The Voting News Daily: Americans Elect Makes Plans to Broker the 2012 Presidential Election, New laws in 2012: More voter ID

National: Americans Elect Makes Plans to Broker the 2012 Presidential Election | Irregular Times Richard Winger and Mark B. identify a revealing section of the Americans Elect corporate bylaws recently posted online by the states of Nevada and Florida. The Americans Elect corporation, which aims to arrange the election of its own candidates for President and Vice President of the…

National: Americans Elect Makes Plans to Broker the 2012 Presidential Election | Irregular Times

Richard Winger and Mark B. identify a revealing section of the Americans Elect corporate bylaws recently posted online by the states of Nevada and Florida. The Americans Elect corporation, which aims to arrange the election of its own candidates for President and Vice President of the United States, imagines a circumstance in which Americans Elect [“AE”] wins one or more states but not enough to win the presidency for itself. What will its designated electors do then?

Elector agrees that Elector shall remain unpledged until convening of votes for the Electoral College, with the exception of the following conditions:

a. Plurality or Majority Vote for AE Ticket: If the AE ticket receives more votes nationally than any other ticket, the Elector shall solely vote in the affirmative for the AE nominees and for no other candidate;

b. Coalition Agreement: If the AE ticket receives fewer popular votes nationally than the ticket of at least one of the major political parties but no party has attained a majority of the national popular vote and the AE delegates have convened in the Convention after the general election but before the Electoral College vote and endorsed a candidate of either major political party on such terms as may be reflected in the vote of endorsement, the Elector shall vote solely for the candidates as instructed by the Delegates and for no other candidate.

Under the law, of course, presidential electors are free to support whichever candidate they please. But according to the bylaws, Americans Elect will require its electors to sign a contract agreeing to the above plan or to pay a penalty of half a million dollars:

National: New laws in 2012: More voter ID | MJ Lee/

Even as the feds move to block South Carolina from requiring voters to show a photo ID, a handful of other states are set to ring in 2012 with new laws mandating that voters produce picture identification cards before they are permitted to cast ballots. Beginning on Jan. 1, new laws will take effect in Kansas, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Texas requiring residents present a certified government-issued ID if they want to vote, according to a list of new 2012 laws compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Civil rights groups like the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which co-authored an extensive report earlier this month detailing 25 voter restriction measures that passed in 2011 – eight of which were photo ID laws — say the measures represent a coordinated conservative effort to repress the voting rights of minority groups.

“Many surprises came out of the 2008 elections, including record turnout, registration and participation,” said Hilary Shelton, NAACP’s Washington bureau director, who called the number of voter laws that passed last year “unprecedented.”

Colorado: Should military members who did not vote in 2010 receive a ballot? | State of Elections

It may sound like a simple issue, but Colorado is currently in an uproar over this issue. The City of Denver had been planning to send mail ballots to all registered voters, including inactive military voters. In response, Republican Secretary of State Scott Gessler made the controversial move of filing suit against the city, arguing that Colorado law only allows localities to mail ballots to those on the active voting list. The full complaint can be found here. Because the election is mere weeks away, John Tomasic of The Colorado Independent notes that this new directive seems likely to effectively disenfranchise the effected soldiers.

Colorado law requires ballots to be sent out to all active registered voters, but it does not explicitly prohibit county clerks from being more proactive. According to The Daily Sentinel, Mesa County Clerk Sheila Reiner argued that counties should be able to do more if they wish. “I had made a decision early on not to include the inactive voters because it wasn’t required,” Reiner said. “But I have to agree with the Denver County clerk and recorder that the statute requirements are only a minimum, and in many areas clerks often go over and above depending on the needs of their counties.”

Mississippi: Mississippi’s voter ID amendment faces federal scrutiny |

Mississippi officials are confident the state’s new voter ID constitutional amendment will pass muster despite the Justice Department’s rejection of a similar South Carolina law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls.

“The Supreme Court has ruled that voter ID is constitutional and we believe that Mississippi’s plan for implementing voter ID will be constitutional as well,” Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, a Republican, said Saturday.

Under the federal 1965 Voting Rights Act, both states must seek clearance in advance from federal officials before making changes to election procedures because of their history of discrimination against black voters. Sixty-two percent of Mississippi voters approved the voter ID initiative Nov. 8.
Hosemann has said he hopes to have voter ID working before the 2012 presidential election.

Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania Voter ID Bill: The Embodiment of Discrimination or Weapon Against Voter Fraud? | State of Elections

Imagine that after months of living off of your meager savings, you can longer pay your rent and are subsequently evicted from your home. You, like an estimated 15,096 Pennsylvanians, have no permanent home. Regrettably, your homelessness could hinder your ability to vote.

Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R – Butler County) introduced House Bill 934 on March 4, 2011. It passed the Pennsylvania House of Representatives by a 108-88 vote and is currently before the Senate.  As it stands, the current election laws require voters to show identification the first time they vote at a new polling location. If approved, the bill will require voters to show valid photo identification every time they vote, even though they may have voted at that particular polling location in the past.

The primary justification for this “common-sense safeguard” is to prevent voter fraud. In an interview with Comcast Newsmakers, Rep. Metcalfe stated that voter fraud is still a relevant concern as demonstrated by the 2009 investigation of ACORN employees in Pittsburgh for fraud. He also discussed how thousands of fraudulent voter registrations were filed in Philadelphia in 2005 and how 1500 of those registrations were turned over to the District Attorney for further investigation.

Philippines: Smartmatic’s participation in 2013 polls up to advisory council | The Philippine Star

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is leaving it to the Comelec Advisory Council (CAC) to decide if Smartmatic International Corp. can participate in the 2013 midterm polls. “If the CAC feels there are grounds to, say, recommend a different technology and they also have to come up with an explanation if they want to block out a certain bidder,” said Comelec spokesman James Jimenez.

Smartmatic is the Venezuelan company that supplied the 82,200 precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines used in the May 2010 presidential election. Jimenez was reacting to the call of the poll watchdog Automated Election System Watch (AES Watch) to disqualify Smartmatic from the 2013 polls for the defects in the counting machines it supplied.

The Comelec had declared the election a success but AES and other election watchdogs cited the wrong configuration of the compact flash cards and the disabling of the built-in scanners and digital signature features of the machines.

Virginia: Gingrich faces long odds to compete in Virginia presidential primary | The Washington Post

In the wake of the Virginia Republican Party’s announcement Saturday morning that Newt Gingrich had not secured the required 10,000 valid signatures to run in the state’s March 6 presidential primary, a campaign spokesman declared that Gingrich is “exploring alternative methods to compete in Virginia — stay tuned.”

On Gingrich’s Facebook page, campaign director Michael Krull noted that he had spoken on Saturday morning about the Virginia setback with Gingrich, who “stated this is not catastrophic,” Krull said. But being left off the ballot in his adopted state on Super Tuesday, when Republican contests in nine other states will be fought in addition to Virginia’s, would be both a potent political and symbolic blow to the candidate who was enjoying a lead over GOP rivals in the Dominion State, according to the Quinnipiac Poll.

With analysts and some party insiders having raised doubts about the depth and skill of Gingrich’s organization, the latest news out of Virginia is certain to exacerbate concerns about the candidate’s long-term viability. Krull was quick to remind skeptics that doom had been forecast for the campaign before, in the wake of a Gingrich staff shake-up. “Remember that it was only a few months ago that pundits and the press declared us dead after the paid consultants left . . . ,” he said. “Some again will state that this is fatal.”

Afghanistan: Afghan president appoints new election officials | Reuters

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has named three new commissioners, including a former provincial governor, to the Independent Election Commission (IEC), a body that has faced criticism in the past for failing to stand up to government pressure. The internationally-funded IEC has been at the centre of a standoff between the Karzai administration and parliament over a fraud-marred 2010 vote in which it threw out nearly a quarter of all votes over fraud and technical complaints.

Two of the new commissioners are former members of parliament, Rida Azimi from Parwan province, and Sayed Hashim Folad from Nangarhar, while the third official is Ghulam Dastagir Azad, who was earlier appointed by Karzai as governor of Uruzgan province.

A spokesman for the seven-member IEC said the appointments had been made following the end of the three-year terms of three officials. The terms of two other officials was extended, while the remaining officials were in the middle of their term.

Myanmar: Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi Registers Party, Visits Parliament | VoA News

Burma’s democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi formally registered her National League for Democracy as a political party Friday, clearing the way for her to run for a seat in parliament. Party officials say they will contest a series of coming by-elections once the registration is formally approved, expected within a week. Aung San Suu Kyi has not yet announced the constituency in which she expects to run.

The Nobel peace laureate also visited the parliament for the first time since her release from house arrest late last year. She met with Shwe Mann, a senior figure in the military-backed government and the long-ruling junta that preceded it.

India: Successful use of electronic voting machine in the maiden Comilla City polls could be a major challenge | Daily Star

With polling only eight days away, successful use of electronic voting machine (EVM) in the maiden Comilla City Corporation polls could be a major challenge for the Election Commission as many voters are still unfamiliar with the device. The EC, however, is confident that the much-talked-about machine will prove a success.

This is the first time the commission is going to use the EVM in the entire polling in any elections in the country. It will use 421 machines in as many booths in 65 polling centres. Besides, 65 more will be kept reserved on the polling day. Earlier the main opposition BNP decided not to back any candidate as the EC turned down its demands for army deployment and not using EVM.