Maine: Former secretary of state says fraud allegations dealt with years ago | Bangor Daily News

Former Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap asserted Monday that allegations of possible voter and identity fraud made last week by current Secretary of State Charlie Summers were resolved several years ago, shortly after they first surfaced. Dunlap said Summers would have learned that fact had he simply called him before gathering reporters and television cameras last Thursday to announce a broad investigation.

“I wish he had talked to me first,” Dunlap said in an interview Monday. “A little bit of homework prior to the press conference might have canceled the press conference.”

During that event, Summers referenced as the basis for his investigation a July 1 conversation with a Bureau of Motor Vehicles employee who expressed concerns about “noncitizens” trying to register to vote. The employee told Summers that she had brought her concerns to the Secretary of State’s Office under previous administrations and was told to disregard the activity. She also said she was advised to destroy evidence she had collected to support those claims.

Wisconsin: Proposal would mean more communication from state about free voter IDs | Superior Telegram

The Department of Transportation (DOT) would be required to be more upfront that ID’s required for voting are free, under a bill being circulated by a Democratic state lawmaker.

Normally, an ID would cost $28 dollars. But for those people who just need an ID for voting purposes, it’s free under the new voter ID law. But Democratic Sen. Lena Taylor of Milwaukee says the law is still causing confusion for voters.

“You can do this, but you can’t do that. You’ve got to jump through this hoop and not that hoop,” says Taylor. “I just want to make sure that the DOT is doing the piece that complements so that the concept of whether or not you need to have an ID and whether or not you need to pay for it, that there is no confusion.”

Ohio: Election law foes fail hurdle in repeal effort | AP/21 News

Ohio’s attorney general has rejected language that opponents of the state’s new election law had wanted to use in their effort to have parts of the measure overturned.

The decision is a setback for opponents. They need Attorney General Mike DeWine’s approval before they can begin gathering the roughly 231,000 valid signatures needed by Sept. 29 to suspend the parts of the law until voters can decide in 2012 whether to keep or repeal them. DeWine said Monday the summary from the group Fair Elections Ohio did not describe the legislation accurately or fairly.

Oklahoma: Cherokee Nation special chief’s election set Sept. 24 | Tahlequah Daily Press

The Cherokee Nation’s special election for principal chief has been set for Saturday, Sept. 24. The date, set by Principal Chief Chad Smith according to tribal law, should allow ample time for tribal citizens to participate. Candidates for the special election are incumbent Smith, a three-term principal chief; and challenger Bill John Baker, a three-term tribal councilor.

The special election is the result of the CN Supreme Court’s ruling that vacated the results of the June 25 election, in which both Smith and Baker filed lawsuits. The court vacated the results of the election on Thursday, June 21, stating it was impossible to determine the results with any mathematical certainty. Cherokee Nation law indicates, in such cases, a special election must be called by the principal chief “as soon as practical.”

Mississippi: Election Officials Prepare for Primaries |

In many Mississippi counties, including Lauderdale, several races will be decided in the primaries Tuesday. So Aug. 2 could be even busier than the Nov. 8 general election. It’s all up to party officials and volunteers to make sure everything is ready for voters from the poll boxes to the paperwork. The hours before election day are always full of last minute details.

“We are packing the boxes that will go out to each of the polling places for Republicans,” said David Stevens, Lauderdale County GOP chairman. “Trying to make sure we have poll workers. Someone always gets sick or falls down, so we are just making sure those gaps are filled so we will be able to take care of the voters when they show up at the polls.”

Louisiana: Secretary of state’s office unveils 110 new absentee vote counters |

Secretary of State Tom Schedler’s office began training parish election officials Monday on how to use new digitized absentee vote-counting machines that will be used for the first time in the Oct. 22 statewide elections. The state will be using new equipment to record absentee ballots in the Oct. 22 elections.

Commissioner of Elections Angie Rogers said the new machines will speed the process of counting absentee ballots by local officials on election night and will feed into the secretary of state’s system which also includes early voting and election day totals. Rogers said that the state bought 110 new scanners and updated its laptop computers  with $2.5 million in federal Help America Vote Act dollars. She  said no state money was used in the purchase.

