Oklahoma: Who is a Cherokee? Tribal election could be decisive | latimes.com

Reporting from Tahlequah, Okla.— More than 170 years ago the proud Cherokee people in the South were brutally driven into exile in Oklahoma along what became known as the Trail of Tears. Now, an unlikely group of descendants is battling the tribe for its rights. They are the so-called black Cherokees, some of whose ancestors were held as slaves by members of the tribe.

Their quest came to a head in recent days as Cherokees went to the polls in northeastern Oklahoma’s Indian country to select a new chief. Of the more than 300,000 Cherokees in America, about 2,800 are black, and many say their fate could ride on the outcome. Tribes across the nation are wrestling with questions of identity, especially since tribal casinos began generating huge revenue. But the Cherokee Nation, unlike some tribes that allow gaming, does not divide casino profits among its citizens.

And though being a Cherokee in Oklahoma means having access to many services, such as a multimillion-dollar health center, the black Cherokees say the battle is really about identity.

Texas: Data show voters could be barred under new ID law | Post Bulletin

As many as a quarter of voters in some small Texas counties might not be able to cast ballots if the federal government allows the new state voter ID law to go into effect. And in some places, the potential for that decrease in the number of voters could affect the outcome of elections.

The impact of the law was gleaned from several pages of data that the Texas secretary of state’s office provided to the U.S. Department of Justice, which is reviewing the law to determine whether it illegally hurts minority voters. The data show that in 27 of Texas’ 254 counties, at least 10 percent of the registered voters might be unable to cast ballots, if Senate Bill 14 by Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, takes effect.

Wisconsin: Legislation introduced to exempt seniors from voter ID | Badger Herald

A state senator announced Monday he will propose legislation to exempt senior citizens from the recently signed voter ID law. Sen. Tim Carpenter, D–Milwaukee, is currently looking for co-sponsors for the legislation, and expects to introduce the bill by the end of the week. The proposal would allow registered seniors who are above the age of 65 to vote without having to present any identification, according to a statement from Carpenter.

The voter ID law, signed by Gov. Scott Walker on May 25 of this year states that starting next year, all registered Wisconsin voters will be required to present a valid, state-issued identification card in order to vote in any election.

“The voter ID bill prevents election fraud by requiring that the voter prove that they actually are who they say they are. In the past if someone else next to me says, ‘yeah that’s who he is,’ [the election attendants] will believe it,” Andrew Welhouse, spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said.

Wisconsin: Madison clerk conducts mock election, finds voter ID regulations slows process | Isthmus

Dozens of community members lined up to cast fake ballots for their favorite sports teams and tailgating food Tuesday as part of a mock election conducted by the Madison City Clerk. The trial run was to prepare for the full implementation in 2012 of the Republican-backed voter ID bill.

City Clerk Maribeth Witzel-Behl said the city is making voter ID education a top priority throughout the rest of the year, with 74 educational presentations planned. The mock election was to prepare election officials as well as voters for what to expect on a future Election Day.

Editorials: Who Stole the Election? Dominating many state legislatures, Republicans have launched a full-on assault on voting rights | American Prospect

When Charles Webster was a member of the Maine House during the 1980s and 1990s, he and his Republican colleagues routinely proposed bills that would create restrictive voting laws—or, as Webster sees it, legislation to tamp down on the rampant threat of voter fraud. “Every year we tried to solve this problem,” he says, “and it was always a partisan vote,” with Democrats supporting laws intended to increase turnout. As a result, Webster says, “We have one of the most loosey-goosey, lax election laws in the country.”

Others would call Maine’s voting laws a striking success. Most states struggle to get citizens to the polls; national turnout for a presidential election hasn’t topped 60 percent since 1968, and turnout for midterm elections hovers in the 30s. That puts the United States far below the participation level in other Western democracies. Yet for the past four decades, Maine has stood apart. With an array of regulations that encourage voting—the state has allowed voters to register on Election Day since 1973—Maine consistently places among the top five states for turnout. Seventy-two percent of the eligible population voted in 2008 when Barack Obama carried the state.

