The Voting News Daily: Estonian Parliament Sets up E-Voting Working Group, Voter ID bill easily passes North Carolina House

Estonia: Estonian Parliament Sets up E-Voting Working Group | ERR On June 9, the Parliament’s Constitutional Committee established a working group tasked with shoring up regulations related to the country’s much-touted e-voting system. … Though Estonia’s groundbreaking national e-voting system, introduced in 2005, is widely considered reliable by international observers, it came under fire last month…

Estonia: Estonian Parliament Sets up E-Voting Working Group | ERR

On June 9, the Parliament’s Constitutional Committee established a working group tasked with shoring up regulations related to the country’s much-touted e-voting system.

… Though Estonia’s groundbreaking national e-voting system, introduced in 2005, is widely considered reliable by international observers, it came under fire last month after an OSCE review found a number of legal and procedural holes in the way it was being used.

In early June, the Tallinn City Government filed a motion with the Supreme Court to abolish e-voting at future local elections, citing many of the same concerns.

North Carolina: Voter ID bill easily passes North Carolina House | CharlotteObserver.com

North Carolina would join 13 other states requiring voters to show a photo ID under a bill passed Thursday by the Republican-led N.C. House. The measure passed 66-48 along party lines, despite Democratic protests that it would decrease turnout.

Some critics invoked comparisons to Jim Crow-era voting barriers. The bill now goes to the Senate, which is expected to endorse it. It would then go to Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue.

National: Outdated and Failing: Modernizing Our Voting System for the Rising Electorate | Rock the Vote Blog

Day after day, from college campuses to high school classrooms, we hear stories about needless bureaucratic barriers that prevent young people from voting. For young Americans, the greatest barrier to participation is the out-dated process itself. Our complicated registration process varies state-by-state, and our country’s antiquated, paper-based electoral system is riddled with restrictive rules and red tape that don’t reflect advances in technology or meet the needs of modern life.

You’d think that the most basic element of our democracy – the very right to participate in our government that is guaranteed to all of us – would be something we would constantly work to improve. Yet somehow voting is an archaic ordeal, inconsistently implemented from place to place, and disturbingly, manipulated by whether people in power want someone like you to show up at the polls.

It doesn’t need to be this hard to vote.

National: Debunking Misinformation on Photo ID | Brennan Center for Justice

Last week, the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed (“The Case for Voter ID”) by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.  In the piece, Kobach touts restrictive voter ID bills, including the Kansas “Secure and Fair Elections Act,” which he drafted and Governor Sam Brownback signed into law a few weeks ago.  Kobach argues that (1) voter ID laws will not actually prevent any eligible citizens from voting; and (2) they will prevent in-person voter fraud, which he claims is a substantial problem.

But his arguments are built on inaccuracies, unsupported allegations, and flawed reasoning.  Because Kobach takes direct aim at the Brennan Center in this op-ed, we thought a thorough review of his claims was in order. We sent a letter to the editors at the Journal rebutting some of his claims, but the paper did not publish it.

Alabama: Voter ID bill passes Alabama Senate | Anniston Star

The Alabama Senate passed a bill 22-10 Thursday that would require voters to present photo identification at the polls. In a brief debate — limited to about 20 minutes by Senate leadership — supporters described the bill as a way to provide security to a crucial part of the democratic process.

“When you go to a convenience store, boarding a plane, or going to a courthouse, you have to show photo ID,” said Sen. Gerald Allen, R-Cottondale, a supporter of the bill.

Opponents of the bill questioned the cost of implementing it in a year of budget hardship. Allen said the bill would cost the state approximately $250,000 in new equipment. One critic of the bill, Sen. Tammy Irons, D-Florence, said the bill would likely cost more in advertising to get the word out about the ID requirement.

New Jersey: Malfunctioning Voting Machines Delay Primary Results in Somerset County NJ | Basking Ridge, NJ Patch

Somerset County’s primary election polls may have closed Tuesday night at 8 p.m., but the results were not posted online until Wednesday morning.

With several county districts experiencing malfunctioning machines and a few close races (including a nine-vote difference in a Branchburg race), County Clerk Brett Radi explained, “I didn’t post them because we still had some ballots that needed to be added. I didn’t want to have results that didn’t reflect what was really going on.”

