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December 2010

We found this article on the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. It's great to see to his a part of history being preserved. Begin Article: One-room cabin will be preserved The welcome mat outside the Simpson Voting House in Derry Township should read "Home Sweet Home" after the 110-year-old structure's scheduled relocation this week by Westmoreland County. Its new site is just a mile away in New Alexandria, less than two miles from the intersection of Route 982 and Route 22. "This move will save it forever," said Bob Reintgen, a member and former president of the Derry Area Historical Society. "It will be on land donated to the county. [Since] the house is also owned by the county, the county will do maintenance and take care of it." The one-story, one-room cabin on private land was built for voting at a time when the county was largely rural and voting houses were common. Machines were brought in on Election Day each year and taken away at day's end. As the number of voting houses dwindled, the Simpson Voting House, despite falling into disrepair, continued to be used until 2003. "It is the only county-owned voting house still in existence, so it is a gem," said Mr. Reintgen of Latrobe. The move will cost the county less than $15,000, with the preparation work done by the Public Works Department. "We're working on plans now to restore it so that the people of the Simpson District may vote in it again," county Commissioner Ted Kopas said. "We think it is important to honor the heritage of this county and a forgotten period when people voted

This article was originally posted on the U.S. Election Assistance Commission's website and can be found here. Article Begins: Legislation and information technology spur innovation, resulting in more transparent, efficient and accessible voting procedures WASHINGTON- Legislative reforms brought on by the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) along with advances in information technology have led to marked changes over the past 10 years in the way elections are administered in the United States, according to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. Ten years ago, early voting was rare. Absentee ballot tracking and vote centers were unheard of. And live webcasts of the vote tabulation process weren’t available. Yet innovations such as these have become increasingly commonplace. HAVA was a catalyst for many such election reforms by providing funds to states to modernize their voting systems and voter registration databases. For instance, the HAVA-mandated move to statewide voter registration databases facilitated the migration from paper poll books to digital poll books, which makes the voter check-in process faster and more accurate. Some of the biggest innovations have taken place on the web, where voters in a majority of states can verify their voter registration, get directions to their polling place, and download a sample ballot from the Web site of their elections office. Several states also offer online voter registration, which can reduce administrative costs while producing more accurate voter lists. Numerous counties have embraced social media to communicate with

Even though this article posted on the U.S. Election Assistance Commission's website on September 30, 2010, it's a good article on the early voting trend. Article Begins: WASHINGTON- The recent trend toward early voting is expected to continue this year as states offer more options for casting ballots prior to Election Day. Thirty-two states will offer in-person early voting this year, an increase from 9 in 1998 according to the Early Voting Information Center at Reed College. Early voting—often defined as casting a ballot in person or by mail before Election Day—has steadily increased over the past decade. The number of ballots cast early reached 30.3 percent in 2008, according to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission’s (EAC) 2008 Election Administration and Voting Survey, an increase of roughly 10 percent over 2006. In some states, early voting has become so commonplace that it exceeds Election Day turnout. Nevada, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas reported early voter turnout rates of more than 50 percent during the 2008 presidential election. Washington state reported that nearly 90 percent of votes were cast early through absentee ballot. “Early voting was introduced to increase voter turnout by making voting more convenient,” said EAC Chair Donetta Davidson, a former Colorado elections director and secretary of state. “It has become as integral to the electoral process as Election Day itself.” Historically, voters needed to provide