Category Archives: Elections

EAC Issues Poll Worker Best Practices

Source: U.S. Election Assistance Commission, August 2007

From news release:
The United States Election Assistance Commission (EAC) has released two best practices guidebooks to help election officials recruit, train, and retain poll workers. The two guidebooks are: “Successful Practices for Poll Worker Recruitment, Training and Retention” and “A Guidebook for Recruiting College Poll Workers.”

“Elections are becoming more complicated because of new federal and state laws, new procedures and new technical and security requirements for voting equipment,” said EAC Chair Donetta Davidson. “The need for trained poll workers is more urgent than ever, and we hope these guidebooks will help election officials find and keep good poll workers as well as recruit a new generation of poll workers.”

The guidebooks entailed a fifteen month development process involving two working groups and dozens of interviews and focus groups with election officials, voters and veteran poll workers. Draft versions of each guidebook were field-tested at six sites during the 2006 elections. The guidebooks were reviewed by the EAC’s Standards Board and Board of Advisors during a virtual public meeting last month.

See also:
Compendium of State Poll Worker Requirements

Wrong-Way Reforms for Allocating Electoral College Votes

Source: Monideepa Talukdar, Rob Richie, and Ryan O’Donnell, FairVote,
August 9, 2007

From abstract:
This paper analyzes two of the three major options available to state leaders interested in taking action to reform how their state allocates its Electoral College votes: the whole number proportional and congressional district systems. It evaluates them on the basis of whether they promote majority rule, make elections more nationally competitive, reduce incentives for partisan machinations, and make all votes count equally. We use vote returns from a number of previous elections to analyze what the outcomes would have been if Electoral College votes had been allocated according to the whole number proportional and the congressional district systems.

Our analysis reveals that both of these methods fail to meet our criteria. Neither reform option promotes majority rule, greater competitiveness, or voter equality. Pursued at a state level, both reforms dramatically increase incentives for partisan machinations. If done nationally, the congressional district system has a sharp partisan tilt toward the Republican Party. The whole number proportional system sharply increases the odds of contingent elections (the selection of president by Congress).

Printable Maps: 110th Congressional Districts Boundaries Maps

Source: National Atlas

The National Atlas prepared simple maps of each District of the 110th Congress (January 2005-January 2007). These maps of the individual districts cover half of an 8.5- by 11-inch paper when printed. Designed for easy reference, they show the Congressional District overlaid on top of State and county boundaries along with interstate and US highways, selected streams and waterbodies, and major cities. The maps were created for use on the World Wide Web but print well using your home or office printer.

Independent Expenditures: A Hidden Force in State Elections

Source: National Institute on Money in State Politics, August 1, 2007

From press release:
Political expenditures made from outside official campaigns amounted to more than $115 million in just five states, a new study found, evidence of how powerful so-called independent expenditures are becoming in state politics. Compiling a comprehensive total of such expenditures for all 50 states is virtually impossible, a companion report notes, because of inadequate reporting requirements in most states.

While 39 states require some form of disclosure for individuals or groups making these expenditures in state elections, only Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine and Washington disclose the information in a way that the public can easily access and use, the National Institute on Money in State Politics discovered.

The first report, “Independent Expenditures, 2006” investigates spending on independent expenditures in the five states where data was readily obtainable, while “Indecent Disclosure” discusses problems with obtaining meaningful data on independent expenditures from the various state disclosure agencies. Taken together, the reports reveal the extensive impact of independent expenditures on the political process and the patchwork nature of disclosure laws regulating independent expenditures in the states.

How Nonprofits Helped America Vote: 2006

Source: Kathryn Clabby, OMB Watch, August 2007

From press release:
OMB Watch today released a new report on the role of nonpartisan, nonprofit organizations in elections. How Nonprofits Helped America Vote: 2006 clearly illustrates that the work of nonprofits is critical in increasing civic participation throughout the country and fostering vibrant, engaged communities. The report focuses solely on so-called 501(c)(3) organizations and does not cover the activities of special interest associations or 527 political committees.

Though 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from taking sides in elections, they are allowed educate voters, register people to vote and work to increase voter turnout. The report describes nonprofits’ electoral engagement during the 2006 election season and the groups’ preparations for upcoming elections. The publication highlights how the nonpartisan groups are defending voters’ rights against suppression and intimidation, and it includes an analysis of new voter ID requirements and attempts to limit voter registration drives. The report also describes how nonprofits are working to protect the integrity of our elections and surveys voter engagement and mobilization efforts.