The race for state treasurer remains undecided nearly two weeks after Election Day, with both campaigns agreeing fewer than 400 votes now separate the candidates in what could be the closest statewide race in Illinois in at least a century. The remarkably slim margin seems to point to a recount under an untested law put in place after the previously close-contest champ, the 1982 battle for governor. The match is rife with charges of “voting irregularities and ballot mishandling” in Chicago, prompting Illinois’ Republican U.S. senator call for an investigation Monday. Election officials have until Tuesday to finish counting ballots from the Nov. 4 election, including in the treasurer’s race between Republican Tom Cross and Democrat Mike Frerichs. Neither side was talking about recounts Monday, saying they’re waiting for all the votes to be counted. ”Everyone knew that this was going to be a very close election. Mike’s been coming from behind the whole time,” said Dave Clarkin, spokesman for Frerichs, a state senator from Champaign. “Now we’re all just doing whatever we can to monitor everything closely.”
Illinois: Treasurer race, less than 400 votes apart, could lead to recount | The State Journal-Register
The race for state treasurer remains undecided nearly two weeks after Election Day, with both campaigns agreeing fewer than 400 votes now separate the candidates in what could be the closest statewide race in Illinois in at least a century. The remarkably slim margin seems to point to a recount under an untested law put in place after the previously close-contest champ, the 1982 battle for governor. The match is rife with charges of “voting irregularities and ballot mishandling” in Chicago, prompting Illinois’ Republican U.S. senator call for an investigation Monday. Election officials have until Tuesday to finish counting ballots from the Nov. 4 election, including in the treasurer’s race between Republican Tom Cross and Democrat Mike Frerichs. Neither side was talking about recounts Monday, saying they’re waiting for all the votes to be counted.
Republicans and Democrats alike reported problems Tuesday using touch-screen voting machines in Virginia Beach and Newport News, with some claiming they almost cast ballots for candidates they did not support. ”They told me my finger was too fat,” said John Owens, recounting a conversation he had with the Virginia Beach Voter Registrar’s Office after experiencing trouble voting for Republican U.S. Rep. Scott Rigell. The extent of the “calibration issues” is unclear. Virginia Department of Elections Commissioner Edgardo Cortes said 32 of Virginia Beach’s 820 AccuVote TSX machines were pulled from service by 3:30 p.m. Another four were discontinued in Newport News, where most votes were recorded on paper ballots. Cortes said he didn’t know how many people voted on the machines before they stopped using them at the 25 precincts.
Virginia election officials were gathering information Wednesday about a glitch that affected 32 voting machines in the southeastern part of the state, a Department of Elections spokeswoman said. Rose Mansfield said that once all the information is received, the head of the department will conduct a complete review and will likely present a report on Tuesday’s troubles to the State Board of Elections. “Our voting technology specialists are working on it,” Mansfield said, adding that the priority is to get the right answers about what went wrong on Election Day. The faulty machines are a fraction of the 820 touchscreen devices that were used in the affected precincts, most of them in Virginia Beach. They were taken out of service after voters complained that they tried to vote for one candidate, but the machine attempted to record the vote for another. Mansfield said all the machines were calibrated and tested before the election.
With several key elections potentially hinging on razor-thin margins, Americans went to the polls Tuesday in 34 states with new voting laws that critics fear will adversely impact minority turnout and proponents say are needed to protect against voter fraud. The new laws – ranging from photo identification requirements to restrictions on same-day registration – brought increased scrutiny Tuesday from the two major political parties, civic groups, voting rights advocates and the Justice Department, almost all deploying monitors and lawyers to polling stations to look out for voting problems. “It’s the new normal since 2000,” said Richard Hasen, a law and politics professor at the University of California, Irvine, and author of “The Voting Wars: From 2000 to the Next Election Meltdown.” “Some of this is legitimate fear, some of it is a way of getting the base wound up and (to) raise funds.” From the moment polls opened ‑ and in some cases before ‑ reports of voting irregularities began. The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law’s election protection program reported more than 12,000 calls to its hotline – the bulk of them from Florida, Georgia, Texas, New York and North Carolina.
