Texas: Feds hold up Voter ID law, want more information | Houston Chronicle

The Texas voter ID law, one of Gov. Rick Perry’s top priorities during the 2011 Legislature, has been stalled by the U.S. Justice Department, which is insisting on demographic information about voters that state election officials say is virtually impossible to provide.

Texas Republicans expressed dismay Thursday after Justice Department officials said they need voter information about race and ethnicity before they can approve the controversial law, which is scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1. The ruling raises the possibility that the law will not be in place by the March 6 primary.

Wisconsin: Elections panel estimates $650,000 state cost for recall efforts | JSOnline

State election officials anticipate they will need an extra $650,000 next year for a new wave of recall efforts that will require them to review petitions with perhaps 1.5 million signatures. Those costs would go toward hiring 50 temporary workers, renting office space to house them and the petitions, and running advertisements about the state’s new requirement that voters show photo identification at the polls.

The preliminary estimates from the state Government Accountability Board do not include the recall costs for local officials, which are expected to be much higher than those for the state if enough signatures are gathered to hold elections. The board is still developing estimates for what the costs would be for local officials. Recall elections this year for nine state senators cost state and local taxpayers $2.1 million, according to the board.

Congo: ECN Teams Head for DRC | allAfrica.com

Two commissioners and the director of elections have been dispatched to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to observe and monitor the presidential and legislative elections in the vast, resource-rich African country.

Technical support will be provided in the deployment of a technical team made up of IT and logistics officers, and in training programmes for CENI (the DRC’s National Independent Electoral Commission) members and deployment of the observer mission.

Egypt: Electoral Commission proposes expats vote by express mail | The Daily News Egypt

The Supreme Electoral Commission (SEC) has proposed the use of the national express mail service (EMS) to deliver the ballots of Egyptian expats. Judge Abdel Mo’ez Ibrahim, head of the SEC, said that the commission is exploring the possibility and how to apply this mechanism from a legal standpoint.

The Middle East News Agency (MENA) quoted Ibrahim as saying that so far only proposals have been tabled with regards to expat votes, but nothing concrete has yet been introduced to the constitutional declaration to legalize these measures. On Oct. 25, an Administrative Court ruled that Egyptians abroad long deprived of the vote under ousted president Hosni Mubarak, will have the right to cast their ballots in the upcoming polls.

Guyana: Persons on OLE can vote without National ID cards | ncnguyana.com

The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has announced that persons who are listed in the 2011 Official List of Electors (OLE) but are not in possession of their Identification Cards will be allowed to vote. GECOM, in a release stated that information published that persons who do not possess their ID cards will not be allowed to vote, is misleading.

The only persons, who will not be allowed to vote at the elections, are persons whose names are not on the 2011 OLE. National Identification Cards and Valid Passports will be used to verify the identity of electors who are listed in the 2011 Official List of Electors (OLE).  However, if an elector is not in possession of his/her ID card, the Oath of Identity will be administered in accordance with Section 8 of the Representation of the People Act, Chapter 1:03.

The Voting News Daily: Advocates Urge Congress to Fight State Voting Changes, Wasserman Schultz accuses GOP of rigging elections with ‘suppression laws’

National: Advocates Urge Congress to Fight State Voting Changes | governing.com Five million. That’s the number of eligible voters that could find it harder to cast their ballot in the 2012 elections. It’s also the figure that advocates against state voting law changes repeatedly echoed during a Capitol Hill forum on new state voting laws…

National: Advocates Urge Congress to Fight State Voting Changes | governing.com

Five million. That’s the number of eligible voters that could find it harder to cast their ballot in the 2012 elections. It’s also the figure that advocates against state voting law changes repeatedly echoed during a Capitol Hill forum on new state voting laws that several House Democrats, including Representatives John Conyers, Steny Hoyer, Robert Brady, Jerrold Nadler, and Keith Ellison called Monday.

The NAACP, ACLU and League of Women Voters, among other research and advocacy organizations asked lawmakers to pass legislation to protect voters’ rights. They also wanted Congress to pressure the Department of Justice to deny approval to the states that need it for their new laws to take effect. So far, this includes Alabama, South Carolina and Texas, which are among the nine states that need federal approval for any changes to voting laws under the Voting Rights Act.

