Morocco: Elections challenged by voter mistrust | San Francisco Chronicle

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.

Namibia: It is time for introspection for the Electoral Comission of Namibia |Informante

The Electoral Commission in Namibia (ECN) has proven to be a farce in the last ten years judging from allegations and counter allegations of vote rigging, including ballot stuffing. At the centre of the controversial ECN is the credibility of the commissioners, who are bipartisan and biased in favour of the ruling class.

The recent Informanté exposé of a commissioner appointed with fake qualifications, but who even made if to the shortlist of the successful candidates, served as the straw that broke the camel’s back. An investigation points to a deliberate endeavor to have a commissioner who could be bought and sold, with an appropriate profile, to collaborate in one way of the other to sway the election results in favour of the powers that be.

Philippines: Comelec, DOJ to resume probe on vote rigging in 2004 polls | The Philippine Star

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) joint panel will resume its investigation and find necessary evidence to pin down other personalities involved in rigging the results of the 2004 presidential elections.

Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes yesterday said the poll body and the DOJ will continue with the inquiry into the electoral fraud. “Tuloy-tuloy na ito dahil walang temporary restraining order. Lilipat na kami sa 2004 (The investigation will proceed since there is no TRO. We will shift now to the 2004 polls),” he said.

The Voting News Daily: New York gets $2.5 million for technology upgrades for absentee voting, Ohio election reform petition continues to gain signatures

Blogs: New York gets $2.5 million for technology upgrades for absentee voting | New York’s absentee voting system has received almost $2.5 million from the federal government for technological upgrades. Earlier this month, the Federal Voting Assistance Program awarded the state money to ensure a smoother voting process for New York’s 40,000 overseas voters, with…

Voting Blogs: New York gets $2.5 million for technology upgrades for absentee voting |

New York’s absentee voting system has received almost $2.5 million from the federal government for technological upgrades. Earlier this month, the Federal Voting Assistance Program awarded the state money to ensure a smoother voting process for New York’s 40,000 overseas voters, with the goal of offering better online access to registration tools and absentee ballot systems.

State Board of Elections spokesman John Conklin said the money would be distributed among all 62 counties on a need basis. Conklin said that some of the money will be spent on improving the process of overseas voters accessing their ballots. He said that currently the local Board of Elections sends out an email when the ballot is ready and the voter can use that email to sign into a website that allows them to print out their ballot and access additional voting information. With this grant, Conklin said this will now be easier for the voter.

Ohio: Election reform petition continues to gain signatures |

The Ohio Democratic Party and Organizing for America turned in another 166,481 petition signatures on Tuesday to qualify for the November 2012 ballot for a voter referendum on House Bill 194, an elections reform package backed by Republicans. It was the second wave – they already submitted 333,063, of which 221,572 were deemed valid. To make the ballot, they need 231,150 valid voter signatures.

If the issue makes the ballot, the law will be put on hold until voters have their say. If enacted, House Bill 194 would shorten the window for early voting in person and absentee from 35 days to 17 days, eliminate early voting on Saturday afternoons and Sundays and remove a requirement that poll workers redirect voters to the correct precinct.

Pennsylvania: Corbett: Change in electoral votes going nowhere |

A Republican-sponsored proposal to change how Pennsylvania’s electoral votes are counted in next year’s presidential election appears to be running out of steam. Gov. Corbett, a key supporter of the idea, suggested Monday that it was going nowhere for the time being. “I see no movement on it. I’m not going to push for movement, but I still support it,” Corbett, a Republican, told a Pennsylvania Press Club luncheon.

The proposal surfaced in September, with Corbett marketing it as a way to more fairly divide electoral votes to reflect the preferences of Pennsylvania’s voters. It split Republicans and drew heavy criticism from Democrats, who called it a partisan attempt to hurt President Obama’s reelection campaign and to minimize the influence of the state’s large number of registered Democrats.

South Carolina: State Supreme Court Sides with GOP, Requires Counties Hold 2012 Primary | Mauldin, SC Patch

The South Carolina Supreme Court voted Tuesday to require the State Election Commission and all counties to hold the 2012 Primary despite county contentions that the election lacked a mandate. The Court voted 3-2 in favor of the South Carolina Republican Party and the Election Commission, and as a result, counties must provide voting equipment, locations and staffing for the Jan. 21 primary. The court heard arguments on Nov. 14 after four South Carolina counties — Beaufort, Chester, Greenville and Spartanburg — filed suit to block the primary.

