Editorials: Sen. Finney: Voter ID law needless ploy to disenfranchise voters | The Daily News Journal

It is a little over a year until the 2012 elections, and you’re eligible to vote for the first time. Maybe you’ve moved to another county, or maybe you haven’t voted in a while and need to know your precinct. You call your local election office, where someone tells you that you will need a photo ID to vote. You learn that you’ll need several pieces of documentation to prove your identity in order to receive the ID.

If you live in any of the 54 counties — yes, 54! — where there is no drivers license center, you’ll have to travel to a neighboring county to get the ID. Unfortunately, this will be the new norm.

Since coming to the Senate in 2007, each year my fellow Democrats and I have opposed efforts to place barriers between voters and the polling booth. Earlier this year, the Republican majority passed a law requiring photo identification to vote, despite warnings that it would hurt thousands of voters and potentially cost the state millions in federal lawsuits.

Oklahoma: Cherokee Nation commissioners mull election issues | Tahlequah Daily Press

The Cherokee Nation Election Commission decided Tuesday morning to delay filling a vacancy created by the resignation of former Chairman Roger Johnson. The EC opted to instead wait until after tribe’s attorney general issues opinions on the upcoming special election for principal chief, and a rules committee and special tribal council meeting have been held over the next two weeks.

Three of the four commissioners – Patsy Eads-Morton, Brenda Walker and Curtis Rohr – met with commission attorney Lloyd Cole Tuesday. Martha Calico was absent, but only three commissioners are needed to make a quorum.

Maine: Portland Prepares for Voting Experiment in Crowded Mayoral Race | MPBN

This November, Portland is undertaking a type of voting never tried in Maine before. Its next mayor will be chosen by a process by which voters rank their choices in the order of preference. But that could be quite the task for both the voters and the city officials preparing for the election, given a crowded field of candidates. It now stands at 19 with former state senator Ethan Strimling announcing his bid for mayor today.

… With a vigilant eye on the growing roster of candidates, the city is planning voter education workshops with the League of Women Voters ahead of the Nov. 8 election. And it’s prepared to sign a contract this week with a DC-based election balloting company called True Ballot, which has experience with ranked-choice voting.

“We want to identify any of the possible pitfalls and avoid any kind of voter confusion on the day of the election,” says city spokeswoman Nicole Clegg. Clegg says that if someone gets a simple majority of first choice votes–that’d be 50 percent plus 1 vote–the person wins.

Oregon: How Wu vacancy would get filled | kgw.com

Under Oregon law, Gov. John Kitzhaber calls for a special election to replace a member of Congress. His spokeswoman Christine Miles said he was still reviewing the procedures Tuesday and would outline the election parameters when a review was completed.

Complicating that review is the fact that U.S. Rep David Wu, while announcing his intent to resign, has not officially done so. Nor has he specified a date, other than sometime after the debt ceiling vote in Congress has taken place.

Mexico: Making It Easier to Vote Abroad | New America Media

Beginning Oct. 1, Mexican nationals abroad will be able to register to vote for the 2012 Mexican presidential election. Mexicans living outside their country will only need two documents to vote: their application and a photocopy of their voter ID card issued by the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE).

In an effort to better facilitate foreign voter registration, the IFE General Council owill allow Mexican nationals to register their address outside Mexico without any other documents. The same address will be where voter ballots will be mailed to.

Kyrgyzstan: Committee to Protect Journalists urges Kyrgyzstan’s Central Election Commission to allow news agencies to participate in the elections coverage | eng.24.kg

The Committee to Protect Journalists urges the Central Election Commission of Kyrgyzstan to allow news agencies to participate in the elections coverage.

“Banning any news media from covering a crucial event such as an election is unbecoming of any country that aspires to be regarded as a democracy,” the Europe and Central Asia program coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists, Nina Ognianova, told 24.kg news agency commenting on the CEC Decision to deprive local news agencies of an accreditation.

