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Tag: voter registration (page 2 of 3)

Strike Three, You’re In? The Two-Party (And Sometimes Three-Party) Election Registrar System in Connecticut

By: Jake Albert

Elections are political.  In every election voters choose among candidates who are associated with one party or another, with two major parties dominating the landscape in this country.  Choosing a member from one of these parties involves countless hours of campaigning and millions of dollars nationwide, all to advance one’s own, or often one’s party’s, agenda while in office.  This can often lead to gridlock when partisan political agendas collide.  But what happens when the very people who run the actual elections are also part of this partisan political system?

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In Kansas, 90 Days to Prove Citizenship

Is 90 days enough time to comply with proof-of-citizenship voter registration requirements? In Kansas, at least 31,000 presumably qualified electors who have attempted to complete applications to register to vote will see their applications deleted under new administrative regulations in the state. Most of these applicants failed to submit proof of their U.S. citizenship, to a county election official satisfactory which is required by the 2011 Kansas Safe and Fair Elections Act (“S.A.F.E. Act”). Such suspended voters are generally unable to cast ballots in local, state, or federal elections; however, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Arizona v. Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc., under the National Voter Registration Act (“NVRA”), any Kansan who applies to register to vote using the federal voter registration form is allowed to vote in federal elections, even if he or she does not include proof-of-citizenship. In order to be removed from the list of suspended voters and be added to the state’s voter rolls, applicants must provide proof-of-citizenship to their local county election official. Under the previous system, county election officials worked feverishly to contact all applicants on the suspended list repeatedly in order to help them complete the proof-of-citizenship requirement. Some argue these unending attempts to encourage applicants to comply with registration requirements were too onerous.

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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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Wisconsin Government Accountability Board

 By: Dan Sinclair

In 2008, in the wake of a legislative caucus scandal and partisan rulings by the state’s Elections Board, Wisconsin announced the formation of a new non-partisan ethics and elections agency. The Government Accountability Board (GAB), formed from the merger of the Elections Board and Wisconsin’s Ethics Board, was intended to provide an independent body capable of investigating criminal and civil violations of the state’s ethics and election laws free from the partisan and financial pitfalls that wracked its predecessors.

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Apple, Android, and Another Way to Register

By Mark Listes

Indiana has turned to the app store to increase its voter turnout in the 2014 election cycle. The Indiana Secretary of State’s office created and released an app in early 2014 called “Indiana Voters.” The app lets Indiana voters “register to vote or confirm their voter registration, find their polling place, look up candidates on their ballot, track their absentee ballot, and contact local elected officials.” Indiana had only 58% of its population turn out to vote in the 2012 election cycle. Indiana’s Secretary of State hopes that the new app will help the other 42% get to the polls. Continue reading

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

Battleground Texas May Also be Battling Texas Voter Registration Laws

By Vanessa Rogala

With thirty-eight electoral votes at stake, the idea of the Lone Star State possibly being in play for the 2016 Presidential Election is an intriguing one. Given the Texas gubernatorial election is coming up in November, some have wondered whether this current push towards Democratic leadership will actually make any significant changes to the political makeup of the state. One of the organizations attempting to paint the face of Texas politics blue is Battleground Texas. With over sixteen thousand active volunteers, Battleground Texas has gotten the attention of voters and the Texas GOP. In order to reach their lofty goal, the organization focuses on increasing voter registration and motivating already-registered Texans to continue or begin participating in the democratic process. Since Texas has bled red for a long time now, Battleground Texas’ goal is an uphill journey with numerous bumps on the road, to say the least. The Democratic organization, however, never expected one of those bumps to include a run-in with Texas election laws. Continue reading

NY (redistricting): New York on the clock to redistrict

by Alex Custin

New York faces a few interesting challenges in this round of redistricting. First, a law passed last year now requires inmates to be counted in the district they’re from rather than where they’re imprisoned. Second, New York is losing two congressional districts. Third, the governor has threatened to veto any redistricting plan that’s a political gerrymander. Finally, the requirement that military absentee ballots be sent out 45 days before the election means that New York has to hold its primaries earlier than usual, and the district lines have to be determined before then. The combination of these challenges means that New York has to redraw more district lines than it otherwise would and that it has to get its act together soon in order to have a plan in time.

The first challenge will affect both districts where prisons are located and districts from which the inmates came. Since population is the usual number used in order to draw district lines, districts with prisons will have to increase in size to remain equally populated and the districts that produce large numbers of inmates will have to shrink. Continue reading

College students and voter fraud: Charlie Webster’s Maine problem

Maine Republican Party Chairman Charlie Webster is “on a mission to make Maine a better place.” The trouble is, the “better place” he envisions lies on the other side of what may be an insurmountable controversy.

Since famously brandishing a list of 206 alleged voter frauds—all college students—a few weeks ago, Webster has been branded the leader of a witch hunt. The chairman maintains that Maine law is very clear that residency must be established before voting. This is true, but Webster’s opponents on this issue are quick to point out that doing so is almost trivially easy, and certainly not beyond students’ ability. Webster insists on implementing several harsher residency requirements, such as paying income taxes. Continue reading

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