The Voting News Daily: Who Gets to Vote?, Controversy over voting rules and security

National: Military, overseas voting tech to get boost from grants | Government Computer News Technology to make registering to vote and receiving ballots easier for U.S. service members and Americans living abroad will be getting support from federal government grants, Government Technology reports. The first six Defense Department grants, part of the Electronic Absentee Systems for Elections…

National: Military, overseas voting tech to get boost from grants | Government Computer News

Technology to make registering to vote and receiving ballots easier for U.S. service members and Americans living abroad will be getting support from federal government grants, Government Technology reports.

The first six Defense Department grants, part of the Electronic Absentee Systems for Elections program, were announced Nov. 3. The states of Virginia, Maryland and Ohio, as well as El Dorado and Santa Cruz counties in California and King County, Wash., are the first six recipients of the grants, worth more than $7 million. Government Technology reports that jurisdictions receiving the initial six grants serve 134,585 military and overseas voters.

Editorials: Controversy over voting rules and security | CNN

About a year from now, Americans will cast votes for the candidates of their choice. Or at least they will think that’s what they’ve done, having little awareness of concerns about the security of electronic voting machines, a “national security issue” in the view of scientists who easily hacked a widely-used device.

Others, even before they get the chance to vote, will discover that the rules for registering and voting itself have changed in their state; changes so controversial that the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University Law School recently proclaimed that a “War on Voting Rages Nationwide.”

There is debate over the extent of voter fraud, arguments about whether there is a greater problem with accurately registering people than in people actually voting who should not. Nonetheless, 13 states last year amended their voting rules and another two dozen are at various stages of doing likewise. Chief among the changes are photo identification requirements, reduced opportunities to vote early and restrictions on how and when voter registration is conducted.

Editorials: Mississippi Has A New Voter ID Law. Does Voter Fraud Exist? | The New Republic

Lost amidst the streaming confetti that followed Tuesday’s big liberal victories in Mississippi and Ohio were two potentially disastrous voter referendum results. One was Ohio’s decision to “block” the American Care Act’s individual mandate, which my esteemed colleague explicated in great detail earlier this week. The other was Mississippi’s strict voter ID law, now the eighth of its kind in the country. The new law is simple: Except for some religious objectors and residents of state-run care facilities, voters will henceforth need to present government-issued photo IDs to place ballots. (Interesting side note: Because IDs will now be dispensed free of charge, the state estimates it will lose $1.5 million in yearly revenue.) Every time such an ID law is proposed, proponents justify its merits by citing the dangers of voter fraud. Opponents counter that the laws are nothing more than brazen attempts to disenfranchise young and minority voters. Who’s right?

Editorials: Who Gets to Vote? | NYTimes.com

Next November more than 5 million Americans will not be allowed to vote because of a criminal conviction in their past. Nearly 4 million of these people are not in prison, yet they remain disenfranchised for years, often for decades and sometimes for life.

States vary widely on when they restore voting rights after a conviction. Maine and Vermont do not disenfranchise people with convictions; even prisoners may vote there. People with felony convictions in Florida, Iowa, Kentucky and Virginia are disenfranchised for life, unless they are granted clemency by the governor. The rest of the country falls somewhere in between.

Voting Blogs: A different view on whether the of ranked-choice voting in San Francisco was “effective’” | Election Law Blog

Following up on this postDoug Johnson posted the following comments to the election law listserv, which I reprint here with his permission:

According to the November 10 numbers from the Department of Elections, the final round tally in the San Francisco Mayoral election was 79,147 votes for Ed Lee, 51,788 for John Avalos, and 48,983 “exhausted” ballots. “Exhausted” means the ballot did not contain a vote for either Lee or Avalos, thus the voter was excluded from sharing his/her preference in the final runoff.

Percentage-wise, Ed Lee won the vote of 43.4% of voters participating in the Mayoral election. John Avalos received the final vote of 28.4% of voters participating in the election. And 28.2% of voters casting ballots in the Mayoral primary were blocked from expressing their preference in the final runoff (26.9% were exhausted and 1.3% were over/under votes).

Colorado: Aspen files to appeal ballot-images ruling | AspenTimes.com

The city of Aspen has officially filed a motion to appeal a recent state Court of Appeals ruling that favored political activist Marilyn Marks’ lawsuit challenging the city’s denial of her request to view ballot images from the 2009 mayor’s race. According to the city, the Court of Appeals erred when it held that the Colorado Constitution does not protect the secrecy of ballots. The city’s filing of a “writ of certiorari” to the state Supreme Court does not mean the higher court will consider the appeal.

The motion carries Wednesday’s date, beating the Monday deadline to appeal the ruling by five calendar days. City Attorney John Worcester and Special Counsel James R. True are listed as the attorneys for the petitioner, the city of Aspen and City Clerk Kathryn Koch.