Republicans like Webster, who now chairs the state GOP, argue that too many people are voting in the state—at least, too many illegal immigrants, out-of-state college students, and people who live in hotels. “What I don’t want is somebody coming in stealing elections who doesn’t live in the town,” Webster says.

Afghanistan: Election Officials Offer to Release Voter Fraud Findings | VoA News

Afghan election officials say they stand by their decision to expel nine lawmakers from parliament for voter fraud, even though one of the unseated politicians vows to continue a hunger strike until she is reinstated.

The head of Afghanistan’s election commission said Tuesday that they are ready and willing to make public how they arrived to their decision. Despite the government’s ruling, Simeen Barakzai has vowed to continue her hunger strike outside parliament in Kabul.

Cameroon: Election commission denies allegations of fraud | CNN.com

The head of Cameroon’s election commission denied opposition candidates’ allegations of fraud in Sunday’s ballot, saying the process was “more transparent” than in the past.

“Throughout the entire process, no major incident was reported,” Fonkam Azu’u, election commission chairman, said Monday. “Nevertheless Elections Cameroon will draw the necessary lessons in order to better organize future polls.” Opposition candidate Jean de Dieu Momo told reporters he had received reports of improperly sealed ballot boxes.

Ghana: Electoral Commission awards contract for biometric registration | Ghana Business News

STL/HSB/Genkey company Limited, an information technology firm, has been awarded the contract for the procurement of Biometric Voters Registration (BVR) system for the 2012 general election. It was selected by the Electoral Commission (EC) from a list of 47 companies that responded to the proposals for the expression of interest advertised in the media. Seven out of the 47 were initially shortlisted.

A document titled “Chronology of Biometric Voter Registration Procurement Process”, which contains the road map for the procurement of the BVR, prepared by the EC and distributed to political parties, stated the contract was awarded on October 4, 2011. It said on May 23, 2011, the EC’s procurement department invited pre-qualified vendors to bid for the contrac

Poland: Donald Tusk seems set for 2nd term, a first in post-communist Poland | The Washington Post

Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk enjoyed a strong lead over his conservative rival and predecessor Jaroslaw Kaczynski in parliamentary elections, with his centrist party set to become the first ever in Poland’s post-communist era to win a second consecutive term. That feat underlines the growing political stability in Poland, a central European nation of 38 million whose economy has flourished since it joined the European Union in 2004.

Official results are expected Monday, but exit polls released after Sunday’s voting gave a comfortable lead to Tusk’s Civic Platform, a centrist and pro-European party that has presided over the four years of growth even amid decline elsewhere on the continent.

Russia: Opposition calls for election boycott | Ahram Online

“We consider the December 4 parliamentary elections illegitimate and call for a boycott of these disgraceful ‘elections’ in every reasonable way,” said a declaration signed by Kasparov and other vocal but marginalised opponents of the Kremlin. “It’s an appeal to consciously ignore cooperation with the current authorities,” Kasparov, who leads the United Civil Front movement, said at a press conference.

Last month’s announcement that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will seek to swap seats with President Dmitry Medvedev in 2012 presidential elections essentially told people “that voters no longer exist in the country,” he said. “We need to put a lot of effort into pulling the country from the claws of Putin’s dictatorship,” he said, adding that boycotting both the parliamentary and the presidential elections would be the first step.


Yemen: Defected general accuses Saleh of fraud in presidential election, government officials deny | xinhuanet.com

The Yemeni defected general Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar on Monday accused President Ali Abdullah Saleh of rigging in 2006 presidential elections, which was denied by government officials. “I accompanied Saleh in his electoral campaigns in 2006 until the results were ready to be announced,” defected Maj. Gen. Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar told a press conference at the headquarters of his military base, the First Armored Division.

“And before the declaration of the true final results, Saleh told me that the computer mistakenly counted the votes showing that the opposition candidate Faisal bin Shamlan won. But he ( Saleh) said the counting process was reviewed and declared his victory,” al-Ahmar, who defected from Saleh and joined the protest movement in March, told reporters. “So, Saleh lost his legitimacy because he changed the results of 2006 presidential election by force,” al-Ahmar said.

