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Tag: Early Voting (page 2 of 2)

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

Vote Early, Vote Often: The Pros and Cons of Maryland’s Early Voting Law

This week, Maryland began its first election with early voting.  The recently passed early voting laws in Maryland allow for voters to cast ballots in-person up to ten days prior to the election (not counting Sunday.)

The technical distinction between absentee voting and early voting is that with early voting you are not required to have an excuse for not voting on Election Day.  Also, early voting is typically performed using the same method as Election Day voting, rather than on an absentee-type paper ballot.

Early voting is an attempt to address significant problems facing elections today.  Allowing voters to cast their ballot early alleviates traffic and lines at the polls.  Also, allowing a greater time period to vote will almost certainly increase overall voter turnout simply because it may be more convenient. Texas has even allowed “curbside voting” during early voting, a process where, if you call in advance, you can get a poll worker to bring the ballot to your car as you arrive at the precinct (only for those who have difficulty walking or standing for extended periods, of course.)  I, for one, support the use of Applebee’s Carside To Go technology on Election Day. Continue reading

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