Clean and Fair Elections Update: New Election Laws of Note
Table of Contents:
National Popular Vote Signed into Law in Washington
Washington became the
fifth state to pass the national popular vote (NPV) compact 
when Gov. Gregoire signed the legislation on May 6th.
votes, 23% of the 270 needed to achieve a national popular vote are now
committed to the
compact . Washington joins Maryland,
as members of the compact. This is the first state to pass NPV into law
NPV has now passed into law on both coasts and in the heartland. Additionally, legislative chambers  in every region, and in states of every size, have endorsed NPV. PSN's recent Dispatch  covers the continuing focus of the presidential election campaigns on a few battleground states, and the negative impacts this has for our democracy and progressives in particular.
Other movement of NPV bills this session:
AR: H 1339  passed the House. [Adjourned]
CO: H 1299  passed the House, first time. [Pending]
CT: H 6437  passed the House, first time. [Pending]
NV: A 413  passed the Assembly, first time. [Pending]
NM: H 383  passed the House, first time. [Adjourned]
OR: H 2588  passed the House, first time. [Pending]
RI: S 161  passed the Senate. [Pending]
VT: S 34  passed the Senate. [Pending]
Colorado, Indiana and Utah Pass Internet Voter Registration
Three states have approved Internet registration bills to allow allow residents with driver's licenses or state-issued ID cards to register to vote online. Two states, Arizona and Washington, currently offer Internet voter registration. Many thought that this option would only be appealing to young, Internet-savvy voters, but over 70% of voter registrations now come in online  in Arizona with registration increasing 10% the first year it was available online (2007). And while some have voiced concern that registering online will decrease election security, this system is perhaps more secure than paper-based registrations, and there have been no instances of voter registration fraud with online registration to date.
Colorado: Following a two-year lobbying effort by New Era Colorado , the state is committed to providing internet registration to Colorado voters. The bill had very strong bi-partisan support in the legislature, passing unanimously in the Senate and only garnering four "no" votes in the House. Takes effect on or before April 10, 2010.
Indiana: Indiana is more famous for putting up barriers to voting with its strict government-issued photo ID requirement that was challenged all the way to the Supreme Court. Yet, Sec. of State Todd Rokita has been a leading proponent of both voter ID and internet registration. Unlike most proponents of voter ID, Sec. Rokita understands that states should use the new technology available to them to enhance access to the ballot box. While voting rights advocates strongly disagree with his position on voter ID, which he posits is essential for a secure election, we all can strongly agree with him that “[b]ecause of the technology we have, ... we can offer online registration and maintain, even enhance, the integrity of our elections.” Takes effect July 1.
Utah: With zero fanfare Utah jumped onto the 21st Century voter registration bandwagon with a new law to allow internet registration. This is clear evidence that this reform is one that progressives can successfully move throughout the country. No effective date was mandated.
Other movement of
Internet registration bills this session:
OR: H 2386 , by Rep. Ben Cannon , has passed the House. [Pending]
NV: A 82 , a omnibus committee bill, includes internet registration and has passed its committee of origin in the Assembly. [Pending]
Proof-of-citizenship for Voter Registration in Georgia
Following Arizona's lead, Georgia has passed  a law  requiring that all residents prove their citizenship before they can register to vote. This is the most restrictive form of voter ID yet, and it is far more restrictive than the photo ID requirements that have been passed across the country. It has been enacted even though there is no indication that non-citizen voting is a problem in the state; in fact, Georgia election officials are confident  that the current photo ID requirement is strict enough to prevent any problems from arising.
Just how disenfranchising Georgia's new law will be is indicated by a national survey  of voters conducted by the Brennan Center for Justice. The survey found:
- As many as 13 million people do not have documentary proof of citizenship.
- The rate for people earning less than $25,000 is more than twice as likely to lack proof, than people earning more.
- One third of women do not have documentary proof of citizenship with their current legal name.
