Breaking the siege in Kansas

What do you do when anti-election integrity activists focus fire on a state that has drawn the blueprint for common-sense reforms? Send in the cavalry, of course. This week, True the Vote Founder Catherine Engelbrecht testified before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights’ Kansas Advisory Committee to address concerns surrounding the state’s Secure and Fair Elections (SAFE) Act. Any time we talk to legislators or grassroots lobbyists about what to look for in election reforms, the SAFE Act is the go-to guide. Free voter ID, citizenship verification and identification requirements built into the mail balloting process are all must-haves for every state. Separately, Kansas election officials also have the power to prosecute fraud where necessary. What’s not to like?

True the Vote goes wherever it is called to communicate the values of common-sense election integrity policies – whether it’s a friendly neighborhood luncheon or a biased government hearing. The greater lesson here, however, is that we must find strength in numbers. One person on a panel fighting for the cause is good. But hundreds of small, organized citizen groups offering their voices in forums around the country would be truly powerful. You don’t need a tax exemption to form a functional group. Election integrity is achieved when a critical mass of voters understand and act upon their rights for the benefit of their communities. Remember, YOU are True the Vote. What is True the Vote going to achieve in your neighborhood in 2016?

To read Catherine’s testimony as prepared for the Committee, click here.

 

Did you know? PEW Research highlighted a study that detailed the total amount it would cost to collect ALL voter files in the country. True the Vote’s national voter roll research databank costs $126,482 -- just for the raw data! If you haven’t yet, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to help underwrite our research efforts.

 

North Carolina throws out five elections due to ‘irregularities’

Never say never when it comes to election fraud and irregularity compromising elections because North Carolina recently offered fresh reminders. Vote tabulations in five municipalities were thrown out by order of the State Board of Elections thanks to “evidence of irregularities sufficient to cast doubt on the outcome.” A TTV blog post notes, “Among the ‘irregularities’ and violations found by the Board were votes cast by ineligible voters who ‘did not live at the addresses they gave when they cast their ballots,’ as well as allegations of vote-buying.” To read more, click here.

 

Need a hand in navigating the TTV Knowledge Network?

New tech rollouts always bring headaches when trying to scale up. If you’re new to online learning environments, TTV has produced a video guide to get you started with the course that interests you. Want to learn how to best communicate within the network? Look no further.

 

Legislation on the Move

Florida

Voter Registration bill HB 541 was added to Special Order Calendar. This bill would require voter registration applicants to provide distinguishing information about their address, like an apartment, suite, or dormitory room number. It also changes the required phrasing on the form from "legal residence address" to "address of legal residence."

Voter ID bill SB 666 was placed on Special Order Calendar this week. This bill would expand the list of acceptable forms of identification for certain voter registration applicants to include veteran health identification cards and licenses to carry a concealed weapon or firearm.

Voter Registration bill SB 702 is scheduled for a hearing this week. This bill would exempt from public disclosure the address, birthdate, phone number, and email address collected for voter registration purposes. It also exempts all information related to preregistered 16- and 17-year-olds. Candidates, canvassing boards, elections officials and political parties would still be provided access to this information.

Election Challengers bill SB 744 is now in Community Affairs. This bill would require voter registration applicants to provide distinguishing information about their address, like an apartment, suite, or dormitory room number. It also changes the required phrasing on the form from "legal residence address" to "address of legal residence." This version of the bill provides that failure to include the distinguishing information does not impact a voter's eligibility to register or cast a ballot, and cannot be the basis for a challenge to eligibility or reason not to count a ballot.

Conduct of Elections bill HB 1684 was introduced. This bill would establish an alert system for election officials to inform voters by text or email that voting has begun, and would require that absentee ballots come with prepaid return postage paid for by the state.

AGREE or DISAGREE with these bills? Contact your state legislators here!

Indiana

Same Day Registration bill HB 1097 was first read and referred to Committee on Elections and Apportionment. This bill would allow voters to register on Election Day at the polls, and would provide that the polls close at 8pm. The polls currently close at 6pm.

AGREE or DISAGREE with this bill? Contact your state legislators here!

Maryland

Voter ID bill SB 268 was first read in Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs. This bill would require voters to show current, government-issued photo ID to vote.

AGREE or DISAGREE with this bill? Contact your state legislators here!

Missouri

Voter ID bill HB 1631 was read a third time and passed (H). This bill specifies that only the listed documents and document specifications may satisfy the voter photo identification requirement, which would only be effective if approved as a constitutional amendment by the legislature. This bill adds "inability to pay for a birth certificate or other supporting documentation necessary to obtain identification" to the exceptions under which a voter may sign an affidavit and cast a provisional ballot to be counted upon signature verification. It extends the period in which a voter may show identification in order to cast a provisional ballot to three days after the election. It requires that the state provide free photo identification and pay the cost of supporting documentation from another state. If funds are not appropriated for free photo identification, then the photo identification provisions will not be enforced.

AGREE or DISAGREE with this bill? Contact your state legislators here!

New Hampshire

Voter Registration bill SB 4 was amended. This bill expands the definition of domicile for voting purposes and requires that a voter be a resident of the state for at least 30 days; modifies the voter registration form; and allows otherwise confidential voter information to be made available to the legislature in an aggregated or statistical data format.

AGREE or DISAGREE with this bill? Contact your state legislators here!

New York

Voting Protections bill AB 6030 went to the attorney general for opinion. This bill would amend the state constitution to add protections against discrimination in voting rights.

Early Voting bill AB 8582 was amended and recommitted to Election Law. This bill would provide early voting 14 days through two days prior to the day of an election.

Preregistration bill SB 1569 was amended and recommitted to Elections. This bill authorizes citizens 16 years of age or older to register to vote.

AGREE or DISAGREE with these bills? Contact your state legislators here!

