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January 2012


SC Election Director on Dead Voters: Not So Fast

Recent testimony by South Carolina's state election director (profiled by Pew today) casts doubt on allegations that over 900 dead voters have cast ballots in that state. Whether or not that analysis will have an opportunity to be completed - and whether it will matter in the state's ongoing battles over election policy, particularly voter ID - remains to be seen.

There I Fixed Your Primary For You: Judge Orders June 26 NY Primary

Last Friday a federal judge ordered that New York hold its Congressional primary on June 26, 2012. While this answers the question about how New York will comply with the MOVE Act, it creates a new (and potentially expensive) problem about what to do about the state's primary still scheduled for September.

New Pew Report Details Progress on Military, Overseas Voting

Pew's new report Democracy from Afar - released today - shows how far - and so fast! - states have moved in the last few years to help military and overseas Americans cast a timely and valid ballot in federal, state and local elections.

L.A. County "Challenge" Could Be the Future of Voting Technology

Los Angeles County, CA is embarking on an Open Innovation Challenge that could not only help design the County's next voting system but could show the way to similar changes to the voting process nationwide.

In Which I Attempt a New Metaphor (Simile, Really) Regarding The Impact of Election Laws On Turnout

Using election laws to drive turnout is like using a hammer to drive a screw. Don't do it.

GAO Report Says Vote By Mail Won't Save the Postal Service. Is That The Right Question?

An October 2011 GAO report concludes vote-by-mail wouldn't generate enough revenue to help the U.S. Postal Service. Interesting - but it begs the question of what the nation's election officials (who rely heavily on election mail) would do without a fully-functioning Postal Service.

The Dog That Didn't Bark: No Problems (So Far) with SC's Presidential Primary

South Carolina's January 21 presidential primary spawned lots of storylines, but this morning let's take note of one that hasn't emerged (at least not yet) - stories of problems with the voting process.

When is an Election Over? Depends Who You Ask - and Why

The emerging story about who really "won" the GOP Iowa caucuses raises the question of when - and why - and election can be considered "over." While election results aren't instantaneous, timeliness of official returns is likely to become more important as demand intensifies for news of an election's outcome on the contests and questions of the day.

USA Today Article Highlights Impact of Early, Absentee Voting

A recent USA Today article on early and absentee voting includes some helpful reminders about what make those procedures special - and what impact they could have on elections in 2012.

Sunrise, Sunset - ElectionDiary Fills Void Left by @EACGov

ElectionDiary - a blog by Kansas election professional Brian Newby - is an exciting new addition to the world of election administration. Its debut is just timely enough to ease the sting of the demise of @EACGov, the Twitter stream that has fallen silent with the departure Jeannie Layson, the agency's queen of social media.

Online Registration and the "Cost of Convenience"

A new article suggests that using e-mail to direct voters to online registration forms may not yield the expected benefit because of the "cost of convenience." This post looks at that study - and its conclusions about what states and localities can do to use technology to boost participation.

Dead People Voting? Let's Wait Until the Data is Done Talking

A new story about potential dead voters in South Carolina is likely to set tongues wagging given that state's pending lawsuit over voter ID. But Loyola's Justin Levitt thinks we should first let the data finish what it has to say.

New Equation for Voting Technology: Auditing > Testing?

A new article by Berkeley's Phillip Stark and David Wagner proposes a new approach to voting technology - one which could make the increasingly problematic testing and certification process unnecessary in the wake of a new, evidence-based regime.

Overseas Vote Foundation 2012 Summit

The Overseas Vote Foundation will be hosting its Sixth Annual Summit on January 27 in Washington, DC - it's a must-see for anyone interested in military and overseas voting.

Small Isn't Always Beautiful: New Data Suggests Lack of Scale Affects Election Costs in Smaller Jurisdictions

New data highlighted in a recent Pew Dispatch suggests that less-populous counties are more likely to have higher per-voter costs simply because they have fewer voters.

Will the Cost of Elections Become a Reason Not to Have Them?

New recall cost estimates from Wisconsin' Government Accountability Board are generating debate in the Badger State about whether such costs are worth it. This is a development that we can expect to see elsewhere in 2012 and beyond.

Election 2012: Welcome to another edition of Thunderdome

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls....votin' time's here! [Cross-posted from the January 5, 2012 electionlineWeekly]

Needed for 2012: A Steady Hand at the Wheel

Recent stories from Kentucky and Indiana provide contrasting lessons on the need for strong leadership in elections as states enter the rough seas of a presidential election year.

Election Geekery 101: Turnout

A Twitter(!) suggestion about presidential primary scheduling offers an opportunity to look more closely at the question of turnout - which itself will get lots of scrutiny this year.

Now the REAL Debate Can Begin: How DOJ's SC Voter ID Objection FINALLY Brings Data to the Discussion

The Department of Justice's objection to South Carolina's voter ID requirement brings a long-overdue empirical focus to the issue - but, because of doubts about the data, might not actually settle it just yet. At least now the debate's on the right track.

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