The Voting News Daily: Cuyahoga County seeks bids for help with vote-by-mail project, White to represent himself in next round of court

Ohio: Cuyahoga County seeks bids for help with vote-by-mail project | 19 Action News Cuyahoga County’s Department of Public Works is seeking bids for help with the project approved by Cuyahoga County Council Monday evening to send a vote-by-mail application to all active Cuyahoga County voters. The request for bids was approved Monday morning by…

Ohio: Cuyahoga County seeks bids for help with vote-by-mail project | 19 Action News

Cuyahoga County’s Department of Public Works is seeking bids for help with the project approved by Cuyahoga County Council Monday evening to send a vote-by-mail application to all active Cuyahoga County voters.

The request for bids was approved Monday morning by Cuyahoga County’s Executive Board of Control in advance of the County Council’s Monday evening vote. Specifically, county government seeks help with manufacturing envelopes to be used in the mailing and mailhouse data processing.

Ohio: Rep. Kucinich asks U.S. Attorney to investigate Ohio over Cuyahoga ballot controversy | WEWS

U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) has asked federal authorities to intervene on behalf of Cuyahoga County voters. Kucinich sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice Monday asking U.S. attorneys to “use all the investigative and Prosecutorial power” of their office to look at the state’s ban on unsolicited absentee ballots.

Ohio Secretary of State John Husted recently banned from sending unsolicited absentee ballot counties applications to voters. Cuyahoga County ballot Executive Ed Fitzgerald plans to continue the practice of sending every registered voter in absentee.

Editorials: Democracy Under Attack; Another State Dismantling Voting Rights Act of 1965 | Rolling Out

Perhaps we now know why the earth rumbled beneath the Eastern Seaboard then sustained the wrath of Hurricane Irene as she barreled ashore — in the same area and in the same week. The spirit of Martin Luther King Jr., who was immortalized with a memorial on the National Mall, may have been aroused to anger as yet another state, this one Arizona, is tampering with the Voting Rights Act, one of the measures for which he and others selflessly sacrificed their lives.

Republican attorney general Tom Horne, obviously executing the whims of powerful GOP operatives, has decided to challenge Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, a measure that was implemented specifically to protect the rights of the minority electorate. This is a bold and obvious move to further bolster conservatives’ obsession with making President Obama a one-term president.

The same body of individuals has doubtlessly ordered a systematic challenge to this law across the country after the U.S. Supreme Court mysteriously ruled that voting districts could be exempt from the federal law if they can show they’re no longer engaged in race discrimination.

Nevada: North Las Vegas refuses to pay for lawsuits | Las Vegas Sun

North Las Vegas refuses to foot the bill for lawsuits Councilman Wade Wagner and former Mayor Mike Montandon filed against the city in June over a new election. Wagner is asking for more than $72,000 in attorney’s fees. Montandon, along with North Las Vegas resident Jay King, claims the city should pay $40,000 for a joint lawsuit that halted a special election in Ward 4.

Wagner won the Ward 4 general election against former Councilman Richard Cherchio by a single vote. The Clark County Elections Department later found one invalid vote. The Council voted to hold a new election in Precinct 4306, where the one invalid vote was cast, which prompted Cherchio to sue the city, joined later by Montandon.

According to court documents, North Las Vegas has filed an opposition to Wagner’s request, stating that the Council had the right to vote for a new election and that Wagner’s attorney, Todd Bice, stated in open court that he was “not getting paid” and was representing him because he “believed in the cause.”

South Carolina: Savannah Woman told she needs Proof of Marriage to get Driver’s License | WSAV TV

Nora Elze  is 88, and still pretty spry, so she’d still like to do her own errands.  But when it comes to driving around Savannah, well, her car is still in the garage.  That’s because she can’t get aGeorgia driver’s license and it has nothing to do with her age, it has to do with her name.

Elze and her husband Warren lived in Savannah for fourteen years.  “so from 1985 to 1999, I had a Georgia’s driver’s license,” she tells me. She and Mr. Elze moved back from Pennsylvania a few weeks ago. “And we went right in to get our licenses.  My husband got his without any trouble, but I couldn’t get mine,’ she tells me.

