The Miami Herald reports.
Caribou Coffee across from the White House and private email addresses make a comeback.
See this press release.
Bill Moyers & Company on the latest volleys in the voting wars.
Roll Call reports.
We can argue (and do) about whether state voter id laws are necessary or not, but arguments in favor of them are premised on the idea that the state can competently administer the law and make sure that people who want i.d.’s can get them.
I’ve already flagged how Pennsylvania’s new law was poorly drafted to give too much discretion to election officials to decide what kinds of forms of i.d. should be acceptable and who counts as an indigent.
But the bigger problem that has come to light in the current trial is that Pa. officials do not have a good handle on how many people need an i.d., and those charged with administering the law don’t seem to be taking seriously their obligation to get i.d.’s into the hands of eligible voters in time for November’s election.
From a CBS report on today’s trial:
Pennsylvania’s Secretary of the Commonwealth was on the witness stand today, during day five of the court hearing on Pennsylvania’s new voter ID law.
And her testimony just added to the confusion over exactly how many voters need ID.
Secretary of the Commonwealth Carole Aichele is the top state official in charge of implementing the voter ID. But when she took the stand she was cagey, even making jokes in some instances in her response to plaintiffs’ attorneys.
At one point, when lawyers asked her about the details of the voter ID law, Aichele responded, “I don’t know what the law says.”…
When lawyers questioned Aichele today about the number of Pennsylvanians who need ID, Aichele was adamant that 99 percent of voters had valid ID.
When plaintiffs’ attorneys cited earlier Department of State testimony that the number is likely inaccurate, Aichele said simply, “I disagree.”
She later admitted that the state does not know the real number of voters who need ID.
The more I hear about the trial, the more convinced I am that a fair-minded judge (which this trial judge certainly appears to be) would be likely to issue a preliminary injunction barring the use of the i.d. requirement in the November elections. That would give the state time to get its act together by 2014, the next federal elections.
I should add that with Pa. Supreme Court Justice Orie temporarily off the court while criminal charges against her are heard, there’s the possibility of a 3-3 split should any decision on the preliminary injunction be appealed to the Pa. Supreme Court.
A tie would leave the trial judge’s decision standing.
This is likely the most consequential voter i.d. case in the country for purposes of the presidential election, because Pa. is the only presidential swing state where there is uncertainty as to whether the voter i.d. law will be in place this November.
I missed this last week. The first cartoon is here, and then hit next to read each additional cartoon in the series.
By Lawrence Norden
Design defects in ballots, voter instructions, and voting machines contributed to the loss of several hundred thousand votes in the most recent national elections. In addition, in the 2008 and 2010 general elections combined, as many as 400,000 people had their absentee or provisional ballot rejected because they made technical mistakes completing forms or preparing and returning the envelope. This comprehensive study outlines simple measures election officials can take before November to cure design defects and ensure every voter can cast a ballot that counts.
American elections are marred by major design problems. As smartphones and computer tablets have convinced many people and businesses of the importance of good design and usability, elections have changed far more slowly.
- Poor design increases the risk of lost or misrecorded votes among all voters, but the risk is even greater for particular groups, including low-income voters and the elderly.
- As documented in this report, several hundred thousand votes were not counted in the 2008 and 2010 elections because of voter mistakes, in some cases affecting the outcome of critical contests.
- The rise of absentee and provisional voting since 2000 has only increased the importance of design in elections. We estimate that in the 2008 and 2010 general elections combined, as many as 400,000 people had their absentee or provisional ballot rejected because they made technical mistakes completing the forms or preparing and returning the envelope.
- There are simple measures election officials can take before November to cure design defects in ballots, voting machines, and voter instructions.
- We encourage election officials to review lost vote data from previous elections, conduct usability tests, and work with experts to find design problems and solutions before this November’s election.
[This post has been updated with the updated headline of the NYT report.]
The Atlantic reports.