April 2018

New BPC Report Examines Impact of Polling Place Lines, Importance of Research

Last Friday, the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) released a new report entitled “Improving The Voter Experience: Reducing Polling Place Wait Times by Measuring Lines and Managing Polling Place Resources” detailing its ongoing work to study and diagnose the causes – and cures! – for long lines at the polls. It’s a fantastic resource for election officials who not only want to understand how and why lines form but also what to do about it.

electionlineWeekly on Harford, MD’s Active Shooter Training for Election Judges

electionlineWeekly’s Mindy Moretti has a chilling – but important – story about a new program in Harford County, MD where election judges are now required to receive active shooter training along with their other mandatory preparations for Election Day. I’m sure all of us hope that no election judge, or anyone else, will ever need this training in real life – but kudos to Harford County for recognizing the interest and meeting the need; I’ll be interested to see if similar programs crop up elsewhere.

New Law Review Article Discusses Responses to Election Emergencies

Election Law Blog’s Rick Hasen recently shared a forthcoming Emory Law Review article from Barry/FSU Law’s Michael Morley entitled “Election Emergencies: Voting in the Wake of Natural Disasters and Terrorist Attacks.” It’s simultaneously a nice roundup of recent events (ranging from 9/11 up through 2016’s Hurricane Matthew) and a provocative analysis of the wisdom of court extensions of deadlines, poll closing times and other voting rules. I think, however, the conclusion that legislators, not courts, should create rules for these situations is little too neat and clean for the mess that election emergencies bring.

AZ House Speaker Cuts Weekend Voting from Compromise Election Bill

County election officials in Arizona are unhappy after the state House Speaker cut weekend voting from a compromise election bill in the Grand Canyon State. It’s a typical story in the relationship between local election officials and their state legislatures; as hard as it may be to get bipartisan local support for election changes, it means nothing if lawmakers – especially ones in leadership – can’t or won’t go along.

“Secure Elections Act” Moving Forward as Senators, State Officials Meet

Two U.S. Senators are pushing forward on their effort to have Congress follow up on its omnibus election funding with a broader bill – S. 2261, the “Secure Elections Act” – to support state election security efforts. Some state doubts remain – and the likelihood of a bill getting through Congress in the current election year environment is slim – but it’s encouraging to see that state officials and key Senators recognize that the recent omnibus funding is merely a start and not a solution for the cybersecurity challenges facing states.

NY Governor to Grant Voting Rights to Parolees

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that he will use an executive order to restore the voting rights of tens of thousands of parolees in the Empire State. While most of the coverage has focused on politics, such a policy will bring administrative challenges that the state will need to work through. It’s a huge step for a big state.

Battle for Lefrak City: NYC Polling Place Dispute Back in Court

A dispute between tenants at Queens’ Lefrak City and the NYC Board of Elections over a relocated polling place is a vivid reminder that while “big” changes of election law and policy get lots of attention, “little” changes like polling locations can generate as much if not more heat.