Tag Archives: Voting Practices

Some non-partisan notes on 2014 votes

Have you ever found yourself alone and clueless in the voting booth, suddenly aware that there are whole columns of unknown candidates vying for positions you never knew existed? There’s an app for that!

My Ballot is now up and running for the November 4th election. The site provides the voter with a sample ballot complete with links to popular sites that provide information about each candidate. It covers any election in the state of Minnesota.

Find My Ballot at www.myballot.info – Enter your zip code and you’ll find the exact replica of the ballot you’ll face in the voting booth – with a digital crib sheet. You can’t vote online, but you can prepare yourself to make the best decisions when your turn comes.

Still, for some Minnesotans, getting to the polls this season will present a mighty challenge. The October 10 issue of Access Press, now on the newsstands, shines light on a harsh reality — voters with disabilities can’t depend on a lift to the polls this year. Since 2008 the Rides to the Polls Coalition, made up of several disability service providers and organized through Courage Kenny, has been funded by the Frey Foundation to provide rides to persons with disabilities. Those funds are no more, and no other provider has been able to continue the service.

The Secretary of State’s office encourages voters who need transportation to the polling place to contact family, friends or neighbors. It would seem appropriate to reverse the message to encourage mobile Minnesotans to consider family members, friends and neighbors who might need a ride.

Though Metro Transit in the Twin Cities must offer regular fixed-route transit service free of charge on Election Days the rule does not apply in non-urban areas. In some communities political parties provide rides.  In any event, this patchwork approach falls far short of the need, particularly since people with disabilities have long depended on the Rides to the Polls Coalition.

One option is for voters with disabilities to vote absentee by mail or by going to an elections office prior to Election Day. This means people need to know the rules of absentee voting in advance. For the rules on absentee voting and everything else you ever wanted to know about Minnesota election law and were afraid to ask, check Ballotpedia where the Secretary of State posts all the rules: http://ballotpedia.org/Minnesota_elections,_2014#Voting_absentee




Pew Probe Proves Minnesotans Have Polling Practices Down Pat

Unaccustomed as we are to patting ourselves on the back, Minnesotans can take pride in the results of the recent Elections Performance Index issued by the Pew Charitable Trusts.  Minnesota joins Colorado, Delaware, Michigan, North Dakota, Washington and Wisconsin in the winners’ circle of high performing states.

The Pew study is the first examination of election administration performance that covers all fifty states and the District of Columbia.

The results of the study is a detailed – and fun – online interactive map that election officials and voters can use to assess the details of election performance by each state.

The goal of Pew is to build a flexible and manageable measurement tool based on a well-defined list of indicators.

The findings of the study are based on a methodology carefully defined and described in the full report.  Key indicators include these:

>      Polling location wait time

>      Availability of voting information tools online

>      Number of rejected voter registrations

>      Percentage of voters with registration or absentee ballot problems

>      Number of military and overseas ballots were rejected

>      Voter turnout

>      Accuracy of voting technology

This report is based on the 2008 and 2010 elections.  Researchers indicate that the online report will be updated with complete 2012 data when they become available in late 2013.