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Tag: Registration (page 1 of 2)

California Secretary of State Certifies VoteCal Ahead of 2016 General Election

By: Chelsea Brewer

On September 26, 2016, the California Secretary of State, Alex Padilla, announced that he certified VoteCal as the State’s centralized system of record for voter registration. The online database seeks to ease the voter registration process by providing citizens a single online database where they can register to vote, check their registration status, find their assigned polling places, and more. Just in time for the November 2016 General Election, voters will even be able to confirm that their absentee mail-in ballot or provisional ballot was counted by their respective county elections officials. This is especially significant given states’ interest in preserving voter confidence in electoral administration in the face of skepticism about whether all votes are actually counted. VoteCal will also facilitate upcoming innovations in California election law after the November General Election, which include Election Day voter registration and the New Motor Voter Act.

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Two Letters, The National Voter Registration Act, and Voter-ID in Nebraska

By: Eric Sutton

On September 22, the Omaha World Herald published a story about two letters sent to seven Nebraska counties threatening lawsuits for voter registration irregularities. In particular, the letters alleged that the Nebraska counties of Wheeler, Loup, Kimball, Thurston, Hooker, Keya Paha, and Thomas have more registered voters than individuals of voting age. While the groups behind the letters argue that the threat of suit is designed to prevent voter fraud through effective maintenance of voter registration records, an examination of the Nebraska Legislature’s most recent session, and the past of the two organizations responsible for the letters, indicates that these letters may provide the foundation for a renewed push for voter-ID in Nebraska.

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Nevada’s Luck Runs Out: Voting Rights Case Remanded to District Court

By: Kelsey Carpenter

An interesting case has just been remanded back to the United States District Court of Nevada by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals called National Council of La Raza v. Cegavske (2015) regarding the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA). Specifically the plaintiffs challenge Nevada’s following of Section 7 of the NVRA. Section 7 states that voter registration opportunities must be provided by all offices that handle public assistance and services to disabled populations. This provision of the NVRA exists to protect previously disenfranchised low-income voters from being unable to register to vote.

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Voter Registration Series, Article 1: Mississippi

By: Caiti Anderson

The ability to vote is a powerful tool to ensure one’s voice is heard among the clamor of democracy.  However, this right has remained elusive to many throughout American history.  The long, hard slog to create a “more perfect union” comprises the battle for inclusivity in the American political process.  Over the next few weeks, this series will study the history of voter registration through the comparative analysis of the history of voter registration in different states and the growing movement towards automatic voter registration.  Today’s article will examine Mississippi and the ongoing journey towards fair voter registration laws in that state.

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An article on Florida election law that does not contain the word “recount”

by John Loughney

In the cold, competitive (comfortingly predictable) world of election reform, two factions are locked in an epic, endless struggle, and both are positive the guys on the other side of the aisle threaten to undermine our cherished democratic system.

On one side, the shadowy Republicans—or so the Dems would have you believe—ruthlessly disenfranchise the poor, the pigmented, and the felonious. They callously seek to raise identification standards beyond all reason and whittle voting windows to woeful new lows.

On the other, the conniving Democrats—or so the GOP attests—are valiantly protecting nothing more than the madness of an election process riddled with voter fraud. They ignore how administrative inconsistencies have marred our legitimacy and skewed our tallies, how civics teachers run rampantly afoul of state election law, how…

Wait, civics teachers? Continue reading

Maine-iacs Mobilized: New Voter Registration Laws in Maine

After thirty-eight years, a sleeping (political) giant is now awake in the Pine Tree State. In June of 2011, the Maine State Legislature repealed the long-standing law permitting Mainers to register to vote on the same day as elections, and replaced it with a new law prohibiting same-day voter registration.