Perhaps most troubling about this law is that it clearly constitutes a poll tax  on some voters. Unlike the Indiana photo ID law that was upheld by the Supreme Court, there is no provision for issuing free citizenship documents to poor voters in Georgia. Any person wishing to register must supply proof of citizenship, even if they don't have enough money to obtain such proof.
Fortunately, the law will not go into effect until it has been reviewed by the US Dept of Justice. While DOJ cleared the Arizona proof-of-citizenship law in the Voting Rights Act's pre-clearance process (VRA section 5), Arizona's proof-of-citizenship law was approved by the then-Bush Administration DOJ. Observers expect the review to be far more probing this time given the new administration's stated commitment to voting rights.
New Revelations Add to Evidence that Paperless Voting is Not Safe
The Premier "Delete" Button, Discarding Votes Made Easy: The California Secretary of State's Office recently completed their investigation  on the cause of almost 200 lost votes  in the 2008 general election in Humboldt County. Faulty software from Premier Election Solutions (formerly Diebold) was to blame, as it was in Ohio. Both California and Ohio are suing Premier over the botched product. Premier originally denied there were any flaws in its software, alternately blaming the issue on user error and anti-virus software, but has now acknowledged  they are at fault.
The investigation, however, uncovered an even more troubling problem - the machines used in Humboldt County and elsewhere had an erase button  that allowed the machine's audit logs to be "zeroed out" with the touch of a button. Not only does such a capability fatally undermine the security of these machines, they were built in such a way that votes could be deleted without election workers noticing they had done so. Premier was even made aware of the insanity of including such a function in their machines. An e-mail from one of the system's developers stated that "adding a Clear button is easy, but there are too many reasons why doing that is a bad idea."
The report  on this fiasco by the Sec. of State sums up the scope and depth of the problem this way:
"The Clear buttons ... allow inadvertent or malicious destruction of critical audit trail records in all Gems version 1.18.19 jurisdictions, risking the accuracy and integrity of elections conducted using this voting system. Five years after the company recognized the need to remove the Clear buttons from the GEMS audit log screens, not only Humboldt, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties in California but jurisdictions in other parts of the country, including several counties in Texas and Florida, continue to use Gems version 1.18.19...."
Public Officials in Kentucky Indicted for Stealing Electronic Elections: Political corruption and vote buying have been alleged in Clay County, Kentucky for decades. In an effort to counteract that tradition, the Department of Justice has indicted  several public officials - including a judge, the county clerk, the school superintendent and members of the elections board — on vote buying and election fraud. According to the indictment , the defendants not only conspired to steal elections the old fashioned way, but also exploited a vulnerability  in their new ES&S iVotronic paperless voting machines. The defendants are alleged to have duped voters into leaving the voting booth after they had pressed the "vote" button, which doesn't actually cast the vote, but brings up a review screen where a voter confirms their selections. Once the voter had left the booth, corrupt election workers went in and changed their votes.
This case is significant for a couple reasons. The first is that the major defense used by voting machine vendors regarding the flaws in their products has been that none of the problems have ever resulted in a stolen election. If the DOJ is correct, several elections were stolen in Kentucky on electronic machines. Second, the fact that using electronic voting machines is confusing enough that many voters can be tricked into leaving the booth before they have actually cast their ballot is a critical vulnerability in these systems that has not previously been appreciated.
Other Legislation of Note
Mail-in and Early Voting
Bills Passed into Law
3134 , by Rep.
Barbara Fleischauer , a
vote-by-mail pilot project authorized for five municipalities. H
2464  by Del.
Sharon Spencer , expands the
potential number of early voting sites in the state.
MD: H 1179  by Del. Jon Cardin  implements the early voting initiative passed by Maryland voters last November. Allows for approximately one week of early voting and mandates a minimum number of early voting centers based upon population.
ME: S 48  by Sen. President Elizabeth Mitchell , providing for an early voting pilot program in selected municipalities.
CO: H 1186 , by Rep. Claire Levy , allows mail-in voters to submit their ballots at any early voting site of poll place on election day. H 1216 , by Rep. Carole Murray , also allows mail-in voters to vote at a polling place if they surrender their ballots.
