Liberia: Citizens Group Sues to Nullify Liberian Candidates Certification | VoA News

The Liberian Supreme Court is expected to hear a lawsuit challenging the decision of the National Elections Commission to certify 16 presidential candidates, including President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, for next month’s election.

Article 52 (c) of the Liberian Constitution states that “no person shall be eligible to hold the office of president or vice president unless that person is resident in the Republic ten years prior to his election.”  Last month’s referendum to change the requirement to five years failed. Sayma Syrenius Cephus, lawyer for the Concerned Citizens of Liberia, said the election commission violated the constitution when it certified the 16 candidates.

Pakistan: Voter fraud: 65% of votes in Balochistan were bogus | The Express Tribune

Balochistan had the highest rate of fake voters during the 2008 general election, according to findings from the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA).

A glance at statistics from the province do not reflect well on the electoral process. In Killa Abdullah there were total of 387,823 registered voters and only 70,820 could be verified. In Kech, of the 218,953 registered voters only 84,500 were legitimate. In Loralai there were 226,658 registered voters, of which a meagre 52,657 could be verified. Of Jaffarbabad’s 391,608 registered voters, only 98,919 were not bogus.

The legitimacy of our current government has been severely questioned by recent findings that almost half of the entries in voter lists at the last election were fake. The startling facts emerged as the ECP and NADRA were preparing new voter lists based on computerised national identity cards(CNICs). Discrepancies emerged between the electoral rolls used for last general election and succeeding by-polls held so far.

Zambia: Sata Holds Lead in Presidential Poll | VoA News

Partial results from Zambia’s presidential election show main challenger Michael Sata holding a lead over incumbent Rupiah Banda.

The Electoral Commission of Zambia said Wednesday that with ballot counting still in progress, Sata of the Patriotic Front party had captured about 42 percent of the vote.  Banda of the Movement for Multiparty Democracy was second with 35 percent. Hakainde Hichilema of the UPND party was third with 18 percent.

… Scattered incidents of violence were reported Tuesday in the capital, Lusaka, but European Union election observers say the vote was conducted in a “correct” manner.  EU chief election observer Maria Muniz described the election as fair and transparent.

The Voting News Daily: Federal District Court Upholds Constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, Denver’s Inactive Ballot Flap: The Difficulty of Hitting a Moving Target

National: Federal District Court Upholds Constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act | Election Law Blog In a comprehensive and careful 151-page opinion, a federal district court in Shelby County v. Holder has upheld the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act against constitutional challenge.  Though there are other cases pending raising the same…

National: Federal District Court Upholds Constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act | Election Law Blog

In a comprehensive and careful 151-page opinion, a federal district court in Shelby County v. Holder has upheld the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act against constitutional challenge.  Though there are other cases pending raising the same issues (the Kinston case and the newly-filed challenge brought by Arizona), this opinion tees up the issue very well for eventual Supreme Court review.

I have not yet had a chance to read the entire opinion, but from my cursory review it appears that this case makes the strongest case possible from the congressional record against the argument that the requirement that certain jurisdictions (mainly, but not only, in the South) seek preclearance from the federal government before making changes in their voting practices and procedures exceeds congress’s power.

Colorado: The town of two elections – This fall, two Election Days for Telluride voters | Telluride Daily Planet

This election season, Telluride voters will head to the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 1 to cast their votes on Election Day. And then a week later, they’ll do it again.

Because of conflicting state and town rules that dictate when elections take place, there will be two Election Days in San Miguel County this November. The double election will only affect Town of Telluride voters; those who live outside of town boundaries will only vote in the coordinated election on Nov. 1. Telluride voters will vote in that election, and then a week later will vote in the town’s municipal election on Nov. 8.

The situation is highly unusual. San Miguel County Clerk Kathleen Erie punched some numbers and estimates that a double-Election Day won’t occur again until 2033. Telluride Mayor Stu Fraser said he hopes that it will never occur again — the town will likely insert language to its election rules that will prevent this in the future, he said.

Kentucky: Ethics panel declines to act on complaint about registering homeless voters |

The Executive Branch Ethics Commission has decided not to take action on a complaint filed by Bill Johnson, Republican candidate for secretary of state, over voter registration of homeless people.

