Articles by Doug Chapin

New Alabama Law Clarifies “Crimes of Moral Turpitude”

Alabama’s Governor has signed a bill that clarifies which felony convictions involve “crimes of moral turpitude” and thus result in loss of voting rights. There is disagreement over how many voters will have their rights restored as a result, but the law represents a huge step toward clarity and administrability for local election officials by reducing guesswork and discretion.

Maine Supreme Court Invalidates Ranked Choice Voting

The Maine Supreme Court has ruled that a voter-approved initiative establishing ranked choice voting (RCV) for state elections violates the state Constitution. Now, the state is faced with what is likely to be a fierce fight over whether to remake or repeal the law. It’s a decision that’s bound to divide the Legislature – and one that could complicate planning for elections in 2018.

Democracy is a Design Problem (cont.): Bethlehem Ballots Create Confusion

Bethlehem, NY is facing controversy after a redesigned ballot resulted in confusion about votes cast in a recent school board election. It’s a perfect illustration of the idea that “democracy is a design problem” – and a helpful reminder of the importance of growing interest in the field of election design.

DC Moves Primary Date – Again

The District of Columbia City Council has unanimously approved a bill that will once again move DC’s primary date – a move they say is permanent after several shifts in the last few voting cycles. The primary has been a moving target in recent years, and while there is some skepticism on the city council, the bill could soon be heading to the Mayor for her signature.

Charles Stewart on New Presidential Commission

MIT’s Charles Stewart is a familiar face on this blog, given his survey work on the voting experience and research on on polling place lines – and he has a piece at Election Updates on the new Presidential election integrity commission that has some important observations – especially about the potential lost opportunity for progress on efforts to improve the nation’s election system.

Questions About the New Presidential Election Integrity Commission

The White House announced yesterday that the President had signed an executive order establishing a Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity tasked with examining the nation’s system for federal elections. Partisan uproar aside, there are several questions about the commission worth watching when (and if) it gets underway.

Drawing a Blank: Error Results in Some Ballots Without Names in Marion County, OR

A little more than two dozen voters in Marion County (Salem), Oregon got a surprise recently when their ballots arrived with no candidate names due to a design error. The nature of the error was such that it’s hard to identify a takeaway “practice pointer” going forward – meaning that it could just be one more thing for local officials to worry about before, during and after Election Day.