Kyrgyzstan: Media Policy Institute comments on Election Commission’s refusal to accredit news agencies |

The Media Policy Institute commented on the decision of the Central Election Commission of Kyrgyzstan to refuse accreditation of the eleven news agencies to take part in the election campaign on presidential elections of 2011. news agency publishes the comments of the Media Policy Institute’s lawyer Aliya Abdraimova with abridgements.

According to her, “publication of the list of accredited mass media of KR (Kyrgyz Republic) for participation in the election campaign for the upcoming elections of the president of the country caused a stormy public debate, as one of the national information agency was not presented.”

Latvia: Latvia Referendum Dissolves Parliament | Bloomberg

Latvians may elect a new premier to lead the country’s deficit-cutting government after a weekend referendum dissolved parliament and propelled a new party to the top of opinion polls.

Almost 95 percent of voters on July 23 backed former President Valdis Zatlers’s call to dismiss lawmakers as part of an anti-corruption drive. The wave that swept away parliament drove Zatlers’s Reform Party, founded in June, into a first- place tie with the pro-Russian Harmony Center in opinion polls, followed by Premier Valdis Dombrovskis’s Unity party.

Indonesia: Parties propose rescheduled gubernatorial election in Aceh | The Jakarta Post

Political tensions were expected to calm gradually in the once-restive Aceh after parties agreed to accept nominations of independent candidates on the condition that the gubernatorial election would be rescheduled.

In a meeting with the Aceh and Papua Desk at the House of Representatives, all local and national party functionaries in Aceh retracted their protests against the Constitutional Court’s controversial verdict on independent candidates to prevent the regulatory conflict from igniting into a greater conflict.

Turks and Caicos Islands: Local and British politicians concerned about Turks and Caicos democracy | Caribbean News Now

The timing of elections in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) and the milestones that have to be met before such elections can be held has resulted in questions, opinions and concerns being aired by politicians on both sides of the Atlantic.

Direct rule was imposed on the TCI almost two years ago in August 2009. One year earlier, current Governor Gordon Wetherell arrived and began immediately to introduce restraints on the then elected government of the Progressive National Party (PNP).

Ohio: Banned voting options popular with voters | The Columbus Dispatch

Four in 10 Franklin County voters would have to find a new time, place or way to cast their ballots under election-rules championed by Ohio Republicans in a new law. Experts and the people who run local elections fear lower turnout or longer lines on Election Day as a result.

“If we put 140,000 people back on Election Day, you have to wonder,” said William A. Anthony Jr., director of the Franklin County Board of Elections, citing the approximate number of people who took advantage of the conveniences the county offered in 2010 that allowed them to vote without going to the polls. “That’s a whole lot of people,” Anthony said. “Even 60,000 is a lot.”

Or 234,000. That’s the number of Franklin County voters who cast ballots during the 2008 presidential election on dates, at times or in locations that would be shut down if the GOP election changes – which have been signed into law but are the target of a referendum campaign – are implemented.

North Carolina: House to test Perdue on vetoes, repeatedly | The Daily Reflector

As North Carolina House leaders try this week to override Gov. Beverly Perdue’s veto of voter ID legislation, they’re ready to risk defeat on one of the most politically divisive issues raised by the General Assembly’s new GOP majority.

House Speaker Thom Tillis has committed the House to attempt that override and several others during this week’s brief legislative session focused on redistricting. An override vote that fails to get a three-fifths majority means the legislation dies until after the 2012 elections. Still, Republicans appear ready to lose some votes to stake out a position for next year’s campaigns.

“You’d rather never lose on a veto override. There are some that you are more willing to take that risk than others, because you know it’s the right thing to do and the public will know that you did the right thing,” said Rep. Ruth Samuelson, who counts votes for House Republicans. “There are some vetoes that are more political than others.”

Editorials: Election chance to restore faith – Cherokee election process under review |

The Cherokee Nation Supreme Court’s order for a new election gives the candidates for principal chief a second chance to declare a definitive win. It also gives the tribe’s embattled election commission a chance to restore faith in the system.

The contest between Principal Chief Chad Smith and challenger Bill John Baker became a back-and-forth tug-of-war during the days immediately following the June 25 general election.

After both candidates were declared winners — then losers — allegations of fraud and deception surfaced. The integrity of the tribe’s election process suffered, and at least one commissioner targeted for criticism became a casualty of the bitter contest.

