four New Secretaries Talk to electionlineWeekly

The 2016 election saw a handful of new Secretaries of State take office, bringing with them new ideas and new priorities. Mindy Moretti of electionlineWeekly has views from four of them in this week’s issue.

Maine Senate to Seek Court Review of Ranked-Choice Voting

Last November, Maine voters passed a referendum that would move to ranked-choice voting (RCV) for federal and state elections. Now, the state senate is preparing to declare a “solemn occasion” and ask the State Supreme Court review the constitutionality of the law – and RCV supporters aren’t happy.

New NCSL Canvass Has “Expert Predictions for 2017”

The latest edition of NCSL’s must-read Canvass newsletter for state legislators and staff takes a look ahead at 2017 with a series of predictions about the election policy issues and challenges facing state capitols. It’s an interesting read – once again, it’s clear that 2017 won’t be an “off year” in election policy.

King County, WA to Test Postage-Paid Ballots

Next month’s elections in King County (Seattle), WA will test an idea about which voters often ask and election officials often wonder: postage-paid ballots. The data will be valuable not just in King County but nationally as more and more communities give voters the option of voting by mail – both on turnout and on per-voter cost.

We Need The PCEA More Than Ever

The report of the Presidential Commission on Election Administration (PCEA), and the rest of its work, is no longer available online after the new Administration decided to remove it from its home at supporttthevoter.gov. Losing that public resource is worrisome, as it suggests that any new effort to study American elections might not share the seriousness of purpose that characterized the Commission’s work.

Helen Purcell’s electionline “Exit Interview” with Tammy Patrick

One of my favorite features at electionlineWeekly is the occasional “exit interview” with an experienced election official who’s leaving the field. The latest installment features former Maricopa County, AZ recorder Helen Purcell – and editor Mindy Moretti had the brilliant idea to give the interview to the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Tammy Patrick, who served for eleven years in Purcell’s office.