Johnson said Tuesday that John Steffen, executive director of the ethics commission, told him the panel lacked jurisdiction to consider his complaint against Secretary of State Elaine Walker and the State Board of Elections. After the commission’s regular meeting Monday, Steffen declined to comment.

Johnson contended in his complaint, filed in August, that Walker and the elections board were violating the Kentucky Constitution by allowing people who don’t have addresses to register to vote.

Maine: Secretary of state to release voter fraud findings | Bangor Daily News

Maine Secretary of State Charlie Summers on Wednesday will announce the findings of a joint investigation into what he called the “questionable voter activity” of college students, and also whether non-citizens have successfully registered to vote. Summers launched his investigation in late July, a couple days after he was presented with information by Maine Republican Party Chairman Charlie Webster.

Webster suggested that 206 out-of-state students attending public Maine universities should be questioned and investigated for possible voter fraud. Specifically, the state GOP chairman wanted to know whether those students had established residency in Maine or whether they voted twice — in Maine and in their home state.

In the past, courts have ruled that students can consider a college dormitory their primary residence, which would allow them to vote in that community even if they are not full-time Maine residents.

Montana: As Lovaas Sues For Voter Fraud, Investigation Finds No Wrongdoing | NBCMontana

The Missoula County Attorney’s and Sheriff’s departments say that after a thorough investigation, they have no reason to believe fraud took place in the May school elections. The announcement comes just a few weeks after a local accountant filed suit over the vote results.

“I have come to the conclusion that there is no basis to charge anyone with any criminal offense,” County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg said. According to Van Valkenburg, a technical glitch affected after-the-fact voting reports — like the one that led Patty Lovaas to believe the election had been rigged –making it appear that some votes were counted more than once. “They were never counted toward the election, and therefore this was simply a problem with how the software ran reports,” Van Valkenburg said.

North Carolina: Voter ID bill vetoed by Perdue, challenges continue | The Pendulum

Recent cases of voter fraud that have come to light in North Carolina have rekindled the fight to overturn Gov. Bev Perdue’s veto of a voter identification bill proposed in the spring.

The bill, proposed by Reps. Ric Killian, David Lewis and Tim Moore, would have required all voters to present photo identification at the polls and was vetoed by Perdue over the summer on the grounds it would have prevented open access to voting. “I was happy she vetoed it,” said George Taylor, professor of political science at Elon University. “I don’t see a need for it. It’s just another way to keep people from voting.”

Voting Blogs: Denver’s Inactive Ballot Flap: The Difficulty of Hitting a Moving Target | Doug Chapin/PEEA

On Monday, Colorado’s Secretary of State threatened to sue the Clerk/Recorder for the City and County of Denver if it followed through with plans to mail 2011 ballots to over 55,000 Denver voters classified as “inactive” because they failed to vote in 2010.

The dispute, which is vaguely reminiscent of the recent Battle of Cuyahoga over Ohio absentee ballot applications, once again pits a state official determined to enforce state law against a local official who seeks to continue a practice aimed at assisting voters.

What’s interesting in Colorado, however, is that the law is somewhat uncertain – which means that both parties in this dispute (Donnybrook in Denver? Rocky Mountain Rumble? Mile-High Melee?) might not have the full weight of authority on their side.

Editorials: Railroad Blues – redistricting season is upon us again | Jonathan Rodden and Jowei Chen/Boston Review

Redistricting season is upon us again. Politicians and interest groups are pouring over proposed and finalized maps, and pundits are trying to keep score. How many seats will the Democrats pick up in California? How many will they lose in Missouri?

More important than score-keeping, however, is whether the composition of the legislature reflects the partisanship of the electorate. Will a party that wins 50 percent of the votes get 50 percent of the seats? In most states the answer is no. Republicans can expect a sizable advantage, and not because of gerrymandering.

Editorials: Is Rick Perry Right That the Seventeenth Amendment Was a Mistake? | Vikram David Amar/Verdict.Justia

Among the many provocative things Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry has said is that the American people “mistakenly empowered the federal government during a fit of populist rage in the early twentieth century . . . by changing the way senators are elected (the Seventeenth Amendment).”

