The domestic absentee mailing deadline–for many states, not tied to the 45 day window mandated by the MOVE Act for UOCAVA ballots–is starting to impact the presidential race. I’ve argued in the past that states have probably made this change to save money and ease administration, but the domestic absentee ballots could be mailed much closer to the date of the election.
Today’s Richmond Times Dispatch story reports that the deadline for Gingrich to get on the VA ballot is January 21, so that the absentee and the precinct place ballots are identical.
A recent paper by Marc Meredity and Neil Maholtra in the Election Law Journal (this article has been designated as free content) showed how changes in the list of candidates–mainly candidates who withdraw after absentee ballots are printed and early votes are cast–can substantially alter voter decision making. I don’t think the authors have thought about the reverse, candidates who may not be on an absentee ballot but do make it onto the polling place ballot!
Ann Sanner of the AP is reporting that efforts to repeal changes to Ohio’s election laws, including shortening the early voting period, have failed to gather enough signatures. Opponents fell only 9578 signatures short out of 231,150 required.
A natural experiment may be occurring in Santa Barbara. The City Council approved an all vote by mail election for the council election (to save money), which pits three conservative councillors against seven challengers.
The ballot envelopes are postage paid which should increase turnout. County officials are hoping for an increase in turnout from 2009, which they report was “nearly half of registered voters.”
The city clerk’s elections website is here but it’s not clear if ballot envelopes included postage in 2009 (hence no change in 2011).
Advocacy groups are reporting that county residents remain confused about whether they will receive an absentee ballot application automatically.
Looks like Cuyahoga County is thumbing their nose at the new Sec’y of State and mailing absentee ballot applications to all registered voters. The state refuses to pay, and now they say they are going to try to outlaw the practice altogether.
Budgetary woes in California may limit citizen access to by-mail options to register and vote.
Electionline weekly reports that the new state budget cuts reimbursements to county clerks for these services. At least some clerks are negotiating with their local county boards to see if they can shoulder the cost.
One twist on the story: this change may make it easier to identify the full costs of conducting elections in a “mixed” system since the costs will all be funded from a single pot. Always looking for that silver lining …