Category Archives: absentee ballots

We’ve Issued a Major New Report, “24 for ’24: Urgent Recommendations in Law, Media, Politics, and Tech for Fair and Legitimate 2024 Elections”

Back in March, the UCLA Law Safeguarding Democracy Project held a conference, Can American Democracy Survive the 2024 Elections?

Following the conference some of the participants met as an ad hoc committee to consider recommendations in law, politics, media, and tech for fair and legitimate elections in 2024. The goal was to convene a cross-ideological, interdisciplinary and broadly diverse group of election experts to consider ways to bolster both the actual fairness of the upcoming elections as well as public confidence in them.

Today, under the auspices of SDP, the 24 members of the Ad Hoc Committee for 2024 Fairness and Legitimacy released a new report: 24 for ’24: Urgent Recommendations in Law, Media, Politics, and Tech for Fair and Legitimate 2024 Elections.

Here are what I see as some of the key takeaways of the report:

  • The United States’ election system continues to be under great stress, especially after the last election was conducted during a pandemic and with unprecedented attacks on the integrity of the election system. There are reasons to worry 2024 could be worse
  • SDP convened a group that is really ideological diverse and is multidisciplinary, with scholars and leaders in law, media, politics and norms, and tech
  • 24 leaders came up with 24 recommendations for fair and legitimate 2024 elections; all of these can be put in place before the 2024 elections
  • Recommendations aimed not only at fair elections but at public acceptance of results across the political spectrum
  • Recommendations made to journalists, social media companies, government bodies, election officials, bipartisan Congressional and state leaders committed to democracy and the general public
  • Among key recommendations: states need to draft laws now to deal with how to handle election emergencies; courts need to resolve as soon as possible challenges to the qualifications of candidates to run for President under the Fourteenth Amendment; news organizations need to invest resources into training journalists on how elections are run, especially local and non-English language news outlets; election administrators need to harden their systems against “insider threats”—the actions of election workers or officials attempting to sabotage results

Below the fold, I share the summaries of the 24 recommendations; full recommendations are in the report itself. In upcoming weeks, we will look for opportunities to share our recommendations with specific constituencies to whom they are addressed.

In early news coverage, Zach Montellaro of Politico writes, “Election Experts Warn American Democracy is ‘Under Great Stress’ Ahead of 2024.” Read the full report for details.

Continue reading We’ve Issued a Major New Report, “24 for ’24: Urgent Recommendations in Law, Media, Politics, and Tech for Fair and Legitimate 2024 Elections”
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“RNC launches ‘Bank your Vote’ ad blitz ahead of debate to push Republicans to vote early in 2024 elections”

Quite notable from Fox News:

The Republican National Committee says it’s going “all in” ahead of Wednesday’s first GOP presidential nomination debate to encourage voters to turn in ballots early.

The recently-launched “Bank Your Vote” campaign seeks to motivate pre-Election Day balloting among Republicans ahead of the 2024 presidential election. The RNC effort aims to educate GOP voters on absentee voting, ballot collection and early in-person voting. 

The RNC ad blitz, shared first with Fox News Wednesday, includes a 30-second ad that will appear on the Rumble live stream of the debate, a Fox News-hosted showdown in Milwaukee….

Former President Donald Trump, who appears in the new RNC ad, released a video last month encouraging Republicans to vote early, backing the RNC’s effort.

For over 2½ years, Trump has repeatedly spotlighted unproven claims that massive fraud in early and absentee voting led to the 2020 presidential election being stolen.

But since launching his 2024 presidential campaign last November, Trump has appeared to slowly embrace efforts to encourage Republicans to vote early in person or cast an early absentee ballot.

During a recent Fox News town hall with Sean Hannity, Trump said he would encourage Republicans to vote early. But he also claimed people make “phony ballots” and charged “a lot of bad things happen to those ballots.”

Due in part to Trump’s rhetoric, Democrats have enjoyed a sizable early voting advantage the past couple of years over Republicans.

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Federal court dismisses lawsuit challenging Illinois mail ballot deadline

Democracy Docket: “a federal judge in Illinois tossed out a lawsuit brought by three Republicans — including the current representative for the state’s 12th Congressional District, Michael Bost (R) — alleging that the state’s mail-in ballot receipt deadline violates federal law and burdens the right to vote under the First and 14th Amendments.” Illinois allows for ballots postmarked by Election Day and received within two weeks to be counted.

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“Mississippi can’t restrict absentee voting assistance this year, US judge says as he blocks law”

AP reports: “A federal judge [Henry Wingate] blocked a new Mississippi law that would set criminal penalties for some people who help others with absentee voting — a ruling that comes as absentee ballots are already available in party primaries for governor and other state offices.” The press release from the League of Women Voters, one of the plaintiffs, is here with the court’s order.

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“The Ohio GOP’s bold abortion gambit has imploded”

The Fix on the August ballot measure that would raise the threshold for amending the state constitution from 50% plus one to 60%, in order to make it more difficult to enact an abortion rights initiative later this year:

It turns out that not only do voters overwhelmingly oppose changing the rules for amending the state constitution, but also that the abortion rights measure might have gotten to 60 percent anyway.

Suffolk University provided the data.

We learned last week that Ohioans opposed State Issue 1 — raising the ballot measure threshold, among other restrictions on the process — 57 percent to 26 percent.

Now Suffolk has released numbers on the abortion measure specifically, and the deficit for the GOP is similarly lopsided: Ohioans support the amendment 58 percent to 32 percent.

