October 31, 2008

Early Voting Numbers Off the Charts in Some Places

Scroll down on Michael McDonald's early voting page and you'll see some astounding numbers for early voting, with some jurisdictions seeing voting already surpassing 50% or 60% of the total 2004 vote.

One of the big headlines after election day is going to be the record voter turnout. (That, after the stories of the long lines on election day. Though in states with early voting things should be much better than in those states without it.)

Time to take my kids trick-or-treating. Happy Halloween!

Posted by Rick Hasen at 04:13 PM

An Interesting Sell on Prop. 11

Joel Fleishman: "By passing Proposition 11, Californians will be making it possible to add more conservatives to the legislature than ever before. That's right - despite all of the rhetoric of misguided Prop. 11 supporters, who somehow believe that this measure will end partisanship in Sacramento - it will not. But what it will do is add more Republicans into the mix, giving us more votes to stop spending increases, tax increases and the growth in government that we have seen at the hands of the liberal Democrats who control the institution."

Might this be off-message for the campaign in a heavily-Democratic state?

Posted by Rick Hasen at 04:05 PM

"Absentee ballots emerging as a trouble area nationwide"

Moritz update.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:28 PM

"Illegal Campaign Donations Spur Calls For Change"

NPR offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:24 PM

"Will this election be decided by voters, not judges?"

McClatchy asks the question.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:22 PM

"Dems, GOP Spar Over Absentee Votes"

The latest from Indiana.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:15 PM

" Election Watchdogs Gird for Problems Tuesday"

Roll Call offers this report. Did I mention it is Code Orange?

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:13 PM

Colorado Continues to Be a Mess on the Voter Purge Issue

Sounds like there was a heated telephone conference this afternoon with the judge. MORE: The judge called Sec. Coffman obdurate. Anyone know how he's doing in his Congressional race? And isn't it perverse that we have the chief election officer of a state making these decisions while he's on the ballot?

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:05 PM

"New Voting Systems Could Cause Problems in Swing States"

U.S. News offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 02:09 PM

"The Resolution of Election Disputes: Legal Principles that Control Election Challenges, 2nd Edition"

Just in time for Tuesday, IFES has issued the 2d edition of this book.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 02:03 PM

They're Going for the Punchy Headlines Over at the CLC Blog

Gerry Hebert writes And the 2008 Winner of the Ken Blackwell Most Partisan Elections Administrator Is.... Paul Ryan writes Bopp Buzzer Beater Rejected. Rejected? Get me rewrite. Wouldn't "Beaten" be much more alliterative?

Posted by Rick Hasen at 01:49 PM

"Lawyers: Justice Dept not enforcing election laws"

AP offers this report.

UPDATE: The AP story didn't say who wrote the letter, but Roll Call gives us the names and a taste of the letter:
"'We hope that you will assure the American people that your Department intends to investigate and prosecute any and all instances of voter registration and other fraud occurring in the days leading up to the election, and that you will enforce all of the federal voting rights laws that are important to preserving the fairness and security of the election process,' former elections regulator and Justice Department lawyer Hans von Spakovsky wrote on Friday. Former Assistant Attorney General William Bradford Reynolds and former Deputy Assistant Attorneys General Roger Clegg, Michael Carvin and Robert Driscoll also signed the letter."

Posted by Rick Hasen at 01:36 PM

"Smoke of Registration Fraud Leads to Election Fires"

Hans von Spakovsky has written this opinion piece for FOX News. My favorite part: "One doesn't have to look far to find instances of fraudulent ballots cast in actual elections by 'voters' who were the figments of active imaginations. In 1984, a district attorney in Brooklyn, N.Y. (a Democrat), released the findings of a grand jury that reported extensive registration and impersonation fraud between 1968 and 1982."

Not have to "look far?" Any examples this century, or in the last two decades, of any kind of voter impersonation fraud?

Posted by Rick Hasen at 01:34 PM

"NJ Public Advocate: Every Vote Counts, 10/31/08"

See this new report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 01:31 PM

"Voting Developments: AG backs Denver plan to fix voter forms"

The latest from Colorado.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 01:29 PM

"Yes He Can; Barack Obama should be able to disclose his small-dollar donors pretty easily."

John Dickerson and Chris Wilson have written this piece for Slate.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 01:26 PM

EAC Suspends Systest Labs

See here. From a story I linked to earlier today:

    Meanwhile, Brunner downplayed news that SysTest, the Colorado laboratory used to help test Ohio voting equipment as part of a $1.9 million study last fall, could have its accreditation suspended for "failure to create and validate test methods, improper documentation of testing and unqualified personnel."

    "Whatever the difficulty is, SysTest has been very good to work with and I'm sure whatever the problem is, they'll remedy it quickly," Brunner said.


Posted by Rick Hasen at 12:59 PM

Breaking News: Indiana Appellate Court Unanimously Upholds Trial Court Decision in Lake County Early Voting Case

Oddi notes the docket entry. We await the opinion.

UPDATE: The opinion is here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 12:49 PM

"Boehner calls Bush Justice Department partisan for Obama"

This post appears at the Columbus Dispatch political blog. Wow.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 12:46 PM

"Judge declines to interfere with voter ID law"

The Indiana Lawyer offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 12:42 PM

"Litigation Status Report"

The litigation meteorologists at Moritz have an update.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 12:38 PM

Thanks to the Libertarian Candidate, A Potential Runoff in GA U.S. Senate Race

See here. The interest in this race will be intense if it constitutes a potential 60th (filibuster-proof) seat in the Senate for Democrats. UPDATE: I just came across this Atlanta Journal-Constitution article quoting Charles Bullock as saying "This becomes the center of the universe for the next four weeks if Georgia is the 60th seat."

Posted by Rick Hasen at 12:16 PM

Is the Democratic Army of Lawyers Bigger than the Republican One?

Ben Smith raises the question.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 12:03 PM

"Are design issues to blame for vote 'flipping' in touch-screen machines?"

ComputerWorld offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 12:00 PM

"Blind voter denied ballot, voting help"

This story begins: "A Terre Haute man says he is being discriminated against at satellite voting locations because of a disability, and according to federal disability law, he may be right."

Posted by Rick Hasen at 11:49 AM

Matthew Shugart on Prop. 11

This very thoughtful post raises some of the problems with voting "yes" on this measure---and with voting "no."

Posted by Rick Hasen at 11:46 AM

Election Litigation Threat Level: Still Orange

It is a sign of how pathetic and dysfunctional our system of election administration is that once again news outlets are running their stories on armies of lawyers, potential election machine breakdowns, fear of voter fraud, and the potential of an election meltdown in Ohio or elsewhere leading to post-election litigation.

Here's what I wrote in a Roll Call oped in 2005:

    Who cares about election reform? Almost nobody. You'd think that after the 2000 presidential election debacle in Florida -- and after narrowly avoiding post-election litigation in 2004 in Ohio -- the states and the federal government would be using this time between elections to move ahead with serious election reform. After all, free and fair elections are a cornerstone of democratic government, and public confidence in our system of elections is quite low. Unfortunately, things are moving in exactly the wrong direction, and they won't get better without stronger leadership from Congress, state legislatures and the press.

And here's what I wrote in a NY Times oped in 2006:
    We've moved in exactly the wrong direction. Election administration reform has become more, not less, politicized since Bush v. Gore. Since 2004, voter identification laws have been supported only by Republican legislatures and opposed by Democrats. The debate over election integrity versus election access makes administration just another locus for partisan debate. This should and can end with nonpartisan professional administration.

    Even with divided government coming again to Washington, there is an opportunity to take steps that would keep each party from gaining partisan advantage, and that can end our biannual anxiety over whether we are headed for another election meltdown.

Just before that Election in 2006, I wrote a post for this blog, Election Litigation Threat Level: Orange. It begins:

    Major news outlets have been running their stories on the possibility of post-election litigation in light of continued problems with both voting technology and new voting rules (both indirect results of the 2000 election debacle). As I've written in the past, the press and public pay attention to election reform issues only just before the election, when it is too late to do anything about it. The phone has been ringing off the hook today with reporters wanting to know the answer to the following question: will we know who controls the outcome of the House or Senate before we go to sleep tomorrow night, or is there the potential for this election to go to litigation?

The post concludes:
    What needs to be done? Just like we would take great care to prevent a small chance of a nuclear meltdown, we should be taking great care to prevent the small risk of a major election meltdown. (If the election goes without a major glitch tomorrow, watch for this issue to be forgotten by the press and public until just before the 2008 election.) I've written extensively elsewhere about the kind of changes we need to our election system, beginning with a move toward nonpartisan election administration (where the election officials have ultimate allegiance toward the integrity of the election process, not the election of a particular party). But that's an issue for another day (a day when, unfortunately, most of the press and public will have ceased paying attention).

Today, my main solace from the point of view of election administration is that I don't expect the presidential election to be close, and control of Congress won't hang in the balance of a disputed close election. But something has to be done to move things forward.

The week after election day, I'll be hosting a series of special blog posts from leading scholars of election law and administration reflecting on 2008 and pointing the way toward the future.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:27 AM

What's Happening in Indiana

No ruling yet in the Lake County case. Oddi rounds up the issues and coverage in that case and others here, here, and here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:12 AM

"Va. GOP Fights Election Lawsuit"

The Washington Post offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:06 AM

"Justice Dept. Will Send 800 Monitors to Polls"

So reports "The Trail" blog.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:03 AM

"High court orders law followed on vote-counting"

AP offers this report from New Mexico.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:01 AM

"Lawyers eye Missouri on Tuesday"

The Kansas City Star offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:58 AM

"Legal volunteers hope to ensure a fair election"

USA Today offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:56 AM

"With Ambitious Campaign, Obama Is Both Big Spender and Penny Pincher"

The NY Times offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:52 AM

"Election Matters: Doyle, Van Hollen fight about Election Day"

The Capital Times (Wisconsin) offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:49 AM

"Justice Dept. sides with Brunner on registrations"

The Columbus Dispatch offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:45 AM

"Voter Registration Smashes Records"

MSNBC offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:43 AM

"Outside Soft Money Groups Approaching $400 Million in Targeted Spending in 2008 Election"

The Campaign Finance Institute has issued this important report. It begins: "Independent soft money groups, -- organizations that spend unlimited contributions in elections -- are playing significant roles in 2008's federal races. According to incomplete official and unofficial reports analyzed by CFI, federally oriented 527 and 501(c) groups have already collected or spent around $350 million and are on course to top $400 million. While 527 fundraising is down from its record 2004 total (but up from 2006), much of the gap has been closed by increased election activity on the part of 501 (c) groups. Soft money groups are mainly concentrating on a few dozen competitive races for the Senate and House, although some are also targeting the presidential election. The cumulative weight of such focused spending can be quite important in a tightly contested election."

See also this post on the LA Times political blog.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:26 AM

"Democrats sue to stop challenges to voters"

The Palm Beach Post offers this report, which begins: "TALLAHASSEE -- State Democrats filed a lawsuit against Republicans today, asking a judge to keep elections supervisors from keeping some voters from being able to cast a regular ballot. Lawyers for the Florida Democratic Party filed the lawsuit in Leon County circuit court late this evening, asking the judge to lay out what constitutes 'frivolous' challenges to prevent an anticipated slew of challenges to voters, including those whose homes have been foreclosed on."

Why is this suit being brought so late? Was this issue not clearly presented a few weeks ago? Perhaps not, but I'd like to know.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:18 AM

25% of Voters Still Undecided on Prop. 11

See here. I'm one of them, and I do this for a living.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:14 AM

Pa. Discretion Apparently Remains in the Face of Machine Breakdown

See the update to this Brad Blog post.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:11 AM

"Campaigns exploit Calif loophole to make robocalls"

AP offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:07 AM

"Twelve States to Watch on Election Day"

That's the lead story in this week's Electionline.org mailing.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:03 AM

October 30, 2008

"Judge rules on ACORN, voter-attire cases"

AP offers this report from Pennsylvania.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 04:50 PM

The Crotchety Spoilsport Gets Results!

Ben and Jerry's announces: "On the evening of November 4th, from 5 -- 8 pm, Ben & Jerry's ice cream Scoop Shops will be giving away free scoops across the nation. 'Originally, we planned to give free scoops away just to those who voted. We found out afterwards that certain laws may not allow it. So instead we're celebrating our election with a national party," said Walt Freese, Chief Euphoria Officer of the Vermont based ice-cream maker. 'Democracy never tasted so sweet,' added Freese summing up the effort. "

My work is done.

Oh wait. My r.a., just pointed me to this Krispy Kreme giveaway.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 02:50 PM

Breaking News: New Lawsuit Filed in Indiana

As indicated this morning, this complaint has been filed regarding the treatment of provisional ballots in Marion County, Indiana [corrected]. Marcia Oddi has the details.

Marcia also notes that in the Lake County litigation, it appears the GOP plaintiffs have given up the idea of trying to get early votes already cast to be thrown out. So, at least as far as this election goes, the effect of even a ruling against the election board would be minimal.

Why the flurry of activity in Indiana? The polling couldn't be closer.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 02:43 PM

"The Voting Rights Act and the 2008 Presidential Election"

David Gans has this post about NAMUDNO on the new "Text and History" blog.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 01:46 PM

"In Ohio, Provisional Ballots May Prove Pivotal"

The NY Times offers this report. As I recently told the Boston Phoenix, from the point of view of election administration, it will be a gift from heaven if the election does not come down to Ohio or Florida.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 01:12 PM

"Albuquerque attorney denies violating law"

AP offers this report, which begins: "An Albuquerque attorney who has been accused in a federal lawsuit of intimidating two voters in an attempt to interfere with their right to vote said Wednesday he has not violated any law. Pat Rogers, who advises the state Republican Party, is accused of helping disseminate private information about two voters and hiring a private investigator, Al Romero, who allegedly went to their homes and confronted them about their eligibility to vote, the lawsuit said. "

Posted by Rick Hasen at 12:50 PM

"Third Party Candidate Hurting Franken"

Political Wire explains.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 12:36 PM

"Is Obama's Camp Throwing ACORN Under the Bus?"

Josh Gerstein ponders.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 12:33 PM

More from Moritz

Chris Elmendorf muses on the McCain v. Obama simulation.

Nathan Cemenska ponders post-election disputes.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 12:30 PM

"Can the System Handle Huge Voter Turnout?"

ABC News offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 12:27 PM

"Jennifer Brunner cancels cross-checking of Ohio's new voters"

After reading this story, can we all agree, regardless of our politics, that this country's voter registration system is broken? There are alternatives.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 11:28 AM

"DRE Spill on Aisle 12"

OK, maybe you have a better caption for this picture of voting in a supermarket (with slot machines!) accompanying this article on early voting.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 11:11 AM

Better Ballot Design---It is So Important

Check this out.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 11:07 AM

"Voting machines could bring Election Day glitches"

CNN offers this report. UPDATE: Here's the video. More here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 11:03 AM

Sixth Circuit, on 2-1 Vote Upholds Preliminary Injunction in Michigan NVRA Case

The AP story is here. The opinion is here. From the dissent: "Despite what the majority contends, voter fraud is real and should not be condoned."

Could an en banc request be in the works?

Posted by Rick Hasen at 10:48 AM

A Presidential Candidate's Decision to Take Public Financing: Who Cares?

I've been saying for a while that the Obama decision to back off a pledge to aggressively pursue a public financing agreement with his opponent just doesn't register on the public's radar screen, despite Sen. McCain's attempt to make political hay of it.

Here's some great confirmation from Gallup. Almost no one cares.

There's also an interesting juxtaposition of partisan views on spending limits and public financing. Republicans are more in support of both in this election compared to Democrats. (Via The Trail blog.)

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:40 AM

"Beleaguered ACORN fighting back"

The Washington Times offers this report. A snippet: "'Even the general council of the RNC cannot cite a single example of an improper vote being cast due to voter registration fraud,' Mr. Kest said. 'We think really what this is doing is masking the real problem of voter supression.'" I assume the misspelling of "counsel" and "suppression" was the newspaper's, not Mr. Kest's.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:19 AM

Exhaustion on the Campaign Trail for Journalists

See here. And I would add for election lawyers and bloggers. I can't remember being this tired since December 2000.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:16 AM

Tomorrow's Indiana Election Law Litigation Today

See here. Not to be confused with today's litigation that was already in the state Supreme Court and may be there again if it is not moot.

Got it?

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:13 AM

"Stevens allowed to vote next week"

The Hill reports.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:09 AM

Finally, A Story on What's Happening with Election Administration in Missouri

See here. Nothing new in Moritz's litigation tracker for the state.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:01 AM

"Mail ballot backlog poses problems for L.A. County voters"

The LA Times offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:43 AM

"Election Law Litigation--Everyone's Doing It"

The Wall Street Journal's Law Blog has this post, linking to this article on rising election law litigation in the states, this column by John Fund on ACORN, and the DOJ letter to the editor I linked to earlier.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:41 AM

Ross and Raskin Debate the Electoral College

Here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:37 AM

George Will on Senator McCain and Campaign Financing

Here (via Bob Bauer).