VA: H 1062 by Del. Robert Brink  added pregnant women to the list of voters allowed to vote absentee; H 1262, by Former Del. Frank Hall, does the same for temporarily disabled and infirmed voters; S 7, by Sen. Creigh Deeds , extends this right to all disabled and infirmed voters; and H 1877/S 1070, by Del. John Cosgrove  and Sen. Steven Martin  respectively, adds first responders to the list. All three bills were signed into law.
UT: S 24  by Sen. Peter Knudson , requires that early voting sites be distributed based on population.
MT: S 276 , by Sen. Carolyn Squires , relaxes the address verification rules for voters on the list of permanent absentee voters. Verification will now take place once per year instead of every 6 months.
NM: H 583 , by Rep. Debbie Rodella , allows absentee voting in lieu of a polling places for small, isolated, rural precincts.
NJ: A 2451 , by Asm. Joan Quigley  and S 1380, by Sen. Raymond Lesniak , will provide for permanent absentee voting, and a uniform system for all mail-in ballots including those used by overseas and military voters. The bills have been reconciled and are now awaiting final passage.
CA: A 84 , by Asm. Jerry Hill , would "establish a free access system that allows a vote by mail voter to find out whether his or her vote by mail ballot was counted and, if not, the reason why it was not counted." The bill has passed the Assembly.
CA: A 1228 , by Asm. Mariko Yamada , authorizes a vote-by-mail pilot program for not more than three local elections in Yolo County. The bill is on third reading in the Assembly.
PA: H 333 , by Rep. Babette Josephs , amends the PA constitution to allow any elector to vote by absentee ballot. The bill has passed its committee of origin.
Notable Legislative Movement in Adjourned Legislatures
GA: H 540 , by Rep. Austin Scott , includes a no-excuse absentee provision. The bill passed the House and was reported favorably from committee in the Senate before the legislature adjourned.
NM: H 419 , by Rep. Al Park , would allow for permanent absentee voting. The bill passed the House, but didn't advance in the Senate before adjournment.
WA: H 1572 , by Rep. Sam Hunt , extends vote-by-mail statewide (currently used in all but one county). The bill passed the House.
Voter ID and Proof of Citizenship
Passed into Law
GA: S 86  has been signed by the governor (see above). This bill would require all voter applicants who submit voter registration applications after Jan. 1, 2010 to also include a copy of a citizenship document before being added to the voter rolls.This bill was substituted to require the board of registrars to provide notice to applicants that did not provide satisfactory evidence of citizenship, granting applicants 30 days to respond with appropriate proof of citizens before the application is rejected.
Additionally, this bill was substituted to allow citizens to use Georgia driver's license or identification card numbers or a copy of such cards as proof of citizenship "if the applicant has provided satisfactory evidence of U.S. citizenship to the Department of Driver Services. This requires the secretary of state to establish procedures to compare voter registration applications with the Dept. of Driver Services database.
OK: S 4 , a state-issued, photo ID requirement passed both houses but was vetoed by governor, who called  the bill "an unnecessary impediment to this most basic freedom." This measure will now go before the voters in 2010.
UT: H 126 , by Rep. Bradley Daw , enacted a mandatory voter ID requirements for all voters, every election. The bill also removing local govt, educational institution, and employee identification as ID that can be used alone to vote. Voters with those forms of ID will need to provide a second proof of identity as well. Indigent voters seeking a free ID will be required to
sign a statement under penalty of perjury that they are indigent, and may be required to "execute a release form allowing the division to inquire with the Tax Commission whether the person has filed state income tax returns or has state income tax withholding suggesting that the person is not indigent."
IL: H 4077  has now passed both houses. This bill specifies which forms of identification first-time voters are required to present.
RI: H 5097  is now on the House calender. This bill requires all voters to present a document that shows the voter's name and photograph. A state voter ID would be issued upon request and voters who do not present satisfactory ID would be permitted to vote provisionally, which would be validated with a signature match.
TX: After much drama early in the session with the Senate exempting voter ID legislation from their cloture rule, and failed attempts by the House committee chair to broker a compromise, S 362  passed the Senate and is now out of committee in the House.
