The Voting News

Editorials: Before convicting four Alabama counties of voter fraud, let’s see the evidence | Bob Nicholson/AL.com

If you needed to rotate the tires on your car would you accomplish that task by changing the oil? Silly idea isn’t it? Yet that analogy is on target when you look at the Alabama Legislature’s actions in establishing strong voter ID laws. They claim that they are reacting to fraud allegations and a crowd of onlookers, columnists and pundits, are cheering them onward. Unfortunately, only a brief examination of the “evidence” shows no fraud. I am a Certified Fraud Examiner. The definition of fraud is specific (wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain) and to casually alleging such is irresponsible. In order to prove fraud, not only do you have to show what happened, you have to show intent as well. Lacking a confession admitting intent, fraud is proven in court by ruling out all other possibilities. Let’s look at the latest “evidence” and see if it meets the definition of proving fraud. Four counties in Alabama, Macon, Wilcox, Lowndes and Greene, have more voters on the roll than the US Census Department estimated their adult populations to be in 2012 by a cumulative 2934 people. And, these counties vote with a strong Democratic majority. Not only that, but in 2012 former Alabama Congressman Artur Davis alleged that wholesale voter fraud goes on in parts of the Black Belt. Convinced that there is fraud going on? Don’t convict just yet. Read More

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Arkansas: Judge voids Arkansas voter ID law | Associated Press

An Arkansas judge struck down the state’s new voter ID law on Thursday, saying it violates the state constitution by adding a requirement that voters must meet before casting a ballot. Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox voided the measure in a lawsuit over the way absentee ballots are handled under the law. A separate lawsuit had been filed last week directly challenging the law, which requires voters to show photo identification before casting a ballot. The law “is declared void and unenforceable,” Fox wrote in the ruling. The Republican-led Legislature approved the law last year, overriding a veto by Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe with a simple majority vote in the House and Senate. Backers of the measure said it was aimed at reducing voter fraud, while opponents said it would disenfranchise voters. A spokesman for Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, a Democrat, says the state Board of Election Commissioners has asked McDaniel’s office to appeal Thursday’s ruling, and it will do so. Read More

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Voting Blogs: States prepare to implement voter photo ID | electionlineWeekly

While there are times that it may seem like we have been talking about voter ID forever, the number of states that have strict photo ID requirements to cast a ballot is still relatively low. Currently 34 states require some form of ID in order to cast a ballot, but only eight states are strict photo ID states. Strict photo ID states, as defined by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) are those states where, “[v]oters without acceptable identification must vote on a provisional ballot and also take additional steps after Election Day for it to be counted.” Two of those strict photo ID states are implementing photo ID requirements on a large-scale basis for the first time this year during their primaries: Mississippi and Arkansas. Read More

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National: Parties vie for high ground on November get-out-the-vote efforts | The Hill

Ask any party operative and they’ll tell you that a ground game wins or loses elections. But new voter ID laws and expansive targeting technology have made get-out-the-vote efforts even more complicated and crucial for this year’s midterms and the next presidential election for both parties. After Republicans faced devastating losses in 2012, the GOP is investing heavily in its ground game to prevent a similar outcome in the 2016 presidential year, when Democrats will have the advantage. But Democrats are more immediately worried about 2014. After historic losses in the 2010 elections, when crucial voting blocs stayed home, the party is gearing up for another tough midterm fight by investing tens of millions of dollars in turnout operations in competitive Senate states to translate their presidential ground-game advantage to the midterms. Jeremy Bird, the architect of Obama’s revolutionary data operation, is now involved in that effort with his consulting firm, 270 Strategies. Bird said while many of the same tactics apply, Democrats have to grapple with a different universe of voters in the midterm elections. “We’re not trying to recreate the presidential electorate but trying to create a winning midterm electorate. We’re trying to figure out who are those drop-off voters. Who are the voters likely to vote in presidential elections and likely to vote in midterms if you engage them, educate them and turn them out?” he said. Read More