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:33 AM

"Democratic Party Spending Giving Big Boost to 10 Senate Candidates"

The Campaign Finance Institute has issued this report. And check out the graphic on the Institute's main page tracking party IEs. Very interesting.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:30 AM

"Concern Mounts Over Expected Voting Surge"

This report appeared on CBS's "The Early Show."

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:27 AM

"A Win for Purged Voters"

The Denver Post offers this report, which begins: "Ballots cast by voters who have been canceled from the state's voter rolls since mid-May will get extra oversight to make sure their votes are counted, under an agreement reached late Wednesday in U.S. District Court. "

Posted by Rick Hasen at 05:51 AM

"In Ohio, Wary Eyes on Election Process; Fear of Fraud and Blocked Votes"

The Washington Post offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 05:47 AM

NY Times Editorial Praising Early Voting

See here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 05:41 AM

October 29, 2008

"Waiting for a Presidential Winner: The Lessons of 1884 and 1916"

Ned Foley offers this historical perspective.

"Paper Ballot Has Md.'s, Va.'s Vote"

The Washington Post offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:13 PM

"Possible voter-fraud cases keep cropping up"

The Columbus Dispatch offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:10 PM

DOJ Responds to WSJ Editorial on Vote Fraud

See here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:07 PM

"Voting-rights groups warn of election day fiascoes at the polls"

The L.A. Times offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:05 PM

"Barack Obama's Slippery Fundraising Slope"

The L.A. Weekly offers this analysis.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:00 PM

"Think tank debunks idea that Prop. 11 would hurt minority communities"

George Skelton has written this LA Times column.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:56 PM

"State cannot add poll hours without approval"

Karen Handel, the Georgia Secretary of State, has written this opinion piece for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It begins: "Taking the lead from the Democratic Party of Georgia, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution advocates that Gov. Sonny Perdue and I make up election law just four days before Election Day. As the newspaper is very aware, even if the authority existed -- which it does not -- Georgia is covered under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which means that any changes in election procedures must be 'precleared' by the U.S. Department of Justice before they can be implemented."

I would think that a preclearance request to keep pols open longer hours would be quickly approved by the DOJ. Does anyone know if Florida sought preclearance for its extended polling hours in its covered counties?

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:53 PM

"Judge stops Florida's law regulating political groups"

See here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:45 PM

In Implementing Federal Court Decision, Is Pa. Secretary of State Breaking State Law?

Brad Friedman raises a legitimate question.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:41 PM

"Feds must modernize voter registration to end fraud"

Rob Richie and Adam Fogel have written this oped for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

I agree.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:37 PM

"Republican Voter Suppression: A Guide"

This post appears at TPMMuckraker. Note no Missouri.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:35 PM

Federal District Court Denies Preliminary Injunction in Challenge to BCRA Disclosure Provisions and the FEC's PAC Definitions

You can find the opinion in Koerber v. FEC here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:23 PM

More Breaking News: "Ohio Vote-Challenge Effort Hits Another Roadblock"

The NY Times reports on its Caucus blog: "The Department of Justice will not require Ohio to disclose the names of voters whose registration applications did not match other government databases, according to two people familiar with discussions between state and federal lawyers. The decision comes about a week after an unusual request from President Bush asking the department to investigate the matter and roughly two weeks after the Supreme Court dismissed a case involving the flagged registration applications."

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:10 PM

Breaking News: Federal District Court Requires Pa. to Provide Emergency Paper Ballots if At Least Half of the Voting Machines Break Down in Precinct

I have posted the court's 25 page opinion and order here. From the court's injunction:

    (2) the Secretary of the Commonwealth, Pedro A. Cortes, is preliminarily ENJOINED to direct forthwith all the County Boards of Elections throughout Pennsylvania as follows:
    If 50% of electronic voting machines in a precinct are inoperable, "paper ballots, either printed or written and of any suitable form," for registering votes (described herein as "emergency back-up paper ballots") shall be distributed immediately to eligible voters pursuant to section 1120-A(b) of the Election Code. Emergency back-up paper ballots shall be used thereafter until the county board of elections is able to make the necessary repairs to the machine(s) or is able to place into operaion a suitable substitute machine(s);


Posted by Rick Hasen at 02:58 PM

"Report shows no fraud in recent Nevada elections"

AP offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 02:54 PM

Guy Charles and Ned Foley on Minnesota Public Radio

They talk about possible election problems here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 02:52 PM

"Night of the Living Dead: What if the Election Doesn't End on Election Day"

This report appears in the Boston Phoenix.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 11:40 AM

WSJ Profile of FEC Chair Don McGahn

See here. And watch him play electric guitar (no kidding) here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 11:01 AM

Important Amicus Brief Filed by Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21 in Real Truth About Obama 4th Circuit Case

Read it here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 10:15 AM

"New Report Shows Five States' Dramatic Increase in Voter Registrations in Social Services Agencies After Reforms"

Demos has issued this press release.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 10:12 AM

"DCCC Shock and Awe"

David Keating, using the nifty new Campaign Finance Institute party IE tracker, adds it up.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 10:08 AM

"Acorn Accuses Republicans of Voter Suppression in New Ad"

This post appears on "The Caucus" blog.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 10:00 AM

"Wealthy Interests Alter Calif's Initiative Process"

AP offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:21 AM

"Voter litigation appears over for now, Brunner tells local audience"

The Dayton Daily News offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:15 AM

"Voting Snafus Rare But Worrisome"

I missed this story, which ran the other day in the Wall Street Journal.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:13 AM

Dog that Did Not Bark Dept.

I've posted over 400 times this month, and not a single post has been about election administration disputes in Missouri. It is quite close in the Show Me state. And of course Missouri is the home of Thor Hearne and the American Center for Voting Rights. But the only reference I found to Hearne in a Google news search from this month is USA Today story in which Hearne is quoted as follows: "Having fake names or ineligible voters on the rolls 'absolutely and definitely translates into fraudulent ballots cast,' said Republican election lawyer Thor Hearne."

So if we can have conflict in Ohio, Florida, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Colorado, why not Missouri?

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:10 AM

Interview with Spencer Overton on Voter Fraud

See here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:02 AM

"Parties recruit armies of lawyers to scrutinise vote"

The Age (Australia) offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:00 AM

Florida Early Voting and Provisional Ballots

I've just received a copy of an email that went out Lynn Hearn, general counsel of the Florida Department of State:

    Supervisors,

    This will confirm the oral discussions yesterday with several counties.

    We are of the opinion that Governor Crist's executive order extending early voting hours does not invoke section 101.049, Florida Statutes, which requires persons voting "after the regular poll-closing time pursuant to a court or other order extending the statutory polling hours" to vote a provisional ballot. We believe that this section, which is designed to implement Section 202(c) of HAVA, is intended to apply only to votes cast pursuant to an order extending the close of polls on election day and not to an extension of early voting. The purpose of the state and federal provisions is to identify and separate the ballots cast as a result of an order extending the polling hours, so that those ballots can be excluded from the election results in the event the order extending hours is reversed. In the present scenario, however, it would be impossible to say that votes cast during the extended early voting hours were cast solely due to the executive order, and would not have been cast in any event during regular early voting hours or on election day.

    Therefore, persons voting during the newly extended early voting hours need not cast a provisional ballot.

    If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact us.


We will see if all of the Florida counties follow this directive.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:57 AM

Indiana Appellate Court Denies Request for Immediate Stay of Early Voting in Lake County, and Denies AG Motion to Intervene; Hearing to Be Webcast Tomorrow

As always, if it involves Indiana law, Marcia Oddi is all over it.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:50 AM

"The Ohio Ballot Experiment of 2008"

David Kimball has written this guest commentary for Moritz.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:47 AM

"What Should Voters Expect At The Polls?"

NPR offers this report. It also offers this follow-up about the mock Obama v. McCain. I think the latter NPR report got it wrong: the election did not go to Obama; the only question was whether the provisional ballots should be counted.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:43 AM

"Obama donors get access to top advisers"

Politico offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:39 AM

I Had Not Expected The Obama Campaign to Use Palin in Any of Its Advertising

But it has. And of course Marc is right about the heartbeat sound.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:32 AM

"Campaign donor's contributions raise questions; Mystery man gives more than $120,000 to McCain and the GOP."

The L.A. Times offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 06:22 AM

October 28, 2008

"Striving for a Smooth Election"

Miles Rappaport has written this Boston Globe oped.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:22 PM

"Ohio Republicans Turn Voting Feud Into an Ad"

This post appears at "The Trail" blog of the Washington Post.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:18 PM

'Florida voting rolls contain dead people, duplicates, ineligible felons"

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:10 PM

Florida Early Voting Extension Hours Now Uncertain

Some elections supervisors may sue the governor. And there's a question whether the governor even has the power to have issued his order.

Ain't decentralized election administration grand?

MORE: There's real concern in Florida among African-American voters that their votes may not actually count.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:45 PM

"Obama Accepting Prepaid Credit Cards; Contributions Untraceable to Donors"

The Washington Post offers this important report. A key snippet:

    The Obama team's disclosures came in response to questions from The Washington Post about the case of Mary T. Biskup, a retired insurance manager from Manchester, Mo., who turned up on Obama's FEC reports as having donated $174,800 to the campaign. Contributors are limited to giving $2,300 for the general election.

    Biskup, who had scores of Obama contributions attributed to her, said in an interview that she never donated to the candidate. "That's an error," she said. Moreover, she added, her credit card was never billed for the donations, meaning someone appropriated her name, and made the contributions with another card.


I suspect that after this election we are likely to see the FEC (or Congress) limit the kinds of credit and debit cards that campaigns may accept for online donations.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:35 PM

A Small Point on California's Prop 11

With most of my attention geared toward national election issues, I have not paid much attention to California's Proposition 11, which would establish a citizen commission to redistrict the state legislature (congressional districting would remain in the hands of the legislature). I come to this without a strong opinion. On the one hand, I like the idea that the people through the initiative process can establish a system without the legislature for a process which currently is so laden with self-interest. On the other hand, I am wary of the Rube-Goldberg-esqe quality of the selection of the redistricting commission, and worry about unintended consequences.

There's much more money on the "yes" side than the "no" side of this, and current polling suggests that the measure is polling at only 41% yes, which is not a great sign for the measure's success this close to the election.

In any event, I'm speaking to a group of students tomorrow (with two other panelists) about Prop. 11, and I had not had the chance to read the actual text of the measure. So I was struck when I read this in the text of the new law about qualifications to be on the citizen redistricting commission: "Each commission member shall have voted in two of the last three statewide general elections immediately preceding his or her application."

By its plain text, this sentence seems to disqualify from the commission voters who voted in all three of the last statewide general elections. An apparent drafting error, or at least an ambiguity, that could have been avoided by adding the words "at least" before "two."

Not a reason to vote against it I suppose. But it doesn't give me confidence in the complex scheme that's been put in place. (A more substantive question I have is about the state auditor, who seems to have so much power here. What are his or her interests likely to be?)

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:25 PM

"Wis. AG to Disptatch Cops to Polls"

AP offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 04:43 PM

Interview with CBC's "As It Happens"

I spoke here about the topic of my Slate article on nationalizing U.S. elections.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 04:41 PM

Vik Amar on the Alaska Initiated Statute and the 17th Amendment

Vik Amar sends along the following reactions to my earlier query:

    Rick has rightfully suggested in various fora that the question when the Constitution's mention of a state "legislature" constitutes a reference to a specific body of state government -- as distinguished from a reference to a legislative process -- is one that seems to recur with increasing frequency since Bush v. Gore. As I have written, see 35 Hastings Con. L. Q. at 735, the Court's cases seem more inclined to disallow interference with a state legislature's prerogatives when that interference comes from another branch of government rather than from the people themselves. (For example, as Rick and I have both pointed out, the three members of the Court who joined Chief Justice Rehnquist's concurrence in Bush v. Gore -- and its strong reading of the word "legislature" in Article II -- dissented from the Court's denial of certiorari in Colorado Gen. Assembly v. Salazar, 541 U.S. 1093 (2004) (cert. denied), indicating their discomfort under Article I, Section 4, which also empowers state "legislatures," with state judicial involvement in Congressional district line drawing. But, notably, their dissent from the denial of certiorari in Salazar intimated that popular, as opposed to judicial, involvement would be less constitutionally troubling.)

    So, in the context of the Seventeenth Amendment, the specific textual division of power between state legislatures and (when it comes to filling vacancies) state Governors seems important to respect. But the people asserting their will as the super-legislature of the state ought not to be as problematic. This seems all the more true given that the thrust of the Seventeenth Amendment was empowerment of the statewide electorate at the expense of the power of the elected state legislature. See generally Vikram David Amar, "Are Statutes Constraining Gubernatorial Power to Make Temporary Appointments to the United States Senate Constitutional Under the Seventeenth Amendment," 35 Hast. Con. L. Q. 724 (2008).


Meanwhile, Stevens has said he's not resigning, so all of this may be just academic speculation.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:50 PM

"FEC DEADLOCKS OVER PROPOSED ISSUE ADS: DOES THIS SIGNAL A SHIFT TO MORE PARTISANSHIP ON THE COMMISSION?"

Larry Norton, former FEC General Counsel and now in private practice, has started a blog with his partners. This blog post asks: "Does this deadlock portend 'a new era of partisanship on the Commission,' as suggested by FEC-watcher, Professor Richard Hasen? We think not."

Welcome to the blogosphere!

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:44 PM

"Federal Court Ruling: Ohio State Officials Responsible for Implementing National Voter Registration Law "

Demos has issued this press release, which begins: "Secretary of State Brunner and Department of Job and Family Services Director Jones-Kelly Must Enforce National Voter Registration Act Provisions for Agency-Based Voter Registration. According to a unanimous federal appeals court decision, the state of Ohio may no longer shirk its responsibility to ensure that low-income citizens are offered the opportunity to register to vote, as required by federal law."

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:38 PM

More on Rokita v. ACORN

Here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:19 PM

A Trip Down Memory Lane: More Troubling Rokita Remarks

Over at TPM, they are upset about Indiana Sec. of State Todd Rokita's 2007 comments about African American voters, which TPM labels as "racially insensitive." But we should not forget the other remarks he made in the same speech, as I blogged about in 2007:

    ...I've been quite critical of Indiana Sec. of State Todd Rokita for his stance on some voter identification/voter fraud issues. I am now troubled by these new remarks of Secretary Rokita, not only because it might be a "Don Imus moment," but more fundamentally I am bothered by this: why is a state's chief elections officer addressing his political party trying to inspire county GOP members to stick together as group and as a team to win:

      Rokita, who won re-election in 2006, quoted the dinner's namesakes of Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan to inspire county GOP members to stick together as group and as a team to win.

      "We need to be absolute and proud of our history," Rokita said. "I think we've forgotten how to do that. I think we've forgotten sometimes what we're about and the national media doesn't help us in that regard and the liberals certainly don;t help us in that regard.

      "In a sense, that's what they are there to do and we can't blame them. What we have to do is remind ourselves of what we've done for this country and what we're going to do for this country...that we are still the party of purpose and not the party of 'No'" Rokita added.


    That this is an acceptable topic for a public speech by a state's chief elections officer is one of the biggest scandals of all.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 01:40 PM

"Crist extends early voting hours"

Big news from Florida, showing how much interest there is in this election (and perhaps some skepticism by Florida voters over how things will go on election day).

MORE: Republicans are not happy; Jonathan Chiat: "A 'plugged-in Republican' tells Ben Smith, 'He just blew Florida for John McCain.' Isn't this a pretty damning admission? The Republican is saying that McCain's chances of winning Florida depended on voting being extremely difficult and inconvenient. Maybe I'm just a goo-goo, but this quote concedes a lot in terms of the GOP's claim to democratic legitimacy."

Posted by Rick Hasen at 12:16 PM

"FEC fines Martinez $99,000 for breaking election law in 2004"

See here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 10:53 AM

More on Alaska and the 17th Amendment

Here, at Point of Order.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 10:30 AM

ACLU Letter to Senator Mukasey about Ohio Matching Issue

See here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 10:28 AM

Supreme Court Cites Bush v. Gore, Issues Unanimous Election Law Opinion (not really)

Here is the opinion in the McCain v. Obama simulated adjudication put together by Ned Foley and Moritz.

UPDATE: Ned Foley offers early analysis.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 10:25 AM

"Legal War Rooms Prep for Election Battle"

ABC News offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:31 AM

"Senator Obama's $150-Million September and $600-Million Campaign: Signs that Our Campaign Finance Laws are Broken or Working?"

