Maryland: Takoma Park, Md. tests online absentee voting | Electionline Weekly

Takoma Park has never been a city to shy away from trying something new. The small Maryland city is a nuclear-free zone. Non-citizen legal immigrants are allowed to vote in local elections and the city operates its own compost recycling program and silo for corn-burning stoves.

It’s ready to take the plunge into voting technology as well. Takoma Park is experimenting with online voting, hoping to pave the way for use in elections.  A small group of students, led by George Washington University computer science professor Poorvi Vora, spearheaded a test for online absentee voting in Takoma Park in partnership with Scantegrity and Remotegrity.

On a blistering hot day in this suburb of Washington, D.C,, 16 people participated in the trial of the system, using computers within the cool confines of the city’s Community Center.

Indiana: Court to hear White appeal on testimony | The Indianapolis Star

Charlie White is asking a judge to prevent his testimony during an election hearing Tuesday from being used against him in his criminal case. Marion Circuit Court has agreed to consider the issue Monday morning, just one day before the hearing.

The Indiana Recount Commission will hear testimony Tuesday regarding Democrats’ complaint that White was illegally registered to vote at the time he declared his candidacy for Secretary of State and shouldn’t be allowed to hold office. Democrats say that the Republican White’s opponent, Vop Osili, should replace White.

White has unsuccessfully sought to halt the Democrats’ complaint until his criminal case in Hamilton County is resolved. He has been charged with seven felonies, including three counts of voter fraud, and his trial is scheduled for Aug. 8.

Indiana: Secretary of State seeks immunity for testimony | Palladium

Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White has asked a judge to rule that his testimony before a state panel considering whether he should remain in office cannot be used against him in a criminal case alleging he committed voter fraud.

Marion Circuit Judge Louis Rosenberg has set a hearing on the motion for Monday, the day before the Indiana Recount Commission will hold its own hearing on the Democratic Party’s civil challenge to the Republican White’s candidacy in the November election.

If Rosenberg grants White’s request for partial immunity, his testimony to the recount panel couldn’t be used against him at the criminal trial set for August. The request also covers his wife, Michelle Quigley-White, who the motion says also could face criminal proceedings.

Nevada: Secretary Of State Will Evaluate Mail-In Ballots For Special Election | Nevada News Bureau

Secretary of State Ross Miller is asking for information from county clerks and registrars about the possibility of using mail-in ballots for the upcoming special election to fill the vacant Congressional District 2 seat.

“One of our biggest concerns with the special election is trying to reduce the cost to taxpayers,” he said today. “And under new legislation, any county clerk or registrar can convert any precinct into a mail ballot-only precinct with the permission of our office.

“We’ve received several requests from some county clerks who want to at least explore that option and so we simply asked them to prepare some analysis and identify potential issues,” Miller said.

Nevada: Miller asks about vote-by-mail for special election | Reno Gazette-Journal

Democratic Secretary of State Ross Miller is considering having Nevadans vote by mail only for the upcoming special election for the open seat in Nevada’s 2nd U.S. House District as a way to save money.

Miller sent letters to Nevada’s 17 county registrars Thursday, asking them for costs estimates on running a mail-ballot only election instead of a polling-place format.

Dan Burk, the Washoe County registrar, said he likes the idea. “It would be cheaper for us to do it this way and certainly it would be easier for us to administer,” Burk said.

Missouri: Governor Nixon vetoes Missouri voter-ID and early-voting legislation |

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon on Friday vetoed legislation that would have required voters to show photo identification at the polls and allowed some ballots to be cast before Election Day.

In his formal veto message, Nixon said the bill would disenfranchise voters who don’t have access to a photo ID or the documents necessary to obtain one, such as a birth certificate. Specifically, he said access to the ballot box could be limited for seniors and the disabled.

“Disenfranchising certain classes of persons is not acceptable,” he wrote in the veto message. Requiring voters to show a photo ID has been a bitter partisan issue in Missouri and across the country for years. Republicans say the measure is necessary to prevent voter fraud, but Democrats contend it addresses a nonexistent problem while, as Nixon suggested, blocking access to the ballot. Republicans called Nixon’s veto disappointing.

