Saint Kitts and Nevis: OAS Observer Mission congratulates people of Nevis, urges clarification of procedures |

The OAS Observer Mission that monitored the July 11th 2011 Nevis Island Assembly elections in Nevis has congratulated the people of Nevis for their high turnout and peaceful exercise of their right to vote during this election. The Team noted that it was the first time that the OAS observed a local election in the Caribbean, and the second deployment of an electoral observation mission in St. Kitts and Nevis, the first being the January 25, 2010 General Elections

“Likewise, the Mission notes with satisfaction the dedication and commitment of the poll workers to ensure a smooth process during Election Day, and the improved distribution of voters through polling stations in accordance with the OAS observations made in 2010,” said the OAS Team in a statement, which noted that on Election Day, the OAS international observers were deployed in all five constituencies and visited all of the polling sites. Once the polls were closed, they observed the collection and counting of the ballots.

Albania: EU admits Albania unable to hold elections | EurActiv

In an unprecedented statement, EU High Representative Catherine Ashton and Enlargement Commissioner Štefan Füle lamented yesterday (19 July) the failures of the Albanian electoral system, urging the EU hopeful to undertake deep parliamentary reform.

Ashton and Füle lamented the fallout from the recent mayoral vote in Tirana and used simple and unusual wording to convey the message that the electoral system in Albania needs “urgent” and “thorough” reform. “The elections in Tirana were not good as they demonstrated beyond doubt that the electoral framework needs to be reformed,” the top EU officials stated.

Turks and Caicos Islands: Elections Next Year Doubtful | Turks and Caicos SUN Newspaper

There appears to be great doubt about whether elections that will return the Turks and Caicos Islands to self-rule, will be held next year. While officials from the United Kingdom keep saying in broad and general terms that it is their intention to hold elections in 2012, they have so far refused to give a date and have been expressing concerns about the milestones that have to be met before voters go the poll.

It was widely expected that when Hon. Henry Bellingham, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, visited the Turks and Caicos Islands on Thursday July 14, that he would made a major announcement such as releasing the date for elections. However, when pressed by The SUN to give a date, he refused. He said the Constitution has been passed, and that was a major milestone, but he is not prepared to say categorically that all of the work will be completed in time for elections.

Venezuela: Election Official Says Venezuelan Courts Targeting Chavez Rivals | Nasdaq

An electoral official in Venezuela said Wednesday that criminal investigations against possible challengers to President Hugo Chavez’s re-election bid suggest “a strategy of the government to choose who will be his opponent in the presidential elections.”

Vicente Diaz, the lone director of the National Electoral Council who is sympathetic to the opposition, said a number of the leading candidates to run against Chavez have faced accusations that critics say are baseless and meant instead to dim their political prospects.

The Gambia: Independent Electoral Commission’s fuzzy math and impossible numbers | Senegambia News

As the elections of 2011 draw near, speculations about the credibility of the voter register dominate the political debate, casting doubts on the entire electoral process. At issue is the possible registration of minors and non-citizens, which has created the inflated number of registered voters in this election cycle.

The number of voters registered for the 2011 election season does not support the approximate birth and deaths rates evidence. In these elections, the IEC announced the registration of a total of 869,000 voters, which is an increase of 199, 000 new voters from the 670,000 registered in the 2006 elections.

This increase represents a 3.3% population increase, which is higher than the 2.5% birth rate or population increase rate over the past several census cycles.

The Voting News Daily: House Dems say state voter-ID laws a GOP plan to suppress minority votes, Cherokee challenger asks for ballots to be thrown out or new election

National: House Dems say state voter-ID laws a GOP plan to suppress minority votes | The Hill Several House Democrats argued on the floor Tuesday morning that the rise of voter-identification laws across many states is a coordinated attempt by Republicans to suppress minority and elderly votes. “These new policies are a clear attempt to…

National: House Dems say state voter-ID laws a GOP plan to suppress minority votes | The Hill

Several House Democrats argued on the floor Tuesday morning that the rise of voter-identification laws across many states is a coordinated attempt by Republicans to suppress minority and elderly votes.

“These new policies are a clear attempt to prevent certain pre-determined segments of the population from exercising their right to vote,” said Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio). “To be frank, Mr. Speaker, these efforts have an all-too familiar stench of the Jim Crow era.”

Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) said the voter-ID laws are a Republican response to President Obama’s election.

Oklahoma: Cherokee challenger asks for ballots to be thrown out or new election | Tulsa World

Cherokee Nation Chief candidate Bill John Baker has asked the tribe’s Supreme Court to either set aside questionable ballots or order a new election, filings in the case show. The Supreme Court issued an order Monday afternoon requiring all motions, pleadings and briefs be turned in by noon Tuesday for the 6 p.m. hearing.