Arizona: Voter registration website back online | Tucson Sentinel

Arizona’s voter registration website is back online, an evening release from the Department of Transportation said. The website had been down throughout business hours on the last day to register before the state’s Aug. 30 primary elections. Voter have until midnight Monday to register using the online system, including changing addresses.

If you’re not registered to vote for this month’s primary election, you’ll have to sign up in person. The state’s EZ Voter website was down Monday, the deadline to register, a spokesman for the Secretary of State’s office said. Due to storms in Phoenix on Sunday night, the state’s online voter registration system will be unavailable for a undetermined period, said Matthew Roberts, a spokesman for Secretary of State Ken Bennett. Monday is the last day to register for the Aug. 30 primary.

Colorado: Saguache residents gear up to recall Myers | Center Post Dispatch

The Committee to Recall Melinda Myers as Saguache County Clerk and Recorder intended to file petitions Aug. 1 with the clerk’s office for approval. The committee is also seeking to ensure that the Board of County Commissioners follows the requirements of the statutes and hires another county clerk in order to guarantee the election is conducted in compliance with the state election code.

In their statement of grounds for recall, the group cites gross negligence on the part of Myers in fulfilling her sworn duties as Clerk and Recorder. It has been documented by the Secretary of State’s 2010 report and the statewide grand jury’s report that Myers admitted under oath that she failed in her responsibilities to the citizens of Saguache County, responsibilities that she also acknowledged under oath were hers. The conclusion of the grand jury report includes the statement: “Clerk Myers and her staff committed the violations in this report.”

Liberia: Opposition Party Challenges Electoral Commission’s Neutrality | VoA News

In Liberia, the main opposition Congress for Democratic Change party is boycotting this month’s constitutional referendum, in part, because it questions the neutrality of Electoral Commission chairman James Fromayan, a long-time supporter of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

Fromayan says he set aside party affiliation on taking charge of the electoral commission and could not influence the outcome of a vote even if he wanted to, because results are read out at each polling station. “I can’t add one or subtract one from whatever result that comes because people will notice it,” Fromayan said. “They already know, have the results, sometimes they have the results before we can come to announce it.”

Malaysia: Government, Election Commission To Discuss Need For Constitution Amendment To Enable Students Abroad To Vote – Najib | Bernama

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the government will discuss with the Election Commission on whether there is a need to amend the Federal Constitution to allow Malaysian students abroad to vote.

“If there is a need to allow students studying abroad to vote, we will look into it and discuss with the Election Commission,” he said in response to a question raised by a student during a dialogue at the 5th Annual Malaysian Student Leaders Summit here today, after delivering his closing speech.

“We have to get a two-thirds majority before such an amendment can take place. We will look into it and maybe get the support from the opposition for the two-third majority,” he said. He said the government was committed to electoral reforms and addressing the issue of phantom voters, and that one of the steps taken was to introduce the biometric system.

Burkina Faso: New vote body set up amid tensions | AFP

Burkina Faso installed Monday a new election commission after the previous one was dismissed amid criticism over November elections that handed President Blaise Compaore a large victory. The newly composed Independent National Electoral Commission will have to organise next year’s municipal and legislative elections amid unprecedented tensions which have seen military mutinies and other unrest this year.

“We are a bit late as regards the elections so we are going to immediately … get to work,” the new head of the 15-member commission, Barthelemy Kere, told reporters. This would start with proposing a timetable for the elections due next year.

The Voting News Daily: Latest counterfeit IDs are so good they’re dangerous, Does Florida’s new election law make it harder for some to register to vote?

