True-The-Vote unapproved by @BloggersRUs

True-The-Vote unapproved

by Tom Sullivan

Dawn over downtown Denver and the Front Range to the south. Photo by Robert Cash via Creative Commons.

Amber McReynolds, director of the Denver Elections Division, has a process for cleaning up the city's voter rolls without de-registering voters willy-nilly. It makes ballots easier to count and the voter rolls easier to administer:

In the 2016 general election, turnout was at 72 percent — up six points from the city’s 2008’s turnout, and ten points higher than the national average in 2016, according to the city's data. The effort has driven election costs down, from $6.51 per voter to $4.15 per voter.


Some voters are so impressed with the changes — and later how she handled the president's voter integrity commission's request for voter data — they've mailed in thank you notes, McReynolds said. She keeps one on her desk: a homemade secrecy sleeve for a ballot a voter cast in honor of her mother, born 18 years before suffrage, and three aunts.

Denver also uses technology to keep voters in the loop. You can text questions to an automated help system (15,396 queries were answered this way in 2016), and watch ballots being counted and verified by signature on a Periscope live feed. Ballots are mailed to voters, and returned by mail or at designated drop-off locations, where bar codes are scanned to prevent duplicates. This has improved accuracy and efficiency: In 2016, there were just 340 provisional ballots cast by voters whose eligibility or registration was questioned, down dramatically from 10,721 in 2012.

It sounds like a model Kris Kobach won't want to replicate.

Now that ain't purgin' that's the way you do it

But that's not how they do it in Ohio. On Monday, the Trump administration threw itself behind Ohio's Supreme Court appeal of its voter purge:

Ohio has purged more voters from its rolls than any other state — 2 million voters from 2011 to 2016, including 1.2 million for infrequent voting. An analysis from Reuters found that voters in Democratic-leaning areas were nearly twice as likely to be removed as those in Republican-leaning ones. The filing of the amicus brief is a direct reversal of the Obama administration’s position on the case.
If Ohio and Jeff Sessions lose in the Supreme Court, as North Carolina Republicans did in May, they could always try Amber McReynolds' approach to cleaning up voter rolls. But then they would have to find reasons besides messy voter rolls for erecting new barriers to the wrong kinds of people voting. They would. They're very clever that way.

* * * * * * * *

Request a copy of For The Win, my county-level election mechanics primer, at tom.bluecentury at gmail.