Texas: Can a Wendy’s register to vote? | Houston Chronicle

Harris County Commissioners Court approved an order this morning splitting 12 voting precincts into 27 to comply with interim redistricting maps produced by federal courts in San Antonio and Houston. Some of the slices produced humorous results.

Only one of the 12 voting precincts was affected by the local lawsuit, which Latino activists filed against the county in August, alleging its adopted redistricting map diluted Hispanic voting power in the southeast commissioner precinct, Precinct 2. The suit is ongoing.

Wisconsin: Yet another case shows how voter ID is hurting citizens | Cap Times

The reports of how the Republican-inspired voter ID law is disenfranchising Wisconsin citizens, particularly the elderly, keep coming in. Last week the Wausau Daily Herald ran a heart-rendering story about 84-year-old Ruthelle Frank of nearby Brokaw, who has not only voted in every election since she turned 21 in 1948, but has served on the Brokaw Village Board for the past 15 years.

Because of a paralysis she suffered at birth, Frank has never had a driver’s license. That being the case, she, like tens of thousands of other Wisconsin residents without licenses, needs to get a so-called state picture ID card so she can go to the polls to exercise what should be her right as an American citizen.

Under the onerous provisions of this new law, which was gleefully signed by Gov. Scott Walker earlier this year, she has to produce a birth certificate to get the ID. Ordinarily it cost her $20 to obtain a birth certificate since she doesn’t have one — something she finds “crazy.” She has a baptism certificate, a Social Security card, a Medicare statement, a checkbook. “I’ve got all this proof. You mean to tell me that I’m not a U.S. citizen? That I don’t live at 123 First St. in Brokaw?” she said. “It’s just stupid.” But, wait, there’s more to the stupidity foisted on Wisconsin citizens by this Republican-led Legislature.

Canada: Edmonton to study possible electronic voting in 2013 election | Edmonton Journal

The city is looking at the possibility of electronic voting in the next Edmonton civic election. E-voting, which can mean casting ballots through the Internet or over the telephone, has been tried over the last decade in other parts of Canada and several European countries. Staff expect to come up with proposals by next fall on potential options, including electronic ballots and touch screens, to properly prepare for any e-voting in the 2013 election.

While they will discuss what can be achieved, costs and how the system could work, a report to be discussed by city council Wednesday says developing and testing Internet voting would take too long to be ready for the next campaign.

… There have been problems in other countries. The U.K. introduced test programs in 2002 involving voting via telephone, the Internet, text message and even digital television, but pulled the plug in 2007 amid security concerns and little change in voter turnout.

Gibraltar: After almost 16 years opposition takes over | MercoPress

The Gibraltar Social Democrats (GSD) who were looking for a fifth term of office failed to win by 300 votes after the count, with swings both ways during the night, but in the end Yvette del Agua, Joe Holliday and Lianne Azzopardi from the GSD were not elected.

The Gibraltar Broadcasting Corporation exit poll had predicted an 8% win for the Alliance. The final result was Alliance 48.88%, GSD 46.76% and PDP 4.36%. The GSLP/Libs takes 10 of the Parliament’s 17 seats. Dr John Cortes, GSLP, got second highest vote. Joe Bossano came fifth and Peter Caruana seventh. Daniel Feetham has second highest GSD vote.

The polls opened at 09.00 and closed at 22.00 – in that time 17,917 electors cast their votes representing 82.52% of the electorate making this the third-highest turnout since 1980.

Ivory Coast: Ivorians braces for parliamentary elections | BBC News

United Nations troops are on patrol in the Ivorian commercial capital, Abidjan, as the country braces for parliamentary elections on Sunday. The vote is the first since presidential polls a year ago sparked months of violence after the incumbent, Laurent Gbagbo, refused to step down.

Mr Gbagbo is awaiting trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of crimes against humanity. His Ivorian Popular Front party has called for an election boycott. The former president and his supporters claim the electoral commission is loyal to the new governing party led by Mr Gbagbo’s rival, President Alassane Ouattara, and will falsify the results. They also accuses the army of intimidating supporters during the campaign.