TN: S 150  requires voters to present one form of ID that bears the name, address and photo of the voter. Acceptable ID includes Tennessee driver's license or ID, passport, employee ID (with photo), or military ID. Voters who do not have acceptable ID would be allowed to vote provisionally. SB 150 was adopted by the Senate and has passed two House readings and is now held on the House desk.
Notable Legislative Movement in Adjourned Legislatures
MS: As with last session legislators were unable to come to a compromise on voter ID legislation with conservatives refusing to accept any exceptions or voting liberalizations. One lawmakers is now attempting to qualify a ballot initiative on voter ID.
MO: HJR 9 , a government-issued, photo ID bill was defeated by voting rights advocates for the second year in a row when the House failed to vote on the bill before adjournment.
CO: H 1336 , by Rep. Nancy Todd , exempts group home residents from the state's voter ID requirement.
Passed into Law
VA: In response to some localities trying to prevent students from voting from their school addresses through intimidating mailers and misinformation, S 1188, by Sen. Harry Blevins , was passed to simplify the residence provision for voters. The law now requires that a voter live in a locality with an intention to remain, and have a physical place where they dwell. The Sec. of State is also tasked with promulgating rules for determining residence to ensure uniform practices throughout the state. However, registrars in college towns who are part of the Sec. of State's taskforce studying the issue are still looking to change law .
CT: H 6439 , a committee bill, implements the recent amendment to the State Constitution that allows seventeen year olds, who will have attained the age of 18 by the time of the next general election, to vote in the primary for that general election.
Bills Still Pending
RI: H 5005 , by Rep. Edwin Pacheco , providing for pre-registration of 16 and 17-year-olds, has passed the House. Companion bill S 85 , by Sen. Rhoda Perry , has passed the Senate.
CA: A 30 , by Asm. Curren Price , provides for pre-registration of 16 and 17-year-olds. The bill is on third reading in the Assembly.
NC: H 1260 , by Rep. Angela Bryant , providing for pre-registration of 16 and 17-year-olds, is on the floor calendar in the House.
TX: H 2209 , by Rep. Aaron Pena , mandates a voter educator program for high school seniors, which includes the opportunity to register to vote. The bill has passed the House.
Notable Legislative Movement in Adjourned Legislatures
NM: H 274 , by Rep. Gail Chasey , would allow 17-year-old citizens to register and vote in primary elections if they would be 18 before the general election. The bill passed two committees in the House, but didn't advance to a floor vote.
Voter Registration Modernization
H1053 /S990 ,
Steve Simon  and Sen.
John Marty , respectively, would
provide for the automatic registration of voters. This would
be the first law of its kind in the nation! So far it has
passed both houses. [Pending]
WA: SB 5270 , by Sen. Joe McDermott , has been signed into law. Under this bill, voter registration applicants who do not provide satisfactory proof of eligibility, or whose information cannot be confirmed in government databases, are registered to vote provisionally. The bill also revises voter registration deadlines so that an applicant can mail in a voter registration application up to 29 days before an election, and register in-person up to eight days before an election. This would ease current voter registration restrictions by two and nine days, respectively. NVRA agencies will now have only three days to transfer voter registration applications to the Sec. of State. [Passed]
Election Day Registration
387 , by Rep.
Dennis Fields , would establish
provisions for challenging voter registrants who attempt to complete
voter registration applications on Election Day. This bill allows any
person to observe Election Day Registration and challenge the
eligibility of a voter applicant after the applicant's name and address
had been publicly announced by the election clerk. The bill passed the
Senate in amended form and was sent back to the House for concurrence.
CT: H 6435 , a committee bill, was reported to the Joint Committee on Appropriations. This bill would allow a qualified citizen to register and vote on Election Day. [Pending]
NM: H 52  by Rep. Jim Trujillo , a full EDR bill, passed the House but failed to advance in the Senate before the end of session. [Adjourned]
Third-Party Voter Registration
S 62, by Sen.