In related news, Ohio Capitol Journal reports: “Once a rallying point to exclaim about unsubstantiated fraud, Ohio Republicans are embracing mail-in and early voting ahead of the August 8 special election.”

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“National Democrats file absentee ballot lawsuit in Wisconsin ahead of state Supreme Court flip”


 A new lawsuit filed in Wisconsin by a national Democratic law firm seeks to once again allow voters to return absentee ballots in drop boxes, a practice that was barred by the state Supreme Court last year following criticism by former President Donald Trump.

The lawsuit filed Thursday by the Elias Law Group comes less than two weeks before the Wisconsin Supreme Court flips from a conservative to liberal majority. Election law challenges like this one are among many issues the new liberal-controlled court is expected to rule on in the coming months.

The rules for voting in Wisconsin are of heightened interest given its place as one of a handful of battleground presidential states. Four of the past six presidential elections in Wisconsin have been decided by less than a percentage point, including the past two.

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Strong Early Voting on Ohio’s Issue 1


As the August 8 special election for Issue 1 in Ohio approaches, many voters are taking advantage of early voting. 

According to Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, as of Wednesday, 155,000 absentee ballots have been cast so far. 

Since 1912, Ohio has used a simple majority of voters statewide to pass a constitutional amendment. Issue 1 would raise that threshold to 60% of the vote.

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“Michigan governor signs legislation expanding voting rights”

AP: “The legislation, which resulted from the voter-approved Proposal 2, establishes a website for voters to track when their ballots are received and counted, and requires at least nine days of early voting before each statewide and federal election. Voters can also now fix clerical errors on their ballots and use U.S. passports, tribal photo ID cards, military ID cards or student ID cards to identify themselves when they show up to cast ballots.”

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“‘Hypocritical’ — Sec. of State LaRose apparently changes law to help Issue 1 supporters”

News on the Republican-backed referendum that would raise the threshold for amending the state constitution in August, before an initiative to protect abortion rights can go before voters in November: “Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose has seemingly changed the rules around Ohio law to benefit Issue 1 supporters after they made a mistake when sending out election information.”

More on this story from the Ohio Statehouse News Bureau: “After saying an Ohio law passed in December requiring voters to show photo ID also requires a specific form for absentee ballots, the secretary of state’s office now says outdated forms are OK in certain circumstances.”

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“Republicans plan efforts to tout early voting tactics they once vilified”


Former president Donald Trump and Republican allies have long vilified mail-in voting and what is called ballot harvesting, alleging without presenting evidence that the practices are rife with fraud and encouraging Republicans to vote in person instead. . . .

But now, after disappointing election results in 2020 and 2022, Republicans close to Trump are seeking to raise hundreds of millions of dollars to build programs that would encourage some of the practices that the former president and other Republicans once decried, according to documents reviewed by The Washington Post and interviews with GOP operatives involved in the programs. . . .

An RNC spokeswoman says the national party will create state-by-state websites to tell voters how to cast their ballots early and “conduct focus groups and message testing on how best to communicate with Republican voters on pre-Election Day voting, equipping Republican leadership and candidates to deliver a unified message nationwide.” RNC executives have held meetings with multiple lawmakers and strategists seeking national buy-in for a program they are calling “Bank the Vote.”

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“Dearth of mail-in ballot requests raises fears of voter disenfranchisement”

Florida Politics:

Six months since prior vote-by-mail requests expired, just a fraction of voters have renewed their absentee request, arousing fear that millions of Floridians could discover too late that their ballot is not arriving in the mail.

It’s an unprecedented situation — and a race against the clock — brought on by the first piece of post-2020 election legislation passed that changed election rules. The 2021 law (SB 90) calls for all vote-by-mail requests to expire on Jan. 1 after each General Election. Before, voters need only check a box on the ballot to be registered to vote absentee in the next election.

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“North Dakota election official challenges mail ballot counting law in Trump-aligned group’s lawsuit”


A North Dakota county election official is suing the state’s election director to block the counting of mail-in ballots received after Election Day in a lawsuit filed by a conservative group that also brought lawsuits amid former President Donald Trump‘s false claims of election fraud in 2020.

An election law expert says the Public Interest Legal Foundation appeared to be “court-shopping” for a conservative circuit with its case, which seeks an injunction against the election director for enforcing the state’s laws.

Burleigh County Auditor Mark Splonskowski, who was elected last fall, alleges he “is harmed by instructions to accept and cast ballots received after Election Day,” and that “because federal and state law conflict on the day the ballots must be turned in, he faces an impossibility in enforcing the law,” according to a complaint filed Wednesday in federal court.

“Despite federal law assigning one day as Election Day, North Dakota law allows ballots to arrive and be counted up to 13 days after Election Day,” the complaint states….

University of California Los Angeles law professor and election law expert Rick Hasen in an interview said the lawsuit is “kind of a roundabout way of attacking not having full results on Election Day, so it very much ties into Trump’s unsupported claims about the (2020) election.”

Splonskowski said in an interview the lawsuit has nothing to do with 2020. He said the foundation reached out to him “and told me that there were some concerns” about North Dakota’s law.

“What I am trying to do is be proactive and trying to ensure that future elections are as secure as possible and try to do anything I can proactively to ensure that our elections are secure and bolster public confidence in our election system,” he told The Associated Press.

“I think that so long as a state is intending to accept ballots that have been cast by Election Day that it likely does not violate federal law to count ballots that arrive after Election Day, but I’m not aware of any court that has squarely addressed the issue,” Hasen said.

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