Oklahoma

Voting Rights Restoration bill HB 2277 was filed. This bill would clarify that voting rights are restored to those with a felony conviction upon completion of the sentence, including any parole or probation. Under current law, felons may not register to vote "for a period of time equal to the time prescribed in the judgment and sentence," which some have interpreted to mean the sentence, plus a subsequent period the length of a sentence.

Voter Registration bill HB 2592 was filed. This bill would require the development of a fingerprinting system to be used in conjunction with voter registration and accepted for the purposes of identification prior to voting.

Preregistration bill SB 999 was filed. This bill would allow 16- and 17- year olds to preregister to vote.

Online Voter Registration bill SB 1016 was filed. This bill would amend Oklahoma’s online voter registration law. Specifically, the bill would allow the secretary of state to utilize an alternative method of obtaining the signature of the applicant, if necessary.

Voting Rights Restoration bill SB 1042 was filed. This bill would clarify that voting rights are restored to those with a felony conviction upon completion of the sentence, including any parole or probation. Under current law, felons may not register to vote "for a period of time equal to the time prescribed in the judgment and sentence," which some have interpreted to mean the sentence, plus a subsequent period the length of a sentence.

AGREE or DISAGREE with these bills? Contact your state legislators here!

Rhode Island

List Maintenance/Voter Registration bill H 7315 was introduced and referred to House Judiciary. This bill allows mail ballot applications and emergency mail ballot applications to also serve as an affirmation form for inactive voters, as long as the voter's application address is where the voter is currently registered.

AGREE or DISAGREE with this bill? Contact your state legislators here!

Tennessee

Voter ID Expansion bills HB 2326 and SB 2448 were filed. These bills would remove the photo identification requirement for voting in-person on Election Day by restoring the former requirement that allows a voter to present a broader list of identification for purpose of comparing the signature on the application for ballot. Photo identification would continue to be required for early voting.

AGREE or DISAGREE with this bill? Contact your state legislators here!

Virginia

Voter ID Expansion bill HB 32 was assigned to Subcommittee Elections. This bill would add student identification bearing a photograph issued by any institute of higher education in the United States to the list of identification required to cast a ballot.

Automatic Voter Registration bill HB 67: Subcommittee recommends striking from docket by voice vote. This bill would provide automated, electronic transfer of relevant information collected by the DMV during covered transactions for the purpose of voter registration so long as the individual attests to eligibility and does not decline.

Omnibus bill HB 107 was assigned to Subcommittee Elections. This bill provides for the automatic restoration of voting rights for those convicted of nonviolent felonies (excluding felony drug and election fraud crimes) upon completion of sentence, including any term of probation or parole, and the payment of all restitution, fines, costs, and fees assessed as a result of the felony conviction.

Preregistration bill HB 292: Subcommittee recommends passing indefinitely by voice vote. The bill would establish pre-registration for persons age 16 and older who will not be 18 by the next general election. Pre-registered voters would be automatically registered on reaching 18 years of age.

Automatic Voter Registration bill HB 416: Subcommittee recommends striking from docket by voice vote. The bill would provide for automatic electronic transmission by the Department of Motor Vehicles to the Department of Elections of voter registration by eligible persons who do not decline to register to vote when given the opportunity during a transaction with the Department of Motor Vehicles. If the person is registered, their registration must be updated; and if the person is not registered, the department of elections must verify eligibility and transmit the information to local registrars.

Early Voting bill HB 418: Subcommittee recommends striking from docket by voice vote. This bill would establish no-excuse absentee, in-person voting (early voting) for all registered voters. An excuse would still be required to vote absentee by mail.

Early Voting bill HB 430: Subcommittee recommends laying on the table by voice vote. This bill would establish no-excuse absentee, in-person voting (early voting) for all registered voters. An excuse would still be required to vote absentee by mail.

Preregistration bill HB 993 was assigned to sub. Elections. This bill would establish preregistration for applicants aged 16 or older who will not be 18 by the next general election. Preregistrants would be automatically registered on reaching 18 years of age.

Voter ID Expansion bill HB 1004 was assigned to sub. Elections. This bill would allow persons without a type of photo ID required to vote to have their picture taken at the polls to satisfy the identification requirement. The voter would vote provisionally, and the provisional ballot would count if the voter was qualified in the precinct.

Poll Workers bill HB 1030 was signed to Subcommittee Campaign Finance. This bill would require poll workers (officers of election) to receive training every two years and whenever a change is made to the election laws or regulations that alter their duties and conduct. It requires the state to develop standardized training programs and provide standardized training materials for use by the electoral boards and general registrars in conducting the training.

Data Matching bill HB 1379 is pending referral. The bill provides for the cancellation of the registration of a voter who is identified through list comparisons and data matching exchanges with other states as being registered in another state. The Department of Elections would be required to send a notice to the voter of the out-of-state registration record and to provide a postage prepaid, pre-addressed return card by which the voter may verify or dispute the out-of-state registration record. If the card is not returned within 30 days, the bill would require the Department to notify the registrar to cancel the registration within 15 days.

AGREE or DISAGREE with these bills? Contact your state legislators here!

Washington

Vote by Mail bill HB 2436 passed out of committee. This bill would expand access to permanent ballot drop boxes based on a population formula and general accessibility considerations.

AGREE or DISAGREE with this bill? Contact your state legislators here!

West Virginia

Campus Registration bill HB 2788 was referred to House Education. This bill would require each county board of elections to schedule a school for eligible students to register to vote, and also to vote early. Voter registration on campus must occur at least 30 days before early voting begins. The board would also be required to provide transportation to an appropriate early voting place for students who are eligible and registered to vote.

Preregistration bill HB 4233 was referred to House Judiciary. This bill would reduce the age of citizens permitted to register to vote from eighteen years to sixteen years.

AGREE or DISAGREE with these bills? Contact your state legislators here!

Wisconsin

Poll Workers bill SB 391 was received from Senate. This bill requires elections officials to attend at least one training session every two years during the period beginning on January 1 of each even-numbered year and ending on December 31 of the following year.

