In 2016, Massachusetts joined the list of states offering early voting, with over a million voters taking advantage of the opportunity. Now, the state is considering a bill to reimburse some local early voting costs after the state auditor found that those costs constitute an unfunded mandate.
In February, the Maine state legislature moved to declare a “solemn occasion” under the state Constitution and seek review of the new ranked choice voting provision enacted by voters in 2016. The briefs in that case were due last Friday, and they set up a clash between RCV supporters and several state officials over the constitutionality of RCV.
In Arizona’s Maricopa County (Phoenix), a former Secretary of State has indicated his interest in taking over the county election job – but only if it is separated from the county recorder’s office which just changed partisan hands for the the first time in decades. It doesn’t appear the county is interested, however, and is focused instead on hiring a new elections director who can “air traffic control” the busy operation.
This week, electionline’s Mindy Moretti has a look in the weekly newsletter at how King County (Seattle), WA’s postage-paid ballot pilot fared during a recent election. It’ll be interesting to see if the idea gathers steam in Washington state or elsewhere nationwide.
The U.S. Election Assistance Commission already has a very full plate for 2017 – but now a federal judge has added a huge hot potato by returning to the EAC a long-running and controversial case regarding inclusion of state proof-of-citizenship requirements on the federal voter registration form.
Yesterday, the election community learned it will soon lose one of its longest-tenured and most-respected state election officials after Chris Thomas, director of the Michigan Bureau of Elections, announced his impending retirement. His leadership and example of nonpartisan administration will be missed – but it’s hard to begrudge him a happy retirement after so many years of service.
Currently, there are two big voting rights cases pending in Texas and North Carolina which involve issues that could not only reshape election law in those states but also help sharpen and redefine the contours of the Voting Rights Act. But recently we have seen changes in both cases that could substantially change – or even end these proceedings.
Last week, Matt Masterson became the new Chair of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. On Friday, Chairman Masterson posted a blog entry at EAC.gov that lays out the priorities for the EAC in 2017 and beyond. His piece suggests that despite what you may hear on Capitol Hill, the EAC plans to stay on the job providing the assistance to state and local election officials envisioned by the Help America Vote Act.
Hays County (San Marcos), TX’s new elections administrator is putting new procedures in place after discovering that 1,816 votes were missed during the November 2016 election. The incident raises all kinds of issues, including the need for written procedures, discussions about the benefits of paper vs. electronic ballots and the importance of auditing.
Very soon, Montana is is expecting a special election to replace its lone member of the House of Representatives, but the plans to do so using an all-mail election are generating a strong objection from a Republican leader – despite the fact that a fellow Republican is pushing the idea (with support from election officials) as a way to save taxpayers money.