The Voting News Daily: Ballot transparency a statewide debate, Look elsewhere for voter fraud

Colorado: Ballot transparency a statewide debate | AspenTimes.com A candidate’s request to inspect ballots cast in Aspen’s 2009 municipal election has set in motion similar efforts around Colorado. The end result might be new rules that govern the review of ballots or that withhold them from public inspection altogether. Meanwhile, Aspen resident and 2009 mayoral…

Editorials: Opinion: A rogue convention? How GOP party rules may surprise in 2012 | Politico

The rules of a game often determine its winner. With the approach of the Republican Party’s first presidential nomination caucuses and primaries, party rules are already playing a key role — and just may lead Republicans on a wild nomination ride that won’t end until the last day of its convention in Tampa.

The Republican Party is an association rather than a government entity, making its national rules the equivalent of a constitution when it comes to its nomination process. To be sure, states may want to change the dates of a primary, state parties may change the manner of their nomination contests and members of Congress may pontificate about the process. But for the final word, it’s the Rules of the Republican Party.

Connecticut: Connecticut Voters Elect Incumbent’s Son After Ballot Typo | Mason County Daily News

James J. Butler just won his first election, but he wasn’t even running for office. Because of a typo on the Derby, Conn., ballot, Butler was unwittingly elected to the city’s Board of Apportionment and Taxation, knocking out the incumbent, his father James R. Butler, who was actually campaigning for the seat.

“I understand that mistakes are made but this one is especially unfortunate,” Derby Republican Town Committee Chairman Tony Szewczy said in a letter to the county clerk pointing out the error. “We will be in violation of State Election law if we allow a person who wasn’t on the ballot and received no votes to be sworn in. This would also be a huge disservice to our voters.”

Indiana: Lake County voting machine provider to be reviewed | Post-Tribune

A Ball State University-based oversight program will review the voting technology used by Lake County at the bidding of the Indiana Election Commission. The county’s vendor, MicroVote, has not reapplied for state certification though several of its models were certified in the past.

The Election Commission ordered the review because MicroVote wants the ability to sell parts to the 47 Indiana counties using its system. A future ruling could impact Lake County’s ability to replace failed parts or purchase additional MicroVote machines.

Editorials: Look elsewhere for voter fraud | The Santa Fe New Mexican

If nothing else, Secretary of State Dianna Duran deserves credit for getting to the bottom of that age-old, oft-repeated New Mexico folk tale about dead people voting. Not so much, it turns out.

And Duran can prove it, too. Once in office, she and her staff have taken the state’s voter list, torn it apart, put it back together and in the end, found almost no voter fraud in New Mexico. From the 64,000 voter registration records she once referred to state police as possible cases of voter fraud, we are down to 100-plus voters apparently registered illegally. Of those “illegally” registered, 19 possible non-citizens might have cast a ballot they should not have. Another 641 people, now believed to be deceased, remain on the rolls, although there is scant evidence they are voting. That’s out of 1.1 million registered voters, by the way.

Bangladesh: Khaleda: No vote without army | bdnews24.com

The opposition will accept no election with electronic voting machines in use under a partisan government, BNP chief Khaleda Zia said, adding that army will have to be deployed in the upcoming election. “We will not accept any vote under the partisan government. We will not allow such elections in the country. Now they [the government] are conspiring two things, holding the polls without deploying army and getting the ballots on EVM,” Khaleda told a wayside in Jessore on Sunday, as part of her two-day road march to Khulna.

“We want to say that no polls without the army (deployment) will be allowed. The EVMs are vote manipulation machines. We do not accept them.” The BNP-backed candidate was withdrawn from the Narayanganj City Corporation mayoral race only seven hours before the vote on Oct 30 as the army was not deployed.

Congo: DRC Prepares For Vote Following Violence in Capital | Voice of America

Voters in the Democratic Republic of Congo are preparing for Monday’s presidential and legislative elections with opposition candidates already claiming fraud following violence in the capital in which at least two people were killed.

Electoral commission vice president Jacques Djoli Eseng’Ekeli says ballots and ballot boxes are being delivered by helicopter to remote polling stations in this country the size of Western Europe. Eseng’Ekeli says there may be some difficulties for some people to find the right place to vote, but he expects that everyone will eventually be able to cast their ballots.

Congo: Pessimism grips Congo with elections in disarray | The Independent

Campaigning in the Democratic Republic of Congo lurches to a riotous and uncertain finish this weekend, with authorities warning that rain could still delay a historic vote in sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest country.

Should it go ahead, Monday’s vote will pit the young incumbent Joseph Kabila – whose father toppled dictator Mobutu Sese Seko – against elder statesman Etienne Tshisekedi, hailed as the “father of Congolese democracy” and standing for president for the first time.

Egypt: Egypt’s election: Another charade | The Economist

Elections in Egypt tend to produce not just one but two solid majorities. The ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) has never, since its creation in 1978, failed to win less than a two-thirds majority of seats in Egypt’s parliament. And since that time, the vast majority of voting-age Egyptians have never bothered to vote.

Predictability under a veneer of democracy has given three decades of stability to the most populous and politically pivotal Arab state. But it has also produced a ruling class increasingly remote from an increasingly bitter people.

Egypt: Military rulers reject demands to leave | The Globe and Mail

Egypt’s military rulers rejected protester demands for them to step down immediately and said Thursday they would start the first round of parliamentary elections on time next week despite serious unrest in Cairo and other cities.

The ruling military council insisted it is not the same as the old regime it replaced, but the generals appear to be on much the same path that doomed Hosni Mubarak nine months ago — responding to the current crisis by delivering speeches seen as arrogant, mixing concessions with threats and using brutal force.

