Nevada: $540,000 allocated for special election | Reno Gazette-Journal

Nevada lawmakers have allocated up to $540,000 for the upcoming special election for the 2nd U.S. House District.

The Las Vegas Sun reported last week that the Legislature’s Interim Finance Committee unanimously approved reimbursing counties for their election costs. Lawmakers complained about drawing funds from a bank account that’s supposed to meet expenses until 2013.

Belgium: 450 days after election, still no government  |

Belgium hit a new milestone Monday — 450 days without a government — but still no one appears to be in any big hurry to resolve the situation. Europe’s financial crisis and feeble economic growth may scare governments from the Arctic Circle to the Mediterranean Sea, but in Belgium it is a sideshow. Talks on a new Belgian government, which have been going on since the June 13, 2010 election, were at a standstill Monday for a third day running.

Why? Because Green Party negotiator Jean-Michel Javaux — also the mayor of Amay, a small eastern town — had to attend a town meeting to vote on, among other things, a new police car and a computer. Prime Minister Yves Leterme, meanwhile, was on a visit Sunday to Israel, assuring its leaders that all’s well in Belgium.

But that’s not really true — intractable divisions between Belgium’s Dutch and French-speaking camps are looming over the nation. And because anything can become a linguistic spat, Belgium has had 45 governments in 67 years.

Indonesia: Govt set to verify 14 new political parties | The Jakarta Post

The Law and Human Rights Ministry will begin verifying 14 new political parties on Tuesday, ministry state administration director Asyarie Syihabudin said on Monday. “We have formed teams, each consisting of six ministry officials to be deployed to check the parties’ preparedness as general elections contestants,” he said.

The verification processes, which would see whether the parties’ administrative, human and physical resources have met the requirements set by the 2011 Political Party Law, will be conducted until Sep. 20, Asyarie said. The law, for example, requires all parties to maintain offices in all 33 provinces, 75 percent of the cities and regencies in each province and 50 percent of the districts in each city and regency.

UAE: Election stimulates interest of young Emiratis in politics | gulfnews

Despite political apathy remaining a dominant feature among young Emiratis, a growing number of youth are showing keenness to participate in the election processes and are familiarising themselves with the rules of political participation in the UAE.

Although not listed in the electoral college of the 2011 Election of the Federal National Council (FNC), a number of Emirati youth have stepped in to attend and follow the election process to learn and understand the FNC and UAE political system and prepare themselves to take part in elections in the future.

Amani Al Beloushi, 17-year-old, is one of the young Emiratis who dreams of becoming a minister in future. Although neither Amani nor her family members are part of the electoral college, she is keen to follow the election process to enable her develop her political ambitions.

Zambia: Zambia’s Political Parties Witness Printing of Ballots | VoA News

An official of Zambia’s electoral commission says political parties and other stakeholders are monitoring the printing of ballot papers for the September 20 general elections. Chris Akafuna, spokesman for the electoral body, also called on Zambians to develop what he calls trust and interest in the electoral process ahead of the vote.

Akafuna said the electoral commission has implemented measures to ensure transparent, free and fair elections. “Apart from political parties,” he said, “we have representatives of civil society, the church, and law enforcement agencies monitoring the process.”

Some opposition political parties have questioned the printing of the ballot papers in South Africa. They also accuse the electoral commission of bias, while expressing concern that the September 20 vote could be rigged in favor of President Rupiah Banda’s Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD).  But, Akafuna rejects the accusations as unfounded. “Whatever the commission does is based on the provisions of the law,” said Akafuna. “We follow procurement processes according to the Zambia Public Procurement Authority and we seek their clearance, before we go ahead [with] any procurement, and that is what we did even in this case,” said Akafuna.

Editorials: The sky didn’t fall after all | The Denver Post

There, that wasn’t so terrible, was it? Democracy didn’t sputter out when citizen volunteers were allowed to inspect — and yes, handle — ballots cast by residents of Saguache County in a recent recount of last fall’s contested results.

Unwashed barbarians did not desecrate the sanctuary of our election priesthood, as Colorado’s county clerks all but predicted earlier this year when they were denouncing the proposal. “We believe ballots are sacred,” the president of the Colorado County Clerks Association declared in commentary published in The Post, adding that “the integrity of our elections is worth fighting for.”

Yes, the integrity of our elections is worth fighting for. And that’s why the precedent in Saguache County is so important.

