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.
The Voting News
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.
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.
At the urging of state Sen. Jack Latvala, the Senate will take up voting law changes that include preventing counties from using satellite locations where voters can drop off absentee ballots. The proposal is aimed at Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark, but it antagonized two other supervisors who say dropoff sites save money and are convenient for voters. The Senate plan follows a confrontation in December between Clark and Gov. Rick Scott’s top elections official, Secretary of State Ken Detzner, who ordered an end to dropoff sites because no law allows it. Clark continues to defy the directive and is using five sites in the Congressional District 13 special election.
Kentucky: Thayer files bill clarifying Rand Paul’s ability to seek re-election and run for president in 2016 | Kentucky.com
State Sen. Damon Thayer introduced a bill Thursday afternoon that would clear the way for U.S. Sen. Rand Paul to seek re-election to the Senate and run for president on the same Kentucky ballot in 2016. Thayer, R-Georgetown, and other allies of Paul said the proposal would make clear that an existing state law prohibiting candidates from appearing twice on the same ballot applies only to those seeking state and local offices. Paul, who is openly flirting with a run for the White House in 2016, and his supporters say he already has the ability to pursue both seats at the same time, but the legislation filed Thursday would thwart any legal challenges to his potential multiple candidacies.
The attorney for an ex-felon charged with illegally voting must be allowed to question an aide to Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad before the trial begins, a judge ruled Thursday. Kelli Jo Griffin’s attorney had claimed that Branstad aide Rebecca Elming, a prosecution witness, refused to be deposed last week on the advice of state lawyers. But Branstad spokesman Jimmy Centers disputed that Thursday, saying the deposition had not been scheduled. ”Now that a deposition has been requested, we will work with the parties to make Elming available,” he said. Judge Mary Ann Brown said Griffin had a right to depose Elming before trial, which she delayed from Thursday until March 19 due to an attorney’s illness.