The Voting News Daily: Saguache County CO clerk ordered to turn over ballots, Puerto Rico edges closer to U.S. voting rights

Colorado: Saguache Co. clerk ordered to turn over ballots | The Denver Post The Saguache County clerk must turn over ballots from the problem-plagued 2010 general election for inspection by the Colorado secretary of state, a district court judge ruled today. “To prevent errors in future elections, the Secretary as a higher authority must be…

Colorado: Saguache Co. clerk ordered to turn over ballots | The Denver Post

The Saguache County clerk must turn over ballots from the problem-plagued 2010 general election for inspection by the Colorado secretary of state, a district court judge ruled today.

“To prevent errors in future elections, the Secretary as a higher authority must be allowed (sic) review all aspects of a prior election to determine whether the clerks have complied with existing procedures,” Judge Martin Gonzales stated in a written order. “Otherwise, the errors may be repeated in future elections.”

Gonzales also said voted ballots “may be subjected to public inspection” as long as they do not disclose the voter’s identity. Secretary of State Scott Gessler sued Saguache County Clerk Melinda Myers earlier this year, after Myers refused to turn over ballots for a public review by Gessler’s office.

Puerto Rico: Puerto Rico edges closer to U.S. voting rights | AHN

Puerto Ricans’ chances of winning a right to vote in U.S. elections are as close now as at any time in American history. A First Circuit Court of Appeals decision last week has set up the conditions needed for the Supreme Court to review the possibility of voting rights for Puerto Rico’s four million residents.

The appeals court deadlocked 3-to-3 on whether to hear a case in which a lower court already denied Puerto Ricans a right to vote. A tied vote means any previous rulings are left to stand. The issue has arisen previously in the federal courts but never when there was a Supreme Court justice of Puerto Rican ancestry and presidential candidates were working so hard to win Hispanic votes.

Voting Blogs: A review of the FVAP UOCAVA workshop | Freedom to Tinker

The US Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) is the Department of Defense Agency charged with assisting military and overseas voters with all aspects of voting, including registering to vote, obtaining ballots, and returning ballots. FVAP’s interpretations of Federal law (*) says that they must perform a demonstration of electronic return of marked ballots by overseas military voters (**) in a Federal election at the first Federal election that occurs one year after the adoption of guidelines by the US Election Assistance Commission. Since the EAC hasn’t adopted such guidelines yet (and isn’t expected to for at least another year or two), the clock hasn’t started ticking, so a 2012 demonstration is impossible and a 2014 demonstration looks highly unlikely. Hence, this isn’t a matter of imminent urgency; however, such systems are complex and FVAP is trying to get the ball rolling on what such a system would look like.

As has been discussed previously on this blog, nearly all computer security experts are very concerned about the prospect of marked ballot return over the internet (which we will henceforth refer to as “internet voting”). Issues include vulnerability of client computers, issues with auditability, concerns about usability and coercion, etc. On the flip side, many states and localities are marching full steam ahead on their own internet voting systems, generally ignoring the concerns of computer scientists, and focusing on the perceived greater convenience and hoped-for increased turnout. Many of these systems include email return of marked ballots, which computer scientists generally consider to be even riskier than web-based voting.

Colorado: Saguache ballots to be part of election review | The Pueblo Chieftain

The state can conduct a public review of November’s election in Saguache County election that includes voted ballots, District Court Judge Martin Gonzales ruled Thursday evening. Secretary of State Scott Gessler sued county Clerk & Recorder Melinda Myers in March after she had refused to turn over the ballots and argued that a public review would violate the secrecy of the ballot.

Gonzales ruled the defense had not established that ballots contained information that would identify a voter. Moreover, the ruling stated that requesting the ballots for the review was within Gessler’s powers.

It compared inclusion of ballots in the review to an auditor’s need to see invoices, checks and receipts.  “Likewise, the secretary cannot review the adequacy of procedures used in ballot counts without reviewing the voted ballots,” the ruling stated.

Colorado: Myers says SOS would ok ES&S M650 use for recall | Center Post Dispatch

According to an article on the BOCC recall petition hearing in the Pueblo Chieftain last week, Saguache County Clerk Melinda Myers says the Secretary of State’s (SOS) Office would permit the use of the M650 to tabulate recall election results.

