Colorado: Aspen woman sues Mesa County elections officals over voting records | nbc11 news

An issue of voter secrecy or government transparency in elections? That’s the question at the center of one woman’s lawsuit against Mesa County elections officials. Following the 2010 elections, leaders in Saguache County came under heavy scrutiny when it was discovered there were several problems with the counting of ballots there. Their county uses the same voting system used in both Mesa County and Jefferson County.

“As we have uncovered a number of problems with the ES&S product in Saguache County, I became curious about how it operated in Mesa and Jefferson,” said Marilyn Marks, an elections activist who lives in Aspen.

When it comes to ensuring fair and accurate elections, Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Sheila Reiner says her elections department is among the best. “Here in Mesa County we pride ourselves on being leaders in security, accuracy, and transparency,” said Reiner. But it’s the transparency piece where Marks says Mesa County is among the worst.

Florida: League of Women Voters Takes Legal Action on New Elections Bill |

Today, the League of Women Voters of Florida and Democracia USA, represented by the Brennan Center for Justice, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and pro bono attorneys from the law firm of Bryan Cave, filed a motion to intervene in the State of Florida’s lawsuit against the Department of Justice over the state’s new elections law. Since the state withdrew the four most contentious sections of the law from DOJ review last month, a federal court must now decide whether or not to “preclear” the law under the National Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The League has advocated against preclearance, arguing that Florida’s new law will reduce opportunities for voting and unlawfully restrict voter registration, disproportionately affecting Florida’s minority population.


Indiana: Supreme Court: No Shortcuts in Charlie White Election Challenge | 93.1 WIBC Indianapolis

The Indiana Supreme Court has refused to take over jurisdiction in the election challenge against Secretary of State Charlie White. Democrats have sued to overturn a Recount Commission ruling that White’s voter registration was proper. White had asked the Supreme Court to take over the case from Marion Circuit Judge Louis Rosenberg.

The justices say a case can skip the Court of Appeals, but not the trial court. “All I was trying to do is just expedite the process,” White says. “You know, I tried, and I guess we’ll just move forward.”

Oklahoma: Cherokees won’t have ‘official’ election results Sept. 24 | Tahlequah Daily Press

Tribal citizens looking for official results in the upcoming special election for principal chief may be disappointed when balloting ends Saturday, Sept. 24.

The Cherokee Nation Election Commission approved amending its regulations to allow a 48-hour certification period after each election. While unofficial results will be announced before commissioners leave on election night – or the following morning, as was the case in the recent election – final canvassing and official results will not be determined until two days later.

Newly appointed Election Commissioner Susan Plumb proposed the amendment. “I don’t know of any other entity, whether it’s state, municipal or otherwise, that certifies election results immediately,” said Plumb.

South Carolina: Voter ID law put on hold | SCNOW

Early last week, the US Department of Justice put a hold on South Carolina’s Voter ID law, instead requesting more information about the enforcement of the law.  The DOJ responded Monday evening with a four-page letter consisting of questions and information that needed to be provided before approval of the law.  South Carolina now has until Sept. 12 to respond.  Then, the DOJ will once again have 60 days to respond.  Given its terrible past dealing with the disenfranchisement of minorities, the Voter Rights Act requires states like South Carolina to have all voting law changes approved by either the US Department of Justice or a federal district court.

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley signed the South Carolina voter ID law on May 18 of this year.  The law requires that all of South Carolina’s registered voters present some form of a photo ID at the voting polls.  The forms of photo ID that are accepted include a driver’s license or DMV-provided ID, a passport, a military ID, or a special voter ID card.  Student ID’s or any other photo ID will not be accepted.

Canada: Nanaimo Council pushes for online voting in British Columbia |

Nanaimo council members will push for online voting when representatives from B.C. communities meet later this month to discuss provincial policy issues.

Three communities have aggressively lobbied for online voting. Coquitlam, North Vancouver City and Fort St. John have all urged the Union of B.C. Municipalities to take the issue to the provincial government. Minister of Communities Ida Chong said the B.C. Elections Act has to change to allow Internet voting.

