Croatia: Croatian parliamentary elections scheduled for Dec. 4 | SEE news

Croatian Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor told reporters after the meeting that the idea was to hold the vote before Dec. 9, when Croatia is supposed to sign an accession deal with the EU, followed by a Croatian referendum on joining the 27-nation bloc. On July 15, the representatives of Croatia’s ruling coalition in Zagreb set Dec. 4 as the date of the next parliamentary election.

Croatian Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor told reporters after the meeting that the idea was to hold the vote before Dec. 9, when Croatia is supposed to sign an accession deal with the EU, followed by a Croatian referendum on joining the 27-nation bloc.

Zimbabwe: Constitution Select Committee deadline for Zimbabwe referendum now 31 December |

The country’s draft constitution is now only expected to be ready for a referendum by December and not September, as originally set at the beginning of this year, a co-chairman of COPAC said on Thursday.

The new charter is meant to clear the way for fresh polls following the country’s bloody 2008 elections, but the drafting process is running months behind after public outreach meetings were repeatedly postponed over outbreaks of violence.

The Voting News Daily: Tallinn Calls in Expert to Denounce E-Voting, Cherokee Nation Supreme Court throws out election for chief

Estonia: Tallinn Calls in Expert to Denounce E-Voting | ERR Yesterday, July 20, the City of Tallinn bolstered its drive to bar the nation’s much-touted e-voting system from local elections, holding a press conference where prominent US computer scientist Barbara Simons said that such systems are inherently vulnerable. The University of California, Berkeley PhD and…

Estonia: Tallinn Calls in Expert to Denounce E-Voting | ERR

Yesterday, July 20, the City of Tallinn bolstered its drive to bar the nation’s much-touted e-voting system from local elections, holding a press conference where prominent US computer scientist Barbara Simons said that such systems are inherently vulnerable.

The University of California, Berkeley PhD and former Association for Computing Machinery president spoke about risks such as malware, attacks on the server managing the election, insider threats and false websites.

Speaking in general terms, not about Estonia’s system in particular, she said that the nature of e-voting makes it impossible to audit or recount the votes. She also warned of the possibility of software viruses or worms that could infect a computer, casting votes without the user’s knowledge.

Oklahoma: Cherokee Nation Supreme Court throws out election for chief of Oklahoma’s largest Indian tribe | The Washington Post

The Cherokee Nation’s Supreme Court on Thursday threw out the results of a disputed election to determine the chief of Oklahoma’s largest Native American tribe following weeks of legal wrangling and multiple vote tallies that each came out with a different number.

The court’s ruling means a new election will be held in Tahlequah, although a date was not set by the five-justice court. At stake is the leadership of 300,000 Cherokees, one of the largest tribes in the U.S. Uncertainty about the accuracy of the results of the June 25 election and repeated flip-flopping in terms of the declared winner has eroded confidence among Cherokee voters.

Virginia: Homeless Have Right to Cast a Ballot | NBC29

Casting a ballot may be the last thing on your mind if you’re homeless but election officials say everyone’s voice matters. Even if you don’t have an address, you still have the right to vote here in Virginia.

Charlottesville City Councilor Kristin Szakos is taking voter registration to The Haven, where many didn’t know they can cast a ballot. “I think that when people’s lives are difficult, it’s hard to think about things like civic participation,” she said.

Sheri Iachetta is the city’s voter registrar and she wants to see more homeless voters coming out to the polls. “The people who are homeless don’t realize that they have the opportunity to register and vote. That’s what we’re realizing,” she said.

Virginia: Ruling: Virginia voter applications must be public |

A federal judge has ruled that Virginia must make its voter registration applications available for public inspection. The opinion, issued Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith, stems from a lawsuit filed by the national voting rights group, Project Vote, which sought access to voter applications of Norfolk State University students in the 2008 presidential election.

The state Attorney General’s Office said Thursday it will ask the judge to stay the ruling while it prepares an appeal. Project Vote was seeking to investigate what it believed was an unusually high number of application rejections. It sued the head of Norfolk’s Office of Elections and the state Board of Elections.

South Carolina: Democrats want Lt. Governor Ken Ard recall vote | The Post and Courier

If Lt. Gov. Ken Ard won’t go on his own, Democrats want to give voters the chance to kick him to the curb themselves. Three House Democratic members joined their party chairman, Dick Harpootlian, Thursday to announce a plan to push legislation that would allow voters to recall Ard’s election.

