The Voting News Daily: Pennsylvania governor pushing for voter ID, Ohio Secretary of State bans county officials from sending voters unsolicited absentee ballot applications

Pennsylvania: Pushing for bill requiring voter ID — Corbett aide was out selling the GOP-backed proposal | Philadelphia Inquirer Bartenders won’t be the only people asking for ID if the state Senate agrees to a controversial change in election law that a Corbett administration appointee stumped for Tuesday. The state’s top election official, Commonwealth Secretary…

Pennsylvania: Pushing for bill requiring voter ID – Corbett aide was out selling the GOP-backed proposal | Philadelphia Inquirer

Bartenders won’t be the only people asking for ID if the state Senate agrees to a controversial change in election law that a Corbett administration appointee stumped for Tuesday.

The state’s top election official, Commonwealth Secretary Carol Aichele, came out in support of a Republican-backed effort to require voters to show photo identification every time they cast a ballot in Pennsylvania. Aichele said the proposed ID requirement would discourage voter fraud.

“We must ensure every citizen entitled to vote can do so, but also prevent anyone not entitled to this right from diluting legal voters’ ballots by casting illegal votes,” she said Tuesday morning in Lancaster at a conference of county election officials.

Ohio: Secretary of State bans county officials from sending voters unsolicited absentee ballot applications | WJW

Ohio’s top elections chief is banning county officials from sending voters unsolicited absentee ballot applications ahead of Election Day. The move by Secretary of State Jon Husted Monday comes after several county boards of elections recently had tied votes on whether to send out applications.

A spokesman for the Republican says he wanted to provide clear guidance to boards, and issued the directive to the state’s 88 counties in order to have uniformity. Boards in Ohio’s larger, urban counties — those that tend to vote more Democratic — have typically sent unsolicited absentee ballot applications to registered voters. Some also pay the return postage. Ohio’s new elections overhaul bans the practice, though the law faces a potential ballot repeal. It has not yet gone into effect.

Ohio: Cuyahoga County Board of Elections splits on voting-by-mail provision |

Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald said Monday that he would like to continue a successful vote-by-mail program — even after the state’s top elections official ordered boards of elections to stop the mass mailings.

FitzGerald said he is reviewing whether the county can pay for a mass-mailing of absentee voter applications that, until now, had been handled by the county’s board of elections. His comments came just as Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted sent a directive that prohibited the boards from sending the applications to all registered voters in a county — a practice Cuyahoga County has done since 2006.

A controversial state law goes into effect in about six weeks that also prevents county boards of elections from paying return postage on the applications and paying postage for the completed ballots. What FitzGerald and other proponents of the vote-by-mail plan are hoping for is that another agency can handle the mailings.

Michigan: Voting rights activists threaten state with lawsuit | Michigan Messenger

A coalition of groups, including Demos, Project Vote, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (LCCRUL), and the NAACP, sent a letter to Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson last week alleging that the state is in violation of federal law requiring voter registration at public assistance offices.

… Nicole Zeitler, an attorney with Project Vote, told the Michigan Messenger that the state is not following the law. “The NVRA requires the state to do more than simply make voter registration ‘available’ at public assistance agencies,” she said. “

Agencies must affirmatively offer a voter registration application form with EVERY application for benefits, recertification, and change of address form, whether or not the client asks for one. Michigan DHS policy, on the other hand—in violation of the NVRA—is to ONLY offer a form IF someone specifically requests one. Furthermore, our field investigations found that only 1 in 4 clients who did request a form received one.”

Oklahoma: Attorney for Cherokee freedmen questions timing of tribal court ruling |

The attorney representing freedmen in their case against the Cherokee Nation said Tuesday that he was shocked the tribe’s Supreme Court ruled against the freedmen so close to the special election to pick a new chief.

Attorney Ralph Keen Jr., of Stilwell, said the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court’s ruling, which was handed down on Monday, came a day before the tribe’s election officials sent out absentee ballots for the election between Chad Smith and Bill John Baker.

