Conservative supporters of voting restrictions think they’ve found the holy grail in North Carolina: A genuine case of massive voter fraud that can be used to justify efforts to make it harder to vote. The reality, of course, is far less clear. Non-partisan election experts are already pouring cold water on the claims, noting that other recent allegations of major voting irregularities have fizzled upon closer scrutiny. In a report released Wednesday, North Carolina’s elections board said it had found 35,570 people who voted in the state in 2012 and whose names and dates of birth match those of voters in other states. The board said it also found 765 North Carolinians who voted in 2012 and whose names, birthdates, and last four digits of their Social Security number match those of people in other states. The board said it’s looking into all these cases to determine whether people voted twice. There’s a lot riding on what the board finds. North Carolina Republicans last year passed a sweeping and restrictive voting law, which is currentlybeing challenged by the U.S. Justice Department. The law’s voter ID provision would likely have done nothing to stop the double voting being alleged here, but solid evidence of illegal voting could still bolster the state’s case that the measure is justified. It could also make it easier for the state to remove from the rolls voters who are thought to be registered in two states—raising concerns that legitimate voters could wrongly be purged.
North Carolina: State Board of Elections proposes ways to improve N.C. voter rolls | The Voter Update
Staff from the N.C. State Board of Elections discussed ways to improve the maintenance of voter rolls before a legislative committee on Wednesday and said they were investigating possible cases of voting irregularities. Kim Strach, director of the elections board, presented the findings of a recent crosscheck of voter registration information among 28 states, including North Carolina, comparing some 101 million records. The result of that analysis found 765 exact matches of name, date of birth and the last four digits of Social Security numbers for voters who may have cast a ballot in North Carolina and another state in the 2012 general election. The report found an additional 35,750 potential matches of name and date of birth – but not Social Security number – of people who possibly voted in North Carolina and one other state in 2012.
A felony record can make it next to impossible to find a job and build a successful life, and in Iowa felons also lose the right to vote. Now these social outcasts face the possibility of criminal prosecution if they mistakenly register to vote. Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz’s misguided crusade to expose voting fraud has produced no evidence of voting irregularities, but it has ensnared several people whose crime was making a mistake. These are people with felony records who registered to vote, either because they did not understand the state’s confusing registration form or because they mistakenly thought their rights had been restored. Besides discouraging Iowans with criminal records from trying to exercise their right to vote, which is in society’s interest, it now is clear that Schultz’s crusade has wrongly denied some Iowans the right to have their ballots counted. That is based on the Cerro Gordo County auditor’s discovery that he wrongly rejected ballots cast by three voters in the November 2012 presidential election on the basis of a flawed criminal-records database. If this occurred in one county, it almost certainly happened in other Iowa counties, too, as there are 46,000 names in the database. It is impossible to say how many Iowans’ votes have wrongly been rejected, but it is an outrage whatever the number.
Ohio: Potential voter fraud cases from 2012 election often dropped as simple mistakes, elderly confusion | cleveland.com
Despite concerns by some Ohio lawmakers about voter fraud, most of the voting irregularities that elections officials reported during the 2012 general election did not result in criminal charges, the Northeast Ohio Media Group has found. Prosecutors in counties large and small told the media outlet their investigations typically concluded that the irregularities resulted from confusion by voters or mistakes by elections officials rather than from people trying to game the system. And while Republican lawmakers have introduced bills aimed at curbing voter fraud, some Republican prosecutors joined their Democratic counterparts in reporting no evidence of a widespread problem.
Virginia: Lawyer hints that Obenshain hasn’t ruled out bringing Virginia AG race before legislature | The Washington Post
An attorney for state Sen. Mark D. Obenshain hinted in court Monday that the Republican would consider using an obscure law to throw the outcome of the attorney general’s race into the hands of the General Assembly. The lawyer made the statement as legal teams for Obenshain and Democrat Mark R. Herring jockeyed for advantage in advance of next week’s statewide recount. Even floating the idea of contesting the race through the legislature is an act of political daring. Until now, Republican leaders, including Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R), have indicated that they thought a challenge would be inappropriate unless evidence of major voting irregularities emerged.
