Some exciting news out of TurboVote–they are partnering with the Pew Center on the States’s Elections Initiatives.
And more exciting for some–TurbeVote is hiring! Read all the news here: http://blog.turbovote.org/2013/11/05/wanted-talent-for-democracy/
The Carter Center has announced a new elections standards portal: http://electionstandards.cartercenter.org/
According to their announcement:
“The site provides an overview of our work and role in building consensus on an obligations-based approach to election observation and support that is rooted in international human rights law. It also gives direct access to our expanding set of tools, statements and reports.”
A very interesting panel coming up at the APSA meetings in Chicago is shown below. My only worry is that Rick Hasen has already posted his paper on SSRN. Doesn’t Rick realize that APSA papers are not supposed to be written prior to a week before the conference?
Looks like a great panel, and I’ll definitely be there.
|Law and Political Process Study Group
Panel 1 The Future of the Voting Rights Act After the Shelby County Case
|Date:||Thursday, Aug 29, 2013, 2:00 PM-3:45 PM|
|Location:||Room assignments are pending. Check back soon for room assignments. Only those registered for the meeting can view room assignments. Subject to change. Check the Final Program at the conference.|
|Chair(s):||Bruce E. Cain
Stanford University, firstname.lastname@example.org
|Discussant(s):||Luis Ricardo Fraga
University of Washington, email@example.com
Duke University School of Law, firstname.lastname@example.org
The bill text is contained here: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2013/HB0521.html
Hat tip to the Sunlight Foundation’s “Scout” system that I have signed up for and alerted me to this bill.
The text of a bill being shopped for co-sponsorship by Rep. Jeff Stone is available here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1mLjnrnzcwYTxmG5gREKaFLD0sazb58DwZ4UgJjypIAk/edit
It’s not clear to me what the impact will be of the proposed changes to early voting. It appears that Madison and Milwaukee kept their early voting locations open longer hours and on holidays, while other counties did not. I’m generally not a fan of shortening early voting hours without a good rationale, but there is a reasonable argument to be made for standardized days statewide. The typical response, which also has some credence, is that different counties have different populations and different situations. I’d mostly prefer a floor on availability (a mandated level of equity if you will) while allowing counties the option to provide more times and places.
The proposal disallows early voting on the Saturday and Sunday before an election, a mistake in my judgment. A GAO report, among other sources, shows the positive impact on turnout and convenience of weekend voting, and eleven states seem to manage just fine with early voting ending on Monday while five more end it the last Saturday before Election Day.
A recently released GAO report titled “Voters with Disabilities: Challenges to Voter Accessibility” should be of interest to the election community and to the new Presidential commission.
While challenges remain, there is no way to read this report in my opinion other than as good news. HAVA and state and local responses to polling place problems identified in the debate over HAVA have clearly improved accessibility at the polls. From the summary:
Compared to 2000, the proportion of polling places in 2008 without potential impediments increased and almost all polling places had an accessible voting system as states and localities made various efforts to help facilitate accessible voting. In 2008, based upon GAO’s survey of polling places, GAO estimated that 27 percent of polling places had no potential impediments in the path from the parking to the voting area—up from16 percent in 2000; 45 percent had potential impediments but offered curbside voting; and the remaining 27 percent had potential impediments and did not offer curbside voting. All but one polling place GAO visited had an accessible voting system—typically, an electronic machine in a voting station—to facilitate private and independent voting for people with disabilities. However, 46 percent of polling places had an accessible voting system that could pose a challenge to certain voters with disabilities, such as voting stations that were not arranged to accommodate voters using wheelchairs. In GAO’s 2008 state survey, 43 states reported that they set accessibility standards for polling places, up from 23 states in 2000.
Much of the data in the report is contained in two previous studies conducted during the 2008 election. It’s unfortunate that Congressional funding of elections-related research seems to be drying up. How useful would it have been to replicate the GAO’s random selection and observation of 730 polling places in 2008? That’s a election-science dream.
Following Doug Chapin’s lead, re-disseminating Gary Bartlett’s wonderful parting comments in electionline weekly after his replacement after 20 years as Director of the North Carolina Board of Elections.
Gary has accomplished many things in two decades, but for scholars, NC has long been known as among the best states in terms of data availability and dissemination. I hope the new Board continues along this track.
Hat tip to Rick Hasen for this story, Rep. Candice Miller, chair of Government Operations, who says the Federal government has no role in fixing problems with our voting system: http://www.dailytribune.com/article/20130226/NEWS01/130229602/miller-blasts-obama-s-plan-for-election-standards
This report came across my news feed, courtesy of Channel 13 news in Orlando. I have looked but cannot find the referenced report at the Division of Elections.
One point of interest in the report is the longstanding concern of many political scientists with the way turnout is reported in this country. When 64,000 voters choose not to vote the top of the ticket in battleground state during a highly contested presidential contest, it’s pretty obvious that turnout should include all voters who showed up and cast (or attempted to cast) a ballot.
“Top of the ticket” totals are inaccurate.
I hope that that the report includes a breakdown by mode of balloting. There is reference in the report to higher undervote and overvote rates among absentee voters, something Charles Stewart and I found in a 2010 report. More coming soon!