Janet Howell , requires voter
registration forms to have a receipt that is given to the registrant if
the form is collected by a third party for delivery to election
officials. The registrant would then be able to use the
receipt to confirm that they have been registered. [Passed]
NV: A 82 , and omnibus committee bill, authorizes the Secretary of State to charge a fee to political parties or other entities that requests more than 50 applications to register to vote by mail. The bill also (1) requires registration and training for the organizer of a registration drive collecting more than 10 registration applications; (2) requires completed voter registration forms to be mailed to the County Clerk within 10 days, or forms must be mailed the same day during the two weeks prior to registration deadline; and (3) increases the penalties for several election crimes from gross misdemeanors to felonies. [Pending]
Voter List Maintenance and Purging
TX: H 208  provides procedures for the secretary of state to review voter rolls in order to remove the deceased and non-citizens on a quarterly basis. This bill would grant the secretary of state access to local registrars of death as well as the information of potential jurors who were excused or disqualified from duty for non-citizenship. The secretary of state would then provide this information to each registrar in order to cancel the registrations of those who were found on the lists of deceased voters. It would require voters questioned on the basis of citizenship to respond to a notice from the registrar asking for proof of citizenship. If the voter does not provide such information, his or her voter registration would be canceled. The bill has been reported from committee.[Pending]
Felon Voting Restrictions
1517 , by Rep.
Jeannie Darneille , eases the
restoration of voting rights for felons who are no longer in Washington
state custody but owe court-ordered fines and restitution. It takes
effect July 26. "We have come to understand we can't create a debtor's
prison here," said Gov. Gregoire in signing the bill. [Passed]
HI: S 619 , by Sen. Will Espero , would allow incarcerated persons to vote by absentee ballot during the final two years of confinement. Passed the Senate and its first committee in the House. [Pending]
TN: S 440 , by Sen. Doug Overbey , would amend election law to require convicted felons to only regain voting rights after the person has paid all restitutions, fines, and court costs assessed against the person following their conviction. The bill has passed the Senate. [Pending]
NV: S 238 , by Sen. David Parks , would permit the State Board of Pardons to provide an expedited process for restoring the civil rights, in whole or in part, of a person who submits an application to the Board to have his or her civil rights restored. The bill has passed both houses. [Pending]
AL: S 167 , by Sen. Hank Sanders , limiting the requirement that individuals who have lost their right to vote pay all fines and fees before being reenfranchised, was reported favorably out of committee but has been indefinitely postponed. [Defeated]
PA: H 1072 , by Rep. Ronald Waters , would provides inmates with voter registration materials upon release, passed committee of origin. [Pending]
MN: H 545 /S 763 , by Rep. Bobby Champion  and Sen. Mee Moua , respectively, would require the Dept of Corrections or probation officers to give offenders a certificate of rights restoration upon release or completion of sentence. The bill has passed both the House and the Senate. [Adjourned]
GA: S11 , by Sen. Ronald Ramsey , would re-enfranchise felons 30 days after completion of their sentence. Bill passed Senate Ethics committee. [Adjourned]
KY: H 70 , by Rep. Jesse Crenshaw , would allow automatic reenfranchisement of most felons at the completion of their sentence. The bill passed the House but was not taken up by the Senate. [Adjourned]
Mimi Stewart , imposes
contribution limits for state campaigns after the 2010 election.
NM is currently one of only five states that have no limits
at all. [Passed]
AL: H 140  by Rep. Randy Hinshaw , requiring disclosure of funding for electioneering communications, has passed the House and moved through committee in the Senate. [Pending]
FL: S 216  by Sen. Charlie Justice  would prohibit local governments from spending public funds on political advertisements of electioneering communications related to a ballot measure or other issue put to a vote of the people. The bill has passed both houses. [Pending]
MN: S 80 , by Sen. Ann Rest , would, among other things, impose a contribution limit on judicial candidates, which are currently unlimited. The bill has passed the Senate. [Pending]
120 , by Rep.