The bill, which could become law in the upcoming special session scheduled for next week, would apply to all constitutional officers. If the bill passes, voters would be given the chance to amend the state constitution in November to allow future election recalls.

For an election recall to be put on the ballot, under the proposal, 15 percent of the voters who took part in the original election must sign a petition.

Colorado: Colorado Secretary of State sued over election-complaints standard | The Denver Post

An Aspen election-integrity activist is suing Secretary of State Scott Gessler and his office, saying Colorado has set an overly restrictive standard for who may allege violations of federal election law.

“When an election irregularity occurs, it’s important that anyone be able to complain and have their complaint fully investigated,” Marilyn Marks said Wednesday. “If a very, very high hurdle is up, it will discourage complaints. It sends a message to the county clerks that ‘You don’t have to worry; we’re not going to let anyone complain.’ “

Marks filed a complaint in April alleging that violations of the federal Help America Vote Act occurred during the 2010 general election in Saguache County — an election so plagued with problems, it prompted a statewide grand jury investigation.

West Virginia: City Council dismisses election challenge  | The Charleston Gazette

Defeated mayoral candidate Janet “JT” Thompson’s quest to overturn the May 17 city election came to an abrupt end Thursday when Charleston City Council dismissed her challenge on multiple grounds.

Council members wasted little time considering Thompson’s June 3 Notice of Election Contest and later filings, especially since Thompson — as promised — skipped the court-like tribunal entirely.

Voting Blogs: Complying with minority languages requirements | From Our Corner

If you ever wonder why our state or a certain county provides ballots or elections material in some language besides English, it’s because we’re complying with a federal mandate resulting from the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The minority language provisions of the Voting Rights Act were added in 1975. These minority language mandates are found in Section 203 of the VRA.  The way it works is that if at least 10,000 (or over 5 percent) of the voting-age citizens in a voting jurisdiction are members of a single language minority group and are limited-English proficient, that jurisdiction has to provide any registration or voting notices, forms, instructions, assistance, ballots and other  elections-related info in that minority language.

Thailand: Abhisit, Yingluck ask Red Shirts not to pressure Election Commission | People’s Daily Online

Thailand’s outgoing Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and the Prime Minister in-waiting Yingluck Shinawatra on Thursday asked the members of “Red Shirt” movement not to put pressure on the Election Commission (EC) to endorse all elected Pheu Thai MPs.

The caretaker premier Abhisit said Thursday morning that leaders of the Red Shirt, or the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), should stop putting pressure on the Election Commission (EC).

Hungary: Hungarian socialists approve of dual citizenship, object to voting rights |

An important component in the renewal of the Socialist Party is reconsidering its nation policy, deputy head of the party Andras Balogh told a press conference on Thursday, adding that his party approved of ensuring easy citizenship access for ethnic Hungarians, but would not consider granting voting rights “an integral part” of the process.

Balog said that the government’s efforts to seek closer ties with Hungarians in neighbouring countries and re-unite the nation should also involve reducing differences within the country’s borders.

India: Election Commission gets proposal to hold 2012 Uttar Pradesh polls in February | The Times of India

The possibility of early assembly election gains ground in UP with the Election Commission of India saying that it is not averse to examine the suggestions made by two political parties for holding the election in the month of February.

This was announced by chief election commissioner (CEC) SY Quraishi here on Thursday at a press conference held after a two-day interactive session by the commission with government functionaries and political representatives in connection with the poll-preparedness in the state. The Mayawati government is due to complete its tenure on May 13, 2012.

Somalia: President Speaks at Puntland Election Commission Ceremony | Garowe Online

A special ceremony marking the swearing-in of members of the Puntland Election Commission (PEC) was held at the Puntland State University campus in the Puntland capital of Garowe on Sunday, 17 July 2011.

The event was attended by the President of Puntland State of Somalia, H.E. Abdirahman Mohamed Mohamud (Farole), Vice President H.E. Abdisamad Ali Shire, Speaker of Parliament, H.E. Abdirashid Mohamed Hersi, among Cabinet ministers, Puntland parliamentarians, High Court judges, traditional elders (Issimo), religious scholars, business community, and civil society of Puntland.

President Farole’s 22-minute speech covered a range of topics, including the ongoing democratization process in Puntland and the role of PEC, the history of democratization in Puntland, the security situation and pardon for insurgents, insecurity in Mogadishu and south-central Somalia, the drought and the refugee exodus, and the expected Somalia National Consultation Conference.

