The Voting News Daily: Voter ID bill is praised, panned in Pennsylvania, In work on recalls, elections chief Kevin Kennedy battles charges of partisanship

Pennsylvania: Voter ID bill is praised, panned in Pennsylvania | The Times Leader On a near-party line vote, the state House of Representatives approved a Republican-backed bill late Thursday night that would require voters to show photo identification at the polls. The bill now moves to the Republican-controlled state Senate for consideration. The 108-88 vote…

Pennsylvania: Voter ID bill is praised, panned in Pennsylvania | The Times Leader

On a near-party line vote, the state House of Representatives approved a Republican-backed bill late Thursday night that would require voters to show photo identification at the polls. The bill now moves to the Republican-controlled state Senate for consideration.

The 108-88 vote saw all but one Republican who was present vote in favor of House Bill 934. All 87 Democrats present for the vote voted against the measure. Rep. Chris Ross, R-Unionville, was the lone dissenting Republican.

Some Democratic representatives serving portions of Luzerne County blasted the partisan vote and called the bill unnecessary. “This is a solution in search of a problem,” said Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Wilkes-Barre. He noted that since 2004, 20 million votes have been cast in Pennsylvania and six people have been arrested for voter fraud.

Wisconsin: In work on recalls, elections chief Kevin Kennedy battles charges of partisanship | The Capital Times

Wisconsin’s non-partisan Government Accountability Board has seen its profile rise in the past several months with the pending recall elections, a statewide Supreme Court recount, redistricting and the implementation of a recently passed photo ID bill all falling under its purview.

Created through the merger of the state’s Elections and Ethics boards three years ago, the board is tasked with enforcing state elections, ethics and campaign finance laws. Lately staff members have had to navigate their duties in what director and general counsel Kevin Kennedy calls “politically charged times.”

Indiana: White’s eligibility to hold office to be decided Tuesday | The Indianapolis Star

The Indiana Recount Commission will determine Secretary of State Charlie White’s eligibility to hold office on Tuesday – two days sooner than planned. The commission heard testimony this week regarding Democrats’ complaint that White was illegally registered to vote at the time he declared his candidacy and is ineligible to serve. The Democrats say White should be replaced by Democrat Vop Osili, who White defeated by a large margin last November. The commission will meet at 9 a.m. Tuesday to discuss the facts of the case and rule on the Democrats’ challenge. It was originally scheduled to announce its decision on Thursday.

White is accused of using his ex-wife’s address on his voter registration records. The Democrats suspect that he was living in a condo he purchased for him and his new wife. This week’s hearing lasted seven hours, and White testified for about two hours.

Ohio: Go Jon Husted! | Rock the Vote Blog

Strange things are afoot in Ohio right now, and Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted is looking like he could be the hero. The elections chief, breaking with the leadership of his party in the General Assembly, just put out a statement blasting the state legislature for trying to impose a rigid photo ID requirement for voting. … Secretary Husted’s full statement:

“I want to be perfectly clear, when I began working with the General Assembly to improve Ohio’s elections system it was never my intent to reject valid votes. I would rather have no bill than one with a rigid photo identification provision that does little to protect against fraud and excludes legally registered voters’ ballots from counting.

“It is in the hands of the General Assembly.”


Ohio: Bill would mean fewer days to vote early in Ohio | Springfield News Sun

The state Senate made major reforms to where, when and how Ohio’s 8 million registered voters may cast ballots and moved the 2012 presidential primary from March to May.

The Senate voted 23-10 along party lines in favor of a plan that shortens the in-person early voting period from 35 days to 17 days before Election Day, but eliminates Sundays, Saturday afternoons and the Monday before Election Day.
Moving the primary to May likely will make Ohio a non-player in the race to name presidential candidates.

Nevada: Secretary of State says he can’t be sued | Las Vegas Sun

Secretary of State Ross Miller says he has sovereign immunity and cannot be sued by Democrats in the battle over reapportionment of four congressional seats in Nevada and the legislative districts.

Miller filed his answer this week to the complaint brought against him by Democrats in February to prohibit him from calling any future election based on the present invalid makeup of the districts due to the increase in population.

District Judge Todd Russell, who has been assigned the case, has set a hearing on July 12 to check the status of the complaint, set a briefing schedule and to schedule a formal hearing.

North Carolina: Gov. Perdue vetoes voter ID bill pushed by Republicans |

North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue vetoed a Republican-written bill Thursday that would require voters to show photo identification before casting an in-person ballot, agreeing with fellow Democrats that the mandate would discourage participation.

“North Carolinians who are eligible to vote have a constitutionally guaranteed right to cast their ballots, and no one should put up obstacles to citizens exercising that right,” the governor said in a statement. “We must always be vigilant in protecting the integrity of our elections. But requiring every voter to present a government-issued photo ID is not the way to do it.”

Maine: Coalition to wage people’s veto campaign to revive Election Day voter registration law | Bangor Daily News

Critics of the Legislature’s recent decision to end Election Day voter registration in Maine said Thursday a broad coalition is building to quickly collect the 57,000-plus signatures needed to put the issue in front of voters this November.

“We are organized, we are energized and we will be successful,” said Ben Dudley, executive director of Engage Maine, a coalition of progressive groups.

After heated debate that elevated partisan tensions in Augusta, the Legislature voted largely along party lines earlier this month to repeal Maine’s 38-year-old law allowing voters to register at the polls on Election Day.