The main controversies in the case arose over whether a statute enacted for the 2008 primary carried over to 2012 and whether budget provisos that authorized the state election commission to fund the primary actually required it to do so.

Tennessee: Election officials ready for voters without photo ID | Marshall County Tribune

Nearly 180 election officials from Middle Tennessee counties attended training seminars Thursday at Henry Horton State Park and learned what to do if someone wants to vote without a government identification card showing their photograph. Even though Tennessee has a recently enacted law requiring voters to identify themselves with a photo ID card, Marshall County Election Commission Chairman Don Wright says, “Some people just walk up and say they want to vote. Well, we don’t do that anymore.

“We’re not trying to keep people from voting,” Wright said. “We just don’t want them voting in Marshall County and Pulaski or Columbia.” Thursday’s seminars were presented by the Tennessee Association of County Election Officers. TACEO spokesmen provided tips on how to serve the public and help people comply with the law.

Utah: Voting malfunction: Machine causes problems for Provo council race |

Paper ballots in the Municipal Council District 1 race will be counted by hand Wednesday because of a technical problem that may have resulted in a miscount in a very close race. The unofficial vote tally after Election Day separated winner Gary Winterton from Bonnie Morrow by just nine votes — 804 to 795. Morrow asked for a recount, which was taking place Tuesday when county election officials concluded they had machine problems.

“The numbers were varying too much,” said Utah County Chief Deputy Clerk/Auditor Scott Hogensen. “It became obvious the machines weren’t counting things correctly.” The county was bringing in technical support from the machines’ vendor, Dominion Voting Systems. The scanners read paper ballots and feed results into computer software that totals the results.

Wisconsin: Colleges to issue IDs to comply with voter law | Reuters

Wisconsin’s election board on Tuesday authorized a state university to issue identification cards that students can use to comply with the new law requiring voters to present photo ID at polling places. University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point joined six other schools authorized by the Government Accountability Board to issue secondary ID cards that comply with the law in Wisconsin, one of several states to pass such legislation this year.

In addition to Stevens Point, the system’s flagship university in Madison along with schools in Milwaukee, Whitewater, La Crosse, Eau Claire and Green Bay will issue the secondary ID cards. The eighth school — the University of Wisconsin-Superior — has received approval to re-issue primary identification cards to all students that meet the voter ID requirements.

Myanmar: Aung San Suu Kyi to Run for Burma Parliament |

A spokesman for Burma democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she will run for a seat in parliament in the country’s next by-election, expected by the end of the year. Nyan Win, a member of the National League for Democracy’s executive committee, told reporters Monday the Nobel Peace laureate will run for one of the 48 seats available in Burma’s new Senate, but has not yet decided which district she will represent.

The democracy activist hinted that she would run for office at a meeting of party delegates Friday, when they decided to re-register as a political party and take part in elections.

Egypt: Military leader: Egyptian elections will be held on time |

Egypt’s military-led government Tuesday denied using violence against protesters and said the resignation of the country’s Cabinet has been accepted, although members will remain until a new government is formed.

“We never fired one bullet against any Egyptian,” said Supreme Council of the Armed Forces Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi in a speech. “Our first goal from the start of the transitional phase was to restore security in the streets.” Tantawi spoke on the fourth straight day of protests and clashes in Cairo and beyond, in which 30 people have died, and about 1,950 have been injured, the Health Ministry said.

Ghana: NPP Zongo Youth Club Dares President…claims EC Can’t Determine Outcome of Elections |

Kumasi — The national Zongo Youth Club of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has started that the outcome of every election is determined by the discerning electorate and not the Electoral Commission (EC) and its commissioners. “It is only the people of Ghana who has the legitimate right to determine the outcome of the 2012 elections by registering their vote to give the mandate to the candidate of their choice”, the group said at a press conference in Kumasi.

In an apparent response to the President’s comment that it is the referee (EC) that determines the out come of elections following claims by NPP flagbearer that the 2012 election is a win at all cost for the NPP, Mr. Tanko Ali Yahaya, the Secretary said on behalf of the group that the President’s position was not tenable.

India: BJP says no to EVMs from Malkangiri |

The BJP has petitioned the Election Commission against the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs), procured from Malkangiri district, in Umerkote by-election in Nabarangpur district. In a memorandum to the Election Commission, the BJP alleged that the election officer of Nabarangpur district has violated the election handbook for the contestants by not inviting them for the first-level checking.