Maryland: ‘Relax’ Robocaller’s Lawyer Argues ‘Dirty Tricks’ Are Free Speech | TPMMuckraker

A Maryland political operative behind misleading election day robocalls has a long and colorful history of political tricks so dirty that even in Baltimore political consultants “don’t want to even breathe the same air as him.” But a lawyer representing Julius Henson (who has admitted he was responsible for robocalls telling mostly Democratic voters not to bother going to the polls on Election Day) is arguing that his client’s right to free speech protects such tactics.

Henson, a Democrat, was working for former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich (R) in his campaign against Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D). The political operative has a long history in election shenanigans, much of it in the underbelly of campaigns in Baltimore and Prince George’s County.

Maryland: Republican ‘doctrine’ on suppressing black vote is key to Maryland case, and maybe to 2012 | The Washington Post

In a room last summer, the brain trust behind the only Republican governor to lead Maryland since Spiro Agnew sat thumbing through a campaign strategy to suppress turnout among the state’s black voters.

It was a document that could have seemed like a relic, more likely to be found in a campaign office during the time of Agnew and the 1960s civil rights movement than during a campaign in 2010 to reelect former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.

Now, the document in the hands of the Office of the Maryland State Prosecutor. It constitutes the centerpiece of indictments issued this week that that accuse one of Ehrlich’s most trusted aides, as well as a campaign consultant, of conspiring to suppress the black vote last year.

Editorials: Vote suppression in the Maryland governor’s race? | The Washington Post

“We’re okay. Relax. Everything’s fine.” Those reassuring words phoned to tens of thousands of Maryland residents last year on Election Day were part of a smarmy effort to convince voters that — even though the polls were still open — they need not vote because Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) already had won. “The only thing left is to watch it on TV tonight.” The calls were deceptive and, state prosecutors have concluded, illegal. Their decision to bring criminal charges is a powerful message that such tactics should not be tolerated.

Two political operatives who worked on the gubernatorial campaign of Republican Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., also a former governor, were indicted by a Baltimore city grand jury Thursday on charges of orchestrating robocalls to more than 100,000 Democratic voters as part of a scheme to suppress the African American vote. Paul E. Schurick, top aide to Mr. Ehrlich, and political consultant Julius Henson were charged with multiple counts of conspiracy to violate Maryland election law. Mr. Schurick, a fixture in Maryland politics, was also indicted on a count of obstruction of justice for allegedly withholding documentation that had been subpoenaed. An indictment is an allegation of facts, not proof, and lawyers for both men proclaimed the innocence of their clients. An attorney for Mr. Schurick said the charges were based upon “a fundamental misunderstanding of the facts” and said they would be vigorously challenged.

Editorials: Right-Wing Attempts to Shorten Early Voting Period Are Aimed at Progressive Base | Progressive States Network

The 2008 early vote proved beneficial to progressives, with self-identified Democrats making up a disproportionate share of the early vote. Barack Obama’s success in engaging the Democratic base and, in particular, targeting early voters was especially evident in the fact that, though 80% of first-time early voters in 2008 had voted at a polling place on previous Election Days, nearly half of the same group had never taken advantage of early voting in any of the previous four federal elections.

Certain demographics were more likely to benefit from early voting – for example, urban and African-American voters constituted a larger share of the early vote than the non-early vote, presumably to avoid notoriously long lines that are pervasive in predominantly urban and/or African-American districts on Election Day or to take advantage of the flexibility inherent in early voting by casting a ballot when their work/family schedule permits.

Though non-early voters supported both Obama and John McCain at an even 47%, Obama held the edge among early voters, garnering 52% of the vote. Thus, it comes as no surprise that, with a series of victories on voter ID legislation under their belt, conservatives are now setting their sights on restricting access to early voting in swing states – a move that targets historically disenfranchised communities just in time for the 2012 election.