“We just didn’t do a final update, because we didn’t have the ‘emergencies’ [emergency ballots used when machines malfunction],” he noted.

New Jersey: Faulty parts delay election results in Middlesex County NJ | MyCentralJersey.com

It was late Tuesday night — hours after the polls closed for the primary elections — and some candidates still had yet to learn the final vote tally. That’s because municipal clerks in Monroe, Plainsboro, South River and Woodbridge, many of whom started their day at 5 a.m., clocked out without ever learning the unofficial results because of an issue with some of the voting machines.

“To work those kind of hours and not be able to give the candidates their results is frustrating,” Monroe Township Clerk Sharon Doerfler said.

In Monroe, four of the voting machines were printing illegible numbers that ran over the top of one another. Like every other municipality, Monroe’s poll workers received an emergency number to call in the event of a malfunctioning voter machine.

New Jersey: Computer snag delays Montclair NJ Primary Election vote tally | NorthJersey.com

Due to a computer-software glitch, Montclair still didn’t have its Primary Election results as of Wednesday afternoon, and was doubtful about having them by the end of yesterday.

“A nightmare. Never had this happen before,” Township Deputy Clerk Carla Horowitz said Tuesday night as the township was struggling to tally the local results after a computer program went awry.

Late Wednesday morning, the Clerk’s Office still wasn’t able to get an accurate count of Montclair’s votes and the municipal Information Technology officer was away, so he couldn’t help.

“We worked on it this morning,” Horowitz said. “The program seems to be working a little bit better.”

North Carolina: Passionate debate resumes on North Carolina’s voter ID bill | Times Union

North Carolina House Republicans are trying to pass legislation that demands people show photo identification before they enter a voting booth, even though it appears the measure would face a veto from Gov. Beverly Perdue.

The House returned Thursday to debate further a politically divisive voter ID bill after the Republican-led chamber conducted the first of two required votes just before midnight Wednesday following just a few minutes of debate.

The bill was tentatively approved on a 67-50 party-line vote, but the GOP margin falls a few votes shy of overcoming any potential veto. Perdue’s office has been critical of the legislation, and Democrats and voting rights advocates have called it a veiled method to suppress voting among blacks, older adults and women.

North Carolina: More debate expected on Voter ID bill in NC | Beaumont Enterprise

North Carolina House Republicans are trying to pass legislation that demands people show photo identification before they enter a voting booth, even though it appears the measure would face a veto from Gov. Beverly Perdue.

The House was expected Thursday to discuss the voter ID bill more after the Republican-led chamber conducted the first of two required votes just before midnight Wednesday following just a few minutes of debate.

National: Three More Jurisdictions To ‘Bailout’ From Special Voting Rights Act Supervision | The Blog of Legal Times

A Virginia city, a California irrigation district and a Texas drainage district are the latest places to come to an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice on exiting special supervision under the federal Voting Rights Act.

Today, DOJ announced it had reached agreements with the City of Bedford, Va. (PDF) and the Alta Irrigation District in California (PDF) on approving their “bailout” from special supervision; three-judge panels in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia are expected to approve both petitions.

On Tuesday, a three-judge panel approved a bailout (PDF) for Jefferson County Drainage District No. 7 in Texas. The Justice Department had agreed to that petition in April.

Arizona: Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne angry at feds’ brief in support of 9th Circuit decision | Arizona Republic

Arizona State Attorney General Tom Horne is blasting President Barack Obama for getting involved in another Arizona lawsuit. The federal government has filed court documents supporting a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit to strike down Arizona’s voter-approved requirement that residents provide proof of citizenship when they register to vote.

The court ruled that the National Voter Registration Act pre-empts Arizona’s Proposition 200, which was passed by voters in 2004. The state successfully asked the court to reconsider the decision and an 11-member judge panel of the Appeals Court will rehear it June 21 in Pasadena, Calif. Among its provisions, the National Voter Registration Act creates a standard federal registration form that all states must accept. It requires applicants to sign a statement that they are citizens, but does not require them to show any proof.

Editorials: Dems, GOP, Each See Upper Hand in Voter ID Debate | PoliticsPA

It’s been put off for this week, but when lawmakers return from recess they’ll likely take up debate on a law requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls. We took a look at arguments for and against the bill when it was introduced. Today, we take a look at the politics.