I have just written this column for Findlaw. It begins:

    Last week, the Obama campaign revealed that it had raised $150 million in September and another $36 million in the first half of October, and that it had spent more than $100 million in the first half of October alone. Do these figures indicate that our campaign finance system needs to be repaired before the 2012 elections, or that the system is a resounding success?

    The answer, it turns out, depends upon what role you think money should play in politics and upon how you think campaign finance laws should be structured. From the point of view of political equality, there is much to celebrate about the Obama fundraising juggernaut, but there are some reasons to be cautious as well


Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:48 AM

"Updated 10/28: Goldfish almost had right to vote"

Sounds fishy to me.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:36 AM

"12,165 now on Florida's 'no match' vote list "

The latest from Florida.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:31 AM

The Alaska Senate Vacancy Issue is Even More Interesting Than I Thought

In this post from yesterday (which contains a correction about the earlier New Jersey case), I wrote about the rules which would apply if Senator Stevens decided to resign before his current term ends. I cited to provisions of the Alaska Elections Code that I took from the Alaska legislature's website.

It turns out, however, that voters passed an initiative in 2004 (in response to the then-governor appointing his daughter to a vacancy) which changed the method of filling vacancies. (The full text of the current Alaska statute is after the jump.)

But it gets better. Because this statute was passed by initiative, there's a question whether it violates the 17th Amendment, which provides in Clause 2: "When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of each State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct." The people, through the initiative process, get no role.

Calling Vik Amar.

Sec. 15.40.140. Condition and time of calling special election.

When a vacancy occurs in the office of United States senator or United States representative, the governor shall, by proclamation, call a special election to be held on a date not less than 60, nor more than 90, days after the date the vacancy occurs. However, if the vacancy occurs on a date that is less than 60 days before or is on or after the date of the primary election in the general election year during which a candidate to fill the office is regularly elected, the governor may not call a special election.

Sec. 15.40.145. Temporary appointment of United States senator. [See revisor's note]..

When a vacancy occurs in the office of United States senator, the governor may, at least five days after the date of the vacancy but within 30 days after the date of the vacancy, appoint a qualified individual to fill the vacancy temporarily until the results of the special election called to fill the vacancy are certified. If a special election is not called for the reasons set out in AS 15.40.140 , the individual shall fill the vacancy temporarily until the results of the next general election are certified.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:26 AM

"Federal judge will hear voter purge case Wednesday"

AP offers the latest from Colorado. See also this post by Martin Marokvits at the Huffington Post.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:16 AM

State AG Brief in Indiana Voting Case Now Available

See here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:05 AM

Follow Up Order in Ohio Voter ID Case

The new order states that Ohio voters casting provisional ballots cannot have their ballots rejected because of poll worker error. And it makes sure that homeless voters without a permanent address may cast a ballot.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:03 AM

Electoral College Predictions

Though it is not as lucrative as the late Chief Justice's betting pool, Politico has started an Electoral College predictions thread at Arena. My predictions are here, but there does not appear to be all that much variation among participants. Cass Sunstein confirms his faith in predictions markets.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:57 AM

"30 Florida counties won't follow state's voter ID suggestion"

The Miami Herald offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:48 AM

Cleta Mitchell and "the professional vote-fraud deniers industry"

See here. I prefer to think of myself not as a professional vote-fraud denier, but as someone living in the real world. After all, prosecutors do find and prosecute instances of absentee ballot vote buying and (as the ACORN controversy shows) registration fraud. But not the kind of fraud that worries Mitchell

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:37 AM

"Election Law Changes Likely to Increase Litigation"

CQ Politics offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:33 AM

"A Voting Rights Disaster?"

Christopher Edley has written this Washington Post oped concerned about a lack of voting machines, especially in states like Virginia and Pennsylvania. A snippet: "What's crucial is that state and local officials nationwide salvage the situation by implementing second-best strategies: For starters, redistribute machines on the basis of voter registration, instead of assuming that minorities won't show up. Stockpile paper ballots, under lock and key, and offer a paper ballot voting option if wait times reach 45 minutes. Train platoons of reserve poll workers and stand by to shuttle them where they are needed. Commit right now to holding the polls open late if necessary. Advertise what you're prepared to do. For heaven's sake, a lot of people bled for this opportunity." Bob Bauer comments.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:31 AM

October 27, 2008

"Echoes of 2000? Fla. County Fears Voting Problems"

NPR offers this audio report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:32 PM

"Colbert Report" on the ACORN Controversy

Funny.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:49 PM

"Conference Call: Judge Election Case Heads to High Court"

SCOTUSBlog previews Duke v. Leake, which is on its "petitions to watch" at the Supreme Court. The conference is Friday, with a decision on the cert petition as early as Monday. (We're also waiting on the judicial recusal case, for which I've predicted a dissent from a cert. denial.) For more on Duke, see my earlier post (the other case decided that day did not see a cert. petition, and I'll be writing about that one again soon.) I think a GVR of the cert. petition in light of Davis, as suggested by the SCOTUSblog preview, is a real possibility.

Meanwhile, Ballot Access News reminds us that the cert. petition in the Deters case about petition circulators paid by the signature is on the court's conference list too. My preview suggesting the Court could well take this case is here.

Bottom line: by a week after Election Day the Court could grant cert in up to three new election law cases. It is not implausible they vote to hear all three--but I'd guess a grant in Deters, a GVR in Duke v. Leake, and a denial in the recusal case.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:29 PM

"Thurbert Baker to Democrats: Give up the voter ID fight, or else"

This interesting post appears at a political blog of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:09 PM

For Bush v. Gore Junkies Only

Some interesting interviews.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:06 PM

"Va. NAACP Sues Governor Over Election Readiness"

AP offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:51 PM

"Court: 'Flagged' Citizens May Vote"

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:45 PM

More Rokita and ACORN

See here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 06:02 PM

What Happens if Senator Stevens Resigns, Etc.?

[Before reading this post, see this updated post.]

Governor Palin could appoint someone to fill the remainder of Senator Stevens' term, which runs until January.

Here is the relevant portion of the Alaska Code:

    Sec. 15.40.010. Conditions and time of filling vacancy by appointment and special election.

    When a vacancy occurs in the office of United States senator, the governor, at least five days after the date of the vacancy but within 30 days after the date of the vacancy, shall

    (1) appoint a qualified person who, if the predecessor in office was nominated by a political party, has been, for the six months before the date of the vacancy, and is, on the date of appointment, a member of the same political party as that which nominated the predecessor in office to fill the vacancy temporarily until the vacancy is filled permanently by election; and

    (2) by proclamation and subject to this chapter, call a special primary election and a special election to fill the vacancy for the remainder of the term of the predecessor in office if the predecessor's term would expire more than 30 calendar months after the date of the vacancy.

Here is the provision that seems to apply if Senator Stevens withdraws from running in the general election:

    Sec. 15.25.200. Withdrawal of candidate's name.

    If a candidate nominated by petition dies or withdraws after the petition has been filed and 48 days or more before the general election, the director may not place the name of the candidate on the general election ballot.


The statute is silent as to what happens in fewer than 48 days. A similar issue arose in New Jersey when Sen. Torriicelli withdrew close to the election---but not as close as this is to election day--but the New Jersey Supreme Court, facing a statute that expressly gave the parties the right to name a replacement if there was enough time--gave the Democrats a chance to name Torricelli's replacement. Hard to see any of this happening before election day now, given that Alaskans are already voting on absentee ballots; in New Jersey, ballots had not yet been printed.

CQ notes the rules on Senate expulsion, should Senator Stevens be reelected.

Fnally, Politico notes that it is not clear whether Sen. Stevens, if he stays on the ballot, retains the right to vote for himself.

UPDATE and CORRECTION: Dan Lowenstein points me to the New Jersey's Supreme Court opinion in the Samson case. The opinion confirms, as Dan remembered and I misremembered, that some absentee ballots had in fact gone out in the New Jersey race. (A snippet from the opinion: "In respect of absentee voters, particularly military and civilian New Jersey citizens dwelling abroad, we are informed that of approximately 19,000 absentee ballots authorized as of October 2, 2002, some 1,700 had been mailed and few had been returned. ")

Posted by Rick Hasen at 05:55 PM

"Registering Doubt: If We Can Nationalize Banks, Why Not Our Election Process?"

I have just written this piece for Slate. It begins: "Like our financial system, our voter registration system needs a federal government bailout. Before the election, while the public and press are still paying attention, we should get both presidential candidates to commit to a more sensible, secure, and universal voter registration process." It concludes:

    There's something in this for both Democrats and Republicans. Democrats talk about wanting to expand the franchise, and there's no better way to do it than the way most mature democracies do it: by having the government register voters. For Republicans serious about ballot integrity, this should be a winner as well. No more ACORN registration drives, and no more concerns about Democratic secretaries of state not aggressively matching voters enough to motor vehicle databases.

    Finally, universal voter registration is good for the country, not only because it will make it easier for those who wish to vote to do so, but because it should end controversy over ballot integrity that threatens to undermine the legitimacy of our election process. If President McCain or Obama makes this a priority, we can have the system ready in time for the president's re-election.


Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:39 PM

"Party Lawyers Ready to Keep an Eye on the Polls"

The NY Times offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:34 PM

"ACLU Sues GOP Members to Protect Voter Privacy"

See this press release.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:20 PM

Indiana AG Wants To Get Involved in Lake County Early Voting Case

See here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:17 PM

"Phony flier says Virginians vote on different days"

Do you think anyone would be fooled by this?

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:14 PM

"A Guide to Election Year Activities of Section 501(c)(3) Organizations"

Steven Sholk's latest is now available.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 11:35 AM

"Court: 'Flagged' citizens may vote"

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution offers this news update, which begins: "The state of Georgia must allow persons whose citizenship has been questioned in a new voter verification system the opportunity to cast a ballot in the Nov. 4 elections, a three-judge court ruled Monday."

You can find the 27-page opinion of the three-judge court, finding that Georgia's new efforts to comply with HAVA cannot be implemented until the DOJ grants section 5 preclearance, here. Given this finding that these changes have not been precleared, the remedy that the three-judge court imposes---including allowing the lists to be the basis to require these voters to cast provisional (called here "challenged" ballots)---seems odd. It looks like a good political compromise, but I am not sure it is right on the law of preclearance.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 11:30 AM

"Block the Vote: Will the GOP's campaign to deter new voters and discard Democratic ballots determine the next president?"

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and Greg Palast have written this piece for Rolling Stone.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 10:55 AM

Sec. Rokita and ACORN

What did you expect?

Posted by Rick Hasen at 10:17 AM

"Some voters 'purged' from voter rolls"

CNN offers this report on what are sure to be a number of false positives from the new mismatch policies in a number of states.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:28 AM

"The ACORN Storm; From John McCain, Hyperbole About Potential Voter Fraud"

The Washington Post offers this editorial.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:17 AM

Where are Presidential Campaign Staffers Considered Residents for Purposes of Voting?

That issue has emerged in Ohio. [corrected link]

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:51 AM

Read the Complaint Filed by Common Cause Against the Colorado Secretary of State

Following up on this post, you can find the complaint here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:47 AM

"PERSPECTIVE: Ohio GOP suit becomes sticky issue"

Stephen Majors has written this "Perspective" column for AP, which begins: "The Ohio GOP billed its surprising decision to request the withdrawal of a lawsuit against the state's Democratic elections chief as an effort to instead negotiate over the disputed issue of voter registration records. But the party also had to end a sticky distraction that came up when the lawsuit had been filed in the Republican-dominated Ohio Supreme Court. Plaintiff David Myhal was a GOP fundraiser whose client had helped four of the seven justices on the court with election campaigns."

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:44 AM

"Camps Lawyer Up For High-Pressure Election Day"

Eliza Newlin Carney's Latest "Rules of the Game" column for National Journal is now available.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:41 AM

"Ballots picked up, then disappear"

The Miami Herald offers this report (via Politico's Shenanigans blog, which asks, "Where does the craziest #@%$ happen?").

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:39 AM

"Court to hear suit on whether Michigan voters must remove political paraphernalia at polls"

The Detroit News offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:33 AM

"How to Steal the Election in a Few Simple Steps"

Kevin A. Hassett of AEI has written this commentary for Bloomberg.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:32 AM

"More felons learning -- to their surprise -- that they can vote"

The LA Times offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:29 AM

"Election fraud fears: the cure; States need better machinery and better registration procedures."

Charles Stewart offers this very interesting LA Times oped. Charles advocates same day voter registration. I'll be offering a different solution in a column to appear soon.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:27 AM

Gail Collins' "Quadrennial Rant" Against the Electoral College

See this NY Times column.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:24 AM

"This Year's 'Butterfly Ballot'"

The NY Times offers this editorial.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:21 AM

Bauer on Brad Smith on Obama's Fundraising and the Future of Campaign Finance Law

See here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:16 AM

"New Study: Large Counties in Swing States May Face Election Day Problems"

FairVote has issued this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:13 AM

October 26, 2008

"McCain's Warning About Voter Fraud Stokes a Fiery Campaign Even Further"

The NY Times offers this very interesting "Political Memo."

Posted by Rick Hasen at 10:28 PM

"FEC Rules Leave Loopholes for Online Donation Data"

National Journal offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 10:17 PM

"Early Voting Fraud: Rhetoric, or Reality?"

CBS News offers this report. Click on the video in the story to watch a McCain spokesperson talk about evidence of voter fraud.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 10:14 PM

"Popularity of mail-in voting surges in California, elsewhere"

The LA Times offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 10:12 PM

"Is Ohio Doomed to Ballot Battles?"

The Columbus Dispatch offers this interesting report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 10:10 PM

"Your Neighbors Could Find Out, So You'd Better Vote"

See this interesting Washington Post column.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 10:07 PM

"Census Bureau's Counting of Prisoners Benefits Some Rural Voting Districts"

The NY Times offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 10:04 PM

Justice and Vote Fraud: Lawyers Who Supervise Voting Rights are Obama Donors"

The Wall Street Journal offers this editorial.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 10:02 PM

October 25, 2008

"White House Asks for Scrutiny; 200,000 Voter Registrations in Ohio Conflict With Other Records"

The Washington Post offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:38 PM

"Campaign Finance Gets New Scrutiny; Obama's Take Raises Questions About Web"

The Washington Post offers this front-page report. See also Brad Smith's oped on Sen .Obama's fundraising. (I have a Findlaw column on the same topic, which should appear Tuesday.)

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:25 PM

"Why We Need Wingtip Warriors; Both sides have elite lawyers on standby in case the election goes into constitutional overtime."

Dahlia Lithwick has written this Newsweek column. See also this Miami Herald report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:16 PM

"Minority groups fear loss of power; They See Flaws in Plans to Revise Redistricting"

The Sacramento Bee offers this report about Prop. 11. CGS paints a rosier picture.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:14 PM

"Colo. secretary of state sued over voter purges"

AP offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:07 PM

"GOP challenges to new voters set back by courts"

Politico offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:05 PM

"Exclusive: Dems: McCain broke own law"

Politico offers this report. See also this AP report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:02 PM

"Judge Tosses Lawsuit Challenging Obama Citizenship"

AP offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:59 PM

The Latest on the Indiana Early Voting Controversy

Marcia Oddi has the roundup.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:57 PM

October 24, 2008

Will the Indiana Intermediate Appellate Court Now Intervene and Stop Early Voting Two Days Before Election Day?

It is a possibility. And just when it looked like we could take Indiana off the list for more pre-election litigation.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:31 PM

"What not to wear to the polls on Election Day"

CNN offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:27 PM

"Computer error cited in Georgia's voter registration checks"

I'm telling you, the real story of Election Administration 2008 is not fraud or suppression, it is incompetence.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:09 PM

An Important Development in Ohio

The Columbus Dispatch reports "Group drops challenge to Ohio's voter-ID law." But the most important part of this story isn't the headline, it is this: "An agreement reached today with Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner sets guidelines on how provisional ballots will be treated across all Ohio counties."An agreement reached today with Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner sets guidelines on how provisional ballots will be treated across all Ohio counties." The directive itself is here.

I have to wonder how adversarial this process was at this point; that is, the Secretary may have been looking for a good reason to get this directive out. But in the event of post-election disputes over Ohio's ballots, this document is going to be a key one.