National: Legal Battles Loom In Fight Over Voter ID Laws | TPM

Conservative “investigative reporter” Matthew Vadum caused a real stir last week. As one of the many individuals who proselytizes about the threat of voter fraud and the need for restrictive measures to protect the ballot box, he’s generally expected to stick to a predictable script.

The argument usually goes like this: everyone should be able to vote and that voter ID isn’t supposed to make it harder for anyone to vote. Also, voter ID efforts aren’t partisan, but rather about good government, and that if you have to show your ID to buy liquor or rent a movie from Blockbuster you should have to show it to vote.

But Vadum — who wrote column upon column and even a book about the community organizing group ACORN — published a piece last week that really gave away the game, writing that groups that want to register poor people are un-American and are essentially “handing out burglary tools to criminals.”

South Carolina: Disabled say South Carolina plan for voter ID discriminates |

Advocates for people with disabilities say a plan to give free rides to South Carolina residents who need state-approved photo identification at the state Department of Motor Vehicles is discriminatory.

The (Columbia) State reported ( that Gov. Nikki Haley backs the plan to provide free rides Sept. 28. A state law would require all voters to present a state-approved photo ID at the polls. The U.S. Justice Department must sign off on the law.

New Mexico: State Cops Skip Voter File Probe | Albuquerque Journal

The State Police are not conducting a proposed criminal investigation into 64,000 irregularities in the state’s voter file, although Secretary of State Dianna Duran sent the files to the agency months ago for an inquiry.

Gorden Eden, secretary of the state Department of Public Safety, which oversees the State Police, said Friday that his agency has been acting in an “advisory” role with Duran’s office but does not have the resources to look at all 64,000 cases. He also said it is more appropriate for Duran’s office to conduct the inquiry.

“This is truly an issue, a case, that needed to be looked at by the SOS’s office,” Eden said. But Eden did not rule out a future criminal investigation, if evidence is presented that one is needed.

New Hampshire: Clerks association calls on Senate to sustain veto of ‘Voter ID’ bill |

A bill that would require people to produce government-issued photo ID to vote in the state of New Hampshire is close to dead and several groups spent the last week lobbying state lawmakers to ensure it remains that way. The state Senate is expected to vote Wednesday on whether to override Gov. John Lynch’s veto of Senate Bill 129, the so-called Voter ID Bill.

The League of Women Voters, American Association of Retired Persons and New Hampshire City and Town Clerks Association joined forces to voice objections to the bill calling on senators to sustain the veto. All three groups held a press conference on Wednesday.

Lynch vetoed the bill in June, saying it creates a real risk that voters would be denied their right to vote, adding the state has consistently high voter turnout, no voter fraud problem and strong election laws in place.

Pennsylvania: Voter ID: Is fraud really a concern at the ballot box? |

Forget life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. There is no more fundamental right in the United States than the right to vote. That is because our representative government — of the people, by the people and for the people — is the foundation of every other basic right. And that is why the voter identification proposal about to come before the Pennsylvania Senate is a bad idea in its current form.

The nationwide push for voter identification over the past decade has been led almost entirely by Republicans. Since 2003, 15 states have passed voter ID laws. Five more states have strengthened existing laws to require a photo ID. The goal, of course, is unarguable: that only duly registered U.S. citizens vote in each election.

But while the goal sounds lofty and nonpartisan, the reality is not. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, some 12 percent of Americans do not have a government-issued photo ID. However, that’s not the real story. The percentage is higher for seniors, people of color, people with disabilities and low-income voters because they are most likely to lack the underlying documentation — the ID you need to get an ID. The voters most likely to lack those IDs tend to vote Democratic.

Azerbaijan: Official says election system needs constant improvements | News.Az

It is possible to hold free, open and democratic elections in Azerbaijan. The statement came from Zeynal Nagdaliyev, head of the department for regional management and local authorities at the Azerbaijani Presidential Administration at opening of training for chairmen of district election commissions and polling stations conducted by the Central Election Commission (CEC). He emphasized the importance of the training.

‘Unlike previous years, today we can say with confidence that highly skilled professionals who each year continue to improve their sills conduct elections in the country. All this proves that it is possible to hold free, open democratic elections,’ Nagdaliyev noted.

‘The voting process in previous parliamentary elections was recognized as legal in all 125 constituencies “which is due to expertise of members of our district election commissions.