The recall committee for Myers represented by former commissioner’s candidate Steve Carlson requested Aug. 2 that Saguache Commissioners appoint an official other than Myers to conduct the recall election and asked that the votes in the election be counted by hand.

Commissioner Sam Pace announced that Saguache Treasurer Connie Trujillo had been appointed to oversee the recall election and would be assisted by a retired Colorado county clerk or other individual familiar with election processes. The decision to hand count the ballots would need to be made by Trujillo and her assistant, Pace said.

Mississippi: Hinds County Sheriff McMillin on race — and conceding race | WLBT 3/Jackson, MS

Hinds County Sheriff Malcolm McMillin says he won’t challenge the election results from last week’s Democratic primary. He notified the media through a press release Thursday. On Friday, WLBT News got an exclusive interview with the outgoing sheriff.

McMillin has a history of making colorful remarks. His press release actually had some comments on color, directed at his opponent. McMillin says he will not challenge the votes, because he doesn’t believe examining them would make any difference, due to the problems in the election.

Texas: Comparing Texas’ Voter ID Law to Other States | Texas Tribune

When Texas voters are asked to show a photo ID at the polls in January, they will join voters in 29 other states that  have adopted voter identification requirements — but only six of which require photo identification.

The Legislature passed the controversial requirement during the regular session that ended in May. Because of Texas’ history of racial discrimination, section 5 of the federal Voting Rights Act gives the U.S. Department of Justice or the federal courts the authority to review laws that would affect voter participation before they are enacted. Before the change in law, Texas voters could show a voter registration certificate or another document, such as a utility bill, that listed their name but didn’t necessarily have a photo on it.

US Virgin Islands: Joint Elections Board chairman outlines steps to move ahead Stalled reform Intimidating meetings | Virgin Islands Daily News

In a move to address many of the troubles plaguing the V.I. Joint Board of Elections, the board’s chairman held a press conference Thursday to clear the air. So far, the board’s two-year cycle has gotten off to a rocky start, and Joint Board Chairman Rupert Ross Jr. wanted to dispel the impression that little has been done to address the problems, he said.

Ross offered members of the media information about what he felt had contributed to the current state of apparent disarray and outlined how the board plans to move forward despite the obstacles. Ross discussed how he and V.I. Elections Supervisor John Abramson Jr., who was reappointed to another 8-year term by the board on Wednesday, were preparing the board for the upcoming election cycle and how they were attempting to push forward much-needed legislation in time for the 2012 elections.

Most of the Joint Board meetings this year have been dramatic affairs with a lot of back-and-forth between members. Many have ended in an uproar involving yelling matches and even threats from the public in attendance. Some board members have sought a police presence at meetings to ensure their safety.

Arizona: Arizona state senator recall election can go forward, judge rules | CNN.com

An Arizona judge ruled Friday that a special election to recall state Senate President Russell Pearce, the primary sponsor behind a controversial anti-illegal immigration law that a federal court struck down in April, can be held November 8 as planned.

In an 11-page ruling, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Hugh E. Hegyi rejected nearly all of the arguments alleging problems with the recall petition.
The suit was filed by Franklin Bruce Ross, who backs Pearce and who alleged problems in the way the recall petitions were filled out. The suit cited as an example the language in the oath sworn by the circulators of the recall petitions did not state that the signatures collected were “genuine” or the “functional equivalent.”

But Hegyi concluded that the legislation concerning recall elections does not mandate that the oath contain the word “genuine.” “It merely requires ‘an’ oath that the Petition signatures are genuine, but does not prescribe a specific oath that will accomplish that objective,” the judge wrote. In this case, the requirements of the law — which he described as constitutional — have been met, he said.

Editorials: Total recall no instant cure for cranky voters | Sydney Morning Herald

During the final year of the Labor government in NSW there was an outpouring of frustration from an electorate that had clearly made its mind up to throw it out, but was powerless to do so. The reason was NSW’s system of four-year fixed parliamentary terms.

What emerged was a proposal to introduce US-style ”recall” elections, whereby a government can be dragged to the polls early if enough of the electorate desires it. The same mechanism helped Arnold Schwarzenegger to the governor’s mansion in California in 2003.

