Colorado has taken major step to improve voters’ rights while simplifying, modernizing and making the state’s election system more fiscally responsible. With Governor Hickenlooper’s signing of the Voter Access and Elections Modernization Act, HB1303, Colorado has become the most recent example for what states should be doing to improve elections.
To the dismay of voting rights proponents, Governor Chris Christie vetoed a bill that would allow voters to vote early at select polling locations. The bill passed the General Assembly mostly along party lines which reduced the likelihood for the Governor’s signature.
The first day of the Florida legislative session in early March, saw the passage of a major election reform bill in the Florida House of Representatives. Despite the early promise of prompt reform, it took until the last day of session, this past Friday, for both chambers of the legislature agree on one comprehensive reform bill. The final product, HB 7013, offers some reforms to undo damage caused by 2011’s HB 1355. Unfortunately, the solutions are far from perfect and more work needs to be done.
By now you may have noticed that the US Census Bureau released the results of its polling around the 2012 elections. While the numbers do not indicate partisanship of voters or the candidates whom they supported, they provide a wealth of information on demographics such as age, gender, education level, and race of voters as well as the methods they used to vote and register, or, in other cases, why they skipped going the polls all together last year.
At a recent concert at DC’s 930 Club, fans threw their hands up in the air displaying wrists alight with glow bracelets scattered throughout the crowd. While you may not believe it, those bracelets had as much to do with music as they did with voting.
Following partisan fights surrounding election reforms, one election reform is giving hope for bi-partisan compromise nationally. Online voter registration is gaining recognition for its benefits to voters and elections administrators as more states are considering implementing an online system. Currently, 12 states have online voter registration measures in place, and five are working on implementation or final approval of similar measures.
On April 17, the Connecticut House of Representatives voted in favor of placing on the 2014 ballot a proposed constitutional amendment allowing early and no-excuse absentee voting. Currently, the state does not allow any voting before Election Day unless a person has an acceptable excuse and has applied for and submitted an absentee ballot. Acceptable excuses include illness, travel, disabilities, and religious beliefs that would prevent a voter from going to the polls.