New Zealand: Online voting suggested to boost turnout | msn.co.nz

The Green Party wants parliament to consider online enrolment and voting for future elections, after a record low turnout for last month’s election.
The final election results, released on Saturday, show only 74 per cent of enrolled voters cast a vote in last month’s general election, down from 79 per cent in 2008.

Following the election, the Green Party called for parliament’s justice and electoral select committee to look at why voter turnout was so low as part of its regular post-election inquiry. The Greens have since undertaken an informal online survey, asking people what would make them more inclined to enrol or vote. The survey received 1,059 responses over a three day period.

Of those who were not enrolled to vote, two-thirds said they would have been more likely to do so if they could online. Currently, people can update their details online, but they have to either print out or be posted a form to sign and return. Of those who didn’t vote, 58 per cent said they would have been more likely to if secure online voting was available.

Russia: Tens of Thousands Protest in Moscow, Russia, in Defiance of Putin | NYTimes.com

Tens of thousands of Russians took to the streets in Moscow on Saturday shouting “Putin is a thief” and “Russia without Putin,” forcing the Kremlin to confront a level of public discontent that has not been seen here since Vladimir V. Putin first became president 12 years ago. The crowd overflowed from a central city square, forcing stragglers to climb trees or watch from the opposite riverbank. “We exist!” they chanted. “We exist!”

Opposition leaders understood that for a moment they, not the Kremlin, were dictating the political agenda, and seemed intent on leveraging it, promising to gather an even larger crowd again on Dec. 24.

Saturday’s rally served to build their confidence as it united liberals, nationalists and Communists. The event was too large to be edited out of the evening news, which does not ordinarily report on criticism of Mr. Putin. And it was accompanied by dozens of smaller rallies across Russia’s nine time zones, with a crowd of 3,000 reported in Tomsk, and 7,000 in St. Petersburg, the police said.

The protests certainly complicate Mr. Putin’s own campaign to return to the presidency. He is by far the country’s most popular political figure, but he no longer appears untouchable and will have to engage with his critics, something he has done only rarely and grudgingly.

The Voting News Weekly: TVN Weekly December 5-11 2011

A week after the US House voted to eliminate the Election Assistance Commissioners the remaining two Commissioners resigned and the acting Executive Director and Counsel were reassigned leaving what Rep. Gregg Harper calls a “Zombie Agency.” The Supreme Court agreed to hear a case related to Texas redistricting. Widespread accounts of election fraud led to protests and violonce in the Congo and in Russia. The Colorado Secretary of State wants to weaken voting system security. Errors on Sequoia Edge electronic voting machines have forced a recount in New Jersey. A aide to former MAryland Governor Robert Ehrlich was convicted of election fraud and a community leader in Wisconsin won’t be able to vote for the first time in 60 years because of the state’s new id requirements.

The Voting News Daily: EAC: Zombie Agency — Two Remaining Commissioners Resign One Year After Agency Loses Quorum, Supreme Court Will Hear Texas Redistricting Cases

National: EAC: Zombie Agency — Two Remaining Commissioners Resign One Year After Agency Loses Quorum | Rep. Gregg Harper Press Release Today, Subcommittee on Elections Chairman Gregg Harper, R-Miss., issued the following statement after the resignation of the two remaining commissioners at the Election Assistance Commission (EAC): “Exactly one year ago today, EAC Commissioner Hillman…

National: EAC: Zombie Agency – Two Remaining Commissioners Resign One Year After Agency Loses Quorum | Rep. Gregg Harper Press Release

Today, Subcommittee on Elections Chairman Gregg Harper, R-Miss., issued the following statement after the resignation of the two remaining commissioners at the Election Assistance Commission (EAC):

“Exactly one year ago today, EAC Commissioner Hillman resigned from the agency leaving it without a quorum and unable to make policy decisions. In the last week, the two remaining commissioners announced their resignations, and the President nominated the general counsel and acting executive director for a position at another agency.

Voting Blogs: Supreme Court Will Hear Texas Redistricting Cases | Election Law Blog

“The Supreme Court, working late on a Friday, agreed to rule on the constitutionality of three redistricting plans for the two houses of the Texas legislature and its U.S. House of Representatives delegation, and put on hold temporarily a U.S. District Court’s interim maps.”