As always, you can find relevant background and documents at Moritz.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:05 PM

"McCain Outspent 2-1 by Obama in First Half of October, but Appears Financially Competitive in the Last 20 Days of the Election"

Here is what I expect is the last of the pre-election CFI updates on the presidential election.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 01:35 PM

"Police: Campaign Volunteer Lied, Injured Self"

Another wow.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 01:27 PM

" Bush, Boehner Want DOJ to Look Into Ohio Voting"

Roll Call offers this important report ($), which begins: "President Bush is asking the Justice Department to look into whether 200,000 Buckeye State poll-goers must use provisional ballots on Election Day because their names do not match state databases." Wow. Here is what I said earlier this week: "The idea that the DOJ would get involved in the Ohio election now to force Sec. Brunner to produce the mismatch list on voter fraud grounds seems remote. The political uproar would be deafening." See also this AlterNet report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 01:07 PM

Breaking News: Indiana Supreme Court Won't Get Involved in Early Voting Dispute

See here. So it is very unlikely there will be any further court action (at least in Indiana courts) that could stop the early voting on election day.

The vote was 3-2. I don't know anything yet about the nature of the split.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 11:05 AM

"Obama fundraising drops as McCain's cash dwindles"

AP offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 10:00 AM

"Did New Mexico GOP Lawyer Hire P.I. To Intimidate Minority Voters?"

TPM offers this report. Pat Rogers, who is discussed in the story, played a prominent role in the U.S. attorneys voter fraud controversy in New Mexico.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:47 AM

"State GOP reveals new witness in ACORN suit"

The latest from Pa.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:44 AM

"Obama Spending Furiously Outpaces McCain's"

This post appears at "The Caucus" blog of the NY Times.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:29 AM

"10,000 absentee ballots in Gwinnett are flawed"

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:24 AM

"7 Things that Could Go Wrong on Election Day"

Time offers this special report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:18 AM

"Everybody's Voting for the Weekend"

Steve Israel and Norm Ornstein have written this NY Times oped.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:14 AM

"Connecticut Hopefuls Flock to Public Financing "

The NY Times offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:09 AM

"Was McCain volunteer attacked over bumper sticker?"

Salon has this interesting entry.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:01 AM

October 23, 2008

Sen. Obama's Campaign Spent $105 Million in 2 Weeks, and Raised $36 Million in First Half of October

We are sure to here more about these numbers.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 10:37 PM

"FEC Deadlocks Over Issue Ads"

CQ Politics offers this report. With the new commissioners, will we be entering a new era of partisanship on the commission?

Posted by Rick Hasen at 10:35 PM

Military Ballot Issue in Va Apparently Solved

Marc Ambinder reports.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 10:28 PM

"ACORN Battle Brews in State"

The latest from Pa.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 10:26 PM

"Donor Patrol: Obama's Online Site Accepts More Fakes"

See this post at "The Caucus" blog of the NY Times.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 10:23 PM

"Term Limits' Future Is in Court: Two Suits Now and More Expected "

The latest from NYC.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 10:20 PM

"Michigan GOP Senate leader calls program to boost absentee voting illegal, asks Attorney General to investigate"

See here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 10:18 PM

Indiana Early Voting Case Appealed to State Supreme Court

See here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 10:15 PM

"If McCain Wins, A Constitutional Dispute May Follow: Why Arizona's Process to Pick a Senator to Temporarily Fill McCain's Seat Is Unconstitutional"

Vik Amar offers this fun Findlaw column.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 10:07 PM

Electionline's Election Preview is Now Available

This is an important resource. A nice summary is in their weekly newsletter.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 10:05 PM

"Did Washington waste millions on faulty voting machines?"

McClatchy offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:59 PM

Stand By (But Not Too Close to) Your Ad

See here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:57 PM

More from the Washington Post on Small Donors/Small Donations

Sarah Cohen (who has been very helpful to me in the last couple of days) has this post at "The Trail" blog.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:54 PM

Wrong Precinct Issue in Maryland

See here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:49 PM

"No on 11 Campaign Accused of Double-Speak"

This very interesting post appears at the Sacramento Bee's political blog.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:41 PM

"Protect This Election"

Andrew Gumbel has written this piece for the Nation

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:39 PM

"Lawsuit is Filed Over Ballot Suit in Pennsylvania"

The NY Times offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:34 PM

"ACORN Overstated Tally of Newly Registered Voters"

The New York Times offers this must-read, front page report. A few snippets:

    The remainder are registered voters who were changing their address and roughly 400,000 that were rejected by election officials for a variety of reasons, including duplicate registrations, incomplete forms and fraudulent submissions from low-paid field workers trying to please their supervisors, Mr. Slater acknowledged.

    Most of the registrations that were rejected were duplicate forms, followed by incomplete forms. The Acorn officials said their investigation found about 9,000 voter registration cards that were determined to be fraudulent. A lawyer for the group estimated that perhaps 5,000 to 6,000 more cards employees turned in were fraudulent. Acorn officials said that 20 percent to 25 percent of the applications it submitted were likely duplicates, 5 percent were incomplete, and 1 percent to 1.5 percent were fraudulent. Mr. Slater said the estimates were based on past registration drives and a sampling of this one.


Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:29 PM

"Ohio SOS Draws Line on GOP Polling Place Challenges"

The latest in the Ohio election administration wars.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 10:50 AM

"Will the Tie Go to the Speaker"

The Club for Growth blog has this post on today's FEC AO.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:53 AM

"Judge Expected To Rule On Voter Lawsuit"

AP offers this report from Wisconsin. UPDATE: The court has ruled, and dismissed the Wisconsin AG's suit: "In granting the suit opponents' motion, Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi said that Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen doesn't have the power to bring the lawsuit, which demanded verification of thousands of voters' identities before Election Day. She said that she's convinced no violation of state or federal law is about to occur. The judge said that Van Hollen and the Republican Party should have gone through the process established by state law, which outlines that the Government Accountability Board will handle such complaints."

Second update: You can find the decision here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:46 AM

"Nevada Secretary of State Rebuffs Latest GOP Effort To Suppress Vote"

TPM offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:36 AM

"Political spending races toward record $5.3 billion"

USA Today offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:26 AM

Some Evidence the ACORN Business Model for Voter Registration is Broken

See here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:23 AM

"Congressional Leader Sends Letter to Attorney General"

House Minority Leader Boehner wants DOJ to compel Ohio Secretary Brunner to prepare mismatch list.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:14 AM

"The Supreme Court Puts Ideology Aside in Deciding a Small But Important Ohio Election Case that Could Affect the 2008 Presidential Election"

Michael Dorf has written this Findlaw column.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:12 AM

Follow Up on Small Donations/Small Donors

Yesterday I questioned some of the data in a Washington Post report on campaign financing, saying it didn't match with how I had read the data in some recent CFI reports. After corresponding with folks at both organizations, it is clear that the error was mine, and not either of these other organizations. I had confused CFI data which lists the number of small donations (donations under $200) for a list of contributions raised from small donors (donors giving less than $200 in the aggregate to the campaign). For example, a donor who gave $150 on three separate occasions during the primary season would not count as a small donor under the Washington Post's count, because her total donations exceed $200. Yet $450 worth of contributions would count as small donations under the CFI data.

What this means in terms of my draft paper, More Supply More Demand, is that I have overestimated the percentage of money donated by small donors to the Obama campaign as a percentage of total donations. (I am having the draft paper taken down from SSRN and will repost it with the corrected data. I believe the error affects two of the tables.) According to the Post;s data, about 1/4 of the total amounts Obama has raised in the primary and general came from small donors---that's about $150 million of the roughly $600 million raised. That's a very high amount of money raised from small donors, but as a percentage of total donationsit apparently is not out of line with some other recent campaigns.

I'm glad to be able to make the correction while the paper is still in draft.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:03 AM

October 22, 2008

"Voter fraud, suppression battle to intensify as election approaches"

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 10:54 PM

Campaign Violence Update

An unfortunate new regular feature of this blog.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 10:47 PM

"Gerrymandering Democratic Votes"

Abby Thernstrom has written this opinion piece for Forbes.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 10:36 PM

"Sorry, I Can't Find Your Name"

The NY Times offers this editorial on voter rolls.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 10:32 PM

I, Apparently, Am a "Crotchety Spoilsport"

So reports The Guardian (U.K.).

Posted by Rick Hasen at 10:23 PM

"Senators Feinstein and Kohl Urge Florida Secretary of State to Allow GAO Access to Florida Polling Places on Election Day"

See this press release.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 10:14 PM

Meanwhile, at the FEC....

Tomorrow the FEC considers Advisory Opinion 2008-15, on whether the anti-Obama ads constitute express advocacy or an electioneering communication. The draft advisory opinion proposed by the FEC General Counsel is here; FEC Commisioner McGahn's alternative (which would allow much more unregulated corporate spending on federal elections) has been posted as well.

UPDATE: Bob Bauer is not impressed with the McGahn draft.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:43 PM

Ned Foley Explains What's Going on the the Newly Revived Ohio Voter ID Suit

Here at Moritz. A snippet:

    The NEOHC plaintiffs are specifically asking for a preliminary injunction that would require the Secretary of State to do more to mandate uniform standards for the evaluation of provisional ballots throughout Ohio. In essence, given that the Consent Order applicable in 2006, the plaintiffs are asking for something equivalent, or perhaps even more specific in light of evidence that emerged from 2006 concerning variations among Ohio’s 88 counties in the rates at which they deemed provisional ballots to be eligible for counting.... The Secretary of State and the Attorney General are opposing the request for a preliminary injunction. ...They say that adequately uniform and specific standards have been put in place for the counting of provisional ballots across Ohio. Therefore, they argue, there is no risk of a Bush v. Gore violation in this counting process. In a reply, the plaintiffs say that will show at tomorrow's hearing evidence of county variation in the procedures used to evaluate provisional ballots (and not just the data of different rates of disqualifying them), claiming that this variation constitutes a Bush v. Gore violation

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:12 PM

And in Reports of Violence Against McCain Supporters

See here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 12:50 PM

Small Donations/Small Donor

Following up on this post, I've been in touch with the Washington Post, and it turns out that there is no error in the report, just a different means of counting.

And the different means of counting means that I've likely been misinterpreting some data on the number of micro-donors to the campaign.

More on this to come later today or tomorrow.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 12:48 PM

"ACLU Calls for Criminal Investigation of Bernalillo County Clerk's Office, GOP"

This ACLU press release begins: "In a letter to the New Mexico Attorney General today, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico called for a criminal investigation into concerns that the Bernalillo County Clerk's Office may have released confidential voter registration information to the Republican Party, and that the Party may have publicly distributed that information in violation of state laws protecting voter privacy."

Posted by Rick Hasen at 11:34 AM

"Vermont, Maine only states to let inmates vote"

AP offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 11:32 AM

Breaking News: Indiana Early Voting Upheld

The great Indiana Law Blog has the details along with a link to the opinion and excerpts. Here's an interesting paragraph:

    38. Curley Plaintiffs' allegations of "vote dilution" have no merit because the votes of Mr. Curley and Mr. Brown will in no way be "diluted" by the casting of early ballots of other validly registered voters, any more than if they had cast those ballots on election day. The casting of ballots by other lawfully registered voters within the relevant jurisdiction is democracy, not vote dilution

Original emphasis. I expect an appeal.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 11:25 AM

"With two weeks to go, presidential candidates spoil six lucky states"

FairVote has issued this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 10:17 AM

New Brennan Center Resource on Election Administration Issues Up To Election Day

Very handy.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 10:15 AM

For Those Who Gave Me Grief About My Palin Withdrawal Post

From First Read: "Speaking of Palin, her numbers have plummeted in our poll. For the first time, she has a net-negative fav/unfav rating (38%-47%), the only principal to carry that distinction. What's more, 55% think she's unqualified to serve as president if the need arises, which is a troublesome number given McCain's age. (Have worries about McCain's age risen because of Palin? Seems to be the case). In fact, her qualifications to be president rank as voters' top concern about a McCain presidency -- ahead of continuing Bush's policies. (Who would have ever thought that Palin would be a bigger problem for McCain than Bush would?)" (My emphasis, and supported by many conversations I've had with Republicans lately.)

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:53 AM

If the Election is Seen as Coming Down to Pennsylvania...

can voter fraud claims be far behind?

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:25 AM

Bauer on Fixing Public Financing

Here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:57 AM

NPR Talks with Tony Corrado About Public Financing

This is worth a listen. Peter Overby also gives this overview of money and the campaigns.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:54 AM

"Acorn Report Raises Issues of Legality"

The NY Times offers this report. (I had missed this earlier this morning because the article is listed in the "U.S.," not "Politics" section of the website, and I did not have a chance to open my physical copy of the Times this morning.)

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:50 AM

The Big Story of Election 2008: The Irrelevance of 527s

The Politico reports: As Clock Ticks, Hopes Dim for McCain Savior. The story says the reason 527s did not emerge on the McCain side is: "largely to lack of passion for McCain within the conservative base, diminished hopes that he can win and a sharp decline in the stock market that has badly pinched donors' pockets." I'll have to think through if that's what's really going on. I'm thinking much of this had to do with the uncertain legal terrain surrounding 527 activity.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:06 AM

Justice O'Connor Has "Stopped Losing Sleep" Over Bush v. Gore

See here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:03 AM

"'Voters' flocking to Ohio; Prosecutor to campaign staffs: If you aren't staying, don't vote"

The Columbus Dispatch offers this report.

If anyone knows more about the Ohio voter id suit mentioned in the case, please let me know. UPDATE: You can now find more about the Ohio voter id case here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:00 AM

"Police prepare for unrest"

The Hill offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 06:57 AM

"Public campaign financing is dead"

Jim Wooten offers these thoughts at the Atlanta Journal Constitution. See also this Washington Post editorial.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 06:53 AM

"Secretary of state stands by registration check-box policy"

The Rocky Mountain News offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 06:33 AM

"Vice president: a split-ticket vote?"

Vik Amar has written this LA Times oped.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 06:29 AM

October 21, 2008

"More Democrats Casting Early Ballots, Data Show "

The NY Times offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 10:17 PM

A Potential McCain Electoral College Victory?

I wonder if this is the map that the McCain campaign has in mind, which would explain the recent focus on Pa. (Via Andrew Sullivan). I'll have to defer to others who follow this closely, but is there a realistic scenario where Sen. McCain can capture Pa. but lose Virginia and Colorado?

Posted by Rick Hasen at 10:09 PM

Legitimate Campaign Expenses

I've been giving a lot of talks around the election, and today I was speaking to a group about campaign financing in the 2008 presidential election. (I'm giving the same talk at UC Davis on Thursday.) One person asked me what kinds of expenses count as legitimate campaign expenses. So I talked about there being a lot of leeway. But I wish I had seen this story before I left for the talk.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 10:02 PM

"Big Donors Drive Obama's Money Edge"

The Washington Post offers this front page report.

There was one aspect of the report I think is either incorrect or measuring something differently than I would. It states:

    Lost in the attention given to Obama's Internet surge is that only a quarter of the $600 million he has raised has come from donors who made contributions of $200 or less, according to a review of his FEC reports. That is actually slightly less, as a percentage, than President Bush raised in small donations during his 2004 race, although Obama has pulled from a far larger number of donors. In 2004, the Bush campaign claimed more than 2 million donors, while the Obama campaign claims to have collected its total from more than 3.1 million individuals.

According to the most recent Campaign Finance Institute release, covering the general election period (in September only), Sen. Obama raised $67.4 million in donations of $200 or less, making up 45% of his total individual contributions in September. During the primary season, counting both contributions for both the primary and the general election, Sen. Obama raised $222.2 million in donations of $200 or less, making up 49% of his individual contributions.

Putting the numbers together, of his total individual contributions of 452.8 million (through August) plus 148.9 million in September, he's raised $289.6 in < 200 contributions out of a total of $601.7 million, for a little over 48% of total individual contributions from donors giving $200 or less..

In contrast, in 2004, President Bush raised $78.4 million in < $200 donations out of a total of $256 million in total individual contributions, amounting to about 31% of his total from donors giving $200 or less.
UPDATE: I have gotten to the bottom of this, and it is my error. See here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:54 PM

More on the Ohio State Mismatch Dismissal, and a Call for DOJ to Enforce HAVA Against Sec. Brunner

See here.

The idea that the DOJ would get involved in the Ohio election now to force Sec. Brunner to produce the mismatch list on voter fraud grounds seems remote. The political uproar would be deafening.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:35 PM

Senator McCain on Senator Obama's September Fundraising Numbers

Here's the relevant portion of the transcript from Fox News Sunday:

    WALLACE: ... as you alluded to it -- I was going to ask you about it. Obama today announced that he raised $150 million in September. By way of comparison, accepting public financing, you're getting $84 million for the entire campaign.

    He's outspending you on advertising 4-1. In the key state of Virginia, for instance, he has three times as many field offices. Is he buying this election?

    MCCAIN: Well, I think you could make that argument, but we're not going to let him. We're not going to let that happen.

