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April 2012


Somebody's Watching: DuPage, IL Report and Oversight of Election Offices

Recent controversy in a Chicago suburban county is highlighting both the importance of - and the obstacles to - effective fiscal oversight of local election offices.

Hackathon Signals Next Phase for Pew's Voting Information Project

Pew's Voting Information Project is hosting a Hackathon next week. This event will not only hasten the development of tools to assist voters in 2012, but it also represents a new stage in VIP's maturity and promises dramatically expanded impact for this vital project.

MinnPost Blogs "Disputed Elections" Event (So I Don't Have To)

MinnPost's Eric Black has a fantastic wrap-up that captures the breadth and depth of Tuesday's event on disputed elections in Minnesota.

Books, Not Ballots? TN County Debates Use of Library for Voting

Brentwood, TN is resisting efforts by the Williamson County election office to use its library for early voting. The dispute is likely to recur in other jurisdictions - and is a tough call even for the most dedicated election geek.

Disputed Elections: What Can the Nation Learn from Minnesota?

Today's event, co-hosted with the Bipartisan Policy Center's Democracy Project, looks at how Minnesota's experiences in 2008 and 2010 might guide future states facing disputed elections.

Geolocation, Geolocation, Geolocation: Nebraska Precinct Map Shows Impact of New Polling Places

A new online map of controversial precinct changes in Omaha, Nebraska is an example of how basic election data can be used to illuminate policy differences and assist voters in casting a ballot at the polls.

Pennsylvania Counties Get Ready to Give Voter ID Test Run

electionlineWeekly's Mindy Moretti looks at the Keystone State's preparations to test a new voter ID bill on April 24 in advance of its official effective date on Election Day in November.

Arizona Case is a Vivid Reminder of Lasting Power of Motor Voter

A recent decision in a long-running challenge to Arizona's proof of citizenship requirement for voter registration re-opens a debate about the primacy of federal vs. state law (and forms) in the area of voter registration.

Brian Newby's Latest: The War on Polling Places

Brian Newby's latest ElectionDiary post looks at the challenge of finding and using polling places - but hints that new trends away from the traditional Election Day neighborhood polling place might not yield the benefits some people suggest.

Three New Considerations for Early Voting: Location, Location, Location

Murfreesboro, TN is rethinking a new early voting location after low turnout yielded an effective cost of nearly $33 per vote. The story suggests that the evolving notion of "convenience" requires new approaches - and new tools - to get siting decisions right.

Outside Looking In? Public Access to Election Databases

Marion County, IN is debating whether to allow non-party endorsed candidates access to voter registration data. That issue - and access to data overall - is one which which is likely to become increasingly relevant to election officials nationwide.

Cost of Voter ID: What We Know, and What We Don't

NCSL's Todd Haggerty and Wendy Underhill have been studying the costs of photo ID across the nation. This article (reprinted from electionlineWeekly) shares some of that data and identifies how ID is (and isn't) increasing election costs to states and localities.

I Have CONFIDENCE ... in the Election System?

MIT political scientists Michael Sances and Charles Stewart look at voter confidence across the decade following the disputed 2000 election. What they discover - especially about the impact of changes intended to boost confidence - is surprising.

Journalism FTW: Reporter Nails Details of Washington's Special Congressional Election

Washington State is debating the cost of a special Congressional election, and it's already getting partisan. One reporter, however (The Kitsap Sun's Steven Gardner) took the time to get - and share - the whole story. It's worth reading.

Rock, Paper, Local: County Officials Still Wield Great Influence Over Elections

Two recent controversies in Wisconsin and Nebraska highlight the continuing influence of local election officials and demonstrate that an unpopular decision isn't enough to cost such officials their jobs - but perceived inability to do the job often is.

Anchorage's Ballot Shortages and Denial of Service Attacks in "Meat Space"

Last week's Anchorage election experienced a host of problems that resulted in significant voter frustration. The chaos likely wasn't deliberate, but the story suggests a model for a real-world "denial of service" attack that could be used to affect other elections.

Spring Break (Woo)!

I'm taking a few days off - the blog will return on Monday, April 9. Have a great weekend!

Provisional Ballots: Information Can Help Rescue "Lost" Voters

Pew's new Election Data Dispatch focuses on provisional ballot data from Ohio's 2011 election. That data provides an opportunity to talk about how to view provisional ballots and what to do about ensuring otherwise valid voters don't lose their votes.

Data is Awesome: DC Early Voting Numbers

A new Washington Post blog post about DC's early voting is a powerful example of how the whole community - election officials plus technologists and the media - can come together to produce something incredibly valuable.

Tangled Web: Wellington, FL Drama Highlights Complexity of Technology, Value of Audits

The election official and vendor in a disputed Florida municipal election are pointing fingers about who should have caught an error identified by a post-election audit.

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