Colorado: Town fares well with first IRV election | Telluride Daily Planet

When Telluride voters hit the polls on Tuesday, they opened up a different looking town ballot. Instead of just marking their favorite mayoral candidate like usual, voters were asked to rank the candidates by first, second and third preference.

It represented the town’s first foray into instant runoff voting, a rare type of voting that’s used in elections in which more than two candidates are running for one spot, such as mayor. Instant runoff voting, or IRV, is a ranked system designed to help ensure a true majority win and eliminate the “Nadar effect” that can happen in a three-way race.

Maine: Portland declares ranked choice voting a success | wcsh6.com

Portland’s first experiment with ranked choice voting is being called a success, one day after Former State Senator Mike Brennan was declared the winner. Brennan’s win was announced almost exactly 24 hours after the polls closed. But so far, the biggest complaint about this first election using ranked choice voting in Portland has been that vote counting took longer than anyone realized.

In fact, the city clerk’s office was still making sure the ballots were counted correctly early Thursday afternoon. The good news is, though, no one seems to be doubting the accuracy of the system or who the winner is.

Maryland: Proposed Montgomery County legislation would allow voting by mail | gazette.net

Montgomery County voters would be able to cast their votes in special elections through a mail-in ballot under legislation proposed by a state lawmaker. Mail-in ballots would save the county money and encourage more voter participation in typically low-interest special elections, said Sen. Jennie M. Forehand (D-Dist. 17) of Rockville, who has prefiled the bill.

Voter turnout in the county for five special elections between April 2008 and May 2009 — made necessary after the deaths of two County Council members and the resignation of former U.S. Rep. Albert R. Wynn — ranged from 6.8 percent to 11.5 percent. Combined, those five elections cost $5.4 million. “I’m always on the lookout to save money,” said Forehand, who introduced similar vote-by-mail legislation in 2010 and 2011. Forehand also expects to introduce another bill during the General Assembly’s 90-day legislative session that would allow jurisdictions statewide to adopt voting by mail in special elections, Forehand said.

Mississippi: Voter photo ID opponents in Mississippi hold off on court fight | Reuters

Mississippi voters this week passed the voter ID ballot initiative by a wide margin, making that state the eighth in the nation to adopt a strict voter photo ID requirement, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Lawmakers in Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin enacted similar laws earlier this year.

The Mississippi amendment requires residents to present a government-issued photo ID before they can vote, and says those who lack proper identification can obtain one from the state for free.

New York: Voting Machine Troubles and County-Wide Impounding Delay Vote Counts | yorktown.patch.com

The county legislator, town board and supervisor races have hundreds of uncounted votes because of machine malfunctions. Voting machine troubles and a county-wide machine impounding from Tuesday’s election is leading to uncounted votes and unfinished business for candidates in the race for county legislator and the supervisor seat.

The Westchester County Board of Elections updated its website on Thursday and showed that all districts have reported results from the election, but those are not the final or official results. The absentee ballots and affidavits would still have to be counted.

Egypt: 8m Egyptian expats start online vote registration | The Egyptian Gazette

Egyptian nationals living abroad started Thursday registering their data on the website of the electoral committee, in order to vote in Egypt’s first parliamentary polls since the ousting of Hosni Mubarak, as the Foreign Ministry estimated the number of Egyptian expatriates at 8 million.

Around 10,000 expatriates registered their data on the website of the Higher Election Commission during the ten-day registration process that will end on November 19, in Egyptian embassies and consulates worldwide.

Jamaica: More money for Electoral Office of Jamaica | go-jamaica.com

Campaign director for the People’s National Party, Dr Peter Philips, says the opposition is pleased the Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ), has now received the full $350 million it requested to prepare for the next general election.

The confirmation came yesterday from senior government officials. The EOJ was given $200 million in October with a promise that the rest would be paid early this month. Dr. Phillips says the PNP is pleased that the money has reached the EOJ to continue its preparations for the impending elections.

Liberia: Sirleaf Wins Disputed Polls | allAfrica.com

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was confirmed the victor of a run-off poll boycotted by the opposition, and vowed to reach out to her opponents and reconcile the divided nation. Sirleaf’s re-election was seen as a foregone conclusion after rival Winston Tubman pulled out of the race and urged his supporters to boycott the polls over fears the process was rigged.

The National Elections Commission announced that with results tallied from 86.6 percent of polling stations, Sirleaf had won 90.8 percent of votes cast and Tubman nine percent. Only 37.4 percent of the country’s 1.8 million registered voters cast their ballots, with many believed to have stayed away due the boycott call and violence on the eve of the poll, when police fired on a group of opposition protesters.