Rick Glazier , would establish a
pilot program for public financing of municipal elections. The bill has
passed the House. H
586 , also by Rep. Glazier, would
expand the number of statewide races that allow public
financing. That bill has passed out of its committee of
WV: S 311  by Sen. Jeffrey Kessler , would implement a public financing pilot program for the 2010 and 2012 Supreme Court elections. Passed out of its committee of origin. [Pending]
Machines, Ballots and Post-Election Audits
A host of Post-Election Audit bills have moved so far this session:
- MT: S 155 , a weak audit bill. [Passed]
- NM: S 72 , audit bill. [Passed]
- VA: S 292, audit pilot, authorization for study of auditing procedures. [Passed]
- IA: H 682 , audit bill, passed the House. [Pending]
- WV: S 648 , adds recount of one randomly-selected precinct per county to current recount statute. [Pending]
893 , by Del.
Sheila Hixson , requires a
uniform voting system statewide, selected and purchases by the State
Board of Elections. [Passed]
VA: S 52/H 1476, by Sen. Mary Whipple  and Rep. Thomas Rust , respectively, carves out an exemption from the wireless communications prohibition on voting systems. Election officials will now be able to use wireless features of machines when the polls are closed in order to transfer election results. S 536, by Sen. George Barker , expands the grounds for decertifying a voting machine to include problems experienced and not remedied in other states. [Passed]
NJ: A 3648 , by Asm. Joan Quigley , suspends the requirement that voting machines in the state have a voter verified paper record. Economic problems and a lack of appropriate technology were sited as the justification for the suspension. [Passed]
MS: H 1137 , by Rep. Thomas Reynolds , creates an Elections Voting Device Research Panel to "examine the various voting machines and devices used in Mississippi elections, the maintenance of the machines and devices, methods for technology update and financing of such equipment and adequate usage of technological advances to promote accurate voter roll and information." [Passed]
Caging and Voter Challenges
NH: H 276 , challenge reform bill by Rep. David Pierce , has passed the House; this bill would specifically prohibit challenges of EDR voters. H 387  (see EDR section above) has also passed the House and the Senate in amended form. This bill specifically allows for EDR voter challenges and, therefore, the House has passed two conflicting bills. [Pending]
894 , by Sen.
Steve Faris , requires the
secretary of state to establish a system to allow provisional voters to
determine whether their vote was counted, and if not, the reason it was
not counted. The bill also creates a presumption that a provisional
ballot is valid if "it is cast by a registered voter and is the correct
ballot ... for the precinct of the voter's residence." [Passed]
CA: S 740  by Sen. Gilbert Cedillo , would require provisional ballots to be rejected if the ballot envelope is not signed. Also requires that elections officials retain voted provisional ballots and envelopes for a specified period after the election. Passed the Senate. [Pending]
85 , by Rep.
Eddie Jackson Sr. , creates a
commission within the State Board of Elections to study an recommend a
system of voting via the Internet at elections in 2012. The bill passed
the House but has stalled in the Senate. [Defeated]
MT: S 367 , by Sen. Bradley Hamlett , allows electronic registration and voting for overseas and military voters. The bill, which has been signed into law, would allow internet voting for these voters if such a system is approved by the Sec. of State and available to election adminstrators. [Passed]
MD: H 391  by Del. Samuel Rosenberg , would make several changes regarding the training of poll workers and election day procedures. This bill prohibits an poll worker from requesting voter ID beyond that specified under state law; requires poll worker training on voters' legal rights; allows an election judge to give a voter a provisional ballot if he or she determines that there is a problem outside of the voter's control that causes the voter to be unable to vote a regular ballot; requires poll workers to extend polling place hours under certain circumstances; among other provisions. Passed the House. [Adjourned]
RI: H 5094 , by Rep. Christopher Fierro , providing for US Senate vacacies to be filled by special election, has passed the House. [Pending]
ME: H 945 , by Rep. Diane Russell , proposes a ranked choice voting pilot program in up to 10 municipalities. The bill was the subject of a work session on May 13th.