In the heat of a looming election – and after much coverage of the idea by the Herald – both Kristina Keneally and Barry O’Farrell declared the idea worthy of consideration. O’Farrell has made good on his word and has convened an expert panel to consider how it might work in NSW.

Bhutan: The 16-vote tiebreaker in election for Punakha’s Goenshari gup | Kuensel Online/Bhutan

The reelection for post of Punakha’s Goenshari gup yesterday ended with Kinley Dorji winning by 16 votes over his opponent Kinley Wangchuk. The candidates were caught in a deadlock situation in the recent local government elections securing 85 votes each.

In the tiebreaker election yesterday, Kinley Dorji, 36, from Zhelngoesa chiwog secured 157 votes. Kinley Dorji said he was delighted with the result. “I’m thankful to people for having faith in me,” the father of three said. “And it will, no doubt, be a huge responsibility.”

Bhutan: Local leaders meet and elect | Kuensel Online/Bhutan

In the first Dzongkhag Tshogdu meeting after the local government elections, the four elected gups of Bumthang elected the chairperson and vice chairperson yesterday.

Chokor gup elect and the former chairperson of the DYT was re-elected as the chairperson after winning five votes, one more than his opponent, Ura gup Dorji Wangchuk. The nine tshogdu members used an electronic voting machine to vote. Thromdey member,Karma Legden, was chosen as the vice chairperson through a “Yes” and “No” votes.

Kenya: Kitutu Masaba MP loses seat in petition | Capital News/Kenya

Kitutu Masaba Member of Parliament Walter Nyambati (National Labour Party) has lost a petition filed against his 2007 poll win, joining a long list of MPs whose election have been nullified by the High Court. Kisii Resident Judge Milton Makhandia who delivered the ruling on Friday said the MP was elected irregularly.

Mr Nyambati’s election was challenged by Justus Omiti who had also sued a Returning Officer of the defunct Electoral Commission of Kenya and the Interim Independent Electoral Commission. In issuing the ruling, the judge said the petitioner had proved beyond reasonable doubt that there were irregularities in the polls. Mr Nyambati becomes the eleventh MP in the current Parliament to lose an election petition.

India: Wrong to deny voting rights to Sehajdhari Sikhs: Amarinder | Express India

Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief Capt Amarinder Singh on Friday criticised the denial of voting rights to Sehajdhari Sikhs in the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) polls. Amarinder, who interacted with students outside the Punjabi University campus during the ‘Ru-baru’ (face to face) programme organised by the National Students Union of India (NSUI), said that it was “wrong” to deny Sehajdhari Sikhs voting rights in the elections.

Asked why his party does not contest SGPC polls, Amarinder said Congress was a national and secular party, which does not contest polls relating to religion. He, however, added that as a Sikh, he will oppose and vote against the Akali candidates.

Nigeria: Situating Independent National Electoral Commission’s agenda for six states | The Nation/Nigeria

Last Wednesday, Nigeria’s electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), set in motion processes that would put the nightmare or bad memories of the worst election in the history of Nigeria completely behind her. It set election dates for five governorship elections which were nullified by the tribunals and affirmed by the appeal court, but whose occupants had gone to court to contest the tenure of their offices, following plans by the INEC to conduct elections into the offices using the amended 1999 constitution as amended and the 2010 Electoral Act. But the states won the tenure legal battle and so set the tone for the present.

And whereas everything about the 2007 general elections ought to have been permanently put behind them because of the interpretations given to the constitutional provisions dealing with tenure by the law courts, Nigerians will be battling with what ordinarily should have ended with the last April elections for those who would be going for a second term in office.

Cabo Verde: Cape Verde heads to run-off in presidential vote | AFP

The Cape Verde archipelago on Monday headed towards a run-off presidential election with its two biggest parties neck and neck in provisional results from weekend polls. With nearly all ballots counted from Sunday’s vote, former foreign minister and law professor Jorge Carlos Fonseca from the opposition Movement for Democracy (MFD) was in the lead with 37 percent, election officials said. His rival Manuel Inocencio Sousa, from the ruling African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde (PAICV), had 33.9 percent.

“This is an excellent result and a foretaste for victory…. I’m in the run-off, in the second half of the game, and I’m winning,” Sousa told supporters, adding he expected a “significant increase” in votes in the August 21 second round, according to local media.