Pennsylvania: Amish can vote without picture ID under proposed PA Voter ID bill – but face extra regulatory hurdles | TriValley Central

Amish voters in Pennsylvania would be included in a requirement to show government-issued identification in each election under legislation approved by the state House last week, but they could get an exemption from the requirement for a photo on the ID card.

Lawmakers said that Plain sect voters would be able to get a religious exemption from the provision requiring a photograph on identification cards.

But to do so, they would have to clear more regulatory hurdles than the average voter, because getting such a card involves providing the state Department of Transportation with a statement of their beliefs signed by their church district’s bishop.

Ohio: Cuyahoga County purges 100,000 from voter records |

For the first time in years, the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections will soon know just how many registered voters it should have. The county is in the middle of of its largest-ever purge of voter records. And when it is over, Elections Director Jane Platten expects her department will delete more than 100,000 inactive voters — just over one-tenth of the region’s current registered voting population.

Record purging has been a controversial topic for Cuyahoga, which gained attention in 2007 for being one of several counties that had more people registered to vote than people of voting age.

Platten, who was appointed as election board director the same year, said that the department historically had an “inconsistent practice” of updating registration records. As a result, there hasn’t been an accurate count of valid registered voters for years.

Tennessee: Secretary of State Haggett Shares NNCSVote Concerns | Daily Courier-Observer

A Norwood resident told Norwood-Norfolk School Board members last week that he still had concerns about the close results during this year’s school budget vote.

“I have some concerns relative to the overwhelming vote, the two votes that passed the budget last month,” Robert Haggett said. “It concerns me that a budget of this size can pass by two votes. That certainly doesn’t constitute much of a majority.” The district’s $19.2 million spending plan, which called for a 5.82 percent tax levy increase, passed by a razor-thin 288-286 margin during the May school budget vote.

However, 581 district residents went to the polls and 22 ballots were voided because the residents did not vote “yes” or “no” on the voting machine for one of the propositions or their votes did not register in the machine, District Clerk Barbara Halpin said.

Editorials: Laughlin McDonald: Georgia’s photo ID law infringes on the right to vote | The Washington Post

In his June 23 letter, Georgia’s secretary of state, Brian Kemp, said his state’s photo ID law, which requires a photo ID for in-person voting, is necessary because “every year we investigate and penalize hundreds of people guilty of election and voter fraud.” He failed to note, however, that when Georgia’s photo ID law was challenged in federal court in 2005, the state was unable to point to a single instance of fraudulent in-person voting.

He also claimed that the photo ID law does not “reduce turnout among minority groups.” Again, he did not note the federal court’s finding that the photo ID law “is most likely to prevent Georgia’s elderly, poor, and African American voters from voting. For those citizens, the character and magnitude of their injury — the loss of their right to vote — is undeniably demoralizing and extreme.”

Rhode Island: Rhode Island Tea Party lauds Chafee for signing voter-ID bill | The Providence Journal

The Rhode Island Tea Party is cheering Governor Chafee for having signed legislation his office did not acknowledge he had signed, on Saturday, until mid-afternoon Tuesday.

In the absence of an earlier acknowledgment, the advocacy group Ocean State Action vehemently urged the governor to veto the so-called “voter identification” bill that, in future elections, will require voters to provide proof of their identity at the polls.

From Ocean State Action came this statement: “On the last day of the session, after an hour and a half of debate and against the strong objections of progressive legislators, the General Assembly passed a voter identification bill that will disenfranchise low-income voters, communities of color, the elderly and students across the state of Rhode Island.

Connecticut: Audit Report: Flawed by lack of transparency, incomplete data, and assumed accuracy |

Last week, the University of Connecticut released its official post-election audit report on the November 2010 election, just short of seven months after the election: Statistical Analysis of the Post-Election Audit Data, 2010 November Election <read>

Like previous reports, this official report fails to provide confidence in the post-election audit process and in the accuracy of the election itself.

Arkansas: Authorities investigating East Arkansas primary, monitors requested | Arkansas News

State police investigators are looking into allegations of voter fraud in the Democratic runoff for a vacant East Arkansas state House seat, and a state panel will decide this week whether to send poll watchers to monitor the special general election to fill the seat later this month.

Democrat Hudson Hallum faces Republican John Geelan — both are from Marion — in the July 12 special election to replace former state Rep. Fred Smith, a Democrat from Crawfordsville who resigned the District 54 House seat after just days in the Legislature in January after he was convicted of felony theft in Chicot County.

Democrat Kim Felker of Crawfordsville contends “there were a lot of irregularities” in the primary runoff she lost to Hallum. 2nd District Prosecutor Scott Ellington confirmed last week he asked state police to investigate Felker’s allegations, including that a man offered to provide absentee votes to her from two West Memphis wards in exchange for money or political favors.