The Voting News Daily: States Dispute Criticism of New Voter Laws, California says it won’t pay, and counties don’t have to distribute mail-in ballots

Editorials, National: States Dispute Criticism of New Voter Laws, Move to Offer Photo ID Free of Charge | Election officers in states with newly approved voter ID laws are trying to make sure voters can meet the new requirements without much hassle, pushing back on complaints that the laws are tantamount to a “poll…

Editorials: States Dispute Criticism of New Voter Laws, Move to Offer Photo ID Free of Charge |

Election officers in states with newly approved voter ID laws are trying to make sure voters can meet the new requirements without much hassle, pushing back on complaints that the laws are tantamount to a “poll tax.”

Seven states this year have approved new laws requiring or urging voters to show photo ID before casting their ballots. Critics have assailed these measures as a partisan Republican scheme to skew elections by disenfranchising voters who might be inclined to vote for Democrats but lack the proper identification.

But officials in those states say the criticism is unfair. All seven states are moving to offer residents at least one version of a photo ID card free of charge. Local agencies are planning various outreach efforts to get the word out about the new requirements, and the new laws generally allow voters without photo ID to fill out a provisional ballot under certain circumstances.

California: State says it won’t pay, and counties don’t have to distribute mail-in ballots | Contra Costa Times

The state will not reimburse Butte County and other county election offices to send out vote-by-mail ballots for the next year, a service half the county’s registered voters use rather than lining up at the polls.

Butte County Registrar of Voters Candace Grubbs plans to report the issue to the Board of Supervisors and its effects at their Tuesday meeting. Of 116,493 registered voters in Butte County as of Friday, 58,048 checked the box to receive ballots in the mail, according to the Butte County Registrar of Voters Office.

“County elections officials have the option of providing vote-by-mail ballots to any voter who requests one for any reason, but if they do, they will not be reimbursed for the cost of doing so in the 2011-12 fiscal year,” wrote Lowell Finley, deputy secretary of state, in a memo to all county registrar of voters.

Nevada: Secretary of State Issues Emergency Regulation to Fund Special Election | Nevada News Bureau

The state’s chief election official says special measures are needed to ensure proper administration in the upcoming special election.

An emergency regulation prepared by Secretary of State Ross Miller and enacted today will guide the reimbursement of costs incurred by the counties for the September 13 special election for Nevada’s second congressional district. The election is expected to cost Nevada’s 17 counties a total of nearly $1 million.

Florida: Seminole County elections chief says new law may hit high schools – deputizes principals to get around restrictions | Orlando Sentinel

Seminole County Elections Supervisor Michael Ertel says an election law cracking down on third-party voter registration groups may have the effect of making it harder for people to register at high schools.

So on Thursday, he’s getting around the potential problem by swearing in every high school principal in the county as “deputy” election supervisors.

The problem is this: Ertel says between 15 and 20 percent of high school students who register to vote don’t have either their driver’s license or Social Security numbers on them when they go in to fill out the registration form.

New Mexico: ACLU sues New Mexico Secretary of State over voter registration | Alamogordo Daily News

The ACLU of New Mexico on Wednesday sued Secretary of State Dianna Duran, claiming she violated the open records law by withholding public information about alleged wrongdoing by voters.

To read the full text of the complaint, click here.

Duran, a Republican, told state legislators in March that she had evidence of possible voter fraud by 37 people. She said they had cast ballots in New Mexico elections but may not have been U.S. citizens. A day later, the ACLU filed a public information request to inspect the records so it could check Duran’s allegations. In its lawsuit filed in state district court in Albuquerque, the ACLU said that Duran’s staff then illegally concealed documents. The ACLU contends that Duran inappropriately invoked “executive privilege” and redacted requested emails and records so heavily that they were useless.

Utah: GOP leader Nelson seeks election overhaul – recommends instant runoff voting | The Salt Lake Tribune

The vice chairman of Utah Republican Party wants state lawmakers to study an “instant runoff voting” system that he says could prevent third-party candidates from “spoiling” elections. Lowell Nelson told the Legislature’s Government Operations and Political Subdivisions Committee Wednesday that such systems allow voters to list their second choice among candidates, as well as their favorite.

If no candidate receives a majority, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated. Voters who had supported that eliminated candidate would then have their “second-choice” votes given to remaining candidates to help one of them achieve a majority.