Congo: The Electoral Process Seen from the East | International Crisis Group

The technical preparations for the presidential and legislative elections scheduled on 28 November and the beginning of the electoral campaign in the East of Congo have generated suspicion that risks developing into a crisis of confidence in the whole electoral process.

Congo: The Electoral Process Seen from the East , the latest briefing from the International Crisis Group, examines voter registration and the beginning of the campaign on the ground in the Kivu provinces and the Ituri district and highlights the electoral stakes in a region that remains fundamental for durable stability in the country.

“The militiamen of the armed groups have not disturbed the voter registration process because they also need the voters’ card which serves as an ID document in the Democratic Republic of Congo”, says Marc-André Lagrange, Crisis Group’s Senior Congo Analyst. “However, the surprisingly sharp increase in the electorate the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced, lack of dialogue with the political parties and lack of verification by the voters themselves feed latent but widespread suspicions in the opposition and civil society”.

Switzerland: Vaud voters refuse to extend foreigner voting rights | swissinfo

A test case initiative in canton Vaud giving foreign residents the right to vote on cantonal issues and be elected to political office has been turned down.
Cantonal voters rejected the “Live and vote here” initiative by 68.9 per cent on Sunday. In most Swiss cantons foreign residents cannot vote at either communal or cantonal level, but a patchwork of exceptions exists.

If it had passed, the western canton would have become the first in Switzerland to give foreign residents full cantonal voting rights as well as the chance to stand for local parliament, government and cantonal Senate seats.

The initiative applied to foreigners who had lived in Switzerland for more than ten years and three years in canton Vaud. Since 2003 around 85,000 people fulfilling these requirements have been able to vote on commune level issues and to be elected to commune positions.

The Voting News Weekly: TVN Weekly August 29-September 4 2011

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="260" caption="Examining Ballots in Saguache County"][/caption]

Barbara Simons posted a report of security vulnerabilities in the Estonian Internet Voting System and the election commission of British Colombia released a discussion paper examining the possibility of internet voting in the province. After two weeks of heated debate a compromise was reached between the Ohio Secretary of State and Cuyahoga County concerning the mailing of absentee ballot applications. A New Jersey Superior Court judge ordered a new election in Fairfield Township as a result of irregularities related to the Sequoia Advantage voting system. Continuing his efforts to disenfranchise student voters, Maine GOP Chairman Charlie Webster suggested that paying taxes should be a prerequisite for voting for students. A recount of ballots from the last year’s controversial election in Saguache County Colorado got underway and South Carolina’s Voter ID legislation is on hold pending a review by the Department of Justice.

The Voting News Daily: County, state officials reach resolution in Ohio battle over absentee ballot applications, Dick Durbin To Chair Hearing Examining Voter ID Laws

Ohio: County, state officials reach resolution in Ohio battle over absentee ballot applications | The Republic Ohio will mail absentee ballot request forms to voters in all counties ahead of the 2012 presidential election, settling a dispute between the state’s top election official and the leader of the state’s largest county. As part of the…

National: Dick Durbin To Chair Hearing Examining Voter ID Laws | TPM

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) will chair a hearing next week examining the rash of voter ID laws passed by state legislatures this year amidst concerns that such laws could suppress Democratic turnout across the country.

Durbin, who chairs the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, announced Friday that the Sept. 8 hearing will feature testimony from Judith Brown Dianis, the co-director of the Advancement Project; Loyola Law School Professor Justin Levittl; and former Bush-era Justice Department official Hans van Spakovsky, who’s now with the Heritage Foundation. It’s titled “New State Voting Laws – Barriers to the Ballot?”

Canada: Concern over security of online voting | Times Colonist

Internet voting could make it more convenient to cast a ballot in an election, but it is also riskier than the current in-person voting system, according to a new report from the province’s elections agency. While there may be increasing public pressure to modernize B.C.’s voting process with online voting, it’s up to provincial politicians to balance the security risks that keep ballots safe and confidential, Elections B.C. said in a discussion paper released this week.

“With the current state of technology, Internet voting is considered to be less effective than traditional, in-person and postal voting methods at protecting ballots against large-scale fraud, ensuring the secrecy of the vote, and providing a fully transparent and observable process that can be effectively audited,” the independent elections agency wrote in its paper.