Maryland: Other states need a lesson from Maryland on robocalls | Baltimore Sun

On Election Day 2010, with the polls still open, computers placed calls to 112,000 voters in predominately African-American precincts in Baltimore City and Prince George’s County with an unusual message: “Relax” and stay home. The recorded message did not identify the calls’ sponsor; essentially, it told voters that Gov. Martin O’Malley had won and they did not need to vote.

Such campaign “dirty tricks” have been part of Maryland elections for years, pursued by both parties largely because the perpetrators judged they would neither be caught nor prosecuted.

In any case, there now are hopeful signs that such hijinks may soon be a thing of the past. A Baltimore grand jury recently returned criminal indictments against two aides to former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., charging them with arranging the robocalls in a scheme to suppress voter turnout in heavily Democratic areas. One of the defendants, Julius Henson, also is among the targets of a multimillion-dollar civil suit filed by Maryland and U.S. officials.

National: New study examines the impact of on-campus voter registration efforts on college student turnout | Election Updates

A paper was just published in PS: Political Science & Politics by Stacy G. Ulbig and Tamara Waggener, “Getting Registered and Getting to the Polls: The Impact of Voter Registration Strategy and Information Provision on Turnout of College Students.” Here is the study’s abstract:

Each election year, colleges and universities across the nation witness a plethora of on-campus voter registration activities. The results of these drives are most often assessed by tallying the number of voter registration cards collected. Little has been done, however, to more carefully investigate these results. As a first attempt to examine postdrive results more thoroughly, we ask two questions.

Thailand: Election Commission reveals invalid votes reached 5% | Bangkok Post

The high number of invalid ballots cast for constituency candidates resulted from voters marking a cross in the wrong boxes, particularly the boxes of parties which had not fielded candidates in that particular constituency, the Election Commission said. EC secretary-general Suthipol Thaweechaikarn yesterday announced unofficial counts of invalid ballots cast in Sunday’s election.

The counts showed that the total number of invalid ballots cast for constituency candidates accounted for 5.74% of all ballots cast.

Invalid constituency ballots outnumbered invalid ballots cast for party-list candidates, which stood at 4.88%, Mr Suthipol said. The average rate of invalid ballots for both election systems was 4-5% which is not much different from that of the 2007 general election, he said.

Thailand: Asian Observer Group Commends Thai Election, Cites Minor Flaws | VoAnews

An Asian election monitoring group has hailed Thailand’s nationwide election as final results were tallied for being generally peaceful, orderly and allowing the public to express their voice. But, the Asian Network for Free Elections also cited some flaws in the polls and warned the Thai military not to intervene in politics.

ANFREL congratulated Thailand for holding a peaceful and orderly vote with a large voter turnout. Thailand’s Election Commission estimates more than 70 percent of eligible voters cast their ballots in Sunday’s election.

Malaysia: Election Commission produces booklet to explain issues related to elections | Malaysia Today

The Election Commission (EC) has produced a booklet to clarify issues raised concerning elections in the country. Its chairman, Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof said the commission opined that it was high time for an appropriate clarification be published to straighten things out following the allegations raised by certain quarters against the EC.

“With the clarification, it is hoped that all quarters will understand clearly the policies and actions taken by the EC in holding elections in an independent, transparent and fair manner,” he said in his message in the booklet entitled “Penjelasan Terhadap Isu-isu yang Dibangkitkan Mengenai Pilihan Raya” (Explanation on Issues Raised Concerning Elections) dated June 22.

Morocco: Protesters reject Moroccan referendum – allege irregularities in voting procedures | Middle East |

Protesters from Morocco’s ‘February 20’ movement march against the results of a referendum that backed constitutional changes put forward by King Mohammed. Simon Hanna reports. Moroccan protesters take to the streets to denounce the results of last week’s constitutional referendum.

Preliminary results of the poll showed that 98.5 percent of voters approved the changes proposed by King Mohammed.

Russia: Russia’s Approaching Nonelection |

Speculation is rife whether President Dmitri Medvedev or Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will end up running next year in Russia’s presidential election. The supposed rivalry between a youthful reformer and his conservative mentor makes for welcome intrigue in a country where competing political views have long gone missing from the public discourse.

Putin, Russia’s president from 2000 to 2008, handpicked Medvedev from his Kremlin entourage because of a constitutional ban on three consecutive presidential terms. Now Putin could legally return to the presidency two more times — conceivably holding office until 2024, since one of Medvedev’s first legislative initiatives was to extend presidential terms from four years to six.

The partners in the so-called ruling tandem have left open which one of them will run for president next March, reacting with a mixture of irritation and embarrassment when journalists confront them with “the 2012 question.