Ohio: IDs exceed voter-age residents | The Columbus Dispatch

One Democratic state politician says there are 887,000 Ohioans without a state-issued driver’s license or photo ID. The Service Employees International Union also puts the number of Ohioans without IDs at hundreds of thousands.

The number has become important because of a bill that passed the Ohio House and is now before the Senate that would require a state-issued photo ID to vote.

But records from the state Bureau of Motor Vehicles show about 8.83 million voting-age residents have an Ohio driver’s license or photo ID – about 28,000 more than there are voting-age residents in the state, according to the 2010 census. A Dispatch analysis of state driver’s license data found that the percentages of voting-age Ohioans with state-issued IDs also vary from county to county.

Wisconsin: Absentee vote costs adding up quickly | LaCrosse Tribune

Area municipal clerks are seeing a jump in requests for mailed absentee ballots, thanks to efforts by special interest groups to make sure people don’t miss out on the Aug. 9 Senate election.

In that rare recall election, Republican Sen. Dan Kapanke will face Democratic challenger Jennifer Shilling, a five-term state Assembly member who last week won a primary over Republican James Smith, who ran as a Democrat to give Kapanke more time to campaign.

“We’ve got so many people going door to door, and they’re kind of strong-arming people into applying for an absentee ballot,” said West Salem Village Administrator/Clerk Teresa Schnitzler.

Florida: Controversial Voter Registration Law Raises DOJ Investigation | Land O Lakes, FL Patch

Recent changes to Florida law require third party voter registration organizations to register with their local supervisor of elections office. Those that don’t follow the law can be held liable to fines and criminal penalties.

While the new law seeks to minimize voter fraud, a U.S. Department of Justice investigation is under way to determine if the rules violate the Voting Rights Act.

Malaysia: Ethics and the Election Commission | Free Malaysia Today

A key member of Bersih 2.0′s steering committee said he does not trust the biometric voting system proposed by Election Commission (EC) because of the latter’s poor reputation.

Wong Chin Huat said: “I don’t trust the biometric system because I don’t believe the EC has the competence and integrity to prevent rigging and other abuses.

“Does the EC have the competency to maintain the system and also to detect or eliminate hacking by an external party?” asked Chin Huat.

Thailand: Election Commission hoping to meet 30-day deadline | The Nation

The Election Commission would consider whether to endorse Pheu Thai party-list candidates and red-shirt leader Jatuporn Promphan within the 30-day deadline, EC chairman Apichart Sukhagganond said.

Meanwhile, another red-shirt leader, Thida Thawornseth, said the group would wait and see the EC’s decisions before deciding on future moves. However, Thida said the group’s decision had nothing to do with a request by Pheu Thai’s PM-in-waiting Yingluck Shinawatra for the group not to pressure the electoral body.

“The red shirts are formed by the people. People’s opinions can vary. However, no one should be worried that the red shirts will do any damage,” she said.

Philippines: Comelec to implement reforms through 5-year program | The Philippine Star

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) yesterday said it will strive to modernize, reform and redeem the integrity of the agency through a five-year program.

Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes said the program, the Comelec Strategic Plan 2011-2016 or Comstrat, is anchored on the guiding principles of independence, integrity, accountability, transparency, impartiality, professionalism, efficiency, service orientation and rule of law.

“Comstrat is the summary of the five programs that we will be doing at the Comelec. It will start this year up to 2016. Most of us (commissioners) will not see the end of this program because we shall be retired by then,” he said. “But Comstrat had been ratified by the Comelec en banc so it will have to be implemented in the next five years.”

Malaysia: Najib says government to allocate funds for Election Commission’s biometric system | The Brunei Times

The government has agreed in principle to provide allocations for the Election Commission (EC) to implement the biometric voter verification system, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said yesterday.

Notwithstanding the funds, he said, it was important to ensure the system was running smoothly when the time came for it to be implemented. “I want the EC to ensure the system’s integrity and functionalities in line with its objective,” he told reporters after meeting Barisan Nasional component party leaders. He hoped that the system would be in place in the coming election but said that it was up to the EC whether they had sufficient time to develop the facility.

Latvia: Latvians back dismissal of parliament in vote | Al Jazeera

Latvians have overwhelmingly voted in favour of dissolving parliament in a referendum called to combat the power of oligarch businessmen, early results of the poll showed.

With more than 57 per cent of ballots counted, 94.8 per cent of voters supported the legislature’s dissolution, according to Central Election Commission data released on its website on Saturday.