Given what the Court did, with no stated dissents, it is not clear why this had to wait until Friday at 7 pm eastern to issue. More importantly, it is also not clear what is supposed to happen now in Texas.  What districts can be used, if the districts crafted by the three-judge court are now “stayed pending further order of this Court?”

The case will be argued on January 9.  It is possible the Court will grant an interim order before then addressing which districts should be used. (Perhaps that was the reason for the delay, and it did not come together.  Were they cobbling together a plan and/or an order?  Were there dissents?)  Or the Court may try to rush an opinion soon after argument.

Ohio: Ohio secretary of state certifies signatures to put elections law on next year’s ballot | cleveland.com

Voters will decide whether to approve another key piece of legislation passed by Republican lawmakers, this time an election reform bill that Democrats have called a “voter suppression” bill. A referendum on House Bill 194, a sweeping reform of election laws, will appear on the November 2012 ballot, Secretary of State Jon Husted’s office announced Friday.

Opponents of the bill, largely Democrats and voting rights activists, collected 307,358 valid signatures, according to the secretary of state’s office. Petitioners needed 231,150 signatures to put the law on the ballot.

The successful petition drive comes on the heels of Democrats’ victory in overturning Senate Bill 5, a controversial collective bargaining law. That law, supported by Republican Gov. John Kasich and GOP legislative leaders, was overwhelmingly rejected in the November election.

Texas: High Court Halts New Texas Electoral Maps | NYTimes.com

The Supreme Court has blocked the use of Texas state legislative and congressional district maps that were drawn by federal judges to boost minorities’ voting power. The court issued a brief order Friday that applies to electoral maps drawn by federal judges in San Antonio for the Texas Legislature and Congress. The justices said they will hear arguments in the case on Jan. 9.

Texas says the federal judges overstepped their authority and should have taken into account the electoral maps that were drawn by the Republican-dominated Texas Legislature. The order brings to a halt filing for legislative and congressional primary elections that began Nov. 28. The primaries had been scheduled to take place in March but with the Supreme Court’s intervention, those elections almost certainly will be delayed.

Wisconsin: NAACP to file lawsuit challenging Wisconsin’s voter ID law | TwinCities.com

A second lawsuit challenging Wisconsin’s new voter I.D. law is expected to be filed next week. The Milwaukee branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People will be the lead plaintiff in the suit, which will also include Wisconsin immigrant rights group Voces de la Frontera and several individuals, said Milwaukee attorney Richard Saks.

“We’re arguing that the photo I.D. requirement is an unreasonable and onerous burden on the state constitutional right to vote for Wisconsin citizens,” said Saks, who is representing the plaintiffs. Saks said the law is tantamount to a denial of the right to vote for “scores of thousands of voters, if not hundreds of thousands of voters, throughout the state of Wisconsin who don’t have the types of I.D.” now needed at the polls.

Congo: Election results to be announced | AlJazeera

The election commission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is set to announce the winner of the country’s presidential election. An electoral commission official told Al Jazeera that results would be made public on Friday, a day after the announcement was postponed for a second time.

“There is a lot of confusion regarding why results were delayed on Thursday,” Al Jazeera’s Azad Essa, reporting from Kinshasha, said. “Official reasons are seen as a glaze over the real internal wrangling over results reportedly taking place within the commission itself.”

The commission has said the delay was due to double-checking of figures against tally sheets from polling stations to avoid mistakes. Kinshasa remained quiet on Friday morning. Roads were relatively empty with most people still at home or in their townships. “People are frustrated but say they are prepared to wait for the correct results,” Essa said.

Congo: Election sparks violent protests | The Guardian

President Joseph Kabila was declared the winner of elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on Friday, triggering violent protests and a rival claim to power by his main challenger. Kabila gained 49% of the vote against 32% for veteran opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi, the election commission announced.

But Tshisekedi, 78, immediately disputed the result and declared himself president. “I consider these results a real provocation of the Congolese people,” he said on RFI Radio. “As a consequence, I consider myself, from today, the elected president of the Democratic Republic of Congo.”