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National: Federal Election Commission to Consider Allowing Bitcoin Donations to Campaigns | NewsBTC

Bitcoin and politics. They may soon go hand-in-hand. Financially speaking, of course. The Federal Election Commission will reportedly consider a request on Wednesday to officially allow political campaigns to accept bitcoin donations in the mid-term elections coming up. The news comes as bitcoin continues its rapid growth and more organizations are embracing the digital currency, which allows for easy transactions less hefty fees charged by traditional card processors. A non-partisan political group by the name of Make Your Laws made the request, which they’re hoping will be approved. Make Your Laws is launching soon, and seeks to use technology to empower citizens when it comes to elections and democracy. Read More

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National: Rand Paul calls out GOP over voter fraud claims | MSNBC

Sen. Rand Paul thinks the GOP might be over-hyping instances of voter fraud, and that Republicans shouldn’t scrap early voting. “There is still some fraud, and so we should stop that,” the Kentucky senator, considered a leading potential contender for the GOP’s 2016 presidential nomination, told former Obama adviser David Axelrod during a sit-down Tuesday at the University of Chicago. “Although the incidence of fraud is relatively small,” Axelrod said. “It probably is, and I think Republicans may have over-emphasized this. I don’t know,” replied Paul, who made clear that, like most of his party, he supports voter ID requirements. Read More

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Arkansas: May 2 hearing set in voter ID lawsuit | Arkansas News

A judge on Wednesday scheduled a May 2 hearing to consider motions in a lawsuit challenging a state law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls. Wednesday also was the final day for attorneys to file briefs in a separate lawsuit over how absentee ballots should be handled under the law. Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox scheduled a hearing in a lawsuit alleging that Act 595 of 2013, which took effect Jan. 1, unconstitutionally burdens voters by subjecting them to requirements that go beyond the requirements set forth in the Arkansas Constitution. The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas and the Arkansas Law Center filed the suit in Pulaski County Circuit Court last week on behalf of four Arkansas voters. This week, the plaintiffs filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to bar enforcement of the law before the May 20 primary and nonpartisan election. Read More

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California: Senate panel supports governor filling legislative vacancies | Los Angeles Times

Alarmed by the cost of holding special elections whenever a vacancy occurs in the Legislature, a state panel on Tuesday endorsed putting a measure before voters that would allow the governor to appoint people to fill empty seats. Los Angeles County has held 20 special elections since 2008 at a cost of $27 million, County Clerk Dean Logan told the Senate Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee. Turnout in many special elections is as low as 12%. Read More

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California: Voter Registration Website Now Available In 10 Languages | KPBS

It might not be on the top of everyone’s calendar, but there’s another election coming up. The state primary election is June 3 and the last day to register for that election in May 19. In an effort to raise voter participation in the state, California’s Secretary of State has just added eight more languages to its online voting site. Now eligible voters in California can register to vote in English, Spanish, Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Tagalog, Thai and Vietnamese. It’s also made the site more accessible to people with disabilities. Read More

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Connecticut: Democratic Governors Association Files Complaint Against Election Regulators | CT News Junkie

The Democratic Governors Association filed a lawsuit in federal court Wednesday alleging that Connecticut’s campaign laws infringe on their First Amendment rights to spend money on behalf of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. Malloy, who is seeking reelection this year, has been a fundraiser for the DGA and member since winning his election in 2010. The 32-page lawsuit says Connecticut’s campaign laws have “forced” the DGA into “a constitutionally untenable choice: it can avoid protected speech in which it seeks to engage; it can forego the support and participation of Connecticut’s citizens in raising the funds that it needs to maintain a robust national program; or it can entertain very real threats of investigation, fines, and criminal prosecution.” It fears what will happen if it makes an expenditure on behalf of Malloy or against one of his opponents. “If DGA engages in its desired course of conduct, it runs a serious risk of being prosecuted for violating the Challenged Provisions and Rulings. DGA faces an even greater risk of protracted and costly investigation for engaging in what is lawful, First Amendment-protected conduct,” the complaint states. Read More

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