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Tag: Vote by mail (page 1 of 2)

Voting from the Mailbox

By: Matthew Catron

Voting can be cumbersome and inconvenient. Voters often experience long lines and crowded parking lots when they go to the polls to cast their ballots. Clearly, the inconveniences of voting can discourage voter turnout. Most people would consider this a small price to pay for democracy. However, Colorado is one of three states that has attempted to remedy this problem by conducting all-mail elections.

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Updating the Golden State: California Begins Implementing New Voting Model


 By: Joseph Montgomery 

In the wake of the most recent presidential election, many Americans have closely examined not only whom they vote for, but also how they cast their votes.  Part of this examination includes a look at the actual hardware that allows voters to exercise the fundamental right to vote, and also what methods and services are available to voters before, during, and after state and federal elections.  In California, lawmakers have begun implementing legislation that aims to streamline voting procedures for Californians and update voting hardware. 

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WA: No Home, No Voice?

By: Anna Ellermeier

Homeless Seattleites face barriers to voting while the City Council decides the fate of tent cities and encampments

11.14 - Ellermeier - Post 2 - Graphic

Homeless individuals, in Seattle and across the county, face unique barriers to registering to vote and exercising their right to vote once registered. While a residential address is not required by the Washington State Constitution or by state statute, homeless Seattleites still face significant  challenges in this area.

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Recent New Jersey State Election Law Limits Delivery of Mail-In Ballots by Authorized Individuals

By Briana Cornelius

On August 10, 2015, the New Jersey legislature passed a new state election law, Public Law 2015, Chapter 84, which limits the number of “Vote by Mail” ballots that a designated delivery person can pick up and deliver on behalf of other registered voters. Under the New Jersey “Vote by Mail Law,” an “authorized messenger” is an individual who is permitted to obtain mail-in ballots for other qualified voters. Previously, authorized messengers were allowed to obtain up to ten ballots for delivery to other voters, and “bearers” were permitted to return an unlimited number of completed ballots to county election boards on behalf of other voters.  The new law, which took effect immediately, reduces the number of ballots that both an authorized messenger and bearer can deliver to just three. This change in the law (you can see the previous version of the law here) represents the first time there has been any limit on the number of ballots that a bearer can deliver to county election officials.

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The Will of the People: Michigan’s Ballot Initiative to Allow By-Mail Voting

Alexander Hamilton once said, “A share in the sovereignty of the state, which is exercised by the citizens at large, in voting at elections is one of the most important rights of the subject, and in a republic ought to stand foremost in the estimation of the law.” In Michigan, the citizens have incredible power to voice their opinion and influence the sovereignty of their state. Through initiative, Michiganders may propose either a constitutional amendment, which does not require state legislative approval before being placed on the ballot, or state statutes, which must first be submitted to the state legislature for approval before being placed on the ballot. In order to participate in the initiative process, Michigan does not even require that the petitioner register with the state, but rather only requires that the petitioner report campaign contributions in excess of $500. However, petitioners may submit their proposal to the Bureau of Elections in order to greatly reduce the chance that formatting errors will prevent the proposal from being accepted.

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Another Election, Another Voting Controversy in Florida

By Nick Raffaele:

At this point, most everyone is familiar with Florida’s comically pitiful track record when it comes to administering elections. The state certainly earned this reputation when it suffered what is probably its most notorious voting disaster in 2000, and Broward County in particular has consistently maintained poor performance ever since. The county was a standout in 2000 when it used lackadaisical standards in reviewing contested punch card ballots containing dimpled chads, and even included these unclear votes in their certified results. Broward doubled down on their anything goes attitude towards elections in 2003, when they sent mail-in ballots to voters who had moved and sparked fear of fraudulent votes. Continue reading

Sitting Down with Washington’s Director of Elections

I recently had a chance to have an email conversation with Nick Handy, Director of Elections under the Secretary of State for Washington.  With a dedication to public service and a knack for handling tough situations with sensitivity, Mr. Handy has served Washington well and entered a well-deserved retirement at the end of 2010.

Could you tell us a little bit about your background?  What prepared you to be Director of Elections?

I am perhaps an unconventional appointment to an Elections Director position in that I had no experience in elections management prior to the appointment.

I was a long time personal and political friend of the Secretary of State.  I had 30 years experience in senior management in state and local government working in areas of high controversy and political scrutiny.  These included open government after Watergate, natural resource management during the spotted owl and endangered species debates, and oil spill preventing after Exxon Valdez. Continue reading

Weekly Wrap Up

No More Polling Places?: The Colorado legislature is considering a new bill that would eliminate polling places and instead conduct all state-wide elections by mail only. Over 70% of Colorado voters already vote by mail, and the proposal would save the state $12 million annually.

The More the Merrier: The race for San Francisco mayor has an expanding field, as more candidates join the field, thanks to the use of ranked-choice voting. The system, which has been used since 2004, created a successful “Anyone but _____” campaign in the 2010 elections and is shaping up to lead to the same results this year.

300 Taxpayer Dollars an Hour to Fight the Popular Vote: The fight over Amendment 6 in Florida continues as the Florida House has joined the lawsuit filed by two Congressional representatives. The lawsuit, which has cost taxpayers $700,000 and counting, contends that the amendment to redraw congressional districts (supported by more than 60% of the popular vote) is unconstitutional.

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“MOVE” Act Created Urgency for NH Election Officials

As New Hampshire voters were casting ballots in their state’s September 14 primary, local and state election officers were anxiously preparing to tabulate and certify the results with greater urgency than usual. The pressure to confirm town and city results with all possible speed was a reaction to certain provisions of the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act (MOVE Act) signed into law by President Obama in 2009. In particular, the Act requires states to be able to provide U.S. soldiers and citizens abroad with their respective absentee ballots “not later than 45 days” before an election. With this year’s general election set for November 2, New Hampshire Secretary of State William Gardner was left with a mere four day interval to affirm the primary results and furnish general election ballots in accord with the 45-day requirement. Continue reading

Montana Eyes Voting By Mail

Montanans are currently embroiled in a debate over whether to transition to a vote-by-mail system, a move that could make Montana the third state, after Oregon and Washington (which has a “county option”) to adopt the mail ballot system.  The State Association of Clerks and Recorders have come out in support of the proposal, calling the proposal their “top legislative priority” in the face of increased use by voters, higher costs, administrative difficulties, and the potential for higher turnout.  The group previously supported legislation calling for a “county option” in the 2009 Legislature, and proposed a similar draft bill to the State Administration and Veterans Affairs (SAVA) interim committee in June 2010. Continue reading

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