Editorials: Wisconsin voter ID law: Hurdles for voters, little to curb voter fraud & $7 million tab | Madison Independent

Governor Walker recently signed a bill that requires voters to show IDs at the polls. The new bill will cost Wisconsin taxpayers nearly $7 million in new spending and lost revenue, according to the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau. Many claim that the measure will do little to prevent voter fraud and will disenfranchise thousands of minority, elderly and rural voters.

According to PolitiFact, Wisconsin’s law is one of the most restrictive, based on research on acceptable IDs and voting procedures for those without IDs from state election offices, and the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Under the new law, citizens would be allowed to vote only after showing a photo ID such as a Wisconsin driver’s license, state-issued ID card, certain very limited student IDs, military IDs, passports, naturalization certificates or IDs issued by a tribe based in Wisconsin. The new law will be partially implemented in the upcoming recall elections this year, with full implementation beginning with the presidential election in 2012.

Oklahoma: Cherokee election recount progressing slowly | MiamiHerald.com

A second manual recount of votes in the hotly-contested Cherokee Nation principal chief’s election began on Saturday, but campaign officials said progress was slow and that it would likely stretch into a second day.

Three-term incumbent Chief Chad Smith; his challenger, longtime tribal councilman Bill John Baker; their attorneys and the tribal Supreme Court justices watched as the roughly 15,000 ballots cast for the June 25 election were counted at the American Indian tribe’s election commission headquarters in Tahlequah. Reporters were not allowed into the room, but both sides said it appeared the proceedings would continue into Sunday.

The Voting News Daily: GOP To Push Stronger Voter I.D. Laws, 24,000 Pentagon files stolen in major cyber breach

National: GOP To Push Stronger Voter I.D. Laws, Says ‘Voter Fraud Is Real’ | CNSnews.com Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus repeated his party’s commitment to stronger voter identification laws, saying that the GOP would not give up the fight against voter fraud. “I think that we need to make it easy to vote, hard…

National: GOP To Push Stronger Voter I.D. Laws, Says ‘Voter Fraud Is Real’ | CNSnews.com

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus repeated his party’s commitment to stronger voter identification laws, saying that the GOP would not give up the fight against voter fraud.

“I think that we need to make it easy to vote, hard to cheat, and I think that that’s a mantra that we ought to shout from the rooftops all over the country as a Party,” Priebus told conservative bloggers on a conference call on Thursday.

Republican National Lawyers Association (RNLA) Chairman David Norcross said that voter fraud issues were very real, despite complaints from liberals that it is largely a phantom problem. Cross cited several cases where states had found thousands of ineligible votes after elections were already over.

National: 24,000 Pentagon files stolen in major cyber breach, official says | The Washington Post

The Defense Department lost 24,000 files to “foreign intruders” in the spring in what appears to be one of the most damaging cyberattacks to date on the U.S. military, a top Pentagon official acknowledged Thursday.

Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III, who disclosed the March breach during a speech to roll out the Pentagon’s new cyber strategy, said the files were taken from a defense contractor. He did not say who was believed to be behind the attack or describe the nature of the files that were stolen.

But Lynn said that, over the past few years, all manner of data has been stolen, some of it mundane, some of it concerning “our most sensitive systems, including aircraft avionics, surveillance technologies, satellite communications systems, and network security protocols.”

Kenya: Kibaki and Odinga to set up new Electoral Commission – no electronic voting in Kenya in 2012 | Individual.com

President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga have just two days to set in motion the mechanism that will give the country a new Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

… Mr Hassan said the commission is working on rules and regulations that will require political parties to reserve some seats for women candidates only during nominations. This will help attain the gender ratios set by the new Constitution.

He also said the commission will use a manual voting system in 2012 elections. This ends speculations that Kenya could have electronic voting in next year’s elections.

 

Florida: Voting Groups To Feds: Don’t Let Florida’s Restrictive Voting Law Go Through | TPM

A group of voting rights organizations are asking the Justice Department not to clear a Florida law which places restrictions on third-party voter registration efforts and shortens the early voting period.

Florida’s HB 1355 institutes a “panoply of burdensome and wholly unnecessary restrictions on the opportunity and ability of individual citizens and grassroots organizations to conduct voter registration drives,” the group wrote to the DOJ.

Parts of Florida are covered by section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which requires certain states to have changes to their voting process approved by the Justice Department. Claiming the restrictive measures are discriminatory, the groups want the feds to step in.

Editorials: Carded at the Polls – Will the Justice Department stop the assault on voting rights for minorities, the elderly, and the poor? | prospect.org

One consequence of Republican victories last November has been an onslaught of state legislation to require voters to show photo identification at polling places. This push builds on GOP efforts over the past decade to tighten ID requirements; at least 18 states have enacted more stringent rules since 2003, including, most recently, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.

Last week, 16 U.S. senators signed a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder calling on the Justice Department to investigate whether the new ID requirements comply with federal law. Representative Marcia Fudge of Ohio, a Democrat, is gathering signatures on a similar letter from House members and held a press conference Wednesday on Capitol Hill with civil-rights leaders, including the Reverend Jesse Jackson, to draw attention to her effort.

