State of Elections

William & Mary Law School | Election Law Society

Tag: voter registration (page 1 of 4)

Virginia Takes Initial Steps to Permanently Streamline the Restoration of Voting Rights for Virginians with Felony Conviction Histories

By: Sarah Fisher

Earlier this year, the Virginia General Assembly took a significant initial step toward ensuring that Virginians with felony conviction histories have their voting rights restored upon release from incarceration.

Currently, under the Constitution of Virginia, Virginians with prior felony convictions are permanently disenfranchised and may only have their civil rights restored at the discretion of the Governor upon full completion of their sentences. This policy has historically been interpreted as requiring the payment of all court costs and fees, as well as  the successful completion of applicable probation or parole periods. State policy also required would-be voters to affirmatively request restoration of their rights via an application to the Governor and Secretary of the Commonwealth. While Virginia’s gubernatorial administrations now work proactively to restore voting rights to all who are eligible (therefore eliminating the application stage), new voters are often unaware their voting rights have been revived.

Continue reading

No Voter Left Behind? The Quiet Disenfranchisement of Native Americans

By Scott Meyer

The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs website contains a list of frequently asked questions. Among them, “[d]o American Indians and Alaska Natives have the right to vote?” The simple answer, yes, belies the complex relationship between the indigenous peoples of North America, and the United States.

In 1924, the U.S. passed the Snyder Act, which entitled Native Americans born in the U.S. to full citizenship. Ostensibly the 15th amendment, which was passed more than fifty years earlier and granted U.S. citizens the right to vote, combined with the Snyder Act should have allowed Native Americans to vote. In practice, since the Constitution delegated to the states the administration of elections, several decades passed after the Snyder Act before Native Americans actually received national suffrage. The final two holdouts were Utah and North Dakota, which granted “on-reservation Native Americans the right to vote in 1957 and 1958, respectively”. However, even after gaining the right to vote, Native Americans faced many of the same challenges employed against African-Americans to stymie their votes. The passage of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), often associated with protecting African-American voters, also benefitted many American Indians who lived in covered states or counties, such as Alaska and Arizona. For decadesNative Americans filed lawsuits relying on the 14th and 15th amendment and various sections of the VRA to “gainequal access to election procedures and to have an equal opportunity to elect candidates of their choice.”

Continue reading

California Voters: Don’t Ignore that Address Confirmation Card

By Josh Turiel

If you received an address confirmation notice from your local elections official, you may want to pay attention. In early 2019, California reached a settlement with the conservative group, Judicial Watch, concluding a lawsuit that accused the state of failing to fulfill its responsibilities under the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA). The Act requires that states make a reasonable effort to remove inactive voters – those who have moved out of the jurisdiction or passed away – from voter registration lists. Judicial Watch targeted Los Angeles County because they determined its registration rate was 112% of the voting age population – the result of an absence of reasonable effort to clean its voter rolls.

Continue reading

Georgia’s Voter Registration Surge: The Investigations and Lawsuits Behind the Numbers

By: Amber Stapleton

Ahead of the 2020 presidential election, with Georgia expected to be a key political battleground, the state has seen a record number of citizens registered to vote. In the last 11 months alone, more that 352,000 Georgia citizens have been registered to vote and the influx has boosted the state’s voter rolls to the record high of nearly 7.4 million. According to one Atlanta Journal-Constitution article which cited the publications own analysis of registered voters from November 6, 2018 to August 12, 2019, “[a]bout 47% of the new voters who identified their race are minorities and 45% are age 30 or younger.”

Continue reading

Out of State; Out of Luck?

By: David Maley

Democrats in New Hampshire are fearful of the ramifications of newly implemented House Bill 1264. The bill went into effect July 1, 2019 and has stoked the ire of Democrats over the removal of four simple words (“for the indefinite future”) from the definition of resident. In essence, Democrats are perturbed by the textual edit as it alters the meaning of residence which could, in turn, have dramatic implications for out-of-state college students who would like to participate in New Hampshire elections.

Continue reading

158,000 Ohio Voters Purged Part II: An Open Source Process

By: Sadie Peloquin

Following the decision in Husted v. Philip Randolph Institute, which upheld the Ohio’s supplemental removal process, Ohio purged 158,000 voters from its role due to inactivity and inaccurate registrations. However, that number could have been much higher. Secretary of State Frank LaRose originally complied a list of 235,000 voters who were eligible to be purged on September 6th. Due to the implementation of certain exemptions and a uniquely transparent and collaborative removal process, 20% of the names on the original list were saved from the purge. Since the purge, LaRose has continued to advance further measures to improve the Ohio voter registration system, while still dealing with problems arising from this most recent removal.

Continue reading

Implementation of Nevada’s “Motor Voter” Initiative Races Toward the Finish Line

By: Laura Misch

During the November 2018 mid-term elections, Nevada voters had the opportunity to vote “yes” or “no” on Question 5—a ballot measure that would establish an automatic voter registration system in the state. The voters’ answer was a resounding yes, with approximately sixty percent voting in favor of the initiative. This enactment of an automatic voter registration system follows a larger trend that is quickly sweeping the nation. Prior to the 2018 elections, a total of eleven states, plus the District of Columbia, passed automatic voter registration. In 2018, Nevada became one of the six newest states to enact such a system. However, passing the ballot measure has proven to be only half the battle. Continue reading

Voting Rights Groups can Breathe a Sigh of Relief After Federal Court Blocks Strict Voter Registration Law in Tennessee

By Joshua Wagner

By almost any metric, Tennessee’s record when it comes to participation in elections is among the most dismal in the country. According to MIT’s Election Performance Indicators, Tennessee was ranked 48th in voter turnout and 44th in voter registration in 2016, a systematic problem which pervades local, state, and federal elections. This is in no small part thanks to the state’s relatively restrictive voting laws. It seemed like Tennessee’s registration numbers would take another hit earlier this year when the state legislature passed HB1079, which would have seriously hindered the work of groups encouraging voter registration. However, voting rights interests and organizers of registration drives dodged a bullet when a federal court granted a preliminary injunction against enforcement of the law. Continue reading

Judicial Check on Crosscheck?

Few Kansas politicians—or any politicians, for that matter—make headlines as often as former Kansas Secretary of State and 2018 gubernatorial candidate, Kris Kobach. His 2020 campaign for Senator Pat Roberts’ seat continues to generate news coverage across the state, and a development in a case involving his tenure as Secretary of State recently rose to the forefront of election-related news from Kansas. Continue reading

Opinion: Preventing Election Fraud, At What Cost?

Until recently, North Dakota was viewed as the easiest state for citizens to exercise their voting rights. This was due to the fact that North Dakota, unlike every other state, does not require voter registration. Such a sharp deviation in policy from every other state in the nation is justified by the uniqueness of North Dakota. The state is comprised of mostly rural communities and native reservations, most of which are close-knit communities where people know one another. While voter registration may be essential in more populous states, it makes little sense for North Dakota where, in many precincts, election officials are likely to personally know each individual who casts a ballot. Continue reading

Older posts

© 2021 State of Elections

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