Bangladesh: Bangladesh Nationalist Party attacks Electronic Voting Machines, e-vote |

Opposition BNP has attacked the electronic voting machine (EVM) as ‘a key tool to rig vote’ and said the government plans to introduce e-voting to doctor up election results. Acting secretary-general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir inveighed against the EVM and e-voting at a workshop titled ‘Electronic Voting System’ organised by Centre for National Studies (CNS) at BRAC Centre Inn Auditorium at Mohakhali in the city on Tuesday.

“As part of its design, the government has abolished the caretaker government system through the 15th Amendment to the constitution. Their objective is to change public verdict by holding the next parliament election under the elected government.”

Fakhrul said the initiative to introduce EVM was a part of that government plot.

The Voting News Daily: Hacker allegedly breaches Florida voting database, 37 million ‘bogus votes’ removed from voter lists in Pakistan

Florida: Hacker allegedly breaches Florida voting database | The Raw Story Voters concerned about the reliability of electronic voting may now have another reason to worry. A hacker known as Abhaxas claimed Saturday to have released data from one of Florida’s internal voting databases. “Who believes voting isn’t tampered with?” Abhaxas asked Twitter followers. Data in…

Florida: Hacker allegedly breaches Florida voting database | The Raw Story

Voters concerned about the reliability of electronic voting may now have another reason to worry. A hacker known as Abhaxas claimed Saturday to have released data from one of Florida’s internal voting databases.

“Who believes voting isn’t tampered with?” Abhaxas asked Twitter followers.

Data in the file uploaded to Pastbin is dated between 2003 and 2010. One section seems to list candidates from the 2004 Democratic presidential primary. Another section contains the file names of ballots from various years.

Pakistan: Whopping 37 million ‘bogus votes’ removed from voter lists in Pakistan | Daily India

Pakistan’s Supreme Court has been informed that 37 million bogus votes have been excluded from voter lists.

Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Secretary Ishtiaq Ahmed Khan also informed the court that 36 million new voters would be included with the assistance of the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA).

Earlier, ECP Joint Secretary Sher Afgan had said that 37 million votes in the electoral lists were not bogus, but unverified votes, and could not be removed until next year.

Texas: Texas Supreme Court tosses NAACP challenge of electronic voting machines |

The Texas Supreme Court has thrown out a case challenging the legality of electronic voting machines in Travis County that don’t also produce a paper trail of votes.

In a ruling released July 1, Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson wrote that the voters who complained about the machines “raise legitimate concerns about system integrity and vulnerability. But these are policy disputes more appropriately resolved in the give-and-take of politics.”

Jefferson’s opinion came in a lawsuit brought by Texas Secretary of State Esperanza “Hope” Andrade, the state’s chief elections officer. Andrade sought to overturn an appellate court’s ruling that kept alive the challenge to “paperless” electronic voting machines used in Travis County elections. Travis County’s eSlate machines are produced by Austin-based Hart InterCivic Inc.

Oklahoma: Cherokee election compared to Florida 2000 vote fracas | Native American Times

Cherokee Nation council members expressed hope last week that the controversy swirling around the disputed election for the principal chief’s office can be resolved amicably. The election and its aftermath are drawing comparisons to the famed recount in the 2000 presidential election in Florida involving Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Al Gore.

Longtime tribal councilman and challenger Bill John Baker, who trailed three-term incumbent Chad Smith by seven votes in the latest count from Saturday’s June 25 election, filed a formal recount request June 29.

Oklahoma: Cherokee chief looks to justices for recount | Tulsa World

After a quiet Independence Day weekend, the fireworks in the Cherokee Nation’s principal chief race could reignite as early as Tuesday morning. Tuesday is the soonest that the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court can rule on a request for an injunction filed by current principal chief Chadwick “Corntassel” Smith just before 5 p.m. Friday.

In his petition to the court, Smith demanded that the election commission finish Thursday night’s recount using a machine. The results of Thursday night’s hand recount were certified as official, but the Smith campaign maintains the recount is incomplete because there is a 251-vote discrepancy between the sum of the votes counted Thursday and those in the original certified results announced Monday.

Indiana: White ruling prompts calls for election law reform | nwi times

Secretary of State Charlie White got to keep his job because state law required the Indiana Recount Commission to consider White’s “intent” in determining where he resided.

In a 3-0 decision last week, the commission ruled based on White’s testimony, and despite legal documents suggesting otherwise, White intended to reside at his ex-wife’s home until moving into a condominium once he married his fiancée. That decision meant White, a Republican, was eligible to run for office and can keep his job as the state’s chief elections officer because he was properly registered to vote.