Online Voter Registration bill SB 620 was first read and referred to the Committee on Elections and Local Government. This bill permits a qualified elector who has a current and valid driver's license or identification card issued by the Department of Transportation (DOT) to register to vote electronically on a secure Internet site maintained by the Government Accountability Board (GAB). The bill requires an electronic registration to be completed no later than the 20th day before an election in order to be valid for that election.

Early Voting bill SB 625 was first read and referred to the Committee on Elections and Local Government. This bill permits the governing body of a municipality to designate more than one alternate site for absentee voting in person by electors of the municipality. Currently, the governing body of a municipality may designate only a single alternate site for absentee voting in person by electors of the municipality.

AGREE or DISAGREE with these bills? Contact your state legislators here!

More voter fraud in North Carolina that changed the outcome of elections:  The State Board of Elections has ordered five do-overs of 2015 municipal elections in which it found “evidence of irregularities sufficient to cast doubt on the outcome.

The State Board of Elections ruled this week in favor of municipal election challenges in Benson, Trinity, Lumberton, Pembroke and Ahoskie. In each of those towns, a second-place town council candidate complained of possible election law violations that could have cost them the election. The board’s general counsel, Josh Lawson, said board members found “evidence of irregularities sufficient to cast doubt on the outcome.” … State law calls for a new election if officials find an election law violation that could swing the outcome.

Among the “irregularities” and violations found by the board were votes cast by ineligible voters who “did not live at the addresses they gave when they cast their ballots,” as well as allegations of vote-buying. State board member Joshua Malcolm said, “Unless people come forward with evidence they have about instances of vote-buying, ineligible voters, and fraud things are never going to change.”

Meanwhile, North Carolina’s voter ID law is back in federal court this week. The judge in the case has said that the law’s challengers “have not demonstrated that they are likely to succeed on the merits.”

We need your help to bring an important research effort across the finish line.

In the past months, TTV has been working in multiple swing states’ largest counties to identify dead, duplicate and potentially double-voting registrations. Depending on the jurisdiction and local quality controls, we’ve found dozens…hundreds…and even tens of thousands of registrations deserving removal – and that’s exactly what has happened. But let’s be clear; we’re not playing a short-term numbers game. Sustained success comes, after our work has been officially verified, in the form of procedural reforms, staffing changes and unqualified admissions that standards were not followed in the local voter registrar’s office. Folks, we’ll soon be reporting all of that – and then some. Remember when MSNBC had a half flip-out, half reluctant understanding that our work was necessary in one county in North Carolina? Imagine the same thing happening across nearly a dozen states.

Here’s the deal. This type of work requires sheer computing power like you wouldn’t believe. It’s one thing to have enough cash to afford the voter data sold by the various states. But, commanding the level of technology and pure data science necessary to process statewide voter files from top to bottom is a different thing entirely. There are only three entities in the country doing comparable levels of research: the State of Kansas, PEW Research, and little ol’ True the Vote. Any financial support you can offer to get this work finished would be greatly appreciated. Keep an eye on your inbox for big announcements of findings – this is going to be fun.

 

Did you know? PEW Research highlighted a study that detailed the total amount it would cost to collect ALL voter files in the country. True the Vote’s national voter roll research databank costs $126,482 -- just for the raw data! If you haven’t yet, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to help underwrite our research efforts.

 

Voter ID is #Winning

TTV has been convinced since 2013 that the national debate over voter ID was effectively settled in favor. Now, if you look across multiple state legislatures and some corners of the original anti-ID crowd, you will find even more evidence of the same. This week in states like Florida, Virginia and West Virginia, new bills and enhancements to existing laws are being introduced. If local media reports in Missouri are to be trusted, the Show Me State’s bills and constitutional amendment are essentially fait accompli. Finally, this week even the left-leaning Brennan Center for Justice came out in support of “common-sense voter identification proposals.” Keep in mind, though, not enough states have adopted voter ID laws. So, where does your state stand? If you’re not sure, check out and share the TTV National Helpdesk for local rules and procedures, here.

 

It’s not too late to sign up for the 2016 TTV Kickoff Call

Is it your New Year’s resolution to volunteer some of your time toward improving local election integrity? Get the full briefing on all of your options and the tools that are available during the 2016 National Kickoff Call featuring TTV Founder Catherine Engelbrecht this Tuesday, January 26 @ 6pm Central. Register now; don’t delay!

 

Legislation on the Move

Arizona

List Maintenance bill HB 2084 was read a second time. This bill requires the Department of Health Services to annually provide the secretary of state with access to the statewide system of all records of all deaths, and the secretary may compare the records of deaths with the statewide voter registration database.

AGREE or DISAGREE with this bill? Contact your state legislators here!

California

Voting Rights bill AB 1301: consideration of Governor’s veto stricken from file. This bill would establish a state preclearance system. Under this system, if a political subdivision enacts or seeks to administer a voting-related law, regulation, or policy, as specified, that is different from that in force or effect on the date this act is enacted, the governing body of the political subdivision would be required to submit the law, regulation, or policy to the Secretary of State for approval. The bill would require the Secretary of State to approve the law, regulation, or policy only if specified conditions are met. The bill would provide that the law, regulation, or policy shall not take effect or be administered in the political subdivision until the law, regulation, or policy is approved by the Secretary of State, except as specified. The bill would allow the governing body of the political subdivision to seek review of the Secretary of State’s decision by means of an action filed in the Superior Court of Sacramento.

AGREE or DISAGREE with this bill? Contact your state legislators here!

Florida

Proof of Citizenship bill HM 1225 is now in Local and Federal Affairs Committee. This bill would urge Congress to amend federal law to allow documentary proof of citizenship for voter registration with the federal form, and remove the protections of the 90-day moratorium on systematic purges as they relate to asserted noncitizens. It also urges Congress to allow immediate access by election officials to the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements system for use with respect to voter registration.

