South Carolina: Agency faces tough balancing act with voter ID regulations | Aiken Standard

Back in 2004, Marci Andino was accused of shilling for corporate America and the Republican Party as she rolled out the state’s new electronic voting machines. Those complaints continue to this day, as critics insist that machines that don’t spit out paper receipts to voters are subject to manipulation and stolen elections.

Then over the past couple of years, the director of the State Election Commission got some harsh looks from GOP lawmakers when she joined county election officials in calling for an open early voting system. Democrats love and Republicans hate early voting, which election professionals argue would help keep lines moving on Election Day, at minimum cost, by replacing the restricted absentee voting procedure that more and more people are using illegally to vote in advance.

Wisconsin: Recall election costs projected in millions | Appleton Post Crescent

At least $650,000 will be needed by state election officials to cover the costs of handling petitions for Wisconsin’s upcoming wave of recalls, according to a memo from the state Government Accountability Board. But that estimate doesn’t include costs for local governments, which are expected to be in the millions statewide.

The election watchdog agency said it will need an additional $652,699 to cover recall expenses, including personnel costs, mainly from hiring and supervising about 50 temporary workers to review as many as 1.5 million signatures, renting additional office space, buying supplies and equipment and doing public outreach about the state’s new voter ID law.

Ghana: Biometric Verification is on | The Statesman

Government and the Electoral Commission have finally yielded to both domestic and international pressure and agreed to compliment the biometric voter registration with biometric voter verification at the polling station in order to enhance the integrity of the 2012 elections. However, investigations undertaken by The New Statesman suggest that the ruling party, which has still not come to terms with biometric verification, is shifting the responsibility of funding the process to Ghana’s ‘development partners’.

Biometric verification is the process whereby a registered voter would be required to insert his or her biometric voter’s ID into a battery-operated e-zwich mobile payment system-like machine, place a finger on it for the machine to verify the card-bearer’s true identity before a ballot paper could be issued to a voter to cast his or her ballot.

India: Parties oppose introducing electronic voting in the Maldives | HaveeruOnline

Most of the political parties have opposed the plan of introducing an electronic voting system in the Maldives, Elections Commission said today. Commissioner Fuad Thaufeeq said the parties made their remarks at the meeting held yesterday with the visiting International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) delegation to discuss on establishing an electronic voting system for future elections.

“Some noted that it’s wise to continue how voting takes place in the Maldives now while we noticed that most of them still need more information about how the system works. For instance, Adhaalath Party admitted that going along the technological advancements is an option but said they needed more information about the system,” he said.

Nigeria: Assessing INEC Ahead Next Elections | Leadership Newspapers

The Independent National Electoral Commission has rolled out plans to conduct elections in six states. The commission was prevented from conducting elections in these states during the 2011 general elections by a court ruling after it had claimed that the tenure of the governors in question should have ended on May, 29 2011 in spite of the fact that their 2007 elections into office had been annulled and they had to face re-election.

INEC has now come to terms with the court ruling which determined when the tenure of each of the governors is to end. INEC is to hold governorship election in Kogi State on December 3 where the tenure of the Governor Ibrahim Idris will end on April 4, 2012. According to the commission’s timetable, the governorship election in Adamawa will hold on January 14, 2012 and the four years of Murtala Nyako will end on April 30, 2012. In Bayelsa, the election will hold February 11, 2012 and the tenure of Timipre Silva ends on May 27, 2012.

Morocco: Thousands of Moroccans make final boycott call 5 days before elections | The Washington Post

Thousands of Moroccans from the pro-democracy movement made a final call Sunday to boycott upcoming elections with protests across the country. At least 3,000 people marched through the capital Rabat and another 4,000 chanted demonstrated in Casablanca, the country’s largest city. Demonstrations took place in other cities across the country as well.

Anti-government protesters hold Moroccan national flag, left, and the 20th February movement flag in red black and white during a rally organized by the 20th February, the Moroccan Arab Spring movement in Casablanca, Morocco, Sunday, Nov 20, 2011, in a mass popular call to bring more democracy into this North African kingdom. Some thousands of Moroccans from the pro-democracy movement braved pouring rain and high winds in Casablanca to make a final call to boycott upcoming elections.

Spain: Cubans who became Spanish citizens recently are voting in Spain’s elections Sunday |

Some Cubans will vote in their first democratic elections this Sunday. But they won’t be electing anyone in their own country. Instead, they will vote in Spain’s parliamentary elections because they are among the more than 25,000 Cubans who took advantage of a 2006 Spanish law that grants citizenship to the foreign-born grandchildren of Spanish emigrants.