    But what I worry about is future elections, too, not only mine. I worry about -- most about mine at the moment, but what's going to happen the next time around, four years from now?

    What's going to happen, particularly if you've got an incumbent president, and we no longer stick to the finance -- the public financing, which was a result of the Watergate scandal?

    So what's going to happen? The dam is broken. We''e now going to see huge amounts of money coming into political campaigns, and we know history tells us that always leads to scandal.

    WALLACE: But, Senator, you said in the last debate, and you mentioned it again here today -- you compared it to Richard Nixon's spending in Watergate.

    As best -- as best I can -- this is the greatest amount of spending in a presidential campaign since Nixon in Watergate. As best I can tell, he's not doing anything illegal.

    And I know the thing you're talking about, which is $200 contributions he's not listing on his website. He doesn't have to.

    MCCAIN: No, he doesn't have to. But here's a campaign that pledged full disclosure, change of direction and all of those things, and technology allows us -- we don't have any trouble reporting every penny.

    WALLACE: But are you suggesting that there's...

    MCCAIN: But I'm not suggesting...

    WALLACE: ... anything illegal or improper?

    MCCAIN: No, no. I'm saying that history shows us where unlimited amounts of money are in political campaigns, it leads to scandal.

    I'm not comparing it with -- I'm saying this is the first since the Watergate scandal that any candidate for president of the United States, a major party candidate, has broken the pledge to take public financing.

    We enacted those reforms because of that scandal. We know that we let unlimited amounts of money -- in this case $200 million unreported -- and there's already been stories of people who have made small contributions multiple times and all that.

    I'm saying it's laying a predicate for the future that can be very dangerous. History has shown that.

    WALLACE: You're behind in the polls. You agree.

    MCCAIN: Sure.


I will have more to say about the Obama fundraising numbers soon.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 05:55 PM

"Obama's October Surprise: A 60-40 Democratic Financial Advantage?"

The latest Campaign Finance Institute release is not to be missed.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:43 PM

"GOP boss to SOS: Don't let certain voters cast ballots!"

So reports Jon Ralston.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:32 PM

"Early voting starts in 31 states; e-voting snag in W.Va. fixed"

ComputerWorld offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:15 PM

CA Governor May Push Top Two Primary

See here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:13 PM

"Voting Rights Groups Warn Prosecutors About Investigating Ohio Voters"

The ACLU has issued this press release.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:10 PM

"Mich. Foreclosure-Based Voter Challenge Ends in Political, not Legal, Agreement"

ProPublica offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:07 PM

"No Defense vs. Voter Fraud; Law Casts a Net that Catches the Wrong Fish"

The Herald Tribune (Florida) offers this editorial.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:05 PM

"Voter-registration lawsuit against Brunner is dropped"

This is a surprising development: plaintiff voluntarily dismissed the suit withOUT prejudice. [correcting an earlier typo, which said it was "with prejudice"]

I am not sure why the suit was dropped at this point.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:02 PM

"Obama Entered October With Over $130 Million Cash On Hand"

TPM crunches the numbers.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:41 AM

"Dead Bear Found Wrapped In Obama Signs"

Another sign of intimidation? See also here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:39 AM

How Do We Know Whether Colorado is Still in Play?

Interestingly, and RNC official points to spending by the RNC's IE unit: "Colorado is one of just a few states the RNC IE is reportedly buying. While we have NO impact or influence on the RNC IE, it would suggest that their polling matches ours and shows the state within striking distance."

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:37 AM

"Naming Small Donors Can Be Tricky"

Josh Gerstein of the now-defunct NY Sun offers these thoughts. I hope that wherever Josh lands he's able to continue his interesting writing about money and politics.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:34 AM

From the Perspective of Election Administration

If I believed (but I don't) that the presidential election would come down to Pennsylvania, I'd be very worried.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:31 AM

"This Year's Hanging Chad"

Froma Harrop has written this column, originally appearing in the Providence Journal.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:24 AM

"Election night may be a mess in Ohio"

The Columbus Dispatch offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:21 AM

Robocalls as a Substitute for Campaign Volunteers?

So suggests this interesting NPR report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:19 AM

"Judge tours early voting sites, anticipates ruling today"

The latest from Lake County, Indiana.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:17 AM

"Election Day Scenario Plays Out In Mock Court"

NPR offers this audio report about the McCain v. Obama simulation put on by Moritz. I plan to watch the whole thing (but likely after the election) at this link. I here it was a fabulous event.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:15 AM

October 20, 2008

"Blackwell: Voter Fraud"

Ken Blackwell has written this Washington Times oped.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:41 PM

Bob Herbert on the ACORN Controversy

Here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:38 PM

"Laws Allow Donors to Surpass Limits in Campaign"

The New York Times offers this front-page report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:35 PM

"In Ohio, Charges Fly in Fight Over Absentee Ballots"

The Washington Post offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:32 PM

"Experts, Lawyers Prepare for Election Day Woes"

Roll Call offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:30 PM

"Voting Rights Watch: Could confusing ballots swing the presidential election in NC?"

Interesting post at the "Facing South" blog.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:53 PM

"Federal judge sends elections case back to Ohio Supreme Court"

So reports the political blog of the Plain Dealer. Moritz reports that two state supreme court judges have recused themselves. More from Dale Oesterle on the first Ohio mismatch decision from the U.S. Supreme Court.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:46 PM

"Supreme Court Ruling May Affect Wisconsin Suit"

The Wisconsin Law Journal offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:43 PM

"Democrats and Republicans settle foreclosed voter lawsuit"

The Michigan Messenger offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:41 PM

Bauer Writes Another Letter to AG Mukasey

Find it here. See also Gerry Hebert, Joe Rich, and David Iglesias.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:31 PM

"Statement of Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer On Presidential Public Financing System"

See this press release.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:28 PM

" Judge affirms block against campaign disclosure laws"

The West Virginia Record offers this report. The opinion is here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:25 PM

"Ohio governor accuses GOP of scare tactics"

AP offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 12:12 PM

"DEMOCRATIC PARTY'S INDEPENDENT SPENDING LEAD MAY DECIDE MARGINAL HOUSE RACES"

The Campaign Finance Institute has issued this release.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 12:09 PM

"This Election: Deceptive Practices 2.0?"

This press release begins: "Amid daily reports of voter suppression and dirty tricks in the 2008 Presidential election, major civil rights organizations today released a report exposing a worrying new generation of online deceptive practices designed to mislead and intimidate voters. The report, released by Common Cause, The Century Foundation and The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is entitled Deceptive Practices 2.0: Legal And Policy Responses and describes potential online dirty tricks to disseminate false or misleading information over the Internet."

Posted by Rick Hasen at 12:07 PM

"Some early W.Va. voters angry over switched votes"

Time to recalibrate the electronic voting machines.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 12:04 PM

"New Report: Virginia Has Eight-Fold Increase in Voter Registration at Public Assistance Agencies after Reforming Procedures"

Demos has issued this press release.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 12:02 PM

"Philly Official Scoffs at Voting Problems"

Check out this video report with some interesting comments from a Philadelphia elections official.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 12:00 PM

"Tires slashed during Obama rally"

See here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 11:58 AM

"Eight Years After Bush v. Gore, Why is There Still So Much Election Litigation and What Does This Mean for Voter Confidence in the Electoral Process?"

My latest Findlaw guest column is now available (and check out their Elections 2008 page). My column begins:

    With Election Day just a few weeks away, newspapers and blogs are filled with reports about election litigation. In Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and other battleground states disputes are working their way through state and federal courts-with one already leading to a Supreme Court decision. Why is this happening, eight years after the 2000 Florida debacle in which public officials promised to fix the way we conduct elections? And what does it mean for future public confidence in the electoral process?

    The short answer to why this is occurring is this: We haven't made some important changes in election laws that should have been made soon after Florida 2000, and some of the post-2000 changes that were put into place have actually made things worse. Add to that some very heated partisan rhetoric about voter suppression and voter fraud, and we have the recipe for continued legal battles over election administration. These battles are troubling, as they undermine voter confidence in the process, and pose a small, but serious, risk of election meltdown in the case of a close election.


Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:42 AM

Deters Update

Following up on this post, Joe Deters has recused himself from an investigation of early voters in Hamilton County, OH.

But the probe still continues.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:39 AM

No Ruling from Supreme Court Today on Cert. Petition in Capteron v. Massey

This is the West Virginia judicial recusal case that has received some national media attention. It was already relisted from last week. While we don't know for sure what that means, my guess is we are looking at someone writing a dissent from the denial of cert.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:35 AM

"Obama set to break fundraising records"

Jeanne Cummings has written this piece for Politico. See also this Washington Post report, this NY Times report, and this LA Times report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:32 AM

"Specter of voter fraud arises in election"

The Arizona Republic offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:27 AM

"McCain's old voter-fraud saw; His attack on ACORN undercuts real efforts to improve the system."

The LA Times offers this editorial.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:24 AM

"Obama assembles United States' 'largest law firm' to monitor election"

Bloomberg offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:22 AM

"Ontario police arrest man in voter fraud case"

The LA Times offers this report, which begins: "The owner of a firm that the California Republican Party hired to register tens of thousands of voters this year was arrested in Ontario over the weekend on suspicion of voter registration fraud."

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:19 AM

"Could the US election be stolen?"

AFP offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:16 AM

"Heavy Voter Turn Out Nationwide Could Cause Delays at Polls"

CQ Politics offers this report. In California, election officials fear a tsunami on election day.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:11 AM

"Changing Times Run Into Static Election Laws"

Eliza Newlin Carney's latest Rules of the Game column is now available.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:06 AM

"Is public financing of presidential campaigns doomed? If so, so what?"

That's today's question in Politico's Arena.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:01 AM

"Ex DOJ Voting Rights Chief: 'It's Going to Take a Long Time to Cleanse' Department"

TPMMuckraker talks with Gerry Hebert.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:59 AM

"PERSPECTIVE: Signature challenges a political tool"

July Smyth of AP has written this column.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:56 AM

"New Study: Lack of Planning in Virginia May Cause Election Day Problems; Concerns Linger on Poll Booth Allocation Plans, Campus Polling Locations"

FairVote has issued this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:54 AM

October 19, 2008

"Obama Raises More Than $150 Million in September"

The NY Times offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 05:44 PM

"Voter registration controversy: Fraud or politics?"

AP offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 05:40 PM

"Are Voter Fraud Fears Overblown?"

The Christian Science Monitor offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 05:38 PM

"Glitches Fill Ohio Voter Rolls"

Yet another must read report: this one from the Cincinnati Enquirer. And more on the Deters probe here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 05:30 PM

"Hate You Can Believe In: ACORN Deluged with Threatening and Racist Voicemails and Emails"

You can't miss this; it is incredibly disturbing.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 05:21 PM

The Montana Voter Challenge Case from Last Week

I only now had a chance to read this must-read 20-page opinion (October 10) from the controversy over Republican challenges to 6,000 voter registrations in Montana.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 05:10 PM

"ACORN Followed Law on Suspect Voter Registrations"

The Indianapolis Star offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 05:02 PM

October 18, 2008

"Deters subpoenas voter records"

The Cincinnati Enquirer offers this must-read report, which begins: "Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters, who serves as John McCain's Southwest Ohio campaign chairman, has requested personal information for some individuals who registered and immediately cast a ballot during a weeklong period that ended earlier this month."

Just the first few words of the report give me pause. If a county prosecutor chooses to take on such a political position during the election season, might there not be grounds for recusing himself from an investigation that could directly benefit his candidate?

Substantively, there are concerns that such activities could violate the Voting Rights Act and other federal voter protections. When an Ohio sheriff tried something similar last week, he quickly backed down after protests from civil rights groups.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 10:54 PM

Scheduled to Be on CNN Sunday at 9:15 AM Eastern

Also, you can find my appearance on the news hour here (last six minutes). See also this transcript.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 05:36 PM

"Thousands Face Mix-Ups In Voter Registrations"

The Washington Post offers this front page report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:19 AM

New Ohio Mismatch Suit One to Watch

Track it, along with all other major election law litigation, over at the indispensable Moritz.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:15 AM

"More tough election law talk"

Ben Smith has written this post, linking to this press release from the McCain campaign.

October 17, 2008

"Voters contend they were duped into registering as Republicans"

The Los Angeles Times offers this report on the "Young Political Majors."

Posted by Rick Hasen at 05:52 PM

ABC's "20/20" To Have Story on Campaign Finance Reform and Unintended Consequences"

See here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 05:09 PM

"Judge Agrees with Challenge to W.Va. Political Ads"

AP offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 05:06 PM

"Death threat, vandalism hit ACORN after McCain comments"

McClatchy offers this report. Meanwhile, Bob Bauer has sent this letter to DOJ about new voter fraud claims, and the Pennsylvania Republican Party has filed a new suit alleging ACORN fraud is affecting Pa. voting. (Via Ben Smith.)

Posted by Rick Hasen at 05:03 PM

More News and Commentary on the Supreme Court's Decision in ORP v. Brunner

New York Times

Washington Post

AP

Legal Times

SCOTUSblog

Jonathan Adler and Orin Kerr (at Volokh)

And, perfect for a Friday evening, there's a new challenge being filed in the Ohio Supreme Court over matching.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 04:57 PM

Is Ben and Jerry's Inadvertently Breaking Federal Law?

Ben and Jerry's is giving free ice cream for turnout. The problem is that paying for turnout---even in a civic minded gesture such as this one---is illegal in elections in which federal candidates are on the ballot. I've written extensively about the issue. The only out I see for the ice cream company is that one need not prove one voted; it is enough to say "I voted."

But if I were Ben and Jerry's lawyer, I'd tell them to shut this down.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 02:21 PM

Scheduled to be on News Hour Talking About Ballot Problems

I should be on tonight's program about halfway through the show. These things are always subject to change.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 01:43 PM

"2008 National Voting Equipment Report"

Election Data Services has issued a new report, which begins: " For the first time in the nation's history, fewer jurisdictions and less registered voters will be using electronic voting equipment than in the previous election."

Posted by Rick Hasen at 10:12 AM

"Trader Drove Up Price of McCain 'Stock' in Online Market"

CQ Politics offers this must-read report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 10:10 AM

Breaking News: Supreme Court Stays Sixth Circuit Decision

You can find the two page ruling here. Justice Stevens referred the stay application to the Court, and the Court, without dissent, agreed that a stay was in order because the lower courts erred in concluding that the ORP is likely to prevail on its legal argument that section 303 of HAVA (the section requiring state chief election officials to perform matches of their data with motor vehicle department data) creates a private right of action. In other words, it looks like individuals cannot sue for violations of this aspect of HAVA; it would fall to the DOJ to bring such suit.

What is the upshot of this ruling? It means that the Secretary need not provide the "no match" data to the county boards, and therefore the ORP won't be able to make its public information requests to get the data to raise voter challenges at the polls.

I haven't thought enough about the private right of action question but I do think the Court reached the right result for a different reason. As I've long maintained, courts need to be aggressively asserting laches in election cases. If cases reasonably could have been brought earlier, but are brought just before the election, courts should be wary of entertaining such claims to interfere with the upcoming election.

UPDATE: Lyle Denniston pointed out to me that the Court not only granted the stay, but in its last line it vacated the TRO. So it appears Secretary Brunner won't have any further obligations to meet the demands of the ORP in this case.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:09 AM

The ACORN Hysteria

I'm usually not watching cable news in the morning, but I was watching MSNBC this morning and the lead story was ACORN and voter fraud (this was well before they turned to Michael McDonald's erudite analysis of the electoral map). The report, on the most pro-Democratic of the three news networks, was breathless and incredulous. How could so much fraud be going on? Yesterday, I got a call from CNN and did an interview about the ACORN controversy. I did not realize the segment was for the Lou Dobbs show in a segment about "The Felon Vote." (Transcript here, about halfway down.) And of course FOX is covering ACORN as though it were the financial crisis.

What is totally missing is perspective. Yes, let's take it as a given that, as I've said, ACORN's business model is broken and the level of criminal activity by some of their rogue employees is unacceptable. (I have gotten a lot of pushback about this, mainly falling into two categories: (1) as a percentage of all ACORN employees, the number actually prosecuted is small, or (2) ACORN is no worse than other registration groups, but it is being targeted because of its political leanings. This is a debate we can have another time.)

But we know that fraudulent voter registrations don't translate into election fraud at the polls that has any reasonable chance of influencing an election, much less a presidential election. But that doesn't stop people like John Eastman, on Airtalk with me yesterday, to use the Ohio litigation to claim that up to 200,000 people are committing voter fraud in Ohio. The fact is that because of data entry error, use of nicknames, and other problems completely unconnected to fraud, voter registration rolls will have lots of mismatches. Almost none of it has to do with fraud.The Brennan Center has done unparalleled work demonstrating that most voter fraud claims are bogus, and the little voter fraud that exists in registration and impersonation voting is not affecting the outcome of elections. The same is true of claims of the dead voting. Lots of sensationalist allegations are made, but when they are investigated, it turns out almost invariably to be a case of something besides fraud: a person signing the wrong line in a poll book, a confusion of two people with the same or similar names, or some other problem.