Voter ID Expansion bill SB 666 is scheduled for a hearing this week. This bill would expand the list of acceptable forms of identification for certain voter registration applicants to include veteran health identification cards and licenses to carry a concealed weapon or firearm.

Voter Registration bill SB 702 is scheduled for a hearing this week. This bill would exempt from public disclosure the address, birthdate, phone number, and e-mail address collected for voter registration purposes. It also exempts all information related to preregistered 16- and 17-year-olds. Candidates, canvassing boards, elections officials and political parties would still be provided access to this information.

Voter Registration bill SB 744 is scheduled for a hearing this week. This bill would require voter registration applicants to provide distinguishing information about their address, like an apartment, suite, or dormitory room number. It also changes the required phrasing on the form from "legal residence address" to "address of legal residence."

Proof of Citizenship bill SM 1514 was introduced. This bill would urge Congress to amend federal law to allow documentary proof of citizenship for voter registration with the federal form, and remove the protections of the 90-day moratorium on systematic purges as they relate to asserted noncitizens. It also urges Congress to allow immediate access by election officials to the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements system for use with respect to voter registration.

AGREE or DISAGREE with these bills? Contact your state legislators here!

Georgia

Early Voting bill HB 772 was first read in the House. This bill would move Saturday voting a week earlier if the second Saturday is a public and legal holiday, or if it follows a legal holiday, or if it immediately precedes a public holiday. Currently, early voting is conducted on the second Saturday before a primary or election between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

AGREE or DISAGREE with this bill? Contact your state legislators here!

Indiana

Same Day Registration bill HB 1097 was first read and referred to Committee on Elections and Apportionment. This bill would allow voters to register on Election Day at the polls, and would provide that the polls close at 8pm. The polls currently close at 6pm.

Automatic Voter Registration bill HB 1151 was first read and referred to Committee on Elections and Apportionment. This bill would provide that an application to obtain or renew a driver license or ID card would serve as an application for voter registration and would establish a default of voter registration when applying for a driver's license or ID card if the person does not indicate that the person does not want to register to vote. The bill also designates a registrant whose notice has been returned as inactive rather than rejecting the person.

AGREE or DISAGREE with these bills? Contact your state legislators here!

Maryland

Early Voting bill HB 83 was first read. This bill requires each early voting center to be open on the second Sunday before a primary or general election through the Sunday before the election during specified hours.

Voter Registration bill H 4471 was referred to Committee on Judiciary. This bill provides that applications for state ID or driver’s license serve as applications for voter registration. Upon receiving voter registration applications, the county board of voter registration and elections must notify each person of the process to decline being registered as a voter. If a person does not respond within 15 calendar days, that person’s registration will be complete.

AGREE or DISAGREE with these bills? Contact your state legislators here!

Missouri

Voter ID bill HB 1631 was reported Do Pass. This bill specifies that only the listed documents and document specifications may satisfy the voter photo identification requirement, which would only be effective if approved as a constitutional amendment by the legislature. This bill adds "inability to pay for a birth certificate or other supporting documentation necessary to obtain identification" to the exceptions under which a voter may sign an affidavit and cast a provisional ballot to be counted upon signature verification. It extends the period in which a voter may show identification in order to cast a provisional ballot to three days after the election. It requires that the state provide free photo identification and pay the cost of supporting documentation from another state. If funds are not appropriated for free photo identification, then the photo identification provisions will not be enforced.

Voter ID bill SB 594 was scheduled for a hearing this week. This bill specifies that only the listed documents and document specifications may satisfy the voter photo identification requirement. This bill adds "inability to pay for a birth certificate or other supporting documentation necessary to obtain identification" to the exceptions under which a voter may sign an affidavit and cast a provisional ballot that will be submitted for counting upon signature comparison. It requires that the state provide free photo identification for voting. However, it removes a mobile ID-issuing system that was in the previous law. If funds are not appropriated for free photo identification, then the photo identification provisions will not be enforced. Note: the previous photo ID requirement was struck down in state court. This photo identification requirement will become effective only after voters approve a legislatively-referred state constitutional amendment.

Voter ID bill SJR 20 was scheduled for a hearing January 19, 2016. Upon voter approval, this constitutional amendment provides that a voter seeking to vote in person may be required by general law to identify himself or herself as a United States citizen and a resident of the state by providing valid, government-issued photo identification. Exceptions may be provided for by general law.

AGREE or DISAGREE with these bills? Contact your state legislators here!

South Carolina

Youth Voting bill H 4382 was referred to the Committee on Judiciary. This bill would amend state law to require the State Dept. of Education, the State Election Commission, and the County Boards of Voter Registration and Elections to ensure that high school students who are at least 17 years of age have completed voter registration forms and received instruction in a classroom environment (or through other methods approved by the local school district) on the importance of voting. The bill would allow a student to opt out of the process.

AGREE or DISAGREE with this bill? Contact your state legislators here!

Tennessee

Voter Registration bill HB 1724 was filed. This bill establishes automatic registration of a person to vote when a person applies for a motor vehicle driver license or photo identification license.

Voter Registration bill HB 1742 was filed. As introduced, this bill establishes an online voter registration system beginning July 1, 2017.

AGREE or DISAGREE with these bills? Contact your state legislators here!

Utah

List Maintenance bill HB 110 was received from Legislative Printing. This bill permits a county clerk to list a voter as inactive if the county clerk receives a returned voter identification card, determines that there was no clerical error causing the card to be returned, and has no further information to contact the voter; repeals the authority of a county clerk to remove a voter described in the preceding paragraph from the official register.

AGREE or DISAGREE with this bill? Contact your state legislators here!

Virginia

Voter ID Expansion bill HB 32 was assigned to subcommittee on Elections. This bill would add student identification bearing a photograph issued by any institute of higher education in the United States to the list of identification required to cast a ballot.

