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The Voting News Weekly: TVN Weekly July 25-31 2011

Getting at Voter Id at the Wisconsin DMV

Getting at Voter Id at the Wisconsin DMV

The Maine GOP chairman accused university students of committing a felony for voting in the state while paying out-of-state tuition though the University residency requirements are entirely unrelated to the residency requirements for voting in the State. A Wisconsin mother filmed her son’s effort to obtain a voter ID from the DMV and discovered that sufficient bank activity has apparently become a prerequisite for the right to vote. And finding a DMV office in Wisconsin in order to prove that sufficient bank activity will become more difficult – at least in some areas – under Governor Walker’s new plan. Budget cuts in California are threatening county election offices’ ability to mail absentee ballots. India’s pilot of voter verified paper audit trail printers encountered problems. The North Carolina House fell five votes short of overriding Governor Perdue’s veto of a voter ID requirement. Kentucky legislators consider whether a fixed address is required before exercising the right to vote and a proposed internet poll for Presidential candidates fails to consider the evidence of past experiments with online voting. Read More

Editorials: Turning away college students in Maine | Bangor Daily News

Here’s a great economic development strategy for the oldest state in the nation — treat college-educated young people as pariahs.

Rather than encourage these people to begin to put down roots and get involved in the local community, ensure that you are as unwelcoming as possible. Accuse them of fraud. Blame them when local elections didn’t go the way you wanted. Put up barriers making it harder for them to vote locally.

Earlier this week, Charlie Webster, head of the Maine Republican Party, held up a list he said showed 206 college students from other states have illegally voted in Maine. Read More

National: The new Jim Crow? – Democrats in Congress urge the Justice Department to look into new, GOP-authored voter ID laws | Salon.com

This week over 100 House Democrats wrote to the Department of Justice urging an investigation into whether new voter identification laws — passed in seven states already this year and under consideration in many more — violate the Voting Rights Act. 16 Democratic senators made the same request of Attorney General Eric Holder earlier this month.

The laws, which marginally differ from state to state, require that voters will have to bring photo ID — for the most part government issued — to the polls next year. Stricter voter ID requirements at the polls have been passed by Republican-controlled state legislatures claiming to promote honest elections. Democrats, alongside groups including the NAACP, have called foul on the new laws, arguing they disenfranchise minorities, students, the poor and disabled (for the most part, groups with Democratic voting tendencies).

Read More

Tennessee: Editorial: Trying to cope with voter ID | The Commercial Appeal

Tennessee’s new photo identification law is a solution in search of a problem that voters will have to deal with unless courts rule that it is an unconstitutional infringement on access to the polls. The voter ID law was taken from boiler plate legislation drafted by the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council.

It is described by critics as part of an effort to solidify Republican majorities in state legislatures across the country and strengthen the GOP’s hand on the federal level. It takes effect next year.

Meanwhile, advocates for the elderly, minorities and others who may be discouraged from voting can help counter its effects with an educational and assistance campaign. Read More

Florida: Browning avoids Obama administration review for parts of election law | Orlando Sentinel

Florida Secretary of State Kurt Browning has asked a federal court to review the state’s new election law, sidestepping the Obama administration’s examination of the most controversial pieces of the law that was a major priority for the GOP-led Legislature and signed by Gov. Rick Scott.

Critics of the new law have been lobbying the U.S. Justice Department to invalidate the new law, saying it disenfranchises voters, particularly women and minorities. The American Civil Liberties Union is challenging part of the law in court and Rev. Jesse Jackson held rallies in Florida this past week in protest of the bill. Read More

Maine: Same Day Voter Registration and Charlie Webster’s Infinite Wisdom | Price on Politics

I have been avoiding this topic for the past couple of weeks because it has received plenty of coverage, but given GOP Chairman Charlie Webster’s latest actions, it was time for a college student’s take on the matter. For the past four years I have been a registered Republican in a college town and as frustrating as it often can be to go up against the liberal leanings of the area, restricting voting access is wrong and will not change the outcome of elections.

I am from Maine and have voted since I was 18, and never once was it in my hometown. I follow the local politics of the area I reside in and am most informed about the issues of that area. While I am not one of the students Webster has decided to target, I still take issue with his accusations. I’d also be curious to know where LePage’s children voted during their time (paying in state tuition?) attending college in Florida. If we are heading down this road, why not look at Maine citizens voting in other states while attending school. Does this concern Webster? No, because to him they represent one less liberal voting in a Maine election. Read More

Editorials: North Carolina Voter ID bill down, but not out | The Asheville Citizen-Times

North Carolina is safe, for the moment, from what appears to be little more than an attempt to disenfranchise people who might vote Democratic. But, as Andrew Jackson once put it, “eternal vigilance by the people is the price of liberty.”

The House fell five votes short Tuesday of the three-fifths vote needed to override Gov. Bev Perdue’s veto of a bill requiring North Carolinians to show a photo identification in order to vote. But the GOP performed a parliamentary maneuver to keep the bill alive through the remainder of the 2011-12 session.

Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Cornelius, was unhappy. “I am hopeful that North Carolinians will continue to express their support for this critical issue and that their representatives will respond appropriately,” he said after the vote. Read More

Oklahoma: Special Election for Principal Chief set for September 24 | kjrh.com

Cherokee citizens will head to the polls September 24 to decide who will be the next Principal Chief. “That was the date recommended by the Election Commission to best allow our citizens to fully participate in the election,” said Principal Chief Chad Smith. “The commission thought that gave enough time to notify our citizens of the dates important to the election, including a period of time for voters to request absentee ballots.”

Cherokee Nation law says that in such cases, a special election must be called by the Principal Chief “as soon as practical.”

All citizens who were registered to vote in the June 25 general election will be eligible to vote in the special election, officials said. The election law ends voter registration for an election year on March 31 of that year, so voters who registered after the deadline will not be eligible to vote in the special election, says election commission officials. Read More

Nevada: Cherchio questions vote by North Las Vegas mayor’s son | ReviewJournal.com

The latest twist in a tangled North Las Vegas election tale involves both a union stagehand who voted in the city but doesn’t live there and the mayor’s son. Voter Greg Mich’l, who lives in Las Vegas, admitted Thursday he voted in the North Las Vegas contest between incumbent Councilman Richard Cherchio and Wade Wagner, which was decided by a single vote.

Mich’l, 26, said he didn’t know he couldn’t vote in North Las Vegas. “I’m really embarrassed,” he said. “I never vote, and then this happens.”

Meanwhile, Cherchio’s attorney on Thursday said Jordan Buck, Mayor Shari Buck’s 23-year-old-son, might have cast an invalid ballot. “There’s substantial question about whether he has the right to vote here,” Bradley Schrager said. “We are investigating every potential discrepancy.” Wagner, a 48-year-old dentist, won the June 7 election with 1,831 votes. Cherchio got 1,830. Read More

Nevada: Prosecution unlikely for voting error in North Las Vegas race | ReviewJournal.com

The man who voted in a disputed North Las Vegas election — though he is not a resident of the city — may have unwittingly committed a crime. But such cases are rarely prosecuted in Clark County, officials said. Such voting mistakes “probably happen a whole lot but don’t come out,” said Ron Bloxham, a chief deputy district attorney for the county. Prosecution “is rare in comparison to the number of times” such errors likely occur, he said.

Election officials often say no election is perfect, and the North Las Vegas election was no exception. But votes cast in the contest for the City Council’s Ward 4 seat drew unusual scrutiny after Wade Wagner, a 48-year-old dentist, beat incumbent Councilman Richard Cherchio, 64, by a single vote. Read More