An online petition demanding a revote in the Scottish independence referendum is now at almost 100,000 signatures as vote rigging conspiracies continue to gain momentum among disappointed pro-independence campaigners. It didn’t take long for accusations of voting irregularities to start swirling after Scotland voted “No” to independence on September 18th. In the aftermath of the result, pro-independence Yes campaigners have taken to social media in large numbers to complain about reported incidents of vote fraud and demand a return to the polls. The accusations come despite First Minister Alex Salmond, leader of the Yes campaign, calling on pro-independence supporters to “accept the democratic decision.”
Mississippi: State Supreme Court sets schedule for Chris McDaniel appeal of election challenge | Associated Press
The Mississippi Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Oct. 2 as a candidate tries to revive a lawsuit that challenged his Republican primary loss to six-term Sen. Thad Cochran. The high court released on Tuesday a schedule for the appeal by state Sen. Chris McDaniel. Justices said they will handle the case quickly, as McDaniel requested. Justices gave McDaniel’s attorneys until Friday to file legal arguments in his appeal. They gave Cochran’s attorneys a Sept. 24 deadline to file arguments. The McDaniel camp must file a response to Cochran’s arguments by Sept. 26. Judge Hollis McGehee dismissed McDaniel’s lawsuit Aug. 29, saying McDaniel missed a 20-day deadline to challenge results of the June 24 runoff.
Editorials: Double voting? Not necessarily: Widespread voter fraud in Maryland is unlikely | Baltimore Sun
The recent report by Election Integrity Maryland that there may be as many as 164 individuals who voted in both Maryland and Virginia in the 2012 election hasn’t exactly caused the Maryland Board of Elections to press the panic button. There’s a reason for that: The numbers don’t prove fraud and more likely point to clerical error. That’s not to suggest the Fairfax County Electoral Board should not seek criminal investigation, as officials announced last week, into 17 possible cases of duplicate voting in that Northern Virginia county — such due diligence is entirely appropriate — but the chances that such incidents will result in fraud convictions are slim. If there’s one thing experience has taught, it’s that duplicate voter registration is almost always the result of nothing more nefarious than people moving from one state to another and registration rolls not being expunged in a timely manner. Trumped up horror stories about voting irregularities have fueled a Republican-led push to enact voter identification laws that are far more likely to discourage voting, particularly by young, elderly and minority voters who are less likely to have government-approved ID, than it is to uncover organized (or even disorganized) attempts to alter election outcomes. Voter fraud is not unknown, it’s simply uncommon.
Mississippi: Chris McDaniel pushes back announcement on status of election lawsuit until Wednesday | Associated Press
Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel will take at least one extra day to decide whether to try to revive his lawsuit that challenged his Republican primary loss to six-term Sen. Thad Cochran. McDaniel campaign spokesman Noel Fritsch said Monday that McDaniel will take until Wednesday to decide whether to ask the Mississippi Supreme Court to overturn the lawsuit’s dismissal. McDaniel’s camp originally said he would announce a decision Tuesday. Judge Hollis McGehee dismissed the lawsuit Friday, saying McDaniel waited too long to file it.
The interim county elections director and two independent monitors of the elections office believe they may have narrowed down where things went wrong during Tuesday’s Primary Election, which resulted in erroneous data being added to the Secretary of State’s election results. After the polls close, data is transferred electronically via modem from the ballot counting machines to the elections office. That data is then received and tabulated by an Election Systems & Software program, placed on a thumb drive, transferred from the thumb drive to a server, which then sends the data on to the state. “Somehow, when the information on the server went to the state elections system, that number got corrupted,” said Jim Vlahovich, interim director of the Cochise County Elections Office. … Elections office staff first noticed that something may be wrong on Tuesday night, when the print out of the results reported an abnormally high voter turnout of 62 percent. Then, this morning, calls to the elections office prompted further inspection, resulting in the discovery that the server used to transfer the voting data to the state had crashed.