Zambia: Government Printers didn’t bid to print ballots-ECZ | Lusaka Times

The Electoral Commission of Zambia outsourced the printing of ballot papers for this year’s elections because the Government Printing Department (GP) required about K44 billion to be equipped for the job. This is against the K1 billion which is in the budget.

ECZ director Priscilla Isaac said in a statement yesterday that K43,897,966,174 is needed to fully equip the department to carry out the job.
She said the commission was left with no alternative but to outsource the printing of the ballot papers. Ms Isaac said the tender was advertised in daily newspapers for a period of four weeks and it closed on April 29, 2011, but the Government Printing Department did not apply despite being free to do so.

Botswana: National Front Youth League backs opposition cooperation | The Monitor

The Botswana National Front Youth League (BNFYL) has said it supports the opposition cooperation involving the BNF, Botswana Congress Party (BCP), Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) and Botswana Peoples Party (BPP), but warned that the parties should be cautious to ensure the project succeeds.

In a report to the just ended BNF conference held in Tsabong, which has been leaked to The Monitor, BNFYL president Kagiso Ntime, who read it, told the BNF faithful his league, gives a thumbs-up to the opposition cooperation project, also indicating that it has been a few steps ahead of the mother body in that it worked in concert with other opposition parties’ youth leagues and even sponsored a resolution at the BNF congress in Mochudi last year calling for cooperation talks with other parties.

Thailand: Election Commission certifies enough MPs to hold House session -| Shanghai Daily | 上海日报

The Election Commission of Thailand (EC) on Wednesday certified the status of 94 more MPs, allowing the House of Representatives to have enough MPs to hold its first session to select prime minister. EC Secretary-General Suthipol Taweechaikarn said at press conference on Wednesday evening that the EC committee resolved to certify MP status of 94 more MPs, that was elected on the general election on July 3, making the number of certified MPs to 496 of 500 or more than 95 percent of the House seats.

According to the Thai Constitution, 95 percent of MPs, or 475 out of 500, must be endorsed before the first meeting of the Lower House of Parliament is able to take place within 30 days from the election date.

The MPs who were certified Wednesday included anti-establishment “red-shirt” core leader and Pheu Thai MP Nattawut Saikua who was jailed for about nine months for terrorism charge after the “red- shirt” demonstration ended in May last year.

The Voting News Daily: North Carolina House falls short of canceling governor’s veto of photo identification mandate, GOP’s state-by-state crusade to disenfranchise voters

North Carolina: House falls short of canceling governor’s veto of photo identification mandate for voters | The Republic Republican lawmakers failed Tuesday to override a veto by Gov. Beverly Perdue that would have required voters to show photo identification before casting an in-person ballot. The House voted 67-52 in favor of the override, five votes short…

North Carolina: North Carolina House falls short of canceling governor’s veto of photo identification mandate for voters | The Republic

Republican lawmakers failed Tuesday to override a veto by Gov. Beverly Perdue that would have required voters to show photo identification before casting an in-person ballot. The House voted 67-52 in favor of the override, five votes short of what’s needed to move it to the Senate.

Republicans argued the photo ID mandate would discourage voter fraud. Democrats said the requirement is unnecessary because reports of fraud are few and that it would only lead to voter suppression, particularly older people, minorities and women.

The override question spurred passionate debate about voting in an era in which citizens show identification to enter government buildings or get on an airplane but only a half-century since blacks in the Jim Crow-era South were discouraged from voting because of the color of their skin.

Editorials: The GOP’s state-by-state crusade to disenfranchise voters | The Washington Post

With only a week left before the United States of America could default on its debt, it’s easy to look at the federal government and wonder how we ever made it this far. Who would have guessed that a committed gang of extremists could bring down the economy? And yet, that’s where we find ourselves today, cornered by a manufactured crisis and running out of time. As Larry Sabato rightly tweeted over the weekend, “For anybody who teaches the American system and believes in it, this has been an extremely discouraging week.”

Unfortunately, the assault on our democracy is not confined to Congress or the standoff over the debt ceiling. It is also seeping into the states, where voting rights — the fundamental underpinning of any democracy — are being curbed and crippled.

