Hey New Hampshire! Ready to vote in Tuesday’s primary?

Hey New Hampshire! Ready to vote in Tuesday’s primary?

by Brittnie Baker With the Iowa caucuses under our belt, the 2016 presidential campaigns’ next stop is New Hampshire on Tuesday, February 9th. As the “first in the nation” primary state, New Hampshire has a long, rich tradition of high voter turnout on Election Day. This is especially true of young voters in the state who consistently show up to the polls in higher than average rates. Young New Hampshire voters have made up between 11-16% of presidential primary voters since 1996. Despite this record, election rules and voting requirements are always changing, as is the case for the upcoming primary. We want to make sure all qualified residents are equipped with everything they need to know about registering to vote and casting a ballot on Election Day. If you are already registered to vote – congratulations! Be sure to look up your polling place in case it moved. Also, bring photo identification in order to vote. Accepted forms of identification include a driver’s license, US passport, armed forces ID card, and certain student IDs, among others (check the NH Secretary of State’s website for more information). If you don’t have ID you can still vote by filling out an affidavit and having your picture taken at your polling location on Election Day. If you vote using the affidavit, in the weeks following the election you will receive a mailer from the Secretary of State asking you to confirm that you voted in the primary election. Don’t forget to mail it back within 30 days. If you have not yet registered to vote, you may have thought that you...
We Stand with President Obama in the Call to Modernize Elections

We Stand with President Obama in the Call to Modernize Elections

by Brittnie Baker, Staff Counsel In President Obama’s final State of the Union address last night, he made a clear and striking statement to the America people with his call to modernize elections.  The President summarized what we at FELN have been pushing for saying, “We’ve got to make it easier to vote, not harder. We need to modernize it for the way we live now.”  His remarks called on Americans to not be quiet, thinking their voices and actions don’t matter, but to speak out, so things like equal rights and voting rights are rolled back by those who have money and power. He insisted that frustration and cynicism can’t get in the way of being active citizens and voting. Modernizing elections can be achieved with some common sense reforms that many states have adopted in recent years. Reforms such as automatic voter registration ensure every eligible American is registered to vote, dramatically increasing the number of registered voters and hopefully, in turn, voter turnout on Election Day.  Automatic voter registration is gaining momentum – 18 states and the District of Columbia have introduced some form of automatic voter registration legislation. Online voter registration, another common sense reform gaining momentum, would allow individuals to submit voter registration applications online.  We already conduct much of our daily lives online – from email to banking and everything in between – so why not allow voters to register quickly, conveniently, and securely from their computer, phone, or tablet.  Online voter registration is clearly a no-brainer, yet many states still refuse to bring voter registration into the 21st century. At the same...

Hamilton Co. Ohio’s Technology Issues Highlight Need for Poll Worker Training

by Kristen Muthig, Communications and Policy Manager Yesterday, about 10 precincts in Hamilton County, Ohio, which includes Cincinnati, ran into issues with their new electronic poll books (or e-poll books). The problems included long lines because of difficulties using the poll books, polling places not having or not using the backup paper poll books, and a lack of provisional ballots or failure to provide provisional ballots for qualified voters. The PAC supporting Issue 3 (the statewide issue for the legalization of marijuana) filed an injunction to keep the polls open later to accommodate voters who experienced difficulties. The extension was granted, causing all 364 locations to stay open until 9 p.m. instead of 7:30 p.m. like the rest of the state. In addition to headaches for some Hamilton County voters, poll workers, and those working on local campaigns, all election results across the state were embargoed until Hamilton County’s polls closed at 9 p.m. Electronic poll books are used in other states and are not entirely new in Ohio. Some smaller counties already use tablets or laptops at polling locations, but the use of the electronic poll books is likely expanding to all 88 counties for the 2016 elections. Hamilton County is the first large county to fully introduce the system. Franklin County (Columbus) has been using tablets in some form since 2011 and expanded their use during early voting in 2015. Electronic poll books are used to sign in voters, allowing the voter to scan their driver’s license or state ID, or for the poll worker to enter their ID number or name manually. The technology helps shorten...

