The Voting News Daily: Bayh calls White’s vote fraud allegations ‘baseless’, Questionable Claims Regarding Early Voting by FL Secretary State in Amended VRA Complaint

  Indiana: Bayh calls White’s vote fraud allegations ‘baseless’ | The Indianapolis Star   Former U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh is calling voter-fraud allegations against him and his wife, Susan, “baseless.” But whether the allegations, made in a criminal complaint filed by Secretary of State Charlie White on Tuesday, will lead to charges is difficult to say.…

Alabama: Federal appeals court will hear Shelby County voting rights case in January | al.com

A panel of three federal appellate judges will hear oral arguments Jan. 19 in an Alabama-based case about the constitutionality of key sections of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The Shelby County case is a likely contender for the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit whether certain parts of the country should continue to have their elections supervised by the U.S. Justice Department for signs of racial discrimination. All or part of 16 states, including Alabama, have to submit their election-related changes for approval.

U.S. District Judge John Bates last month sided with the Justice Department and upheld the landmark voting rights law that Congress in 2006 agreed to extend for another 25 years. It is Shelby County’s appeal of that decision that is going before the three-judge panel, which is one step below the U.S. Supreme Court.

Voting Blogs: A Win for Voters Is Colorado Secretary of State Gessler’s Second Loss | Jonathan Brater/Huffington Post

Across the country, legislators and political operatives seem determined to make it more difficult for American citizens to vote. Since January, more than a dozen states passed a variety of different laws and executive actions that will make it far more difficult for millions to vote. Seven states, including Texas and South Carolina, will now require voters to present specified government-issued photo IDs to vote. Florida has gone after organizations like the League of Women Voters, threatening them with huge fines if they try to help register citizens to vote unless they comply with a new set of byzantine state rules. Georgia and Arizona are trying to knock down the Voting Rights Act, the most successful piece of civil rights legislation, in a court challenge. And Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler made headlines with the false claim that thousands of non-citizens were voting in Colorado. Last week, Secretary Gessler was at it again. This time he asked a court to essentially freeze the Denver electorate to those who voted in 2010. The court refused.

Colorado gives counties the option of conducting certain elections by “mail ballot.” In those elections, there are no traditional polling places; instead, citizens vote by mailing in ballots sent to them by the state. Colorado is holding such an election this November, and the Denver County Clerk and Recorder had planned to take the unremarkable step of sending ballots to all registered voters in the County, as she has for the last five election cycles. Secretary Gessler sued the Denver County Clerk and Recorder to make her stop, arguing that she may only send ballots to voters who voted in the last election. This move, had it prevailed, could have kept thousands of eligible and registered Colorado citizens from participating in this November’s elections, for no good reason.

Florida: In push for its new election law, Florida challenges Voting Rights Act | Palm Beach Post

Florida’s top elections official is challenging federal oversight of voting laws in jurisdicitions with a history of discrimination, including five Florida counties, as outdated and unconstitutional. Secretary of State Kurt Browning on Tuesday asked the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. to do way with the Voting Rights Act requirement that the federal government must preclear Florida’s new voting law before it can go into effect for Collier, Hardee, Hendry, Hillsborough and Monroe counties.

The law, passed by Florida’s Republican-controlled Legislature and signed by Gov. Rick Scott this spring, makes broad changes to Florida’s election laws. The U.S. Justice Department has approved all except four hotly contested sections of the law — the parts that would reduce the number of early voting days, set new rules for groups conducting voter registration drives, require voters changing out-of-county addresses at the polls to cast provisional ballots and make it more difficult to get citizen initiatives on the ballot.

Voting Blogs: Questionable Claims Regarding Early Voting by FL Secretary State in Amended VRA Complaint | electionsmith

In its amended complaint to receive declaratory judgment from a federal court that all sections of HB 1355 are entitled to preclearance under Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, the Florida Secretary of State plays fast and loose with the facts. With respect to the shrinking of the days permissible to vote early in Florida, the complaint states (on page 19) that:

The changes to the early voting statute contained in Section 39 were adopted to expand access to early voting and provide each supervisor of elections additional flexibility regarding the scheduling of early voting. The changes to the early voting statute contained in Section 39 were not adopted with the purpose of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race, color, or membership in a language minority.

Both the motive behind the statute, HB 1355, as well as the empirical evidence regarding race and early voting in Florida, are quite clear, and do not jibe with the claims made in the Secretary of State’s complaint.

