New Zealand: Public spending on election ads comes under spotlight again in New Zealand | NZ Herald News

A decision by the Electoral Commission to refer a parliamentary-funded postcard from Labour to the police is expected to raise questions again about the extent of election advertising that will be funded by taxpayers in the run-up to the election. The postcard in question opposed asset sales and was funded by Labour’s parliamentary budget.

The Electoral Commission believes that because the postcard was election advertising as defined by the Electoral Act it needed a promoter statement on it, saying who authorised it. Labour’s statements on the issue suggests it thinks that simply because it was funded by Parliament, means it cannot be election advertising.

“Labour had taken the view that the flyer was not an election advertisement under the Act, in part because it had received prior authorisation from the Parliamentary Service for its publication,” campaign spokesman Grant Robertson said.

Fiji: Election Office prepares for electronic voter registration | Fiji Times

The Election Office is working to implement electronic voter registration in time for the 2014 general elections.

A Government statement said the office was exploring ways to facilitate it. “The work plan for the establishment of a system of electronic voter registration will be sent to overseas missions and multilateral organisations in Fiji for their assistance in implementing the work plan,” the statement said.

Thailand: Key Thai Democrat disagrees with Election Commission’s Yingluck noodle probe | Bangkok Post

Democrat Party spokesman Buranaj Smutharaks says he opposes an Election Commission investigation into allegations that Yingluck Shinawatra, likely the next prime minister, broke the election law by giving food to voters.

Mr Buranaj yesterday said he disagreed with the EC’s move to investigate an allegation that Ms Yingluck violated election law when she fried noodles and distributed them to voters during a May 31 campaign stop in Nakhon Ratchasima province. Mr Buranaj said cooking in front of voters was a common campaign activity and the leaders of other parties had also done this during their campaigns.

The EC has already received the findings of the investigation into the matter by the Nakhon Ratchasima provincial election commission. The EC is set to consider the case on Tuesday.

Philippines: Comelec to start ballot recount this month unless Supreme Court stops it | Sun.Star

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will start the recount of the ballots cast in the contested precincts in Compostela, Cebu this month unless the Supreme Court (SC) issues an order to stop it.

Cebu Provincial Election Supervisor Lionel Marco Castillano said their target date for the recount is on July 14. He said they are just waiting for the clarification from Comelec in Manila on what rules they are going to use and the composition of the Board of Canvassers.

“We have to follow the order of the Comelec en banc. We have to re-canvass the ballots so the issue will be put to an end,” Castillano said.

Oklahoma: Supreme Court allows release of Election Commission’s voters list | Cherokee Phoenix

After showing concern about its disclosure, Cherokee Nation Supreme Court justices on Saturday ordered the Election Commission to provide the court a list of names and tribal identification numbers of everyone who voted in the June 25 election.

The list was made available as part of Principal Chief Chad Smith’s appeal of the June 30 recount results that gave his opponent, Tribal Councilor Bill John Baker, a 266-vote victory. Baker is attempting to defend his victory in the appeal hearing that began Friday and lasted nearly 14 hours yesterday.

“It ended like the day began. The election commissioners acknowledged they made a mistake in issuing the certificate (certifying the recount), and through the course of the day that has not changed. It’s been a long day, but it still looks very good for us. We’re still very pleased,” Smith said. He added that he’s “pleased” the court allowed the release of the voters list.

The Voting News Weekly: TVN Weekly July 4-10 2011

Next week will see the first of the recall elections in Wisconsin, which will feature acknowledged “fake” Democratic candidates running to force primary elections that will cost taxpayers nearly half a million dollars. The controversy over the Cherokee Nation election stretched into a third week with allegations of mishandling absentee ballots and non-citizen voting. The Democratic legislature in Rhode Island passed a voter ID bill that is much less restrictive than the bill proposed in Ohio, which is opposed by Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted. A coalition of civil rights and election protection advocates have challenged the voter ID bill signed by South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. Though the severity of the breach has been questioned by Florida election officials, a hacker going by the name Abhaxas has claimed a second hack of the State’s election database. In New Jersey, a ballot programming error that was not caught in pre-election testing is being blamed on “human error.” Former President Bill Clinton described new GOP laws  restricting access to voting as the most determined disenfranchisement effort since Jim Crow. And Egypt joined Bangladesh, Namibia, Nigeria, Kenya, The Philippines and Russia with plans to use electronic voting machines in upcoming elections in the news this week.