National: Latest counterfeit IDs are so good they’re dangerous | The Washington Post When the fleeing motorcycle hit the curb, scraped past a utility pole and hurled 20-year-old Craig Eney to his death, a bogus South Carolina driver’s license was in the hip pocket of his jeans. He spent the final hours of his life trading…

National: Latest counterfeit IDs are so good they’re dangerous | The Washington Post

When the fleeing motorcycle hit the curb, scraped past a utility pole and hurled 20-year-old Craig Eney to his death, a bogus South Carolina driver’s license was in the hip pocket of his jeans. He spent the final hours of his life trading on that phony license to buy shots for his buddies at two downtown Annapolis bars, places so popular among underage drinkers that bouncers are stationed outside to check everyone’s ID. Yet scores of young people flash fake driver’s licenses and waltz on by to the bar.

The days when faking driver’s licenses was a cottage industry — often practiced in college dorm rooms by a computer geek with a laminating machine — have given way to far more sophisticated and prolific practitioners who operate outside the reach of U.S. law enforcement.

In an era when terrorism and illegal immigration have transformed driver’s licenses into sophisticated mini-documents festooned with holograms and bar codes, beating the system has never been easier. Just wire money to “the Chinese guy.”

Florida: Does new election law make it harder for some to register to vote? | Palm Beach Post

Secretary of State Kurt Browning has asked a federal court to approve Florida’s new election law, sidestepping the U.S. Justice Department on the most controversial portions of the voting overhaul approved by the GOP-dominated legislature in May.

Critics of the new law say it is designed to make registering to vote and casting ballots more difficult for minorities and low-income voters, who tend to vote Democratic. The ACLU and other groups are challenging the law in federal court in Miami. Jesse Jackson held rallies in Florida this week protesting the law.

On Friday, Browning withdrew four portions of the law – including those being challenged in federal court – from the application the state filed in June with the Department of Justice.

New Mexico: Secretary of State Dianna Duran ruffles feathers |

Dianna Duran, New Mexico’s secretary of State who took office in January, sounded a tad pugnacious in March when she reported that 117 foreign nationals with phony Social Security numbers had registered to vote and 37 had cast ballots in elections. There was, she said, “a culture of corruption” in the state.

Duran, who had ordered her staff to check 1.16 million voter registration records against motor vehicle and Social Security databases, also raised eyebrows by referring 64,000 voter registration records to the state police, citing irregularities.

No one has been charged with a crime, and Duran, a former Republican state senator and county clerk, has since taken fire from Democratic legislators, public interest groups and news organizations that say she has overstated her case, scared voters and withheld proof of her claims.

California: State vote-by-mail action taken in stride locally | Ukiah Daily Journal

The state’s plan to cut out reimbursement to counties for vote-by-mail ballots won’t affect Mendocino County much, according to Registrar of Voters Sue Ranochak. The state Legislature passed a bill in its 2011-12 budget that aims to save $33 million by suspending state mandates that require counties to process voter registration applications received by mail and to send vote-by-mail ballots to voters who apply for them, among other mandates suspended.

Secretary of State Debra Bowen opposes the suspensions, saying they could cause confusion and disenfranchise voters, and Ranochak concurs, along with about 45 other counties represented at a recent meeting. “I’m going to follow what the secretary of state recommends,” Ranochak said. “It’s important that people vote.”

Not that the suspensions change much for Mendocino County, according to Ranochak. She explained that the county pays all costs up front for each election, then waits for reimbursement from the state, which can take anywhere from six months to two years.

Wisconsin: Robocalls arouse suspicion with bad election date | LaCrosse Tribune

A round of automated phone calls urging residents of the 32nd Senate District to vote one week after the upcoming recall election has voters from both parties crying foul. Several voters reported receiving calls Saturday asking about their preference and likelihood to vote in the recall election pitting Republican Sen.
Dan Kapanke against Democratic Rep. Jennifer Shilling, both of La Crosse.

The recorded calls, recipients said, urged them to vote Aug. 16. Only one problem: The 32nd District votes on Aug. 9.

Government Account -ability Board spokesman Reid Magney said the Democratic National Committee called election officials Friday saying they initiated the calls but stopped them Saturday once the incorrect date was discovered. The DNC did not respond to requests for comment Friday.
There are two recall elections set for Aug. 16 in other districts.