Observers fear such statements could throw a match to the tinderbox of Kinshasa, where there were reports of unrest and gunfire soon after the results were announced. Police fired teargas to break up angry demonstrations, according to witnesses, and plumes of smoke smudged the skyline as tyres were burned outside counting centres. A huge security operation put opposition strongholds in the city under lockdown.

Russia: Crowds gather for Moscow protests | BBC News

Thousands of protesters have gathered in Moscow in a show of anger over disputed parliamentary polls. The opposition says the protest – on an island just south of the Kremlin – could become the largest the country has seen in two decades. Smaller rallies have taken place in cities across the country.

Protesters allege there was widespread fraud in Sunday’s polls – though the ruling United Russia party saw its share of the vote fall sharply. Hundreds of people have been arrested during anti-Putin protests over the past week, mainly in Moscow and St Petersburg. At least 50,000 police and riot troops were deployed in Moscow ahead of Saturday’s protests.

Authorities have permitted up to 30,000 to attend the demonstration dubbed “For Fair Elections”. Thousands have turned out for rallies in cities across the Urals and Siberia and as far east as Vladivostok. The protesters have got one demand – for the elections to be held again. Nobody believes they were free and fair. Many are also asking that the head of the election commission stands down, and some are going even further and demanding that Vladimir Putin himself resigns.

There’s a real sense of anger – and although the numbers are not that big in global terms, in Moscow terms this is a very, very significant demonstration. This number simply haven’t come out onto the streets of Moscow since 1990s. It should not be underestimated what a significant moment this is. It may not deal a fatal blow to Mr Putin’s government, but it is certainly the most severe wake-up call he has received during 12 years in power.

Russia: ‘Hacking attacks’ hit Russian political sites | BBC News

A series of alleged hack attacks have struck political sites in Russia during the country’s parliamentary elections. Radio stations, election monitors and newspapers said they came under sustained attack.

The sites’ owners said they were bombarded with data in an attempt to overwhelm their computers and knock them offline. Some of the organisations involved have blamed the assault on state-sponsored “criminals”.

Over the weekend Russians voted in elections that determined the make-up of its lower house, or Duma, for the next five years. In the run-up to voting and on the day itself, many organisations critical of the policies of the ruling party said they had suffered attack by hackers.

Russia: Will Charges Of Election Fraud Prompt A ‘Russian Spring’? | Forbes

This YouTube video, according to a Russian blogger who shot it and posted it online, shows a deputy chairman of one of the polling places in Moscow, a member of United Russia party, stealing the ballots at the end of the voting day without following the procedure for the vote count and registering the official results.

Shot during Russian elections last Sunday, this video is one of many examples of alleged election fraud that went viral, and started anti-government protests in Russia. All week crowd-sourced internet television, bloggers, Twitterers, youtubers and facebookers share information about upcoming protests, photos, videos, capturing mass arrests during the two-day rally in Moscow that followed the election results, showing to the world heavily armed riot police with water cannons. More Russian mass protests against the election results are scheduled for this Saturday: up to 30,000 people are allowed to gather in Moscow’s Bolotnaya Square, and 11 other cities in Russia also received official permits. The internet seems to be exploding from the information exchange and attempts to organize demonstrations and to warn about possible provocations.

The wave of twitter revolutions last year swept over Egypt, Tunis, and Iran, and now has finally reached Russia. Fighting against oppressive regime of Putin’s “managed democracy” with twitter and social networking sites seems like an appropriate thing to do in today’s technological world, where citizen journalism flourishes. In the Middle East social media was a big part of the revolutionary awakening during the so-called “Arab Spring”. Could that be the same thing is happening in Russia?

The Voting News Daily: Colorado voting machine security questioned, Machine glitch on Sequoia Advantage leads to election recount in New Jersey

Colorado: Voting machine security questioned | The Durango Herald Secretary of State Scott Gessler wants to make it easier for counties to comply with rules for electronic voting machines, but watchdogs say the changes increase the risk of hackers stealing an election. Gessler will hold a meeting today to discuss the changes, but plaintiffs in a…

Colorado: Voting machine security questioned | The Durango Herald

Secretary of State Scott Gessler wants to make it easier for counties to comply with rules for electronic voting machines, but watchdogs say the changes increase the risk of hackers stealing an election. Gessler will hold a meeting today to discuss the changes, but plaintiffs in a 2006 lawsuit that led to the decertification of several voting machines did not wait to let loose with criticism.

