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Election Academy

October 2012

Biggest Wildcard on Nov. 6? True the Vote and Citizen Poll Watchers

The biggest source of uncertainty on Election Day will be citizen poll watchers, including those affiliated with True the Vote. Will they show? What will they do? How good is their information? And what effect will it have on polling places? Stay tuned.

Hurricane Sandy Prompts Renewed Discussion - But So Far ONLY Discussion - About Contingency Planning in Elections

Hurricane Sandy - and all of the damage in its wake - has once again prompted a discussion about whether and how to deal with a disaster's impact on Election Day. Unfortunately, discussing it appears to be all that's happening.

Koufax's Corollary to Andujar's Law: What "YouNeverKnow" Can Scare You - and Make You Stronger

Sandy Koufax - who used fear as part of his Hall of Fame repetoire - has a lot to teach us about contingency planning when, like Joaquin Andujar, hurricanes or other contingencies force us to say "youneverknow."

Election Doomsday Scenarios? Don't Panic.

Lots of people think we should panic about the prospect of problems on Election Day. I think everyone should chill the HECK out.

New Wisconsin Data Shows Pollworkers Get 1 in 3 Dollars Spent on Elections

Pew's newest Election Data Dispatch reveals that one in three dollars spent in Wisconsin on elections this year went to pay pollworkers - the largest single slice of the elections pie.

No Small Stuff (cont.): Palm Beach County's Ballot SNAFU

A small printing error on thousands of Palm Beach County absentee ballots has created a big series of problems for voters, candidates - and the county's election supervisor.

On Building Better Vote Traps: Voting Technology and Elections After 2000

Here's my piece from the recent report by the CalTech/MIT Voting Technology Project, discussing the relationship between voting technology and election administration [HINT: it's less one-sided than you think.]

People Keep Moving: Brian Newby's Latest

Brian Newby's latest ElectionDiary demonstrates how residential mobility means that the process of updating and maintaining voter rolls is an endless task - even two weeks before Election Day.

Unlocked Front Door? Questions Arise About Security of Online Voter Registration

Recent news reports have identified potential vulnerabilities in two states' online voter registration systems that could and should result in improvements to the process by which voters and election officials populate and maintain the voter rolls.

New CalTech/MIT Report Looks Back - and Ahead - at Election Reform in America

CalTech/MIT's Voting Technology Project has released a new report that looks back at the years since the 2000 presidential election and ahead to the future of voting in America. It's a must read, chock full of data and ideas for election geeks everywhere.

On Blackberries and Early Voting: The Tyranny of Rising Expectations

Voters across Ohio will be able to cast early votes the weekend before Election Day, thanks to a Supreme Court order and a Secretary of State directive. Why, then, isn't everyone happy? Blackberry owners might be able to give you a clue.

New Pew Dispatch Tallies Online Voter Registration Traffic in Six States

Pew's latest Election Data Dispatch describes the national move toward online voter registration and finds that nearly 300,000 new voters in six states have recently added their names to the rolls using online registration.

Two More "Big-Little" Issues for Election Officials in Ohio Provisional Ballots Case

The latest federal appeals court decision on Ohio provisional ballots raises two "big-little" issues for election officials facing the "right church, wrong pew" issue in 2012 and beyond.

New Report Says 2012 Presidential Primary Turnout Down; Should Election Geeks Worry?

A new Bipartisan Policy Center report suggests that voter turnout was down during the 2012 presidential primaries. That's obviously a problem for America; is it a problem for America's election officials?

There is No Small Stuff (cont.): Chisnell on Allen County, Ohio Ballot Design

Allen County (Lima), Ohio's saga of ballot design and printing - shared by CivicDesigning's Dana Chisnell - is a snapshot of the kind of things that have to happen in order for elections to come together.

One Person's Delay, Another's Due Process: Ohio Early Voting Case Reaches Supreme Court

Ohio's Secretary of State has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to stay a ruling allowing early voting the weekend before Election Day. Not everyone likes the action - and I don't like pre-election uncertainty - but the case has to be allowed to reach a full conclusion.

Absentee, Mail Ballots Pose Different, But Not Necessarily New Challenges for Election Administration

A recent New York Times piece on absentee voting and vote-by-mail identifies real challenges associated with the shift away from polling places. I'm not sure those challenges are unique - nor that voters can be persuaded to return.

Honey, I Shrunk The Precinct: Louisiana Deals With Voting Machine Shortage as "Micro-Precincts" Proliferate

Louisiana has always been a little bit different. Now, following local redistricting, some precincts are so small that they have as few as one voter - and are stretching voting machine inventories painfully thin.

Election Day, Election Changes and "Cicada Voters"

Believe it or not, not everyone - let alone every voter - keeps track of the myriad changes in elections. Figuring out how to help "cicada voters" who've forgotten the details while leading their lives is an important task in the run-up to Election Day.

Pennsylvania Court Puts ID Back Into Voter ID

Yesterday's voter ID decision in Pennsylvania is important because it looks past theoretical (and political) debates about voter ID to address the real (and manageable) problem of getting ID to eligible voters who don't have it.

No Small Stuff (cont.): Vendor Gives Tennessee County Closed-Primary Pollbooks in Open Primary

Programming errors in Davidson County (Nashville) Tennessee's electronic pollbooks has put the county in a difficult spot given its considerable investment in a relationship with its vendor. The solution, though, may end up hurting voters instead.

Ned Foley on Ohio Litigation - and the Problem of "Persnickety Disqualification"

Legal expert Ned Foley's latest analysis of two big Ohio cases currently before a federal appeals court illustrates how close the call can be - and illuminates how theoretical questions can have real-wold impacts on voters.

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