In states across the country, Republican legislatures are pushing through laws that make it more difficult for Americans to vote. The most popular include new laws requiring voters to bring official identification to the polls. Estimates suggest that more than 1 in 10 Americans lack an eligible form of ID, and thus would be turned away at their polling location. Most are minorities and young people, the most loyal constituencies of the Democratic Party.

Wisconsin: The Next Step in Wisconsin’s Disenfranchisement Agenda | Campus Progress

If there has been any doubt regarding the intent behind this year’s upsurge in voter ID legislation, Governor Scott Walker’s latest move leaves little room to question the conservative disenfranchisement agenda, at least in the state of Wisconsin. In what seems like a blatant attempt to lessen the accessibility of photo identification, Governor Walker’s administration has announced the closure of sixteen DMV centers throughout the state – for “economic” purposes.

“What the heck is going on here? Is politics at play here?” asked Rep. Andy Jorgenson (D-Fort Atkinson). The Department of Transportation plans to close the DMV center in Jorgenson’s county of Fort Atkinson, with the next nearest station more than thirty minutes away by car.

An official from the Department of Transportation, however, insists that there is no correlation between the state’s recent passage of legislation requiring photo ID to vote and the planned closing of sixteen centers that provide the required identification.

Maine: State GOP Chair: Students Who Vote And Pay Out-Of-State Tuition Are Committing Voter Fraud | TPM

Maine Republican Party Chairman Charlie Webster is claiming that college students who pay out-of-state tuition rates and vote in state are committing voter fraud. At a press conference at the Maine State House, Webster gave the media a list of over 200 students — their names redacted — who paid out-of-state tuition rates but were registered to vote in the state.

Webster said he came up with the list because of opposition from voter rights groups to a law passed by the Republican-led legislature in June which banned voter registration on Election Day. A coalition of groups have launched a petition drive to overturn the law.

One problem. The University of Maine only allows individuals who previously lived in Maine — those who aren’t just living into the state to attend school — to pay a discounted in-state tuition rate.

Kentucky: Kentucky Legislators to look at homeless voter issue | cincinnati.com

Secretary of State Elaine Walker and Boone County Clerk Kenny Brown will address state legislators Tuesday afternoon on the issues surrounding homeless voter registration. They will speak before the Interim Task Force on Elections, Constitutional Amendments and Intergovernmental Affairs to talk about the concerns raised over a memo last month from the Kentucky Board of Elections on the process for homeless voter registration.

Committee co-chairman Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, said he called the meeting with Walker and Brown to help lawmakers decide whether legislation will be necessary to allay concerns. “I want to have a committee hearing about it so we can look at potentially addressing it in the next session,” Thayer said.

The June 30 homeless voter registration memo from Board of Elections Executive Director Sarah Ball Johnson to all county clerks drew the objection of Boone County Clerk Kenny Brown.

Oklahoma: Election waits on tribal Attorney General ruling | MuskogeePhoenix.com

Cherokee Nation officials delayed decisions Tuesday regarding a special election to choose the tribe’s next principal chief. Election commissioners said they are awaiting a response from the tribe’s attorney general regarding three inquiries submitted Friday.

They also are waiting for the tribal council’s appointment of a commissioner to replace Roger Johnson, who resigned after the June 25 election. Officials said the special election issues pending before the attorney general primarily involve three questions of law.

National: Security company infects client’s network with ‘Trojan mouse’ | InfoWorld

Security consulting company NetraGard has demonstrated that something as seemingly innocuous as a USB mouse, along with tidbits of information freely available on the Internet, can provide a hacker quick and easy access to a seemingly secure IT environment.

In a blog post on the company’s website, NetraGard founder Adriel Desautels explained that his company was hired to test the security of a client’s network while adhering to some very stringent restrictions: The NetraGard team could target only one IP address, offering no services, bound to a firewall. Further, the team couldn’t even use social engineering tactics, such as duping an employee to reveal information over the phone or via email. They couldn’t even physically access the client’s campus.

