More than five months after the Cambodian People’s Party and the Cambodia National Rescue Party first announced a joint commitment to electoral reform following a September 16 meeting, specific measures have finally been agreed upon. The first official meeting yesterday of a bipartisan committee tasked with discussing election reforms agreed on “the organisation of voter registration and a voter list to guarantee and defend the voting rights of all people”, and that a law on political party finance be created, a joint statement says. While the two sides have agreed in principle on the need for a revamped voter list, details of how that could be practically implemented will only be decided after a yet-to-be-scheduled national workshop with relevant stakeholders, opposition spokesman and committee member Yim Sovann said last night.
In the future, you may have the option to make certain your voter information is not accessible by the general public. Utah’s House of Representatives approved legislation on Tuesday, on a vote of 71-2, that will allow the public to request that their voter information be kept private. The bill, H.B. 302, also calls for birth dates to be unavailable when someone purchases Utah’s voter rolls, but the records would still list a voter’s age. ”I believe strongly an individual should not have to trade their constitutional right to vote in order to ensure their privacy,” said Rep. Becky Edwards, R-North Salt Lake. Edwards explained that the legislation comes as a direct result to a website that surfaced earlier this year that contains the whole Utah voter roll on it.
Political parties in the autonomous Kurdistan Region are concerned that new electronic cards that voters will use in Iraq’s parliamentary elections in April can encourage irregularities, because the system is not fully computerized. Kurdish officials worry that the new cards contain several flaws. They note that because polling stations are not connected by computer, any card holder can vote more than once at different election booths. Another concern has been that cards are issued on the basis of old voter lists, containing names of people who are long dead, or common names appearing more than once as different individuals. “The fear is what happens to the additional cards that are not received by people; how about the duplicate cards and the dead people?” wondered Aram Sheikh Muhammad, an elections official of the Change Movement (Gorran).
Officials in the Queen City could remove up to 8,200 people from its voter rolls in the coming months as part of a citywide “checklist verification” process. Starting on Thursday, the Office of the City Clerk will send postcards to 8,200 residents who have not voted according to its records since the 2008 election. City Clerk Matt Normand said the goal was to keep the voter list as up to date as possible to avoid a large and complicated state-mandated purge in 2020. “Periodic verification avoids a major purge of tens of thousands of voters during the state-mandated 10-year checklist purge, which stresses the office and ward officials for those looking to re-register once in any of the subsequent eight citywide elections held at Manchester polls,” Normand said in a statement announcing the move.
The United States prides itself for its egalitarian democracy, a democracy inwhich the weight of one’s vote is the same whether you’re young or old, rich or poor, and regardless of race. No right is more fundamental to American citizenship than the right to vote. Yet if voting is a right for all eligible citizens, then it should not have to be earned, and re-earned, over and over again. This is exactly what Florida risks, however, with Gov. Rick Scott’s renewed call for categorically removing alleged noncitizens from its voter rolls. Secretary of State Ken Detzner is creating a new list of suspected noncitizen voters by cross-checking the Department of Homeland Security System Alien Verification for Entitlements Program (SAVE) database with the state voter data. Given the long lines of citizens waiting to vote, Florida officials should know by now that voting is taken very seriously here. Yet this renewed call for another purge of alleged noncitizens shows the rest of the country that Florida is where rights become privileges.
Guinea’s main opposition leader on Thursday threatened to call supporters onto the streets if authorities push ahead with a parliamentary election due on Tuesday without fully addressing complaints over preparations. Cellou Dalein Diallo, leader of the largest opposition party and arch rival of President Alpha Conde, said it would be impossible to fix problems linked to voter lists and polling stations on time so a delay of a few weeks was needed. The poll, meant to cap Guinea’s transition back to civilian rule, has been repeatedly delayed since Conde was elected three years ago, sowing doubts amongst Guineans, investors and donors over political progress in the world’s top bauxite exporter. Dozens of people were killed in protests during months of wrangling over the election earlier this year.
The Supreme Court has ordered the Elections Commission (EC) to hand over the original voter lists of all ballot boxes placed during the recent first round of Presidential Elections held on September 7. A Supreme Court battle between the EC and Jumhooree Party (JP) ensued this week after the latter announced its decision to dismiss the outcome of the presidential poll after narrowly missing out a place in the run-off election with 24.07 percent of the vote. The party accused the EC of electoral discrepancies and irregularities that altered the results of the poll to the JP’s disadvantage.
Guinea’s opposition leader Cellou Dalein Diallo said on Tuesday that he doesn’t believe the country’s legislative election can be held next week, citing flaws in the voter roll which he says will take too much time to fix. His critical assessment contrasts sharply with that of the United Nations special envoy to the region, who mediated a six-hour-long session Monday between the country’s warring opposition and ruling party, and who told reporters upon returning to Senegal that he remains confident the election will go ahead on Sept. 24. ”The date of the election is still Sept. 24,” Said Djinnit said at his residence in the Senegalese capital. “As of today we are a few steps away from the election. Nothing permits me to say otherwise.” The U.N. has so far mediated 13 meetings between the two sides in an attempt to return the West African nation to constitutional rule. The country’s last parliamentary elections were held in 2002, and were first rescheduled in 2007. The repeated delays have spanned three presidents and have left the nation without a functioning legislature.
Oumou Sangare is used to getting what she wants. Unlike most of the people lined up outside the election office here, the wife of Mali’s former ambassador to the United Nations is not accustomed to hearing the word ‘no.’ Yet that’s exactly what the elegant, middle-aged woman heard earlier this week after making her way to the front of the line of would-be voters who, due to a technical glitch, don’t appear on the voter list for the upcoming presidential election. Clutching her designer handbag, she stood on tiptoes in her petite heels, straining to peer through the open window of the election headquarters, where a clerk typed her name into a database. ”I’m the wife of the ambassador,” she pleaded after the screen came back blank. “I’ve been voting for years,” she said. “Am I not going to be able to vote?”
With the help of Michigan Elections Director Chris Thomas, U.S. Rep. Candice Miller on Tuesday made the case on Capitol Hill that Congress must act to end millions of duplicate voter registrations nationwide from state to state. In testimony, Thomas told the Committee on House Administration, chaired by Miller, that federal legislation is needed to clear up the confusion caused when voters maintain an old driver license in one state but declare their voter registration in another state. A pending bill co-sponsored by Miller, former Michigan Secretary of State, and Rep. Todd Rokita, former Indiana Secretary of State, would require new state residents applying for a driver license to notify the state if they intend to use their new residency for the purpose of voting. If so, the legislation would mandate that the new state to notify the applicant’s previous state of residence so its chief election official can update voter lists accordingly.