Latvia: The oligarchs’ exit: Time up for tycoons | The Economist

Larvia’s elections on September 17 were called as a result of the political upsets in the summer when President Valdis Zatlers tried to confront the grip that he said the country’s three “oligarchs” had on its parliament, the Saeima. Bloomberg has a useful summary of the state of play. It looks as though the parties affiliated with the tycoons may win only 14 of 100 seats, down from 51 five years ago and 30 in 2010.

Aivars Lembergs, mayor of the big port of Ventspils, will probably do best. A poll gives his Greens and Farmers Union 8.5% which will at least get it into parliament. He faces a long-running investigation for bribery, money laundering and abuse of office since 2008 (he vehemently denies all wrongdoing). Ainārs Šlesers, who was at the centre of a controversy that prompted this summer’s crisis, is unlikely to return to parliament. His “For a Better Latvia” is polling less than the 5% threshold. The third “oligarch” Andris Šķēle has dissolved his party.

Poland: Election Campaign Fails to Change Trends | WSJ

Poland’s parliamentary election campaign has so far offered little beyond PR stunts, which haven’t visibly impacted voters’ preferences five weeks ahead of election day. The ruling party continues to have a commanding lead over rival conservatives.

The Civic Platform party, which has governed Poland since 2007 in a stable coalition with the Peasants’ Party, would get 32% of the vote, while the conservative Law and Justice party would get 24%, according to a poll by Homo Homini for daily Super Express. The Democratic Left Alliance would get 12%, and the ruling party’s agrarian coalition partner would get 7%.

Zambia: Electoral Commission Set to Distribute Ballot Papers | VoA News

Zambia’s electoral commission is scheduled to begin a nationwide distribution of ballots  Wednesday, ahead of the September 20 general elections. Director of elections Priscilla Isaacs says representatives of participating political parties will inspect the voting materials before they are distributed.

The ballot papers, which were printed in South Africa, arrived in the capital, Lusaka Tuesday. “The distribution will be done by road to the country’s 74 districts.  It will start after we have verified that we have received all the ballot papers for the three elections for all the 6,456 polling stations,” said Isaacs. She adds that security officers will be aboard the trucks as voting materials are distributed.

The Voting News Daily: Maine people’s veto of same-day voter registration ban will be Question 1 in November, Stickers may make college IDs usable under state Wisconsin voter ID law

Maine: People’s veto of same-day voter registration ban will be Question 1 in November | Bangor Daily News Maine’s secretary of state has certified enough petition signatures to ensure a statewide people’s veto referendum in November that asks voters to support or reject a new law banning Election Day voter registration. Charlie Summers made the…

Maine: People’s veto of same-day voter registration ban will be Question 1 in November | Bangor Daily News

Maine’s secretary of state has certified enough petition signatures to ensure a statewide people’s veto referendum in November that asks voters to support or reject a new law banning Election Day voter registration.

Charlie Summers made the announcement late Thursday afternoon, exactly 30 days after Protect Maine Votes, a coalition of progressive advocacy groups, submitted more than 80,000 signatures for consideration.

About 70,000 of those signatures were validated, well above the 57,277 required of the campaign by state law. “More than a thousand volunteers worked tirelessly to protect a system that has worked well for more than 38 years,” said Mark Gray, campaign manager for Protect Maine Votes. “There’s no reason to change it.”

Wisconsin: Stickers may make college IDs usable under state voter ID law | JSOnline

The Government Accountability Board, which runs state elections, unanimously adopted a policy Monday that said schools could put stickers on existing IDs to include the information needed to make the IDs compliant with the voter ID law. That could save public and private schools money by not having to completely overhaul their IDs.

However, the board discussion highlighted the difficulties students may find in using their student IDs to vote – sticker or not. For one thing, voters who present a proper student ID would still have to show proof they were currently enrolled at the school. Those using other types of IDs, such as Wisconsin driver’s licenses, would not have to prove they were enrolled at the school.

