Analysis

Secretaries of State Aim to Improve Voting Process

In the months following the November 2014 midterms, several newly elected secretaries of state, including Steve Simon (DFL-MN), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Paul Pate (R-IA), and Secretary-elect Shantel Krebs (R-SD), have outlined some of their ideas to improve election administration in their states.

  • Secretary Simon plans to automate “motor voter” registration at Minnesota’s Division of Driver and Vehicle Services.
  • Secretary Padilla intends to roll out VoteCal, the long-awaited statewide voter registration database. The new system will facilitate implementation of California’s same-day voter registration law. He also plans to bolster the state’s recent low turnout through press events, public service announcements, and social media campaigns to remind people when and how to cast a ballot. Additionally, Padilla is interested in using technology to help create vote centers.
  • Secretary Pate aims to upgrade the state’s technology to expand the use of electronic poll books, offer online voter registration, and implement electronic verification of absentee ballots.
  • South Dakota’s Krebs, disappointed with the state’s 55 percent turnout rate in November 2014, hopes to grow programs such as Kids Voting South Dakota to educate children and their parents about the importance of casting a ballot. She also plans to improve county auditors’ focus on customer service, which may require additional training and educational programs.

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