June 2018

electionlineWeekly on Ranked Choice Voting in Maine and New Mexico

The latest electionlineWeekly has a story about Maine’s maiden statewide voyage with ranked choice voting as well as a look at its growing popularity in New Mexico – and its future in other communities across the country. Maine’s experience – which appears to have been successful despite near-constant litigation and a legislature seemingly hellbent on blocking its implementation – could be a signal to other states and communities that ranked choice voting can work there as well, if there is sufficient planning (and budget!) and even a modicum of support from policymakers.

Maine SoS Matt Dunlap Wins Court Case Seeking PACEI Records

Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap won the latest round in his fight with the former Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity after a federal judge ordered the Commission to disclose materials related to its work. Pending an appeal, the order will either generate a trove of documents that suggests where PACEI was heading before it was disbanded, or there will be so few materials that claims of “initial findings” will be revealed to have been vastly overstated.

North Carolina Moves Toward Putting Voter ID on November Ballot

North Carolina voters could be asked to weigh in this November on a proposed amendment to the state Constitution requiring photo voter ID, thanks to an effort currently underway in the state legislature. Minnesota voters rejected a similar vote in 2012 after a campaign that looked past the general sense that “everyone needs ID” and focused instead on the practical impact of an ID requirement. It looks like it will be another long, contentious summer and fall on Tobacco Road.

Maryland Programming Problems Could Affect Nearly 19,000 Voters on Eve of Election Day

Over the weekend, Maryland announced that it had discovered an election-eve issue with its voter list that could force nearly 19,000 voters to cast provisional ballots during Tuesday’s state primary. Obviously this isn’t what state officials wanted right before the primary, but these problems have occurred in other states before and seem to be an occasional (unwelcome) byproduct of the effort to streamline the voting experience.

The Voting Information Project Moves to Democracy Works

On Monday, the news broke that the Voting Information Project will be transferred from The Pew Charitable Trusts to its new organizational home at Democracy Works, Inc. There is no better home for the work going forward than Democracy Works, and I can’t wait to see what they have in store for VIP in the years ahead.

Double Trouble: NV’s Clark County Issues Result in Duplicate Votes, Second Election [UPDATED]

Nevada’s Clark County (Las Vegas) is scrambling after discovering that 43 voters cast duplicate ballots in its recent primary election – and planning a new election in one close race that may have been affected by the problem. Needless to say, any problem with an election is difficult for an election office – and problems that require a new election are all the more painful. [UPDATED with clarification 6/21/2018 2:45pm]

Senate Rules Committee to Hold Hearing Today on Election Security

This morning, the U.S. Senate Committee on Rules and Administration will hold a hearing entitled ELECTION SECURITY PREPARATIONS: A STATE AND LOCAL PERSPECTIVE. The hearing is designed, in part, to try to spur movement in Congress on election security after the latest setback: failure to get Secure Elections Act language included in the National Defense Authorizations Act.

Off Again: Federal Court Strikes Down Kansas Proof-of-Citizenship Law

The long-running, on-again-off-again battle over Kansas’ proof-of-citizenship law for voter registration took another turn yesterday, as a federal court once again struck down the law and imposed strict orders on the Secretary of State to comply with the ruling. This is a significant ruling, not just for Kansas but also for the potential issues it raises – including balancing federal and state control over elections – that could eventually find their way back to the U.S. Supreme Court. For now, though, it’s a big win for plaintiffs and a vivid reminder of a key rule in litigation: win or lose, don’t irritate the judge.

electionlineWeekly on How States are (Planning on) Spending Federal Cybersecurity Funds

Mindy Moretti’s latest electionlineWeekly newsletter takes a look at how states are thinking about spending their share of the $380 million in federal funds for election cybersecurity included in the recent federal omnibus budget bill. Federal funding is crucial, but it is also highlighting the need for sustained commitments of state and local resources to continue the work long-term.