In August, U.S. District Judge Peter C. Economus in Ohio agreed to block the law, writing that creating two separate early voting deadlines would place more value on one person's vote over another's. On Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed this decision. County elections officials, as in 2008, will still have discretion over whether to open up early voting to all.
Iowa has hired a criminal agent to investigate voter fraud allegations.
In July, the Associated Press reported that Iowa signed a two-year $280,000 contract with an investigator from the state Division of Criminal Investigation to handle suspected cases of voter fraud. The agent's duties, according to the AP, are "subpoenaing voting records, checking their citizenship status, and interviewing suspects as he builds cases."
Iowa's Secretary of State Matt Schultz has identified more than 1,000 names of potential non-citizens to investigate. (Schultz has not responded to requests for comment.)
The first few cases haven't exactly revealed massive fraud: Two Canadian citizens arrested and charged with felony election misconduct for voting in 2010 and 2011 said they mistakenly believed they could vote in non-presidential elections as legal residents. A third person arrested was a Mexico native whose U.S. citizenship was challenged by the state.
As we've noted before, studies show that voter fraud is actually quite rare.
Other measures taken by Schultz's office — such as allowing anonymous voter fraud online complaints and pursuing non-citizen purging — has prompted legal action from the ACLU.
Texas has notified (living) voters that they are "potentially deceased."
Last year, the Texas Legislature passed a bill to ensure dead people were kept off its voter rolls. States have long been required to maintain clean voter rolls, so such updating isn't new.
But Texas went further, giving the secretary of state authority to conduct voter roll purges using relatively loose criteria like shared names and birthdate.
The result is that live voters have received notice that if they don't respond within 30 days, they're assumed dead and will be removed from the voter rolls.
The state's largest voting district, Harris County, has sent such letters to about 4,000 "potentially deceased" voters.
"Several hundred responded that said, 'Yeah, I'm still alive,'" said Fred King, communications manager for the Harris County Voter Registrar and Tax Office.
Election experts say that's not surprising. "The problem is that there is a much higher incidence of sharing names and birth dates than people realize," said David Becker, director of election initiatives at the Pew Center on the States.
After a lawsuit from four quite live voters, Texas agreed last week to roll back the purge. "Potentially deceased" voters will still be flagged, but will only be removed from the rolls if there's a hard match. (Secretary of State Hope Andrade has said that's just a technical change.)