Baker’s camp has filed three motions with the court, two concerning the ballots and one requesting the justices call for a new election within 30 days.

In one of the filings, Baker and his attorneys ask that the court set aside all ballots that have been erased for one candidate and remarked for another candidate. These ballots were unable to be read by machines due to erasures, white-out markings, smudges or other alterations on the ballot and had to be hand-tallied.

National: Cornyn faults Justice on efforts to enforce troops’ voting rights | Washington Times

A key Senate Republican on Tuesday pressed the Justice Department to step up its enforcement of a 2009 law that requires states to provide absentee ballots to military service members and their families 45 days before elections.

In a letter to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., Sen. John Cornyn said the department has provided “grossly inadequate enforcement” of the Military and Overseas Voter Empowering (MOVE) Act, citing what he called “the national disgrace” of disenfranchised military voters.

“In light of the Justice Department’s poor track record, I call on you to formulate and provide a comprehensive plan” for enforcing laws protecting the military’s right to vote “during the upcoming election cycle,” the Texas Republican said in the letter. Mr. Cornyn co-sponsored the MOVE Act.

Nevada: North Las Vegas schedules Friday recount in council race decided by a single vote |

The incumbent North Las Vegas city councilman who lost his seat by a single vote officially requested a recount Tuesday. “With a one-vote margin, we have an obligation to the voters out there to eliminate any discrepancies,” Richard Cherchio said.

Clark County election officials scheduled the recount for 1 p.m. Friday. Cherchio paid $600 for the recount. Wade Wagner, a 48-year-old dentist, defeated Cherchio, 64, by a single vote in the June 7 election. But that was just the beginning of the drama in the Ward 4 race.

Officials soon discovered that an election worker had mistakenly allowed an ineligible voter to cast a ballot in one Ward 4 precinct. The City Council approved a redo of the election in that precinct, but the city was barred from holding a new election by District Judge Elizabeth Gonzales, who also ordered the city to certify the original election results.

Ohio: Fair Elections Ohio Turns in First 1000 Signatures for HB194 Referendum | ProgressOhio

Representatives of Fair Elections Ohio, a coalition of state legislators, voting rights advocates, labor unions, progressive organizations, and concerned citizens across the State of Ohio, today turned in the first 1,000 valid signatures for a HB194 referendum to the Ohio Attorney General.

“In just five days, concerned citizens from across the state have stepped up to bring HB194 directly to the voters so they can decide if their voting rights should be diminished or curtailed. Because of the nature of the rights at stake, thoughtful, serious volunteers who believe in keeping access to voting available to all eligible Ohioans have done a great job in the gathering the signatures that will allow this process to move forward,” said former Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner. Fair Elections Ohio had dozens of volunteers across the state collect this first round of signatures from over a dozen counties.

Editorials: Angering their own party, Rhode Island Democrats approve voter ID |

Should voters be required to show photo identification at the polls? For years, the question has amounted to a demarcation line between Republicans and Democrats.

The 2011 legislative year was shaping up to be no different. Republicans seized on their sweeping electoral victories last November by enacting photo ID laws in Alabama, Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin, arguing that tougher rules are necessary to fight election fraud. Democratic governors in five other states — Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire and North Carolina — vetoed similar bills that their Republican legislatures passed, calling them an unfair burden on disadvantaged voters, chiefly minorities and senior citizens, who may not have driver’s licenses or other forms of government-issued ID. Behind the policy dispute are important political calculations, since Democrats claim that their supporters would be most of the people turned aside at the polls and that whole elections could hang in the balance.

California: Budget cuts may end mail-in ballots, registration | San Francisco Chronicle

Buried on page 620 of the state budget are a few small cuts that could change the way Californians vote.

To save $33 million, the bill suspended several state mandates requiring counties to provide voting services that many Californians take for granted. The state no longer requires counties to process all voter registration applications they receive by mail or to send out vote-by-mail ballots to anyone who wants one. Counties still could provide these services, and many probably will, but they won’t be reimbursed by the state.

Idaho: Ketchum City Council voices support for May special election | Idaho Mountain Express

Without committing themselves to a November vote, a May vote, or any vote at all on the issue of a change in form of government, the Ketchum City Council nonetheless expressed its desire for a special election on the issue.

Ketchum has a “strong mayor” form of government, in which the citizen-elected mayor is the city’s chief administrative officer. Under consideration is a council-manager form of government, in which the administrative head is a hired city manager.

Also being debated is when a vote on changing the form of government should occur. That question has become as controversial as the form-of-government issue itself.

Latvia: Latvian political parties undergo major upheaval | The Baltic Times

Latvian party politics is going through a major upheaval in the lead up to this month’s general referendum on the dissolution of parliament. The political maneuvering of the past few days has resulted in party mergers, liquidations and foundations.