Voter Registration bill HB 67 was assigned to subcommittee on Elections. This bill provides for automated, electronic transfer of relevant information collected by the DMV during covered transactions for the purpose of voter registration so long as the individual attests to eligibility and does not decline.

Voter Registration bill HB 416 was assigned to subcommittee on Elections. The bill would provide for automatic electronic transmission by the Department of Motor Vehicles to the Department of Elections of voter registration by eligible persons who do not decline to register to vote when given the opportunity during a transaction with the department of motor vehicles. If the person is registered, their registration must be updated, and if the person is not registered, the department of elections must verify eligibility and transmit the information to local registrars.

Youth Voting bill HB 993 was assigned to subcommittee on Elections. This bill would establish preregistration for applicants aged 16 or older who will not be 18 by the next general election. Pre-registrants would be automatically registered on reaching 18 years of age.

Voter Registration bill HB 1002 was assigned to subcommittee on Elections. The bill would provide for automatic electronic transmission by the Department of Motor Vehicles to the Department of Elections of information relevant to voter registration by eligible people who do not decline to register to vote when given the opportunity during a transaction with the department of motor vehicles. If the person is registered, their registration must be updated, and if the person is not registered, the department of elections must verify eligibility and transmit the information to local registrars. People who are not 18 but are otherwise eligible will have their information held for transmittal.

Provisional Voting bill HB 1004 was assigned to subcommittee on Elections. This bill would allow persons without a type of photo ID required to vote to have their picture taken at the polls to satisfy the identification requirement. The voter would vote provisionally, and the provisional ballot would count if the voter was qualified in the precinct.

Conduct of Elections bill HB 1030 was assigned to subcommittee on Campaign Finance. This bill would require poll workers (officers of election) to receive training every two years and whenever a change is made to the election laws or regulations that alters their duties and conduct. It requires the state to develop standardized training programs and provide standardized training materials for use by the electoral boards and general registrars in conducting the training.

AGREE or DISAGREE with these bills? Contact your state legislators here!

West Virginia

Voter ID bill HB 2624 was referred to House Judiciary committee. This bill would require voter registration cards to include a photo of the voter. The Division of Motor Vehicles would be required to take photos of people who register to vote at the DMV and then forward the photos to the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State shall provide equipment to create voter registration photo cards to the clerk of the county commission of any county which does not currently own the equipment necessary to produce the photo cards and in which there is no Division of Motor Vehicles office capable of producing the photo cards.

Voter ID bill SB 5 was referred to the Judiciary committee. This bill would require voters to show government-issued photo ID to vote. The ID card must either be currently valid or have expired not more than six months before the date of the election. Acceptable ID includes West Virginia driver’s license, state ID, U.S. passport, certain student ID, government employee ID, or military ID. If a person is unable to show ID or if the poll worker determines that the voter’s ID does not meet the above-listed criteria, the person would be allowed to vote by provisional ballot after affirming their identity with an affidavit.

Youth Voting bill SB 142 was referred to the Senate committee on Government Organization. This bill provides that any person who is eligible to register to vote pursuant to section two of this article and graduates from a public or private high school in West Virginia would be registered to vote as part of the graduation proceedings.

AGREE or DISAGREE with these bills? Contact your state legislators here!

More voter fraud in New Hampshire: Manchester resident Derek Castonguay admitted he “knowingly gave his previous addresses to election officials in Windham and Salem so he could vote in those two towns on Election Day 2014.”

Six Maryland municipalities allow noncitizen voting. Now a seventh wants to do the same.

You may recall the old SDS maxim, “The issue is never the issue. The issue is always the revolution.” Look no further than the D.C. suburbs and exurbs scattered around southern Maryland for examples of this in action. Six municipalities: Barnesville, Takoma Park, Garrett Park, Somerset, Glen Echo and Martin’s Additions currently allow (via local ordinances) non-U.S. citizens to cast regular ballots in city elections. This week, the Hyattsville City Council announced its intention to join this group with a proposal that would allow legally and illegally-present foreign nationals to cast ballots, as early as age 16. Proponents may offer explanations intended to give you the warm and fuzzies about welcoming new voices into the community debate or whatever, but that’s nonsense. If you’re new to the election integrity movement, you should learn something quick: train yourself to see the bigger, longer-term play.

Before you ask aloud, “How in the hell is this legal?!” -- the Commonwealth of Maryland allowed municipalities to determine noncitizen voting rights for local-only elections back in the 1850s. Hooray states’ rights.

But remember, we’re trying to think bigger picture. The legal issue is a shiny object. Let’s focus on the revolution. You may recall that the Supreme Court is currently mulling a case out of Texas styled Evenwel v. Abbott. Evenwel is pushing the Court to clearly define “one man, one vote” as it relates to apportioning residents in redistricting. Plaintiffs want Texas to ditch its redistricting rules based on total population and adopt a model that only counts registered voters or even citizen voting-age population. If Evenwel succeeds, there could be a domino effect for states to shake up legislative districts, at the political expense of urban, high-noncitizen areas. If you’re an urban politician keen to protect your power, these Maryland municipalities (and their forgiving state law) may offer a solution in your never-ending quest for self-preservation.

Live outside of Maryland and not sure what to do? Pay close attention over the next two years for warning signs of similar reforms in your legislature and local council. TTV will be here to help you blow the whistle.

 

Did you know? PEW Research highlighted a study that detailed the total amount it would cost to collect ALL voter files in the country. True the Vote’s national voter roll research databank costs $126,482 -- just for the raw data! If you haven’t yet, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to help underwrite our research efforts.

 

Missouri’s voter ID proposal is marching along

Let’s hear it for the Show Me State – their voter ID bill, HB 1631, has cleared both the Elections Committee and the Select Committee on State and Local Governments this week. If you are a Missouri resident and haven’t yet told your legislators to support it, why wait any longer? Click here to access contact information for MO House Members. While you’re at it, drop a line to your state senator to support the companion bill, SJR 20.