More than 12,000 Spanish citizens living in Cuba requested mail-in ballots for Sunday’s parliamentary election, according to Spanish news media reports. Among them are expected to be some who were born Cuban and recently became Spaniards.

Spain: People’s party sweeps to crushing victory over Socialists | The Guardian

The conservative People’s party (PP) of Mariano Rajoy has swept to a landslide victory in Spain’s general election, inheriting sky-high unemployment and one of the shakiest economies in Europe. Rajoy’s PP gained an absolute parliamentary majority with a crushing 16 percentage point win over the Socialists of outgoing prime minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero.

The Socialists lost a third of their seats as voters dumped a government that presided over a dramatic economic slump which has left 23% of Spaniards out of work. With the PP winning 186 of the 350 seats in parliament, 56-year-old Rajoy was given a free hand to carry out sweeping reforms and impose further austerity in an attempt to turn the country around.

Taiwan: President Ma Ying-jeou registers for presidential election | Taiwan News Online

President Ma Ying-jeou and his running mate Premier Wu Den-yih were the first presidential candidates to register for the January 14 election at the Central Election Commission Monday morning.

Opposition Democratic Progressive Party Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen and her running mate Su Jia-chyuan are expected to show up on Wednesday, while People First Party Chairman James Soong and his vice-presidential choice, Lin Ruey-shiung, could pick Thursday or Friday, reports said. Allegations that Lin might still hold United States citizenship and therefore be ineligible to run for election have thrown doubts on that timing.

Wisconsin: Walker Opponents Plagued By Threats, Thefts | WISC Madison

Opponents of Gov. Scott Walker said they have faced threats and thefts in the days since the recall effort began. Two volunteers in the petition drive reported violent threats made against them to the police. Neighbors in Monona also complained to authorities of politically motivated thefts from their yards.

The threats involved phone calls from an area code in Minnesota. The calls came overnight after Walker’s opponents began the recall, said Madison resident Tom Peer, who said he received a call at 2 a.m. on Thursday. “They said, ‘If you don’t stop circulating recall petitions, we will kill you,'” said Peer.

The Voting News Weekly: TVN Weekly November 14-20 2011

The New York Times commented on a law requiring voter ID at the polls approved by voters in Mississippi. Mother Jones investigated the secrecy surrounding Americans Elect. The Department of Justice delayed a Texas voter ID law. Oregon experimented with iPads to facilitate voting for voters with disabilities despite security concerns. Demos considered difficulties faced by mobile young voters. With election day voting restored by a citizens’ veto, Maine Republicans are now pushing a voter ID law. The Kazahkstan President dissolved the parliament and called snap elections and elections in South Ossetia went to a run-off after none of the 11 candidates managed to top the 50 per cent of the vote required by law.

Editorials: Disenfranchise No More |

Mississippi voters just approved a new law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls. But that law will not go into effect immediately, thanks to the Voting Rights Act. Instead Mississippi will get in line behind Texas and South Carolina as the Department of Justice examines each state’s voter ID laws, in a process known as “preclearance.”

The Justice Department will allow each law to go into effect only if the state can show its law will not have a racially discriminatory purpose or effect. Such proof may be hard to come by: a recent study by The Associated Press found that African-American voters in South Carolina would be much harder hit by that state’s ID law than white voters because they often don’t have the right kind of identification.

National: 13 States Plugged Into Electronic Poll-books | The Canvass

“I’ve been doing elections for 33 years, and I think electronic poll-books have been the best advance in elections I’ve seen since we began computerizing many years ago,” says Wendy Noren, county clerk in Boone County, Mo.

What is an electronic poll-book? In Boone County, it is a system of networked computers in each polling place pre-loaded with data on registered voters. This system has shortened voter check-in time at polling places from 5 to 6 minutes to just 15 to 20 seconds, which everybody likes. That translates into huge savings; in 2012, Noren expects to hire 25 percent fewer poll workers, dramatically reducing one of her two largest expenses.

The other big expense? Training for poll workers. Here, too, electronic poll-books have provided savings. A well-designed, uncomplicated electronic poll-book reduces training needs and associated costs.

Voting Blogs: Meet the Political Reform Group That’s Fueled by Dark Money | Mother Jones

An upstart political reform group called Americans Elect is looking to blow apart the Democrat-Republican duopoly that dominates American politics. Its imaginative scheme: nominating an independent presidential candidate over the internet. The group is on the ballot in a half-dozen states, and the national buzz surrounding its initiative is growing—but so too are the questions about who’s bankrolling this effort and the security of the outfit’s voting procedures.