The second objection of the party was that the district election officer has not intimated the name of the nodal officer appointed by him to the political parties in the fray.

Indonesia: Activists, politicians form women’s caucus | The Jakarta Post

Held at the Denpasar Legislative Council building, the discussion was attended by only three of the 30 invited women councillors. The three councillors were Ni Nyoman Sumiati of Karangasem, Tutik Kusuma Wardhani of Buleleng and Utami Dwi Suryadi of Denpasar.

Sumiati and Wardhani talked about their political journey to underline what they said was a prevalent discriminatory culture practiced by political parties and male politicians. Such a culture was one of the primary barriers preventing women’s participation in politic. “Male politicians still find it difficult to accept women in a party’s structure,” Sumiati said, admitting that at one point in her campaign she had to hire bodyguards to cope with the political pressure.

The Voting News Daily: Opponents’ input sought in implementing voter ID, ACLU Moves to Intervene In Voting Rights Act Challenge

    Mississippi: Opponents’ input sought in implementing voter ID | The Clarion-Ledger   Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann said he wants to include opponents of voter identification as state officials work to implement Initiative 27, the state constitutional amendment passed last week calling for Mississippians to present photo identification before voting. “My goals would not…

Arizona: ACLU Moves to Intervene In Voting Rights Act Challenge | American Civil Liberties Union

The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Arizona filed a motion in a Washington, D.C. federal court today to intervene in the state of Arizona’s challenge to the federal Voting Rights Act (VRA). The ACLU argues that Section 5 of the Act, which since 1965 has protected racial and language minorities’ access to voting, must remain in place.

“Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act is critical for ensuring that states do not pass election laws that negatively affect minority voters,” said Katie O’Connor, staff attorney with the ACLU Voting Rights Project. “We are intervening in this case to make sure that this critical piece of legislation is upheld, so that everyone’s fundamental right to vote is protected.”

Mississippi: Opponents’ input sought in implementing voter ID | The Clarion-Ledger

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann said he wants to include opponents of voter identification as state officials work to implement Initiative 27, the state constitutional amendment passed last week calling for Mississippians to present photo identification before voting. “My goals would not be to have people on the sidelines of the field waiting for someone to fumble the ball,” he said. “Help me implement it.”

Getting opponents’ help could aid the state when it seeks Justice Department approval. Under the federal 1965 Voting Rights Act, Mississippi must seek preclearance from federal officials before it makes changes to election procedures because of its history of discrimination against black voters.

Missouri: Fremont senator to push voter ID again | Missouri News Horizon

Nebraska is poised to enter the national debate over whether voters should be required to show some kind of identification in order to vote, as Fremont Sen. Charlie Janssen plans to push legislation requiring Nebraskans to show ID before being allowed to vote.

Thirty-one states require voters to present some kind of identification in order to vote — and in 15 of those states it must be a photo ID. But Nebraska is one of 20 states with no voter ID law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. As more states adopt stricter voter ID laws, it’s become a hot-button issue, because critics say poor people, minorities and elderly people are less likely to carry identification while proponents say requiring proof of ID reduces voter fraud.

Wisconsin: UW will provide students with valid voting ID cards | The Badger Herald

A planned mass deputation organized by members of Student Council on Monday night coincided with the announcement that the University of Wisconsin will be issuing voter IDs to students requiring them.

The deputation was organized by Associated Students of Madison first year representative Colin Higgins and involved 13 students. These now-official special registration deputies will be able to register other students and community members to vote.

Bangladesh: No birds, animals or billboards in campaigns |

The Election Commission has banned city corporation polls candidates from using billboards and live animal and birds in their publicity campaigns. “A sub-clause is being included into the electoral code of conduct to this end,” senior assistant secretary of the Election Commission Secretariat, Mohammad Forhad Hossain told

EC secretary Mohammad Sadique requested the law ministry to issue a circular on the matter in a letter sent on Monday. Out of the 68 symbols set to be allocated to mayor and councillor posts contenders under the local government election guideline, 12 are pictures of animals and birds – tiger, duck, butterfly, fish, crocodile, rabbit, parrot, deer, stork, cow, chicken and elephant.