 

For your weekend reading list: ‘Faulty Data Fuel Challenges to Voter ID’

Have you ever wondered why voter ID opponents’ cookie-cutter legal strategies typically perform poorly in court, yet win over many local editorial boards? This backgrounder on how voter ID data gets baked to bend public opinion away from simple election integrity policies, at the risk of legal defeats is a must read. The Heritage Foundation asserts, “In perhaps their most prevalent means of attack, opponents of laws requiring photo ID greatly exaggerate the number of voters without a valid ID. In legislative, litigation, and public relations battles, opponents use wildly inflated numbers in an attempt both to portray these laws as burdensome and to gain partisan electoral advantage.” To read more, click here.

 

Legislation on the Move

Arizona

List Maintenance bill HB 2048 was filed. This bill requires the Dept. of Transportation to provide the secretary of state a monthly update of all address and name changes that the Dept. received in the previous month. The ecretary may compare the voter registration database with the Dept. records to find discrepancies with the voters’ names or addresses. The secretary may annually request to review all Department records to compare with voter registration records.

Provisional Voting bill HB 2053 was filed. This bill provides that a voter who casts a provisional ballot in the wrong precinct would still have their ballot counted for only the candidates and ballot measures for which the person was entitled to vote.

AGREE or DISAGREE with these bills? Contact your state legislators here!

Delaware

Absentee Voting bill HB 105 was reported out of Committee. This is the first leg of a constitutional amendment that would eliminate from the Delaware Constitution the limitations as to when a person may vote by absentee ballot.  This amendment to the Delaware Constitution provides that the General Assembly shall enact general laws providing the circumstances, rules, and procedures for absentee voting.

Same Day Registration bill SB 111 was reported out of committee. This bill provides for Election Day registration for presidential primary, primary, special and general elections whereas currently the deadline is the fourth Saturday prior to the date of the election. Moreover, same day registration at polling places will be permitted with submission of valid government issued identification or other generally accepted proof of identification. This bill removes the requirement that a felon has paid all financial obligations, including fines and restitution, before his or her right to vote is restored. Finally, this bill provides that for same day registrations, an affidavit that a registrant is not a prohibited felon replaces an inquiry under CJIS to determine of an applicant has been convicted of a felony.

AGREE or DISAGREE with these bills? Contact your state legislators here!

Florida

Voter Registration bill HB 1067 is now in Highway & Waterway Safety Subcommittee. This bill would streamline voter registration at DMVs, as applicants for a new or renewed license or ID card would be provided eligibility information and an opportunity to decline voter registration. If the applicant does not opt-out, a single signature would be required for the transaction and voter registration application and the information relevant for voter registration information would be electronically transferred. Once information was transferred to the supervisor of elections, applicants would be provided additional follow up information about declining or selecting party affiliation.

Voter ID Expansion bill SB 666 was reported favorably by Military and Veterans Affairs, Space, and Domestic Security. This bill would expand the list of acceptable forms of identification for certain voter registration applicants to include veteran health identification cards and licenses to carry a concealed weapon or firearm.

Absentee Voting bill SB 1684 was filed. This bill would establish an alert system for election officials to inform voters by text or email that voting has begun, and would require that absentee ballots come with prepaid return postage paid for by the state.

Conduct of Elections bill SB 1698 was filed. Among other things, this bill would require supervisors of elections to post pre-election reports on their websites, requires posting a notice of intended changes to precinct boundaries and polling places on the department websites prior to consideration, and prohibits private property owners from restricting access to polling places or early voting sites located on their property during the time the property is used as a polling place or early voting site.

Proof of Citizenship bill SM 1514 was filed. This bill would urge Congress to amend federal law to allow documentary proof of citizenship for voter registration with the federal form, and remove the protections of the 90-day moratorium on systematic purges as they relate to non-citizens. It also urges Congress to allow immediate access by election officials to the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements system for use with respect to voter registration.

Voter Registration bill HB 1151 was first read and referred to the Committee on Elections and Apportionment. This bill would provide that an application to obtain or renew a driver license or ID card would serve as an application for voter registration and would establish a default of voter registration when applying for a driver's license or ID card if the person does not indicate that the person does not want to register to vote. The bill also designates a registrant whose notice has been returned as inactive rather than rejecting the person.

AGREE or DISAGREE with these bills? Contact your state legislators here!

Indiana

Omnibus bill SB 135 was first read and referred to Committee on Elections. This omnibus bill would establish same day voter registration and portable registration, and allow county election boards to extend the polls to be closed as late as 8 p.m. Polls currently close at 6 p.m. It would also provide that an application to obtain or renew a driver license or ID card would serve as an application for voter registration and would establish a default of voter registration when applying for a driver's license or ID card if the person does not indicate that the person does not want to register to vote. The bill would also allow voters to come back to the polls to provide ID so that their provisional ballot would be counted. The bill also makes changes to the practices regarding notices mailed to new registrants.

AGREE or DISAGREE with these bills? Contact your state legislators here!

Maine

Absentee Voting LD 1539 was referred to the Committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs. This bill provides that a municipality may opt to process absentee ballots as early as the 4th day before the election, among other provisions.

AGREE or DISAGREE with these bills? Contact your state legislators here!

Missouri

Conduct of Elections bill HB 1379 was read a second time. This bill would require a voting machine in every location, for federal, state, and local elections, that is accessible for visually impaired voters and compliant with the Help America Vote Act. This bill also provides state funding for use and maintenance of accessible voting machines.

Election Challengers bill HB 1380 was read a second time. This bill would allow challengers to remain in the polling place to observe the completion of forms, sealing of ballots, machine disassembly, and so forth. Previously, each political party on the ballot could assign a challenger to observe election procedures only during voting hours and ballot counting.

Voter ID bill SJR 20 was read a second time and referred to Senate Financial and Governmental Organizations and Elections Committee. Upon voter approval, this constitutional amendment provides that a voter seeking to vote in person may be required by general law to identify himself or herself as a United States citizen and a resident of the state by providing valid, government-issued photo identification. Exceptions may be provided for by general law.

