The Voting News Daily: Wisconsin DOT official tells staff not to mention free voter ID cards to the public, Budget Cuts Mean Voting Could Get Ugly in 2012

Wisconsin: Top DOT official tells staff not to mention free voter ID cards to the public — unless they ask | An internal memo from a top Department of Transportation official instructs workers at Division of Motor Vehicles service centers not to tell members of the public that they can obtain voter identification cards…

Wisconsin: Top DOT official tells staff not to mention free voter ID cards to the public — unless they ask |

An internal memo from a top Department of Transportation official instructs workers at Division of Motor Vehicles service centers not to tell members of the public that they can obtain voter identification cards free of charge — unless they know to ask for it.

The memo, recently obtained by The Capital Times, was written by Steve Krieser and sent to all state Department of Transportation and Department of Motor Vehicles employees on July 1, the same day employees were to begin issuing photo IDs in accordance with a controversial new Voter Photo ID law adopted earlier in the year.

As laid out in the memo, failure to check a box when applying for photo ID with the Division of Motor Vehicles will result in the payment of $28. Interviews conducted about the memo suggest the state is more interested in continuing to charge the fee, which is required for a photo ID used for non-voting purposes, than it is in removing all barriers and providing easy access to a free, photo ID.

National: Budget Cuts Mean Voting Could Get Ugly in 2012 |

Election Day is more than a year away, but Zachary Klutz is already bracing for the worst. Klutz, a Republican member of the Allen County, Ind. elections board, is fighting budget cuts he says would result in an ugly day at the polls: more mistakes by election workers, longer lines for voters, and lots of frustrated, angry people. That’s because next year — a presidential election year — the county is set to allocate to the elections department 18 percent less than what it gets this year.

To Klutz, the plans are perplexing, since turnout in the 2012 presidential election is expected to be almost 90 percent higher than that of this year’s municipal election, in which the biggest race on the ballot is for mayor of Fort Wayne. “We can’t conduct a full election like that,” says Klutz. “I don’t know what to do.”

For now, the office is pleading with the county to provide $90,000 more than what’s already been allocated, even though that’s still well-below what the office says it needs to run the 2012 election. With those extra funds, election officials would still use 200 fewer machines and 240 fewer poll workers than what they say is really needed. “I’m all for cutting government spending,” says Klutz. “But there has to be a responsible balance between cutting government spending and conducting duties that are necessary in a democratic society.”

New Hampshire: New Hampshire Senate Backs Lynch Veto on Voter-ID bill | NHPR

17 to 7 vote kills bill to require people to show a government-issued photo-id before voting. But backers say they’ll push again next year. NHPR’s Josh Rogers reports.

The bill would have allowed voters without identification to cast provisional ballots and given them 2-1/2 days to produce a photo ID. But the Governor called that too high a hurdle for a basic constitutional right. Before the vote, Manchester democrat Lou D’Allesandro told colleagues that bill would discourage qualified voters from casting ballots.

South Carolina: State Voter ID Laws Draw National Scrutiny | ABC News

The Department of Justice is reviewing, and has the power to reject acontroversial new law passed in South Carolina that requires a registered voter to present a government -issued photo ID before his or her vote is counted.

Gov. Nikki Haley signed the bill into law in May and she’s not alone. Four other states have passed similar voter ID laws in 2011, including Wisconsin, Texas, Tennessee and Kansas. But thanks to the DOJ, South Carolina’s law could still be rejected by federal officials. And while other states have passed voter photo ID laws in the past, the laws passed in 2011 are by far the strictest with the exception of the law passed in 2005 by the state of Indiana.

Voting Blogs: The Treaty of Cuyahoga: Compromise on Absentee Ballots Will Yield Interesting Data | PEEA

Last week, I wrote about the looming Battle of Cuyahoga, where a dispute over absentee ballot applications pitted Ohio Secretary of Jon Husted against Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald.

Late last week, the two men met and reached a compromise: Cuyahoga agreed not to defy the state and mail absentee ballot applications in 2011, while the state agreed to allow all Ohio counties to mail such applications in advance of 2012. The compromise defuses the immediate controversy, but it also will allow the election community in Ohio and across the nation to evaluate a few key questions about absentee ballots.

Nigeria: Action Congress of Nigeria condemns sack of Electoral Commission chair | The Nation

The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has criticised the sacking of the Chairman of Anambra State Independent Electoral Commission (ANSIEC) Prof. Titus Eze.

The  House of Assembly on Tuesday removed the ANSIEC chief following his alleged indictment by an Audit Panel. The lawmakers, during its sitting on Tuesday, unanimously voted for  Eze’s removal, describing him as incompetent.

But Eze said his removal did not follow due process as he was not consulted by the lawmakers and declared his removal as null and void.

Bahrain: Poll candidates in Bahrain receive threats | Khaleej Times

Ten by-election candidates in Bahrain have received threats from anonymous election boycotters, according to human rights group here. The Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society said that candidates received threats through emails, text messages and mails demanding them to withdraw from election.

Six opposition societies, including Al Wefaq National Islamic Society have decided to boycott election, while there is also a media campaign ‘0%’ launched recently through social media calling upon people in Bahrain to keep the voting boxes empty by not casting their votes.

Zimbabwe: Mugabe says elections to be held in 2012 | SW Radio Africa

Robert Mugabe has proclaimed that elections will be held before March next year, amid concerns he could make another one of his unilateral decisions, despite the unity government.

The ageing Mugabe told his ZANU PF’s National Consultative Assembly that elections would only be held after a new constitution has been adopted, but that it must be by March.

eSwatini: Swazi protests swell as riot police look on | Mail & Guardian

More than 1 000 people marched on Tuesday through Swaziland’s main city Manzini in one of the largest protests yet against Africa’s last absolute monarch, King Mswati III.

Scores of riot police stood by as the protesters marched to the city centre, in the biggest demonstration since April 12, when about 1 000 teachers and students were dispersed with batons, teargas and water canons.

Somalia: Leaders plan for elections to replace transitional government |

Somali leaders have adopted a political “road map” for reforms that will culminate in elections within a year for a government that will replace a string of transitional regimes in a country blighted by conflict, instability and now famine.

The UN, which has been brokering a long-term solution, said Somali political leaders will carry out reforms on security, the constitution, political reconciliation and good governance. The planned reforms were recommended by a Somali preparatory committee last month, with polls expected by August 20 next year for members of a revamped federal parliament, local administrations and a president.

Somalia has been plagued by violence with no effective central government since the overthrow of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991. The current transitional government came to power on the back of an US-backed Ethiopian invasion that drove out the Union of Islamic Courts, which has been replaced by more radical and militant Islamist groups, notably al-Shabaab.

Latvia: OSCE/ODIHR opens limited observation mission for early parliamentary elections | ODIHR

The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights today opened a limited election observation mission to monitor the 17 September early parliamentary elections in Latvia.

The mission, headed by Konrad Olszewski, deployed following an invitation from the Latvian authorities. It comprises nine experts, who will be based in Riga, and six long-term observers, who will be deployed to different regions of the country. The mission will assess the elections for their compliance with OSCE commitments and other international standards for democratic elections, as well as with national legislation.