The scramble was launched by the announcement on Saturday by former Latvian President Valdis Zatlers that he would create his own political party to run in the next elections. It will be called the “Reform Party” and will be right-leaning, but specifics of who might join the party are still not clear.

Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Chief Under Fire from Mugabe’s ZANU-PF | VoA News

Further election-related tensions surfaced in Zimbabwe’s power-sharing government this week as hardliners in President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF called for the removal of the country’s electoral commission chief, who they accused of overstepping his authority and sympathizing with the former opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

Critics of Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Chairman Simpson Mutambanengwe, a retired judge, charged that he made a statement recently at an elections symposium in Spain accusing war veterans with close ties to ZANU-PF of terrorizing rural dwellers.

ZANU-PF sources said the hardliners also took exception to Mutambanengwe’s publicly expressed position that elections cannot be held this year due to a lack of funds for the ballot, saying he has no mandate to make statements on election funding or timing.

Bangladesh: Last chance for Bangladesh National Party | The Daily Star

The Election Commission wants the cabinet division and three ministries concerned to do the administrative job ahead of the parliamentary polls in consultation with it.

Talking to reporters yesterday, Election Commissioner M Sakhawat Hussain said the EC has already suggested incorporating a provision in the Representation of People Order to that end. “We have proposed that the cabinet division and home, LGRD and public administration ministries consult the commission while discharging administrative duties,” Sakhawat added.

Singapore: Writ of Election from Singapore Presidential Election expected Aug 3 | Channel NewsAsia

Candidates aspiring to contest the forthcoming Presidential Election can expect the Writ of Election to be issued anytime from August 3. This is going by the fact that the Elections Department has set August 3 as the cut-off date to complete two matters:

Firstly, to remove from any Register of Electors the name of any person where the Registration Officer believes that the address of that person as shown in the register has ceased to exist.

UAE: Voting machines for UAE Federal National Council elections | Khaleej Times

The Federal National Council (FNC) elections this year would use the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) as part of a series of reforms introduced in the election process.

“The voting would be done using EVMs for the first time in the region. The system is fast, efficient and reliable and hence it is being introduced as we want to keep pace with modern facilities to improve the level of accuracy,” said Dr Saeed Mohammed Al Ghafli, Assistant Undersecretary for the Federal National Council Affairs in the Ministry of State for Federal National Council, as he spoke to the electoral college during an awareness lecture at Dubai World Trade Centre on Tuesday.

He said the voting system would be unique and progressive, in a way connecting with the youth who are a major part of this election.

Egypt: Parties welcome electoral commission measures, demand more | The Daily News Egypt

Several political parties welcomed Tuesday the measures announced by the Supreme Electoral Commission concerning the next parliamentary polls, but demanded more steps. On Monday, the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) formed the Commission led by the head of the Cairo Appeals Court Abdel-Mo’ez Ibrahim.

A few hours later, Ibrahim said in a telephone interview with ON TV’s Baladna Bil Masry talk show that the polls will be held in the second part of November but that the electoral process as a whole will start on Sept. 18. Earlier in March, SCAF had announced that parliamentary elections will be held in September but later in July, the polls were delayed to November.

Nevada: Cherchio seeks recount in disputed North Las Vegas election | Las Vegas Sun

One day after Wade Wagner was sworn in as a North Las Vegas city councilman in Ward 4, former Councilman Richard Cherchio has demanded a recount – the latest development in the ongoing dispute. One illegal ballot was cast in Precinct 4306 in the June 7 general election that Wagner won by one vote.

After two lawsuits, several restraining orders and a judge’s ruling that the city must swear in Wagner, Cherchio is moving forward with his last option. Cherchio has requested a recount in precincts 2440, 2500 and 4304. The recount will cost him $600.

Thailand: Thai Election Body Certifies Yingluck’s MP Status |

The Election Commission of Thailand on Tuesday certified the MP status of Prime Minister designate Yingluck Shinawatra and Caretaker Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, Thai media reported.

The EC certified 12 more MPs Tuesday. Among the twelve are Yingluck Shinawatra, the prime minister candidate from fugitive prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s Pheu Thai Party, Caretaker Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and Acting Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban from the elite-back Democrat Party, Thai media reported.

The EC had spent about two weeks after the election day on July 3 to probe into a complain on electoral fraud amid pressure from various political groups, especially the pro-Thaksin “red-shirt” camp, who organized a small rally in front of the EC office last week.

South Carolina: Many face fight to prove ID |

Ruth Johnson remembers being sent to the pay phone in the middle of the night to call the midwife when her mother’s labor pains started. “I called the midwife. She said she was coming. She never did show up,” Johnson said, thinking back to life as a 12-year-old in Barnwell County in the late 1950s.