But White, members of the Recount Commission and the Indiana Democratic Party, which challenged White’s eligibility, all believe Indiana election law needs to be changed to better account for nontraditional families and unusual living situations.

Illinois: Is election commission worth it to Aurora Illinois? |

Decades ago, the Aurora Election Commission was established by a vote of the residents. Now, at least one Aurora alderman is calling for another citywide vote — this time on disbanding the commission that handles elections for Aurora residents living in Kane, Kendall and Will counties but not DuPage County.

Alderman Lynda Elmore said inequalities between whose tax dollars support the commission and who receives its services are part of why she wants to discontinue it.

The commission is funded by Kane County and the city of Aurora. All Aurora residents contribute through taxes they pay the city, even DuPage County residents who do not receive the commission’s services. And Kane County Aurora residents pay twice — once through the taxes they pay the city and again through their county taxes.

Illinois: Quinn signs bills to increase protections for vets, servicemembers | Chicago Sun-Times

Gov. Pat Quinn Sunday signed three bills to provide more protections for Illinois’ servicemembers and help injured veterans get the services they need.

These bills prevent Illinois utilities from cutting off heat to veterans and servicemembers during the winter months; extend the driver’s license renewal time for servicemembers returning from overseas or out-of-state; and create a fund to support public service announcements to increase awareness of veterans’ programs, a release from the governor’s office said.

National: An Independence Holiday Reflection: IP Reform and Innovation in Elections Technology | TrustTheVote

On this Independence Day I gave some reflection to the intentions of our founding fathers, and how that relates to our processes of elections and the innovations we should strive for to ensure accuracy, transparency, verification, and security.  And as I thought about this more while gazing out at one of the world’s most precious natural resource treasures and typing this post, it occurred to me that innovation in elections systems is largely around the processes and methods more than any discrete apparatus.

That’s when the old recovering IP lawyer in me had an “ah ha” moment.   And that’s what this long-winded post is about—something that actually should matter to you, a reader of this forum about our on-going effort to make elections and voting technology critical democracy infrastructure.

You see, in America, innovation has long been catalyzed by intellectual property law, specifically patents.

United Kingdom: Cabinet Office Unveils New UK Voter Registration Process | eGov Monitor

New steps voters will be required to take to be included on the electoral register are set out today by the Government.

The Individual Electoral Registration White Paper details the process for moving to individual voter registration, replacing the existing system of household registration. The change is designed to modernise the electoral system and tackle fraud.

Mark Harper MP, Minister for Political and Constitutional Reform, said Britain is almost alone in retaining a system of household registration, which is now widely considered to be outdated and vulnerable to fraud. Moving to individual electoral registration will help to ensure our system is more robust against fraud and gives every individual control over whether or not they are included on the register.

Thailand: Thai election commission to verify voting result on July 12 |

The Election Commissioner Prapun Naigowit said on Tuesday the Election Commission (EC) expects to endorse the July 3 election results on July 12 if no more complaints about electoral frauds are made.

According to the EC, vote counting is expected to be completed Tuesday and an official announcement of the results will be made right after, therefore, the EC is likely to be able to certify the result next Tuesday.

Mexico: Mexico election to shape 2012 presidential election |

The political party that ruled Mexico for more than 70 years and aspires to recapture the presidency in 2012 appeared headed for lopsided wins Sunday in key state elections that reflected public anger with the government of President Felipe Calderon.

The Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, hoped victories would help cement its steady march back to the presidential palace, and initial results were encouraging to the party’s leaders. The PRI was toppled from the nation’s top office in 2000.

With 15 million people, the state of Mexico is the country’s most populous. Exit polls quoted by Mexican television gave a substantial win there to PRI candidate Eruviel Avila, as was widely expected. He had more than double the votes of his nearest rival, according to these polls. Official results were trickling in through the night and initially confirmed the trends reported by the exit polls.

Seychelles: New Bill For Larger Seychelles Electoral Commission |

A revised constitution amendment bill for the creation of an electoral commission, to replace the electoral commissioner, is now for five members instead of three, to be proposed by the Constitutional Appointments Authority (CAA) and submitted to the President for appointment.

The Constitutional Review Committee’s Report of December 2009, addressed to the President of the Republic, had recommended that Article 115 of the Constitution be amended to provide for an electoral commission comprising three members, as opposed to the existing office of the Electoral Commissioner.

Pakistan: Azad Kashmir constituencies: Polls will be conducted on July 20, court told | The Express Tribune

The Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Election Commission (EC) on Saturday assured the high court that elections for the two legislative assembly constituencies reserved for Kashmiri refugees settled in Karachi would be held on July 20.

The EC counsel presented a notification for the election schedule before the court for polling in LA-30 of Jammu and others-1 and LA-36 Kashmir valley-1 in Karachi.