More early voting snafus

The early voting snafus keep coming. It’s too early to draw any firm conclusions, but a review of the stories from last spring and this fall reveal some reoccurring problems.

  • Early voting for administrators. We often think of early voting as a longer window within which voters can cast their ballot and review campaign information. But early voting also pushes back the deadline by which election officials must prepare ballots, voter information guides, program machines, etc.
  • Early voting and state laws. At the same time, some states may need to modify their constitutional arrangements, to force petitions signers to get their petitions in earlier, hold primaries earlier, and generally set deadlines that correspond to the new early voting window.
  • Keep it simple. Problems often crop up when states and localities try to change too many things at once, adding both early voting, new voting machines, relax absentee requirements, etc. To the degree possible, states should try to phase in requirements, particularly using lower profile local contests and primaries as a way to test out new balloting methods.

In Ohio, absentee ballots are not ready because the signatures for two ballot issues were not certified in time. The ballots are stuck at the printer.

In Cook County, IL, some are charging that early voting ballots are not being secured, and are simply being “tossed into an unlocked file cabinet drawer”. (Thad, Mike, and I heard similar descriptions after the April primary.)

These cases are not unusual, and we’ll have more to come, I’m sure, in the next few weeks.