Americans Elect rose from the ashes of Unity08, a group formed in 2006 to increase access to the electoral system for independent presidential candidates. Via Americans Elect’s website, registered voters can sign up as “delegates” and nominate “any American [they] believe can be a great leader.” (For reference, the site offers a lengthy list of current political figures.) In April, delegates will winnow the field of candidates to six finalists,  each of whom will then select a running mate from another party (if a finalist decides not to run, he or she can decline). And in June, Americans Elect plans to hold an online convention to decide which candidate will appear on the Americans Elect ballot line.

To become certified as a political party, the group must first collect a certain number of signatures in each state. All told, Americans Elect plans to spend $10 million on this effort.So far the group has been certified in six states, including key swing states Florida and Michigan. Certification is pending in California. That’s an encouraging sign for a group hoping to starting an electoral revolution.

Indiana: State officials want proposed Lake County 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.

Nebraska: Board opposes voter ID proposal |

The Douglas County Board has unanimously voted to oppose a state lawmaker’s attempt to require stringent photo identification to vote in Nebraska elections. If passed, Legislative Bill 239 would require people to have valid state-issued photo identification to vote. At this week’s meeting, County Board member Mike Boyle cited the unknown costs of the bill, plus the adverse effect it would have on elderly voters and particularly Hispanics if it became law.

A valid state ID, under the proposed legislation, is one that is unexpired and provides a current address. State Sen. Charlie Janssen of Fremont introduced the bill. Adam Morfeld, executive director of Nebraskans for Civic Reform, said the County Board’s bipartisan opposition should signal that Janssen’s bill is a costly attempt to solve a problem that does not exist.

New Mexico: GOP New Mexico Sec of State Finds Tiny Fraction Of The Voter Fraud She Alleged | TPM

New Mexico Secretary of State Dianna Duran said earlier this year that her state had a “culture of corruption” and referred 64,000 voter registration records to police that she thought were possible cases of voter fraud. Now a new report from her office proves she was completely right, 0.0296875 percent of the time.

Duran’s interim report now alleges that 104 voters — about one for every 10,577 on the rolls — were illegally registered to vote. Of that group, just 19 — or approximately one for every 57,894 registered voters — actually allegedly cast a ballot they shouldn’t have.

Voting Blogs: The Saga Continues: New York’s MOVE Act Waiver Denied | Doug Chapin/PEEA

In a trip through the archives yesterday, I mentioned the ongoing drama in New York State about whether or not the state’s September 2012 primary would be moved up to give military and overseas voters enough time to vote in compliance with the MOVE Act.

New York has always had its own timetable with regard to implementation of federal election laws; the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has taken the state to court numerous times to enforce the Help America Vote Act’s requirements for a statewide voter registration database and accessible voting technology.

Texas: Department of Justice blocks Texas Voter ID law | Your Houston News

In Texas, one has to have a picture identification to buy beer, lottery tickets, cigarettes and spray paint, but efforts to require voters to meet those same requirements have been halted by the federal government.

Despite the efforts of Texas lawmakers to require voters to present picture identification in order to vote, on Nov. 16, the U.S. Department of Justice told state election officials that they have not provided enough information about racial statistics on Hispanics in each county for the law to receive preclearance.

Voting Blogs: Texas Voter ID law approval hits new snag | Postcards

Texas provided “incomplete” information on the state’s voter ID law that does not enable federal officials to determine whether the new law would illegally discriminate against minorities, officials said this afternoon. That means that it will likely delay the scheduled Jan. 1 start of enforcement of the new law, which will require Lone Star voters to show an approved photo identification before they can cast ballots. However, the next statewide election is the March primary, and it was unclear if the delay would affect that election.

Justice Department officials have 60 days to decide whether the new law violates the Voting Rights Act, once they receives the information from Texas officials.The law was a hot-button issue for conservative Republicans that Gov. Rick Perry had elevated to an emergency issue to get it quickly passed into law last spring. Democrats, voting-rights advocates and minority groups had harshly criticized the law, but were unable to block its passage in the Republican-controlled Legislature.

Egypt: Elections 101: Egypt’s new electoral system explained | Daily News Egypt

Egypt’s electoral system is “complicated and difficult for any ordinary Egyptian to comprehend and implement,” experts believe, as political powers remain optimistic that it will help them secure a place in a parliament long dominated by members of the former regime.

The first parliamentary elections following the ouster of president Hosni Mubarak are expected to attract an electorate that traditionally boycotted elections. Over 18 million Egyptians voted in a referendum in March, an indication of voter confidence in a new era free of the rigging and electoral fraud that tainted the previous one. However, voters are concerned that they will find it difficult to figure out the system, which could ultimately spoil their vote.