A new law that goes into effect next year will require voters to show photo IDs at the polls and allow only very limited types of student IDs from Wisconsin institutions. Few if any of those schools currently issue IDs that comply with the law, which says the IDs must expire within two years of being issued, include the expiration date and include a signature. The sticker could help meet those requirements. Nevertheless, only IDs from certain types of institutions would be accepted. IDs issued by technical colleges, for example, are not valid for voting.

Arizona: State Supreme Court to consider appeal on challenge to recall election for legislative leader | The Republic

The Arizona Supreme Court on Tuesday is scheduled to consider whether to allow a Nov. 8 recall election to be held for state Senate President Russell Pearce, a Republican known nationally for championing legislation against illegal immigration.

A Pearce supporter appealed a trial judge’s Aug. 12 ruling that denied the supporter’s request to call off the election in Pearce’s legislative district in Mesa, a Phoenix suburb.

Maine: Homeless vote a non-issue in Maine referendum | Houston Chronicle

The right of homeless people to vote has become a non-issue in Maine’s referendum debate over voter registration.On Nov. 8, Mainers will decide whether to repeal a new law that requires voters to register at least two business days before an election. Passage would restore a state policy allowing election-day registration.

The debate has touched on the right of homeless people to vote. But as the Kennebec Journal in Augusta Reports Monday, both sides agree that the homeless have that right.

Oklahoma: US Government warns Special Election for Cherokee Nation Principal Chief may not be valid | FOX23 News

In a letter sent to Acting Principal Chief Joe Crittenden, the Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Indian Affairs warns that the Special Election for Principal Chief, scheduled for September 24th, will not be valid if the Cherokee Freedmen cannot vote.

Letter sent from Bureau of Indian Affairs to Acting Chief Joe Crittenden (379.7KB)

The letter states that the U.S. Government does not recognize the 2007 Cherokee Constitutional Amendment that was upheld by the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court. The amendment maintains that Freedmen are not citizens of the Cherokee Nation tribe, and are not eligible to vote. Because the U.S. Government is not recognizing the amendment, the special election would not be valid if the Freedmen are not allowed to vote.

California: Bill to Protect Senior’s Voting Rights Signed into Law |

Assemblyman Mike Gatto’s (D- Los Angeles) AB 547, a measure to protect senior citizens from voter fraud and abuse, has been signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown and will thus take effect before the 2012 elections.

The new law makes it a misdemeanor, with stiff fines, for anyone providing care or direct supervision to a person who is at least 65 years old to coerce or deceive that senior into voting for or against a candidate or measure contrary to the senior’s intent.

Editorials: John Nichols: Voter ID rule is a poll tax |

When Wisconsin legislators passed the most restrictive voter ID law in the country earlier this year, they enacted what legal experts and voting rights activists have correctly identified as a poll tax. Proponents of the law argued otherwise. They pointed out that eligible voters who could not afford a state ID could obtain one without charge.

With the decision of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to direct DMV employees to refrain from actively informing the public about the ability to receive a free identification card for the purposes of voting, however, the potential that the voter ID law could serve as a poll tax becomes realistic — and legally significant. Notably, the head of the DOT is a former Republican legislator with close ties to Gov. Scott Walker, and the author of the memo on denying information to prospective voters is a political appointee.

The term “poll tax” has a sordid history. With roots in the anti-democratic practice of allowing only the landed gentry to vote, poll taxes became even more notorious when they were associated with the efforts of Southern segregationists to deny the franchise to African-Americans. A critical turning point came in 1962 with the ratification of the 24th Amendment to the Constitution, which outlawed poll taxes in federal elections.

Guatemala: Guatemala: 66 Cities at Risk of Election-Related Violence | Inside Costa Rica

At least 66 of Guatemala”s 333 cities are at risk for violence during Sunday”s presidential elections, the Human Rights Attorney”s Office (PDH) alerted. The PDH created a risk map to mark the regions where which problems could arise during the elections, identifying 17 of the country’s 22 departments, most of them indigenous populations.