NetraGard’s solution: Transform a Logitech USB mouse into an HID (hacker interface device) by installing on it a mini-controller and a micro Flash drive loaded with custom malware. The blog post goes into explicit detail of the painstaking process of operating on the mouse.

National: Will the Roberts Court Kill the Voting Rights Act? | ACS

Speaking before a joint session of Congress on March 15, 1965, LBJ urged support for the Voting Rights Act (VRA). He implored all members to get behind it or risk being on the wrong side of history. He asserted that “Experience has clearly shown that the existing process of law cannot overcome systematic and ingenious discrimination. No law…can ensure the right to vote when local officials are determined to deny it.”

That was then, and Justice Clarence Thomas (among others) and his assertion that the time for the Voting Rights Act has indeed come and gone, is now. But before we throw dirt on the VRA once and for all, a bit of context is in order.

With the current redistricting cycle full steam ahead, the VRA becomes controlling  when plaintiffs seek to challenge newly drawn maps of legislative districts with sections (2) and (5) being invoked. Section 2 prohibits any “voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice or procedure” being imposed or applied to any State or political subdivision” that would “deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color” while Section (5) requires a DOJ or US District Court of DC “pre-clearance” when seeking to administer any voting qualification, procedure, standard, practice or procedure “different from that in force or effect November 1, 1964.”

Thailand: Discrepancy forces ballot recount | Bangkok Post

The Election Commission has ordered a ballot recount in Yala province. The EC agreed in a three-to-two vote yesterday to order the recount in Yala’s constituency 2 following a complaint filed by Pheu Thai MP candidate, Sugarno Matha, EC deputy secretary-general Somchart Jesrichai said.

Mr Sugarno told the EC earlier that the total number of ballots cast did not match the voter turnout in the constituency. Mr Sugarno received 33 votes less than Abdulkarim Dengrakeena, the winner from the Democrat Party. There were more than 9,000 dud ballots in the constituency.

Malaysia: Election Commission explains why electoral reform is not in its hands | Malaysia Star

The much-anticipated discourse between the Election Commission and Bersih 2.0 organisers was marred by booing from the emotionally-strung crowd. Election Commission (EC) deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar was interrupted so many times that he could not fully explain his answers to the questions posed during the dialogue Tuesday.

At one point, the crowd chanted that the “EC has no power” as Wan Ahmad explained that the commission had no power to amend the election laws because this was under the purview of the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

“The commission is just an election management body and not an enforcement agency. We don’t have investigators. We don’t have the power of arrest as the police do,” said Wan Ahmad during his opening remarks.

Zambia: Electoral Commission completes the correction of anomalies on the Zambian voter register | Lusaka Times

The Electoral Commission of Zambia ECZ has completed the correction of anomalies on the voter’s register. And the commission is finalizing the voter’s register in readiness for this year’s tripartite elections.

ECZ Chairperson Irene Mambilima says the voters’ register is now in its final stages. She was speaking in an interview with ZNBC News in Lusaka on today. Justice Mambilima says preparations for the elections are on course.

India: New voting machine with paper trail tested | News One

Braving the rain, people Tuesday participated in a mock poll in Cherrapunjee, one of the wettest places on earth, using a new electronic voting machine that gives out a paper trail as proof of the voting. The simulated polling was held on the Voter Verifiable Paper Trial (VVPT) system. It was conducted by the Election Commission in 36 polling stations under Sohra assembly constituency.

‘I found the new voting machine much more transparent compared to the electronic voting machines,’ said Mary Queen Nongbri after exercising her vote in a VVPT system, developed by the Electronic Corporation of India Limited (ECIL).

Similarly, Wanropbor Umdor, who also tested the new VVPT system, said, ‘The new voting machine should replace the electronic voting machines to ensure free and fair voting.’