AGREE or DISAGREE with these bills? Contact your state legislators here!

New Hampshire

Voter Registration bill HB 1313. This bill requires voters to be a resident of the state for at least 10 days. It further details the definition of “domicile” for voting purposes, defining it was a primary home of a person who intends to return to the home in the event of absence due to military service or other temporary absences. A person cannot gain domicile in New Hampshire if they come for temporary purposes only, without the intention of making it their home, but with the intention of leaving it when they accomplish the purpose that brought them there, including vacation, volunteer work, or campaign activity. Voting in another state results in losing domicile in New Hampshire.

Absentee Voting bill HB 1377 is scheduled to be heard this week. This bill requires absentee ballots to be received by the town, city, or ward clerk no later than 5 p.m. on the day of the election.

Absentee Voting bill HB 1378 is scheduled to be heard this week. This authorizes a voter with a disability, who is unable to access a polling place, to vote with an absentee ballot.

Voter Registration bill HB 1482 is scheduled to be heard this week. This bill establishes a committee to study improving the statewide voter registration database.

Conduct of Elections bill HB 1511 was filed. This bill extends the hours that polls can be open in state elections, from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Currently, voting hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Voting Rights bill HB 1530 is scheduled to be heard January 19. This bill requires the secretary of state to cause the voter database to indicate whether a person is disqualified to vote due to felony conviction, in accordance with information provided by the commissioner of safety.

Voting Rights bill HB 1532 is scheduled to be heard this week. This bill permits state or county prisoners to vote by absentee ballot.

AGREE or DISAGREE with these bills? Contact your state legislators here!

Virginia

Voter Registration bill HB 292 was referred to the Committee on Privileges and Elections. The bill would establish pre-registration for persons age 16 and older who will not be 18 by the next general election. Pre-registered voters would be automatically registered on reaching 18 years of age.

Voter Registration bill HB 416 is pending referral. The bill would provide for automatic electronic transmission by the Department of Motor Vehicles to the Department of Elections of voter registration by eligible persons who do not decline to register to vote when given the opportunity during a transaction with the department of motor vehicles. If the person is registered, their registration must be updated, and if the person is not registered, the department of elections must verify eligibility and transmit the information to local registrars.

Absentee Voting bill HB 418 is pending referral. This bill would establish no-excuse absentee in person voting (early voting) for all registered voters. An excuse would still be required to vote absentee by mail.

Absentee Voting bill HB 430 is pending referral. This bill would establish no-excuse absentee in person voting (early voting) for all registered voters. An excuse would still be required to vote absentee by mail.

Voting Rights bill HJ 82 is pending referral. This bill would amend the Virginia constitution to allow the general assembly to provide for the automatic restoration of civil rights to persons who have been convicted of nonviolent felonies and who have completed service of their sentences, subject to the conditions, requirements, and definitions set forth in that law.

Voter Registration bill SB 222 was referred to Committee on Privileges and Elections. The bill would provide for automatic electronic transmission by the DMV to the Department of Elections of voter registration by eligible persons who do not decline to register to vote when given the opportunity during a transaction with the DMV. If the person is registered, their registration must be updated, and if the person is not registered, the department of elections must verify eligibility and transmit the information to local registrars.

AGREE or DISAGREE with these bills? Contact your state legislators here!

Yes, voter fraud happens and yes, it changes the outcome of elections: “A fourth person connected to the 2013 re-election campaign of District 2 Commissioner Amos Newsome has been found guilty of absentee ballot fraud.”

Mug Shots-AL-DReynolds

Daniel Webster Reynolds III pleaded guilty to three felony counts of absentee ballot fraud, bringing the total number of charges the four defendants have pleaded guilty to or been convicted of to 42. Newsome “won” his election by just 14 votes.

Kickoff 2016: Doing These 5 Things with True the Vote. Insider Hint: Number 4 is Especially Important

It’s finally here. “High season” has come. In case you haven’t realized this yet (but we really hope you have), it’s now 2016. This promises to be the biggest year on record for True the Vote. We’ve spent the past months preparing for this presidential election and we’re proud to offer you indispensable tools to get ready for the primaries and the November elections. Here are five things you can do to kick off 2016 with the proper focus:

  1. Sign up for the TTV Knowledge Network to access trainings for election observation, legislative advocacy, voter registration drives and voter roll research. You can also organize and communicate with fellow classmates in your state!
  2. Download VoteStand, TTV’s smartphone app, for your iOS or Android device today so you can report wrongdoing or irregularities at the polling place. The application is totally free and available now.
  3. Register for the 2016 Kickoff Conference Call scheduled for January 19. Space is limited, so don’t delay in signing up!
  4. Get social with TTV. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
  5. Help spread the word about True the Vote to folks you know by sharing this video within your social networks:

Did you know? PEW Research highlighted a study that detailed the total amount it would cost to collect ALL voter files in the country. True the Vote’s national voter roll research databank costs $126,482 -- just for the raw data! If you haven’t yet, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to help underwrite our research efforts.

 

The IRS Blinks on a Proposal to Collect SSNs from Nonprofit Donors

Remember when the IRS recently thought it was a grand idea to require nonprofits like TTV to collect your Social Security number if you made a financial contribution? Thanks to our combined work, the IRS changed its mind this week. We were opposed to this rule due to the financial burden we would face in trying to protect such sensitive data – never mind the obvious chilling effect on financial support in general. If you would like to read the Treasury Department’s retreat letter entered into the Federal Register this week, click here. Good job, team.