Fair Districts Will Ensure Every Ohioan’s Vote Matters

by Archita Taylor, Counsel Fair Districts = Fair Elections. The equation is simple, yet some legislators are struggling with it. This November, Ohio voters have the power to undo a nasty tradition of gerrymandered districts and ensure the goal of fair elections can become a reality in the Buckeye State. For too many years, Ohioans have been voting under an unfair system which all but ensures that outcomes for state legislature races are guaranteed. The reason? Packed legislative districts that are drawn to produce predictive results. Ohioans have the opportunity to put an end to this once and for all by voting to pass Issue 1 this November. This measure would do a number of things to ensure that no political party is disproportionately favored by the drawing of state legislative districts. Among other things, it would establish a bipartisan commission tasked with creating state legislative district lines, protect against gerrymandering by keeping local communities intact within district lines, and require proposed maps to be presented to the public for review and input. Ohio has become notorious over the years for the manipulation of voting districts as a result of rampant gerrymandering. In 2014, the party charged with drawing the maps received 57% of the votes in the state, but won 75% of the congressional seats. This demonstrates a vast difference between voter preference and election results. Though Issue 1 does not address how congressional district lines are drawn, it resolves the problem of gerrymandered state legislative districts and allows Ohioans to pick candidates of their choice at least in the state legislature. Passing this important measure, which has...

Celebrate NVRD Today with FELN and CVP!

by Kristen Muthig, Communications and Policy Manager Today thousands of organizations, volunteers, and voters across the nation are celebrating National Voter Registration Day. Fair Elections Legal Network and our Campus Vote Project are excited to once again be involved in this important effort to raise awareness for the importance of voter registration so all eligible Americans can take part in our democracy and vote. In 2008 nearly 6 million Americans didn’t register because they didn’t know how or where to register, or they missed a deadline. Registering or updating a registration today, in advance of any state’s registration deadline, is the first step toward casting a ballot on Election Day. Voter registration deadlines in some states are as early as 30 days before Election Day. This year, many states don’t have major offices or issues on the ballot so the push from political campaigns to register voters isn’t as prominent. However, many local municipalities and counties have important local offices and issues on the ballot that directly impact voters’ daily lives. The responsibility to inform Americans that the time to register now rests on organizations and people like the 2,077 partners and thousands of other volunteers involved in NVRD today. All Americans should to be reminded to register or check their registration status and update it if needed. Every vote is important, no matter if it is for a local school board member this November or for president in 2016. So today FELN and CVP are asking you to take a few minutes and participate in NVRD. Find an event in your community and register to vote. If you...

STATEMENT: Journey for Justice concludes in DC but the message and work carries on

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 15, 2015 Contact: Kristen Muthig (o) 202-331-0114 (c) 419-706-3431 kmuthig@fairelectionsnetwork.com STATEMENT: Journey for Justice concludes in DC but the message and work carries on Washington, DC – America’s Journey for Justice arrived in Washington, D.C. after a 1,000-mile march, starting in Selma, Alabama in early August. The march, organized by the NAACP and supported by other advocacy organizations, sought to bring attention to issues that impact Americans, including voting rights, education reform, economic inequality, and criminal justice reform. On Wednesday, September 16, advocates, organizers, civil rights organizations, and concerned citizens will gather in a rally at the Upper Senate Park on Capitol Hill in support of the march and to kick off the legislative advocacy day with members of Congress. The Fair Elections Legal Network is joining other voting rights and civil rights groups tomorrow, Wednesday, September 16 at 9 a.m. in Upper Senate Park, to show our support for restoring and strengthening the voting rights of all Americans. The following quote can be attributed to Robert Brandon, President of the Fair Elections Legal Network: The Journey for Justice illustrates the long way our nation has come in terms of voting rights and other social issues that impact all Americans. This day of advocacy highlights that there is still work to be done and a long way to go on this path to make sure every citizen has access to basic rights like voting, education and a living wage. We applaud the NAACP and the many supporters who have traveled far and wide and raised a great deal of awareness throughout their journey. The Fair...