The Voting News Daily: What it takes to make every vote count, Electoral Regulations at Stake in 13 Secretary of State Races

National: What it takes to make every vote count | MIT News Eleven years after the disputed 2000 presidential election thrust the subject of electoral integrity into the spotlight, many of the challenges that jeopardized that election remain unresolved, voting experts said at an MIT-hosted conference held Saturday. The conference, “Election Integrity: Past, Present, and…

National: What it takes to make every vote count | MIT News

Eleven years after the disputed 2000 presidential election thrust the subject of electoral integrity into the spotlight, many of the challenges that jeopardized that election remain unresolved, voting experts said at an MIT-hosted conference held Saturday.

The conference, “Election Integrity: Past, Present, and Future,” convened by the Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project (VTP), brought together election administrators, academics and technology professionals from around the country, and commemorated the 25th anniversary of the First National Symposium on Security and Reliability of Computers in the Electoral Process, held in Boston in 1986. A central theme of Saturday’s conference was election integrity: assuring that votes are both recorded and counted as they were cast.

… Of particular concern, said Pamela Smith, president of VerifiedVoting.org, is the use of Internet voting systems that cannot be audited. Another issue, which she illustrated with a map identifying the current equipment used by each state, is the inability of DREs to recount ballots in a close election. And many key swing states, she said, continue to use unreliable DREs.

Voting Blogs: Electoral Regulations at Stake in 13 Secretary of State Races | governing.com

With tight contests brewing for president and control of Congress, there’s no shortage of competitive races over the next 14 months. But a number of offices further down the ballot are also up for grabs, such as the low-profile but increasingly contested position of secretary of state.

Currently, Republicans control 30 seats; Democrats control 20. Most of these positions are officially known as secretary of state, but a few states hand equivalent duties to their lieutenant governor instead. All told, 39 are popularly elected, eight are appointed by the governor and three are appointed by the legislature.

Many secretaries of state have portfolios that include fairly neutral duties, such as overseeing the registration of businesses and lobbyists. But the main reason why they have become coveted and competitive offices in recent years is the role they can play in shaping how elections are conducted.

Editorials: Voter ID laws: Voter ID laws are costly and don’t prevent fraud | baltimoresun.com

A healthy civic society requires protecting citizens’ fundamental right to vote while ensuring the integrity of our electoral system. Sadly, this goal is being jeopardized by a coordinated, nationwide effort to enact voter ID laws that will not solve the challenges facing our electoral systems and will instead disenfranchise voters and infringe upon the fundamental American right to free and fair elections.

Proponents of voter ID laws claim that they will reduce fraud. We agree that preventing voter fraud is extremely important. That is why dozens of states and the federal government have created safeguards to ensure voter integrity and passed laws imposing stiff penalties on individuals who commit voter fraud. We should vigorously enforce those laws.

However, it is a grave mistake and a waste of precious resources to enact voter ID laws that target only one extremely rare type of voter fraud — Election Day polling place impersonations — and leave in their wake millions of disenfranchised voters.

Editorials: Don’t make it hard to vote | Philadelphia Inquirer

Even as Americans use their free-speech rights through the Occupy Wall Street movement to express frustration with the less affluent’s having to bear the brunt of a poor economy, their ability to generate change through their votes is being shamefully attacked.

In 14 states controlled by Republican legislators, voters face new restrictions that “could make it significantly harder for more than 5 million eligible voters to cast ballots in 2012,” says a new study from the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice.

The restrictions will harm specific groups: students and the elderly, the poor and disabled, urbanites, and minorities. They are the folks less likely to have drivers’ licenses or other forms of state-issued identification, the most popular restriction in the laws. The absurdity of photo-ID rules is clearest in Texas, where a handgun license is an acceptable form of identification, but a student ID card is not.

California: California allows online voter registration | San Jose Mercury News

Californians will be able to register to vote online for the 2012 elections.
Gov. Jerry Brown announced Friday that he signed legislation that supporters say will modernize California’s election system.

The bill, SB 397, allows the state to begin registering voters online ahead of a new statewide voter database. It directs state election officials and the Department of Motor Vehicles to match registration information submitted online with DMV records containing an electronic copy of a voter’s signature.