Alaska: Joe Miller told to reimburse Alaska for election challenge | Reuters

Failed Senate candidate Joe Miller must reimburse Alaska more than $17,000 in legal fees and costs incurred during his fight to overturn Lisa Murkowski’s write-in victory, a state judge ruled on Friday.

Miller, a Tea Party favorite, beat the more moderate Murkowski in the Republican primary. But she then mounted a write-in candidacy in the general election and beat him by about 4.5 percentage points.

Miller sued to overturn the results, arguing that elections officials improperly counted write-in ballots, but was rejected by a Superior Court judge, a ruling that was upheld at the state Supreme Court.

Senegal: Senegal’s Wade backpedals on poll as protests rage | AlertNet

Senegal President Abdoulaye Wade backed down on a proposed change to the country’s electoral law on Thursday after the bill sparked running clashes between riot police and protesters in the capital.

Wade’s rivals said the proposed change would have guaranteed his re-election against a fragmented opposition in a February poll and had threatened a popular uprising over it in a country long seen as an island of stability in West Africa. Analysts said the reversal showed how effectively the opposition and civil society groups could mobilise anti-Wade sentiment amid simmering social tensions.

Latvia: Referendum on Saeima to have record number of polling stations abroad | Latvians Online

A record number of polling stations abroad—78 in all—will operate July 23 for Latvian citizens to vote in a referendum that could result in dissolution of the parliament, or Saeima.

The Central Election Commission in Rīga announced June 21 that it has approved a Ministry of Foreign Affairs proposal to operate polling stations in 41 countries outside Latvia. In last October’s parliamentary vote, during which the legislators who may now lose their jobs were elected, 64 polling stations operated abroad.

The increase in polling stations is due to not enough time being available for voters abroad to apply for mail ballots, election commission Chairman Arnis Cimdars said in a press release. Applications for mail ballots are due July 1.

Botswana: Political parties to conference will discuss administration of Botswana primary elections | Mmegi Online

According to a press release issued by the publicity secretary of the BNF, Moeti Mohwasa, his party will hold its annual national delegates’ conference from Sunday 17th July to Tuesday 19th July in Tsabong. “The conference will be preceded by the Women’s League Congress to be held on 16th July where a new leadership will be elected,” said Mohwasa.

…  According to the executive secretary of the ruling party, Coma Serema, the main issues on the agenda will be a discussion of the compromise list which might replace the elections if it is adopted. The BDP delegates will discuss primary elections and how best to minimise contradictions occasioned by them.

Russia: Russia Blocks Registration of Opposition Party |

Russia denied registration of a key opposition political party Wednesday, effectively barring it from upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections that the Kremlin had hinted might be open to some competition.

The refusal signals the government plans to tightly manage the elections, critics said, despite avowals from President Dmitry Medvedev that he would like to see some opening up of Russia’s political life.

“This is an announcement that there will be no elections, because there will be no opposition parties,” said Boris Nemtsov, one of the leaders of the People’s Freedom Party, which was cobbled together by four prominent Kremlin critics in December. “The decision comes from the very top.”

Afghanistan: Unseated Afghan MPs threaten protests | Al Jazeera

Dozens of Afghan MPs unseated by a special election court investigating allegations of fraud and irregularities have threatened to call for protests, including blocking the country’s roads.

“If the special court is not absolved, we will call our constituencies to the streets and the president will bear responsibility for what might happen,” Haji Zahir Qadeer, an MP from Nengrahar province, told reporters.

A special election court set up by Afghan President Hamid Karzai unseated 61 members of the Afghan parliament – a quarter of the lower house – including its deputy speaker on claims of fraud. The parliament has been in session for more than four months.

Australia: Taxpayers hit for Hanson’s failed election challenge | Sydney Morning Herald

Pauline Hanson’s political ambitions are undimmed, despite a failed NSW election challenge that has left state taxpayers with a hefty legal bill of more than $150,000. The One Nation founder was yesterday again widely criticised for launching the case, which was based on what turned out to be a bogus email sent to her by Sydney man Sean Castle who used a false name.

But Ms Hanson said she would think about running again for the NSW parliament after she narrowly missed out on winning an upper house spot at the March 26 poll. “I have received tremendous support from the public,” said the former Queenslander who now lives in NSW.

Hungary: Mixed electoral system to remain in Hungary, number of individual constituencies, rounds undecided |

It is almost certain that a mixed electoral system will be maintained in Hungary, and the debate within the ruling Fidesz-Christian Democrat alliance now only concerns the number of individual constituencies and the number of election rounds, Magyar Nemzet daily said on Wednesday.

Fidesz deputy leader Lajos Kosa confirmed to the paper that the governing coalition would submit a bill to parliament on a new election law in the autumn that stipulates a mixed electoral system – a blend of individual voting districts and national lists.

It has also been decided that Hungarian citizens living abroad will have the option to cast their ballots for a single national list representing Hungary as one constituency, Kosa said.

Serbia: Serbian Human and Minority Rights Calls for Bosniak Council elections by year’s end | B92 News

Serbian Human and Minority Rights Minister Milan Marković has said that elections for the Bosniak National Council will need to be held by the end of the year.

“This is a national interest and a need of the Bosniak community and it would be best if this issue was tackled before winter,” Marković told Belgrade-based daily Politika and added that it was in Serbia’s interest for everyone to take part in the elections and this was the reason why talks with all lists’ representatives were underway.