One reform that some states have used to give voters
greater access to the polls is expanding the option to vote by mail. All
states allow for some voters, typically the disabled and infirmed, to vote with
an absentee ballot. 28
states currently allow any voter to choose a mail-in absentee ballot.
States can go even further by maintaining a list of voters who choose to
always vote by mail and then automatically sending them a mail-in ballot every
election. Florida's statuteprovides an excellent example of a
simple absentee voting law that allows access for all voters.
Two states, Oregon
and Washington, have gone to virtually universal vote-by-mail elections and
only make limited use of traditional polling places. Advocates for voting by mail emphasize the
replacement of faulty voting machines, the time voters get to reflect on their
choices, and the successes of states like Oregon, which has had vote-by-mail
for the longest time.
Fallout from Montana Voter Challenge Plan Continues: Last week we highlighted the tremendous job that Forward Montana
and other local advocates did in bringing a massive attempt to
challenge voters in Montana to a stop. In just a few days the plan was
abandoned amid serious public backlash. This week there has been
additional fallout as the executive director of the state GOP has stepped down. Clearly trying to keep people like deployed soldiers from voting wasn't a popular activity in the big sky state.
Interest in the presidential election has been extremely strong
throughout the primary season. As a result many states have experienced
voter turnout that is significantly higher than past elections. This
trend has been especially striking among young voters who have doubled and tripled their rates of participation in many states. Enabling this
turnout have been a number of reforms, from early voting to election
day registration to mail-in voting procedures that have encouraged
After a court-mandated retesting of electronic voting equipment,
Colorado's Republican Secretary of State Mike Coffman decided to decertify
electronic voting machines in the state due to security and accuracy
problems. The testing found that the system had a one percent error rate when counting ballots, i.e. for every 100 ballots tested, there was an error with one of the ballots. In the 2006 election, 2,533,919 votes were cast and, according to the testing, 25,339 ballots would have had an error.