National: Voter ID Laws Target Rarely Occurring Voter Fraud | AP/Fox News

Several states adopted new laws last year requiring that people show a photo ID when they come to vote even though the kind of election fraud that the laws are intended to stamp out is rare. Even supporters of the new laws are hard pressed to come up with large numbers of cases in which someone tried to vote under a false identify.

“I’ve compared this to the snake oil salesman. You got a cold? I got snake oil. Your foot aches? I got snake oil,” said election law expert Justin Levitt, who wrote “The Truth About Voter Fraud” for The Brennan Center for Justice. “It doesn’t seem to matter what the problem is, (voter) ID is being sold as the solution to a whole bunch of things it can’t possibly solve.”

Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin have passed laws this year that allow voters without the required photo ID to cast provisional ballots, but the voters must return to a specific location with that ID within a certain time limit for their ballots to count.

Saudi Arabia: Saudi king grants voting rights to women | CBS News

Saudi King Abdullah announced Sunday that the nation’s women will gain the right to vote and run as candidates in local elections to be held in 2015 in a major advancement for the rights of women in the deeply conservative Muslim kingdom. In an annual speech before his advisory assembly, or Shura Council, the Saudi monarch said he ordered the step after consulting with the nation’s top religious clerics, whose advice carries great weight in the kingdom.

“We refuse to marginalize the role of women in Saudi society and in every aspect, within the rules of Sharia,” Abdullah said, referring to the Islamic law that governs many aspects of life in the kingdom.

The right to vote is by far the biggest change introduced by Abdullah, considered a reformer, since he became the country’s de facto ruler in 1995 during the illness of King Fahd. Abdullah formally ascended to the throne upon Fahd’s death in August 2005.

Arizona: State will not investigate recall candidate Cortes | AZ Central

Chaos erupted Friday in the recall election of Senate President Russell Pearce. A Legislative District 18 voter filed a lawsuit alleging that Olivia Cortes is a fraud candidate running with the intention of pulling votes away from candidate Jerry Lewis to help Pearce. The Secretary of State’s Office declined to investigate the same complaint another district voter filed with that office.

Cortes, who has for weeks evaded questions about her candidacy and political positions, on Friday sent out an e-mail announcing a campaign Web site and seeking voter support.

Chandler attorney Tom Ryan filed the lawsuit on behalf of Mary Lou Boettcher. Ryan also represented Citizens for a Better Arizona, the group that collected signatures to get the recall on the ballot. Boettcher, a Republican, was involved in that group.

California: Before Bush v Gore there was the Diamond Bar Recount | Diamond Bar, CA Patch

The early years of Diamond Bar cityhood were contentious as those favoring strict limitation of development clashed with those favoring granting city council with more flexibility in planning land use. In 1992 and again in 1993, the City Council revised and adopted two General Plans presented by citizen advisory committees. Both rescinded by referendum, Diamond Bar’s early distinction included holding the state record for being incorporated without an accepted General Plan.

“The City of Diamond Bar is almost 6 years old now…That doesn’t mean the City Council has to Act that way” was the headline on a Diamond Bar Caucus 1995 campaign flyer endorsing Bob Huff and Carol Herrera. With conflicting visions of how the city should mature, the 1995 election cycle brought out 11 candidates vying for two city council seats, including one held by Phyllis Papen, who would not be re-elected.

Planning Commissioner Bob Huff surpassed the other candidates at the polls. The vote spread for the second seat between Carol Herrera and Don Schad was close, fluctuated, and involved litigation that did not end until May of the following year. Herrera remembers on election night, she was down by six votes. The absentee ballots added in, she was ahead by 12.  Schad requested a recount.  Herrera could have chosen a hand recount, but she was concerned with the additional cost and believed the recount by machine would provide equitable results.

Colorado: Clerks prepared to fight effort to make voted ballots available to public | The Denver Post

Colorado’s county clerks say voted ballots should remain private even if there is no way to associate a ballot with the individual who cast it, and they will fight any effort by the public to inspect them — even if it means going to court or asking legislators for help.

The clerks’ position follows the unprecedented citizen review of ballots in Saguache County orchestrated by Secretary of State Scott Gessler’s office. Gessler and many open-government advocates believe that making ballots available for public review is a way to maintain voter confidence; voters literally can see for themselves that a race or races were counted accurately.

The clerks believe the opposite is true. The disagreement is doing more than adding tension to an already strained relationship between Gessler and the clerks.

Editorials: Colorado’s besieged clerks | Vincent Carroll/The Denver Post

Wherever you go in Colorado, the most public-be-damned civil servant is likely to be the county clerk.

I’ve reached this conclusion with regret, since my experience with clerks over many years, without fail, has been pleasant and fruitful. But the clerks this year have dug themselves into a stance that endangers the integrity of elections. Moreover, to protect their monopoly on access to voted ballots — a monopoly to which they clearly have no right under the Colorado Open Records Act — they are trying to scare the public with lurid tales of how voter anonymity is at risk.