In this column, we analyze why the Seventeenth Amendment—providing for direct election of U.S. Senators—came about, and whether it would be a good and/or workable idea, as Perry suggests, to repeal it.

The Original Constitution and the Provision for State Legislative Election of Senators

Most historians and legal commentators agree on the basic story of Senate election methods. In 1787, the Framers and ratifiers of the original Constitution chose legislative election largely to safeguard the existence and interests of the state governments.

Mexico: Cost of 2012 Mexican Presidential Elections Announced | Inside Costa Rica

The 2012 Presidential Elections in Mexico will cost 180 million pesos (some 14.8 million US dollars), reported Monday Mexico”s Federal Electoral Institute (IFE). This money will be used to buy graphite to mark the electoral ballots, indelible ink, ballot boxes, boxes for electoral packages and other materials. The amount does not include the cost of individual campaigns of candidates.

At least 151,347 polling booths will be set up and 215 million ballots will be printed for the July 1st, 2012, elections, in which the new federal president, 128 senators and 500 legislators will be elected.

An electoral box-package with the shape of a backpack will be used for the first time to carry ballots and to facilitate the transfer of the documentation to the electoral district, informed IFE. A new type of indelible ink, made by the National Polytechnic Institute, which comes inside a tube with a sponge applicator, will also be used for the first time.

Zambia: Electoral Commission explains delayed official results anouncement |

The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has explained the delay in announcing election results from the rest of the country to the public through the official election results centre that has been set up at Mulungushi International Conference Centre in Lusaka.

ECZ Public Relations Manager, Cris Akufuna explained this morning that the Commission has not yet received consolidated results from any of the 150 constituencies in Zambia. ZANIS reports that Mr. Akufuna said the ECZ has however received results from some totalling centres from around the country but not the general total results from constituencies. He said results are announced only when total results from a particular constituency have been received and added.

Zimbabwe: Election Advocacy Group Urges Shift in Control of Voters List | VoA News

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network said Tuesday that a bill to reform the country’s electoral system is flawed because it leaves responsibility for compiling the voters roll with the registrar general, saying the Electoral Commission should do the job.

Under the Electoral Amendment Bill now moving through Parliament, the Office of the Registrar General retains control over the national voters list – albeit under the supervision and oversight of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. The Zimbabwe Election Support Network said this will merely dilute accountability.

The Voting News Daily: Colorado Secretary of State threatens to sue Denver over ballot flap involving inactive voters, How much would you pay to cast a meaningless vote?

Colorado: Secretary of State threatens to sue Denver over ballot flap involving inactive voters | The Denver Post The Denver clerk and recorder said today she plans to send ballots to inactive voters for the Nov. 1 election despite a threat from the secretary of state to take her to court. The flap pits the state’s…

Colorado: Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler threatens to sue Denver over ballot flap involving inactive voters | The Denver Post

The Denver clerk and recorder said today she plans to send ballots to inactive voters for the Nov. 1 election despite a threat from the secretary of state to take her to court. The flap pits the state’s most powerful Democratic county against Colorado’s new Republican secretary of state, Scott Gessler.

“The City and County of Denver has consistently provided all eligible voters with ease of access to the voting franchise and we plan to continue to do so,” clerk Debra Johnson said today in a statement.

Gessler’s office said the law limits the mailings to active voters only. “It’s clear under state law that counties can only mail to active registered voters,” spokesman Rich Coolidge said. Coolidge cited the law’s language that says, “the designated election official shall mail to each active registered elector” to support Gessler’s threat.

Indiana: How much would you pay to cast a meaningless vote? | The News-Sentinel

Perhaps the right to vote is priceless. But should taxpayers really have to shell out more than $1,500 for the right to cast purely symbolic ballots in an election devoid of races, drama and any tangible value?

Turns out the answer to that seemingly outlandish question is yes – at least if you live in New Haven. When members of the Allen County Election Board last week unanimously agreed to place the names of unopposed candidates on the Nov. 8 ballot despite a new state law to the contrary, they may have thought they were upholding a higher principle: that even the lack of an opponent shouldn’t disenfranchise people whose right to vote was bought with blood, not money. In most cases it would be a nice – if meaningless – gesture.