Maine: Election Day registration supporters battle opponents’ stagecraft | Sun Journal

Supporters of a people’s veto campaign to restore Election Day voter registration were obviously concerned when Secretary of State Charlie Summers announced last Wednesday that he was holding a news conference to discuss what his office described as “preliminary findings regarding voter fraud allegations.”

The group’s anxiety was partially attributable to fears that Summers may have discovered voting impropriety within Republican Party Chairman Charlie Webster’s mysterious — some say dubious — list of 206 out-of-state college students. But more worrisome to the coalition was the scene that unfolded the next day in Summers’ office.

A throng of television cameras, radio and print reporters awaited his remarks. Supporters of same-day voter registration knew that visuals of Summers in his office would appear on that night’s newscasts, that afternoon’s newspaper websites and in print the next day.

Nevada: North Las Vegas mayor: Ward 4 election challenge has cost city $100,000-plus | Las Vegas Sun

North Las Vegas Major Shari Buck is not happy with the ongoing legal battle for the Ward 4 Council seat occupied by Wade Wagner. She expressed her disappointment in how the election was handled by former councilman Richard Cherchio in a statement Friday.

“It is unfortunate that Richard Cherchio and his team have chosen to pursue phantoms and unresolved emotions by searching for nonexistent ‘problematic’ votes as they prepare to mount a feckless legal challenge. These actions have cost the taxpayers of North Las Vegas over $100,000 so far, which could have been used to mitigate layoffs. That cost continues to rise.”

Financially, the city is in a bind. It still has a $6.1 million gap in its 2012 budget and may have to lay off 35 to 40 non-public safety employees to save about $4.1 million.

Indonesia: Election violence leaves 21 dead in Indonesia | Australia Network News

Indonesian police say 21 people have died in election-related violence in Papua. Clashes between hundreds of supporters of rival election candidates killed 17 people and injured dozens in remote Puncak district on Sunday.

Local police chief Alex Korwa Armed says they were armed with machetes, rocks and arrows and the mobs torched houses and cars. He says dozens of extra police and soldiers have been sent to secure the area and the situation is tense but under control.

The recently created district, which is only accessible by plane, is scheduled to hold its first local elections on November the 9th.

Thailand: Parliament to Open as Thaksin’s Sister Set for Premiership | San Francisco Chronicle

Thailand’s Parliament will open today for the first time since Yingluck Shinawatra’s Pheu Thai party won a majority last month, paving the way for lawmakers to select her as the country’s first female prime minister.

The Election Commission has certified all but four of 500 winning candidates in the July 3 vote, discarding complaints aiming to thwart the sister of exiled former leader Thaksin Shinawatra from taking power. Court rulings and a coup have overturned three previous Thaksin election wins since 2005.

“They won a landslide so it will be easier to manage the country,” said Suwat Bumrungchartudom, an analyst at Bangkok- based Bualuang Securities Pcl. “The coalition is quite solid. The question now is whether they can follow through on their commitments before the election.”

India: Gujarat panchayat poll: Ballot boxes back in fashion | DNA India

The State Election Commission (SEC) may have encouraged online voting during the municipal elections but it is going back to ballots and boxes for the polls to be held in more than 11,000 gram panchayats later this year.

Sources in the SEC indicated that the commission doesn’t have enough electronic voting machines (EVMs) to conduct the gram panchayat elections. “The commission is considering various options to conduct the elections and has not yet taken a final decision. There are not enough EVMs in the state to hold elections in more than 11,000 gram panchayats of Gujarat,” an official said. The official further said that there are currently around 40,000 EVMs in the state which can be used to conduct the gram panchayat elections.

Sri Lanka: Plans to introduce electronic voting in Sri Lanka |

Fanning the flame of speculation regarding an electronic voting system for Sri Lankans, Presidential Secretary Lalith Weeratunga publicly stated last week that the Government planned to introduce such a system in a bid to promote “democratic engagement” among citizens.

Making this comment as the keynote speaker at a recent event on electronic governance, the two-day FutureGov Forum Sri Lanka 2011, which was held in Colombo; he also asserted that the “whole idea of expediting government processes is to save time of citizens.

