Election Integrity
Photo credit: L. Allen Brewer / Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

WhoWhatWhy’s Election Integrity Weekly is written by Gabriella Novello, and edited by William Dowell and Sue Rushford. Have a tip or want to suggest a story? Send us an email at


One Week Left Until Election Day: Everything about this election is unusual. We’re witnessing a historic rise in absentee voting, and election officials in most states admit that they probably won’t have final results on election night. WhoWhatWhy is beefing up our election integrity news desk and we have a few things in store for our readers. Stay tuned, and send us an email at  if you have any issues voting. 

Early Voting Deadlines: The District of Columbia witnessed lines wrapped around the corner at several polling places this morning as our nation’s capital kicked off the first day of early voting. My polling place wasn’t as bad — it took less than 10 minutes for me to cast a vote and I had the option of voting on an electronic voting machine or by paper.

Have you made your plan to vote yet? Here’s the lowdown on early voting:

  • If you live in Louisiana, early voting ends today.
  • Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, or Texas, early voting is already underway and ends October 30.
  • If you live in New Mexico, North Carolina, Virginia, or West Virginia early voting is already underway and ends October 31.
  • If you live in Florida, New York, or Wisconsin, early voting is already underway and ends November 1.
  • If you live in Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, or Wyoming, early voting is already underway and ends November 2.
  • If you live in Arkansas or Pennsylvania, early voting is already underway and ends November 3.
  • If you live in Oklahoma, early voting begins on October 29 and ends October 31.

Have You Registered to Vote Yet? Deadlines are approaching in several states. Here’s the lowdown:

  • If you live in New Mexico, the deadline to register to vote in person is October 31.
  • If you live in California, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, or Wyoming, you can register to vote in person on Election Day.
  • If you live in the District of Columbia, you can register in person during early voting or on Election Day.
  • If you live in North Carolina, you can register to vote in person from October 15 to October 30.
  • If you live in North Dakota, you are not required to register at all. Just bring a valid form of ID if you plan on voting in person. (read more)

ICYMI — WhoWhatWhy’s latest ebook by yours truly and investigative reporter Celeste Katz-Marston, Is This Any Way to Vote?: Vulnerable Voting Machines and the Mysterious Industry Behind Them, is now available on Amazon.

Campaign Finance, Explained: The total cost of the campaign for the 2020 election is expected to be more than $11 billion. Where does this money come from? Could publicly-funded election campaigns rein in spending?

Our latest edition of America Decides, 2020, looks at how the cost of running for office has reached a fever pitch. Lawmakers are beginning to warm to the idea of more transparency in political spending and donations. How we get there is open to debate. (read more)

Scrutineers Series, Part VIII: In this week’s edition of Scrutineers, Emily Levy talks to one county recorder who has made previously opaque information about how to vote accessible for his community. Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes has significantly increased the transparency and security of his county’s elections. What’s his secret? Listening to election security advocates. (listen here)

Brewer Battles Biden Banner Ban: Kirk Bangstad, a progressive Democrat, is running for the Wisconsin state Assembly, in a heavily Republican district. He has owned the Minocqua Brewing Company since 2014. To protest the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic, Bangstad put an enormous Biden-Harris 2020 sign on the wall of his brewery.  Now, county officials have ordered him to remove it or face fines.

His response? “Make my day.” (read more)

It’s Raining Lawsuits in Pennsylvania: President Trump narrowly won the Keystone State in 2016, and Pennsylvania remains on his “must-win” list again this year. Our Pennsylvania team Tom Ferrick, Daniel Goncalves, and Matt Bernardini report:

“The suits have been filed by the Trump campaign or Trump surrogates to set up roadblocks to voting or to set the table for legal and political challenges to election results if, as expected, the president loses to Democrat Joe Biden in the state in the November 3 election…”

“For the most part, the courts are rejecting the suits. The latest to do so was the US Supreme Court, which refused … to overturn a state court decision that allowed mail-in ballots postmarked on Election Day to be counted if they arrive within three days of the election…”

“If Trump cannot win Pennsylvania on November 3 by going through the front door and defeating Biden, his supporters seem willing to go around to the back door and make the post-election period a legal and political hell, eventually making their way to the US Supreme Court, where new Justice Barrett and her conservative brethren await.” (read more)

In the Courts

  • Curling v. Raffensperger: The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, without explanation, stayed a judge’s order Saturday night that would have required Georgia to have backup paper copies of the voter rolls at polling sites on Election Day.
  • Trump for President, et al. v. Cegavske: A judge denied the Trump campaign’s temporary restraining order request to block absentee ballot-counting procedures in one of Nevada’s most populous counties until a “meaningful” process for public observation is established.
  • Trump for President, et al. v. Boockvar: The Pennsylvania State Supreme Court ruled that the state’s Election Code “does not authorize or require county election boards to reject absentee or mail-in ballots […] based on an analysis of a voter’s signature.”


WhoWhatWhy and Readers’ Picks of the Week:


For more of WhoWhatWhy’s work on Protecting Our Vote, see our Student Voter Guide and our series America Decides 2020. You can also find out the darker secrets behind our voting systems in our recently published e-book Is This Any Way to Vote?: Vulnerable Voting Machines and the Mysterious Industry Behind Them by Celeste Katz Marston and Gabriella Novello, available on Amazon now.

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