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September 2011


Now THAT's a Buyer's Market: Butler County, OH Settlement Cashes In on Voting Machine Problem

In March 2008 Butler County, OH suffered voting machine problems that resulted in the loss of about 200 votes. Yesterday, they reached a settlement with their vendor worth $1.5 million. Wow.

Secretaries of State: Still Important After the Glory Years

A new piece by Governing's Lou Jacobson looks at the role of Secretaries of State. While the job may not be the political plum it once was, it still carries tremendous weight in the world of elections.

New North Dakota Data from Pew Asks: What Does the "Cost of Elections" Mean?

Pew's new Election Data Dispatches offer a window into the power of data to illuminate and guide election policy. This post looks at the first post on cost data from North Dakota and makes some observations about what might be going on and how else to view the data.

Irresistible Force Meets ImMOVEable Object: DOJ vs. New York on Military and Overseas Voting

Stop me if you've heard this one before - the federal government is suing New York for failure to implement a federal election law. This time, the issue is the conflict between the state's primary date and requirements for military and overseas voting.

A Short Post About Long(?) Lines

NPR's Pam Fessler - an unsung rockstar on election issues - has a piece today about the impact of budget cuts and turnout on lines at the polls in 2012. This post acknowledges the potential problem but sees it as an opportunity for the election community.

Who Will Be The Bill James of Election Administration?

Today's premiere of Moneyball brings to mind the contributions of Bill James, whose love of baseball - and commitment to using data to explore it - changed the game. This post anticipates the emergence of someone similar in the field of election administration.

"From Blaze to Praise": How Harris County, TX Became the Phoenix of the Gulf Coast

In late August 2010, Harris County TX's entire inventory of voting machines was destroyed by fire. How the County responded - and managed to hold a normal election that November - is a story worth remembering.

Denver's Inactive Ballot Flap: The Difficulty of Hitting a Moving Target

Colorado's Secretary of State and Denver's Clerk are blaming one another in a dispute over mailing 2011 ballots to inactive voters; however, the changing nature of Colorado's election laws might be equally to blame.

Tic-Tac-Toe-Dom and the Fruit Salad Problem: A Little Common Terminology Goes a Long Way

A fun (if not entirely scientific) recent experiment on WNYC's Radiolab points out the power of language to assist - and prevent - communication. This post looks at this phenomenon in the field of election administration.

Merge Ahead? New Approach to Voter Registration Could Help Send Election Debates in a New Direction

Monday morning, AEI and the Pew Center on the States will look a new approach to voter registration. This new approach could be the kind of bipartisan effort that is needed to overcome the fierce, yet tired, partisan debates over election policy.

Where There's a Will (to Win), There's A Way: How Campaigns Adapt to Changes in Election Laws

There has been a lot of talk lately about how different election changes might adversely affect political campaigns. Given the nature of campaigns, that concern is likely misplaced.

Show, Don't Tell: Visualizing Data to Tell Stories About Elections

Election data can help tell stories that help guide election policy. Today's post uses an old writer's rule to illuminate the process of turning piles of election data into pictures that bring those stories to life.

It's Not Just Who You Are, It's Where You Live: Domicile and the Elections Stained Glass Window

Recent headlines highlight the importance of political geography and residency/domicile requirements in the American election system.

The Latest NCSL "Canvass": Advice to States on How to Cope With Budget Cuts to Elections

The latest issue of The Canvass - produced by the National Conference on State Legislatures - is a valuable guide to the impact of budget cuts on elections.

Mahoning County's Voting Machine Switch and the Growing Buyer's Market in Voting Technology

Mahoning County, OH's switch to new voting technology is an excellent case study of the issues facing states and localities nationwide.

Saguache County, CO Case Asks: Whose Election is it Anyway?

A disputed election in Saguache County, CO offers a fascinating look into the oft-overlooked relationship between election offices and their voters.

A Capital Idea: DC's "After-Action Report" for the April 26, 2011 Special

The D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics' recent "after-action report" is a data-rich and practical look at election administration that is both a model and hopeful sign for the field.

Questions I Want (But Don't Expect) to Hear at Tomorrow's Senate Hearing

On Thursday, September 8 a U.S. Senate subcommittee will hold a hearing on state ballot laws. I offer a few suggestions for questions that could help move the debate in a more productive direction.

The Treaty of Cuyahoga: Compromise on Absentee Ballots Will Yield Interesting Data

A looming state-local controversy over absentee ballots in Ohio is resolved - and in its wake we may get some invaluable data about the future of elections across the country.

electionline.org is coming to Humphrey!

electionline.org, the nation's premier site for news, information and analysis about election administration, will be moving to the Humphrey School on Tuesday, September 6 with continued support from The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Unconventional Wisdom: A Different View of the "War on Voting"

A new Rolling Stone article looks at recent developments in election legislation and reaches a conclusion that is consistent with emergng conventional wisdom - namely, that a partisan "war on voting" is being waged to control the 2012 election. I beg to differ.

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