Mrs. Elze was told that because her birth certificate had her maiden name on it and her Pennsylvania ID had her married name, she would need to prove that she was married.  “I think this is crazy, we got married in 1946,” she told me.

Voting Blogs: Worth the Wait: DOJ Review of South Carolina Photo ID Could Yield First Real Data to Evaluate Claims of Disenfranchisement | PEEA

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Voting Section requested more information from the State of South Carolina regarding a new photo ID law for voters. DOJ is reviewing the new law under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which requires some states and jurisdictions – including SC – to submit their voting changes for approval before they can be enforced.

The request for more information – which gives the state 60 days to respond and will delay DOJ’s decision up to 60 days after the receipt of the new data – came in a letter from Section chief Chris Herren to the office of Attorney General Alan Wilson.

Voting Blogs: What More Can We Learn from South Carolina? | Election Updates

Doug Chapin’s post today on his blog digs down into the Department of Justice’s data request from South Carolina, seeking more detailed data concerning who does, and who doesn’t, have the identification required to vote in that state, as a consequence of their new voter ID law. I agree entirely with Doug’s top-line reaction — At last! Some real data.

At the same time, the request seems to miss an opportunity to find out more about whether voter identification laws will have a disenfranchising effect, and in particular, a disproportional effect on minority voters. The reason is that the disproportional effect may not be so much on whether whites and blacks have drivers licenses, but whether they have drivers licenses with the voter’s current address.

Zambia: Ballot papers to be flown directly Durban to Lusaka, says Mambilima |

Ballot papers for the September 20 tripartite elections will be flown directly to Lusaka from Durban, Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) chairperson Justice Ireen Mambilima has said.

Justice Mambilima told journalists at a Press briefing held atUniversal Print Group (UPG) that the ballot papers would be flown directly to Lusaka unlike in the past when they used to go through Johannesburg. She said the UPG would make arrangements to charter a cargo plane which would deliver the ballot papers directly to Lusaka.

Pakistan: Secretary Election Commission calls on PM, briefs on computerized electoral rolls | Associated Press Of Pakistan

Secretary Election Commission Ishtiaq Ahmad Khan called on Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani here on Tuesday and apprised him of the preparation of reforms being undertaken by the Commission to ensure fair, transparent and credible elections in the country. The Secretary informed the Prime Minister about Election Commission of Pakistan’s Strategic Plan 2010-14 which has been prepared in consultation with all the stakeholders including all political parties, civil society and media.

He informed the Prime Minister that the Computerized Electoral Rolls are being prepared in collaboration with NADRA and current door to door verification throughout Pakistan is underway until September 2011, and that final Computerized Electoral Rolls will be ready by April 2012. Secretary Election Commission thanked the Prime Minister for extending full support to make Election Commission of Pakistan an autonomous.

The Voting News Daily: Department of Justice seeks info on South Carolina voter ID law, Ed FitzGerald, Jon Husted spar over mailing voter forms

South Carolina: Department of Justice seeks info on voter ID law | The Post and Courier Read the Department of Justice’s request for more information on SC’s Voter ID law. South Carolina voters will have wait to find out whether the U.S. Department of Justice will authorize the state’s new voter ID law, following an announcement Monday…

South Carolina: Department of Justice seeks info on voter ID law | The Post and Courier

Read the Department of Justice’s request for more information on SC’s Voter ID law.

South Carolina voters will have wait to find out whether the U.S. Department of Justice will authorize the state’s new voter ID law, following an announcement Monday that federal officials need more information from the state.

Chris Whitmire, spokesman for the State Election Commission, said once state officials supply the information to the Justice Department, a 60-day window will begin for the federal agency to render a decision on the law. The law could be in effect for the November elections, but that will depend on how long the state takes to respond and if the Justice Department takes two full months to decide.