National: Wasserman Schultz accuses GOP of rigging elections with ‘suppression laws’ | thehill.com

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.) on Wednesday night said Republican governors and legislatures are purposefully pressing for the enactment of voter identification laws in order to suppress Democratic voter turnout in the 2012 election. “State legislatures are attempting to impose voting restrictions that are the modern day equivalent of poll taxes and…

Alabama: Jefferson County Commission talks cutting funds from election budget | Birmingham Business Journal

The Jefferson County Commission is mulling its first round of cutbacks since filing the nation’s largest governmental bankruptcy last week. In committee on Tuesday, commissioners discussed cutting up to $880,000 from its budget for the March 2012 primary election and the potential April runoff election.

To achieve the cuts, the council will consider next week eliminating proposed contracts with Election Systems & Software that would provide about 20 experts to manage and troubleshoot the upcoming election.

Florida: US Senate panel to investigate Florida voting laws | MiamiHerald

A congressional panel has agreed to U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson’s request to investigate new voting laws passed by Florida’s Legislature. Sen. Dick Durbin sent the Florida Democrat a letter Tuesday, saying that he agrees the new laws will disenfranchise a wide swath of Florida’s young, minority, senior, disabled, rural and low-income voters. Durbin chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights.

Durbin says he is planning to hold a field hearing with his subcommittee to take a closer look at new voting laws in Florida and other states. Some of the new voting laws would reduce early voting days, impose new rules on voter registration drives and make it tougher to get citizen initiatives on the ballot.

New York: Pentagon Blasts New York’s Absentee-Ballot Plan for Troops | Metropolis

New York has failed to come up with an effective plan to send election ballots to military personnel overseas, the Defense Department said Wednesday in rejecting the state’s request for more time to meet absentee-ballot requirements.

The decision raises the stakes for a legal showdown between federal lawyers and the state, which last year violated a federal law requiring that ballots be mailed at least 45 days before an election.

Tennessee: Murfreesboro couple testify in D.C. about voter ID experience | The Tennessean

Lee and Phyllis Campbell never thought a trip to the Murfreesboro driver’s license testing center would take them all the way to Washington. But that’s what happened Monday, when the couple testified before a panel of House Democrats on their experience with Tennessee’s new voter identification law.

A staffer on the House Judiciary Committee invited the Campbells to testify at the forum on new state voter laws after hearing about the ordeal Phyllis Campbell experienced while trying to get a photo ID at the Murfreesboro testing center in September.

Washington: Computer ‘hiccup’ caused late ballots for local voters | The Issaquah Press

King County Elections officials attributed the cause for late ballots to more than 11,000 Eastside voters — including more than 900 in Issaquah and Sammamish — to a computer “hiccup” in the days before the office sent out ballots.

The elections office sent ballots to the impacted voters in late October, about a week after other voters received ballots in the mail. Officials traced the delay to the glitch from late September.

Wisconsin: Mock election shows voting law’s impact | The Daily Cardinal

The City of Madison Clerk’s Office and the Associated Students of Madison held a mock election Tuesday in Memorial Union, where they examined potential problems that could arise from the new voting laws.

Following the passage of the new law requiring a photo ID to vote, current Wisconsin student IDs will not be an acceptable form of identification. The university plans to issue new Wiscards that comply with voter ID laws.

Editorials: On dangers of a Biometric Verification System for 2012 Elections in Ghana | Forum For Governance And Justice

The Forum for Governance and Justice (FGJ) wishes to point out some potential dangers associated with the biometric verification system (machine) being suggested for adoption by the National Electoral Commission of Ghana for voter verification in the upcoming general election.

Off the bat, we ask that the independence of the Electoral Commission be respected by all members of our society; especially the political parties. As a nation, we cannot honestly fault the Electoral Commission in its conduct of our national elections since the inception of the fourth republic.

Palestine: Fatah-Hamas agree on May election | ansamed.ansa.it

Al Fatah and Hamas, the two rival Palestinian factions, appear to have reached an accord today to hold inter-Palestinian elections in May for the formation of a provisional government.This should be preceded by the resignation of the current Prime Minister of the Palestine National Authority, (PNA), Salam Fayyad. The story was revealed to Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper by Azzam al-Ahmad, one of the Al Fatah negotiators.

