May 9, 2011
Email voting? Why not, one might ask?! A lot of folks use the false analogy of online banking to argue that email voting should be allowed for the convenience and accessibility of voters. Not a moment of thought is given to the security risks involved. So I’ve done a brief Fact Sheet summarizing the major arguments against returning voted ballots via email. I’m OK with distribution of blank ballots via email but not the return of voted ballots by the same method.
Oregon, like many other states, considering authorizing email return of ballots — the bill is HB 3074 and this post is directed toward that proposed law, but could effectively be applied to a host of other states which are considering similar legislation (or perhaps need to review already adopted laws in light of these arguments). Read the rest of this entry »
June 19, 2010
This post is not about the rock group of that was famous for innovative virtuoso guitar work and political activism, although they might well join the the chorus of outraged denunciation of the unreliable paperless voting machines used in South Carolina.
Just how bad could the voting machines in SC be?
Answer: really, really, really bad. Flaky. Unreliable. Not ready for prime time. In fact, it’s laughable that a country with our technological knowhow would be relying on these machines to count our votes. Read the rest of this entry »
December 11, 2009
Yesterday was the deadline to submit comments to the FCC regarding the use of the internet for voting as well as other broadband issues. The context was a nationwide push to extend broadband access to under-served areas of the country, an effort similar in scope to the rural electrification program of the 1930’s and ’40’s. It will take a major infusion of cash to build out this infrastructure.
So the FCC asked for public comment. And, boy, did they get a virtual earful! As of today there are 917 filings posted online. Read the rest of this entry »
April 27, 2009
Oregon has been leading the way in providing access to disabled voters and has just announced a new enhancement that will address the needs of visually impaired voters — large format ballots (LFB). Many voters with vision problems simply need larger type sizes on the printed page rather than electronic voting devices called DRE (Direct Recording Electronic) machines.
One of the chief arguments for the continued use of DRE’s in elections across the US is the perception that DRE’s are needed to provide access for disabled voters. Oregon is proving that this is not the only way to assist those who have vision impairments. Read the rest of this entry »
February 21, 2009
Many on the left support the proposed National Popular Vote plan because there is an unspoken assumption that it is a thoroughly progressive idea. Upon closer examination that implicit belief about the inherent progressive roots of the National Popular Vote is revealed to be false. Read the rest of this entry »
July 5, 2008
Much ado is made about the increased participation of the 18-25 demographic in this year’s election but their participation still lags behind that of other age groups. Here are several ways to change election law to make their participation easier.
- Give the office of school guidance counselor in public secondary schools legal status as a designated voter registration agency. That way the voter registration forms can be handed out to students while they are signing up for their class schedule. Then the forms can be sent from the school guidance counselor to the election office. (Louisiana just passed H. 990 to make this happen in that state)
- Allow 16 and 17-year-olds to pre-register so that they are automatically registered to vote when they reach their 18th birthday. If high school juniors and seniors get their paperwork completed well in advance they will be ready and able vote when the next election rolls around. (Rhode Island just passed the “Youth Voting Bill,” H 7106 and S 2081and sent it to the governor for signature)
- Allow 17-year-olds who will be 18 by the General Election to also vote in the Spring Primary Election. This way their voice can be heard during a contested party primary when excitement is high and they are motivated to participate in support of their candidate. Maryland already has made this a part of their election law, largely because of the efforts of a 17-year-old student who wanted to vote for Barack Obama.
- Allow all voters, including high school and college students, to register to vote up until the close of polls on Election Day. Young people are often in transition during the run-up to election day — starting college, moving to a new city, starting a new job — and often do not pay attention to an upcoming election until the deadline for voter registration has passed. A handful of states (Wisconsin, Maine, New Hampshire and Minnesota) already allow Election Day Registration — and report the highest voter turnout numbers in the country coupled with virtually no problems with voter fraud.
- Allow high school juniors and seniors to work at the polls. If students can be appointed as official poll workers two problems can be solved at once — greater involvement by high schoolers in the electoral process — and trained replacements for the current crop of aging poll workers, whose median age is in the 70’s in most jurisdictions. (in Rhode Island, H 7833, which allows high school juniors and seniors to be appointed as election officials, has been sent to the governor for signature)
Rock the Vote, Project Vote and similar voter registration outreach efforts have done outstanding work but are frequently hampered by state election laws. If the five simple changes recommended above were to be enacted in all 50 states, their job would be much easier because they would be filling a much smaller gap and we would not have so much handwringing about the low rate of participation by the 18-25 year old demographic.
June 25, 2008
Senator Bill Nelson’s attempt at comprehensive reform, S.J.Res. 39, was just introduced in the U.S. Senate. Because it is so late in the cycle the bill has little chance of passing before the new Congress is sworn in next January. The “One Person, One Vote Initiative” contains some intriguing elements, including a proposed Constitutional amendment to abolish the Electoral College.
Any constitutional amendment faces an uphill battle because of the need for passage by a two-thirds vote in both houses of Congress followed by adoption by three-fourths of the 50 states (Article V). Not likely to happen very quickly.
For those in need of a refresher about why the Electoral College was created by the Framers, it should be said that those who designed our Constitutional system never envisioned that the President would be elected by popular vote. They planned to have state legislatures select the members of the Electoral College who would in turn gather to vote for President and Vice-President. Read the rest of this entry »