West Virginia: West Liberty Recount Canceled | Wheeling News-Register

A scheduled recount in the mayor’s race was canceled Thursday in West Liberty, where just one vote presently separates the incumbent mayor and her challenger.

Mayor Rosie Miller said town officials learned they must first conduct an official canvass of ballots before any recounting of votes can occur. That canvass is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Monday.

Once the canvass is complete, candidates have 48 hours in which to call for a recount, she said.

Michigan: Language to recall Rep. Kevin Cotter rejected; recall organizers say they’ll try again |

The Isabella County Election Commission Thursday rejected petition language aimed at forcing a recall of Rep. Kevin Cotter, R-Union Township, but recall organizers said they’d try again immediately.

The three member board, comprised of Isabella County Probate Judge William Ervin, Treasurer Steve Pickens and Clerk Joyce Swan, ruled that two different versions of the language were unclear.

But Joan Rasegan of Shepherd, who is leading the effort in Isabella County to recall Gov. Rick Snyder and is closely tied to the effort to recall Cotter, said she planned to rewrite the language to address the concerns of the elections board and resubmit it, probably yet this week.

Libya: Gadhafi’s Offer To Hold Elections Rejected | Wall Street Journal

Colonel Moammar Gadhafi’s son said the strongman was willing to hold free elections and step aside if he loses, while Russia and China urged the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to “meticulously adhere” to United Nations’ resolutions authorizing force in the war-torn country.

The moves, which come amid mounting international pressure to find a resolution to Libya’s four-month conflict, could test the unity of alliance states seeking the regime’s ouster.

Thailand: The economics of election campaign posters | Bangkok Post

When an election is called, there is not much that MP candidates can do to promote themselves to the public and win that coveted ‘X’ in front of their numbers.

The natural thing to do is for candidates to meet people in their constituencies and give them name cards, flyers or pamphlets detailing their policies. But this can be time-consuming and expose them to the risk of being publicly embarrassed by supporters of their rivals.

Devising ploys or staging stunts to attract public attention is possible but does not always guarantee space in mainstream media, much less votes unless the activities are really extraordinary. For example, three candidates recently lay in coffins for photographers to signify the dangers of campaigning, and as a way to ward off malign spirits according to their belief.

India: Election Commission of India unveils institute to train poll personnel from struggling democracies | The Times of India

Living up to its billing as the largest democracy, Election Commission of India has now set up an institute to train personnel from struggling democracies who are seeking its help to conduct polls.

With requests from a host of countries to train poll officials, Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi and Kenya’s Election Commissioner Ken Nyaundi jointly inaugurated the India International Institute of Democracy and Election Management (IIDEM) on Friday.

The first course, for poll officials from Kenya, will begin on June 27. Besides training officials associated with elections at home and abroad, IIDEM will also run courses for mediapersons.

United Kingdom: Chair Of Electoral Commission Calls On Government To Consider Central Co-Ordination At Welsh Elections | eGov monitor

Jenny Watson, Chair of the Electoral Commission and Chief Counting Officer at the recent referendums on the Parliamentary Voting System, and the powers of the Welsh Assembly, will today propose that consideration should be given to introducing greater central coordination of elections, learning from the structure that was in place at those referendums.

The administration of the referendum was significantly different than that at elections with the Commission taking on a central oversight role and the Chief Counting Officer able to direct returning officers and monitor their performance ahead of polling day to achieve best practice. In contrast UK parliamentary general elections are administered locally by returning officers, with no national coordination. The Commission’s role is limited to offering guidance.

Pakistan: Candidate challenges election commission’s jurisdiction in AJK – The Express Tribune

The jurisdiction of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) has been challenged in the Supreme Court, ten days ahead of the general election.

The election commission is preparing electoral lists for twelve non-territorial seats of the AJK’s legislative assembly in clear violation of Articles of 218 and 219, stated the petition. Candidates from across Pakistan may contest these seats.