There is yet to be official confirmation of the news, and this may not come until the last word is spoken by the leaders of the two rival formations: Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah and Khaled Meshaal of Hamas – at their next meeting, which several sources say will be in Cairo next week.

The Voting News Daily: Democrats see election laws as revival of poll tax and threat to democratic process, To Be Young, Mobile and Unable to Vote

National: Democrats see election laws as revival of poll tax and threat to democratic process | TheHill.com A wave of state election laws poses the single greatest threat to democracy and civil rights in generations, a number of House Democratic leaders charged Monday. The lawmakers said the reform laws — including new voter ID and registration…

National: Democrats see election laws as revival of poll tax and threat to democratic process | TheHill.com

A wave of state election laws poses the single greatest threat to democracy and civil rights in generations, a number of House Democratic leaders charged Monday. The lawmakers said the reform laws — including new voter ID and registration requirements — are politically motivated efforts from Republicans to suppress voter turnout, particularly in minority communities that tend to vote Democratic. They compare the new mandates to the poll taxes adopted by Southern states to discourage African-Americans from voting after the Civil War.

“We know that voter suppression has been taking place, is [taking] place and is planned [to affect the next election],” Rep. Steny Hoyer (Md.), the Democratic whip, said Monday during a Capitol Hill hearing on the new laws. “We are witnessing a concerted effort to place new obstacles in front of minorities, low-income families and young people who seek to exercise their right to vote.

National: Lawmakers and Activists Pledge to Fight Stricter Voting Rights Laws | BET

It’s not a state secret that Democrats want desperately to regain control of the House in 2012, or that both they and President Obama will need every single vote they can get. But Republicans controlling several state legislatures are doing all they can to make the Democrats’ mission as difficult as possible by implementing strict new voter laws that opponents predict coulddisenfranchise millions of voters.

Rep. John Conyers, ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, held a hearing on voting rights and new laws Monday during which civil rights advocates testified about their impact on African-Americans and other voters.

Voting Blogs: To Be Young, Mobile and Unable to Vote | The Demos Blog

Last Tuesday, Mainers went to the polls and successfully defended Same-Day Registration in their state. Earlier this year, the Maine legislature had repealed the decades-old practice based on baseless claims of rampant voter fraud — fraud that Charlie Webster, Chair of Maine’s Republican Party, and Charlie Summers, Maine’s Secretary of State, failed to prove, try as they did, after dramatically launching an investigation of 206 University of Maine students originally from out of state.

Young would-be voters are being picked on all over the country — from the photo ID laws that don’t allow student IDs (as opposed to concealed handgun licenses) to changing domicile requirements so that out-of-state students are prevented from voting — because students are “foolish” and “vote with their feelings.” Plus, now they are also poor, so they really shouldn’t vote.

Illinois: DuPage will print election materials in two languages | DailyHerald.com

DuPage County is one of dozens of jurisdictions across the country ordered by the U.S. Department of Justice to make their elections more accessible to people who lack English proficiency, officials said.

In DuPage, that means the election commission will print election materials in both English and Spanish for the first time. In addition, supplementary election materials will be printed in both languages, Spanish-speaking election judges will be hired in some precincts and the election commission will hire a full-time translator and liaison to Hispanic communities.

Editorials: Maine Republicans Want to Get There (Vote Suppression) From Here (Vote Turnout) | NYTimes.com

Earlier this year, Maine’s governor, Paul LePage, a Tea Party favorite, helped Republican legislators enact a law eliminating Maine’s 38-year-old same-day voter registration policy. They offered the standard excuse Republicans have been using around the country to hinder turnout by Democratic-leaning groups – it was necessary to prevent voter fraud.

Never mind that voter fraud – people trying to vote when they are not entitled to – is no bigger a problem in Maine than in the rest of the country, which is to say it’s not much of a problem at all. Maine has reported two cases in 38 years.

Maryland: Former Md. Gov. Ehrlich could testify in black voter-suppression case | The Washington Post

Former Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) and first lady Kendal Ehrlich have been added to the state’s witness list in a trial expected to begin today in Baltimore. The case is the first of two to settle whether members of Ehrlich’s campaign team sought to suppress black voter turnout last fall to help Ehrlich at the polls.

One of Ehrlich’s most trusted aides and a campaign consultant areaccused of orchestrating tens of thousands of anonymous election-night robo-calls last year that state prosecutors charge were part of a larger attempt to suppress the black vote.

Ohio: Opponents of Ohio’s election law fall short of needed signatures in ballot repeal effort | The Republic

Opponents of Ohio’s new election law have fallen short in their effort to get a ballot repeal question before voters next fall, but they have another 10 days to submit more signatures, the state’s top election official said Monday. Among other changes, the election overhaul shortens the swing state’s early voting period.

Secretary of State Jon Husted’s ruling on Monday comes after election officials reviewed the more than 333,000 signatures that opponents submitted in late September to put the law on hold. They need 231,150 valid signatures to get the referendum before voters in 2012. Husted’s office said they had 221,572 — 9,578 signatures shy of that necessary amount.

South Carolina: Counties Argue Primary Case Against State, GOP at S.C. Supreme Court | West Ashley Patch

Four South Carolina counties presented their arguments about the 2012 first-in-the-South primary to the South Carolina Supreme Court on Monday, stating that they had no obligation to cover the costs or to conduct the election.

The four counties — Beaufort, Chester, Greenville and Spartanburg — filed suit despite a promise that the Republican Party would pay “all legitimate expenses,” associated with the primary. Some county leaders said they were unsure about the commitment and wanted to be more involved in the decision-making process.

Wisconsin: Voter ID law dredges up concern over GAB process | The Badger Herald

A legislative committee asked state election officials to turn their motions on electoral issues into formalized rules to be approved by the governor Tuesday, a move critics say takes away the group’s independence from the Legislature. In a 6-4 vote split down party lines, the Joint Committee for Review on Administrative Rules voted to change a motion made by the Government Accountability Board into a finalized rule requiring Gov. Scott Walker’s approval.

Jason Rostan, spokesperson for JCRAR Chair Sen. Leah Vukmir, R-Wauwatosa, said the motions on voter ID stickers, technical college IDs and who can pre-fill petitions must go through a fairly lengthy process to become formalized. Rostan said a majority of the committee believed the GAB’s motion allowing the voter ID law to accept the use of technical college IDs is essentially new law created without legislative oversight.

Antigua: BIll Proposes Major Changes to Electoral Commission | caribarena.com

Antigua St John’s – Two bills are down for debate when the House of Representatives convenes on Wednesday November 16 for the final sitting in the second session of Parliament of the United Progressive Party’s second term.Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer will move the second and third readings of the Representation of the People (Amendment) Act, 2011, while Finance, Economy and Public Administration Minister Harold Lovell will move the first, second, and third readings of the Social Security (Amendment) Act, 2011.

India: E-voting kaput, BMC sets eyes on GIS maps | Indian Express

Even as the ambitious plan of introducing e-voting in the upcoming civic elections failed to take off, the BMC along with the State Election Commission now want to upload GIS maps on its election website to facilitate voting.

The plan is to acquire detailed GIS (geographic information system) maps of the 227 corporator wards, mark it with minute details on major and minor roads and mark every polling booth to help citizens.

Kazakhstan: President dissolves parliament, calls snap election to create multiparty chamber | The Washington Post

Kazakhstan’s president issued a decree Wednesday to dissolve parliament and call a snap election that will end the governing party’s monopolistic grip over the legislature. Under a new election law, a minimum of two parties will enter parliament after the Jan. 15 polls, although no robust anti-government forces are believed to stand any real prospect of winning seats.

President Nursultan Nazarbayev said at a government meeting Tuesday that the election should be brought forward — it was originally scheduled for August 2012 — to avoid the campaigning season coinciding with an anticipated global economic downturn.

The Voting News Daily: Voter ID legislation faces opposition in Congress, How hard will Maine GOP push voter ID?

National: Voter ID legislation faces opposition in Congress | Post Gazette Voters’ rights advocates are asking congressional liberals to stymie state voter ID requirements, which they contend are part of a political effort to disenfranchise poor and minority voters, who tend to be Democrats. Hilary O. Shelton, director of the NAACP’s Washington bureau, urged lawmakers…