Egypt’s interim president on Saturday issued a much-anticipated decree governing an upcoming presidential election that clears the way for a vote many expect will be won by the country’s military chief. Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has not yet officially announced he will run for president, but it is a widely expected move. After the Interim President Adly Mansour’s legal adviser, Ali Awad, announced the move on state television, the election commission is expected to set the date for the vote in April, opening the door for candidates to run. The election is a key step in a transition plan laid out by interim authorities in July after the army ousted President Mohammed Morsi.
The Voting News
Ohio: Husted disqualifies 2 Libertarian candidates from May primary after protests | Associated Press
Two Libertarian candidates for statewide office were tossed from Ohio’s primary ballot on Friday in a state election chief’s ruling that sparked immediate plans for a legal challenge. Secretary of State Jon Husted issued a brief statement in disqualifying gubernatorial candidate Charlie Earl and attorney general candidate Steven Linnabary from the May 6 primary, saying he had adopted a hearing officer’s recommendations. The candidates’ nominating petitions were challenged on two grounds: that signature gatherers failed to comply with Ohio laws requiring them to be either Libertarian or political independent and another requiring them to disclose their employer. Mark Brown, an attorney for the Libertarian Party of Ohio, said the party will challenge the decision in federal court.
The author of a report cited repeatedly to justify cracking down on potential voter fraud says the Harper government is misrepresenting his report and ignoring his recommendations. Indeed, Harry Neufeld says there’s not a shred of evidence that there have been more than “a handful” of cases of deliberate voter fraud in either federal or provincial elections. ”I never said there was voter fraud,” Neufeld said in an interview with The Canadian Press. ”Nor did the Supreme Court, who looked at this extremely carefully.” Neufeld said the government’s efforts to prevent voter fraud are aimed at a non-existent problem. And he predicted they’ll wind up disenfranchising thousands of voters and resulting in a rash of court challenges. The former chief electoral officer for British Columbia was commissioned by Elections Canada to review the problem of non-compliance with the rules for casting ballots after a challenge to the 2011 results in the Toronto riding of Etobicoke Centre disclosed numerous irregularities. That case went all the way to the Supreme Court, which last year rejected a bid by the failed Liberal candidate to overturn the results.
Voter fraud is minuscule. No massive voting irregularities have been uncovered in Ohio. Ballot stuffing, perpetrated by individuals who scheme to skew elections in the state, is a myth. So the new Republican-backed voting restrictions adopted recently in Ohio are not really about preventing deceit at the polls. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted launched a comprehensive investigation of voting in the state after the last presidential election in 2012. It produced almost no evidence of voting irregularities worthy of prosecution. Out of more than 5.5 million Ohio votes cast in November, 2012, just 135 were referred to law enforcement agencies for review. Mr. Husted, a Republican, concluded that while voter fraud exists, “it’s not an epidemic.” So if large-scale voter fraud is virtually nonexistent in Ohio, we can rule out aggressive policing as the motivation behind GOP efforts to chip away at established voting practices in the state.
For more than 40 years, Iowa voters have played a vital role in picking the nation’s president, culling the field of hopefuls and helping launch a fortunate handful all the way to the White House. For about 35 of those years, Iowa has been the target of jealousy and scorn, mainly from outsiders who say the state, the first to vote in the presidential contest, is too white and too rural; that its caucuses, precinct-level meetings of party faithful, are too quirky and too exclusionary to play such a key role in the nominating process. Now, a swelling chorus of critics is mounting a fresh challenge to Iowa’s privileged role, targeting especially the August straw poll held the year before the election, which traditionally established the Republican Party front-runner. Increasingly, critics say, the informal balloting has proved a meaningless and costly diversion of time and money. Some GOP strategists are urging candidates to think hard before coming to Iowa at all.
International: One billion voters go to polls in most democratic month world has ever seen | The Guardian
April may traditionally be the cruellest month, but in 2014 it will also be the most democratic the world has ever seen. More than a billion people are eligible to vote in a sudden flurry of national elections in some of the world’s largest – and newest democracies. As well as the 800 million eligible to casts their ballot in India from 7 April, another 190 million have the right to vote in Indonesian elections on 9 April. In terms of size of electorate, India and Indonesia are the world’s first and third largest democracies. The US is second.
Last year, the Supreme Court ruled on a case involving an Alabama county that wanted to see key sections of the Voting Rights Act eliminated. Shelby County mostly got its wish. Southern states no longer have to have their voting rules vetted by the federal government. Now, an electrical engineer and Republican activist–Shaun McCutcheon, also from Alabama–has a case before the high court that threatens to upend the current status quo on campaign finance. Due any day now, the court’s ruling in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission could overturn a nearly 40-year-old law that limits what individuals give to campaigns and what they can give in total. Politicians and activists are watching closely because in 2010 the Roberts court overturned a century’s worth of law with its Citizens United ruling that allowed unlimited contributions and contributions by corporations to certain kinds of political committees.
Much of the rancor around why they opposed Debo Adegbile for heading the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division has been about Mumia Abu-Jamal. But it seems from their line of questioning that there’s also an agenda to undermine the Civil Rights Divisions’ duties to enforce voting rights and protect Americans against discrimination. This probably explains why Attorney General Eric Holder and President Obama sound really pissed with the Senate right now. “At a time when significant voting rights cases and other consequential matters are pending, it is more critical than ever to have a confirmed leader for the Civil Rights Division,” said Holder in a statement decrying the Senate vote. “He deserved to have his nomination considered wholly on the merits.” President Obama called it a “travesty” noting that Adegbile’s “unwavering dedication to protecting every American’s civil and Constitutional rights under the law—including voting rights —could not be more important right now.”
Making sure every vote counts and every vote is secure is of the utmost importance to all elections officials. When the voters are members of our military or residents serving and living abroad, the counting of those votes is as important, it’s just a bit more complex. Through the years there have been a variety of legislative measures such as the MOVE Act to make sure that ballots are sent to and accepted from overseas voters in a timely fashion. There have been some attempts — some somewhat successful, some not-so-much — to create secure systems for overseas residents to case their ballots electronically. Now the Overseas Vote Foundation (OVF) is conducting a new study that will team up scientists and state and local elections officials to look at the feasibility of end-to-end, verifiable, secure Internet voting for military and overseas voters.
For the first time ever, more than half of all California voters in 2012 voted by mail, and in most regions of the state, more than 60 percent dropped their ballots in the mailbox rather than the polls, according to a new University of California, Davis, policy paper. But not all voters are using mail ballots at the same rates. There are disparities in the rate of vote-by-mail use by age, race, ethnicity and political party in California. “Outreach and services to voters — including election and campaign materials — may need to be retooled to reflect these different use rates to ensure all voters have access to the voting option that is most useful for them, said Mindy S. Romero, author of the paper. Romero is founding director of the UC Davis California Civic Engagement Project, which collects and analyzes statewide data on voters and other civic issues.