Pursuant to LD 1376, Maine now requires that all in-person registrations occur no later than the third business day prior to the election date. Maine’s departure from being one of the country’s eight states to offer same-day voter registration was not a landslide victory. In the House, seventy-two representatives voted in favor, while sixty-five were opposed and thirteen representatives were absent, and the Senate showed a similar divide with seventeen votes in favor, fourteen against, and four excused. The close divide in both the House and Senate illustrates the partisan divide over same-day registration which was ultimately passed under Maine’s Republican majority. Reportedly, only one House Republican and two Senate Republicans voted with Democrats to oppose the legislation. Continue reading

One Stop Shopping: Rhode Island Initiative Registers Voters at Work

The Newport Mansions, Family Guy, Brown University and the Farrelly brothers are a few of the Ocean State’s more notable features.  To this list, we may soon add “Innovative Voter Registration.”  Rhode Island Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis launched “Voters in the Workplace” in the summer of 2008.  This initiative encourages and enables companies to host voter registration drives during normal business hours between August and October every year.  These months include the registration deadlines for both the state primary and general elections.  The Secretary of State’s office markets the program through social media and direct mail while working with Rhode Island’s chamber of commerce network and trade organizations for human resources managers.

So how does it work? A company contacts the Secretary of State’s office and expresses interest in hosting a voter registration drive for its employees.  In the weeks leading up to the drive the company generally sends out e-mails notifying its workers, posts links to registration forms on their intranet, and displays voter registration posters.  The Secretary of State’s Office supplies the company with all of these materials electronically, even the e-mail template.  Some companies do more: Cox Communications in West Warwick ran promotions on its closed-circuit television network.  On the day of the drive, staff members from the Secretary of State’s office travel to the company and conduct the voter registration.  A drive is usually held in the cafeteria or another gathering space in the workplace during regularly scheduled breaks, lunch, or directly after work.  Staff time spent on a typical registration, including travel, is about two hours.  Chris Barnett of the Rhode Island Secretary of State’s press office indicated there is no discrete budget for the program and “the investment is simply routine overhead.”  Dozens of companies have partnered with the Secretary of State’s office since the program began two years ago. Continue reading

Weekly Wrap Up

Is World Wrestling Entertainment political advertising?  According to election officials in Connecticut, it is.  They have told poll workers that they can ask voters wearing WWE gear to cover it up, fearing that it could be construed as political advertising for Republican Senate candidate Linda McMahon, who is also the former CEO of WWE.  Officials said that McMahon is so closely associated with WWE that the gear could easily be considered a violation of rule banning political campaigning within 75 feet of a polling station.  McMahon’s husband, Vince McMahon, said that this was a violation of WWE fans’ First Amendment rights and would deny them their right to vote.  Connecticut Republicans are also up in arms, with the State Party Chairman calling the action “voter intimidation.” This is not unprecedented, however; a similar rule was in place in California, forbidding voters from wearing “Terminator” gear when Arnold Schwarzenegger was on the ballot.

The 9th Circuit struck down part of Arizona’s voter registration laws on October 27, holding that the provisions of the law requiring proof of citizenship conflicted with the federal law. The federal law only requires that applicants “attest their citizenship under penalty of perjury”, while the 2004 voter-approved initiative in Arizona required applicants to register to vote to show proof of citizenship by providing one of the documents on the approved list. The citizenship requirement was “an additional state hurdle” to registration, something the federal law was trying to prevent. The 9th Circuit appeals panel–which included retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor–did not, however, overturn the requirement that voters show identification at the polls in order to vote. 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

The Tea Party and Voter Fraud

In anticipation of the impending midterm elections, officials from various Tea Party affiliated groups are concerned that Republicans are losing elections because of voter fraud. Dick Armey, former Republican Congressman, recently asserted that up to 3% of the votes Democrat’s received in 2008 was illegitimate.

Ignoring for a moment that most voting experts refute these claims, the debate is interesting for several reasons. First, it shows the ever-increasing role the Tea Party plays in the Republican Party, a dynamic certain to have a huge impact in November. This broad discussion, however, has been extensively covered by the national news media, so we don’t need to get into it now.

Second, it illustrates the importance of conducting fair and open elections. If these claims have any basis in fact, the implications would be staggering.  The 2008 election cycle fundamentally altered the direction of local, state and national politics, as Democrats dominated, even in traditionally Republican districts. If for some reason that move was illegitimate, it would change our view of the direction American politics. Perhaps that is what these claims are really all about – the Tea Party questioning whether 2008 was really an indication that the country moving to the political left. Continue reading

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