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Election Reform

Texas may face polling place mishaps

Texans could face major disruptions at polling places on Election Day because of voting machine breakdowns or massive turnouts that overwhelm local authorities.

So says a report by three nonpartisan voter advocacy groups that cited Texas and nine other states as having inadequate contingency plans for using emergency paper ballots.

Virgina, Pennsylvania, Ohio Not Prepared for Record Voter Turnout

Several battleground states are not prepared to meet the challenge of administering the general election on November 4th, where turnout will be unprecedented, According to a report conducted by Advancement Project, a national leading voter protection organization.

To assess, and help ensure, the nation’s readiness for the November general election, Advancement Project obtained public records and other public information on the allocation, at the precinct level, of voting machines (or, in the case of jurisdictions that use optical scan machines, voting privacy booths) and poll workers in the following states: Florida, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

Voter Registration Databases and Purges -- Part I

Last month I published a story about new statewide voter registration databases and how federal rules governing how states must use the databases could disenfranchise thousands of new voters who have registered to vote for the first time since the law went into effect in 2004.

The story got a bit lost in all of the hoopla over the Sarah Palin e-mail hacker so I wanted to draw your attention to the piece again and add information about how the new federal rules are making it easy for political parties in some states to challenge the eligibility of voters to cast a ballot, seemingly in an effort to suppress their votes.

I also wanted to discuss a separate issue involving purges of existing voters from registration lists, which is affecting thousands of long-time voters in states across the country who may be surprised when they arrive at polls in November to find that their name has been inexplicably stricken from their state's voter roll. I'll discuss the issue of challenging eligibility in a post labeled Part II and will address the purges in Part III.

States move to erect dubious barriers to voting

America can rest easy. Despite widely reported registrations in his name, Mr. Mickey Mouse isn't likely to cast a ballot on Nov. 4.

Conference weighs Electoral College pros and cons

In a lively, sometimes contentious, conference at MIT on the problems and merits of the Electoral College, a group of scholars looked into what one called the "fun house mirror of electoral politics" and debated its reflections of federalism, states' rights and equality.

IA: Yes, National Popular Vote

We urge Iowa and other states to sign onto the plan so that by the next presidential election, every vote will be counted, and every state will matter in what we hope will be a truly nationwide campaign.

Reforming the Ballot Initiative Process: Making Direct Democracy Work

Direct democracy through popular intiatives and referenda began a century ago as a grassroots, progressive reform aimed at circumventing corrupt legislatures and increasing civic involvement.  The long history of this reform indicates that in the whole this experiment in direct popular participation in the legislative process has been successful as an avenue for passing populist policies that maintains the favor of the public over time.  However, throughout this history there have also been attempts, sometimes successful, to manipulate the process and the electorate into passing legislation that would not garner majority support had voters possessed an accurate conception of its content and effect.