Jeff Sherman, an Iraq veteran who worked on democracy-building in that country, said he is dismayed U.S. elections are vulnerable to fraud through voting machines. “We have a system that is a light to the world. I think it does all of us a disservice when there are questions about elections,” Sherman said.

Colorado has not had any known instance of election-hacking, but Sherman’s lawyer, Paul Hultin, cited an exercise by Argonne National Laboratory in which scientists hacked into a voting machine from half a mile away using cheap, off-the-shelf equipment.

Missouri: State audit faults St. Louis Election Board in several areas | St. Louis Beacon

The St. Louis Election Board, under fire for more than a decade and the subject of a federal lawsuit, fared only slightly better in the latest state audit — which questioned some of the agency’s practices when it comes to finances, following the state’s open-meetings laws, tracking voters and monitoring campaign finance reports.

The audit was, however, a dramatic improvement from the 2004 audit — which found costly missteps with cell phones, and far more problematic practices. Overall, this latest audit rated the board’s operations as “fair.”

The audit, released today by state Auditor Tom Schweich, faulted the board’s preference for closed meetings — which by law must be only for certain types of personnel or procurement actions.

New Jersey: Machine glitch on Sequoia Advantage leads to election recount in Wallington | NorthJersey.com

There will be a recount in the Wallington Council election. Wallington council candidate Kevin O’Reilly petitioned the Superior Court of Bergen County for a recount after he ran for a seat on the council and lost by a margin of 21 votes to Councilman-Elect Roman Kruk. Kruk received 1,017 votes to O’Reilly’s 996.

O’Reilly petitioned the court on Nov. 28 for a recount due to a machine glitch that occurred in Wallington District Number Three. On the night of the election, one of the voting machines located at the Park Row Firehouse didn’t print out the voting results due to the machine breaking down. To make up for the broken machine, the votes were counted by hand and verbal consent. After hearing his case for the recount, the court ruled due to the mistake in the voting machine, a recount is in order that will take place on Dec. 8.

South Carolina: State Republicans met with Colbert over rights to rename presidential primary after comedian | The Washington Post

Comedian Stephen Colbert tried yet again to get his name on South Carolina’s presidential primary ballot — only this time he wanted to sponsor the Republican contest. GOP officials in the state said they met with Colbert several times this fall to discuss a potential sponsorship of the first-in-the-South Republican primary. Colbert offered more than $100,000 to name the contest the “The Colbert Nation Super PAC Presidential Primary.”

The Republican Party has been scrambling to raise nearly $800,000 needed for the primary, but they have said they will be able to do it. Also, several counties sued challenging the state’s right to hold the primary at all, but last month the state Supreme Court green-lighted the balloting. GOP officials said that decision ended discussions with Colbert.

“Stephen Colbert, the world’s most famous living South Carolinian, approached the party with a sponsorship opportunity,” executive director Matt Moore said. “The party respectfully declined. We wish Mr. Colbert nothing but the best.”

Voting Blogs: Voters want information online, but will they find it? | electionlineWeekly

“Am I registered to vote?” “Where is my polling place?” “What’s on my ballot?” These are common questions voters routinely ask before heading to the polls and casting their ballots. But easily finding answers to these questions depends, to a large extent, on whether their state election agencies are providing information and tools on their websites.

To determine how well states are helping voters prepare to vote, in 2010 the Pew Center on the States launched a nationwide assessment of the 50 states and the District of Columbia’s election websites. The assessment was conducted by the California Voter Foundation and the Center for Governmental Studies, two nonprofits with decades of online voter education experience, and the Nielsen Norman Group, evaluating more than 100 detailed criteria based on three categories: content, look-up tools, and usability.

The results are in Pew’s new report, “Being Online Is Still Not Enough.” The 2010 assessment built on and expanded an earlier, 2008 Pew analysis of state election website look-up tools and usability.

National: McConnell warns of popular vote ‘catastrophic outcome’ | NBC

Addressing what he called “the most important issue in America that nobody is talking about,” Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell warned Wednesday that the National Popular Vote movement is “getting dangerously close to achieving their goal of eliminating the Electoral College without actually amending the Constitution — without anybody even noticing, unfortunately, what they’re up to.”