Colorado: Judge’s ruling allows Nov. 1 election ballots to be sent to inactive voters | The Denver Post

Thousands of inactive voters in two Democratic strongholds will be mailed ballots for the Nov. 1 election following a judge’s ruling Friday. Denver District Judge Brian Whitney denied a motion for a preliminary injunction filed by Secretary of State Scott Gessler, who argued that state law prevents Denver Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson from mailing ballots to inactive voters.

Following the decision, Johnson and Pueblo County Clerk and Recorder Gilbert Ortiz said they will proceed with plans to mail ballots to those voters — about 54,000 in Denver and 17,000 in Pueblo.

Florida: Florida Law Tightens Voting Rules, Angers Advocates | NPR

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan group with a distinguished history. It was founded in 1920, just months before the U.S. Constitution was amended giving women the right to vote. The Florida chapter of the League was founded two decades later and since the beginning, has worked to educate and register new voters.

But now, the group says, a new law makes it impossible for it to carry out one of its core missions: Registering new voters. The law passed by Florida’s legislature and signed by Gov. Rick Scott over the objections of the League and other groups, tightens voting regulations in several areas. Among the changes: it reduces the time period groups have to turn in new voter registrations from 10 days to just two. For forms turned in late, there are steep fines and other possible civil penalties.

Indiana: Complaint on Secretary of State White | The Indianapolis Star

A Marion County judge will hear arguments next month on Democrats’ challenge to Charlie White’s ability to remain Indiana’s secretary of state. The Democrats are contesting the Indiana Recount Commission’s June ruling that White can stay in office, despite allegations that he was illegally registered to vote at his ex-wife’s address when he declared his candidacy.

Marion Circuit Judge Louis Rosenberg will hold oral arguments on the Democrats’ petition for judicial review Nov. 23.

Indiana: Local clerk won’t challenge ballot issue despite court ruling » Evansville Courier & Press

Local elections officials don’t plan to challenge a new law that leaves names of unopposed municipal candidates off ballots — but the statute may be destined to change anyway. On Wednesday, a Tippecanoe Circuit Court judge granted a preliminary injunction overriding the statute in that county.

The law, which took effect July 1, means that Evansville City Council members Dan McGinn, R-1st Ward, and Connie Robinson, D-4th Ward, will not appear on the Nov. 8 municipal election ballot. The statute affects only municipal elections.

Maine: Does same-day registration affect the turnout? | The Portland Press Herald

One of the ongoing arguments between supporters and detractors of Election Day registration is whether the practice has led to Maine’s high voter turnout. Lance Dutson, chief executive officer of the Maine Heritage Policy Center, which is campaigning against the fall referendum, provided a chart showing Maine’s turnout has been consistent both before and after the 1973 law originally passed. “There was no perceptible change in voter turnout after the law was passed,” he said.

The chart shows Maine voter turnout hovering around 60 percent over the last 50 years. But David Farmer, spokesman for the Yes on 1/Protect Maine Votes campaign, said the chart is misleading and that Maine’s turnout has increased because of Election Day registration.

“The states that perform best all have same-day registration,” he said. “The reason (Maine’s rate) has stayed consistent is because you had the 26th Amendment, which added millions of new voters nationally to the rolls when they expanded the franchise to 18-year-olds.”

Nebraska: Lawmakers Might Spar Again Over Voter ID Bills – KPTM FOX 42

Nebraska lawmakers might spar again over Voter ID bills during this coming legislative session, say some political players and experts. “It’s never a good thing. The more roadblocks you put up to voting the less participation you have,” said UNO Political Science Professor Paul Landow.

Fourteen states passed voter ID laws this year, some of them go into effect in 2012. Nebraska and Iowa shot down bills requiring photo IDs at the polls. The fight is divided along party lines. Republicans believe the system needs safeguards to prevent fraud. Democrats think these measures are aimed at suppressing young people and minorities from voting.

