Associated Press: “Every adult citizen in Oregon who has interacted with the Driver and Motor Vehicle Services Division since 2013 but hasn’t registered to vote will receive a ballot in the mail at least 20 days before the next statewide election. The measure is expected to add about 300,000 voters to the rolls.”
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“Alarmed by the dismal voter turnout in this month’s Los Angeles city election, California lawmakers are considering a massive expansion of vote-by-mail balloting and legalizing pop-up polling stations at shopping malls to help increase the convenience and appeal of voting,” the Los Angeles Times reports.
“Opening polling stations weeks early and allowing teenagers to vote in primaries if they turn 18 by the general election, strategies already being used in Colorado and Oregon respectively, also are being debated.”
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R), “the architect behind some of the nation’s strictest voter ID requirements, is asking lawmakers to give him the power to press voter fraud charges because he says prosecutors do not pursue cases he refers,” the Wichita Eagle reports.
“The state’s top federal prosecutor, however, says Kobach has not sent any cases his way. Some county prosecutors say cases that have been referred did not justify prosecution.”
Salt Lake City Tribune: “It’s a big deal because 43.6 percent of Utah voters are now unaffiliated, compared to 45.5 percent who are registered as Republicans and 9.4 percent registered as Democrats. If the nearly half of Utahns who are independents can’t vote in primaries, they have no say about who appears on the general-election ballot.”
“Iowa’s incoming Secretary of State expects a new online voter registration program to be ready by the time Iowans vote on the next president,” the Cedar Rapids Gazette reports.
“That program likely will require state-issued photo identification.”
Nate Cohn: “Voter ID laws might well be a cynical, anti-democratic attempt to disenfranchise voters to help Republicans, as Democrats claim. But that doesn’t mean that voter ID laws are an effective way to steal elections. They just don’t make a difference in anything but the closest contests, when anything and everything matters.”
Catherine Rampell: “Voter suppression efforts may have changed the outcomes of some of the closest races last week. And if the Supreme Court lets these laws stand, they will continue to distort election results going forward.”
“The days of Jim Crow are officially over, but poll-tax equivalents are newly thriving, through restrictive voter registration and ID requirements, shorter poll hours and various other restrictions and red tape that cost Americans time and money if they wish to cast a ballot. As one study by a Harvard Law School researcher found, the price for obtaining a legally recognized voter identification card can range from $75 to $175, when you include the costs associated with documentation, travel and waiting time.”
Wonk Wire: The impact of voter ID laws on turnout.
Rick Hasen: “The real action will come in the evening as the polls close. There will be delays in some places with reporting of votes, which will lead some people to suspect some kind of chicanery (especially if the late reporting areas are from one’s opposing party). Only later in the evening (or the following morning) will it become clear enough if an election is within the margin of litigation.”
“To be close enough to go to a recount or litigation, generally we are talking votes within the hundreds or less (or perhaps a few thousand in a larger jurisdiction). That could happen anywhere. I fear it most happening in the Florida governor’s race—not only because of Florida’s politicized electoral system. Thanks to changes after 2000, the Secretary of State is a political appointee of the governor. A recipe for disaster.”
Many elections officials are probably saying the Election Administrator’s prayer.
“The obscure rules of elections will be under intense scrutiny on Tuesday as civic groups, political parties and the Department of Justice, concerned about fair play, monitor polling places for irregularities,” the New York Times reports.
“New rules to limit same-day registration or require photo identification will be in effect in some states, even as their constitutionality is argued in the courts. Most of the changes were adopted by Republican legislatures in the name of electoral integrity, even though evidence of voter fraud was negligible. They are opposed by Democrats who say tighter rules are aimed at discouraging minorities, poor people and college students from voting. All those groups tend to prefer Democrats.”
The AP released an interesting description of how they tally votes in national elections.
“Political scientists from two of the nation’s most highly respected universities, usually impartial observers of political firestorms, now find themselves at the center of an electoral drama with tens of thousands of dollars and the election of two state supreme court justices at stake,” TPM reports.
“Their research experiment, which involved sending official-looking flyers to 100,000 Montana voters just weeks before Election Day, is now the subject of an official state inquiry that could lead to substantial fines against them or their schools.”
MSNBC: “It has been a whirlwind few weeks for the right to vote, with the Supreme Court stepping in four times to decide whether restrictions on voting can go into effect. In three out of four cases, the answer was yes. But efforts to make voting harder haven’t stopped there. Voters in 14 states will face new hurdles this year for the first time in a major election… from voter ID laws to early voting cuts to other measures that impose barriers to the ballot box.”
“The Supreme Court on Saturday allowed Texas to use its strict voter identification law in the November election. The court’s order was unsigned and contained no reasoning,” the New York Times reports.
“The law, enacted in 2011, requires voters seeking to cast their ballots at the polls to present photo identification like a Texas driver’s or gun license, a military ID or a passport.”
Wonk Wire: New study finds voter ID laws reduce turnout among blacks, young people and college students.
“A divided U.S. Supreme Court blocked Wisconsin’s voter ID law late Thursday, issuing a terse yet dramatic one-page ruling less than four weeks before the Nov. 4 election,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.
“The 6-3 vote means in all likelihood the requirement to show ID at the polls will not be in effect for the election. But Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said he would seek ways to reinstate the law within the month.”
“Gov. Scott Walker and his fellow Republicans approved the law in 2011, but it was quickly blocked by a series of court decisions in four lawsuits. It was reinstated by a federal appeals court in recent weeks, but Thursday’s ruling again put the law on hold.”
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The Supreme Court “reversed a federal appeals court’s decision that would have allowed same-day registration and counted votes cast mistakenly in the wrong precincts. Those were among several other procedures eliminated by the state Legislature last year in what critics called the most restrictive voting law in the nation,” USA Today reports.
Morning Line: “This comes a week after the Supreme Court ruled against voting rights groups in Ohio, curtailing early voting days, reducing evening hours and eliminating Sunday voting, when many churches with predominantly black congregants run ‘souls to the polls’ voting programs.”
“Voters in Florida waited far longer than those in other states to cast their votes in the 2012 election, hampered by long ballots and cutbacks in early voting options,” McClatchy reports.
“Voters in the state stood in line more than 34 minutes on average, significantly longer than ballot-casters did in any other state reviewed by the Government Accountability Office, Congress’ watchdog. The shortest waits? Alaska, at just 1.4 minutes.”
About 450,000 registered voters in Virginia may lack the proper identification needed to cast a ballot in the November midterm elections, the Washington Post reports.
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