Each party is digging in, and each sees itself with the upper hand in the battle for public opinion.

The measure, introduced by State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe and most popular among conservatives and tea partiers, aims to tackle voter fraud. Proponents say the bill would eliminate voting by people not registered, people voting multiple times, illegal immigrants voting and most of the horror stories they hear about elections in inner-city Philadelphia.

Editorials: Voters need to be able to register at polls | NJ.com

Gabriela G., Annalee S. and Ed V. are Rutgers University students who eagerly went to the polls to vote in the November 2008 general election. All three had registered to vote, prior to the 21-day deadline, from their college addresses.

However, when they went to cast their ballots, they were surprised to find that their names were not on the voting lists. They were directed to either leave the polling place or to vote by paper provisional ballots, which are checked post-election against the voting rolls. However, they were not informed of the strong likelihood that their provisional ballots would be thrown out, since their names were not in the system.

 

Editorials: A vote here and a vote there | Idaho Mountain Express

It’s not news that the people with political power do their best to maintain it. Making sure people vote is democracy at work. Erecting barriers to keep others from voting is called voter suppression, and that’s exactly what the Republican right is up to in 2011.

To date, 23 states—including Idaho—have passed or are considering new requirements that voters produce picture identification when they come to the polls. Without such proof, a voter in Idaho must sign a document swearing to his or her identity. The penalty for swearing falsely is perjury, a felony.

Australia: Star witness in Hanson case fronts court | ABC News

A Sydney teacher and father of three who allegedly led Pauline Hanson to believe her New South Wales election result had been sabotaged has appeared in court. Sean Castle appeared in the NSW Supreme Court and apologised for not showing up when required to on Wednesday.

“My name is Sean Castle. I have represented myself as being Michael Rattner,” he said. “Firstly, I sincerely apologise to the Supreme Court for my conduct in not attending the court on June 8. “I’ve given an undertaking today to the court that I will attend any further hearings as required by the court until excused by the court.”

Earlier this week, a warrant was issued for a man identified as Michael Rattner after he failed to appear to give evidence in the case.

Australia: Three characters in search of a Hanson recount may be one person | The Australian

It’s got all the makings of a great thriller: the politician locked in a desperate legal battle with a mystery builder, a fake journalist and a former history teacher with a hidden agenda.

But for Pauline Hanson, this story is not likely to end as she had hoped. And it seems certain that it will not end well for the man who has allegedly assumed three identities in his bid to prompt a recount of upper house votes from the NSW election.

Yesterday, Ms Hanson’s lawyers and Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham publicly aired their concern that key witness Michael Rattner, supposed journalist Michael Wilson and Hanson supporter Sean Castle — all of whom are central to the former One Nation leader’s push for a recount of votes from the March election — are the same person.

Pennsylvania: South Greensburg PA councilwoman refuses to concede primary | Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

South Greensburg Councilwoman Linda Iezzi on Wednesday refused to concede in her race to secure one of two Democratic nominations for Westmoreland County commissioner. “I have to talk to my lawyer,” Iezzi said as she weighed a potential recount of votes cast in the May 17 primary.

The county Elections Board yesterday preliminarily certified the results of the race, declaring incumbent Commissioner Ted Kopas of Hempfield and Mt. Pleasant Mayor Gerald Lucia as winners of the Democratic primary for county commissioner. Lucia, the long-time mayor of Mt. Pleasant Borough and its fire chief, finished 74 votes ahead of Iezzi.

Pennsylvania: After Recount, Boockvar Wins Commonwealth Court Primary

Bucks County lawyer Kathryn Boockvar was confirmed as the winner of the Democratic Commonwealth Court primary on Wednesday following an automatic recount. Boockvar beat Pittsburgh attorney Barbara Behrend Ernsberger by a margin of 0.3 percent, getting 311,732 votes to Ernsberger’s 309,680. Boockvar will now face Republican and fellow Bucks County attorney Anne Covey in the general election this fall.

Pennsylvania Secretary of State Carol Aichele ordered the recount last month pursuant to Act 97 of 2004, which mandates that the votes be re-tallied whenever the margin of victory is less than 0.5 percent.

K. Kevin Murphy, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of State, said last month that the estimated cost of a recount is nearly $500,000, based on $50 per ballot box multiplied by 9,248 districts.