France: Poll shows French favour voting rights for foreigners | The Local

A clear majority of French people want to give non-EU foreigners the right to vote in local elections, a recent poll shows. The ruling right-wing party disagrees. 61 percent of the French support the Socialist Party in their proposal to give foreigners from outside the European Union a right to vote, a Le Parisien poll shows. 75 percent of the left-wing electorate also support voting rights for foreigners.

Socialists control the French Senate and have tabled a bill to allow foreigners voting rights in local elections. They suggest giving voting rights to foreigners who have been living in France for over five years and have working papers. Foreigners from the European Union already have such voting rights.

Morocco: Elections challenged by voter mistrust | Yahoo! News

It should be a moment of excitement: Moroccans are choosing a parliament in elections Friday prompted by the Arab Spring’s clamor for freedom. Yet there are few signs here that elections are even taking place. Posters and raucous rallies for candidates are absent in the cities and instead there are just stark official banners urging citizens to “do their national duty” and “participate in the change the country is undergoing.”

“The parties have presented the same people for the past 30 years, the least they could do is change their candidates,” said Hassan Rafiq, a vegetable vendor in the capital Rabat, who said he didn’t plan to vote. Like elsewhere in the Arab world, Moroccans hit the streets in the first half of 2011 calling for more democracy, and King Mohammed VI responded by amending the constitution and bringing forward elections. But since then the sense of change has dissipated.

Morocco: First parliamentary elections since protests | CNN

Moroccans went to the polls Friday in the country’s first parliamentary elections since adopting a new constitution following mass protests over unemployment and corruption. Turnout in the North African country was 45%, the Interior Ministry said. Both Parliament and the prime minister have greater powers under the new constitution, while the monarch’s sway has been slightly lessened.

More than 300 international observers monitored the voting, alongside 3,500 Moroccan observers, the semiofficial Le Matin newspaper reported. Morocco’s moderate Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD) is expected to do well in the vote.

Morocco: Morocco votes in test of king’s reform promises | France 24

Moroccans voted in a parliamentary election on Friday that could yield their most representative government ever, after King Mohammed ceded some powers to prevent any tumultuous spillover of Arab Spring uprisings.

The election will be a litmus test of the ability of Arab monarchies to craft reforms that  would placate popular yearning for greater democracy without violence-ridden revolts of the sort seen in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen and Syria this year.

New Zealand: Key to Assemble Coalition After Victory in New Zealand Election | Businessweek

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key began forming a government after his National party gained its best election result in 60 years, giving him the mandate to sell state assets in an effort to eliminate a budget deficit.

Key met with senior ministers today and plans talks tomorrow with the ACT and United Future parties, which helped him command a majority in the last parliament and have pledged to back him again. With 60 seats in the 121-member parliament, Key will be able to govern with support from the two parties, which both have one seat.

New Zealand: Serious review to follow close result in New Zealand Mixed-member proportional vote | Stuff.co.nz

The majority of New Zealand has again thrown its support behind MMP, but the close result will mean a serious review by the Electoral Commission. As well as casting the usual party and electorate votes on Saturday, voters were also asked if they thought the country should keep MMP or, if not, what alternative system they would prefer.

With only 290,000 advance votes so far counted, a total of 53.7 per cent back sticking with the mixed member proportional system, while 42.6 per cent said they wanted a change. It could take a further two weeks to count all votes.

The inner workings of the electoral system were in full effect on Saturday night. National won almost half the seats in Parliament, but the party’s lack of a substantial coalition partner means it still needs the support of UnitedFuture, ACT and the Maori Party to form a comfortable majority.

Palestine: Hamas says Palestinians quietly decide to keep rival governments until elections, Fatah denies | The Washington Post

The Palestinians’ rival leaders have quietly decided to keep their respective governments in the West Bank and Gaza in place until elections, a senior Hamas figure told The Associated Press. This proposal would remove a major obstacle to efforts to reconcile the factions: the need to form an interim unity government.

A representative of Hamas’ rival, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, denied that such a deal was struck. Abbas envoy Azzam al-Ahmed insisted there was no agreement and “no possibility of holding elections without a unity government.”

South Ossetia: U.S. says presidential elections in South Ossetia illegitimate | RIA Novosti

U.S. Department of State Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner said Sunday’s presidential elections in Georgia’s former republic of South Ossetia were illegitimate. Russia recognized the independence of South Ossetia and another former Georgian region – Abkhazia – in 2008, following a five-day war with Georgia, which began when Georgia attacked South Ossetia, where most residents are Russian passport holders.

Moscow’s decision has been condemned by many nations, including the United States, but a few other countries followed Russia’s suit to recognize the independence of the two regions, which Georgia considers part of its sovereign territory “occupied by the Russian armed forces.”

Referring to South Ossetia as a “Georgian region,” Toner said that his country continues to support Georgia’s territorial integrity within the internationally accepted borders and would not recognize the results or legitimacy of the polls

United Kingdom: Expats denounce Government over voting rights | Telegraph

The letter was sent from the Foreign Office to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg, in relation to a case brought against the UK by expat Harry Shindler. Mr Shindler, a 90-year old World War Two veteran who lives in Italy, believes that the UK’s current policy of depriving expats of their vote after 15 years spent abroad is discriminatory, and the ECHR is currently considering his claim.

In the letter, a spokesman for the Government said that it stood by the opinion that the “applicant is not a ‘victim’, according to principles established in the case-law in the court” and argued that if Mr Shindler wished to vote, “it was open to him to take Italian citizenship and acquire a right to vote in elections to the Italian national parliament.”