Somaliland: National Electoral Commission Upheld The Decision Taken By Somaliland House of Representatives |

Somaliland National Electoral Commission upheld the decision taken by Somaliland House of Representatives which said that the forthcoming local council elections will be held without voter registration. The Commission announced that they will abide by the decision made by Somaliland parliament.

The spokesman for Somaliland National Electoral commission Mr. Mohamed Hirsi Geele held briefing to local media in at his office in Hargeisa. Mr. Geele told the press the reasons attributed in declaring the voter registration null and void. He further pointed out that grave errors arise when it comes to the previous voter registration resulting that many people without registration.

National: National Coalition Formed To Confront Tough New Voter ID Laws | South Florida Times

A coalition of nearly 20 organizations, including the NAACP and the National Urban League, announced they have launched a “Stand for Freedom” voting rights campaign and also a major mobilization on Dec. 10 — United Nations Human Rights Day — to protest what they say is an attack on voting rights throughout the country.

The campaign will take aim at election laws which, the coalition says, will suppress the rights of millions of Americans to vote in 2012 and beyond. In dozens of states, new rules will create what the coalition describes as a modern-day poll tax by requiring voters to obtain and present official photo ID in order to cast ballots. In many of those same states, new laws significantly cut early voting and Sunday voting, as well.

Voting Blogs: Locals Watching G.O.P. War on Voting Rights |

Ninety-seven-year-old Emma Lee Green balances an armload of old books and yellowing papers around the stacks of musty files in her San Bernardino attic. She remembers well the days of Jim Crow, poll taxes and literacy tests that barred many African-American citizens from the voting booth.

Americans set their clocks back one hour last Sunday. But a wave of new voting restrictions could turn back the clock to the days poll taxes and literacy tests meant to stop African-Americans from voting. She witnessed first-hand the valiant struggle to ensure that all American citizens could raise their voices on Election Day.

Editorials: San Francisco Ranked-Choice Voting Draws Critics After Mayoral Race | Huffington Post

Ranked-choice voting was the cure for what ails American politics, boosters said. Now in use in four California cities, this new voting system was supposed to increase voter turnout, stanch the flow of special interest money and encourage high-minded, positive campaigns.

But it didn’t play out that way in the biggest ranked-choice election yet – the 2011 San Francisco mayoral race. Turnout was down, the worst in a competitive race in about 35 years, as the San Francisco Chronicle noted.

Colorado: Aspen city attorney says opinion to commission is confidential | AspenTimes

Aspen City Attorney John Worcester on Wednesday declined to release contents of his opinion surrounding the role and independence of the city’s Election Commission, saying that to do so would violate attorney-client privilege. Worcester rendered the opinion to members of the City Council and Election Commission on Tuesday. It deals with questions posed in a public meeting last week by election commissioner Ward Hauenstein, such as whether the government entity has the right to seek independent counsel and also if the commission is an official custodian of election records, such as ballots cast in past elections.

“The whole thing is confidential,” Worcester said. “I can’t waive that confidence. The City Council or Election Commission could if they wanted to. It’s not my privilege to waive, it’s theirs.” He said that an individual council member or commissioner cannot release the answers. The council or commission would have to meet as a whole, with a majority vote necessary to make the information public.

Oregon: Trying Out Voting by iPad for Disabled | NYTimes

Oregon last week became the first state in the country to use iPads to allow people with disabilities to vote, and it intends to use them again for another election in January. Several other states are expected to follow suit with iPads or other tablets, possibly as early as for next year’s presidential election.

In a special primary election in five counties in Oregon, 89 people with disabilities marked their ballots on an iPad. They did not actually cast their votes online — Internet voting is an idea whose time has not yet come, several elections officials said.

Voting Blogs: Voters in Oregon cast ballots with the help of iPads | electionlineWeekly

“I Voted” took on a whole new meaning during the recent special election in Oregon when nearly 100 voters cast their ballots with the help of iPads. The tablet device, which many people associate with surfing the Web, was used to allow disabled voters better access to their ballots. According to Steve Trout, elections director for Oregon, the elections division hatched the idea of using the iPad for accessible voting as a way to save money and provide greater access.

“We have been spending large sums of money on our accessible voting system but having very few people use it. We wanted to see if there were alternatives that were less expensive, provided greater utility and were easier to use for both voters and election officials,” Trout explained. “We played around with the idea here long enough to think it was worthy of a pilot.”