Back in March, you may recall, the clerks association denounced a bid by Secretary of State Scott Gessler to conduct an official, public recount of a contested election in Saguache County, claiming his “proposal sets a dangerous precedent.” The clerks’ real fear, however, was not that Gessler might look over their shoulder but that he would let the public do so, too. And he did — once a district judge ruled in August that “voted ballots are election records” under the open records law, permitting the recount to proceed.

Connecticut: Bridgeport absentee ballots becoming focus of election complaints | Connecticut Post

More than 1,000 absentee ballot forms have been requested for the Democratic mayoral primary between Mary Jane Foster and Mayor Bill Finch and some have become the focus of elections complaints. The Mary Jane Foster for Mayor campaign has unleashed a pack of charges against the supporters of Mayor Bill Finch, charging that there is fraud and other illegal activities regarding absentee ballots.

Jason Bartlett, Foster’s campaign manager, said that Councilwoman Lydia N. Martinez, D-137, illegally assisted several elderly residents of Harborview Towers in filling out their absentee ballots. Martinez could not be reached for comment.

Oklahoma: Cherokees hold election; results won’t be known until next month | Tulsa World

The Cherokee Nation on Saturday held a second election for principal tribal chief, but voters will not know who the winner is until next month. With the ballots not being counted until Oct. 8, official voter turnout figures were not available Saturday. However, outside some polling places, volunteers from both campaigns kept a running total of voters.

“We’ve counted about 400 so far,” said Tribal Council member Jodie Fishinghawk at noon Saturday, who stumped for Tribal Councilor Bill John Baker outside the Wilma P. Mankiller clinic in Stilwell. “That’s about on pace with what we saw here in the June election.”

About 15,000 people voted in the June election, including almost 900 at Stilwell. In accordance with a federal district court order, the Cherokee Nation Election Commission will not count any ballots in the race between former principal chief Chad Smith and Baker until Oct. 8.

South Carolina: Spartanburg County SC Council rejects paying for presidential primaries |

Spartanburg County voters’ ability to vote in next year’s Republican presidential primary is in question. The county will not stage presidential primaries next year unless the county’s costs to run the contests are fully covered or the county is forced by the state to pay certain expenses, County Council Chairman Jeff Horton said Friday morning.

Horton’s pledge came after County Council, a body of six Republicans and one Democrat, voted unanimously to file a lawsuit against the state Election Commission if needed to keep the county from bearing any of the costs of a presidential primary.

Council members — along with the county’s top election official, the county election commission and voter registration board — believe counties should be reimbursed for all costs associated with a presidential primary. Horton has repeatedly called presidential primaries a “beauty pageant” because their results do not carry the weight of an actual election.

Wisconsin: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel comes out in favor of recall revision bill | JSOnline

Setting a higher threshold for recall elections in Wisconsin is a good idea. And while the devil will be in the details, and this has to be done right, a proposal from Reps. Robin Vos, Gary Tauchen and Paul Farrow at least offers a starting point.

Wisconsin was host to a record number of recall elections this summer, all stemming from the controversy surrounding Gov. Scott Walker’s budget-repair and budget bills earlier this year. Six Republicans and three Democrats were the subjects of recalls – the Republicans generally because they had favored Walker’s proposals, the Democrats generally because they had left the state to delay action on the proposals.

The recalls were unwarranted. A vote or stance on one issue is not sufficient in our view to justify the expense of a recall election. And they were expensive: The elections cost the state and local governments $2.1 million; the opposing sides in those campaigns spent a record $44 million, with Democrats and their allies outspending Republicans by just under $3 million, or about 14%.

Argentina: Soria leads by wide margin in Río Negro gubernatorial elections |

With only a 22.16 percent of the votes tallied, the preliminary recount in the Río Negro gubernatorial elections showed that Victory Front candidate Carlos Soria was beating his opponent César Barbeito by a wide margin, suggesting that he will become the province’s next governor.

With only a 22.16 percent of the votes recounted, Soria had obtained a 54.68 percent of the votes, while his main opponent had only obtained a 32.40 percent. Earlier, polls in the Río Negro province closed with no major incidents reported as the population cast their ballots in order to pick their next governor. The main contenders in the race are César Barbeito, a “Kirchnerite-Radical,” and FPV Carlos Soria.

Bahrain: Protesters and Police Clash During Election |

As the government of Bahrain held parliamentary elections Saturday, hundreds of protesters clashed with security forces while trying to make their way to Pearl Square, the site in the capital where the kingdom’s pro-democracy movement got started early this year and was heavily suppressed. In the village of Sanabis, where the protest began, the police used tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets against hundreds, perhaps thousands, of protesters, witnesses and human-rights advocates said.

