I have begun to rely on the Vote View website as a basic tool for my undergraduate students. It’s a wonderful way to gain insights into current and historical politics in the U.S., and it’s just a lot of fun.
VoteView has gone mainstream–it was cited on Rachel Maddow and I regularly see references among the smarter commentators on American economics and politics.
This, however, is going a bit too far! http://www.polarizedpolitics.com/#!polarized-politics/mainPage.
(I think Keith is actually not associated with this site, but who knows?)
I’ve been contacted about the early voting calendar for 2012. We are finalizing this document now, but a link to our 2010 calendar may help guide some reporters and advocates. The caveat, of course, is that a number of states (Florida and Ohio most notably) have made changes to the period for early voting, and these are NOT incorporated a new calendar as yet.
Also, it’s important to pay attention to the level and type of absentee voting in a state. While Kentucky is listed as the first early voting state in 2010, because the state mailed their domestic absentee ballots in mid-September, Kentucky had less than 5% ballots cast absentee. In 2010, the first early voting state with substantial levels of non-precinct place voting was Georgia, and their laws have changed.
Back from my well-needed two week hiatus in Spain, I have been catching up on Doug Chapin’s election administration posts. Doug has posted the pleadings for the Texas ID case here for those with time on their hands.
I’m in this week’s Electionline Weekly, talking about the U.S. Votes Foundation’s new registration and absentee ballot portal. (Apologies to Susan Dzieduszycka-Suinat, I referred to them as “AVF” and not “USVF” in my comments).
The most recent Election Dispatch from Pew highlights how election centers can actually result in higher costs, depending on the county and the availability of appropriate rental facilities.
I learned the same thing from Brian Newby of Johnson County, KS when he and I served on a post-election review commission in 2009.
Brian made it clear that proposals for vote centers would not work well in Johnson County. While it may surprise some from other regions, the problem in Johnson County was that there simply weren’t enough of the right kind of facilities, facilities that had reliable power and internet, could be secured every night, had easy access for voting machines and sufficient parking, were ADA compliant, and, perhaps most important of all, could be rented for a month at a reasonable rate.
Bob Stein and Greg Vonnahme have provided the scholarly grounding for vote centers, showing how they increase turnout and enhance voter convenience (ungated article here). But it’s less clear how much Bob’s results, based primarily in experiences in Colorado, might apply other jurisdictions with different population profiles, commuting patterns, and cost structures.
Karl Kurtz of The Thicket provides some additional information on legislative turnover rates in state houses.
Ok, I just couldn’t resist this story from the Fargo Forum, or the image above (courtesy of the Western Australia Office of Travel and Tourism), which sure looks like an old Holiday Inn sign!
Election officials have to find space where they can, and in some locations, facilities that are large, have parking, reliable (and sufficient) power, an internet connection, parking, are ADA compliant, and to top it off, can be rented for just a few weeks might be far and few between.
In Fargo, it looks like two local motels are just the kind of short term rental space that LEO’s need:
Early voting is available this week to all eligible Cass County voters at the following locations:
• 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., today through Friday at the Hilton Garden Inn & Suites, 4351 17th Ave S. in Fargo and at the Lodoen Kindergarten Center, 330 3rd Ave. E. in West Fargo.
• 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Wednesday through Friday at the Days Inn, 2050 Governors Drive in Casselton.
And Nathan’s hotel? Well, at least it’s “cleanish.”
In a recent editorial, the Oregonian asserted that more citizens are choosing to wait to turn in their ballots until Election Day. The piece claims that this behavior reveals a sort of synthesis of the pro- and anti-mail ballot arguments rolled into one: Election Day traditions are able to survive even while no one is forced to follow them.
This is a nice idea, and I have no doubt there are still quite a few citizens who vote on Election Day because that’s how their parents did it. But the data just does not support the claim that more citizens are suddenly beginning to realize the value (whether it be intrinsic—as the article asserts—or perhaps even utilitarian) of last-day voting.
Here is a graph showing the number of ballots casted on Election Day in Oregon elections from 2000-2010, as a percentage of total ballots submitted:
Percentage of Ballots Returned on Final Day of Voting
(Data found at: Oregon Secretary of State.)
Since 2000, the level of last-day voting has decreased a few times, but has regularly hovered around 25%. It is not that I think the Oregonian is plain wrong—I have no reason to doubt that a portion of the individuals voting on Election Day do so because their parents did the same—but these numbers do not reveal any sort of aggregate chance in behavior.
Notice much change? It is not that I think the Oregonian is utterly false—the 20-odd % that still chooses to vote on election day can make those decisions for whatever reason they want—but there is no trend in the last 10 years that seems to show Oregon citizens as changing their behavior in any aggregate way.
Now, the Oregonian may have a hunch about this new trend, but it will take additional research and evidence to convince me otherwise.
BTW – this post is not written by your regularly EVIC blogger, Paul. My name is Jacob Canter, and I’m the new RA for Paul. I’ll be adding to the blog every so often, hopefully providing something interesting to look at and think about. Feel free to ask questions and requests posts in the future.
I found absentee ballot counts in Dane County, WI but I don’t have the energy to search all the other townships and counties in the state. There are lots of reports of heavy absentee voting in the recall election, which could be a result of mobilization efforts, or could mean that Wisconsin voters have made up their minds, or both.
It would be nice if the Govt Accountability Board posted something on their website. The recall election page is here but there are no returns.