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Election Academy

March 2012

Stuck in the Middle: Wisconsin ID Fight Making Life Difficult for Election Officials, Voters

This week's electionlineWeekly looks at the effect of uncertainty about Wisconsin's ID law on next Tuesday's primary ... and I quote Macbeth to urge the state Supreme Court to move quickly to resolve the uncertainty.

Get 'Em While They're Young: How to Train a New Generation of Tech-Savvy Election Administrators

I'm moderating a panel today on the skills future (and current) generations of professionals will need to navigate the increasingly tech-heavy world of elections.

Maricopa County Data Shows Online Voter Registration is a Game-Changer

Pew's latest Election Data Dispatch focuses on new data from Maricopa County, AZ demonstrating the significant benefits of online voter registration.

"Nobody Goes There Anymore, It's Too Crowded": Election Officials' Responsibility for Handling Denial of Service Attacks

A recent cyber-attack on a Canadian party election raises the questions on what threats election officials can and should be able to predict and (if possible) prevent.

Appleton's Doughnut Controversy: Even Little Things Get Big Scrutiny

Candidates in Appleton, WI will no longer be allowed to bring doughnuts to pollworkers - and while that seems like a little thing it's related to far bigger issues in the field of elections and politics.

All's Well That Ends Well? New Indiana SoS Has Long Background in Elections

After months of controversy and uncertainty in Indiana, the Governor's appointment of Sen. Connie Lawson - who was an election official before joining the Legislature - is raising hopes that elections in the Hoosier State will now be a lot less interesting.

Paper Cuts are the WORST: Illinois Latest State to Find Out There is No Small Stuff

Recent stories out of Illinois about misaligned optical scan ballots are a vivid reminder of the tyranny of little things in election administration.

New Florida Data Suggests HAVA's Approach to Disabled Voters Isn't Working

New Florida data cited in the latest Election Data Dispatch from Pew suggests that HAVA's mandate of one accessible voting machine per polling place isn't working. It may be time to look for another approach that actually assists disable voters in casting a ballot.

EAC Roundtable on Election Data Clearinghouse

I'm participating today in a roundtable on the clearinghouse function of the EAC. Looking forward to a conversation about the value of data to election administration and the role the federal government can play in making such data available.

Voting Rights Act, State Constitutions Face Challenges As Voter ID Debate Expands

Recent developments in the voter ID debate - which are bringing the Voting Rights Act and state constitutions under scrutiny - have the potential to have a much greater impact on American elections than simply whether voters show ID at the polls.

The Beauty is an Election Geek: Miss Vermont Helps Give 17-Year-Olds the Right to Vote

Miss Vermont 2011 Katie Levasseur was central to the effort to give 17-year-olds in Vermont the opportunity to vote - a journey that started as a Statehouse intern and continues to this day. Moreover, she's living proof that there is no typical election geek.

Monopoly or Broken Market? Either Way, St. Charles, MO Can't Buy New Voting Machines

The St. Charles, MO County Executive recently vetoed a $1.2 million voting machine contract because there was only one bidder - the one bidder certified to bid on the contract. The certification system may need fixing, but better information about who pays what might be even more useful in the short term.

Elbow Grease: NPR Story Illustrates True The Vote's Hands-On Approach to Potential Election Fraud

Pam Fessler's latest NPR story focuses on a Tea Party-supported effort by citizen groups to identify potential irregularities on the voter rolls. While this project will certainly raise fears of voter suppression, it also holds out promise for providing feedback to election officials.

Data as Guardrail: Numbers Help Keep Voter ID Debate On the Road

The ongoing debate over voter ID is beginning to produce something new: data. It isn't yet clear how, if at all, such data will help illuminate the discussion but for now it's a good sign that evidence will be used at all - if only to keep both sides on the road.

SXSW: Newest Ingredient in Elections' Alphabet Soup

The alphabet soup of elections - my name for the considerable number of organizations aimed at election officials - is now spicier thanks to the emergence of South by Southwest (SXSW) as a destination for the absolute cutting edge of elections and technology.

California Felon Voting Case Asks: When is Being in Jail Not "Imprisoned"?

When is someone behind bars not "imprisoned" and thus ineligible to vote? A new suit claims that a California "realignment" program aimed at reducing the state correctional population means that about 85,000 felons should now be eligible to vote.

Supposing is Good, but Finding Out is Better (cont.) - MinnPost's Election Day Registration Map

One under-appreciated facet of the voter ID debate in Minnesota is its potential impact on the state's tradition of Election Day Registration. Online news site MinnPost brings some light to the heated debate with a map demonstrating EDR's partisan backdrop.

One Big Reason I'm an Election Geek

Something I'm thankful for post-Super Tuesday: Election administration has no expectations to beat, momentum to maintain or narratives to extend - just votes to count and results to report. That's why I'm an election geek, not a political junkie.

Virginia Pollworkers Can Soon Choose to Work For Free If They Want To - And Many Might

Pollworkers in Virginia will soon have the option of waiving the (admittedly small) compensation they receive for their service. It will be interesting to see how that option - which is aimed more at tax-simplification than cost-cutting - affects the composition of the Election Day workforce and the cost of elections.

It's Complicated: Early Voting Rates Down in Ohio

Early voting is down in Ohio in advance of tomorrow's presidential primary. Figuring out why isn't just the stuff of punditry - it could also help election officials better allocate their resources. Unfortunately, figuring out why isn't likely to be easy given the various moving parts in Ohio this go-round.

Election Stunts: Just Because You Can(ine) Doesn't Make It Right

This dog's owner thinks it's a crime how easy it was to register him to vote. This dog's owner is about to find out that he may well have committed a crime to prove it.

Breaking the (Piggy) Bank: Crowd-Financed Projects Seek to Step Into Election Funding Void

Crowd-financed projects aimed at specific election challenges - like Dana Chisnell's design field guides and Faye Anderson's Cost of Freedom voter ID app - could be the next frontier in shoring up hemorrhaging state and local election budgets.

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