Utah GOP Chairman Thomas Wright said the state party has taken no position on instant runoff voting, and that Nelson is promoting that on his own. Nelson said Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, was interested in the idea, and asked him to make a presentation about it.

Connecticut: Secretary of the State Merrill convenes Election Performance Task Force | West Hartford News

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill today convened an Election Performance Task Force to review Connecticut’s election system and recommend improvements.

“The mission of this task force is to review our current election system, evaluate its effectiveness and recommend changes to improve and modernize the system,” says Merrill, Connecticut’s top elections official. “We need to look at our system from the perspective of the average voter. For example, is there a way to improve their experience at the polls? Do voters want more convenience? We also plan to look at new, innovative technologies that could make life easier for our local officials.”

“We need to imagine what the voting experience can be like five or ten years from now if we make the right decisions today,” Merrill said.

Louisiana: Secretary of State vows to fight federal lawsuit | The News Star

The U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit earlier this month against Louisiana alleging the state has violated its obligations to the National Voter Registration Act by failing to provide voter registration services at various public assistance offices such as the food stamp offices and Medicaid offices.

The Justice Department filed the suit July 12. The complaint alleges that Louisiana officials have not routinely offered voter registration forms, assistance and services to the state’s eligible citizens who apply, recertify or provide a change of address for public assistance, disability services or benefits.

Secretary of State Tom Schedler said his office will fight the accusations, and he said he doesn’t want to just settle the suit for the sake of settling.

Idaho: Idaho settles suit over ballot |

Idaho has changed its election laws after a Texas prison inmate made Idaho’s presidential ballot in 2008, and a Ralph Nader supporter from Arizona won a discrimination lawsuit over the nominating process.

The fixes were rolled into an innocuous election administration bill that passed near-unanimously this year, but Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa says it could all change again soon. Now that both parties are going to hold caucuses for their presidential picks, Idaho likely will do away with its presidential primary altogether. “There’s no reason to have it,” Ysursa said Tuesday.

Egypt: Egypt: No foreign monitors in upcoming election | The Washington Post

Egypt will not allow international groups to monitor its upcoming parliamentary election, the country’s military rulers announced Wednesday, echoing ousted president Hosni Mubarak’s argument that foreign electoral oversight would be an affront to Egyptian sovereignty.

Maj. Gen. Mamdouh Shahin, a spokesman for the ruling military supreme council, said during a news conference that only Egyptian monitoring groups would be allowed to watch the polls. Foreign monitors, he added, “would interfere with the sovereignty of Egypt.”

The United States and others in the international community have long pressed Egypt to allow foreign monitors into polling stations, a practice that has lent credibility to elections in nascent democracies such as Iraq and Afghanistan.

Sri Lanka: Additional officials to vulnerable stations – plans for electronic voting in Sri Lanka |

The Elections Commissioner said yesterday that measures had been taken to deploy an additional number of officials to vulnerable polling stations located in areas where a high number of complaints concerning election violence had been reported.

Speaking at a media briefing held at the Elections Department yesterday, Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya said that polling stations located in Kaduwela, Warakapola, Minuwangoda, Attanagalle, Wilgamuwa and Chilaw would receive special attention, and the presence of Elections Department officials in those places would be increased.

India: Electronic Voting Machines – Field trial of Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) system in five locations in India | All Voices

The Commission vide its Press Note dated 14th June, 2011, announced the details of the conduct of field trial of the VVPAT system in simulated election in the districts of Leh (Jammu & Kashmir), Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala),Cherrapunjee i.e. East Khasi Hills (Meghalaya), East Delhi District (NCT of Delhi) and Jaisalmer ( Rajasthan).

In wider fulfillment of the objectives of the field trial, the Commission has requested the National and State Parties to extend necessary cooperation by getting involved in the trial process actively and also witness the trial in order to have a first hand experience of the system.

Angola: Electoral Commission outlines strategies for coming election | Angola Press

Northern Kwanza Norte province Electoral Commission (CPE) Wednesday in Ndalatando held a plenary session to outline the strategic plan for the electoral registration update, in view of the 2012 polls.

Speaking to Angop at the end of the meeting chaired by the organ’s chairman, Kwanza Norte CPE spokesperson, Benjamim Bari Gonga, said the session also analysed matters linked to the organisation of the Provincial Electoral Commission, of the Municipal Electoral Offices (GME) and the plans of supervision and mapping of polling stations.