Arizona: Pearce officially faces recall election | Arizona Capitol Times

It’s official: Senate President Russell Pearce is the first sitting elected legislator who will face a recall election in Arizona history. The Secretary of State today confirmed that the group seeking Pearce’s recall has submitted more than enough signatures for the special election to take place.

The fast pace of the work done by state and county election officials means the special election will take place this November — unless someone successfully challenges the signatures in court. Gov. Jan Brewer has 15 days from today to issue an order calling for a special election, which must occur at the next scheduled election date that is more than 90 days away, meaning Pearce will go before voters in November.

Pearce’s critics now face the daunting task of finding and persuading a credible candidate to go against the Senate’s most powerful politician in one of Arizona’s most conservative enclaves.

Oklahoma: Cherokee Election Commission Will See If Former Citizens Voted |

The Cherokee Nation Election Commission was granted permission to see if any former Cherokee citizens voted in last month’s disputed Principal Chief election. The Cherokee Supreme Court gave the go ahead Saturday during a hearing to determine the winner in the close election.

The commission will check a list of voters against a list of relinquished Cherokee citizens who are not eligible to vote in Cherokee elections. To do so, they will release a list of “C.O. numbers,” a unique number given to every Cherokee citizen, to compare with the list of citizens who cast their votes.

Attorneys for Bill John Baker raised the concern that relinquished citizenship is an issue that should be dealt with on the district court level, according to Cherokee law, and should not be handled by the supreme court.

Oklahoma: Cherokee Supreme Court hears testimony on the handling of ballots | Poten & Partners

The Cherokee Nation Supreme Court begun hearing testimony Friday morning on irregularities in the principal chief’s election. Principal Chief Chad Smith on Tuesday asked the nation’s supreme court justices to order a machine-conducted recount of ballots cast in the June 25 election or to invalidate the election and call for a new election.

On Friday, the Supreme Court heard election commissioners and staff members before breaking for lunch, with questions coming from the justices and then from each of the campaigns. Other witnesses that were planned to be called for testimony were sequestered for questioning later in the day.

All of the election commissioners present and Terry Rainey, a contractor who had been hired to provide and oversee electronic voting machines, agreed that the tally of votes at the end of the recount was in error.

The Voting News Daily: An election that isn’t about the candidates, primary signals strange times, Cherokee Election Commissioners testify that recount is wrong

Wisconsin: An election that isn’t about the candidates, primary signals strange times | LaCrosse Tribune James Smith thinks Wisconsin law makes it too easy to recall a sitting legislator. And he’s willing to spend taxpayer dollars to protest it. Smith, a self-described libertarian Republican and former officer of the La Crosse County GOP, will be…

Wisconsin: An election that isn’t about the candidates, primary signals strange times | LaCrosse Tribune

James Smith thinks Wisconsin law makes it too easy to recall a sitting legislator. And he’s willing to spend taxpayer dollars to protest it.

Smith, a self-described libertarian Republican and former officer of the La Crosse County GOP, will be on the ballot Tuesday alongside Democratic state Rep. Jennifer Shilling in a bid to challenge Sen. Dan Kapanke. He is one of six fake Democrats across the state running as part of a GOP strategy to delay recalls until August.

County clerks estimate the partisan primary will cost taxpayers in the 32nd Senate district about $117,000, the same as the Aug. 9 recall election. Smith hopes his candidacy draws attention to Wisconsin’s laws.

Oklahoma: Election Commissioners testify that recount is wrong | Cherokee Phoenix

Four Cherokee Nation Election Commissioners testified in front of the tribe’s Supreme Court today that they believe the recount numbers in the disputed principal chief’s race are wrong.

During a hearing regarding Principal Chief Chad Smith’s appeal of the election, EC Vice-Chairwoman Brenda J. Walker, Secretary Martha Callico and Commissioners Patsy Eads-Morton and Curtis L. Rohr told Supreme Court justices that they believe the recount numbers that they, along with former Chairman Roger L. Johnson, certified on June 30 are inaccurate.

Ohio: House GOP pushes Husted to back photo ID | Columbus Dispatch

Pointing to recent action in Rhode Island, a member of House GOP leadership is calling on Secretary of State Jon Husted to get behind a bill stalled in the Senate that requires voters to show photo ID at the polls.

“It is very encouraging that other states are moving forward on this common-sense concept that will strengthen elections and restore voters’ confidence in the democratic process,” Rep. John Adams, R-Sidney, said in a release. “I am disappointed that (Husted) has not supported this legislation despite nationwide bipartisan support from both state legislatures and the public.”