Conflicts between communities and security forces, drug trafficking and changes to the electoral rolls were the main sourcs of conflict. Authorities presented a security plan to be implemented Friday which includes the protection of polling places and infrastructure, such as bridges and electricity towers, as well as citizen surveillance.

Ireland: Presidential front-runner Higgins wants Diaspora voting rights | The Irish Emigrant

Speaking at the London Irish Center to representatives from the Irish business, social and cultural community last week, Labour Party presidential hopeful Michael D. Higgins stressed the enduring importance of the Irish Diaspora, saying he wishes to give at least a conditional voting voice to the Irish outside of Ireland.

Voting rights for Irish citizens living both abroad and in Northern Ireland has become a hot issue of late, as Ireland prepares for its October 27 presidential election, in which Higgins is seen by many as the frontrunner. His speech comes a month after activists from Ógra Shinn Féin protested outside Leinster House, wearing GAA jerseys from the six northern counties and holding gags in their mouths to symbolize the lack of a voting voice for Irish citizens of Northern Ireland.

Cameroon: Cameroon Presidential Candidates Contest Disqualification | VoA News

Election authorities in Cameroon have disqualified half of the country’s 51 presidential candidates before the October 9 poll, prompting mild demonstrations this weekend outside the electoral commission.

Cameroon’s Supreme Court is reviewing the cases of presidential hopefuls whose candidacies were thrown out Friday by the electoral commission, also known as ELECAM. Election officials say they expect the Supreme Court to issue speedy judgments. Election Board Chairman Fonkam Azu’u said the exclusions stemmed from flaws in candidate applications.

Pakistan: Electoral transparency: Biometrics could eliminate bogus votes if approved | The Express Tribune

Technological innovations will make bogus voting difficult if not impossible in Pakistan, where the number of bogus votes has called into question the legitimacy of the present government, if the introduction of biometrics is mandated for the next elections.

Once election authorities have compiled computerised electoral rolls with voters’ pictures, they plan to introduce specially designed ballot papers inscribed with a watermark, magnetic ink and biometrics to determine voters’ identity. Voters will stamp the ballot paper with magnetic ink. Once the votes are polled, the election commission (ECP) will be able to verify them by their counterfoils.  “In case of any complaints, the fake voter can be traced by biometrics,” an official involved in the electoral reforms told The Express Tribune.

The Voting News Daily: Indiana county cancels voting machine contract with ES&S, Voting in Mahoning County Ohio to return to paper ballots

Indiana: Monroe County cancels voting machine contract with ES&S | The Indianapolis Star A southern Indiana county has terminated its contract with a Nebraska company following concerns about its voting machines. The Herald-Times reports ( ) that the Monroe County Commissioners voted unanimously Friday to end its contract with Omaha, Neb.-based Election System and Software. Read…

Ohio: Voting in Mahoning County to return to paper ballots | Youngstown News

Nine years after switching from paper ballots to electronic touch-screen voting, the Mahoning County Board of Elections plans to return to paper for the November general election. The new, more sophisticated system will have voters complete a paper ballot and feed it into an optical-scanner machine.

The machine would keep track of the vote totals with the paper ballot dropped into a sealed box. State law requires all ballots have paper backups. It would cost $684,000 to buy the new machines from Election Systems & Software, the same company that sold the electronic voting machines to the county, said Joyce Kale Pesta, the board’s deputy director.

The county may not have the money to purchase the machines so leasing them is an option that would cost less than $100,000 a year, she said.

Voting Blogs: Mahoning County’s Voting Machine Switch and the Growing Buyer’s Market in Voting Technology | PEEA

Mahoning County, OH (Youngstown) recently announced that it will be switching to optical scan voting machines for the November 2012 general election. The decision means County voters will no longer rely on touchscreen machines as the primary method of casting ballots, as they have since they were purchased in 2002.

The Mahoning story is a perfect example how the market for voting technology has changed in the years since passage of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), enacted by Congress in 2002 in response to the controversial 2000 Presidential election.