“Overall voter participation in the referendum was good,” election commission chairman Arnis Cimdars told a news conference. The referendum will lead to a snap election in September.

Latvia: Saulkrasti registers highest turnout as referendum polls close in Latvia | Latvians Online

Voter turnout in Latvia topped 44 percent in the July 23 national referendum on dissolving the Saeima, according to data compiled by the Rīga-based Central Election Commission shortly after polls closed at 10 p.m. local time.
Now the counting begins, but the result will likely be that 100 MPs will be out of a job and will start planning their campaign for the expected September elections.

In all, about 682,000 citizens voted, with turnout especially strong along the Gulf of Rīga, where many people were spending their weekend at a beach. Saulkrasti County, on the gulf’s eastern side, registered turnout that topped 150 percent thanks to voters from outside the district casting ballots there.

Egypt: Egypt’s vote in November, says election official | gulfnews

Egypt’s parliamentary elections will be held in the second half of November, two months later than originally scheduled, Chief of the Higher Election Commission Abdul Moaez Ebrahim said on Saturday.

He added that the elections of both houses of the parliament will be held at the same time and fully supervised by judges. “Whether Egyptian expatriates will be able to vote or not needs a political decision,” Ebrahim told reporters in Cairo.

Zimbabwe: New bill does not create peaceful electoral environment: Zimbabwe Election Support Network | The Zimbabwean

In its preliminary response to the bill, which has been welcomed by some sections , the Zimbabwe Election Support Network said that it has, “critically assessed the draft Electoral Amendment Bill gazetted last month and suggested further improvements.”

“The Electoral Amendment Bill addresses a number of issues which ZESN believes are essential for the creation of a conducive environment and the levelling of the playing field for credible free and fair elections. At the same time ZESN notes that, even though some of the reforms will significantly improve the current electoral legal framework, the proposed amendments do not go far enough in addressing the creation of a peaceful electoral environment.”

The Voting News Weekly: TVN Weekly July 18-24 2011

Estonian E-voting Questioned

Youth, especially students, will face new challenges in states that have passed restrictive voter ID laws, many of which specifically exclude student IDs as accepted forms of identification. Estonia’s internet voting system continues to be questioned. After two recounts, the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court threw out the election for chief and called for a re-vote. Fox News offered an editorial in support of Voter ID laws, while Congressional Democrats voiced their concerns to the Department of Justice. The hardships that some individuals will face in order to vote in South Carolina were are described in an article in The State. Election integrity activists, with the support of the Secretary of State, stopped a bill that would have allow the electronic submission of voted ballots through email in California. And the Thai election commission certified Yingluck Shinawatra’s election as MP, setting the stage for her to become that nation’s first female Prime Minister.

The Voting News Daily: Youth Vote Faces Challenges With Voter ID Legislation, Florida Governor Rick Scott wants his name off bad election law

National: Youth Vote Faces Challenges With Voter ID Legislation | The Nation Voter fraud is an “epidemic.” It abounds, stealing elections from rightful candidates and places losers into unearned elected office. Republican dominated statehouses across the country are “combating” this problem through strict voter ID legislation, where a government-issued photo identification is required in order…

National: Youth Vote Faces Challenges With Voter ID Legislation | The Nation

Voter fraud is an “epidemic.” It abounds, stealing elections from rightful candidates and places losers into unearned elected office. Republican dominated statehouses across the country are “combating” this problem through strict voter ID legislation, where a government-issued photo identification is required in order to vote. Seven states have already enacted legislation requiring state-issued photo ID at the polls and many more are pending.

One of the states, Wisconsin, enacted what Milwaukee Common Council Alderwoman Milele Coggs accurately called “the most restrictive voter ID legislation in the country.” It requires photo IDs issued by the state or federal government and only allows a forgetful voter’s provisional ballot to count if they return within three days with a proper ID.

College students are some of the unintended—or intended—citizens affected by the law. They broke for Barack Obama in 2008 by an astonishing 38 points and remained loyal to Democrats in 2010 by wide margins.

Editorials: Governor Rick Scott wants his name off bad election law | St. Petersburg Times

So the governor wants his name off a lawsuit filed over Florida’s cynical new elections law. Can you blame him?

Gov. Rick Scott — already sued more times than your average crooked contractor — is named in a suit contesting a new law that brings controversial changes in how we vote. How controversial? His office got thousands of e-mails while the bill awaited his signature, most urging him to reject something so fundamentally wrong.