 

‘F’ is for Fraud: Denver Edition

You can’t make this up – a thrice-failed, wannabe local politician’s career was finally ended amid forgery and perjury charges this week after committing flagrant petition fraud in Denver. Pro tip: if you need a few more signatures to meet your minimum for the ballot, don’t have Big Bird sign his name with the address, “Go F YURSELF”. While the story of Ms. Corrie Houck’s Democratic bid for the District 2 seat on the Denver City Council seems like it belongs in the annals of The Onion, there is a real lesson here as we approach the 2016 elections. Denver’s local law enforcement may be claiming a win in being able to demonstrate “there is a process to watch for violations” – but if Houck hadn’t been caught, they should all have been fired. Bear in mind, blatant violations like this one stand a good chance of being found by authorities. It’s the more careful plots that we need to concern ourselves with. Use 2016 as an opportunity to WORK WITH local election officials to root out wrongdoing. You can read more about this story here.

 

Legislation on the Move

Arizona

Absentee Voting bill HB 2016 was filed. This bill permits election officials to mail early voting ballots no earlier than 21 days before an election. Currently, such ballots are issued 27 days before an election.

Voter Registration bill SB 1007 was filed. This bill provides automatic voter registration for citizens who apply for a driver’s license or renewal, unless the applicant declines.

AGREE or DISAGREE with these bills? Contact your state legislators here!

Indiana

Omnibus bill SB 135 was referred to Committee on Elections. This omnibus bill would establish same-day voter registration and portable registration, and allow county election boards to extend the polls to be closed as late as 8 p.m. Polls currently close at 6 p.m. It would also provide that an application to obtain or renew a driver license or ID card would serve as an application for voter registration and would establish a default of voter registration when applying for a driver's license or ID card if the person does not indicate that they do not want to register to vote. The bill would also allow voters to come back to the polls to provide ID so that their provisional ballot would be counted. The bill also makes changes to the practices regarding notices mailed to new registrants.

AGREE or DISAGREE with these bills? Contact your state legislators here!

Massachusetts

Voting Rights bill HB 1129 was referred to House Committee on Ways and Means. This bill outlines rights for the homeless citizens, including the "right to vote, register to vote and receive documentation necessary to prove identity for voting without discrimination due to his or her experiencing homelessness."

AGREE or DISAGREE with these bills? Contact your state legislators here!

Maryland

Voter Registration bill SB 11 and SB 19 are scheduled for first reading in Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs. This bill would provide automatic voter registration of citizens who apply for the issuance, renewal, or modification of a driver’s license or ID card through the state Motor Vehicle Administration. Applicants may decline voter registration by affirmatively indicating as such on the application or failing to sign the voter registration application.

AGREE or DISAGREE with these bills? Contact your state legislators here!

Michigan

Voter ID bill HB 4179 was filed. This bill provides that a first-time voter can meet voter ID requirements under HAVA by showing ID to an election clerk in any county, city, or township before an election.

Absentee Voting bill HB 4724 was reassigned to Committee on Government Operations. This bill would amend the Michigan Election Law to modify the procedures both for obtaining an application for an absentee ballot, and also for returning that application to the local clerk where the voter was registered to vote. Notably, the bill would permit any eligible voter, without offering a reason, to apply for an absent voter ballot in person with the local clerk by providing a driver license, an official state identification card, or another generally recognized picture identification card. The bill would take effect January 1, 2016.

AGREE or DISAGREE with these bills? Contact your state legislators here!

New York

Voter Registration bill AB 8626 was referred to Election Law. This bill provides for the voter registration of qualified individuals when they complete an application for a new or renewed driver's license, learner's permit, or other specified services at the DMV and designated public assistance agencies, including NVRA agencies, state and city universities, public housing agencies, the Department of Labor, and the division of military affairs. Individuals must consent to registration. This bill requires development of procedures to allow voters to provide their signature at the polling place or on an absentee ballot request if no signature is on file. If the agency does not currently collect citizenship information, it must maintain records sufficient for transmitting citizenship information, but must not store or use citizenship information for other purposes. This bill also requires online voter registration be provided on the websites of local election officials. Individuals may provide electronic signatures by executing an electronic mark or submitting an electronic copy of a signature. Additionally, it requires the development of a registration process by telephone.

AGREE or DISAGREE with these bills? Contact your state legislators here!

South Carolina

Youth Voting bill H 4382 was filed. This bill would amend state law to require the State Dept. of Education, the State Election Commission, and the County Boards of Voter Registration and Elections to ensure that high school students who are at least 17 years of age have completed voter registration forms and received instruction in a classroom environment (or through other methods approved by the local school district) on the importance of voting. The bill would allow a student to opt out of the process.

Voter Registration bill H 4471 was referred to Committee on Judiciary. This bill provides that applications for state ID or driver’s license serve as applications for voter registration. Upon receiving voter registration applications, the county board of voter registration and elections must notify each person of the process to decline being registered as a voter. If a person does not respond within 15 calendar days, that person’s registration will be complete.

AGREE or DISAGREE with these bills? Contact your state legislators here!

Virginia

Voting Rights Restoration HB 107 was filed. This bill provides for the automatic restoration of voting rights for those convicted of nonviolent felonies (excluding felony drug and election fraud crimes) upon completion of sentence, including any term of probation or parole, and the payment of all restitution, fines, costs, and fees assessed as a result of the felony conviction.

Voter ID Expansion bill SB 69 was referred to the Committee on Privileges and Elections. This bill adds to the list of accepted forms of identification for purposes of voting a valid ID with the voter's photo that is issued by any private entity that is licensed or certified, in whole or in part, by the State Department of Health, the Department of Social Services, the Department of Medical Assistance Services, or the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.

AGREE or DISAGREE with these bills? Contact your state legislators here!

“The federal judge who will preside over the trial about North Carolina’s voter ID law told attorneys in an order this week to be ready to make their arguments on Jan. 25.”

Last year, the state’s legislature amended its voter ID requirement with a provision modeled on South Carolina’s federally-precleared voter ID law that gives voters without an accepted photo ID the option to cast a ballot with a declaration of reasonable impediment. “Attorneys for the state have argued that the 2015 amendment made the 2013 legal challenge moot.”

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