As I wrote in Slate last year:

    Second, there's no question that there's a fair amount of registration fraud in this country, an artifact of the ability in many states to pay bounty hunters by the head for each new registrant. Some unscrupulous people being paid $3 to $5 for each card turned in will falsify registration information, registering pets or dead people or comic-book characters--none of whom will show up to vote on Election Day (with or without an ID). (I, for one, would turn the whole business of voter registration over to the government and couple a universal voter-registration program with a national voter-ID card paid for by the government—but that's another story.)

    Third, and perhaps most importantly, the idea of massive polling-place fraud (through the use of inflated voter rolls) is inherently incredible. Suppose I want to swing the Missouri election for my preferred presidential candidate. I would have to figure out who the fake, dead, or missing people on the registration rolls are, and then pay a lot of other individuals to go to the polling place and claim to be Mary Poppins or Old Dead Bob, without any return guarantee--thanks to the secret ballot--that any of them will cast a vote for my preferred candidate. Those who do show up at the polls run the risk of being detected ("You're not my neighbor Bob who passed away last year!") and charged with a felony. And for what--$10? As someone who's thought about this a lot, if I really wanted to buy votes in an enforceable and safe way, I'd find eligible voters who would allow me to watch as they cast their absentee ballots for the candidate of my choice. Then, I would pay them. (Notably, ACVR and supporters of voter-ID laws have generally supported exemptions from ID requirements for voters who use absentee ballots.) Or, I might find an election official to change the votes. Polling-place fraud, in short, makes no sense.

    Finally, on the issue of lack of detection: State and local officials have uncovered a fair amount of the absentee-ballot vote-buying I've just described, even though that behavior, too, is illegal and likely hidden from public view. The DoJ devoted unprecedented resources to ferreting out polling-place fraud over five years and appears to have found not a single prosecutable case across the country. The major bipartisan draft fraud report (PDF) (recently posted by Slate and suppressed by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission [TimesSelect subscription required]) concluded that there is very little polling-place fraud in the United States. Of the many experts the commission consulted, the only dissenter from that position was a representative of the now-evaporated ACVR.


So what explains the obsession with ACORN? From Republicans, I think the irresponsible hyperbole of Sen. McCain and some of his "Honest" legal team members serves three purposes:
1. Guilt by association. If ACORN is doing something wrong and Senator Obama is tied to ACORN, that sullies Sen. Obama. It also changes the discussion, which is something you want to do if you are behind.
2. Laying the groundwork for voter purges and voter challenges.
3. Providing a basis to challenge the results of the presidential election in the event of a very close race with Sen. McCain a little behind in a battleground state like Ohio that matters for the results. Remember in 2000 when Republicans called on Al Gore to concede because he had no good legal argument. Voter fraud would be the claim that would be used to distinguish 2000.

And what explains the media's fascination with ACORN and election fraud?
1. Cable news loves anecdotes and "human interest" stories (think Joe the Plumber) and they love stories of scandal. It is more interesting than covering the differences in the health care proposals of the two candidates.
2. Cable news loves a horserace, and if Sen. Obama is running away with things it is not as interesting to cover as a close race down to the wire.
3. Even responsible news organizations need to cover the story, when the McCain campaign pounds it every day and the FBI leaks word of an investigation to the AP.

We might ask what the harm is of the ACORN hysteria. I'd say the harm is to voter confidence in the political process, something I'll be tackling in a Findlaw column next week.

For more recent ACORN news and commentary, see Dahlia Lithwick, The Times Picayune, David Iglesias, The NY Times (editorial; news story); and Hendrik Hertzberg.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:03 AM

The Latest on ORP v. Brunner

Secretary Brunner has filed this reply brief with Justice Stevens.

I expect a ruling from Justice Stevens, or the Court, later today, though there is no guarantee we will get one.

Nathan Cemenska offers this comment on the case.

Meanwhile, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled against Secretary Brunner (in my partially informed view, correctly) on the question whether observers must be allowed to observe in-person absentee voting.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:46 AM

Nate Persily on "The Takeaway" Talking About the Possibility of Election Day Chaos

Listen here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:37 AM

"Judge won't stop Georgia voter citizenship checks"

AP offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:36 AM

"Ohio Litigating Its Way Through Election Cycle"

The Washington Post offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:32 AM

October 16, 2008

"GOP vitriol rages over community activist group"

AP offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:50 PM

"Behind McCain's ACORN gambit: The fraud of voter 'fraud'"

This article originally appeared in the Minnesota Independent.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:41 PM

The More Things Change Dept.

From an oped I wrote for the New York Times in November 2006:

    We've moved in exactly the wrong direction. Election administration reform has become more, not less, politicized since Bush v. Gore. Since 2004, voter identification laws have been supported only by Republican legislatures and opposed by Democrats. The debate over election integrity versus election access makes administration just another locus for partisan debate. This should and can end with nonpartisan professional administration.

    Even with divided government coming again to Washington, there is an opportunity to take steps that would keep each party from gaining partisan advantage, and that can end our biannual anxiety over whether we are headed for another election meltdown.


I'll have more to say on this topic soon.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:04 PM

"Officials: FBI investigates ACORN for voter fraud"

AP offers this report. Josh Marshall comments.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 02:09 PM

Debate with John Eastman on Voter Fraud

I'm afraid my appearance on AirTalk with John Eastman generated more heat than light.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 02:03 PM

"Rise in Voting by Mail Transforms Race in Colorado"

The NY Times offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 01:59 PM

The Hill on Oral Argument in Bartlett Case

See here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 01:56 PM

Follow the Docket in the ORP v. Brunner Case

Here. UPDATE: You can find ORP's opposition to the stay application here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 01:49 PM

Revised Version of My Paper on Presidential Public Financing Now Available

I have now posted a revised version of More Supply, More Demand: The Changing Nature of Campaign Financing for Presidential Primary Candidates on SSRN. This version includes data through the end of the primary process. I think some readers would be interested in some of the graphs and figures contained in the article, even if readers don't have time to read the entire article.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 01:41 PM

"Is ACORN Plotting a Coup?"

Here is a brief interview I did with Harper's on this subject.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 10:48 AM

"ELECTION '08: ACORN, Stuck Between a Law and a Hard Place"

This post appears on the blog of the Center for Public Integrity.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:37 AM

"Demos Publishes Election Primer for Journalists"

See this press release. The primer is here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:35 AM

"States Get Mixed Reviews on Readiness for Voting Machine Problems"

See this press release, which begins: "With millions of Americans expected to confront an array of voting technologies on Nov. 4, today election administration experts from the Brennan Center for Justice, Common Cause and Verified Voting issued a 50-state report card that grades each state on its preparedness for election system breakdowns and offers concrete steps election officials can take in the weeks before the election to make sure every vote is counted accurately. The report, Is America Ready to Vote? State Preparations for Voting Machine Problems in 2008, finds that many states have made dramatic improvements in their voting systems, but nevertheless urges election officials to have backup measures in place -- like emergency paper ballots and sound ballot counting procedures -- to ensure the integrity of the vote."

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:59 AM

"Obama's ties to voter registration group ACORN questioned"

The Detroit Free Press offers this report. And Bob Bauer questions Sen. McCain's "fabric of democracy" quote about ACORN.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:54 AM

Will "Joe the Plumber" Get Challenged at the Polls?

It could happen, but likely won't, as he's a registered Republican.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:52 AM

"Chaos Campaign: Will Ohio GOP Block Voters at Polls in 2008?"

AlterNet offers this report, which begins: "Ohio's Republican Party will not challenge the voter registrations of thousands of Ohioans before the 2008 election or on Election Day, a party spokesman said Wednesday in a surprising statement on the eve of this year's deadline for notifying Ohio's 88 county election boards of large-scale voter credential challenges."

This is contrary to what I've been hearing, and it also is contrary to the Ohio Republican Party's litigation in the Sixth Circuit, as well as the the Party's actions: "Also Wednesday, the Ohio Republican Party said it has filed public records requests with all 88 counties for copies of forms submitted by newly registered voters, especially those who registered and cast an absentee ballot on the same day during a one-week window earlier this month."

The litigation is now before Justice Stevens. Scotusblog links to the relevant documents in the Court and supplies analysis. See also this Washington Post report and this link rounding up my earlier coverage.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:53 AM

Center for Public Integrity on Effects of WRTL on Election Ads

See here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:45 AM

"28 Groups Report Over $50 Million to FEC In 'Electioneering Communications' This Fall"

BNA Money and Politics Report offers this report ($). Key figure: "The FEC figures, culled from reports received from Sept. 1 through Oct. 10, show that 90 percent of the money is going for radio and television ads in House and Senate races, while only 10 percent is being funneled into ads focused on the presidential campaign."

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:43 AM

"Union PAC fined 10G for attack fliers"

See this news from Philadelphia.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:40 AM

"New York Needs 21st Centry Voting"

Jeff Wice has written this oped for Newsday.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:38 AM

"Voter fraud called a minor issue for November"

The SF Chronicle offers this report, which begins: "By focusing attention on false voter registration forms filed by the liberal group ACORN, Republicans and Arizona Sen. John McCain are raising alarm bells about the potential for widespread voter fraud this fall."

In more ACORN-related news, the Miami Herald offers Crist breaks with Republicans over ACORN voter fraud charges.

The NY Times offers Acorn Working on Deal to Sever Ties With Founder.

Wisconsin Public Radio offers Milwaukee police unions endorse McCain over Obama’s ACORN ties,

And AP offers Scrutiny of ACORN Voter Efforts Widen.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:36 AM

What's Keeping Sen. McCain from Being on Top in the Election?

The Washington Times blames McCain-Feingold.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:28 AM

October 15, 2008

The Acorn Comment of Senator McCain During the Debate

"We need to know the full extent of Senator Obama's relationship with ACORN, who is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy. The same front outfit organization that your campaign gave $832,000 for 'lighting and site selection.' So all of these things need to be examined, of course."

This is from the unofficial transcript of the debate organizer.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:05 PM

NY Times Reports that Ohio SOS Brunner Has Sought Stay of Sixth Circuit En Banc Decision From Justice Stevens

See here. I have not yet seen the application to Justice Stevens.

My earlier coverage of the Sixth Circuit en banc decision is here, here, here, and here.

UPDATE: You can now find the stay application here. I think this is a pretty strong application, though there are two issues working against the Secretary's position: (1) the abuse of discretion standard for TROs and (2) the possibility that the stay will be moot by the time that Justice Stevens (or the Court) can decide it.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:56 PM

My Thoughts On Sen. McCain's Comments about ACORN and Voter Fraud

Here. UPDATE: And here is my overall take on the final debate.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:04 PM

On the Radio

I was on Warren Olney's To the Point today (scroll down to "Reporter's Notebook") on voter fraud, ACORN and Ohio. I'm scheduled to be on Larry Mantle's Airtalk Thursday at 11 am pacific on these topics as well. Media appearances are always subject to change.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 04:30 PM

Senator McCain and Gov. Crist on Voter Fraud in Florida

McCain says yes; Gov. Crist says no.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 04:25 PM

"Ind. GOP warns disputed early votes may be tossed"

AP offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:11 PM

Morgan Kousser San Diego Union Tribune Editorial Against Prop. 11

See here. Dede Alpert and George Plescia urge a "yes" vote.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:08 PM

"WOIO News In Cleveland Uncovers ACORN Voter Fraud"

For those who think voter registration fraud is costless, watch this.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:05 PM

"Matching funds OK for now, judge rules"

See this news from Arizona.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:03 PM

"Judge Rules in Favor of Exit Polling"

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 12:49 PM

"GOP Deploys Squirrels"

More ACORN nonsense.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 11:45 AM

"Experts warn of Nov. 4 voting meltdowns"

Politico offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 11:41 AM

"Voting Rights and Free Elections in the U.S."

IssueLab collects the research.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 11:36 AM

"In Case of Election Crisis, Congress Needs to Be Prepared"

Jerry Goldfeder has written this opinion piece for U.S. News.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 11:29 AM

Persily Wants the Presidential Candidates to Address Election Administration Reform

See here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 11:14 AM

Server Issues

Blog posting was down earlier today because users were overwhelming the search function. Things should be back to normal now. Thanks for your patience.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 10:20 AM

More News Reports on Bartlett v. Strickland Oral Argument

New York Times

Washington Post

Law.com.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:57 AM

More on the ACORN Controversy

Lori Minnite gave this very interesting interview to Salon.

News stories appear in the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and ABC News.

NPR also has this follow-up report following yesterday's report.

And Bob Bauer weighs in.

MORE: Alternet says the California GOP had similar problems to ACORN's a few years ago.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:46 AM

"Ind. Courts - Supreme Court rules in Lake County early voting dispute [Updated]"

It's not only in Ohio that there's confusion in the courts over last minute election litigation. Check out this post at the Indiana Law Blog. Not to say that the opinion was rushed, but the Court in its order inadvertently left out a couple of "no"'s.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:40 AM

More on Sixth Circuit Opinion

Moritz has now posted the opinion here.

Ned Foley notes that the en banc vote appears to be 9-6, with Judge Rogers not yet having voted. (The clerk's cover letter says more opinions or votes may be coming, but of course with one vote outstanding they can't change the outcome.) [UPDATE: The Sixth Circuit has now posted a revised version of the opinion, which now shows how Judge Rogers voted, making the vote 10-6.]

Still no word on whether Secretary Brunner will seek an emergency stay from Justice Stevens as Circuit Justice.

One question that remains unclear is whether these new lists, if they are adopted, could be used to purge voters at this late date. A provision of the NVRA (42 USC s 1973gg-6) provides:

    (2)(A) A State shall complete, not later than 90 days prior to the date of a primary or general election for Federal office, any program the purpose of which is to systematically remove the names of ineligible voters from the official lists of eligible voters.
But a no match list could provide a basis potentially for requiring such voters to cast provisional ballots or setting aside absentee ballots pending further investigation (see page 9 of the pdf of the opinion by Judge Sutton).

A Columbus Dispatch article is here.

And Ned Foley calls for a nonpartisan tribunal to decide such cases. Can we create one with Ned and Doug Chapin, and be done with this nonsense?

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:37 AM

October 14, 2008

Both State Court Judges in Indiana Considering the Question Say Early Voting in Lake County, Indiana Should Continue

See here and here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 04:36 PM

Lyle Denniston on Today's Oral Argument in Bartlett

See here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 04:34 PM

"Judge seeks tighter security around N.J. voting machines"

This story appears at NJ.com.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 04:32 PM

Some Additional Thoughts on Ohio Republican Party v. Brunner

Following up on this post, I have now had a chance to quickly read through the en banc court's set of opinions. I have the following initial thoughts:

1. Assuming no further action, what are the practical results of this ruling? A majority of the en banc court has reinstated a TRO, which will require the Ohio Secretary of State to send along to county elections boards those names that are a "mismatch" between voter registration and Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicle records. The TRO does not require, and the en banc court majority emphasizes, that a county board is not required upon hearing of the mismatch to remove eligible voters from the rolls. But the court does suggest (on page 9 of the pdf) that it would be the basis for not counting absentee ballots of voters flagged as a mismatch barring further investigation by the board. There may also be some boards that could try to require mismatched voters voting in person to cast provisional ballots. And it also appears that to the extent the mismatch lists are public, it will provide the potential basis for challenges by the ORP on election day (though I believe it is now harder to mount such challenges in Ohio than it was in 2004, when the ORP threatened to make 35,000 challenges at the polls.

These questions are especially important in Ohio, which is polling closer than other battleground states.

2. Will Justice Stevens, or the Supreme Court as a Whole, Reverse the En Banc Court? In 2004, Justice Stevens, as Circuit Justice for the Sixth Circuit, was asked to overturn the decision of a 2-1 panel of the Sixth Circuit reversing TROs issued by two district courts which would have barred the ORP from making certain challenges at the polls on election day. The case arrived on the eve of the election, and there was simply no time for Justice Stevens to act. He stated that he expected everyone to act in good faith, and the threatened challenges did not materialize.

It is hard to say what would happen at the Supreme Court this time if there is a request for an emergency stay of the TRO. There are some important legal questions presented by the case that are not quickly resolved (such as whether HAVA gives a group like the ORP standing to bring a private right of action for alleged HAVA violations. But there's also some broader questions about election litigation brought soon before the election. First, there is the question of laches. Why did the ORP wait so long to sue, and will this in fact (as one of the dissenters claims) gum up the works at the Secretary's office just as that office must create the poll books for election day? Second, there is the question of deference: how much discretion should be given to the district court's decision to grant a TRO here? On the one hand, the Court in Purcell instructed that appellate courts should defer to district courts deciding these questions on the ground. On the other hand, the same opinion said that courts deciding pre-election cases must be especially wary of granting relief just before the election, which can cause voter confusion or worse.

