True the Vote This Week 6/3/16

3rd of June 2016

New Mexico: phony signatures help man lose election by TWO votes

The story of Cory Lewis, Española City Councilman, proves our point again: you don’t need a lot of fraud to tilt an election – just enough fraud in the right places. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that his race was called in March with 238 to 236 votes. Ouch. But here’s where it gets interesting … 104 votes were mail ballots, with 94 of those going to the challenger. Lewis has since filed a lawsuit alleging that 23 mail ballots had bogus signatures, an amount that could easily flip the result. But it gets better. The wife of the challenging candidate was twice documented by local election officials as she tried to drop off absentee ballots for others. Upon initial drop-off of the ballots, officials noted that voter signatures were missing. Moments later, the woman returned with them signed. The court has granted Lewis’ legal team the opportunity to review the signatures and related documents directly. No further rulings have been made in the case as of now.


Schedule a TTV speaker today!

Just in time for the height of the 2016 Election, True the Vote has fanned out staff and speakers around the southern and southeastern United States -- with more to come. Do you have a meeting or conference coming up and would like to book a speaker on the subject of election integrity? We’ve streamlined the request process with a form now available on the website, here. We can’t wait to attend your next event!


Ohio: Woman charged with 35 counts of voter fraud

Talk about getting out the vote. Rebecca Hammonds of Columbiana County stands accused of faking 32 voter registration forms, with three additional charges of signature forgery. Lax verification and validation standards in registering new voters have long left our systems vulnerable to such actions. Thankfully, local election officials were on top of the matter. In larger jurisdictions, however, this work becomes much more difficult. Please consider writing to your state representatives and asking what proposals they support that would improve the system. You can read more about the story, 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.


Voter ID Updates

In a few years, Louisiana college students would be able to use their university ID cards to vote in state elections, if the governor agrees to a proposal passed by lawmakers.
Lawmakers agree to allow college student ID cards for voting
Secretary of State Steve Simon announced Tuesday that Veteran Identification Cards are now acceptable photo identification documents for same-day voter registration.
Veteran ID Cards Now Accepted For Same-Day Voter Registration
During Thursday’s regular meeting the Clovis City Commission passed a voter ID requirement for municipal elections by a vote of 7-1, with the lone dissenting vote cast by Commissioner Robert Sandoval.
The voter ID ordinance was introduced during the May 5 meeting, following the March municipal election in which 72.7 percent of Clovis voters favored creation of the ordinance.
City commissioners pass voter ID requirement
Suits in North Dakota, Utah, South Dakota and Arizona claim new voting rules passed in majority Republican states are discriminatory and could reduce voting by tribal members, who tend to back Democrats. A suit in Alaska, for example, claimed the state violated federal rules by failing to translate voting materials for tribal voters.
The tribes say changes to voting rules in those states disproportionately affect Native Americans, an allegation the states and counties deny.
Native Americans move to frontlines in battle over voting rights
A nine-day court trial of the Wisconsin legal challenge concluded last week in federal court in Madison, and a forthcoming ruling in that case could decide how voter ID affects the state’s 2016 general election. The outcome of that and another lawsuit also could influence the national back-and-forth on voter ID.
Wisconsin at vanguard of national legal fight on voter ID
The liberal groups challenging the law say it, and more than a dozen other election-related laws enacted since 2011, target voters who tend to support Democratic candidates. The state's lawyers said no such targeting exists, and pointed to high turnout in this spring's presidential primary as proof the law doesn't create barriers to voting. 
Wisconsin Voter ID Trial Wraps Up With Verdict Expected In July
Starting this week, people working to get the documents they need for a state-issued ID --- which is now required to vote in the Wisconsin --- can get a receipt from the Division of Motor Vehicles that can serve as a substitute for an ID at the polls. The changes is the result of an emergency rule approved Wednesday by Gov. Scott Walker, that he says will make it easier to vote in Wisconsin – but opponents to the state's voter ID law say the new rule doesn't do enough.
Walker Tweaks Voter ID Rules


Mandatory Voter Registration Updates

An agreement between Secretary of the State Denise Merrill and Department of Motor Vehicle Commissioner Michael Byzdra to develop an automatic voter registration system is an unnecessary and expensive proposition. That was the message from four Republican lawmakers who held a press conference Wednesday at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford to criticize the decision.
4 Connecticut GOP legislators oppose automatic voter registration via DMV
If the bill is approved, Illinois would become the fifth state to enact automatic voter registration, joining California, Oregon, Vermont and West Virginia. In addition the Secretary of State's office, four other state agencies would be able to add eligible people to voter rolls. These include the Department on Aging and the departments of Human Services, Healthcare and Family Services, and Employment Security. State officials and local elections boards would have until Jan. 1, 2018, to fully implement the plan.
Illinois could become the fifth state with automatic voter registration
The measure approved 86-30 by the House on Tuesday would provide automatic registration for would-be voters visiting certain state agencies. Each person would have a chance to opt out at some point.
Automatic voter registration goes to Rauner; he likes idea
The state simply cannot afford to enact an expensive system of mandatory voter registration that will do very little to help voter turnout while threatening the integrity of Illinois’ voter registration rolls.
LDF's Illinois Mandatory Voter Registration Talking Points

That bill would automatically register people to vote when they apply for a new driver’s license or a renewal and update their voter record if they change their address with the Motor Vehicle Commission. Right now registration if offered at the MVC but isn’t automatic.
Should voter registration be automatic in New Jersey?
More than a million Oregonians cast ballots in last week’s primary, barely meeting expectations set by election officials. However, turnout was lower than in the presidential primary eight years ago and it was unclear what impact the state’s new automatic voter registration system had on the election results. Oregon has several hundred thousand more registered voters than eight years ago.
Voter turnout is big, not a state record, stats show
According to the most recent analysis by the state Elections Division, 8,135 votes were cast by Oregonians who were registered through the Oregon Motor Voter program. With 43,571 eligible OMV voters, this means 18.7 percent of the OMV-registered voters who were eligible to vote on May 17th (registered by April 26th) participated in the primary election.
Oregon elections official details 'motor voter' impact
The problems raise immediate concerns for the coming two elections, she said, including this summer's gubernatorial primary election. There are also long-term questions about how well Vermont's new automatic voter registration will work. Starting in 2017, Vermonters will automatically be placed on the voter rolls when they apply for or renew a driver's license or nondriver identification card.
Vermont motor voter registration raises concerns


Legislative updates are provided by the Lawyers Democracy Fund.


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