“Because specialized computer skills are required to observe an Internet voting process, voters would have to delegate their trust to ‘experts’ to confirm that the election is conducted properly.”

Canada: Still a lot of challenges with online voting: Elections BC | News1130

Many cities have been calling for online voting to be available during elections starting in 2014, but that may be a lofty goal.

discussion paper from Elections BC says there are still a ton of kinks that need to be worked out. The main issue is still security, and UBC internet security expert Richard Rosenberg agrees: “The widespread use of online voting is a long way off as it has been for several years now. It’s very difficult to ensure the systems in use are accurate and haven’t been compromised either accidentally… or on purpose.”

Ohio: County, state officials reach resolution in Ohio battle over absentee ballot applications | The Republic

Ohio will mail absentee ballot request forms to voters in all counties ahead of the 2012 presidential election, settling a dispute between the state’s top election official and the leader of the state’s largest county.

As part of the agreement announced Friday, Cuyahoga County officials agreed not to send out unsolicited mailings for absentee ballots for this year’s general election.

Cuyahoga County officials in Cleveland had threatened to defy Secretary of State Jon Husted’s order barring county elections boards from mailing the unsolicited applications. The county’s council earlier in the week authorized mailings to all registered voters. That led to a meeting Thursday in Columbus where Husted, a Republican, and Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald, a Democrat, worked out the compromise.

Ohio: Rep. Marcia Fudge says state-approved voter legislation will unfairly invalidate some ballots | PolitiFact Ohio

A sweeping election reform bill the GOP-controlled Ohio legislature recently passed has stirred widespread opposition. Democrats have even called it the Voter Suppression Bill. In that spirit, opponents have initiated an effort to repeal the law, House Bill 194, through a voter referendum.

U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge, a Democrat from Warrensville Heights, sent an email to her supporters on Aug. 22 asking for help collecting the 231,147 valid signatures of registered voters required to put the law on the ballot in November 2012. The signatures must be submitted by Sept. 29 or the law will take effect.

In her email, Fudge laid out several changes the bill makes that she opposes. “HB 194, the Voter Suppression Bill, invalidates a vote where a voter properly marks the ballot in support of a particular candidate, but also writes in the name of that same candidate,” Fudge wrote. Invalidating a vote, especially when the voter’s intent is clear, definitely is an issue worth examining. So PolitiFact Ohio decided to check Fudge’s claim as she pushes for the law’s repeal.

Pennsylvania: Parsing out ineligibles in the voter ID numbers war |

The Pennsylvania Department of State is touting that only one percent of eligible voters in the commonwealth do not have the government-issued photo identification they would need if there were a law requiring all voters to show such ID at the polls.

That figure may not be above reproach.

The Department of State came to its conclusion by using data from PennDOT, which issues driver’s licenses and non-driver photo ID.  PennDOT provided the number of IDs it has for all Pennsylvanians who are 18 or older. Checked against a national survey of eligible voters, it would appear that only one percent of eligible voters in Pennsylvania don’t have ID.  But Jan McKnight, of PennDOT’s Safety Administration, said the number it reported to the Department of State does not pertain only to eligible voters.

Connecticut: Judge orders Mary-Jane Foster on Bridgeport mayoral primary ballot | Connecticut Post

Mary-Jane Foster is back in the running for mayor after a Superior Court judge Friday overturned the rejection of her slate for the primary, the latest twist in what has been a tumultuous Democratic primary campaign. In a 34-page decision, Judge Barbara Bellis threw out Foster’s candidates for the Board of Education based on the state’s takeover of the city’s school system.

The judge then ordered that the Sept. 13 Democratic primary be postponed to Sept. 27 so that Foster can restart her campaign against Mayor Bill Finch.

Bellis found that the interplay of state and city statutes that Democratic Registrar of Voters Santa Ayala had relied on to deny Foster a ballot spot was confusing and ambiguous and that the Foster campaign had made every reasonable effort to follow the law.

Indiana: Friday hearing set for ballot lawsuit | Palladium-Item

Local political leaders are hoping for a quick legal decision in their efforts to stop the Wayne County clerk from dropping unopposed candidates from the ballot this fall. County Clerk Jo Ann Stewart is following amended Indiana Code 3-10-6-7.5 in striking the names of unopposed candidates for Richmond Common Council in the Nov. 8 election.