Finally, there's the question of voter fraud. The district court, as I noted, cited flimsy evidence of voter fraud based on two newspaper articles about ACORN. But Justice Stevens, regular blog readers will remember, played up the existence of voter fraud in his plurality opinion in Crawford v. Marion County.

3. The Sixth Circuit Needs to Take an Anger Management Course. Judge Griffin is upset that the original Sixth Circuit panel decided this case initially last week, rather than wait for a ruling on the request for initial en banc consideration. Judge Martin issues a blistering dissent focused on Judge Bachelder's decision not to recuse herself from deciding the case, given that her husband is running for office as a Republican and is in fact the Deputy Speaker of the House. This is not the first time the nastiness has come through in a Sixth Circuit election case. Maybe Justice Stevens needs to take these judges on a retreat.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 04:26 PM

Breaking News: En Banc Sixth Circuit, By Divided Vote, Reverses 3 Judge Panel and Reinstates Trial Court TRO, in Ohio Matching Case

The 50-page document in Ohio Republican Party v. Brunner, No. 08-4322, is available on PACER but too large for me to post on the blog. I expect it will be up at Moritz shortly. From my initial look, it looks like the vote was 9-5, with one judge (Rogers) not recorded as signing either the majority opinion, or the concurring opinion, or the three dissenting opinions.

Because the issue presented here in part turns on whether this TRO comes too close to the election, in violation of the Supreme Court's admonition in Purcell v. Gonzalez, I would expect a quick application for a stay of the en banc order directed to Justice Stevens, as Circuit Justice for the Sixth Circuit.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:27 PM

"Latest BCRA & FECA Challenge Amici Brief of Campaign Legal Center & Democracy 21"

See here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 02:39 PM

"Republicans, ACORN Spar Over Voter Registration"

NPR offers this audio report. See also here and here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 02:37 PM

Abstention in Important Ninth Circuit Campaign Finance Case

COMPAC v. San Jose raised the question of the constitutionality of limits on contributions to independent expenditure committees.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 01:28 PM

Transcript of Oral Argument in Bartlett v. Strickland Now Available

You can find it here. A quick perusal shows that the court appears to be breaking down in the usual conservative-liberal split in this case, with conservatives more apt to support the 50% rule. The case appears somewhat complicated by the state's stipulation not to contest the third Gingles factor at this stage of the litigation. UPDATE: Here is Nate Persily's report to the election law listserv on the oral argument.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 12:01 PM

"'Fraud' vs. 'Suppression'"

Ben Smith has this interesting post on the presidential campaigns sparring over ACORN. Interesting stuff over at TPM (and here). Tom Matzzie's take is here.

My take on the ACORN controversy is here.

MORE: Don't miss Marc Ambinder on Trevor Potter and the voter fraud question, and TPM showing a video of Gov. Palin alleging anger over "unconscionable voter fraud" occurring in Pennsylvania and elsewhere.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 11:27 AM

"Guest Commentary: Spoiled voters or a spoiled election?"

Aaron Zisser has written this commentary for the Philadelphia Sunday Sun.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 11:24 AM

"Buckeye Institute Files State Rico Action Against ACORN"

See this press release.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 11:22 AM

"Justice Department Files Suit Against Vermont, Secretary of State Markowitz for Noncompliance with Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act"

See this press release.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 11:19 AM

"GOP Officials Assail Community Group; McCain Campaign Accuses ACORN of Voter Fraud, Highlights Ties to Obama"

The Washington Post offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:08 AM

"One Dollar for Every West Virginian"

Amanda Frost has written this Slate column on Caperton v. Massey. Today's Supreme Court orders do not include any decision on the cert. petition in this case, which is getting some important media attention.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:46 AM

"Quiet Political Shifts as More Blacks Are Elected"

It is interesting that this NY Times article appears the same day as the Supreme Court hears argument in the Bartlett v. Strickland case.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:41 AM

"Voting forms ruled incomplete for lack of check mark"

The Rocky Mountain News offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:38 AM

"Ohio Voter Fraud Rare"

The Cincinnati Enquirer offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:36 AM

"1,245 Orange voters told they can't vote"

More problems in Florida.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:34 AM

"McCain/Palin to YouTube: Get real"

Larry Lessig has the details.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:32 AM

"Nonprofit Groups and Politics: Tread Lightly"

Leslie Lenkowsky has written this opinion piece for The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:29 AM

"Obama and ACORN"

The Wall Street Journal offers this editorial.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:24 AM

"Obama surges past McCain in fundraising race"

The L.A. Times offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:21 AM

October 13, 2008

"Ind. Decisions - Status of: Remote voting sites at issue in Lake County [Updated]"

The Indiana Law Blog has the details.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:26 PM

"Federal judge orders 1,438 names restored to Michigan voter rolls"

The Detroit Free Press offers this news update. You can find the court's order here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:10 PM

In the Election Law Mailbag

Michael Dimino, Accountability Before the Fact, 22 Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics and Public Policy 451 (2008) (part of Symposium on the Judiciary)

Paul S. Ryan, 527s in 2008: The Past, Present and Future of 527 Organization Political Activity, 45 Harvard Journal on Legislation 471 (2008)

Paul S. Ryan, Wisconsin Right to Life and the Resurrection of Furgatch, 19 Stanford Law and Policy Review 130 (2008)

Michael S. Kang, Race and Democratic Contestation, 117 Yale Law Journal 734 (2008)

Katie Fowler, Deceptive Voting Practices and Voter Intimidation in the Wake of United States v. Charleston County, 2 Charleston Law Review 733 (2008)

Posted by Rick Hasen at 12:16 PM

"Grofman selected as Peltason chair"

Congratulations Bernie.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 12:03 PM

"Political groups playing reduced role in 2008 race"

The Boston Globe offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:06 AM

"Groups' accounts enable lobbies to ante up millions for legislators"

The South Florida Sun Sentinel offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:04 AM

"Voter Rolls Are A New Front In Battleground States"

The latest from Eliza Newlin Carney.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:54 AM

" Reform the Electoral College (Keep It, but Reform It)"

James Pontuso has this post on the Britannica Blog.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:50 AM

"U.S. Supreme Court Is Asked to Fix Troubled West Virginia Justice System"

The NY Times offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:44 AM

Lyle Denniston Previews Oral Argument in Bartlett v. Strickland

See here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:40 AM

October 12, 2008

"Many convicted felons remain on voter rolls, according to Sun Sentinel investigation"

This must read article gives yet another reason to hope the election does not again come down to Florida's electoral votes.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:16 PM

"SWAP MEET: INTRODUCING THE FRAMERS TO NADER'S TRADERS THROUGH PORTER V. BOWEN"

Eric J. Finkelstein has written this student note for the Cornell Law Review.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:11 PM

October 11, 2008

More on the ACORN Controversy

New York Times

Politico

Project Vote (on the Nevada affidavit)

And a number of interesting comments on my recent post at The Huffington Post.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 04:15 PM

Attempted Vote Buying in Beverly Hills

See here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 04:12 PM

Decision Expected as Early as Monday in Lake County, Indiana Remote Voting Controversy

See here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 04:09 PM

Heated Sixth Circuit Opinion in Ohio Matching Case; En Banc Decision May Come Tomorrow

You can find the decision here.

A snippet from the majority opinion: "[An inquiry about the extent of voter fraud] is the kind of inquiry that demands extensive factfinding. However, rather than undertake such factfinding, the district court, citing two newspaper articles, merely assumed there would be widespread voter-fraud absent the issuing of a TRO. Given the shaky ground on which this voter-fraud determination rests, we believe that this unsubstantiated fear does not warrant the district court's conclusion into the established state practice."

From the dissent: "Defendant Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner's lack of concern for the integrity of the election process is astounding and deeply disturbing. Also troubling is the majority's rush to issue the present order in violation of the practices of our court. Although a petition for initial en banc consideration is pending and will be decided tomorrow by our active judges, Judge Moore, along with visiting Judge Bright, have decided to ignore the en banc petition and issue their order."

In fact, footnote 1 to the majority opinion notes that the en banc petition is pending and states that the stay of the TRO is in effect pending further order from the court.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 04:07 PM

October 10, 2008

"The Purge Surge:Why the GOP is Nuts About ACORN"

I have just posted this piece at The Huffington Post. It begins:

    What explains the Republicans' fixation on ACORN in recent days? From Sen. McCain's campaign manager to GOP luminaries to the McCain campaigns own new web ad, ACORN appears to be target # 1 of the GOP campaign against Senator Obama, surpassing even a focus on William Ayers. The claims are that ACORN is engaging in massive voter fraud through its voter registration activities, and--according to the new web ad--that the group forced banks to take on risky loans that have led to the country's financial crisis. Though at first glance it may look like this is about tying Senator Obama to a group that has been under investigation for its voter registration activities, the real point appears to be part of a broader Republican strategy to remove likely Democratic voters from the voter rolls and to lay the groundwork to contest the outcome of the presidential election in the event of an extremely close result in a battleground state.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 04:05 PM

"McCain Campaign Calls for Investigation of ACORN-Obama Ties"

The Washington Post offers this report. I'll have more to say about this soon. UPDATE: See also this memo from the GOP.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:30 PM

"Candidates Meet 'Natural-Born' Test Despite Rumors"

AP offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:28 PM

"NY Election Mix-Up: 'Osama' on the Ballot"

AP offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:26 PM

"Ohio Sheriff Drops Request For Voter Information"

That was quick.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:08 PM

"Texas County Agrees to Stop Vote Suppression Efforts Against Black University Students"

The Campaign Legal Center has issued this press release.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:05 PM

" Democracy 21 Files Complaint Today Calling on FEC to Investigate Whether Two Outside Groups Illegally Spent Soft Money to Influence the 2008 Presidential Election"

Democracy 21 has issued this press release.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:03 PM

"States' Actions to Block Voters Appear Illegal"

Yesterday the NY Times published this must-read front page report. It followed up today with this report about the reaction of officials in Colorado. AP also offers this follow up report. And Ned Foley corrects an inaccuracy in the story that jumped out at me when I read it: the distinction between a right to cast a provisional ballot (under federal law all states must provide it) and the state's decision whether or not to count that provisional ballot as a valid vote (a decision that can vary from state to state).

I spoke with the Times' reporter on Monday about their investigation, and later that day the social security administration issued this press release, presumably to get in front of the story. In addition, Nevada was named in the Times story, and I wonder the extent to which the ACORN raid was timed to be before the release of the story.

I expect we will hear more about this, and I expect some litigation to restore some people to the voter rolls as the result of this story. Stay tuned.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:31 AM

"Fictitious Donors Found in Obama Finance Records"

The New York Times offers this report. The key snippet on the scope of the problem: "There is no evidence that questionable contributions amount to anything more than a small portion of Mr. Obama's fund-raising haul. The Times's analysis, conducted over a few days and looking for obvious anomalies, like names or addresses with all consonants, identified about $40,000 in suspect contributions that had not been refunded by the campaign as of its last filing with the Federal Election Commission, in September."

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:23 AM

More Litigation and Police Activity over Voter Registration in Ohio

A federal district court has issued a TRO requiring Ohio Sec. of State Brunner to match voter records with Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicle and Social Security Administration databases. The court's opinion is especially interesting for its discussion of ACORN's activities in explaining why plaintiffs would suffer irreparable harm from "dilution" of their votes with illegal votes (the court does not appear to consider how many of those registrations, even if processed, would actually result in illegal votes being cast).

Sec. Brunner has appealed.

Meanwhile, AP reports: "Law enforcers in a southwest Ohio county rich with Democrat-leaning college students are seeking information on hundreds of people who registered to vote and cast ballots during the state's weeklong same-day voting window." I wonder if such activity violates the Voting Rights Act and other federal voting protections. UPDATE: The ACLU has issued this press release in response to this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:16 AM

Electionline Weekly on 31 Million Ballots Expected by Mail

See here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:07 AM

"The Swing States of America; Candidates Focus Their Times and Resources on a Handful of States and Follow Voting Patterns of 2004 Presidential Election"

FairVote has issued this press release.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:04 AM

"Local 2 Investigates Dead Voters"

A local Houston television station offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:02 AM

"Voting Access In 10 Key States"

Tova Wang appeared in this segment of Fresh Air from NPR.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:58 AM

October 08, 2008

Regular Blogging to Resume Friday

See you then.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:57 AM

"Reform Institute Endorses Redistricting Reform in California"

See this press release.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:46 AM

"Taking on Florida's Political Speech Police"

The Institute for Justice has issued this press release.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:37 AM

"Voter Fraud? Officials Raise Concerns About Thousands of Suspicious Voter Registrations"

ABC News offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:35 AM

More Info on Who Used the Five Day Window to Register and Vote in Ohio

See here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:29 AM

"Palm Beach County commissioners worry about legal nightmare on Election Day"

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:22 AM

October 07, 2008

Campaign Spending

The Fix offers Obama Outspending McCain Nearly 3 to 1 on Television. Jonathan Martin notes "1,078 third-party ads last week."

Posted by Rick Hasen at 01:34 PM

"Dirty tricks claims as parties battle over voter registration"

The Guardian (U.K.) offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 01:19 PM

"Marion Co. GOP: Clerk Beth White violated election law"

See here. I would agree that giving people preferential seating at a speech in exchange for voter turnout would run afoul of the federal vote buying prohibition. That's not to say that White necessarily did anything wrong here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 01:16 PM

"ACORN Office in Vegas Raided in Voter Fraud Probe"

AP offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 01:12 PM

All Bush v. Gore All The Time

You say you want more thoughts about Bush v. Gore?

For those following the McCain v. Obama hypothetical from Moritz, here is a neutral memorandum of law prepared for the court and counsel in the mock appellate argument.

Meanwhile, Ned Foley will be giving a university distinguished lecture at OSU on presidential election disputes, beginning with a dispute from 1792. More here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 01:03 PM

Lockheed Martin Has Contract to Staff DOJ Election Hotline

See here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 12:55 PM

"Election 2008: Election Law (and How They Break It)"

Allen Raymond and Dan Tokaji participated in this online chat at washingtonpost.com.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 12:53 PM

"Report on voting machines at issue"

The Newark Star-Ledger offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 12:51 PM

Reminder: Speaking Tonight at Hammer with Sec. Bowen

This event starts after the debate ends. They are showing the debate on a big screen beforehand.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:37 AM

"Transgender Candidate Who Ran as Woman Did Not Mislead Voters, Court Says"

The NY Times offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:32 AM

"G.O.P. Query Involves 1% of Giving to Obama"

The NY Times offers this report. As I understand the Times search, it involved only donors who gave over $200 in the aggregate to the campaign. It does not cover under $200 donations, which federal law does not require to be publicly released.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:27 AM

"Window came as surprise to Ohio GOP"

AP offers this report. Meanwhile, about 3,000 voters statewide registered and voted in the window. That may not sound like much, but if you figure many of these first time voters would not have voted otherwise, the numbers could be very important if Ohio is close.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:20 AM

Bauer on Bopp and Truth

See here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:16 AM

Battles in State and Federal Courts over Early Voting Sites in Lake County, Indiana

See here and here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:14 AM

Ninth Circuit Uphold's Alaska's Ability to Force Alaska Independence Party to Choose Its Nominees via Direct Primary

You can find the Ninth Circuit's opinion in Alaska v. Alaska Independence Party (yes, that Alaska Independence Party), here. The opinion begins:

    Alaska requires political parties to nominate candidates for the state’s general election ballot in a state-run primary, in which any registered member of a political party may seek the party's nomination. Nominees are then chosen by the vote of party-affiliated voters and any other voters whom the parties choose to let participate. The Alaska Independence Party ("AIP") and the Alaska Libertarian Party ("ALP") contend that these laws burden their associational rights in violation of the First Amendment because they force them to associate with candidates who, they claim, are not members of their party or are not ideologically compatible with the party. We hold that Alaska's primary system is justified by compelling state interests and is therefore facially constitutional.

This opinion is potentially very important in considering the question whether Congress would have the power to outlaw presidential caucuses and require presidential candidates to be chosen in direct primaries. It's an issue I recently wrote about for the Northwestern University Law Review's "Colloquy" (soon to be reprinted in the law review itself).