The bill’s supporters kept saying, honest, it’s all about stopping our terrible problem of voter fraud. Except we don’t have a terrible problem of voter fraud. And their specifics were beyond scarce. What the new law will do is make it harder for some citizens — minorities in particular — to vote. How many years would that set Florida back?

Indiana: Election challenge dismissed in Clarksville clerk race | News and Tribune

Clark Circuit Judge Daniel Moore dismissed a case that had been filed by Clarksville Clerk-Treasurer Gary Hall, which claimed Election Day irregularities due to a lack of handicap accessible voting machines at the polls on May 3.

Moore’s decision was a win for Bob Leuthart, who defeated Hall in the Democratic primary by 24 votes. Hall was challenging the results of the election because handicap accessible machines around the county were out of commission on Election Day. A bench trial, which took only about an hour, took place on Friday morning.

John Vissing, Hall’s attorney, based his case on the fact that federal laws passed as a part of the Help America Vote Act require such machines at each polling location. The Clark County Election Board conceded that the machines were not functional.

Voting Blogs: Wisconsin Clerk: Anger and Lines Greet ID Soft Launch | Rock the Vote Blog

Wisconsin’s recall elections are serving as a “soft implementation” of the new voter ID law, and poll workers and clerks are already expressing concerns about the new process. Even with modest turnout, voters experienced long waits and confusion, alarming clerks for future elections.

The concerns of elections officials and poll workers – including voice fears about long lines stretching from two to three hours, frustrated voters leaving before casting a ballot, anger revolving around poll book signatures and IDs, and drastically understaffed polls – were captured in a letter from the Madison City Clerk, Maribeth Witzel-Behl.

Texas: Senate Bill 100 May Change Voting in Municipal Elections |

Voting in Garland, TX and other cities in Dallas County has gotten a lot more complicated, thanks to Senate Bill 100. The Bill was introduced to the Texas Senate, passed by the Senate and House and was signed into law by Governor Rick Perry on June 17.

Mary Kayser, Garland City Secretary said the purpose of the bill is to adopt voting procedures necessary to implement the federal Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act (MOVE Act) which is aimed at making the voting process easier and faster for military and overseas voters.

Nevada: Wagner wins recount in North Las Vegas Ward 4 race |

It took election workers just over two hours on Friday to come to the same conclusion they had on election night. Wade Wagner, a 48-year-old dentist, had beaten incumbent North Las Vegas City Councilman Richard Cherchio, 64, by a single vote for the Ward 4 seat.

The result of the afternoon recount, requested by Cherchio, “validates the accuracy” of the June 7 election, said Larry Lomax, Clark County registrar of voters. “Nothing changed,” he said. “Wade Wagner still has one more vote. I’m very confident in the system we use to conduct elections.”

The final tally was again 1,831 votes for Wagner, 1,830 for Cherchio.

India: India, US to take fair poll practices to West Asia, Africa | TMCnet

World’s biggest democracies, India and United States, have joined hands to help building up strong electoral institutions in emerging democracies, especially in middle-east and Africa. As part of the collaboration, the Election Commission’s newly started International Institute for Democracy and Election Management (IIDEM) and Washington DC based International Federation of Electoral Systems (IFES) will work together to strengthen election management capacity in the interested countries.

“We will be training officials from middle-east and African nations in conducting free and fair elections,” chief election commissioner SY Quraishi told HT, a day after US secretary of state Hillary Clinton in Chennai described the commission as a “gold standard” institution. Reaction to her statement, the CEC said, “We feel the credibility and reputation of Election Commission has gone beyond our boundaries”.

Russia: Russian Internet whistleblower goes to court over government failure to act | RIA Novosti

Russian blogger Alexei Navalny has asked a court to declare illegal the failure of the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS)  to act in a case which involves state purchases of electronic equipment, an official said on Friday.

Navalny, who has become well known in Russia for using the Internet to lampoon the country’s ruling elite and expose high-level graft, said on his website he found violations in purchases of electronic voting systems for the Central Election Commission and filed a complaint to the FAS.

Latvia: Polling stations open in preparation for referendum on Saeima’s dismissal | Latvians Online

Polling stations in Latvia and abroad began work July 13 in preparation for a referendum that could result in dismissal of the 10th Saeima. The stations—including 78 abroad—will have information about the balloting process available for anyone interested, according to the Central Election Commission in Rīga.

The polling stations are to be open four hours per day from July 13-July 22. Hours are to be set by local election officials. The referendum is scheduled from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time on July 23.