Oklahoma: Second recount in Cherokee elections starts Saturday | MiamiHerald.com

Cherokee Nation election commissioners will begin a second recount Saturday in the close and hotly contested election for the leader of Oklahoma’s largest American Indian tribe.

Results from the June 25 election have been in dispute since they were announced the morning after. Unofficial results showed longtime councilman Bill John Baker winning by 11 votes, but when the Cherokee Nation Election Commission announced its official results the next day it said Principal Chief Chad Smith had won a fourth term by seven votes.

A June 30 recount ended with Baker up by 266 votes, but the tribe’s highest court ordered another recount Tuesday.

Oklahoma: Chief candidates offer up ideas for recount | MuskogeePhoenix.com

Two candidates competing for the Cherokee Nation’s top post offered suggestions Friday about how to handle the second manual recount of the ballots cast for principal chief. Incumbent Chad Smith and challenger Bill John Baker have dueled over the outcome of the June 25 election since they were tabulated election night.

The tribe’s election officials declared both men official winners and losers during the first five days following the election. While both men cling to victory, neither knows for sure who will be inaugurated chief Aug. 14. While the candidates remained outside the spotlight Friday, lawyers for the campaigns outlined proposals for how to conduct a recount that might stand.

Editorials: Justice Rears Her Head in Wisconsin As Kathy Nickolaus is Investigated by GAB | PoliticusUSA

In case you were wondering where justice was hiding in Wisconsin, she’s reared her head in Waukesha County. County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus will be investigated by the Government Accountability Board, which certified the Wisconsin Supreme Court election in question.

A former Dane country prosecutor will finally be looking into Nickolaus’ conduct. And by conduct, I mean misconduct, including open ballot bags with no secure chain of custody, voter rolls with tags that don’t match ballot bags, a canvas called a day early which took place with Nickolaus never telling the other canvassers about the “lost” votes for two days during the canvas and much more.

Kentucky: GOP candidate files ethics complaint over voter registration of homeless | Kentucky.com

Bill Johnson, Republican candidate for secretary of state, filed an ethics complaint Thursday against Secretary of State Elaine Walker and the State Board of Elections over voter registration of homeless people.

Johnson, a Todd County businessman and educator, contends Walker and the board are violating the Kentucky Constitution by allowing people who don’t have addresses to register to vote. He says the elections board was wrong June 30 when it notified county clerks they could register voters who have no addresses.

The board said applications should be approved if they have “homeless” or “place to place” listed as addresses. Walker, who is chairwoman of the elections board, was not available for comment.

Louisiana: A Tale of Two Special Elections: Costing Out Louisiana and Massachusetts | Electionline Weekly

Hundreds of special elections are held across the nation each year and because there is no way officials can plan for them, budgeting can be difficult. Below is an analysis of how two states , Louisiana and Massachusetts handle special elections.

Louisiana

A recent report from the Louisiana Legislative Auditor‘s office calculated that special elections in the state, from 2005 to 2010, cost state and local governments more than $1 million with the direct costs of running these elections ranging between $12,000 and $137,000 a piece. As already reported, a potential conclusion from this report is that Louisiana is spending unnecessary resources to hold special elections rather than postponing these races until the next regularly scheduled election days.

Legislation to reduce the number of standalone local elections has already been introduced by the state Legislature, but underneath the headline of the cost of eac h election is the story of how states and localities divvy up the costs of running those elections.

Ohio: Ohio’s Election “Reform” | Rock the Vote Blog

For a brief and glorious moment, Ohio was going to have online voter registration. A mere 12 days after online voter registration was born, the Ohio legislature passed HB 224, a bill that amended parts of an election reform bill (HB 194) that gave online voter registration its short life. We’ll get to that in a minute.

First, let’s just say that the original election reform bill – HB 194 – was not entirely beneficial to voters. It shortens the early voting period from 35 days to 17 days, ends all Sunday voting hours, and stops counties from automatically sending out absentee ballot applications (a common practice in larger, urban counties). It also eliminates a requirement for poll workers to direct voters to their correct precinct if they arrive at the wrong location. That’s right: if you show up at the wrong polling place, poll workers now don’t have to tell you where your proper polling place is.

Rhode Island: Voter ID critics express distaste in letter to Chafee | The Providence Journal

Fifteen minority, civil-rights, open government and social-service organizations have sent Governor Chafee a letter criticizing his decision to sign voter-ID legislation into law. The new law requires voters to present photo ID to vote, a law that the letter’s senders called “a significant and shameful step backward in the fight for equality at the voting booth.”

The letter also challenges Chafee’s claim that he spoke “with representatives of our state’s minority communities,” and “found their concerns about voter fraud and their support for this bill particularly compelling.”

“With respect, we would appreciate learning exactly who these representatives of minority communities you talked to are. None of our groups, representing a wide array of minority community constituencies in Rhode Island, has ever expressed support for this bill,” the letter states. “Further, to our knowledge, not one organization representing minority communities testified in support of this bill at either the House or Senate committee hearings.”