Ohio: Ed FitzGerald, Jon Husted spar over mailing voter forms |

Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald wants the county’s congressional delegation to help stop Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted from banning the Board of Elections from processing mail-in absentee voter applications.
Husted said Friday he is considering prohibiting Cuyahoga County’s Board of Elections from processing applications from people who wish to vote by mail if FitzGerald’s administration goes forward with a plan to mail applications to all active registered voters in the county.

Fitzgerald says the secretary of state’s remarks raise issues about voters’ rights and voter suppression that merit a review by the U.S. Department of Justice. He said his office will forward a transcript of Husted’s remarks to members of the delegation so they can help raise the issue.

South Carolina: Attorney General says State will fight if voter ID law rejected | The Times and Democrat

South Carolina is prepared to pursue litigation on several fronts “up to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary,” South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson said. Wilson was one of several elected state constitutional officers who spoke at an Orangeburg County Republican Party fundraiser Monday.

One issue involved the state voter ID law submitted to the U.S. Justice Department for review. Wilson said he has “no faith that it will do the right thing.” “I can tell you we won’t lay down on this,” he said.

The state Democratic Caucus lodged a formal objection to the law with the Justice Department last week. The law passed on the strength of the Republican majority in the General Assembly. Justice requested more information Monday before making a decision.

Voting Blogs: Cuyahoga Dispute Raises Question: Who’s in Charge of Elections? | PEEA

A fascinating battle is shaping up in Cuyahoga County, OH where County Executive Ed FitzGerald is preparing to ask the County Board to defy a recent directive by Secretary of State Jon Husted prohibiting county election offices from mailing out unsolicited absentee ballot applications to voters by having the County use non-election funds to do so.

The substantive issues in this dispute are important – especially given the growing number of voters in Ohio who cast their ballots outside of a traditional polling place – but just as interesting is the tug of war developing between Husted (a Republican) and FitzGerald (a Democrat) about ultimate control over election policy in Cuyahoga County, which is home to the city of Cleveland and its suburbs.

What’s at stake in the Cuyahoga dispute is nothing less than who will have ultimate control of local election policy in Ohio – and maybe elsewhere.

Canada: British Columbia municipalities press for online voting | Vancouver Sun

B.C. municipalities want access to online voting in time for the 2014 civic elections, hoping to boost voter turnout by making it easier to cast a ballot. At least three communities — Coquitlam, North Vancouver City and Fort St. John — have asked the Union of B.C. Municipalities to push the province for legislative changes to allow Internet voting, saying it would be beneficial to the young, elderly and out-of-town workers.

Vancouver had sought to have online voting in place for this November’s municipal election but the provincial government said it needed more time to consider the move.

Coun. Raymond Louie said voters need another incentive to vote. “It’s a bit challenging for all of us,” he said. “It just makes it easier for people if you don’t have to physically go down [and cast a ballot]. “It provides a wider diversity of opportunity for constituents to vote; it certainly does help those with mobility challenges or just in terms of having the opportunity to get out.”

Wisconsin: Would governor recall be a package deal? | JSOnline

In a possible recall election, are Gov. Scott Walker and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch a package deal or separate tickets? It’s an unprecedented question for an unprecedented period in Wisconsin politics, and so far there’s no official answer. The Government Accountability Board, which runs state elections, won’t yet weigh in, saying that it’s still researching the issue.

“It’s the unanswered question that somebody needs to provide some guidance on,” said Mike Wittenwyler, a Madison election and campaign finance attorney. “To me, it’s an issue that deserves serious study before this begins.”

So far, any talk of a recall of Walker or Kleefisch by Democrats and unions is just that – neither official is even eligible for recall until early November, one year after they were elected to office. To do it, recall organizers would need to gather a whopping 540,208 signatures across the state within 60 days and then back a pair of candidates in a costly statewide election.

Voting Blogs: Arizona looks to wind back VRA | The Stump

If Lyndon Johnson, the 36th President of the United States of America, was ever going to turn in his grave it might be now. Johnson was the President who, in 1965, signed into law the Voting Rights Act (VRA) which enabled Martin Luther King and other African-American leaders of the time to achieve their dream of helping their fellow African-Americans win the right to vote for the first time. But now the state of Arizona, fresh from passing a fiendishly harsh migration law, wants to wind back the VRA, despite the fact that in 2006 the Senate voted 98-0 to approve the law for another 25 years.

