Paul Gronke interviewed on early voting and the 2014 GOP get out the vote strategy.
Recent legal decisions in Wisconsin, Maryland, Ohio, Alaska, and other states have left election administrators scrambling as election deadlines approach–or are already well past due!
More in this week’s electionline weekly.
The latest issue of Election Law Journal marks the debut of Policy Central, a new section that recognizes the need for smart and rigorous analysis of election practices and procedures at every level. We invite brief policy-focused submissions from election officials, legal scholars, political scientists, and others working in the field. For submission guidelines, please contact Doug Chapin, Director of the Program for Excellence in Election Administration, University of Minnesota.
Please enjoy complimentary, two-week access to this important new section:
Policy Central: Designing and Evaluating Independent Redistricting Commissions
Fair Redistricting in New Jersey and the Role of the Eleventh Member
The short summary of the Federal Appeals Court hearing on voter ID in Wisconsin had two interesting statements from the judges.
Adelman found some 300,000 people in Wisconsin do not have IDs and determined requiring people to show IDs at the polls would discount far more legitimate votes than fraudulent ones. He concluded voter impersonation — the only kind of fraud the voter ID law would curb — is essentially nonexistent, noting state officials could not cite any examples of it.
But Sykes said Adelman’s findings are “hard to reconcile” with a 2008 U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding Indiana’s voter ID law. Easterbrook also questioned how Adelman could render his ruling in light of that decision.
“He took evidence and found the Supreme Court was wrong,” Easterbrook said.
Indiana also claims a particular interest in preventing voter fraud in response to the problem of voter registration rolls with a large number of names of persons who are either deceased or no longer live in Indiana. While the record contains no evidence that the fraud SEA 483 addresses—in-person voter impersonation at polling places—has actually occurred in Indiana, such fraud has occurred in other parts of the country, and Indiana’s own experience with voter fraud in a 2003 mayoral primary demonstrates a real risk that voter fraud could affect a close election’s outcome. There is no question about the legitimacy or importance of a State’s interest in counting only eligible voters’ votes. Finally, Indiana’s interest in protecting public confidence in elections, while closely related to its interest in preventing voter fraud, has independent significance, because such confidence encourages citizen participation in the democratic process.
The objection some scholars have is that the evidence is wrong, and that calls into serious question the basis upon which the Court rendered it’s decision.
There was no evidence of in-person voter impersonation in Indiana (see page 8 here) and there is no evidence in Wisconsin, either. The 2003 mayoral primary fraud case involved absentee ballots, a method of casting a ballot that does not require a voter ID. Thus, the 2003 case is irrelevant for Crawford, and is irrelevant in Wisconsin.
Perhaps the evidence in the Wisconsin case was different from Indiana. Perhaps there was not a single, irrelevant case of absentee voter fraud that could be used to justify the imposition of voter id requirements. Perhaps proportionally more voters in Wisconsin lack a photo ID than in Indiana.
And perhaps the quotes in the story are incomplete.
But they seem to imply that the facts from a different case in a different state with a different body of evidence cannot possibly yield a different conclusion than the Crawford case. I hope that’s not the way that evidence works in the Courts.
Rick Hasen reports on his blog. Follow to find links to the decision and other materials.
The Voting Information Project just released a new app that should make life easier for voters in all states. New technology already helps voters, poll workers, election administrators deal with the mayhem of elections, and it seems inevitable that the role of handheld devices will only increase in the coming years.
The app works only on Apple products now, but should be ready for Android devices by Election Day. Check out a post about the app from PEW’s news page here. If you happen to use the device, let us know in the comments how it works!
My comments about my time spent as an election observer in Ukraine are featured in this week’d electionline.org newsletter:
‘Don’t go, just don’t go.’
‘You realize you just spent a week’s wages on that souvenir?’
By Paul Gronke
Those two quotations — the first from a concerned coworker before I left and the second from my translator at the end of the mission — reflect much of my experience as an election observer for the OSCE/ODHIR mission to Ukrainian presidential election on May 25, 2014.
The mission to Ukraine was my third time as an election observer for ODIHR. Previously, I’ve served as an observer for the Albanian parliamentary election in June 2013 and the Kyrgyz presidential election in October 2011.
While many of my friends and colleagues were intrigued by the trip to Kyrgyzstan, and a bit jealous of my mid summer trip to Albania, the Ukrainian mission — for obvious reasons — prompted the most interest and concern. ….
To read the rest, go to this week’s electionline.org newsletter.
… more importantly, the “postmark” rule elevates the individual interest in having their ballot count above the collective interest in determining the outcome of an election fairly and efficiently.
The individual franchise is important because it helps to assure that political leaders are responsive to the public and lends legitimacy to the actions of political leaders.
We should work to assure that every Oregonian and every American has ready access to the ballot. This is why Oregon adopted vote by mail and is why many states have moved to hybrid election systems, with election-day, vote-by-mail, and early in-person balloting. We should work to develop new technologies that may allow for Internet voting in the future.
But we should also try to make sure that elections are decided quickly, without unnecessary delay. If this requires voters to remember to mail a ballot three days before the election or deliver it by hand to one of many ballot drop-box locations, this is a reasonable compromise.
Hat tip to Doug Chapin:
NCSL Election Administration Research Database will be an invaluable tool for scholars, advocates, and others interested in studying and improving election administration. Here’s hoping this kicks the field forward!