HAVA authorized almost $4 billion in federal funds for election improvements at the state and local level – much of which were earmarked for voting machine upgrades. Those funds – and the various mandates included in HAVA – made election offices motivated buyers and created a huge sellers’ market as vendors rushed to help states and localities spend their newfound dollars. In this environment Mahoning County’s $2.95 million purchase of 1100 touchscreen machines was typical.

Ohio: Volunteers work to pull voting law off books, onto ballot | The Chillicothe Gazette

Local volunteers have joined the statewide effort to repeal House Bill 194, a would-be law that opponents say smacks of voter suppression. Volunteers across Ohio hope to collect more than 231,000 signatures and file them with the Ohio Secretary of State by Sept. 29 — one day before the bill is supposed to go into effect.

An upstart citizens group, Stand Up For Ohio — Ross County Movement Builders, has amassed nearly two-thirds of its goal of 1,122 signatures in Ross County, coordinator Portia Boulger said. The larger goal, Boulger said, is to put HB 194 on hold and place it on the ballot in November 2012 as a statewide referendum.

Editorials: Education on state’s voter ID law a must for Tennesseans | Knoxville News Sentinel

If Tennessee absolutely must have a law requiring voters to produce photo identification, the state Election Commission is absolutely right to conduct an education campaign to make voters aware of the law.

The law was passed by Republican majorities in both houses of the Legislature last spring, despite warnings about its questionable constitutionality. The law becomes effective in January 2012, so it will not pose an obstacle for the 2011 city of Knoxville and state Senate elections, for which early voting has begun.

The law was touted by supporters as a check on voter fraud, an argument that made it to the U.S. Senate on Thursday. However, Sen. Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat and chairman of the Senate’s subcommittee on civil rights, said the incidence of voter fraud is minimal and doesn’t require this remedy, according to a story on

Australia: Thousands fail to turn up for elections – more than $1.64 million in fines will be issued | Illawarra Mercury

More than $1.64 million in fines will be issued across the Illawarra after residents put in a mass no-show at this month’s council elections.
Around 23,000 people failed to vote in Wollongong, and each will be slugged with a $55 fine unless they can produce a valid excuse.

NSW Electoral Commission figures show just 83 per cent of Wollongong’s 135,468 eligible voters turned up to cast their ballot at either a polling place, at pre-poll or through a postal vote. Taking polling day figures in isolation, the turnout rate in Wollongong dropped to just 71 per cent.

An Electoral Commission spokesman said it was pleased with both the polling place and overall turnout, saying it was a “very reasonable” result for a local government election. He said the unavailability of absentee voting in local government elections could reduce overall turnout figures by 10 per cent.

Guatemala: Vote heads towards runoff | Al Jazeera

Ballot counting is under way following Guatemala’s presidential election with Otto Perez, a retired general from the right-wing Patriot Party, holding an early lead, according to preliminary results. But with candidates needing more than 50 per cent of ballots to avoid a runoff, the election looked certain to be heading for a second round later in the year.

Otto Perez Manila, 60, who promises to send troops to the streets to fight criminal gangs, had received 37 per cent support with more than 60 per cent of ballots counted by 9.34GMT. This was still well shy of the 50 per cent needed for an outright first-round victory.

Denmark: Nationalist party’s influence waning in Denmark | The Associated Press

One of Europe’s most influential anti-immigration parties could lose its leverage in Danish politics in next week’s election. Polls ahead of the vote Thursday show that the Danish People’s Party stands to lose the kingmaker role which for 10 years has given it an important say on government policy, including pushing through sharp restrictions on immigration.

For Phillip Hobbs, a 26-year-old Australian online entrepreneur who was denied a residence permit even though his wife and their 8-month-old son are Danish citizens, the change would be welcome.

Hobbs is an unintended target of a rule that prevents Danish citizens from bringing in a foreign spouse if one of them is younger than 24. Hobbs’ wife is 23. The rule is aimed at reducing forced marriages in immigrant communities for immigration reasons.