Canada: B.C. province backs online voting trials | Vancouver Sun

B.C. could soon be testing Internet voting after a formal request to try the idea received a verbal endorsement from the provincial government Monday. Elections B.C. wants permission to run pilot projects on online voting and other new technologies, chief electoral officer Keith Archer said in a report tabled in the legislature.

The independent elections agency wants the freedom to try new technologies and look at security issues, Archer said. “We want to have the mandate to at least have the exploration of this topic,” he said.

Egypt: Protesters, Forces Clash for Third Day Before Election | Businessweek

Clashes erupted in Cairo for a third day after fighting between security forces and demonstrators protesting military rule left at least 22 people dead, a week before Egypt’s first parliamentary elections since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak.

Protesters were driven back by tear gas in Tahrir Square, the center of the uprising that toppled Mubarak in February, some waving Egyptian flags and others hurling stones at riot police, in scenes televised from the site. Besides those killed, hundreds were injured in the fighting that started on Nov. 19, Health Ministry spokesman Mohammed el-Sherbeeny said today by telephone.

Guam: Lawsuit filed against Guam Election Commission | KUAM News

Guam – The Guam Election Commission may be headed to court as a non-profit public interest law firm is filing suit, alleging racial discrimination due to the upcoming vote to determine Guam’s future political status. While a series of meetings and workshops on the process of decolonization were a positive step forward in Guam’s quest for self-determination, a civil suit filed by an island resident who isn’t eligible to vote could bring the process to a standstill.

The Center for Individual Rights – a non-profit public interest law firm based in our nation’s capitol, is taking the GEC and its commissioners to court. On behalf of Guam resident Arnold Davis, the CIR alleges racial discrimination after he was not allowed to register for the plebiscite because he didn’t meet the definition of a native inhabitant of Guam.

Philippines: Comelec techie asks Congress: Probe 2010 polls | Inquirer News

An official of the Commission on Elections on Thursday called on the House and Senate to convene the joint congressional oversight committee (JCOC) on poll automation to help the Comelec find the best voting technology for the 2013 midterm polls. Commissioner Augusto Lagman said the committee’s input was needed by the Comelec Advisory Council (CAC) which is mandated by law to evaluate and recommend the appropriate election automation technology to the poll agency.

“I think the committee should convene. It has not met since the 2010 elections. There should have been an assessment of those elections. This is important because we want to learn what lessons we can from the 2010 elections,” Lagman told reporters.

Editorials: Who’s behind Americans Elect and what they want | Los Angeles Times

A few weeks ago I wrote about an effort to put a centrist “third party” candidate on the presidential ballot next year, launched by an organization called Americans Elect. The privately funded group plans to stage a wide-open primary on the Internet, to enable voters to choose a ticket drawn from the middle of the political spectrum. Voters can propose anyone they like, but the process is designed for potential centrist candidates such as New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.

That column provoked a torrent of questions from readers. Some asked: Isn’t this just a Republican plot to seduce independents away from President Obama? Others asked: Isn’t this just a Democratic plot to seduce moderates away from the GOP? These are fair questions in an age in which seemingly benign proposals sometimes conceal hidden agendas. So I did some more digging to find out who is behind Americans Elect and what it’s really after.

Indiana: How Many Ballot Scanners Should We Buy for 2012 |

How many voting machines does Monroe County really need? If the county decided to scan paper ballots at a central location, such as at the Justice Building, after 2012 elections, it wouldn’t matter whether the county commissioners purchase enough machines for 81 precincts or 20-some vote centers.

The county could consider buying just one high-speed digital ballot scanner, similar to the one it used in the May 2011 primary elections. Even if all 94,164 registered voters in the county show up to vote, results would be delayed only by a few hours over having a scanner at each polling place, and the county would save money.

Indiana: State officials want proposed Lake voting machines tested | nwitimes

The Indiana Elections Commission refused Friday to immediately approve Lake County’s purchase of remodeled electronic voting machines, which local officials say are crucial to reducing long lines of voters next year. Sally LaSota, county elections director, said Friday more machines are needed before the 2012 primary election when President Barack Obama’s re-election bid is expected to bring out busloads of early voters.

LaSota said she needs help handling the anticipated crowd and asked state elections officials to permit MicroVote, which has manufactured the 1,050 current machines, to provide more updated electronic voting stations. Michelle Fajman, county recorder and elections director during the 2008 Obama campaign, said, “In Gary, we had people voting as late as 10 p.m. Lake County is in dire need of more machines.”