Rick is one of the nation’s leading legal experts in election law, including campaign finance, voting technology, and voting rights. His new book, The Voting Wars, has already garnered a lot of press coverage. Rick is known to many through the Election Law blog, a daily update of election law news and commentary.
To top it off, Rick is a dear friend, and is unfailingly warm and collegial. This should be a fun and provocative event.
(Crossposted to Earlyvoting.net)
At last, we have completed our early voting calendar for the 2012 general election. We have early and absentee voting information on all 50 states (including DC). If you would prefer to see the early voting information in spreadsheet format, here is a link to our working file.
A few notes on the calendar. First, all the information was confirmed by contacting the individual Secretary of State Offices. Second, there are at the moment still a few glitches when trying to save a PDF or print a copy of the calendar on a Mac computer, but that should be sorted out soon. Finally, any questions regarding the information on the calendar can be addressed through comments on the blog or by contacting EVIC via email.
We’d like to thank James Hicks for designing and programming the calendar for EVIC.
It became clear yesterday that the early voting information spreadsheet was a useful tool for many to use along with the early voting calendar. Thus, we wanted to clean the spreadsheet up a bit more, to make sure it is clear to all interested parties. The old spreadsheet had internal notes from previous years that are unrelated to the current information.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions about the content.
Tomorrow, a hearing in Ohio may determine whether or not voters can cast early ballots in the three days preceding the November election.
The current situation is in flux, with apparently non-uniform hours not only for military and non-military voters, but also across counties. I can see why Sec’y of State Husted is considering issuing a directive to standardize hours statewide and avoid a presidential election year controversy.
Nationwide, the period of early voting varies widely, particularly when you consider early in-person voting separately from by-mail absentee balloting. We have been collecting these periods nationwide for a number of years, and this year’s calendar (not in pretty graphic form yet) is provided here.
For absentee voting, many states have moved to a 45 day period, standardizing among UOCAVA and domestic ballots (exactly the opposite of what has happened in Ohio). The start of early in-person voting (depending on how you define it) is as early as September 21st and as late as October 27th.1
Two other interesting points regarding the Ohio situation. First, the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) surveys have shown that tracking UOCAVA voters is a error-prone process; a member of the military may not self-identify as a UOCAVA voter and could simply choose to vote like any other resident. How can Ohio possibly discriminate among the “known” UOCAVA voters and the “unknown” UOCAVA voters?
Second, just for context, the National Conference on State Legislatures reports that
Early voting typically ends just a few days before Election Day: on the Thursday before the election in three states, the Friday before in nine states, the Saturday before in five states, and the Monday before Election Day in 11 states.
Ending early voting on Friday puts Ohio in the lower half of states, but they are not alone in making that choice.
1 South Dakota, listed first in our early voting calendar, “shies away from using the term early in-person voting,” in our interview with the Secretary of States’s office. They do allow citizens to show up at county offices, request, and cast an absentee ballot all at once. Thus, we code this as early in-person voting, even though it is used by far less voters than the system in place in, say, Florida.
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.