The Research Design Associates Blog

(voter ID)

Battles Over Ballot Access

For the first time in many years, voters across the country are going to find it more difficult to vote in the November midterm elections. According to the Brennan Center for Justice at the NYU School of Law, voters in 22 states will face tougher rules than they did in the 2010 midterm elections. In 15 of those states, the upcoming midterm elections will be the first major election in which voter restrictions are in place.The relationship between tougher restrictions and political party is startling.

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Battles Over Voting Laws Escalate

While the Presidential Commission on Election Administration has made recommendations to improve all voters’ experience in casting their ballots, and Republicans and Democrats in Congress recently introduced a bill to strengthen the Voting Rights Act, legislators in pivotal swing states have put in place rules and laws that restrict registration and voting. In a striking new tact, though, a federal judge this past week struck down Wisconsin’s law requiring voters to produce state-approved identification cards at polling places invoking a new legal basis: the Voting Rights Act.

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Voting in 2014

In his January 2014 State of the Union address, President Obama announced two bipartisan efforts to modernize elections. The Presidential Commission on Election Administration presented Obama with recommendations designed to improve all voters’ experience in casting their ballots, and Republicans and Democrats in Congress introduced a bill to strengthen the Voting Rights Act. In contrast to these efforts to expand voting access, laws and rules in pivotal swing states have been put in place that restrict registration and voting that go beyond the voter identification requirements that have caused intense partisan battles.

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Let's Fix Our Election System

In my last blog I wrote about Florida voters who were still standing on line to vote as President Obama began his early morning acceptance speech and about Ohio ballots that were still being counted after Thanksgiving. With the President’s margin of victory sufficiently large in enough states, these issues did not require the attention of the Supreme Court. But prior to Election Day, state and federal courts were ruling on cases involving state laws that contributed directly to the voting hardships and delays in vote outcomes.

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Voter Suppression v. Voter Fraud

Last minute partisan legal battles are raging about when and how ballots should be cast and counted. One battle-ground state’s case is headed for a request for emergency review by the U.S. Supreme Court. Sound familiar? These cases are being fought in 2012, not 2000. In the last few weeks there have been over a dozen state and federal cases decided concerning voter identification requirements, early voting, and provisional ballots. Many of the cases have been appealed.It is unlikely that all of the cases will be settled before November 6 and there is a real possibility that tight races maynot be decided until after election day.

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