Last Thursday Arizona’s Attorney-General Tom Horne, a Republican, launched legal proceedings that seek to declare as unconstitutional the requirement for states to have any changes they make to voting cleared by the federal government. The so-called “pre-clearance” requirement is viewed by supporters of the VRA as critical because it prevents states making it difficult for minorities to vote through mechanisms such as ballot papers in English only, or having polling booths in predominantly minorities areas.

Editorials: Colorado Congressman Coffman’s attack on voting rights | The Denver Post

Rep. Mike Coffman’s intent to repeal the language assistance provisions of the Voting Rights Act is not only ill-conceived but places the rights of millions of U.S. citizens in jeopardy.

In 1975, Congress expanded the Voting Rights Act by adding language assistance amendments. The effort was spearheaded by Sen. Walter Mondale, D-Minn. Congress added Sections 203 and 4(f) to provide targeted oral or written language assistance to American citizens of voting age who were not fluent in English after finding that the denial of the right to vote among limited English-proficient citizens was “directly related to the unequal educational opportunities afforded them, resulting in high illiteracy and low voting participation.” According to the 2000 Census, three-quarters of all voters covered by Section 203 were native-born, voting-age citizens.

Section 203, the part of the act that Coffman wants to remove, is based on the 14th and 15th Amendments, which guarantee “equal protection and the right to vote without regard to race, color, or previous conditions of servitude.” Consistent with our constitution, Section 203 “prohibits discriminatory practices and procedures that effectively exclude language minorities from participating in the electoral process and provides for appropriate remedies.”

Editorials: Vote efforts seen as not enough | San Antonio Express-News

When Victoria Faz registered to vote, no political party operative ushered her there. No governmental public service announcement prodded her, and neither a candidate nor a campaign signed her up on her 18th birthday.

Watching the junior senator from Illinois address the Democratic National Convention in 2004 did make an impression, but the 20-year-old political science major at UTSA was motivated most by another reason. “I wanted to do it for me,” the San Antonian said.

She’s a rarity in a state with dubious voter registration and turnout rates and one that political scientists view as dependent on largely ineffective ways to get voters registered and to the polls.

Kansas: Dead aren’t voting in Sedgwick County | Wichita Eagle

When it comes to deleting the deceased from Kansas voter rolls, county election commissioners depend on ELVIS. But election officials say even ELVIS — which stands for Election Voter Information System, which cross-references voter rolls with state records — can’t shake out all the names that no longer belong.

Sometimes a onetime Kansas voter moves out of state and dies without the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s Office of Vital Statistics noting it, said Sedgwick County Election Commissioner Bill Gale. Gale recently cross-checked Sedgwick County voters with the Social Security Death Index, national obituary websites and other sources. Then his office deleted 141 on the voter rolls identified as deceased, including at least one who died a decade ago.

Singapore: Presidential election won by Tony Tan | BBC News

Singapore’s former deputy prime minister Tony Tan has won the country’s presidential election by a narrow margin. The result was announced after a recount between Tony Tan and fellow front-runner Tan Cheng Bock.

Tony Tan, 71, was seen as the preferred candidate of the governing People’s Action Party, which has run Singapore since independence. Singapore’s presidency is a largely ceremonial position. The election was the first of its kind for 18 years.

Wisconsin: Wisconsin Voter ID Law Faces Legal Challenge | Ashland Current

The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin Education Fund will challenge Wisconsin’s new Voter ID law based on the state constitution. As a nonpartisan organization that encourages participation in government, the league is concerned about voter disenfranchisement and as a result is is working with Attorney Lester Pines of Cullen Weston Pines & Bach to challenge the legislature’s authority to enact the law.

“The League of Women Voters has been fighting for open and fair elections ever since its founding by the suffragists who won the right to vote for women in 1920. Our Wisconsin state constitution specifically protects the right to vote and limits what the legislature can do to exclude eligible citizens,” said Melanie G. Ramey, president of the Wisconsin League of Women Voters.