Oklahoma: Cherokee special election: Baker leads in unofficial first count | Tulsa World

After the first day of counting in the Cherokee Nation special election for principal chief, Tribal Council member Bill John Baker unofficially leads former chief Chad Smith by almost 2,200 votes.

At 2 p.m. Sunday, the Cherokee Nation Election Commission released unofficial, machine-counted vote totals by precinct for the tribe’s 38 polling places and walk-in voting, with Baker ahead 6,223 votes to 4,046. That gives Baker an initial lead of 60.6 percent to 39.4 percent.

About 8,700 people voted at their precincts on Sept. 24 and an additional 1,647 voted at the election commission during walk-in days, including 510 during the five additional walk-in days ordered by a federal district court judge. The election commission has not started counting absentee ballots, and the number that were returned has not been disclosed. About 12,000 absentee ballots were requested for the special election, an increase of 3,800 from the general election.

Liberia: ECOWAS Chief Poll Monitor Expects Transparent Liberia Vote | VoA News

The leader of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) poll observer team says Liberia’s electoral body seems to have adequately prepared for today’s (Tuesday’s) vote. Attahiru Jega, who is also chairman of Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), says the regional bloc has deployed about 150 observers to monitor Liberia’s presidential and legislative elections.

“Our mandate is to witness the elections and to be able to report on the extent of it being free, fair and credible,” said Jega. “We have a range of experienced personalities from all over the West African sub-region as observers in this team…It’s a very well composed team of experts, of people who have been concerned with issues of democratization and elections.” He adds that his team will also ensure that the polls will be well organized “in accordance with established international standards.”

Liberia: Can Liberia’s leading lady fight off election challenge? | BBC News

Africa’s first democratically elected female president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf – who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last week – faces a strong challenge in Tuesday’s election from her long-standing rival Winston Tubman who has teamed up with ex-football star George Weah in a bid to oust her.

As Mrs Sirleaf made a final push for votes, she dedicated the prize to the Liberian people and urged them to vote for her so that peace prevails following the end of a brutal 14-year civil war in 2003.

Mr Tubman – a Harvard graduate, like Mrs Sirleaf – has been dismissive of the Nobel Committee’s decision, arguing that the prize will not influence voters. Mr Tubman, 70, believes Mrs Sirleaf, 72, might have support in the West, but Liberia’s 1.8m voters – many of whom are still mired in poverty – will remove her from office.

Oman: Encouraging response to first phase of elections to Oman’s Majlis Shura | gulfnews

The first phase of elections to Oman’s Majlis Shura began on Saturday with encouraging response from citizens living in GCC countries, especially at the embassy in Abu Dhabi where a large number of citizens queued up since early morning to exercise their franchise. Oman’s ambassador to the UAE, Shaikh Mohammad Bin Abdullah Al Qatabi, along with the staff at the mission, also cast their votes.

Shaikh Mohammad told official Oman News Agency that the overwhelming response reflected the awareness among Omani citizens about the importance of the role assigned to the Shura in the Sultanate. In Dubai, a large number of Omani students, most studying in the northern emirates, turned up at the Consulate to cast their votes.

In Doha, Mohammad Bin Nasser Al Wahaibi, ambassador to Qatar, said that 1,000 citizens had already voted and more were likely to cast theirs vote by evening 6pm.

Paraguay: Referendum backs voting rights for expatriates | BBC News

Voters in Paraguay have backed a proposal to allow citizens living abroad to vote in general elections. Electoral officials said the measure was approved by 80% of voters, but turnout was put at just 12.5%.

President Fernando Lugo had urged people to approve the constitutional amendment, saying it would strengthen Paraguay’s democracy. More than half a million Paraguayans live abroad out of a population of about six million. Most of them are in Argentina, followed by Spain and the US.

The Voting News Daily: Shocked, shocked to find “non-cyber” attacks on voting systems, The Myth of Voter Fraud

Blogs: Shocked, shocked to find “non-cyber” attacks on voting systems | Educated Guesswork Argonne Labs’s demonstration attack on a Diebold voting machine is getting a lot of press. The article above has the details, but briefly, what the Argonne team did was to insert some malicious “alien” electronics between the CPU and the touch screen. Unsurprisingly, that…