The Voting News


Afghanistan: Election Result Hinges on a Squabble-Prone Audit | New York Times

Seemingly endless squabbles are interrupted by full-scale shouting matches. Campaign aides mutter suspiciously about what foreign visitors might be up to. And ballot boxes are piling up, waiting to be cracked open and examined for signs of fraud. In two spartan, stifling warehouses on the edge of Kabul, hundreds of Afghans, Americans and Europeans are engaged in a last-ditch attempt to salvage an acceptably democratic result from an election dispute that has been tumbling toward a street fight, or worse. They are auditing all of the roughly eight million ballots cast in last month’s presidential runoff, trying to separate fraud from fact. But a week into the process, the audit has engendered little confidence, and is already desperately behind schedule.Only 4.5 percent of the roughly 22,000 ballot boxes had been examined by Wednesday. Each day has seemed to yield some new dispute or confusion that has put on the brakes. Does writing “insh’allah” — God willing — next to the name of a candidate on a ballot constitute a legitimate vote? Is it proper for campaign representatives to move between tables, urging colleagues to argue harder? And who was that tall, bearded foreigner with no badge? Read More


Montana: For first time since ‘72, no initiatives make ballot | The Montana Standard

Secretary of State Linda McCulloch said Monday that no citizen initiatives obtained enough voter signatures to qualify for the November ballot. That’s the first time that’s happened in more than four decades. “We haven’t had a general election ballot without a citizen initiative on the ballot since 1972,” McCulloch said. “That’s the same year voters approved the current Montana Constitution.” To place a statutory initiative for the ballot requires the signatures of 5 percent of the total registered Montana voters or 24,175 signatures, including those of 5 percent of the voters in 34 of the 100 state House districts. Qualifying a proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot takes the signatures of 10 percent of the total registered voters or 48,349 signatures, including 10 percent of the voters in 40 of the 100 state House districts. McCulloch attributed the failure of groups to qualify initiatives to one factor. “Absentee voting has probably changed things,” McCulloch said. “Signature gatherers usually set up shop outside polling places for school and primary elections, and now there just aren’t as many people around to sign the petitions.” Read More


Editorials: Chris McDaniel should either show evidence or concede in Mississippi’s GOP primary | The Washington Post

It took just a few words for state Sen. Chris McDaniel to stoke tea party fervor after his runoff loss in the Mississippi Republican primary to incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran. “We’re not done fighting,” he said defiantly to the June 24 election-night crowd. A messy primary was about to get worse. Mr. McDaniel, who lost by about 7,600 votes, claimed that there were voting “irregularities,” insisting that those who voted in the June 3 Democratic primary illegally cast ballots three weeks later in the Republican runoff. He also argued that many voters broke an obscure and unenforceable Mississippi law that prohibits citizens from participating in a primary unless they intend to back the party’s nominee in the general election. Because Mississippi does not register voters by party, Mr. Cochran had focused on getting more left-leaning, African American voters to the polls for the runoff. Read More


United Kingdom: Prisoners’ appeal to vote in Scottish independence referendum rejected | The Independent

Two prisoners, who argued that rules which bar them from voting in the Scottish independence referendum breach their human rights, have lost an appeal at the Supreme Court. The UK’s highest court dismissed claims brought by Leslie Moohan and Andrew Gillon following a day-long hearing in London on Thursday. A panel of Supreme Court Justices analysed provisions laid out in the Scottish Independence Referendum (Franchise) Act 2013, and considered whether a ban on prisoners voting was incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights, and whether they breached the common law right to vote. The justices were told that both inmates want to vote in the referendum on September 18 but are not eligible under the Franchise Act. Read More


Indonesia: Courts to decide on election fraud allegations | The Malay Mail Online