But not in New Haven, where two polling places that were to have been closed in November because of the total lack of contested races must now be opened, fully staffed and equipped – just so anybody who bothers to show up can futilely vote in elections that were decided long ago.

New Jersey: Fairfield election investigation continues; polls open next Tuesday |

Voters here will again head to the polls and select their township representatives for county Democratic Committee. A second election one week from Tuesday comes per the request of Superior Court Judge David Krell. The results from the June election were first disputed by candidates and later ruled on by Krell earlier this month.

He also ordered the case be turned over to the Division of Criminal Justice, which is under the state Attorney General’s office, for consideration of a full investigation. It is still unclear where that investigation stands. A response from the  Division of Criminal Justice was not received as of press time.

Attorney Samuel Serata, who represents candidates Ernie and Cindy Zirkle, said Monday he believed Krell signed his court order last week and the criminal justice division would have likely just received it. “It will be at least a month before any report comes out,” said Serata.

Tennessee: Need a photo ID to vote? Get ready to wait |

State stats say it takes 53 minutes on average for someone to get a driver’s license from one of Tennessee’s 48 driver service centers. But those suffering through the process say the ordeal actually can last hours and even require multiple trips.

The difference? Official stats only take into account the time that elapses between a customer entering the building and getting served. They don’t include time customers often must spend in line before they actually get inside the service center, let alone the occasional need for coming more than once.

“This is from the time someone pulls a number to be served [meaning they are inside the building],” said Jennifer Donnals, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security. “It does not include the wait time before then as there is no accurate way to determine that time.”

Texas: DOJ: Texas House, congressional voting maps don’t comply with federal Voting Rights Act | The Washington Post

The U.S. Department of Justice said in a court filing Monday that Texas’ new voting maps for Congress and for the Texas House do not meet federal anti-discrimination requirements, setting up a legal battle that will decide the landscape of future elections in the state. The case, which involves the election districts drawn by the Republican-led Texas Legislature, will likely be decided by a federal court in Washington, D.C.

District boundaries are redrawn every 10 years to reflect changes in census data. Any changes to Texas’ voting practices must be cleared by a federal court or the Justice Department to ensure changes do not discriminate based on race or color.

The Justice Department took issue with the maps for Congress and the Texas House, but it agreed with the state attorney general that maps for the Texas Senate and State Board of Education met requirements under the federal Voting Rights Act. But the Justice Department reiterated that the court would have to make its own determination on the education board and Senate maps.

Texas: Department of Justice Says Proposed Maps Undermine Minority Vote | The Texas Tribune

The new political maps for the Texas House and the state’s congressional delegation don’t protect the electoral power of the state’s minority populations as required by the federal Voting Rights Act, the U.S. Department of Justice said in legal briefs filed in federal court Monday.

The map for the state Senate does comply with Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, DOJ’s lawyers said. The Justice Department didn’t offer an opinion on the legality of the new State Board of Education map, saying instead that “the court will have to make its own determination” about that plan.

“It’s consistent with what we’ve been saying,” said state Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio, who heads the Mexican American Legislative Caucus. His and other groups have argued that the state didn’t account for the growth in minority populations over the last 10 years — minorities made up 89 percent of the state’s overall growth — and that in some cases, the Legislature actually diluted the representation that was already in place.

Wisconsin: Republicans trying to shorten absentee voting period | WQOW TV

Wisconsin republicans support new legislation that would change how long you would have to vote absentee in person.  The proposal cuts the time frame from three weeks to two.  One election specialist talked about the impact she expects.

“We’re expecting more through the mail, and we’re expecting to have more employees on staff to handle absentee voting the last two weeks because we anticipate the numbers being up,” says Eau Claire Election Specialist Cheryl Brunner. One local republican says it’s important to approve this bill alongside the voter ID changes to protect against fraud.

Editorials: How Southern Republicans Aim to Make White Democrats Extinct | Stacey Abrams/US News and World Report

State Rep. Stacey Abrams serves as the Georgia House Minority Leader.