Reports and Research
US Electorate Most Diverse in History: Pew Research Center [report ] and Project Vote [report ] have broken down the new census data on the 2008 election and it shows that there was a huge surge in voting by minority voters, particularly young people, which resulted in the most diverse electorate in American history. There was also a regional component, with southern states with large African-American populations leading turnout gains as well. Black women had the highest turnout, a first, and turnout of African-Americans under thirty increased 9%. Asian-American youth turnout increased 9.6% and for Latino youth it was 5.2%. In total, 4.9 million more young people of color turned out in 2008 then in 2004, which amounts to 91% of the 5.4 million new voters added in total.
Saving Dollars, Saving Democracy - Cost Savings for Local Elections Officials Through Voter Registration Modernization  - U.S. PIRG takes a hard look at the costs of voter registration in 100 counties nationwide and find that errors, extra staff near election time, and provisional ballots drain tens of millions of dollars from local election budgets every year. They recommend modernizing voter registration systems to make it more streamlined and automatic by linking government databases to the voter rolls.
Public Attitudes on State Election Administration, Goals, and Reforms  - The University of Missouri has released a survey of voters opinions of a variety of election reform issues - EDR, Mail-in Voting, Early Voting, and Voter ID. They find majority support for Early Voting and Voter ID and for government action to increase turnout.
The Youth Vote in 2008  - CIRCLE has an analysis of the 2008 election census survey that confirms exit polls showing strong turnout of voters under the age of 30. Young peoples' participation has risen for three election cycles and hit 51% last year, 2 percentage points higher than in 2004 and 11 points higher than 2008. This increase was mainly driven by young women who have an 8 point higher turnout than young men.
Access to Democracy: Identifying Obstacles Hindering the Right to Vote  - Women's Voices Women's Vote has compiled a very comprehensive guide to the disparate laws that control access to voting in the states, with a focus on their disenfranchising effects. The report includes data on the current voting rules for all states, and the appendices are a particularly handy resource.
Ohio Election Summit: Framework for Reform - This Brennan Center writeup outlines a broadly endorsed approach to protecting voting rights, based on Ohio's experiences, by improving early voting procedures, strengthening statewide voter registration databases, improving poll worker recruitment and training, simplify provisional voting processes and expand post-election audits.
The Census CPS Voting and Registration Supplement  - Michael McDonald of the George Mason Univ. US Elections Project has analysis of the Census survey data on who voted and who was registered. Headline findings are that African-American turnout jumped 4.9% while White turnout decreased 1.1%, putting African-American turnout only .9% below that of Whites; and while there were 9.5 million new registrations, the registration rate declined marginally.
The Census CPS - Project Vote Analysis  - Doug Hess at Project Vote analyzes the Census survey and finds that young people of color made the strongest gains in voter participation in 2008, leading to a more representative electorate.
2008 Survey of the Performance of American Elections  - The major academic survey of election conduct and voting experience has been released for the 2008 election. Key findings are that 4 million voters didn't vote because of adminstrative problems beyond their control; while almost 80 million eligible voters did not participate in teh election.
America Goes to the Polls  - The Nonprofit Voter Engagement Network released their analysis of voter turnout in 2008, which offers the best description of the demographic shifts that drove increases in turnout last year. It also highlights election trends such as the continued focus on battleground states, and successful reforms like election day registration and early voting.
Report on Election Auditing  - A comprehensive report on best practices for election audits has been released by the League of Women Voters.
Lessons Learned From the 2008 Elections  - Common Cause presented testimony cataloging the most serious problems encountered in the 2008 elections and how to respond to the challenges that voters and election administrators faced.
Election Protection 2008: Helping Voters Today, Modernizing the System for Tomorrow  - The Election Protection Network has released their post-mortem on the 2008 elections. Presented at the Senate Rules Committee hearing on voter registration , the report finds that the largest problem in the 2008 election was voter registration problems, which effected over a third of the voters seeking assistance through the election protection hotline.
The Millennial Pendulum  and Yes We Can  - Two new reports from the New America Foundation outline the overwhelmingly progressive political views of young voters ("millennials") as well as their emergence as a coherent political generation.