Ohio: Ed FitzGerald says Cuyahoga will fight back | WTAM

Last week, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted said he is considering banning the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections from processing applications from individuals who wish to vote by mail, if county government moves forward with a plan to mail unsolicited applications to all its active registered voters.

Today, county Executive Ed FitzGerald said his office is fighting back, and is looking at legal action if Husted makes good on his threat. Fitzgerald said information may be forwarded to the U.S. Justice Department. Speaking outside the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections building, FitzGerald accused Husted of threatening voters.

“That comment stepped way over the line,” FitzGerald said today. “The fact is, Jon Husted can’t order the Board of Elections to refuse to allow citizens to vote by mail. For him to suggest that he can creates a real risk of sowing confusion among Cuyahoga County residents about this election.”

Pennsylvania: Voter-ID bill awaits action | Philadelphia Inquirer

Pennsylvanians may soon find out whether voting will join buying a drink, boarding a plane, cashing a check, and purchasing a train ticket on the list of activities that require photo identification.

The state House has approved the Republican majority’s plan to require all voters to show a government-issued photo ID every time the go to the polls – a step that proponents say would prevent illegal voting. Democrats say that there is no evidence the state has a serious problem with voter fraud, and that the bill would only dissuade many voters, especially minorities and the elderly, from casting ballots.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R., Butler), is pending in the Senate, which is expected to take it up sometime after senators reconvene Sept. 19. In the House, the bill spawned three days of acrimonious debate before the GOP majority used parliamentary maneuvers to shut it down and send the measure to the Senate in June. Even with lawmakers on summer recess, the proposal continues to provoke debate.

South Carolina: Department of Justice decision due for new voter photo ID law | Houston Chronicle

A decision could come as early as Monday from the U.S. Justice Department on whether voters will have to show state or federal photographic identification for the first time when they vote in South Carolina elections.

Monday marks the end of a 60 day review period for the new law, said Chris Whitmire, spokesman for the state Election Commission. “We expect to hear something by Monday,” Whitmire said. That word could mean approval, rejection or that the Justice Department has more questions and will take more time to review the law. South Carolina’s history of voting rights violations require federal oversight of election law changes, including requiring voters to show photographic identification.

Arizona: Phoenix tries out voting centers | Washington Times

Phoenix, the nation’s sixth largest city, aims to save money and add convenience by allowing its 650,000 registered voters to cast ballots for Tuesday’s city election at any of 26 voting centers. The centers replace 128 assigned polling places. While most Phoenix voters cast early ballots, typically mailing them in, those who vote in person formerly had to vote in their precincts.

Arizona is among nine states that either permit jurisdictions to replace precincts with vote centers or authorize pilot projects in selected administrations, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The centers don’t necessarily boost overall turnout but can save money for governmental jurisdictions, a 2010 study by the Bowen Center for Public Affairs at Indiana’s Ball State University found.

Phoenix, the first Arizona city to use voting centers, likely will save up to $350,000 on the previous $1 million cost of a city election, with reduced spending for hiring election workers, renting polling places and preprinting ballots, City Clerk Cris Meyer said.

Voting Blogs: Alabama anti-immigration law’s voter-registration provisions | Votelaw

In a few days, U.S. District Judge Sharon Blackburn will grant or deny a preliminary injunction against numerous provisions of the “Beason-Hammon Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act.” Three suits by a coalition of organizations and individuals, the federal government, and Bishops of the Episcopal, United Methodist, and Catholic Churches challenged numerous provisions of the Act. But I did not find a challenge to Section 29 (see page 61 of the Scribd copy of the Act) which deals with voter registration.

I only want to look at the sloppy drafting of the Act. Well, actually, Section 29 is drafted in a way superior to most Alabama legislation. Most bills seems to be drafted with extremely long sections with a variety of topics in each section. Section 29 actually has a structure that aids — rather than impedes — reading it. There are three provisions I want to point out as indicating the author(s) of the bill either did not understand Alabama governmental structure or did not understand federal law.