Colorado is dropping the use of QR codes from ballots statewide, saying the ubiquitous square bar codes are susceptible to hacking that could manipulate election results.
This will make Colorado, likely one of the most hotly contested states in the 2020 presidential contest and also home to one of next year's premier Senate races, the first state where all ballots get tabulated "using only human-verifiable information," officials said in an announcement Monday.
Conservative groups have launched an effort to amend the Colorado constitution to specify that only U.S. citizens may vote in the state.
It's the latest front in a campaign designed to galvanize anti-immigrant sentiment in the electorates of more than a dozen states, many of them likely presidential battlegrounds next year.
It's also a solution in search of a problem. American citizenship is already a requirement for voting under federal law and in virtually every state election. (A handful of places permit non-citizens to vote in local contests.) The Colorado Constitution, for example, says "every citizen" may vote who meets qualifications and is registered.
Citizen Voters Inc., a national nonprofit working to spearhead and help finance 2020 ballot measures across the country, is gathering signatures on a petition that would put a proposed constitutional amendment on the Colorado ballot next fall -- changing those two words to "only a citizen."
The group's chairman and treasurer is John Loudon, a former Republican state senator in Missouri. His wife, Gina, who frequently appears on conservative radio and TV, is spokeswoman. Both are ardent promoters of President Trump, were active in his winning campaign and belong to his Mar-a-Lago Club.
McReynolds is executive director of the National Vote at Home Institute, a nonpartisan organization dedicated to expanding voting by mail-out ballot.
During this year's state legislative sessions, we saw nice progress, but also a number of myths, unfounded fears and outright falsehoods about "vote at home" or "vote by mail" election systems, in which all or most voters in a state or county are sent ballots in the mail and not required to go to traditional polling places.
For starters, VAH critics often ignore the reality that all 50 states already use this voting method at some level (aka absentee ballots). And objections often get presented in a vacuum, ignoring how traditional "polling-place-centric" methods have major inherent disadvantages.
Polling-place-centric elections poorly serve millions. Think about older or disabled voters unable to get to the polls; rural voters far from a polling place; first responders whose schedules can be preempted; parents working two jobs; families with sick children; students and many others with real-life issues that prevent voting in a fixed place, within a limited window of time.
Polling-place models also suffer from execution problems that can disenfranchise large swaths of eligible voters, both innocent and not always so: missing power cords for the machines, malfunctioning machines, poll workers who forgot the keys, long lines where voters give up and go home, voters told their registration is not valid, voters without "proper" ID and polling places far removed from some communities.
But well-implemented VAH models enable all to cast their ballots on their terms and timelines, while providing more days and more ways to vote, including in-person options. And if a close election demands a recount, VAH systems have paper ballots for every vote cast.
Sometime in the next few days, 45-year-old Milton Thomas of Nashville is going to pick up his mail and find something that symbolizes another step in his ongoing journey toward being a productive citizen.
It's his voter registration card.
Thomas lost his right to vote when he was convicted of a drug-related felony – one of an estimated 6 million people nationwide disenfranchised because of felony convictions.
His return to the voting rolls is just one example of a slowly expanding nationwide movement to restore voting rights for convicted felons – one that has sometimes sparked controversy and also made for unusual political alliances.