Javed Akhtar, a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz candidate for the upcoming general election in AJK filed the petition under Article 184(3) of the Constitution. His counsels, Naseer Bhutta and MM Rafique Rajawana contended that the ECP does not have the mandate to conduct elections in AJK under Articles 218 and 219 of the Constitution.

Dominica: National ID card can double as voter ID says Dominica Prime Minister Skerrit | Caricom News

The Dominica government has reiterated its position that it will not support the use of scarce financial funds to introduce voter identification cards for citizens. But Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said that his administration is prepared to pay the four million (EC) dollars (US$1.48 million) for the a national identification card which he said could also serve as a voter ID card.
The main opposition United Workers Party (UWP) has been calling on the government to introduce the voter ID card as a means of ensuring free and fair elections in the country, but Skerrit said the issue is still before his Cabinet.

“The Cabinet has been engaging the Electoral Commission through his Excellency the President (N.J. Liverpool) to clarify certain matters with respect to voter identification cards.

Seychelles: Cabinet For The Creation Of An Electoral Commission in The Seychelles |

The Cabinet of Ministers has resolved to present the amendments to the Constitution and amendments to the Elections Act to the National Assembly in order to create an Electoral Commission. The amendments will be debated in the National Assembly on 28th June.

The Sixth Amendment to the Constitution gives provisions to Article 115 for the creation of an Electoral Commission of three members, of which one is a chairman. The Commission would be appointed in the same manner as the Constitutional Appointments Authority in order to ensure its independence and the fairness in appointment of members.

Burkina Faso: Burkina Faso Government Plans to Dismiss National Electoral Commission | Bloomberg

Burkina Faso’s government will dismiss the country’s electoral commission following the June 8 resignation from the panel by representatives from opposition parties, said Jerome Bougouma, minister of territorial administration and security.

Benewende Stanislas Sanakra, an opposition leader who lost a presidential election to incumbent Blaise Compaore in November, has been calling for the resignation of the commission’s members since that vote, alleging fraud.

The government “could not remain indifferent” to the demands for the panel’s dismissal, Bougouma told reporters in Ouagadougou, the capital, today. The state will introduce a bill at the National Assembly to approve the resignation, he said.

Indonesia: NGO says House arrogant over Indonesian election law revision | The Jakarta Post

An NGO says the recent attempt by the House of Representatives to revise the political package laws was arrogant, as it centered solely on how to increase votes and not on improving quality.

“The lawmakers, if they really have concerns, should deliberate firmer rules on matters like how to encourage political parties to be more transparent in relations with money, or they could also think of a better system that would allow them to recruit better members in the future,” center for electoral reform director Hadar Gumay said Thursday.

The Voting News Daily: ES&S representatives fail to show for ordered depositions in Colorado, Internet voting has high cost in Alberta

Colorado: ES&S representatives fail to show for ordered depositions | Center Post Dispatch Election Systems and Software officials failed to appear for depositions earlier this month after Saguache District Judge Martin Gonzales ruled that the firm could be deposed for a Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) suit filed in February. Denver attorney Robert McGuire, on…

Colorado: ES&S representatives fail to show for ordered depositions | Center Post Dispatch

Election Systems and Software officials failed to appear for depositions earlier this month after Saguache District Judge Martin Gonzales ruled that the firm could be deposed for a Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) suit filed in February.

Denver attorney Robert McGuire, on behalf of his client, Aspen election integrity activist Marilyn Marks, filed the suit to force Saguache County Clerk Melinda Myers to turn over voting records and related documents Marks requested beginning in November 2010. McGuire waited for officials from the Nebraska firm for nearly an hour, he said, before deciding they would not appear.

Marks later filed a motion with the court to hold them in contempt unless they could show sufficient cause for refusing to honor the deposition subpoenas. ES&S made no motion to file a protective order (if their appearance would violate trade secrets and/or force the production of proprietary information) nor did their attorneys move to quash the subpoena, court records show.

Canada: Internet voting has high cost in Alberta | Grande Prairie Daily Herald Tribune

If Grande Prairie becomes the first city in Alberta to offer Internet voting in a municipal election, it will come at a cost – and a hefty one if implemented. City council’s General Government Services learned Wednesday that, for starters, a business case requested by the province may cost as much as $30,000.

