On June 12, Maine will become the first state to let residents rank their voting choices in their primary election choices for U.S. Senate, U.S. Congress, Governor, State Senate, and State Representatives. The June 12th election will also allow a “people’s veto” of sorts that would overrule previous state legislation and permit ranked-choice voting again in the November 2018 general election. Ranked-choice voting is a process in which voters would rank candidates in order of preference, if no one candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote after the first count, the candidate with fewest votes is eliminated. Voters who chose the eliminated candidate would then have their ballots added to the totals of their next-ranked candidates and the votes would be recounted. This process would continue until one candidate has a clear majority.
The threat of interference in United States elections remains a pressing topic of conversation over the coming months leading up to this year’s midterm elections. The FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and Office of the Director of National Intelligence intend to face these issues head on. On February 16th and 18th, election officials from all fifty states engaged in a “national-level classified dialogue... to ensure the integrity and security of the nation’s election infrastructure,” according to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). ODNI also noted that these briefings were to focus on “increasing awareness of foreign adversary intent and capabilities against the state’s election infrastructure, as well as a discussion of threat mitigation efforts.”
On Friday, February 9, 2018, President Trump signed a continuing resolution, or CR, and spending deal that ended a brief government shutdown that morning. The two-year deal funds the federal government at current levels until March 23.
In a proactive effort to defend election integrity during the 2018 midterms where 435 House seats will be up for election, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is putting cyber security experts on-the-ground to vet election systems in states that voluntarily sign up for the service.
The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) recently released research introducing the “UOCAVA Gap,” a new and more effective metric that examines the effect of voting obstacles faced by Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) active duty military (ADM) members. Trends in the UOCAVA Gap suggest that, despite fluctuations in the ADM participation rate, overall UOCAVA obstacles to voting have been relatively stable from 2010 to 2016.
The Federal Voting Assistance Program just announced the release of their updated Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) and Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB), as well as the 2018-2019 Voting Assistance Guide. The Guide is available now on FVAP.gov and will be distributed to Voting Assistance Officers in December.