The code reads in part, “An election may not be held for a municipal office if: There is only one nominee for the office or only one person has filed a declaration of intent to be a write-in candidate under IC 3-8-2-2.5.” The law took effect July 1.

Wayne County Democrats and Republicans filed an injunction Thursday to stop the names of unopposed candidates — Democrat Kelley Cruse-Nicholson in District 2, Republican Clay Miller in District 4 and Republican Larry Parker in District 6 — from being eliminated from the ballot.

Oklahoma: Election Commission discusses Freedmen decision | Cherokee Phoenix

The Cherokee Nation Election Commission held a special meeting on Aug. 30, and due to pending lawsuits, it’s still undetermined whether Cherokee Freedmen will be eligible to vote in the Sept. 24 principal chief election.

CN Attorney General Diane Hammons was in attendance at the meeting, and she said a hearing in the Freedmen matter is slated for Sept. 20 in federal court. The filing period for the plaintiffs of the Freedmen lawsuit is Sept. 2, and the CN has 10 days to respond and five days for a reply, Hammons said.

Cherokee Freedman William Austin of Muskogee attended the EC meeting and asked how he and other Freedmen would be notified whether they will be allowed to vote or not. “When you get your ballot, if you get one,” EC attorney Lloyd Cole replied.


Afghanistan: Under Guard, Lawmakers Are Sworn In in Kabul |

The speaker of Parliament on Saturday swore in eight of nine new members reinstated last month by the country’s election commission, as hundreds of police armed with riot gear and machine guns blocked the entrance to the building to keep out members who had been replaced by the commission’s ruling.

The sedate swearing-in ceremony was witnessed by only a few dozen Parliament members. Dozens more, however, stood outside in solidarity with the ousted members, in a sign of a widening rift within Parliament, which up to now had appeared mostly unified against President Hamid Karzai’s efforts to reshape the legislature.

A spokesman for the president denied that he had ordered extra police officers to block the ousted members, saying that police officials had decided on their own that the extra force was necessary to prevent irate lawmakers from entering the building with guns. But supporters of the nine disqualified members took it as a signal of the president’s willingness to use force to impose the panel’s decision.

Seychelles: Seychelles election time: new party, new game? |

With the general election just a few weeks away now, Seychelles politics are set to change as a new political party, the Popular Democratic Party, is entering the main arena of an election fight for the first time. Long-time opposition leader, Wavel Ramkalawan, following his significant defeat in the May presidential elections, virtually threw in the towel soon afterwards, and in an act of defiance, seems to have propelled his own party, the SNP, into the abyss, too.

First refusing to take part in the declaration of election results, he then went on to stop attending parliamentary proceedings and compelling his party’s assembly members to follow his example, culminating in his declaration that the SNP, as if a piece of personal property, would not participate in the next round of parliamentary elections at all. This resulted in taking the one major opposition to the ruling party, LEPEP, out of the equation, this did not go down well with many of his followers who now doubt not only his wisdom but his rationale and motive.

Liberia: Liberian voters reject all 4 proposed constitutional changes; presidential poll set for Oct. | The Washington Post

Liberia’s National Elections Commission says voters rejected all four proposed changes to the constitution in a recent referendum in the West African nation.

Commission co-chairwoman Elizabeth Nelson said Wednesday that none of the four propositions got the two-thirds majority needed to pass. The commission says 600,000 people voted. The main opposition party boycotted last week’s poll.

Ecuador: Observation Missions in Peru and Ecuador Extolled Efficiency and Progress in Electoral Processes |

During the Council session, held at OAS headquarters, the Organization’s Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza, remarked that “the electoral process in all of our countries is increasingly more normal and increasingly more transparent,” making special reference to the elections in Peru and Ecuador, and added that the OAS is “very proud to be a part of this process, in which more and more people want to participate.”

According to the report, the EOM that followed the second round of general elections in Peru was composed of 73 observers, 21 from Member States and 7 from Observer States, deployed throughout the Peruvian territory. The report indicates that the observation work was based on a sample designed to collect significant data about voter behavior.

In his presentation, the Chief of Mission, Ambassador Dante Caputo, asserted that “it is very difficult to write the account of this second round because things went very well in Peru,” while highlighting the normalcy of the conditions during the elections. “I cannot tell you about any incidents or violent acts or abnormalities because, simply, they did not happen,” he said, concluding that “electoral democracy is evolving and Peru is a good example of what Latin America is doing in this field.”