That price tag in a report from administration surprised some councillors, who along with Mayor Bill Given directed administration to study the situation further by contacting Internet service providers (ISPs).

“I believe that we can build that business case for considerably less investment than what was suggested in the report,” Given said. “Other council members agreed with me.” In April, Municipal Affairs Minister Hector Goudreau requested the business case in order to formalize a city request to pilot online voting.

Colorado: Stagner files affidavit with Saguache court | Center Post Dispatch

Republican Linda Stagner filed an affidavit last week with Saguache County Court protesting County Clerk Melinda Myers’ testimony May 31 during Sec. of State Scott Gessler’s suit to review ballots from the 2010 election. Following publication of a letter to the editor in last week’s issue of the Center Post-Dispatch, Stagner followed up with the following statement in her affidavit.

“At no time on election day or any other time was I told by an SOS official or county clerk staff that covering the over-votes on the ballots was a violation of law or to stop that practice.

“I want the court to know that testimony given in this case was inaccurate at the very least. Again, at no time was I told that the instructions given by ES&S to cover over-votes was illegal and that we were to ignore it. There were four election judges. Why would only one judge be told something this important? All judges were in the counting room during counting and each judge signed every ballot on which adjustments had been made.

New York: Filling Weiner’s Vacant Seat: How a Special Election Could Work | WNYC

New York: home to the special elections brought about by sexually suggestive online photos and supreme bad judgment.

For the second time in six months, New York party officials will be scrambling scramble to settle on candidates for a special election.

With Anthony Weiner set to resign his seat, the timing of an election to replace him is up to Governor Andrew Cuomo. It is his job to officially call for a special election, and when and whether he does that is his prerogative.

Indiana: Indiana Supreme Court won’t reconsider ruling on White | The Indianapolis Star |

The Indiana Supreme Court has declined to reconsider its decision to let Democrats proceed with their challenge to Charlie White’s eligibility to hold office.

Democrats claim White was illegally registered to vote when he filed paperwork to run for Secretary of State and isn’t eligible to hold office. They say Democrat Vop Osili should replace him. The Indiana Recount Commission will have a hearing on the issue Tuesday.

Indiana: Indiana Secretary of State, family blast prosecution | Evansville Courier & Press

Convinced that Charlie White is being treated unfairly, the embattled Indiana secretary of state and his family are lashing out at the prosecutors who are building the case against him.

White sent a letter to the Allen County prosecutor’s office complaining that one of the two special prosecutors in the case, Dan Sigler, committed voter fraud himself.

It’s one of the charges on which a Hamilton County grand jury indicted White earlier this year, and White has complained before that he believes he is being selectively prosecuted.

Wisconsin: Recall in 10th Senate District will push election budgets into red | WQOW TV

Protests that happened months ago sparked recall efforts, which have some counties going back over their books.

Special elections can be costly and now we could have two in the 10th Senate District.  Republican Senator Sheila Harsdorf holds that seat and since another republican decided to run as a democrat out of protest, we could see a primary before the recall election itself.

No clerk could have guessed how 2011 was going to shape up when it comes to politics. “This year was scheduled to be a two election cycle, so I budgeted about $30,700,” says Carole Wondra, Polk County Clerk.

Wisconsin: Voter ID Law In Effect for Recall Election — Sort Of | Fox Point-Bayside, WI Patch

Poll workers will be required to ask voters for photo identification during this summer’s state Senate recall elections — but poll workers can’t stop residents from casting their ballots, at least for now.

The Government Accountability Board, the state agency that oversees elections, issued a reminder this week regarding the recently enacted voter ID law. While the requirement that all voters produce a photo ID does not go into effect until the 2012 spring primary, the new law requires that voters be asked for the information beginning with the recall elections.

In 2012, voters who do not have identification on them when they show up at the polls will be given conditional ballots that will be counted only if they can produce identification later.