The Voting News Daily: Americans Elect Internet Vote for President? Consider how it worked in DC 2010, Voter ID at the DMV in Wisconsin (and what it could mean in South Carolina)

Blogs: Americans Elect Internet Vote for President? Consider how it worked in DC 2010 | Irregular Times Apart from the various considerations of political ideology, influence and process regarding Americans Elect, there’s the simple matter of technology. Americans Elect plans to use all-internet-voting to nominate a presidential candidate and to broker the selection of the actual president…

Voting Blogs: Americans Elect Internet Vote for President? Consider how it worked in DC 2010 | Irregular Times

Apart from the various considerations of political ideology, influence and process regarding Americans Elect, there’s the simple matter of technology. Americans Elect plans to use all-internet-voting to nominate a presidential candidate and to broker the selection of the actual president in an Electoral College showdown. Will a binding internet vote be pulled off with accuracy and without getting hacked? Or is online voting subject to tampering?

Internet votes can be pulled off. The city of Honolulu managed an internet election for neighborhood councils in 2009. Estonia is often mentioned by internet-voting advocates, although more than 98% of votes cast in Estonia’s 2005 e-vote were old-fashioned paper ballots, and Estonia is a small country that had 9,681 electronic votes to verify that year.

South Carolina: Voter ID at the DMV in Wisconsin (and what it could mean in South Carolina) | Examiner.com

A brave Wisconsin woman videotaped the ordeal of getting her son a Voter ID, which is now a minimum requirement for non-drivers in the state to participate in elections.

She and her son succeeded, but only after a long process that included need to show banking statements (which at first were rejected because they didn’t show enough activity). And after finally completing the endeavor, they were told to pay $28 (a poll tax?) even though the Voter ID’s are supposed to be completely free.

Ohio: Rep. Marcia Fudge seeks Justice Department oversight over voter ID laws | cleveland.com

Warrensville Heights Democratic Rep. Marcia Fudge is asking Attorney General Eric Holder to examine whether voter photo identification laws that have been proposed in Ohio and adopted in several other states would violate the Voting Rights Act.

“Many of these bills only have one true purpose, the disenfranchisement of eligible voters – especially the elderly, young voters, students, minorities and low-income voters,” said a letter that Fudge sent Holder today with more than 100 House Democrats.

Maine: GOP chairman says university students behind voter fraud | Bangor Daily News

Maine Republican Party Chairman Charlie Webster hand-delivered to the Secretary of State’s office on Monday the names of 206 individuals whom he believes committed voter fraud in the 2010 election. Webster said his recent research has concluded that the state’s election system is rife with abuse and he called for the secretary of state and attorney general to investigate his claims.

All 206 names — which were not provided to the media — were students at one of Maine’s public universities in 2010. Webster said if he had access to enrollment data for the state’s private colleges, he believes the list of potential violators would be in the thousands. “This ought to concern Maine residents,” he said late Monday morning from the State House. “This fraud is outrageous.”

Maine: GOP leader Webster claims voter fraud | The Kennebec Journal, Augusta, ME

Maine Republican Party Chairman Charles Webster said Monday he’s uncovered more than 200 cases of election fraud in Maine. And he says as many as 8 to 10 percent of the out-of-state students he saw registered to vote in Maine were registered to vote in two places.

Maine election law states that, in order to register, a voter has to declare Maine as his or her residence and intends to return there after absences. “Our election laws need reform and I believe are being abused,” Webster said at a State House news conference.

… Webster’s claims of fraud were quickly shot down by Democrats and leaders of a coalition trying to force a statewide repeal vote.

Colorado: Guest Commentary: Wild West elections in one Colorado county | The Denver Post

The 2012 elections are big news, but the media are not reporting Colorado’s potential role in a national election fiasco.

Those who understand election equipment and procedures warn that Colorado elections cannot withstand close scrutiny. We call for changes to prevent humiliation if the national press attempts to verify Colorado’s election returns.

If Colorado were an “emerging democracy,” the Carter Center would reject calls to monitor our elections because we fail to meet their minimum transparency standards. If a national contest is decided by Colorado’s vote, as Bush/Gore was by Florida, press everywhere will severely criticize the “Wild West” elections in some Colorado counties.