Delaware: Don’t toy with the US Constitution | delawareonline.com

Once again, the Delaware General Assembly is tinkering with a new way of picking presidents. And, once again, we still say it is a bad idea.

House Bill 55 follows something called the National Popular Vote. It would swing Delaware’s three Electoral College votes to whoever wins the popular vote across the nation.

In other words, if the total popular vote from every state across the nation picked Donald Trump to be president, then Delaware’s Electoral College votes would go to him even if Barack Obama won the vote here.

West Virginia: Commission president demands proof of fraud in Kanawha County election challenge | Charleston Daily Mail

Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper is asking that failed Democratic mayoral candidate Janet “J.T” Thompson bring evidence to the commission regarding her allegations of voter fraud by the county clerk.

Carper had a strongly worded letter hand-delivered to Thompson Wednesday. In the letter, Carper asks Thompson to publicly present evidence of her claims.

“If you do not have proof of these allegations through evidence, I would recommend you withdraw your contestation and apologize,” he wrote in the letter. “I’ll call a special meeting for her to come in if I have to,” he said when reached by phone Wednesday.

Virginia: City of Bedford Virginia, Justice Department reach consent decree on section of Voting Rights Act | The Republic

The Justice Department and the city of Bedford have reached agreement on a vestige of the segregated South — federal oversight of its local elections.

Justice officials announced Thursday they have filed a consent decree in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia that would free the city of 6,222 from government approval of any election changes.

The election oversight is part of the Voting Rights Act, which was enacted in 1965 to address widespread election abuses intended to deny African-Americans the vote.

Michigan: Warren MI mayoral contenders will remain on ballot, can withhold age | The Detroit News

The state Court of Appeals this morning ruled incumbent Mayor Jim Fouts and mayoral contender Kathleen Schneeberger will remain on the August election ballot and don’t have to reveal their dates of birth.

The ruling stems from a Macomb County Circuit Court lawsuit filed against the Warren Election Commission and its members seeking to block the two from appearing on the ballot on allegations they violated an election mandate for failing to disclose their age.

The three mayoral challengers behind the suit, City Council member Kathy Vogt and residents Joseph Hunt and James McDannel, argued they provided their age in affidavits prior to the May 10 filing deadline and Fouts and Schneeberger should have done the same.

US Virgin Islands: Elections Officials Plan US Virgin Islands Voter Outreach | St. Croix Source

Election officials will hold a series of outreach events throughout St. Croix in the coming months, targeting schools, post offices, shopping areas and other places in an effort to get as many residents as possible registered to vote. And one of the first events on the schedule will be a voter registration event at the ceremonies marking Emancipation Day, July 3, in Frederiksted.

Board member Dodson James told fellow members about the outreach committee’s plans during the board’s regular meeting Wednesday morning. While James said a schedule has not been completed, board member Adelbert Bryan suggested adding the Emancipation Day drive. His motion passed unanimously.

Bangladesh: BNP won’t join Bangladesh election commission dialogue | The Daily Star

In a crucial meeting of party policymakers, the main opposition BNP last night decided not to join dialogue with the election commission (EC) on June 13. Sources said the party will inform the EC of their decision through a letter.

The party high command also decided to declare an agitation programme against the government move to bring amendments to the country’s constitution.

The formal announcement regarding hartal may come on Friday, said party insiders after the closed-door standing committee meeting at BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia’s Gulshan office.

Madagascar: Two days of talks, but still no end to Madagascar impasse | Mail and Guardian

Madagascar’s feuding political leaders ended two days of talks on Tuesday without signing a deal on ending the crisis sparked by strongman Andry Rajoelina’s takeover of the island two years ago.

The talks, which were convened by the 15-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC), ended at about 6pm (4pm GMT) with a press statement that sought to highlight the common ground between the 11 political parties present but did not say why the leaders had failed to reach an agreement.

Jordan: Opposition blasts new draft election law | Arab News

Jordan’s opposition parties on Tuesday rejected the newly proposed election law for what they said its failure to adopt fully the principle of proportional representation.

The new draft election law was proposed this week by the National Dialogue Committee (NDC) to spearhead political reform that has been sought by four months of protests that were inspired by the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.

“We have followed up with deep concern and disappointment the new draft election law which has been worked out by the NDC,” the Coordination Committee of the Opposition Parties said in a statement.