Honduras’ contested results from its Nov. 24 election threaten to unleash civil unrest and repression that could further destabilize the country. Amid widespread allegations of fraud, vote buying and voting irregularities, the Tribunal Supremo Electoral (TSE) — Honduras’ electoral authority — announced on Nov. 26 that conservative National Party candidate Juan Orlando Hernandez had an irreversible lead. Both Hernandez and left-leaning LIBRE party candidate Xiomara Castro claimed victory on election night. Castro based her claim on LIBRE’s exit polls that showed a substantial lead. Her husband and former president Mel Zelaya – who was ousted in a 2009 coup – also contested the results, noting that the vote tally from 20 percent of the polling stations announced by the TSE contradicted the actual vote count from polling stations. Anti-Corruption party candidate Salvador Nasralla has also impugned the accuracy of the vote counting process. In the cloud of election violence and suspicions, outside pressure from the international community, especially the United States, is critical to ensure that democracy prevails in Honduras and to protect those vulnerable to state sponsored repression. However, the signals from the U.S. so far suggests that it is pleased with the results, even if they are tainted by fraud and intimidation.
International election observers in Guinea have voiced concern over “irregularities” during the first parliamentary poll since the 2008 coup. A joint statement said “breaches” were observed in eight out of 38 constituencies. The opposition coalition has already called for the 28 September vote to be annulled over “fraud”. Some provisional results have yet to be released by the electoral commission 11 days since the vote. Most of the 38 directly elected seats in the 114-member parliament have been announced, but not the 76 chosen by proportional representation.
The Maldives will go ahead with a presidential election run-off on September 28, election commissioner Fuwad Thowfeek said on Thursday, despite a decision by the Supreme Court to postpone the second round following a complaint of vote rigging. Thowfeek’s comments followed mounting international pressure on the government to push ahead with a run-off, amid hopes it could end political turmoil in the Indian Ocean archipelago. The first round of voting, on September 7, was won by ex-president Mohamed Nasheed, whose removal from power 20 months ago ignited months of unrest. He secured 45.45 percent in the first round, short of the 50 percent needed for outright victory, and his party promptly announced mass protests against the postponement.
Another election is winding up, so it’s time for the compulsory round of people complaining that the system is flawed and that technology would magically fix some of the problems. Quite a few are troubled by the pencils, including Clive Palmer, who listed pencils as part of his comprehensive spray against Australia’s “corrupt system”. He told AAP:
“There’s absolutely no way I will win based [on] voting irregularities and the security of the ballots. We think it’s a corrupt system. Until that’s sorted out Abbott won’t be getting any legislation through the Senate with our support.”
But the Australian Electoral Commission has good reasons for using pencils.
“The AEC has found from experience that pencils are the most reliable implements for marking ballot papers. Pencils are practical because they don’t run out and the polling staff check and sharpen pencils as necessary throughout election day. Pencils can be stored between elections, and they work better in tropical areas.”
Besides, if someone intent on defrauding the election broke into the room where the ballots were stored overnight, do you think the best mode of attack would be to erase votes one by one, in a way that couldn’t be detected?
Cambodia faces a volatile and possibly prolonged political standoff after leaders of the opposition said on Monday that they rejected the preliminary results of Sunday’s election and accused the authoritarian government of Prime Minister Hun Sen of large-scale cheating to achieve a relatively narrow victory. With a number of monitoring organizations describing widespread voting irregularities, Sam Rainsy, the leader of the newly energized opposition, said at a news conference that the party would seek help from foreign and Cambodian election experts to decide whether to call for a recount or new elections. “We will not accept the result — we cannot accept the result,” he said. “The party in power cannot ignore us anymore.” Mr. Sam Rainsy had initially announced a victory after the polls closed on Sunday but retracted his claim.