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:11 AM

Columbia Journalism Review on Coverage of Election Registration and Administration Stories

See here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:03 AM

October 06, 2008

"Worries About Voter Intimidation Run High"

NPR offers this audio report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:56 PM

"Legal Center Opposes Voter Roll Purges in Wisconsin Lawsuit"

See this press release.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:45 PM

"Judicial Ideology and the Transformation of Voting Rights Jurisprudence"

Adam Cox and Tom Miles have posted this draft on SSRN (forthcoming University of Chicago Law Review). Here is the abstract:

    For two decades, the doctrinal test laid out in Thornburg v. Gingles has been the centerpiece of vote dilution litigation in the United States. Gingles defined a sequential, two-part framework combining a set of rule-like preconditions to liability with a standard-like inquiry into the totality of the circumstances. Despite this elaborate framework, emerging empirical work shows that political ideology connects closely with how judges have decided vote dilution cases; Democratic appointees have proven much more likely than Republican appointees to favor liability under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. This work raises the question of what role the Gingles framework really plays in voting rights litigation. More basically, it raises the fundamental question of whether legal doctrine actually constrains judicial decisionmaking. Using a dataset of every Section 2 decision issued since Gingles, this Article explores these twin puzzles. It finds substantial evidence that legal rules are indeed more ideologically constraining than standards. Ideological divisions are much more pronounced in the standard-like second step of Gingles than under the more rule-like preconditions. Moreover, the Article shows that the doctrinal dynamics of vote dilution litigation have changed dramatically over the past two decades. As the representational and political implications of vote dilution claims have shifted, the Gingles factors that both judges and scholars claim are central to the liability inquiry have become far less important. Courts' sharp movement away from the centrality of the Gingles factors amounts to a largely unrecognized second transformation of voting rights litigation.

I read this piece in draft and recommend it highly.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:41 PM

"Voter ID laws a GOP tactic of cynicism"

Cynthia Tucker has written this column in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:15 PM

"The Winnebago Vote"

This very interesting article appears in the Texas Observer.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:13 PM

"FEC Queries McCain Campaign on 'Excessive Contributions'"

This post appears at "The Trail" blog of the Washington Post.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:10 PM

"Social Security Asks Six States to Review Voter Registration Verification Procedures to Ensure Compliance with Federal Law"

Check out this press release, which begins: "Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security, on Friday contacted the Secretaries of State for Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Nevada, North Carolina and Ohio and asked them, based on extraordinarily high levels of requests to SSA, to review their procedures to ensure that they are fully complying with applicable federal laws relating to the registration of voters."

Posted by Rick Hasen at 03:02 PM

"Social Security Asks Six States to Review Voter Registration Verification Procedures to Ensure Compliance with Federal Law"

Check out this press release, which begins: "Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security, on Friday contacted the Secretaries of State for Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Nevada, North Carolina and Ohio and asked them, based on extraordinarily high levels of requests to SSA, to review their procedures to ensure that they are fully complying with applicable federal laws relating to the registration of voters."

Posted by Rick Hasen at 12:56 PM

"Tracking Big Money In Small Amounts"

Eliza Newlin Carney's latest Rules of the Game column is a must-read.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 10:13 AM

"In the Event of a Tie"

CQ Politics offers this report. Perhaps this is why Nebraska has become an unlikely battleground.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:44 AM

Gov. Palin Did Not Check Off for Presidential Public Financing System

See here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:35 AM

John Fund's Latest on Voter Fraud

Here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:33 AM

Deja Vu All Over Again

[Correction: This post has been removed because I linked to a 2004 story that a search led me to erroneously believe is a 2008 story.]

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:31 AM

"'Tis the Season of Election Dirty Tricks: Scaring Student Voters"

ABC News offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:29 AM

"Pre-Election Fight Brings in Lawyers, Accusations"

The Ledger (Fla.) offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:27 AM

"G.O.P. to File Complaint Over Donations"

Following up on this post, the NY Times offers this report. See also this Washington Post report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:17 AM

"Ind. Decisions - Remote voting sites at issue in Lake County [Updated]"

This post appears at the Indiana Law Blog.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:03 AM

NAMUDNO Supreme Court SG Response Delayed to Nov. 10

See here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:59 AM

"Republicans Challenge 6,000 Voter Registrations in Montana"

AlterNet offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:55 AM

All Bopp All the Time

BNA offers Bopp Announces New Lawsuit on Behalf Of Group Airing Anti-Obama Ads in 3 States ($), which begins: "An independent political group called the Committee for Truth in Politics Inc. (CTP), which refuses to disclose its funding sources, has been sponsoring television advertisements in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina criticizing Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) for his stance on abortion-related legislation, according to an Oct. 3 statement from attorney James Bopp."

NPR offers Jim Bopp's Fight to Liberate Political Money.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:53 AM

"Colorado Officials Not Prepared for Anticipated Turnout"

FairVote has issued this press release.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:49 AM

October 03, 2008

"EAC Commissioners Confirmed by U.S. Senate"

See this press release.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 10:23 AM

"Bogus emails raise anxiety over voter ID law"

The South Florida Times offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:32 AM

A New Open Primary Effort in California?

See here. (Disclosure: I was involved in the last effort at an open primary in California, Prop. 62.)

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:28 AM

"Red Flag On Purging Voter Rolls"

The CBS Evening News offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:25 AM

Is the Republican Party of Wisconsin Considering a Suit Against ACORN?

See here. More here and here..

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:22 AM

A Petition to Ask the Presidential Candidates About Weekend Voting at the Next Debate

See here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:20 AM

FEC May Consider NRLC Request for Advisory Opinion Soon

So reports ($) BNA. You can find my earlier coverage here. You can now find the request for the advisory opinion here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:18 AM

"Justice, Bush Style"

Andrew Gumbel has written this article on the civil rights division of the DOJ for The Nation.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:14 AM

"GOP sound and fury about ACORN is a little bit nutty"

The Michigan Messenger offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:12 AM

Two on SSRN

Richard W. Bourne has posted Richardson v. Ramirez: A Motion to Reconsider (forthcoming Valparaiso University Law Review). Here is the abstract:

    In Richardson v. Ramirez, 418 U.S. 24 (1974), the Supreme Court held that Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment authorized states to disenfranchise convicted felons. The decision thus leads to the anomalous result that, although Section 2 was clearly aimed at discouraging discriminatory denial of participation in the political process to African Americans, the provision nevertheless actually provides the primary justification for state statutes disproportionately denying African Americans the right to vote. This article argues that the Court got it very wrong in Richardson. Charles Sumner, one of the leaders of the Radical Republicans in the Congress that drafted the Fourteenth Amendment, argued that the amendment should pursue a political agenda of "inclusion and exclusion," by which he meant including former slaves in the larger political community while at the same time denying the franchise to whites who had participated in the Civil War on the side of the Confederacy. The Court in Richardson erred by ignoring the context in which the amendment was drafted and passed as well as specific parts of the legislative history of the amendment that demonstrate that the language recognizing state power to disenfranchise "felons" actually meant to include only those who had committed crimes of rebellion against the Union.

Michael Halberstam has posted Institutionalizing Voting Rights. Here is the abstract:
    This article intervenes in the debate about the institutionalization of civil rights. It contrasts the institutionalization and implementation of two distinct voting rights regimes, focusing on the extent to which they have satisfied the democratic value of decentralization and captured the benefits of localism. The article compares the Voting Rights Act's (VRA) preclearance provision (requiring localities to seek approval for all voting changes with the Justice Department) and the standards for qualitative vote dilution that emerged under Section 2 of the VRA, with the one-person/one-vote rule handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court in Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533 (1964). The article challenges the conventional view that the VRA constituted an especially egregious assault on the local autonomy of states and covered jurisdictions, sets forth in detail how the relevant provisions of the VRA - but not the one-person/one-vote rule - captured the gains of localism, and situates these findings theoretically in contemporary theory and Supreme Court jurisprudence.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:10 AM

"McCain camp turns to Maine's Second District"

The Boston Globe offers this report. And here's Charlie Cook on an electoral college tie.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:06 AM

October 02, 2008

My Thoughts on Tonight's VP Debate

Here at Politico's Arena.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:09 PM

"Millionaire's Amendment to Be Erased"

CQ Politics offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 01:44 PM

The Latest Electionline Weekly

It is now available.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 01:35 PM

"What Happens If a Vice Presidential Candidate Drops Out?"

Washington Wire offers this report. I first blogged about this issue back on August 29.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 01:32 PM

"ACLU Asks Court to Allow Rejected Absentee Ballot Applications"

The ACLU, siding with Republicans, has issued this press release. I am happy the ACLU is in this fight. UPDATE: The Ohio Supreme Court has unanimously rejected the secretary's position and directed that otherwise compliant absentee ballot applications be accepted.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 01:20 PM

"Homer Simpson" Tries to Vote for Obama But is Thwarted by Electronic Voting Machine

See here. Apparently this is to air two days before Election Day.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 01:07 PM

"Judge Suppresses Report on Voting Machine Security"

More troubling news.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:12 AM

"Delegating Direct Democracy: Interparty Legislative Competition and the Adoption of the Initiative in the American States"

Dan Smith and Dustin Fridkin have written this article for the American Political Science Review. Here is the abstract:

    Between 1898 and 1918, voters in 20 American states adopted constitutional amendments granting citizens the power of the initiative. The embrace of direct democracy by voters invites inquiry into why some state legislatures opted to delegate to citizens the power of the initiative, while others did not. Drawing on an original data set, this article uses Event History Analysis hazard models to explain the puzzle of why legislatures might devolve institutional power to citizens. Our longitudinal, macrolevel analysis of socioeconomic and political forces reveals that political considerations--interparty legislative competition, party organizational strength, and third parties--are the most powerful predictors of a legislature's decision to refer the initiative to the ballot. Although several of our findings comport with the conventional wisdom explaining the adoption of the initiative during the Progressive Era, others are surprising, offering us new theoretical insights into why and when legislative bodies might be willing to divest themselves of their institutional power.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:00 AM

Sixth Circuit Sides with Ohio Secretary Brunner in 5 Day Window Case

You can find the 2-1 opinion here. Judge Griffin dissented solely on the majority's decision to reverse the district court TRO barring Sec. Brunner from enforcing her directive to local elections boards to bar election observers from early voting sites. Judge Griffin cited the potential for irreparable harm if observers are not in place to protect against fraud and what the judge views as a lack of any harm from having observers present.

The Ohio Supreme Court, which had earlier ruled for Sec. Brunner in a state law challenge to the five-day window, issued this 4-3 opinion explaining its reasoning.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:56 AM

"Lawsuit over Ohio Republican absentee-ballot applications thrown out"

The Cleveland Plain Dealer offers this report. The suit was thrown out for being untimely. But I understand that there is another suit on the merits in this case. I remain very troubled by Sec. Brunner's position on the merits in this controversy.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:46 AM

"Secret, Foreign Money Floods Into Obama Campaign"

Ken Timmerman has written this piece for Newsmax (which has recently been picked up by Rush Limbaugh). The allegation is that the under $200 donations that the Obama campaign does not have to itemize under FEC rules is coming from foreign donations.

I have been hearing these rumors for months and seen absolutely no substantiation. The Obama campaign is also subject to audit from the FEC, and my sense of the operation is that they have been extremely careful (in light of the earlier Norman Hsu scandal involving the Hillary Clinton campaign) to check the qualifications of all of their donors. UPDATE AND CORRECTION: The audit rules apply only to publicly financed campaigns, which Obama is not part of. But I still have seen no credible evidence to support these charges and I have heard from numerous sources about the steps the Obama campaign has taken to prevent this kind of thing from happening. And the bad p.r. alone is reason to expect that the campaign would act with great care to prevent this from happening.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:42 AM

"Early Voting: Boon for Fraud, Bust for Deliberative Democracy"

Deroy Murdock has written this opinion piece for National Review Online. I'm always wary of pieces that include: "As John Fund explains in Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy,..." I think it is time for me to start working on a book review of the revised edition of Fund's book.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:37 AM

" Next president can aid redistricting fix"

The San Antonio News Express offers this editorial.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:34 AM

"Reports Show Widespread Confusion About The Voting Rights Of People With Criminal Records"

The ACLU and Brennan Center have issued this press release.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:31 AM

Bauer on the Firing of David Igelesias as U.S. Attorney for New Mexico

Bob finds some interesting items about voter fraud as a "wedge issue" in the Inspector General's report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:29 AM

"Study Finds States Purging Millions of Voters in Secret, Often Erroneously"

The Brennan Center has issued a press release via email (not yet online), which begins: "Today the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law released one of the first systematic examinations of voter purging, a practice -- often controversial -- of removing voters from registration lists in order to update state registration rolls. After a detailed study of the purge practices of twelve states, Voter Purges reveals that election officials across the country are routinely striking millions of voters from the rolls through a process that is shrouded in secrecy, prone to error, and vulnerable to manipulation. Upon the release of Voter Purges, the Brennan Center and the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law began filing public records requests with election officials in 12 states in order to expose the states' purge practices." More information about the report is here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:25 AM

"The Hidden Legacy of Holy Trinity Church: The National Narrative Canon"

Anita Krishnakumar has posted this draft on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

    This essay explores an under-appreciated legacy of the Supreme Court's (in)famous decision in Holy Trinity Church v. United States. While Holy Trinity has been much-discussed in the academic literature and in judicial opinions, the discussion thus far has focused almost exclusively on the first half of the Court's opinion, which declares that the "spirit" of a statute should trump its "letter" and relies on legislative history to help divine that spirit. Scholars and jurists have paid little, if any, attention to the opinion's second half, in which the Court tells a lengthy narrative about the country's historically Christian roots and explains that, other interpretive rules aside, the statute simply cannot be construed against the church - because the United States "is a Christian nation."

    The essay maps out the methodology of the Holy Trinity Court's "Christian nation" argument and contends that that methodology constitutes an interpretive canon in its own right - one which the essay labels the "national narrative" canon. The essay goes on to demonstrate that this interpretative canon has reared its head in a number of statutory interpretation cases decided since Holy Trinity. In Flood v. Kuhn, for example, the Court, in determining whether the antitrust laws govern baseball's reserve system, paid lengthy tribute to the historical and national significance of baseball in a manner (methodologically) reminiscent of the Holy Trinity Court's Christian nation narrative. Likewise, in Leo Sheep v. United States, the Court waxed eloquent about the critical role of railroads in settling the American West in the course of determining the extent of property rights conveyed to the railroads by the United States government. And in FDA v. Brown & Williamson and Morton v. Mancari the Court similarly relied, in part, on a tobacco narrative and a Native American usurpation narrative to construe the respective statutes at issue in those cases. The essay draws a number of parallels between these cases, noting, for example, that the Court always has used the national narrative canon as a guide to congressional intent and to carve out a statutory exception for one special national entity. The essay concludes by evaluating the newly-identified, but long extant, national narrative canon as an interpretive tool and by exploring the canon's implications for different theories of statutory interpretation.


I read this very interesting paper in draft last summer. Great to read if you are teaching legislation this semester.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:20 AM

Pildes and Garrett on "How the Financial Crisis is Reshaping Democratic Politics: Term Limits Reconsidered"

See this commentary at Balkinization.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 05:56 AM

October 01, 2008

"An Online Symposium on Senator John McCain and Natural Born Citizenship"

Michigan Law Review's online companion, "First Impressions," has published this symposium, with contributions from Jack Chin, Larry Solum, Dan Tokaji, Peter Spiro, and Stephen Sachs. As Larry would say, download it while it's hot!

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:37 PM

"Defending Nancy Pelosi"

Former FEC Commissioner David Mason has written this guest post for the CCP blog, responding to this Washington Times report on Speaker Pelosi's PAC.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:27 PM

"Voting Goes to Court; Registration Lawsuits Could Shape Election"

The Chicago Tribune offers this report.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:20 PM

Jim Bopp Files Request for Advisory Opinion with FEC on Obama-Abortion Related Ads to be Run by National Right to Life

The new request for an opinion in number 2008-15 does not yet appear to be on the FEC website yet. It asks if the radio ads, which discuss Sen. Obama's position on abortion rights, would qualify for a WRTL exemption. One of the proposed ads (which can't be paid for out of NRLC's corporate treasury funds unless the exemption applies---otherwise, they'd have to be paid for through their PAC), ends with "Barack Obama, A Candidate Whose Words You Can't Believe In."

An ad that contains words of condemnation does not get the safe harbor of the WRTL exemption under the FEC regulations, but still could get an exemption under a totality of the circumstances approach. I discuss this question of WRTL and condemnatory ads here.

Meanwhile, in other Bopp lawsuit action, the Campaign Legal Center reports via email (no link yet) that "­­­­­­Today, the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit denied a motion filed by The Real Truth About Obama (RTAO) requesting an injunction pending its appeal of a district court decision that denied RTAO preliminary relief in its challenge to several FEC regulations."

Posted by Rick Hasen at 09:17 PM