It also saves time for the public servant. The additional time available for citizens can be therefore spent productively – to engage with family members, community and voluntary work and more importantly, to live a contented life, the dream of every human being.”

Guyana: Electoral Assistance Bureau gearing up to monitor 2011 polls | Demerara Waves

The Electoral Assistance Bureau (EAB) says it has launched a programme to monitor Guyana’s general and regional elections due later this year.

A release from the EAB’s Council of Management on Friday stated that they would be testing the voters’ list and providing hotline and open house services to individuals wishing to check their names on the list or report any irregularities.

Additionally, the NGO will be conducting public awareness, training and placing observers at all polling stations to observe the polling process, and monitoring the count and award of seats to the National Assembly.

Thailand: Two re-elections, one recount, same results | Bangkok Post

Two MPs-elect who had been handed yellow cards by the Election Commission for vote-buying offences in the July 3 national poll retained their seats in a re-election yesterday, while a third victory was confirmed following a recount.

The two yellow-carded politicians were Pheu Thai’s Somkid Banthaisong of Nong Khai Constituency 2 and the Bhumjaithai Party’s Chakkrawan Chaiwiratnukul of Sukhothai’s Constituency 3. Meanwhile, Democrat Abdulkarim Dengrakina was the recipient of an even bigger victory following the recount in his Yala Constituency 2.

Mr Somkid, who was yellow-carded for buying votes in the general election, defeated his Chart Pattana Puea Pandin Party rival candidate Pitak Sitabutr again. The Nong Khai Election Commission Office announced unofficial results that Mr Somkid received 46,403 votes, while Mr Pitak won 10,726. In the previous poll, Mr Somkid won 45,927 votes.

Malaysia: Electoral reforms soon, says Malaysia PM Najib | Straits Times

The Government is committed to electoral reforms and ensuring that parliamentary democracy is forever maintained, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

‘I am committed to electoral reform. We will undertake it. For example, there are concerns about phantom voters. We will ensure there is no chance for phantom voters,’ he said at the fifth annual Malaysian Student Leaders Summit here on Sunday.

eSwatini: Civil society opts to form transitional govt | SABCNews

Civil organisations and pro-democracy organisations in Swaziland have resolved to form a transitional government ahead of the 2013 National Government elections. This is after a three day convention aimed at finding possible ways to engage government on political discussions, held at Ezulwini in Mababane.

Civil organisations met to discuss solutions on the political situation in Swaziland. They want the state to consider a multi-party democracy. “It has always been our desire to achieve full democracy and human rights in accordance with the United Nations declaration on human rights,” said Civil Society Organisations Bishop Meshack Mabuza.

The Voting News Weekly: TVN Weekly July 25-31 2011

Getting at Voter Id at the Wisconsin DMV
Getting at Voter Id at the Wisconsin DMV

The Maine GOP chairman accused university students of committing a felony for voting in the state while paying out-of-state tuition though the University residency requirements are entirely unrelated to the residency requirements for voting in the State. A Wisconsin mother filmed her son’s effort to obtain a voter ID from the DMV and discovered that sufficient bank activity has apparently become a prerequisite for the right to vote. And finding a DMV office in Wisconsin in order to prove that sufficient bank activity will become more difficult – at least in some areas – under Governor Walker’s new plan. Budget cuts in California are threatening county election offices’ ability to mail absentee ballots. India’s pilot of voter verified paper audit trail printers encountered problems. The North Carolina House fell five votes short of overriding Governor Perdue’s veto of a voter ID requirement. Kentucky legislators consider whether a fixed address is required before exercising the right to vote and a proposed internet poll for Presidential candidates fails to consider the evidence of past experiments with online voting.

The Voting News Daily: Turning away college students in Maine, Democrats in Congress urge the Justice Department to look into new, GOP-authored voter ID laws

Editorials, Maine: Turning away college students | Bangor Daily News Here’s a great economic development strategy for the oldest state in the nation — treat college-educated young people as pariahs. Rather than encourage these people to begin to put down roots and get involved in the local community, ensure that you are as unwelcoming as…