The Brennan Center for Justice* Voting Issues to Watch Election Day 2016: 14 States Have Voting Restrictions for the First Time in a Presidential Election - Arizona, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin
THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA Department of Computer Science
Voting Machines: Election 2016 has already seen reports of voting machine problems. These include vote-flipping, where a voter intends to cast a ballot for one candidate, but another is selected by mistake. Vote-flipping is not a sign the election is rigged or machines have been hacked, but it does underscore the urgent need to upgrade aging election infrastructure. A comprehensive Brennan Center study examined America's voting machines and found 42 states use ones that are at least 10 years old. Old equipment increases the risk of failures and crashes, which can lead to long lines and lost votes. Read our briefing memo outlining steps officials can take to prevent problems at the polls, and congressional testimony explaining why our elections are not vulnerable to widespread attack.
Voting Restrictions: This year, 14 states have voting restrictions in place for the first time in a presidential election, including swing states like Arizona, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin. It's also the first race in half a century without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act. Even in states where strict voting laws were blocked or weakened by courts, like North Carolina and Texas, we have seen problems and confusion during early voting. Our experts have been monitoring these issues and will continue to be on the look-out for problems on Election Day.
Long Lines: Cuts to polling locations, confusion over new voting requirements, faulty machines, and other factors have led to long lines in North Carolina and Texas during early voting this year, and in Arizona during the primaries. In 2012, between 500,000 and 700,000 eligible voters did not cast a ballot due to excessive wait times. Lack of poll workers and voting machines are key contributors to long lines, according to Brennan Center research, and precincts with more minorities experienced longer waits. See our latest analysis of long lines in Arizona’s 2016 primary, which found similar results.
Voter Fraud: "Rigged" is the buzzword if this election, with Donald Trump saying there is "large scale voter fraud." Every major study, investigation, and court decision has found voter fraud is vanishingly rare. See the Brennan Center’s briefing memo debunking the myth of fraud.
Record Outside Spending on Judicial Races Takes Legal Issues From Docket to Ballot — Contributions from charter school enthusiasts, like billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates, and anger over racial gerrymandering are helping drive spending by outside groups in state supreme court elections to record levels.
*The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law is a nonpartisan law and policy institute that seeks to improve our systems of democracy and justice. We work to hold our political institutions and laws accountable to the twin American ideals of democracy and equal justice for all. The Center’s work ranges from voting rights to campaign finance reform, from ending mass incarceration to preserving Constitutional protection in the fight against terrorism. Part think tank, part advocacy group, part cutting-edge communications hub, we start with rigorous research. We craft innovative policies. And we fight for them — in Congress and the states, the courts, and in the court of public opinion.
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