State of Elections

William & Mary Law School | Election Law Society

Tag: Help America Vote Act

The Crossroads of America v. The Lone Star State: Comparison of Indiana and Texas ID Laws

By: Katie Teeters

Voter ID laws are spreading across the country leaving controversies in their wakes. Advocates believe requiring ID is a good way to prevent in-person voter fraud and increase public confidence in the election process, while opponents say that voter ID laws unduly burden the right to vote. Still, a total of 36 states have passed laws requiring a showing of some form of identification in order to vote. This blog post will take a look at voter ID laws and their respective implications in Texas and Indiana.

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KS: Lack of Election Post-Audit Leaves Uncertainty in the Sunflower State

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Does anyone really watch the watchman? In Kansas, the state’s lack of an election post-audit is raising some questions, and a university professor wants to run the numbers on electronic voting machines in and around the state’s largest city.

Like other states across the Union, Kansas began using electronic voting machines following the presidential election of 2000 and the infamous “hanging chad” debacle in Florida. While many Kansas counties use optical scan paper ballots, the two most populous counties in the state, Sedgwick County (home of the state’s largest city, Wichita) and Johnson County (home of some of the most affluent Kansas City suburbs) use electronic voting machines. And while the machines in Sedgwick County print an extensive paper receipt, the machines used in Johnson County do not leave a paper trail.

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Vermont Begins Online Voter Registration

By: Andrew Lowy

Vermont voting has entered the twenty-first century with a new online voter registration system. On October 12, 2015, Vermont’s Secretary of State, Jim Condos, launched a new online voter software allowing eligible Vermont citizens to prepare for election day online.  The system allows voters to register to vote, find their polling place, request an absentee ballot and track its status, as well as view sample ballots. The software also includes features to aid local election officials in processing ballots, entering election results, and registering voters. The new software cost Vermont $2.8 million. However, 70% of the funds came from the federal government through the Help America Vote Act.

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Virginia’s Faulty Voting Machines in the 2014 Midterm Elections

By Jonathan Gonzalez

The 2014 midterm elections on November 4th culminated in major victories for the Republican Party, which succeeded in wresting control of the United States Senate from the Democrats by slim margins. Among the Republican Party Senate hopefuls, Ed Gillespie made waves in Virginia on election night, and came within a percentage point of ousting popular Democratic incumbent, Mark Warner. Warner, a former governor of Virginia, came about 16,000 votes shy of suffering a major upset. Continue reading

Kansas’ Secretary of State: Protecting Voter Privacy, or Politics as Usual?

by Katherine Paige

A U.S. District Court ruling handed down Wednesday in Kansas granted disclosure of the names of provisional ballot voters to candidates in a tightly contested state house race, thereby clarifying the scope of voter privacy protection under federal law.

The ruling was issued in response to a federal lawsuit filed by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to prevent disclosure of the names.

Kobach argued that federal election law protects voters’ identities from disclosure, citing § 302(a) of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA): “Access to information about an individual provisional ballot shall be restricted to the individual who cast the ballot.” U.S. District Court Judge Marten rejected Kobach’s argument, reading the plain text of the statute to protect only disclosure of how someone voted, not the identity of the voter. Continue reading

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