Sunday, April 24, 2005

Early Voting News: Week of April 24th, 2005

The Kansas City Star reports that election reform proposals by the Republican Governor, Matt Blunt, and Democratic Secretary of State, Robin Carnahan, are unlikely to pass. County election officials have opposed the reforms, especially no-excuse absentee balloting, fearing a "deluge" of applications and new paperwork. [Ed. Note: This is interesting, since most local election officials welcome no-excuse absentee ballots, since it stretches the election administration task over a longer period of time; reduces the need to hire short term help on election day; and according to CalTech/MIT Voting Technology Group, results in a more accurate count.]
Early voting plans unlikely to pass this year

House Bill 1706, backed by Mary Denny, the chairman of the elections committee, would require early voters to bring their ID and voter registration to vote. This is being touted as a way to address problems with voter fraud.

The Korean national elections in 2008 will include electronic and paper balloting, with early voting being conducted at "mobile electronic balloting stations." No report yet as to how many stations are being contemplated.
The Hankyoreh (English Edition)

Updated "Postal Voting" news from the UK

The United Kingdom's Electoral Commission has issued a reply to the challenge from an election judge in Birmingham.

If you aren't up to speed, the Electoral Commission recommended an expansion in "postal voting," essentially an equivalent to "no excuse" absentee balloting used by many states and counties in the US. They show some circumstantial evidence that postal voting increases turnout (although they make few attempts to compare other reasons why turnout may have increased between the elections under scrutiny). As has been shown in many other settings, the public reports a high level of satisfaction with postal voting.

While the report, based on experiences in the June 2004 election, found little evidence of irregularities in the administration of postal voting, the public perception was that postal voting was inherently more prone to fraud. The Commission's recommendation to solve the problem is for the UK to implement an "individual" registration system, rather than one based on registration by "homes" as is currently in place.

In their reply to the Birmingham judge, the commission says that there are ways to improve the integrity of postal voting, but complain that these changes have not been legislated. It's not clear why they even allow this much -- their own report found virtually no indications of fraud in four separate pilot tests of postal voting.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Early Voting News: Week of April 17th, 2005

The Michigan statehouse is now poised to vote on a bill allowing in-person early voting at county clerk's offices. The Secretary of State claims this will increase turnout (Ed note: Sigh. Contrary to all research indicating otherwise, including by Michigan's own Michael Traugott). Governor Granholm is still pushing for a full, no-excuse, absentee system. NewsFlash - State House likely to vote on voting reform bill

Meanwhile, Missouri is moving in the opposite direction. Lawmakers are "squashing" proposals for extended early voting by mail. County clerks are lobbying against the plan, fearing an "avalanche" of new paperwork. Instead, they prefer in-person early voting. STLtoday - News - St. Louis City / County

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Early Voting News: Week of April 10th, 2005

Been a bit under the weather this week, apologies for the lack of updates.

Legislators have been unwilling to address the issue of long lines at early voting centers in Florida, a serious problem in 2004. Florida, unlike many other states (e.g. Tennessee or Texas) only allows early voting at branch offices, city halls and libraries. That is too few locations to satisfy the demand for early voting among Floridians.
St Petersburg Times.

The Illinois State Senate has approved a bill extending early voting to three weeks before election day, reports the Chicago Tribune.
The Daily Southtown published an editorial in favor of this legislation, which also would abolish local election boards and extend early voting. Early voting, they argue, undermines the ability of campaigns to launch last minute attack ads.

Lawmakers in Nevada are trying to shorten the period for early voting, apparently due to concerns over ballot integrity and fraud. This is the first legal effort to restrict early voting that I've encountered. Las Vegas Sun

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Early Voting News: Week of April 3rd, 2005

The Detroit News opines that Michigan must adopt no-excuse by-mail absentee balloting. The current Secretary of State and Republican House leader are on the record as supporting such a reform.

Three different election reform proposals are moving through the statehouse. One would require identification at the polling place. This has been opposed by some voting rights advocates. A second would allow day-of-election registration. Finally, one bill provides for unrestricted, no-excuse absentee balloting.
Boston Globe. The Marblehead Reporter focuses on the vote by mail proposal.

Governor Doyle has introduced an election reform proposal. Among its elements are early voting (on the same schedule as absentee balloting) at various locations. (ED: This will avoid the problems encountered by Florida and Georgia in the 2004 campaign.)
"While early voting will be available at municipal clerks' offices, the Governor's early voting proposal will also allow municipalities to establish satellite early voting locations at places such as grocery stores, shopping malls, libraries, community centers, and senior centers. Voters may also cast their ballot by mail." See also the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.