Election reformers were expecting big things from this year’s State of the Union address. They knew that President Barack Obama had invited 102-year-old Desiline Victor, a Floridian who’d waited three hours to cast her ballot. They had heard him acknowledge the many folks who stood in long lines when he ad-libbed in his election-night speech, “We have to fix that.” They were encouraged when he subsequently acknowledged the need for a broad range of fixes to the broken system. Hopes for an ambitious reform package were high. But Obama’s big reveal seemed less than inspiring: a bipartisan commission to study the problem.
A new report from a Wisconsin state agency makes clear that Same Day Registration is not just a low-cost way to make voting more accessible. It can even be a budget-saver.
The report from the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board dealt a blow to advocates of repealing the state’s Same Day Registration policy. It pegged the cost of such a change as high as $14.5 million. Some of the costs are one-time expenditures, but many will be ongoing.
For voting rights activists, the news coming out of Ohio hasn't been promising—the secretary of state has limited early voting hours and a state law stopped all voting the three days before Election Day. Both decisions have a disproportionate impact on poor and nonwhite voters, who vote in particularly heavy numbers during the early period.
But Monday brought some good news for vote defenders in the Buckeye State. In 2008, around 14,000 voters had their ballots thrown out because they cast provisional ballots in the wrong precinct. Often, it was a poll worker who had made the error, but it was the voter who was punished. But thanks to an injunction granted by a U.S. district judge Monday, that measure will not be in effect in the 2012 elections.
If Americans don't believe that elections are conducted fairly, or believe that the person who takes office didn't actually win, the implications for the country are pretty scary. But according to one recent survey, distrust in election outcomes is startlingly widespread—and growing.
In the last few years, Georgia and Indiana have instated overly strict voter-ID laws. The Supreme Court upheld Indiana's law, which required voters to present valid photo identification at the polls, finding it to be of legitimate state interest in preventing voter fraud. Five more states are now following suit.
When I posted earlier on John Fund, I hadn't realized that his typical voter-fraud fearmongering had reached four-alarm-fire status in the rest of the right-wing blogosphere, where folks like Jim Geraghty are freaking out about relaxed standards for handing out provisional ballots, which they believe may allow Democrats to steal the election in New Jersey. Over at The Next Right, David Kralikwrites: