Colorado: Inactive voters playing major role in Pueblo County election | The Colorado Independent

Pueblo County Clerk Gilbert “Bo” Ortiz defended his right to send ballots to “inactive voters” this year over the objections of Secretary of State Scott Gessler. Ortiz told the Colorado Independent he believes his main objective as clerk is to facilitate participation in elections and, on that score, he has succeeded. As of Monday night, 16 percent of the county’s roughly 17,000 inactive voters had cast ballots. That’s 2,700 votes, nearly 9 percent of all votes cast in the county, which is a lot of votes.

“This means that Pueblo[‘s] [inactive] voters responded and will have a significant impact on this year’s election,” Ortiz said. “The bottom line is that all registered voters had the opportunity to cast a vote. And the more people who participate, the stronger our community.”

Tennessee: Student IDs deemed unacceptable as voter ID under new Tennessee law | The Daily Helmsman

With free admission and discounts to local attractions and restaurants, most students are quick to wield the power of their student identification, but a new law requiring photo identification at the polls next year cuts that power short.
Effective Jan. 1, 2012, all Tennessee voters are required to have a photo ID if they expect to cast a ballot. The current law requires voters only to show proof of signature.

Acceptable forms of photo ID include a Tennessee driver’s license, a valid photo ID issued by the state of Tennessee or any other state in the United States, a valid United States passport, an employee photo ID card issued by Tennessee or any state in the United States or a military photo ID card. However, student identification is not included in the list, despite the required photo of the student on an ID card by most colleges.

Tennessee: Elderly could run afoul of Tennessee voter ID requirements | The Daily Times

Elderly people without driver’s licenses could face difficulty complying with a new state voter identification law that goes into effect on Jan. 12. Under the law, a voter will be required to produce a federal or state government-issued photo ID before being allowed to vote. Although free photo IDs can obtained from any Department of Safety driver’s license testing station, those without a license must present additional documentation — proof of citizenship (such as a birth certificate) and two proofs of Tennessee residency (such as a copy of a utility bill, vehicle registration/title, or bank statement) — to receive one.

During a Blount County Election Commission town meeting Tuesday, Administrator of Elections Abby Breeding told the handful of attendees that this can prove difficult for some older voters. “It’s a lot of paperwork for some of the elderly to do.”

Drivers in Tennessee age 60 and older may opt to carry a non-photo driver license. It is much easier for those people to receive the free ID, Breeding said. “It’s not that difficult for them to get their picture added to it,” she said. “The difficult one is if they don’t have a driver’s license.”

Voting Blogs: Non-Precinct Place Voting: Trends and Opportunities | Doug Chapin/PEEA

Pew’s latest Election Data Dispatch looks at the steep upward trend in the numbers of voters who are casting ballots outside the traditional neighborhood polling place. Using data from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey, the Pew team found that 26.6% of voters in 2010 cast ballots by absentee, vote-by-mail or in-person early voting – up from 19.6% in the 2006 midterm elections.

I recently had the opportunity to contribute a piece to the Election Law Journal discussing the impact of this growing shift by voters to non-precinct place voting (NPPV). In doing so, I made the following observations about the nature of the changes that accompany a growth in NPPV:

Egypt: The Effects of Egypt’s Election Law | The Middle East Channel

Egyptians have finally begun to learn the rules that will govern their first post-revolutionary parliamentary elections, scheduled to begin on November 28. The election law announced by the Supreme Council for the Armed Forces (SCAF) is remarkably complicated, generating great confusion both inside and outside of Egypt. Those poorly understood rules will play an important role in shaping the results — and are already pushing the Egyptian party scene into a polarized competition between Islamist and secular blocs, with independents somewhere in the middle with no clear political or economic agenda.

The electoral system that the SCAF has chosen for the forthcoming election is a departure from Egypt’s historical practice. Egyptian elections have typically been governed by a majoritarian system in smaller constituencies (222 in total). Such a system traditionally made voting a choice between individual candidates rather than parties’ programs, which put a premium on coming from a strong local tribe or from a wealthy background. The small size of constituencies made this possible because it increased the electoral weight of extended families and tribes, especially in rural constituencies.

The Gambia: Towards a Peaceful Election |

Barely three weeks to the the November 24th Presidential Election, the chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has embarked on a countrywide tour, meant to sensitise the people about the mandate of his Commission and also stress the importance of peace during the elections.

Mustapha Carayol’s move is indeed worthy of commendation, as it is only an independent and transparent electoral commission that engages the electorate and stakeholders in election at such a degree. The chairman’s additional advice to village heads to allow all political parties campaign in their respective villages is a testimony to this fact. The electorate should pay heed to the IEC chairman’s message, because it is peace that can guarantee us a free and fair election, which is fundamental since one of the most fundamental pillars of democracy is the conduct of periodic free and fair elections.

Nigeria: Year 2015 – Representatives, Jega Mull Electronic Voting |

Members of the House of Representatives Committee on Electoral Matters and Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Professor Attahiru Jega yesterday pondered over the possibility of conducting electronic voting system in Nigeria in the 2015 general elections.

Briefing members of the committee led by Rep Jerry Manwe (PDP, Tara), Jega said INEC was being proactive on the possibility of electronic voting in 2015.

Nigeria: Court overrules election challenge | The Associated Press

An election tribunal on Tuesday dismissed the main opposition party’s challenge over fraud claims in the April presidential election, revalidating the ruling party’s win in Africa’s most populous nation. The Congress for Progressive Change’s election lawsuit failed to cast reasonable doubt on the results that handed victory to President Goodluck Jonathan about six months ago, said Judge Kumai Akaas, who led a panel of four judges that reached an unanimous decision.

“The petitioner did not discharge the burden of proof, even on the balance of probability,” Akaas said. Opposition candidate Muhammadu Buhari’s party challenged the results of the April 16 vote soon after the nation’s election body announced that Jonathan had won 22.4 million votes. The election body said Buhari had come in second place with 12.2 million votes, with the results giving Jonathan enough votes in at least 24 of Nigeria’s 36 states to avoid a runoff.

Philippines: Comelec wants amendments to election code | Inquirer News

The Commission on Elections is planning to seek amendments to the 26-year-old Omnibus Election Code to attune it with election automation laws, the latest of which was first implemented nationwide last year. Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said recently that most of the provisions of the OEC had become obsolete after the country adopted its first election automation law, Republic Act No. 8046, which provided for the pilot-testing of a computerized voting system for the 1996 polls in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

“The voting scheme nowadays is really different. The provisions under the OEC no longer apply. Many [situations governed by the provisions] can no longer happen,” he said. Asked how much of the OEC was no longer applicable or could no longer be enforced, he replied, “At least half.” The Comelec chief said this was the reason the commission would be undertaking an extensive study on how to amend the OEC, officially known as Batas Pambasa 881.

National: Microsoft Research Proposes E-Voting Attack Mitigation | threatpost

Microsoft Research has proposed a mitigation for a known potential attack against verifiable electronic voting machines that could help prevent insiders from being able to alter votes after the fact. The countermeasure to the “trash attack” involves adding a cryptographic hash to the receipts that voters receive.

Many verifiable voting systems already include hashes on the receipts, but that hash typically is of the ballot data for each specific voter. The idea proposed by Microsoft Research involves using a running hash that would add a hash of the previous voter’s receipt to each person’s receipt, ideally preventing a privileged insider from using discarded receipts to alter votes. The trash attack that the mitigation is designed to address involves election workers or others who might be motivated to change votes gathering discarded receipts and then altering those votes.

“The provision of receipts to voters who may not want them, however, suggests a very simple means by which election workers could find votes that are good candidates for alteration: poll workers could simply collect the contents of the nearest trash receptacles. Any receipts that have been discarded by voters would be strongly correlated with votes that could be altered without detection.3 Active collection of receipts may also be viable through social engineering,” Josh Benaloh of Microsoft Research and Eric Lazarus of DecisionSmith wrote in a research paper, “The Trash Attack”.

National: Dems, GOP spar over voter ID laws | The Hill

The two parties sparred late Tuesday night over the proliferation of voter identification laws across the country, as several House Democrats said these laws would make it harder to minorities to vote, and a lone Republican said the evidence of voter fraud demands a solution such as ensuring all voters are legal U.S. citizens via a picture ID.

“They have only one true purpose, which is to disenfranchise eligible voters,” Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) said on the floor of various state laws. Several Democrats joined her to add that Republican claims of voter fraud are baseless. “There is no threat of voter fraud,” Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.) said. “Are there rampant cases of impersonation, voting as someone else? No. Voter fraud is not rampant, there are not numerous cases of impersonation.”

National: Election law becomes partisan battlefield | BostonHerald

Barack Obama may have won this crucial state three years ago on the Sunday before Election Day when “souls to the polls” drives brought a surge of blacks and Latinos to cast ballots after church. Florida had opened the polls two weeks early, and even so, long lines across the state prompted the governor to issue an emergency order extending the hours for early voting. Propelled by waves of new voters including college students, Obama eked out a win with 51 percent.

It will be different next year, thanks to changes in the voting laws adopted by the Republican-controlled Legislature. Early voting was reduced from two weeks to one week. Voting on the Sunday before Election Day was eliminated. College students face new hurdles if they want to vote away from home. And those who register new voters face the threat of fines for procedural errors, prompting the nonpartisan League of Women Voters to suspend voter-registration drives and accuse the Legislature of “reverting to Jim Crow-like tactics.”

Voting Blogs: “We do not have a constitutional right to buy Sudafed or be a frequent flier; we do have a constitutional right to vote.” | State of Elections

On May 11, 2011, the South Carolina General Assembly passed Act R54.  The new law would require individuals to present photo identification to vote. Governor Nikki Haley signed the bill a week later.The Department of Justice has yet to pre-clear the new law, stating that it needs proof from South Carolina that Act R54 would not disenfranchise voters. Valid forms of identification include a South Carolina driver’s license, a passport, military identification, a voter registration card with a photograph, or another form of photographic identification from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

Chris Whitmire, Director of Public Relations and Training at the South Carolina State Election Commission (SCSEC), spoke to me about the preparations taking place if the law is pre-cleared. These preparations include training county election officials, notifying registered voters without proper identification through direct mail, and a social media campaign about the new law. The General Assembly allocated $535,000 to the SCSEC for the voter education campaign and the creation of new voter registration cards that contain a photograph of the voter.

Voting Blogs: Will Florida Election Law Increase Absentee Ballot Voter Fraud? | electionsmith

I’ve been writing a lot over the past five months about House Bill 1355, dubbed by many as Florida’s ignominious voter suppression law. HB1355  is being challenge in federal court, and the US Justice Department has yet to grant preclearance of portions of the law which cover five Florida counties covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.  Defending the law, the Florida Secretary of State is suing in Federal Court to not only uphold all sections of the law, but to strike down Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

Most of the attention that I and others have given to HB1355 has focused on three areas that the GOP-controlled legislature cracked down on in order to make it more difficult for citizens of Florida to register to vote and cast a ballot, namely:

1) Reducing the number of days for early voting from 14 days to eight days, and altogether eliminating early voting on the Sunday before the Tuesday election.

2) Requiring third-party voter registration organizations to submit voter registration applications within 48 hours of receipt instead of ten days as provided by existing law, and imposing a fine of $50 for each failure to comply with the deadline, and imposing fines up to $1,000 for failing to comply with other provisions.

3) Disallowing voters who move from one Florida county to another to make an address change at the polls on the day of an election and vote a regular ballot, except for active military voters and their family members.

Florida: Senator Bill Nelson wants congressional investigation of election law changes |

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson is asking that Congress investigate whether restrictive new voting laws in more than a dozen states — including Florida — are part of an “orchestrated effort to disenfranchise voters,” according to a letter released Tuesday.

The request by the Florida Democrat — who’s running for re-election in 2012 — follows a report last month by the Brennan Center for Justice, a watchdog group based in New York City, that found new regulations passed in 14 states, most them Republican-controlled, could make it harder for 5 million voters to cast ballots nationwide.

Nelson has requested that a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hold field hearings in the 14 states to see whether the efforts were coordinated and “to what extent such might be illegal,” according to a letter he sent to U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., chair of the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights.

Egypt: A guide to Egypt’s first post-revolution elections | IRIN Middle East

Millions of Egyptians will head to the polls on 28 November in the first parliamentary vote after a popular uprising ended Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule. The elections end decades of what was effectively one-party rule and will establish a parliament to lead the drafting of a new constitution within a year. If approved in a subsequent referendum, this constitution will shape Egypt’s future.

But few Egyptians understand the complex election system or know what the parties represent. “The election system is really confusing,” Saed Abdel Hafez, chairman of the local NGO, Forum for Development and Human Rights Dialogue, told IRIN. “Because people do not understand the system, they will most likely vote for the people or the powers they used to vote for in the past. This means that the next parliament will not reflect the new political realities created by the revolution.”

Maine: Voter fraud rare in Maine, elsewhere with same-day registration | Bangor Daily News

Should we make voting as easy as possible so that more people will vote? If we make voting easier, will many ineligible people vote? When Maine votes on Nov. 8 on Question 1 — deciding whether to overturn the Legislature’s plan to end voter registration on future election days — it will answer these two questions. In recent decades, Maine has allowed people to register to vote on Election Day, eliminating the need to register separately and in advance. It is one of 10 states that have so-called “same-day” registration, which will still be in effect on Nov. 8.

The theory is that voting is made easier by eliminating the need for advance registration, so more people will vote. Although many factors affect turnout, in the 2010 elections, average turnout in the “same-day” states was 48.3 percent, compared with 40.9 percent in the United States as a whole. Encouraging voting is American public policy. For example, the federal “motor-voter” law allows registration when renewing a driver’s license.

North Carolina: Off-Year Elections Cost Mecklenburg County $450,000 | WSOC Charlotte

Election day is a week from Tuesday. It’s an odd-numbered year, so that means city and school board races only. Odd numbered years usually get low turnout, but still cost taxpayers a lot of money. Mecklenburg County election officials said turnout for odd-numbered years can be as low as 20 percent. But they say it still costs as much as $450,000 to pull off city and school board elections. That’s more than $3.50 per vote.

WSOC asked Catawba College professor Michael Bitzer why the state doesn’t hold the city and school board races on even years, with the Presidential, Congressional, Gubernatorial, General Assembly, and county election as a way to possibly boost turnout and save tax dollars. Bitzer said maybe the state will one day. He also said some people may worry that city and school board elections will get overshadowed if they have to compete with the bigger races.
“Unlike in a Presidential year where you’ve got a bombard of campaign advertisement — big time issues. That really kind of sucks the air out of local issues,” said Bitzer.

Egypt: Those who cannot vote | Al Jazeera

As Egypt prepares to begin what activists hope will be a new era in democracy – which promises to be as confusing as it is monumental – the first democratic elections in a country with more than 6,000 years of history are starting this month. There has been a flurry of stories on issues facing candidates – charges of discrimination against female candidates, the questionable efficacy of a ban on preventing those with ties to deposed President Hosni Mubarak’s National Democratic Party from running etc. But little is known about a list of names, a list that some say is nearly 30,000 names long, identifying people who have been prohibited from voting due to past criminal convictions.

Disenfranchising former convicts is stipulated by Egyptian law – and many other countries have similar regulations when it comes to who can and cannot vote. And In a nation of more than 80 million, disenfranchising a few thousand might not seem like a big deal. However, voters’ rights advocates take issue with two elements with the mechanism by which tens of thousands of criminal record holders are prohibited from voting in the upcoming parliamentary elections: The lack of transparency and the fact that the process relies on a database which seems to have no way of exempting former political prisoners from the list of banned voters.

Nigeria: Court rejects challenge to Jonathan win | Reuters

A Nigerian court rejected a challenge to President Goodluck Jonathan’s victory in an April election, scuppering demands by the main opposition party for a recount in several areas of the country. Jonathan was declared winner of the April 16 election with 59 percent of the vote. But his nearest rival, former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari, who polled 32 percent, refused to accept the outcome.

Buhari’s Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) party filed a petition to challenge the result in May, arguing the vote was marred by irregularities. “The petition fails in its entirety and is hereby dismissed,” Justice Kumai Akaahs told the court on Tuesday, reading out a unanimous decision by five judges.

Verified Voting Blog: If I can shop and bank online, why can’t I vote online?

There is widespread pressure around the country today for the introduction of some form of Internet voting in public elections that would allow people to vote online, all electronically, from their own personal computers or mobile devices. Proponents argue that Internet voting would offer greater speed and convenience, particularly for overseas and military voters and, in fact, any voters allowed to vote that way.

However, computer and network security experts are virtually unanimous in pointing out that online voting is an exceedingly dangerous threat to the integrity of U.S. elections. There is no way with current technology to guarantee that the security, privacy, and transparency requirements for elections can all be met with any security technology in the foreseeable future. Anyone from a disaffected misfit individual to a national intelligence agency can remotely attack an online election, modifying or filtering ballots in ways that are undetectable and uncorrectable of just disrupting the election and creating havoc. There are a host of such attacks that can be used singly or in combination. In the cyber security world today almost all of the advantages are with attackers, and any of these attacks can result in the wrong persons being elected, or initiatives wrongly passed or rejected.

Nonetheless, the proponents point to the fact that millions of people regularly bank and shop online every day without apparent problems,. They note that an online voting transaction resembles an ecommerce transaction, at least superficially. You connect your browser to the appropriate site, authenticate yourself, make your choices with the mouse, click on a final confirmation button, and you are done! All of the potential attacks alluded above apply equally to shopping and banking services, so what is the difference? People ask, quite naturally, “If it is safe to do my banking and shopping online, why can’t I vote online?”

This is a very fair question, and it deserves a careful, thorough answer because the reasons are not obvious. Unfortunately it requires substantial development to explain fully. But in brief, our answer is in two-parts:

1. It is not actually “safe” to conduct ecommerce transactions online. It is in fact very risky, more so every day, and essentially all those risks apply equally to online voting transactions.

2. The technical security, privacy, and transparency requirements for voting are structurally different from, and much more stringent than, those for ecommerce transactions. Even if ecommerce transactions were safe, the security technology underpinning them would not suffice for voting. In particular, the security and privacy requirements for voting are unique and in tension in a way that has no analog in the ecommerce world.

National: Congressional hearing sought over voter ID laws sweeping states | McClatchy

Does requiring a photo ID to vote return America to the days when poll taxes and literacy tests made it hard for minorities to cast ballots? Are state lawmakers trying to make it harder for people to vote? Two top House Judiciary Committee Democrats want to know, and on Monday they asked Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, to hold hearings on those laws, which have been adopted or are pending in 37 states. The chairman is reviewing the request, and he had no immediate comment.

“As voting rights experts have noted, the recent stream of laws passed at the state level are a reversal of policies, both federal and state, that were intended to combat voter disenfranchisement and boost voter participation,” said Reps. John Conyers, D-Mich., and Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y. Conyers is the committee’s top Democrat. Nadler is the top Democrat on its Constitution subcommittee.

National: E-voting remains insecure, despite paper trail | InfoWorld

Microsoft Research has revealed a potential flaw in verifiable e-voting machines through which fraudsters could easily use discarded ballot receipts as a guide for altering votes. Fortunately, the researchers also offered a solution — linking new receipts to previous ones with cryptographic hashes — but that alone won’t make e-voting entirely secure, they cautioned.

Unlike the first generation of controversial e-voting machines, which lacked printing capabilities and suffered other back-endinsecurities, new models from such companies as Scantegrity, Prêt à Voter, VeriScan, Helios, and MarkPledge can print out receipts. Not only can voters check the printouts to confirm their votes were cast correctly, they can also later compare their receipts against published election data.

The problem with the new generation of verifiable voting machines, according to the report (PDF), is that most people are highly unlikely to retain their receipts for future vote verification. However, ill-intentioned individuals could get their hands on those receipts — by rummaging through garbage cans at voting centers, for example, or through social engineering techniques — then use insider connections to change votes to their preferred candidate.

Using the discarded receipts as a guide for changing votes would be ideal, as they would represent voters with no intention of verifying their votes later. “Suppose that it is known that 5 percent of voters are expected to verify their receipts in an election,” the report says. “With a standard design, an insider that randomly alters 10 ballots would escape detection about 60 percent of the time.”

Colombia: Liberal Party demands recount in Valle governor election | Colombia Reports

The Liberal Party requested a recount in the Valle del Cauca governor election after their candidate lost by less than 1% of the votes, Colombian media reported. With 98.40% of the votes counted, Liberal Party candidate Jorge Homero Giraldo received 32.62% with 441,303 votes, while Hector Fabio Useche from the “Inclusion and Opportunities Movement” — or MIO Party — received 446,810 votes, which represents 33.02%.

The delay to count the votes in this photo-finish has the Liberal Party demanding answers. “We fear that Valle del Cauca was happening the same as in the last elections of Congress, when they reported surprising and inexplicable results, so we will ask they recount vote by vote,” said Rafael Pardo Rueda, the head of the Liberal Party.

Malaysia: Malaysians abroad demand right to vote | TruthDive

A group of Malaysians have taken election authorities to court demanding to extend voting rights to nearly 1 million overseas citizens. A group of Malaysians called “My Overseas Vote” said in a statement that six citizens working in the United Kingdom have asked the Kuala Lumpur High Court to force the Election Commission to register them as voters before the next general elections, widely expected by mid-2012.

”To say that only certain groups of citizens are allowed the postal ballot is nonsense that amounts to outright discrimination,” Teo Hoon Seong, one of the litigants, said in the statement. The court is scheduled to hear the first round of arguments on Nov. 14 on whether to allow a full hearing for the lawsuit.

Malaysia: Vote sought for overseas Malaysians | TODAYonline

A group of Malaysians have sued election authorities in what they described as an attempt to extend voting rights to nearly one million citizens living abroad. Rights activists have long criticised restrictions that prevent most Malaysians abroad from casting ballots. Exceptions include government workers, military personnel and full-time students.

A group of Malaysians called “My Overseas Vote” said in a statement that six citizens working in the United Kingdom have asked the Kuala Lumpur High Court to force the Election Commission to register them as voters before the next general elections, widely expected next year.

Qatar: Qatar to hold advisory council elections in 2013 | Reuters

The Emir of Gulf Arab state Qatar said on Tuesday elections to an advisory council would be held in the second half of 2013, the state news agency reported. “From the podium of this council, I declare that we have decided that the Advisory Council elections would be held in the second half of 2013,” Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani said in a speech to the body.

“We know that all these steps are necessary to build the modern state of Qatar and the Qatari citizen who is capable of dealing with the challenges of the time and building the country. We are confident that you would be capable of shouldering the responsibility.” He did not say if the council, which currently has no legislative powers, would be given more weight.

Syria: Higher Elections Committee Discusses Local Council Candidacy Process | SANA, Syria

The Higher Elections Committee discussed on Sunday the candidacy process set to start on December 12, and the measures taken to guarantee honest, democratic elections according to the elections law issued by legislative decree No. 101 for 2011. The committee decided to direct the sub-committees in the Syrian provinces to fully supervise candidacy applications, stressing the implementation of article No. 20 of the elections law which grants the right to run for the People’s Assembly and the local councils according to the standards provided by the new elections law.

The committee requested that the sub-committees should cooperate and coordinate with demonstrative apparatuses according to law to offer all facilitations for supervision to guarantee democratic and honest elections. The Higher Committee also requested that authorities set up electronic screens in the squares of all provinces to display the counting of votes to preserve the transparency and honesty of elections.