The tribal court’s decision means about 2,800 freedmen — the ancestors of slaves who had been owned by Cherokee members — won’t be able to vote in the Sept. 24 election. Hall said the timing “shocked me … when you put it in the context of the special tribal election.”

West Virginia: State’s special election bill unpaid | Charleston Daily Mail

Although some county clerks in the state have yet to be reimbursed for the cost of the last election in May, they already are gearing up for the return of voters to the polls.

Kanawha County Clerk Vera McCormick said the state has not yet paid the county the approximately $314,000 it cost to hold the special primary election in May. And now that her employees are preparing for the upcoming special gubernatorial general election on Oct. 4, the county will soon be racking up more bills. “We’d like to have our money,” McCormick said.

Ohio: Democrats push referendum to end Republican voter law | Politics Extra

Several Democratic candidates and officeholders gathered in front of the Hamilton County Board of Election Tuesday morning to decry House Bill 194, a Republican bill reforming Ohio election law that Democrats say is nothing more  than “voter supression.”

The Democrats said they are part of a statewide push to gather about 232,000 valid voter signatures to place a referendum on the Nov. 2012 ballot. If they succeed by Sept. 29, the law – scheduled to go into effect Sept. 30 – would be put on hold for this election and next year’s presidential election, when Ohio voters would decide whether or not they want to keep the law, which significantly shortens the period of early voting and tells inside poll workers that they are not required to direct voters to the right tables in multi-recinct polling places, among other things.

Liberia: Referendum marred by ballot error | AP

Liberia’s first constitutional referendum in 25 years was marred by error on Tuesday after the National Election Commission said it had distributed defective ballot papers. Liberians are casting their votes on four amendments to the constitution, including one which asks citizens to increase the retirement age of Supreme Court judges. The referendum is seen as a test of the country’s democracy and its voting mechanism ahead of the presidential vote later this year.

One of the ballots is supposed to ask voters to choose 70 or 75 years as the retirement age, but the ballot with the error lists 75 or 75, meaning that anyone voting on the proposition will have to choose the older retirement age, said Amos Koukou, deputy coordinator of the referendum organizing team. Koukou said the error occurred because the voting material was printed in Denmark and arrived with the mistake already printed on the ballot paper.

Liberia: Officials play down ballot error | AFP

Liberia’s election commission played down a ballot paper error as votes were being counted Wednesday, a day after a constitutional referendum which was criticised by opposition parties.

The referendum, seen as a test for the commission (NEC) just weeks before the nation’s second post-war presidential elections, underlined teething problems after a misprint on ballot papers that confused some voters. While voting went off peacefully, the referendum was also marred by concerns over poor voter turnout and a a boycott by some opposition leaders.

“The NEC assures the voting populace that the error will in no way affect the determination of the decision of the voters to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Neither will it impact the results of the referendum,” chairman James Fromayan said at a press conference late Tuesday night.

Russia: Putin urges mandatory primaries for all parties | RIA Novosti

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin proposed on Tuesday legislative amendments to introduce primaries for all political parties.

“I would like to ask you to consider and discuss with your colleagues from other political parties ways of making such preliminary elections a legally binding norm,” Putin told a meeting of the All-Russia People’s Front (ARPF) coordinating council. He said the ruling United Russia party’s list for the December State Duma elections could feature over 150 “non-party candidates” representing the ARPF.

Bangladesh: Election Commission planning to put electronic voting in place |

Information minister Abul Kalam Azad has said that the Election Commission (EC) is considering introduction of the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) in the next general election.

The information minister, who is assigned to answer questions related to the EC Secretariat in the House, said Tuesday the issue of EVM introduction in the polls of Dhaka City Corporation was also under consideration. Azad made the comment as he replied to a query from Netrakona-1 MP Mustaque Ahmed Ruhi during a question-answer session in the parliament.