State of Elections

William & Mary Law School | Election Law Society

Tag: 2018 midterm elections

It’s the Machines: Fundamental Problems with Voting Technology in South Carolina

By: Matthew Woodward

While the 2016 presidential election may have cast light on foreign interference in US elections, the general election of 2018 highlighted an additional, albeit more homegrown, threat: broken and outdated voting machines.

In 2018, as reported by the AP, 41 states used voting machines that were more than a decade old and, perhaps even more alarming, 43 states used voting machines that are no longer in production. One state, South Carolina, offers an unfortunate example of this trend. The bulk of the state’s current voting machines were purchased in 2004, making them nearly 15 years old at the time of the 2018 election.  Some context—2004 was also the year of  such technological feats as the birth of Facebook, the arrival of Skype, and the earliest introduction of cell-phone cameras.

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Implementation of Nevada’s “Motor Voter” Initiative Races Toward the Finish Line

By: Laura Misch

During the November 2018 mid-term elections, Nevada voters had the opportunity to vote “yes” or “no” on Question 5—a ballot measure that would establish an automatic voter registration system in the state. The voters’ answer was a resounding yes, with approximately sixty percent voting in favor of the initiative. This enactment of an automatic voter registration system follows a larger trend that is quickly sweeping the nation. Prior to the 2018 elections, a total of eleven states, plus the District of Columbia, passed automatic voter registration. In 2018, Nevada became one of the six newest states to enact such a system. However, passing the ballot measure has proven to be only half the battle. Continue reading

The Lone Star State: Hardly Alone in Election Administration Issues

By: Shawn Syed

Election administration is complex, to say the least. Decentralization, low funding, and a myriad of other issues play a role in the problems of administrating our elections. Every single state is sure to encounter some form of administration problem during election season. Texas is not alone in facing these issues. Below are just a few different issues Texas encountered leading up to and during the 2018 midterm elections.

The State of Texas received more than $23 million from the federal government in 2018 for a sole purpose: enhancing election security. This money comes thanks to the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). HAVA’s stated purpose is to establish a program to provide funds to states to help the security and administration of elections. According to the Texas Secretary of State’s office, only a portion of the $23 million had been used prior to the midterm election. A new monitoring tool, intrusion detection systems, and firewall protections were all put into place. The thought is that these tools will help discover potential problems by 2019 in order to fix them by the 2020 presidential election.

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