Husted has said he does not favor a strict photo ID bill and has not come out in favor of a softer Senate-amended version either, arguing that he has all the tools he needs to keep Ohio elections secure in a separate election overhaul bill that passed last week. Senate leaders have taken some action on the photo ID bill, House Bill 159, but have not brought it up for a full vote.

Russia: Russians abroad to vote via electronic devices | Voice of Russia

December 4 will see parliamentary elections in Russia. However, Russian citizens who are now living and working abroad will also have a possibility to vote. On December 4, polling stations will open in all countries with which Russia has diplomatic relations. For the first time, they will be equipped with a technical novelty – electronic devices which will ease the procedure of voting and calculating the votes.

In total, there are over 1.7 mln Russian citizens abroad now – at least, those who are registered by consulates, – mostly, in former Soviet republics, Israel, the US and Europe. However, polling stations will appear in all countries with which Russia has diplomatic relations.

The main novelty of the electronic voting devices is that with them, you don’t need any paper bulletins. At the polling station, you get a plastic card and insert it into the device. On a sensor screen, the names of the candidates appear, and you just press the name of the one you’ve chosen. After that, the device gives you something like a reciept which confirms that you have voted.

Ohio: Hold On Ohio, Rhode Island’s Voter ID Bill Isn’t the Same | Rock the Vote Blog

Today’s Columbus Dispatch suggests that there are efforts to revive the strict photo ID bill in Ohio in a special legislation session next week. Some Republican leaders are trying to push fellow Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted, who has beenopposed to the photo ID legislation, and members of the Ohio Senate to accept the bill. Their rationale is that Rhode Island, which has a Democratic legislature and an independent Governor, passed legislation that implements new voter ID requirements at the polls.

… Let’s be clear: the newly enacted Rhode Island law is different from the Ohio proposal in many important ways.

South Carolina: Critics challenge South Carolina ‘Voter ID’ plan |

When Delores Freelon was born in 1952, her mother could not decide on a name for her. So the space on the birth certificate for a first name was left blank. In the decades since, the incomplete birth certificate did not prevent Freelon from getting her driver’s license and voter registration card in the various states she has lived, including Texas and Louisiana.

But a measure — already passed by the General Assembly and signed by Gov. Nikki Haley — will create new hurdles for Freelon and others to vote.

Delores Freelon, 59, who has voted since she was 18 years old, worries she wont’ be able to vote under the new photo ID law. Although she has a Social Security card, a Medicare card, and an expired Louisiana drivers license the S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles will not issue her a S.C. drivers license or S.C. identification card because her first name is not on her birth certificate.

Nevada: Judge’s ruling halts North Las Vegas special election |

A District Court judge ruled Friday that North Las Vegas must certify a City Council race decided by one vote and it can’t hold a special election to resolve questions about an ineligible voter who might have participated in the June 7 contest. Wade Wagner, a Republican, beat incumbent Councilman Richard Cherchio, a Democrat, by a single vote for the Ward 4 seat in the nonpartisan election.

The council later decided to redo the election on July 19 in one precinct and allow all registered voters to take part, even if they didn’t cast ballots in the first race.

Wagner’s attorney, Todd Bice, said the judge’s ruling nullifies an improper action by the council. He accused the council of trying to skew the outcome by picking a heavily Democratic precinct and not limiting participation to those who had voted before.

Florida: Abhaxas Hacks Florida’s Voting System Again | Zeropaid

In an apparent effort to show that election votes can be tampered with, Abhaxas previously dumped parts of the Florida voting database to PasteBin. Officials since then downplayed the hack, but suggested that the systems are more secure than ever before. Even though authorities, on top of this, were contacted, it seems that Abhaxas decided to hack the database again. Call it whatever you like, but it seems that Florida is in for a repeat of what happened last week.

Apparently, since the initial hack, Florida officials downplayed the incident saying that there is no reason to fear because of a paper trail and that only a select few are able to have access to the votes to begin with.

Kentucky: Johnson plans legal action regarding homeless voters issue | Kentucky Politics

GOP Secretary of State candidate Bill Johnson said he will either file an ethics complaint or motion in court soon objecting to a memo sent from the state on the procedure for registering homeless voters.

The Kentucky Board of Elections sent a memo to county clerks identifying the need for clarification in voter registration applications from the homeless that have incomplete address information, due to a recent increase in the number of those voters.

Both Johnson and Boone County Clerk Kenny Brown have expressed concerns that the policy could lead to voter fraud.