Across the state, legislative maps are drawn to split voters along artificial lines to isolate them by race. Legislators see their districts disappear, themselves the target of racial gerrymandering. Citizens rise up in protest and demand the right to elect the candidate of their choice, but the ruling party ignores them. Racial groups are identified and segregated; their leadership eliminated. It is the way of the South. Only this isn’t 1964, the year before the signing of the Voting Rights Act. This is Georgia in 2011.

But this time, the legislators at risk are white men and women who have had the temerity to represent majority African-American districts, and Latino legislators who spoke up for their growing Hispanic population. In crossover districts, where whites and blacks have worked together for decades to build multi-racial voting coalitions, the new district maps devised by the Republicanmajority have slashed through those ties with speed and precision. If the maps proposed by the GOP in Georgia stand, nearly half of the white Democratic state representatives could be removed from office in one election cycle. Call it the “race card”—in reverse.

Guinea: Guinea’s Opposition May Protest Over Electoral Commission | Bloomberg

Opposition parties in Guinea, which is due to hold a parliamentary vote in December, may hold “peaceful protests” if the country’s electoral commission isn’t dismissed, said Mamadou Mouctar Diallo, the head of one of the groups.

The members of 19 parties, including former prime ministers and 2010 presidential candidates Cellou Dalein Diallo and Sidya Toure, plan to start demonstrations on Sept. 27, Diallo, who heads the Nouvelles Forces Democratiques party, said by phone today from Conakry, the capital.

The groups allege the government is making “one-sided” decisions with the commission, said Diallo, who was farming minister during a military-led transitional administration that held power following the 2008 death of President Lansana Conte.

Malaysia: Police net seven cyber-crooks who siphoned off RM250,000 | theSundaily

Using a combination of phishing and hijacking handphone numbers, a syndicate siphoned out about a quarter million ringgit from some online banking accounts over the past nine months. Police learnt just how elaborate the syndicate’s modus operandi was only after crippling the gang of cyber crooks with the arrest of six people in a raid on Friday.

The suspects aged between 20 and 27 comprised a Sierra Leone national said to be the mastermind, a male Jordanian and a male Pakistani, and four Malaysians, two of whom were women.

They were nabbed when a federal commercial crimes investigations department CCID team led by cyber crimes and multimedia head ACP Kamaruddin Md Din raided the apartment at the Millenium Square at Section 14, Petaling Jaya where police also seized computers, fake MyKad and bank cards.

Zambia: Violence mars voting in Zambia | The Associated Press

Police say angry crowds threw stones and burned vehicles in violence that marred voting in Zambia.

Police spokeswoman Ndandula Siamana said that in one Lusaka neighborhood Tuesday, voters claimed they saw a man with pre-marked ballot papers. Siamana said a crowd burned the papers, as well as a truck and a small bar. A spokesman for the Electoral Commission of Zambia said the report of pre-marked ballot papers was not confirmed.

In a second incident in Lusaka, Siamana said voters angered because a polling station opened late threw rocks and set fire to five vehicles, among them a police car. No injuries or arrests were reported in either incident.

The Voting News Daily: Did New Jersey election officials fail to respect court order to improve security of elections?, Do New Voting Laws Suppress Fraud? Or Democrats?

Blogs: Did New Jersey election officials fail to respect court order to improve security of elections? | Freedom to Tinker The Gusciora case was filed in 2004 by the Rutgers Constitutional Litigation Clinic on behalf of Reed Gusciora and other public-interest plaintiffs. The Plaintiffs sought to end the use of paperless direct-recording electronic voting machines, which are…

Voting Blogs: Did New Jersey election officials fail to respect court order to improve security of elections? | Freedom to Tinker

The Gusciora case was filed in 2004 by the Rutgers Constitutional Litigation Clinic on behalf of Reed Gusciora and other public-interest plaintiffs. The Plaintiffs sought to end the use of paperless direct-recording electronic voting machines, which are very vulnerable to fraud and manipulation via replacement of their software. The defendant was the Governor of New Jersey, and as governors came and went it was variously titledGusciora v. McGreevey, Gusciora v. Corzine, Guscioria v. Christie.

In 2010 Judge Linda Feinberg issued an Opinion. She did not ban the machines, but ordered the State to implement several kinds of security measures: some to improve the security of the computers on which ballots are programmed (and results are tabulated), and some to improve the security of the computers inside the voting machines themselves.