Before long, Ruth’s mother sent her back to the pay phone at the Hilda grocery store. The second time, the midwife admitted she had no intention of coming to help with the birth. “She said, ‘Your mama, she owes me $25 for the last baby.’” And so the baby was born in the family home, without a birth certificate — a common practice in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s in rural South Carolina, but one that is causing problems now for an older generation required to have proof of identification.

Before the government began discouraging midwifery in the 1970s, a lot of women in rural South Carolina didn’t go to hospitals to have their babies, either because of the cost, discrimination or culture. Often, the births were unrecorded, whether a midwife was in attendance or not. In some cases, names were misspelled by illiterate midwives or recorded incompletely when parents couldn’t settle on a first name right away.

Estonia: Expert from USA: e-voting is not safe |

Barbara Simons, a reputable expert on IT-safety, who is visiting Tallinn, claims that as internet becomes more and more dangerous, most of the internet experts are certain that e-voting is everything but safe, writes Raepress.

Simons said that cyber criminals are able to gather all kinds of information and even attack different governments – as Russian hackers did with Estonian internet systems. Simons added that allegedly, the computer virus that attacked Iran was released by specialists from Israel and USA.

Simons was in Tallinn Town Hall yesterday, taking part in a forum dedicated to e-voting and today will hold a public lecture titled “Time is not ripe for e-voting”. On Wednesday Simons will give a press conference as well.

Oklahoma: Cherokee Nation Chief Still Undecided After Weekend Recount |

After two days recounting the recount, there’s a new vote tally, but not a new Chief of the Cherokee Nation. In a hand recount of votes over the weekend, Chad Smith won by a narrow five votes but that may not mean he gets to keep his job.

A Cherokee Nation lawyer compares it to the Bush-Gore race in Florida. It was unchartered territory for America. Now, Smith-Baker is testing the laws of the Cherokee Nation. After a painstaking two days of counting more than 15,000 ballots, this announcement from Chief Chad Smith:

“I’ve come out ahead,” Chief Chad Smith said. But his challenger, Bill John Baker, says not so fast.

California: Internet Voting In California? | California Progress Report

Election integrity advocates recently launched a campaign to block a bill, SB908, that would have introduced email voting for Californians living overseas. We fought it for several reasons.

First, paperless voting itself is dangerous because there is no independent way to check the results claimed by the machines, and no way to recover when something goes wrong, and it will. Voting across the Internet is worse, because it opens up the voting system to several more types of attack, from anywhere in the world, all of them dangerous. Voting by email attachment is even worse, because no attempt is made to encrypt the ballot as it travels from computer to computer across the globe on the way to its destination.

Any of these computers is quite capable of “photoshopping” or simply blocking any ballot that passes through. A ballot sent from Afghanistan could pass through computers in China, Iran, Russia, or any other country interested in “fixing” ballots headed for California. This is only one of several severe vulnerabilities in Internet voting.

Wisconsin: Nickolaus says she does not plan to show all election-breakdown results | JSOnline

When Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus said in May that she intended to start providing unofficial election night results broken down by municipality – something that might have flagged the kind of snafu that earned her notoriety after the Supreme Court election this spring – she did not mean all municipal results.

Nickolaus told the County Board’s Executive Committee on Monday that she’ll change her reporting practices based on advice from the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board.

When pressed in committee by Supervisor David Swan as to whether she’d return to past practice of showing results for municipalities, even if the state elections officials don’t suggest it, she said, “Not at this point.”

Texas: Harris County buying new voting machine warehouse | Houston Chronicle

Harris County is buying a building to house voting machines and other equipment that will replace a warehouse destroyed by fire last August. The $4.35 million purchase of a facility on Todd Road near the intersection of Hempstead Highway and 34th is expected to close this month, said John Blount, director of architecture and engineering.

After a renovation, the building will house voting machines, the County Clerk’s archives, Tax Assessor-Collector’s distribution center and perhaps records of several justices of the peace and other county departments.

“Me and my team, we just worked our butts off finding the best possible replacement location,” Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart said. “Online we looked at over 100 places. In person I know I looked at at least three or four dozen. We scoured the county trying to find the best deal for the taxpayers.”

National: Congresswoman Susan Davis Introduces Bill to End Abesentee Ballot Restrictions | East County Magazine

Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) has introduced legislation, the Universal Right to Vote by Mail Act (H.R. 2084), that would end restrictions many states impose on a person’s ability to vote by absentee ballot.

Currently, 21 states restrict an eligible voter’s ability to vote by mail, also known as absentee.  The other states offer no-excuse absentee voting.  Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) re-introduced her bill to end such restrictions and allow all eligible voters nationwide to vote by mail for any reason in federal elections.