New Jersey: Supreme Court reverses decision in Atlantic Beach Town Council election |

The state Supreme Court ruled Thursday that two write-in candidates for seats on the Atlantic Beach Town Council may begin serving their terms as council members, saying there “was a direct attempt by the [Atlantic Beach Municipal Election Commission] to interfere with the full and fair expression of the voters’ choice.”

In the opinion, the state Supreme Court justices reversed a circuit court ruling that upheld the town election commission’s decision to overturn election results. Former town manager Carolyn Cole and the Rev. Windy Price were thedeclared winners in the town’s municipal election in November 2009.

Texas: Officials confirm irregularity in Rowlett special election |

Elections officials confirmed Wednesday that there was an opening-day glitch in the early voting process for the July 16 special election. The glitch involved voters in Rowlett, which straddles Dallas and Rockwall counties.

A voter who lives in the Rockwall County part of Rowlett, Nicholas Kreekon, went to vote at about 12:15 p.m. on June 29 and was turned away. He was told only the Dallas County portion of Rowlett was eligible.

New Mexico: Vigil-Giron seeks to restore her name | Alamogordo Daily News

Former secretary of state Rebecca Vigil-Giron has no job, few obligations, too much idle time. At 56, her life is on hold, but she still burns with one ambition. “I want vindication,” she said.

Almost two years have passed since state Attorney General Gary King obtained indictments against Vigil-Giron and three other people who were contract employees in her office. They are charged with 49 counts of money laundering, fraud and kickbacks.

“I was quiet for quite a while. Not now. This is a political witch hunt,” Vigil-Giron said in an interview.

Thailand: Thai Democrats seek Pheu Thai Party’s dissolution | Bangkok Post

The Democrat Party of Friday initiated legal action seeking the dissolution of the Pheu Thai Party, filing a complaint with the Election Commission about the involvement of banned politicians.

Democrat Party’s legal team member Wirat Kallayasiri (Photo by Tawatchai Kemgumnerd)

The outgoing ruling party asked the Election Commission to recommend that the rival Puea Thai Party, which won the July 3 general election, be disbanded on the grounds that banned politicians were involved in its election campaign.

Vietnam: Over 300,000 selected for Vietnamese People’s Councils | Viet Nam News

The nation selected 302,648 members for People’s Councils at all levels for the 2011-16 term, reported the Ministry of Home Affairs at a conference in Ha Noi yesterday to review the parliamentary election.

Just 3,843 candidates failed to win seats, according to Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Tran Huu Thang. Of those elected, 3,822 will sit on provincial People’s Councils, over 21,000 on councils at district level and 277,740 at commune’s level.

During the election, which took place on May 22, 500 National Assembly deputies were also elected. The result was announced earlier.

Guatemala: Former Guatemalan first lady’s presidential bid hits obstacle –

Guatemala’s former first lady, who divorced the sitting president in order to run herself for the top post, had her candidacy rejected by the country’s electoral tribunal Wednesday.

The decision is a setback for Sandra Torres, who announced her intention to run for president in March, but had been dogged by critics who called her candidacy illegitimate because of a constitutional article that bars relatives of the president from seeking the high office.

To get around this law, Torres split from her husband, President Alvaro Colom. Many called the divorce a sham and many individuals, organizations and political parties filed motions to block it, but a judge allowed it.

Nevada: Judge rules against special election in North Las Vegas | Las Vegas Sun

Clark County District Judge Elizabeth Gonzales ruled in favor of Wade Wagner this morning in a hearing for his lawsuit against the city of North Las Vegas. The judge ruled the city can’t move forward with a special election that had been planned for July 19.

“Wade Wagner will be the winner once the council canvasses and certifies the vote,” said Wagner attorney Todd Bice. Wagner filed a lawsuit against the city after officials refused to canvas votes in the general election for the Ward 4 City Council seat.

Florida: Florida Election Servers Hacked Again | InformationWeek

For the second time in a week, a hacker has broken into systems connected with voting in Florida, stolen data, and released it to the public. The most recent breach occurred after Florida election officials had touted the security of their systems. “Glad you cleaned things up, pretty secure now guys,” said the hacker responsible for the attack–who goes by the name “Abhaxas”–in a post to Pastebin uploaded on Thursday. That post also contained data obtained during the second hack.

We spoke with Chris Sather, Product Management for Network Defense at McAfee about McAfee’s next generation firewalls that analyze relationships and not protocols.

Via Twitter, Abhaxas said that hacking into the servers–using well-known and what would be easy-to-close holes–took him about 10 minutes. Furthermore, he said he had access to all 310 databases on the server, though only publicly released information from two of them.