State of Elections

William & Mary Law School | Election Law Society

Tag: Early Voting (page 1 of 2)

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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?

Continue reading

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

New Voting Measures in Illinois: Expansion of the Franchise or Partisan Power-Grab?

By Carl Zielinski

While states like Ohio have successfully restricted early voting access, in the past three months Illinois has significantly eased the process of both registering to vote and casting ballots. In late June, the largely Democratic Illinois state legislature pushed through a bill that expands early voting days and hours, allows early voting without photo ID, establishes same-day registration, allows voters to register online, and eases the eligibility of college students to vote in statewide elections. The newly implemented early voting period now starts fifteen days before any primary or general election and ends two days before Election Day. The lack of a photo ID requirement stands in stark contrast to voter ID laws like those recently implemented in states like Texas and Wisconsin. Continue reading

Florida’s Lukewarm Remedy for Chilly Early Voting Policies

By Nick Raffaele

While Florida’s relationship with early voting is still relatively new, the honeymoon may already be over. But to understand the hot and cold affair, it is helpful to look back on the couple’s history. Former Governor Jeb Bush first signed early voting into Florida law in 2004, providing early voting fifteen days before an election, eight hours per weekday and eight hours per weekend. Only a short year later, Bush and a Republican legislature cooled on the partnership, dropping the last Monday of early voting before a Tuesday election. The relations heated up again when former Governor Charlie Crist signed an executive order mandating that early voting be extended in response to overwhelming voter turnout for the 2008 Presidential election. Under the leadership of Governor Rick Scott, Florida again turned its back on early voting in 2011 by passing a controversial law that reduced early voting to eight days before an election for a minimum of six hours and a maximum of twelve hours per day. Continue reading

Early Voting in Ohio: Voters Take it Easy as the System Tries to Adjust

Ohio law has allowed early voting since 2005, but the 2010 election will be only the second time that the full slate of statewide offices will be up for election the ballot.  Though the political parties, county election boards and yes, even the Tea Party, are now operating with the new system in mind, one question remains: is it all worth it?

Currently the Ohio voting period stretches for 35 days. Voters may vote early for any reason either in person at their county board of elections office or by mail until November 1. Additionally, the law has created the controversial so-called “golden week“, where citizens may register and cast absentee ballots at their board of elections on the same day. In 2009, the early voting law actually resulted in Barak Obama winning the state even though more votes were cast for John McCain on November 4, 2008, “Election Day”. However, it seems that, rather than dramatically increasing voter turnout, early voting is simply forcing a shift in old campaign strategies, due to timing issues, and making voting more convenient for those who otherwise would have voted anyway. Continue reading

Older posts

© 2017 State of Elections

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