“L.A. voters won’t be offered cash prizes in March city election”

A controversial proposal to offer cash prizes to Los Angeles voters is dead — at least for next year’s city elections.  Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson said this week that he wanted more time to consider the idea of using money or other gifts to lure voters to the polls. For now, he is looking to persuade voters on March 3 to move city elections from odd- to even-numbered years — when state and federal contests are held — beginning in 2020.  Link.

Despite controversial fight over voter ID, NC Republicans increase legislative supermajorities

In North Carolina, the Senate will once again be controlled by a 36-16 Republican supermajority when the North Carolina General Assembly reconvenes on January 14, 2015. Republicans added one seat in Senate District 25, despite some projections in favor of the Democrats. In the House, Republicans maintained their supermajority of 74-46.  Link to story

Voting machines problems did not change results in North Carolina

Supreme Court Associate Justice Cheri Beasley won her re-election campaign against Forsyth County lawyer Mike Robinson despite vote tabulation errors discovered in several counties throughout the state.  Beasley won by more than 5,000 votes in a race where more than 2.4 million votes were cast. Recount results, which the State Board of Elections certified during a teleconference Link to story.

“New Mexico city enters national voter ID law fight”

LinkVoters in a booming oil New Mexico city are set to decide on an ordinance that would require a photo ID in local elections in what is the latest battleground over requiring strict identification to cast ballots.  A special election has been scheduled in Hobbs for Dec. 9 on a proposed voter ID law.  The election comes after a number of cities and states across the country have enacted similar measures

“Alabama’s photo voter ID law declared a success; not everyone agrees”

Secretary of State Jim Bennett said today that Alabama’s new photo voter ID law caused only a few inquiries to his office during the Nov. 4 election.  The general election was the biggest test yet of the law, with 1.2 million people voting. It was in effect for the first time during the primaries in June. “We feel very good about the results of the implementation of that program,” Bennett said.  Ala.com

New York Times Election Statistician points out faulty Brennan Center statistics on Voter ID laws

 

With an important article entitled “Why Voter ID Laws Don’t Swing Many Elections,” superstar statistician Nate Cohn writes that the Brennan Center and their cadre of experts are offering faulty statistics and misleading conclusions on the impact of voter ID laws.  The article asserts this is due to inaccurate matching processes and not accounting for other forms of ID.  Must read:

 

But the so-called margin of disenfranchisement — the number of registered voters who do not appear to have photo identification — grossly overstates the potential electoral consequences of these laws.  These figures overstate the number of voters who truly lack identification. Those without ID are particularly unlikely to vote. And many who do vote will vote Republican. In the end, the seemingly vast registration gaps dwindle, leaving enough voters to decide only elections determined by fractions of a point.

To begin with, the true number of registered voters without photo identification is usually much lower than the statistics on registered voters without identification suggest. The number of voters without photo identification is calculated by matching voter registration files with state ID databases. But perfect matching is impossible, and the effect is to overestimate the number of voters without identification. 

Take Texas, a state with a particularly onerous voter ID law. If I register to vote as “Nate” but my ID says “Nathan,” I might be counted among the hundreds of thousands of registered voters without a photo ID. But I’ll be fine at the polling station on Election Day with a name that’s “substantially similar” to the one on file.  The matching issues run well beyond substantive ones like nicknames. If you’ve ever worked with voter files, you know that they’re rife with minor errors — like a first name in the middle name column — that prevent exact matching. The scale of the matching problem was highlighted in a North Carolina Board of Elections study last year. The state used a long list of matching criteria, ranging from names and Social Security numbers and date of birth to a “soundex” comparison to test for names that were entered slightly off but sound the same. After additional matching criteria, the number of unmatched registered voters plummeted from 1.24 million to 318,643.

Even that figure likely overstates the number of registered voters without a valid identification, since many voters have valid identifications that aren’t issued by the states. Passports, student IDs and military IDs are often allowed.

Poll workers failed to ask voters for ID in Jefferson Co, Texas

A reminder that election integrity laws and procedures are only as effective as the people implementing them, and why observers are a key part of the election process:

 

Poll workers at two Jefferson County locations on election day did not require voters to provide acceptable forms of photo identification, one of many documented mishaps identified in a state report.