The protest was a main part of the Shiite majority’s response to the election in the Sunni-ruled monarchy, which was boycotted by the mostly Shiite opposition. The aim of the protest was to march to Pearl Square, in Manama, where the government destroyed a 300-foot sculpture topped by a giant pearl in March after forcibly removing the protesters’ tent city.

“Security forces closed all access to Pearl Square today,” Mohammed al-Maskati, president of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights, said by telephone. “The square is now like an army base. Thousands of protesters turned out in Sanabis and got attacked badly by the security forces.”

Pakistan: Kashmiris will retain dual vote right: AJK official |

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has agreed in principle with the AJK authorities to retain the right of dual vote for Kashmiris settled in the four provinces and Islamabad. “Yes, they have approved retention while accepting our arguments for the dual votes of AJK people who are living in Pakistan,” confirmed AJK election commission Secretary Muhammad Younas.

Talking to The News on Sunday, he said the ECP with its chief election commissioner (CEC) would give a formal nod to reject the pending proposals and continue the recognition of AJK people in exercising their right to vote. The CEC, Justice (Retd) Hamid Ali Mirza, and ECP members, full commission, would meet tomorrow (Tuesday) to dispose of the applications. They would discuss different aspects i.e. legalities, input from AJK authorities and Right of Citizenship Act. “The ECP secretary conveyed me the willingness of the ECP that the Kashmiris’ right of dual vote, one in AJK and second in Pakistan, would be maintained in accordance with previous arrangements,” Younas said. To a question, he described it an achievement under which the Kashmiris’ right of two votes would not be snatched.

Pakistan: Election Commission of Pakistan excludes 37.1 million suspected votes from electoral rolls | South Asian News Agency

Election Commission of Pakistan excluded 37.1 million suspected voters from the electoral rolls and the new electoral roll is composed of more than 87.2 million voters. The Secretary ECP Ishtiak Ahmad Khan issued details from headquarter of Election Commission of Pakistan on Saturday.

Ishtiak Ahmad Khan said the ECP handed over its database of Electoral Rolls-2007 to NADRA on 11th February 2011 for verification of voters against their database. NADRA reported back on 05/03/2011 that out of 81 Million voters registered in Final Electoral Rolls 2007, 44 Million voters were verified against CNIC database whereas approximately 37 Million voters were not verified which was made public by the ECP through a press release dated 8th March 2011.

After deletion of these 37 million unverified voters from the Draft Electoral Rolls, 2011, NADRA added 36 million who had obtained CNIC after preparation of Electoral Rolls-2007. NADRA can provide evidence from its database with regard to 37 Million unverified voters as well as 36 Million voters who have been added into the Draft Electoral Rolls, 2011.

Saudi Arabia: Saudi women to be given voting rights | ABC News

Saudi King Abdullah has announced women will be given the right to vote and run in municipal elections, the only public polls in the ultra-conservative Gulf kingdom. He also announced women would have the right to join the all-appointed Shura (consultative) Council, in an address opening a new term of the council.

“Starting with the next term, women will have the right to run in municipal elections and to choose candidates, according to Islamic principles,” he said.

This means that women will be able to take part in the elections that will be held in four years, as the next vote is due to take place on Thursday, and nominations for those polls are already in.

Saudi Arabia: Saudi society to change forever | Arab News

Chairman of the Municipal Election Commission Abdul Rahman Al-Dahmash said the participation of women in the next election as voters and candidates would strengthen the Kingdom’s electoral experience. He hoped the spirit of the National Day would encourage all Saudis to participate actively in the Sept. 29 elections.

Jedaie Al-Qahtani, spokesman of the commission, described the king’s announcement as historic. “It allows women to participate in municipal elections on an equal footing with men,” he pointed out. He said the decision came in line with the king’s desire to involve all members of the society in nation-building efforts.

Speaking about the coming elections, Al-Qahtani urged all voters to show their IDs or other identification documents when entering polling booths. Voters will be presented a list of candidates and each one is allowed to vote once. If they mark more than one candidate the vote will be invalid.

UAE: UAE holds second-ever advisory body elections, women elected | Philippine Star

About 130,000 voters of the United Arab Emirates elected Saturday half of the 40-member Federal National Council (FNC), the second such election in the Emirates’ 40-year history. Around 450 candidates, including more than 80 women, ran for the 20 seats in the FNC, which mainly acts as an advisory body. The other half will be appointed by the Federal Supreme Council, the country’s highest governing body.

One woman, Sheikha Isa Ghanem Al Ari from the Emirate of Umm Al Qaiwain, was elected to the FNC, said the state news agency WAM.

An encouraging number of voters from an electoral population of about 130,000 turned out to vote at 13 polling centers across the Emirates. The number of voters increased significantly compared with that of about 6,700 voters in 2006, when the first-ever election was held since the FNC was formed in 1972, a year after the federation’s independence.