South Carolina: Nearly 180,000 South Carolina voters affected by new voter ID law | WIS News 10

About 93 percent of South Carolina residents are not affected by South Carolina’s new voter ID law. The other seven percent — those who are registered to vote, but do not have a photo id — may have to take an additional step in order to vote. But right now, things are in limbo until the Department of Justice weighs in.

On May 18, new legislation was signed requiring voters to show a photo ID to cast a ballot. Any change to election laws must be approved by the U.S. Department of Justice, so some provisions in the law are not yet in effect.

Elections Commission officials say if the law is approved, most South Carolinians will not be affected. However, about 178,000 registered voters do not have a state-issued license or ID and may need one. “Those people will have to take some action before their next election,” said Elections Commission spokesman Chris Whitmire.

North Carolina: McCrory pushing for override of North Carolina voter ID bill vetoed by potential rematch opponent Perdue | The Republic

Former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory is trying to build public pressure upon lawmakers to support a voter photo identification mandate vetoed by his potential gubernatorial opponent next year.

McCrory this week began a multimedia effort to persuade Democrats to help override Gov. Beverly Perdue’s veto of the voter ID requirement pushed by Republicans at the Legislature. An override vote is expected July 25. McCrory lost to Perdue in the 2008 election and is considering a 2012 bid.

Voting Blogs: A Voting System without “Spoilers” — Approval Voting | Democracy Counts

A perpetual problem with our current voting system is that it subjects third-party candidates to charges that they are “spoilers” while forcing voters to vote strategically rather than honestly. That is, if you really like candidate C, but realize that the most likely winner is either candidate A or candidate B, you may feel obligated to vote for A to prevent a win by B.

How hard is it to get around this problem? Not hard at all — it just means considering the system that was used to vote for the first four U.S. presidents. That’s Approval Voting.

New Mexico: Top elections official says review of voter rolls is about accuracy, not fraud | The Republic

Secretary of State Dianna Duran repeatedly told a panel of lawmakers Friday her office is not pursuing any political agenda regarding voter registration in New Mexico and she flatly denied allegations that she’s targeting illegal immigrants in a review of the state’s voter rolls.

Duran, a former Republican state senator and county clerk, said she’s simply making good on a campaign promise to verify that all of the 1.16 million people who are registered to vote in New Mexico are in fact legally eligible to cast a ballot.

“I told the people of the state of New Mexico last year … that I would do my best to serve in the best possible way that I could to assure integrity in the election process, integrity in the election system,” she said. “That’s all that is going on here. It is not a witch hunt. It is not a fishing expedition.”

New Mexico: Duran praised, attacked for voter fraud investigation | Alamogordo Daily News

A legislator on Friday asked Secretary of State Dianna Duran to end a state police investigation of 64,000 registered voters, but Duran said she was duty-bound to continue it. She said the expertise of police investigators would help her office make sure that New Mexico’s voter rolls were updated and accurate.

State Rep. Richard Vigil, D-Ribera, said Duran had mishandled the case by involving police without any evidence that a crime had been committed. “I have a piece of advice for you,” he said to Duran during the end of a three-hour legislative hearing. “Bring those files back from the Department of Public Safety. Hand them to the 33 county clerks” who have expertise in voter registrations and elections.

If the clerks find any evidence of voter fraud, Vigil said, the case should be turned over to the appropriate district attorney for criminal prosecution.

Zimbabwe: Zanu-PF insists on Zimbabwe elections this year | SABCNews

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s party has renewed its calls for new elections this year, rejecting a timeline that his own negotiators hammered out last week, a state daily reported today.

“The politburo is unanimous that elections should be held this year,” The Herald newspaper quoted Zanu-PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo as saying after the party’s top decision-making body met in the capital.

Thailand: Election Commission set to endorse Thai premier-in-waiting | M&C

Thailand’s prime minister-elect Yingluck Shinawatra is expected to be endorsed next week, a newspaper reported Friday citing an Election Commission official.

Commissioner Sodsri Satayatham, who is in charge of political party affairs, said consideration of Yingluck would be completed Tuesday when the government election body holds its second round of endorsements, the English-language Nation newspaper reported online.

The commission did not qualify Yingluck, who leads the Pheu Thai party, during its first round of endorsements this week because of questions concerning the involvement of banned politicians in her campaign.

Uganda: Lukwago, Uganda Electoral Commission lawyer clash over bribery | New Vision Online

Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago clashed with the Electoral Commission lawyer, Enos Tumusiime, in court yesterday over claims that there was bribery during the Rubaga North vote recount. Lukwago, who is a witness for Moses Kasibante, the former Rubaga North parliamentary candidate, was being cross-examined on his affidavit by Tumusiime before High Court judge, Vincent Kibuuka-Musoke.

Tumusiime asked Lukwago to substantiate a claim he allegedly made under cross-examination by MP Singh Katongole’s lawyers last week that the NRM deputy treasurer and Kampala district returning officer, Molly Mutazindwa, received a bribe before the vote recount.