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Tag: Early Voting (page 1 of 2)

In North Carolina, No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

By: Andrew Pardue

In June 2018, the North Carolina General Assembly passed Senate Bill 325, “The Uniform & Expanded Early Voting Act.” The bill mandated that all early voting locations in the state remain open from 7 A.M. to 7 P.M. on all weekdays during the early voting period (in 2018, this period begins on October 17). The bill also requires that if one early voting site in a particular county is open on a Saturday or Sunday, then all sites in that county must be open on that day. And then North Carolina’s Democratic Governor vetoed the bill, which had been passed by a Republican legislature with the ostensible aim of expanding early voting hours statewide.
For casual observers of American politics, this outcome probably seems like a suspension of the laws of partisan physics. Why did it happen this way? Because in North Carolina, no change to state election laws occurs without controversy, and even the most innocuous legislation has cascading second-order effects.

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The Political Posturing Taking Shape Around Indiana’s Early Voting Rights Litigation: Common Cause Indiana v. Marion County Election Board

By: Evan Fraughiger

Common Cause Indiana v. Marion County Election Board is a case arising out of the region surrounding Indiana’s capital, Indianapolis. Following the 2008 election, Republican members of the Marion County Election Board allegedly engaged in a plan to prevent Marion County (the largest county in Indiana) from expanding its early voting sites. Marion County originally had three early voting locations in 2008 but in every subsequent election, that number was reduced to one solitary site. For a more detailed account of the history of this case and the surrounding context, please read my earlier post here.

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Legal Voter Suppression in New York?: Part II

By: Michael A. Villacrés

In a previous post, we examined New York’s restrictive voting laws. During the state’s presidential primary in April 2016 it emerged that thousands of voters had been purged from the registration rolls in the months leading up to the primary, creating a public scandal.  The day after the primary vote, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, a Democrat, announced an investigation into New York City’s Board of Elections after his office received over one thousand complaints of voting irregularities.

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Texas: Early Vote Totals Set Records as State Grapples with Voter ID Decision

By: Benjamin Daily

Despite worries that confusion about voter ID requirements in the wake of Veasey v. Abbott would keep voters away from the polls, Texas’ ten largest counties saw record numbers of early voters.  Early vote totals consistently surpassed comparable totals in 2008 and 2012. Although the overall turnout rate was slightly less than in 2008, due primarily to increased turnout not keeping up with population growth, more Texans voted this year than in 2008 and 2012.

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North Carolina’s Battle for Voter Identification

By: Collin Crookenden

With the recent invalidation of the coverage formula set forth in Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, several previously covered districts implemented stricter voting requirements. In 2013, immediately following the invalidation, North Carolina enacted Session Law 2013-381 which contained multiple provisions that were contested as soon as Governor McCrory (R) signed it into effect: photo identification requirements, shortened early voting periods, and elimination of pre-registration for individuals under the age of 18. The new requirements were set to go into effect January 2016 and were in fact utilized in the primaries earlier this year, after the legislature altered the law in 2015. Of primary concern to the litigants and to the legislation’s opposition was the requirement of all voters to show photo identification. Most states have some form of identification requirements, but North Carolina’s 2013 version maintained some of the most stringent provisions. Governor McCrory argued that these, specifically the photo identification statute, were “common sense” pieces of legislation. However, while the district court agreed with his assessment, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the legislation was in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination of voting requirements based upon race.

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Record Voter Turnout on First Day of Early Voting in Texas

 

By: Justin D. Davenport

Early voting started enthusiastically in Texas on Monday, October 24, 2016. Several counties—including Travis, Harris, Dallas, Tarrant, Bexar, and Hidalgo counties—broke first-day voting records. Most counties saw a marked increase from opening day of early voting in 2012. While some counties have had more modest increases of fifteen (Bexar) or thirty (Tarrant) percent, several counties nearly doubled turnout for the first day of early voting in Texas. Although a seeming paradox in a state with consistently low voter turnout, Texans are showing up early to vote in record numbers, and the Lone Star State has a long history of early voting laws to accommodate citizens who want to cast their ballots before election day.

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Early Voting: Welcome to Massachusetts

By: John Jongbloed

This year’s election cycle will be the first in which Massachusetts citizens are permitted to participate in early voting in state elections. This recent development in Massachusetts’ election law is accompanied by several other changes and results from the enactment of An Act Relative to Election Laws, 2014 (HB 3788). More specifically, the reform bill provides for early voting in biennial state elections between eleven and two days before election day.

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Vilified and Disenfranchised: Indiana’s New Law Blocks Sex Offenders from Common Polling Place

By: Jacob Kipp

The public’s sentiment toward sex offenders has long been overwhelmingly negative, fueling an ever-increasing number of legal restrictions. Perhaps the most reviled of all offenders are child molesters, which  have been the target of national registration programs (though such registries are often over-inclusive). Those registries are widely used to restrict sex offenders from being anywhere near schools, parks, or youth centers. But what happens when sex offenders want to exercise their right to vote and are not allowed into their polling place because it happens to be a school?

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Voting Laws Are Disabling The Disabled: Easy Nationwide Fixes To Re-Enfranchise Voters With Disabilities

By August Johannsen

Laws affecting voter participation are a current hot topic in the news. Voter identification, early voting, or redistricting laws are all working their way through the legal system almost certainly on their way to the Supreme Court (if they have not reached the high court already). There are mixed opinions on what these laws do. Supporters insist that the laws protect the integrity of elections by preventing voter fraud. Opponents vehemently argue that the laws are simply pretense for stopping poor and minority voters from exercising their rights at the polls. However, one group of minority voters, voters with disabilities, are severely impacted by election administration laws regarding the accessibility of elections. Their story has been largely ignored in the sound-byte thrusts and parries of the politicos and pundits. Continue reading

Voting Before Election Day

By Jonathan Gonzalez

William & Mary Election Law Society students Carrie Mattingly, class of 2017, and Shana Oppenheim, class of 2016, in conjunction with the League of Women Voters of Virginia Education Fund, released a report in January on the benefits and challenges of implementing early voting in Virginia. The paper analyzes the current state of Virginia’s electoral infrastructure and makes recommendations based on the success of early voting in other states. Early voting in Virginia could alleviate congestion at polling places on election day, increase turnout, and trim the state’s budget while providing a convenience for all Virginians. The report is featured on electionlineWeekly http://www.electionline.org/index.php/electionline-weekly?showall=&start=2 and the full text can be found at http://www.lwv-va.org/files/pavp_2015_22_01_earlyvoting_williamandmary.pdf

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