Indiana: Bayh calls White’s vote fraud allegations ‘baseless’ | The Indianapolis Star

Former U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh is calling voter-fraud allegations against him and his wife, Susan, “baseless.” But whether the allegations, made in a criminal complaint filed by Secretary of State Charlie White on Tuesday, will lead to charges is difficult to say.

The law is open to interpretation, according to one legal expert. “(It depends) on how rigidly or flexibly you follow the law,” said Dianne Pinderhughes, a political science professor at the University of Notre Dame.

The Marion County prosecutor’s office is reviewing White’s complaint, which alleges that the Bayhs shouldn’t have voted absentee in the Indianapolis municipal primary in May. They own a condo in Indianapolis, but their main residence is a multimillion-dollar home in Washington, D.C., White contended.

Voting Blogs: Maine-iacs Mobilized: New Voter Registration Laws in Maine | State of Elections

Maine’s high ranking for voter turnout may change as a result of new legislation ending same-day voter registration. After thirty-eight years, a sleeping (political) giant is now awake in the Pine Tree State. In June of 2011, the Maine State Legislature repealed the long-standing law permitting Mainers to register to vote on the same day as elections, and replaced it with a new law prohibiting same-day voter registration.

Pursuant to LD 1376, Maine now requires that all in-person registrations occur no later than the third business day prior to the election date. Maine’s departure from being one of the country’s eight states to offer same-day voter registration was not a landslide victory. In the House, seventy-two representatives voted in favor, while sixty-five were opposed and thirteen representatives were absent, and the Senate showed a similar divide with seventeen votes in favor, fourteen against, and four excused.

Ohio: Cuyahoga County voters still confused about absentee ballots | cleveland.com

Many Cuyahoga County voters still believe they will receive absentee ballot applications by mail this fall, despite a much-publicized decision by Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted to ban unsolicited mailings by boards of elections.

A nonprofit group distributing thousands of ballot applications across the county reported this week that a majority of the people contacted the last three weekends knew little or nothing about Husted’s ruling and were expecting to receive applications in the mail. “We have a major problem here,” said Norman Robbins, research director of the Northeast Ohio Voter Advocates.

Wisconsin: Federal election official presses Wisconsin lawmakers to change fall primary date | The Republic

Federal election officials are pressing Wisconsin legislators to pass a bill that would shift the state’s fall primary from September to August.

The bill would bring the state into compliance with the federal Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act, which mandates that states mail ballots for federal elections to those voters at least 45 days before an election.

Wisconsin: New state voter ID law faces snags | The Oshkosh Northwestern

The line stretching out the meeting room door and down the hall was the first visible sign that implementing the state’s new voter ID law may not be so easy — for voters or poll workers. For three hours Tuesday, the city of Madison conducted a small mock election inside the City-County Building. It was designed to help officials work out the kinks in a process that by February will require voters have photo IDs or fill out detailed provisional ballots.

The new rules, signed into law by Gov. Scott Walker in May, were meant to address concerns about possible voter fraud. But as the mock election Tuesday proved, sometimes “secure” equals “slower.”

“This will take people longer to do, there is no getting around that,” said Dane County Clerk Karen Peters, who attended Tuesday’s vote as an observer. “Voters will just have to be patient, because there is a lot that goes into this.”

Voting Blogs: The Empty Mailbox: Why Aren’t Election Offices Responding to EAC Data Requests? | Doug Chapin/PEEA

There is nothing quite like new data to set the election geek world into a frenzy of delight. The EAC’s release yesterday of the latest report on the Uniformed and Overseas Civilians Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) is the latest information we have about the fate of ballots cast by military and overseas voters. The report (teased mercilessly on Twitter by the EAC in a masterstroke of geek marketing, by the way) is especially important as it reflects the first data reflecting changes made by the MOVE Act of 2009.

The data contains lots of good news for anyone who cares about the ability of military and overseas voters to participate in democracy from a distance and appears to validate somewhat the efforts by Congress and state/local election offices to improve the UOCAVA balloting process.

Egypt: Journalists undergo training on election coverage

Training on election coverage – The UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and The New York Times Knowledge Network are collaborating to train Tunisian, Egyptian, Moroccan, US and French journalists on covering elections in their respective countries.

A statement by UNAOC on Tuesday, stated: ‘Ahead of the imminent elections in Tunisia and Egypt, UNAOC is working with The New York Times Knowledge Network, which offers online adult and continuing education opportunities, to provide a six-week online course to Tunisian, Egyptian, Moroccan, French and American journalists and journalism students.’ It said that, ‘each of the aforementioned countries is expected to enter major parliamentary or presidential elections in the next 12 months.