Monday, November 28, 2005

Absentee ballot request from Mexicans abroad off to a slow start

The Mexican government reports that they have received only 2,102 request for absentee ballots, even though 4.2 million Mexicans live abroad and are registered and eligible to vote.

While the election is still seven months away, the slow start to this program cannot be encouraging. And if Vincente Fox was hoping for widespread voting by Mexicans living in the US for his party, there may be a rude awakening next July.

Story referenced from the LA Times

NY Lawmakers push for no-excuse absentee balloting

New York state is now considering "no excuse" absentee balloting. Along with many other states, HAVA requirements for new ballot machines by the 2006 election has moved this issue onto the front burner.

This story is interesting because it suggests that voters will be suspicious of new, optical scan and other computerized voting machines, and will have more confidence that their ballot will be counted when voting absentee.

If this belief is widespread, than election officials are going to have to do a much better job convincing the public of the security of new voting equipment.

Story in Poughkeepsie Journal

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Early voting in Iraq's parliamentary election to begin December 12th

Early voting in the upcoming Iraqi elections, allowed for security forces, hospital workers, and "prisoners."

Interesting. Since felons can't vote in many US states ...

Early voting in Iraq's parliamentary election to begin December 12th

Absentee voting changes requested in SD

A change in absentee balloting procedures in South Dakota is being contemplated because of the increasing popularity of early voting.

INterestingly, the SD system for absentee procedure is an in person early voting system, where most "absentee" balloters go through the same mechanical procedure as an absentee balloter voting via the mail. You fill out the ballot, place it in an envelope, then put this in another envelope that also must be filled out.

And all this is being done in person?!

The procedure looks like it's under review, since 20% of SDakotans are now voting absentee.

Story referenced is here

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Voting reform goes down in CA and OH

The big news is obviously the defeat of a series of election reform proposals, including Proposition 77 in California and a batch of proposals forwarded by Reform Ohio Now!

I am of two minds about the California results. Many of my colleagues and friends in California opposed 77, as did Daniel Lowenstein of UCLA, whose opinion on election reform I respect. On the other hand, in the abstract I am a big fan of taking redistricting out of the hands of legislators, who face a conflict of interest every tiem they draw lines. My own work (Gronke and Wilson, LSQ), shows even when restricted by Justice Department preclearance provisions, legislators draw districts to benefit their own ambitions. I think that non-partisan commissions could go a long way toward reducing the partisanship that is infecting many of our state legislatures.

In Ohio, I can only assume that the reformers overreached. I suspect that no excuse absentee balloting will be passed by the legislature anyway; this movement seems unstoppable.

I'll look to others to unpack the results over the next 24 hours.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Maryland commission appointed to study election systems

The Maryland governor has appointed a blue ribbon commission to study in order to "Maryland's local, state and federal elections. Members will specifically focus on early voting, absentee voting, provisional voting, voter identification and voter verification systems."

It's not clear what sort of academic research the commission will draw upon. The appointees seem well chosen, but the list mainly consists of lawyers and elections officials. Not sure why it doesn't include, for instance, Jim Gimpel or Paul Herrnson of University of Maryland, both of are well-known and well-published scholars of election reform.

The governor's announcement is contained here.

Ehrlich's veto message concerning legislation that required a commission with members appointed by the legislature (not the governor) is contained here.