The National Popular Vote is a compact among state legislatures under which they pledge that they’ll award their electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins the most popular votes nationwide, even if that candidate was not the majority choice of their state’s voters.

So far, California, seven other states, and the District of Columbia (all of which have large Democratic majorities) have passed legislation taking the National Popular Vote pledge. Those states and D.C. account for 132 electoral votes. The compact says it is to take effect when states with a total of at least 270 electoral votes have agreed to it.

National: GOP Nonprofit Backs Electoral College | Roll Call

An obscure but well-funded campaign to reinvent the Electoral College and elect the president via a national popular vote has alarmed GOP leaders, who have mounted a counterattack with the help of a newly revived nonprofit. The fight over the Electoral College is “the most important issue in America nobody’s talking about,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said at a Wednesday forum co-sponsored by the Heritage Foundation and the State Government Leadership Foundation, a GOP-friendly nonprofit that has recently unveiled a new website and ramped up its operations.

The National Popular Vote campaign would replace the Electoral College system, which assigns electors to states based on the size of their Congressional delegations and requires a candidate to win at least 270 of 538 electoral votes to become president. Eight states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws that would instead deliver their Electoral College slates to the candidate who won the most popular votes nationwide. The laws will go into effect when enough states pass similar legislation to break the 270-vote threshold.

Bhutan: Only electronic voting machine error complaints, and appeals, fall within the purview of the Bhutan judiciary | kuenselonline

The judiciary, henceforth, will not accept any election-related dispute that crops up during the election period, except complaints pertaining to error of electronic voting machine. The election laws, according to a recent election related guideline issued to all courts in Bhutan by the Supreme Court (SC), were enacted barring the jurisdiction of the courts in all election matters during the election period. “Therefore, any problems or complaints related to the election period must be decided by the election dispute settlement bodies at the district, national and the election commission, with the opportunity to appeal to the court only as a last resort,” stated  the guideline signed by chief justice Sonam Tobgye.

The election dispute settlement rules and regulations, 2009 defines Election Period as the period beginning on the day of issue of notification, and ending with the declaration of results.  It also states that “A court of law shall, in order to provide an uninterrupted election process in the kingdom, not have jurisdiction to question the legality of any action taken or of any decision given by the commission or its officers or by any other person under this rules and regulations, during the election period.”

“Since the provisions of the Election Act, 2008 and the election settlement rules and regulations ousted the jurisdiction of the court, it is the responsibility of the election dispute settlement bodies to accept and decide any problems or complaints related to the election period,” a SC justice said.

Congo: Election Results Delayed Again | VoA News

Election officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo have again delayed the results of presidential and legislative elections.  Opposition supporters are rejecting partial returns that show President Joseph Kabila heading for reelection.

Electoral Commission head Daniel Ngoy-Mulunda says results will be postponed for a third day because officials have not completed comparing vote totals sent electronically with those recorded on tally sheets at each polling station.  He said it is a huge job that must be done right to assure the credibility of the totals announced. Results from last month’s presidential and legislative elections were to be announced on Tuesday.  That was postponed until Thursday and has now been pushed back to Friday.

Congo: President Nears Election Victory | WSJ.com

President Joseph Kabila on Thursday was poised to claim victory in an election marred by delays, fraud allegations and violence. With 90% of ballots counted, Mr. Kabila had 48% of the vote, while his closest challenger, opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi, had 34%, Congo’s independent election commission said, with full results expected on Friday.

Mr. Tshisekedi, a former prime minister, has rejected partial tallies released this week showing him trailing Mr. Kabila. His defiance has sparked street protests by his supporters in Congo and even European capitals. On Thursday, sporadic clashes between protesters and police broke out in the capital, Kinshasa. Supporters of Mr. Tshisekedi accused police of opening fire in front of the candidate’s home, wounding several people. Attempts to reach Mr. Kabila and the police were unsuccessful.

Despite poor management and fraud allegations by the opposition, the international community has been restrained in its criticism of the vote amid concerns that wider unrest could erupt in the war-ravaged country.