An attempt by ex-general Prabowo Subianto to overturn the Indonesian vote that elevated Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo to the presidency is set to hinge on nine justices in a test of the highest court for election matters. Prabowo’s lawyer said the Suharto-era commando will file a suit with the Constitutional Court tomorrow questioning the validity of about 30 million votes after Widodo, known as Jokowi, won by 8.4 million ballots. Prabowo, 62, pulled out of vote counting after calling the July 9 poll “undemocratic” and riddled with fraud. Prabowo’s last-minute effort to swing the result will raise pressure on the court to issue a decision rooted in the law. Failure to deliver a clean result would be a setback for a young democracy still emerging from decades of rule by dictator Suharto, and may risk street protests that could destabilise Asia’s fifth-largest economy. “Voters believe the election was fair and from the perspective of the public it’s doubtful there’s been massive fraud,” according to Dodi Ambardi, executive director of polling agency Lembaga Survei Indonesia and a member of Persepi, an organisation of survey companies. A ruling changing the outcome “will result in unrest in Indonesian society because there will be so much evidence showing the election commission’s vote-counting process, which was done in the public eye, is being overturned.” Read More

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Tennessee: Shelby County Democrats call for federal monitors after glitch | The Commercial Appeal

Shelby County Democratic Party chairman Bryan Carson said Thursday he will ask for federal monitors to oversee the county election after a glitch that he claimed caused problems for early voters during the day. But Election Commission chairman Robert Meyers said the problem should not have impacted votes being cast. Meyers said a construction crew dropped a load of rocks over ground near the early voting location at the Agricenter that was on top of a fiber-optic line. The line was used for precincts to access the registration database when voters check in, he said, and the glitch impacted more than just the Agricenter site. “That’s really kind of a back-of-the-house operation,” Meyers said. And that’s separate from the actual voting machines, which store votes on memory cards. Read More


California: Alarcon conviction is the latest in string of residency prosecutions | Los Angeles Times

With their convictions this year, two Los Angeles politicians face prison time for a crime once seen as nearly impossible to prosecute. Former Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon was found guilty this week of perjury and voter fraud for lying about where he lived so he could run for city office. With state Sen. Roderick Wright convicted on similar felony charges in January, Alarcon became the ninth politician since 2002 to be successfully prosecuted by the Los Angeles County district attorney for not living in the districts they ran to represent. There was also a Vernon mayor, a West Covina school board member and a Huntington Park city councilwoman, to name just a few. ”Any politician who doesn’t take this seriously is really very self-destructive,” said Raphael Sonenshein, executive director of the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at Cal State Los Angeles. In the past, the vagueness of the legal standard for residency has made these crimes “particularly difficult to prove,” said UC Irvine election law professor Richard Hasen. Read More


Florida: Judge ‘skeptical’ he can delay election with unconstitutional map | Orlando Sentinel

Facing a looming electoral deadline, a judge said Thursday he was “extremely skeptical” he could delay elections this fall using Central Florida’s illegally drawn congressional maps. Instead, Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis said he would make a decision by the end of next week on what to do now that he has found they unconstitutionally were drawn with partisan intent. Lewis ruled earlier this month that the Florida Legislature’s congressional map violated the 2010 anti-gerrymandering reforms voter passed, thanks to evidence presented at trial that a handful of GOP political operatives had gamed the system to get more favorable maps submitted to the Legislature. But now that ruling is running into the realities of the political calendar. With a primary slated for next month, thousands of absentee and overseas ballots already mailed, and a slate of candidates already lined up, lawyers for the Legislature and county election supervisors said unhinging that process now would cause chaos. Read More


Ukraine: Prime minister quits, parties force new election | Reuters

Ukraine’s prime minister tendered his resignation on Thursday, berating parliament for failing to pass legislation to take control over an increasingly precarious energy situation and to increase army financing. Earlier on Thursday, two parties quit the government coalition, forcing new elections to a parliament whose make-up has not changed since before the toppling of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovich in February. His successor, President Petro Poroshenko, supported the move, which one politician said would clear “Moscow agents” from the chamber. Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk’s resignation could leave a hole at the heart of decision-making as Ukraine struggles to fund a war with pro-Russian rebels in its east and deals with the aftermath of a plane crash that killed 298 people. Read More


Kansas: Confusion over voter registration | KAKE

There was confusion today – over voter registration as early voting begins. And at least some of the confusion stems from the state’s new dual registration voting system. Most people who vote at the Butler County courthouse find the experience quick and easy. Your photo identification is scanned and you’re good to go. But County Clerk Don Engels says since the law changed in January, 2013 some 300 people have filed incomplete or inaccurate voter registration forms. Read More