DC Circuit Court has read Robert Caro

I have been reading the decision in State of Texas vs. Holder. I am no election lawyer, but Texas’s position at one point sounds a lot like it is trying to get the Supreme Court to rule Section 5 unconstitional. Continue reading

Absentee ballot fraud in Miami-Dade? A little data goes a long way to dispel concerns

A number of losing candidates in South Florida have raised accusations of absentee ballot fraud as the reason they lost the race.

Paul Crespo, candidate in District 105, has asked the state attorney to investigate what he claims are “irregularities” in the absentee voting process during the August 14 primary.

The losing candidate for property appraiser in Miami-Dade, incumbent Pedro Garcia, is also raising charges of fraud.

It’s absolutely critical that elections be run fairly and honestly, and that charges of fraud be investigated fully.  But it’s also regrettable that unsubstantiated claims of vote fraud have become part of the standard litany in American politics, undermining citizen confidence in the system.

Why am I skeptical about the cases above?

Continue reading

Kudos to Sec’y of State John Husted

I applaud Secy of State John Husted’s decision in Ohio to set uniform times for early voting throughout the state of Ohio.

I disagree with the legislature’s decision to eliminate weekend early voting, which is utilized by many citizens who have less flexibility during the week.  Also, as shown by the National Conference of State Legislature’s absentee and early voting page and reflected in our early voting calendar, 11 early voting states are able to end early voting the Monday before election day, and 5 more end on the Saturday before.  12 states require at least one Saturday or Sunday opening and in other states, counties are given the flexibility to open on the weekends (we have no data on how many actually choose to do so).

Data that we have reported previously at EVIC shows that the number of early voters climbs day by day as election day approaches, most often peaking on the last day or two (typically the weekend before).  I recognize the challenges of preparing for election day when early voting has ended only a day or two before, as well as the budgetary constraints faced by many jurisdictions.  (This latter, however, should be offset by election day savings when 20-40% of votes have already been cast.)

Nonetheless, Secretary Husted, by all reports, took into due consideration the opinions of local election officials, the legislature, and competing political forces.  He threaded the needle superbly, and has rendered a fair and non-partisan decision.

He should be applauded for doing so, and setting a standard for expert, non-partisan election administration.

The “Voting Wars” coming to Portland

Rick Hasen of the University of California, Irvine School of Law has agreed to be the Reed College Parent/Family speaker for 2012.

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)

More good publicity for Turbo Vote

More nice publicity for TurboVote (Chronicle of Higher Ed) and online voter registration (Pew Report), but the comments section descends into the sadly predictable debate over voter ID.

More on turnover in state houses

Karl Kurtz of The Thicket provides some additional information on legislative turnover rates in state houses.