Latvia: Election commission slates July 23 as date for Saeima referendum | Latvians Online

A national referendum on dissolution of the Latvian parliament is set July 23, the Central Election Commission in Rīga has announced. The date was approved May 30 after President Valdis Zatlers on May 28 used his constitutional power to initiate dismissal of the Saeima—the first time any Latvian head of state has done so.

In a nationally broadcast speech, the president reacted to the May 26 failure by the Saeima to back the prosecutor general’s request to allow a search of residences controlled by oligarch and MP Ainārs Šlesers. Zatlers said the decision revealed a split between the legislative and judicial branches of Latvia’s government.

Bulgaria: Bulgarian Expats Demand Having Own Public Councils | Sofia News Agency

Bulgarians, residing abroad, sent a letter to Foreign Affairs Minister, Nikolay Mladenov, and Finance Minister, Simeon Djankov, insisting on having their support in organizing a vote for Public Councils in October. The vote is to be held simultaneously with the presidential and local elections in Bulgaria in the fall.

The authors remind that as early as 2000, the Law for Bulgarians Living outside Republic of Bulgaria has been passed, providing for the establishment of a National Council of Bulgarians Abroad, which is to have nine members, five of whom from the diaspora. The same law provides for creating consulting bodies of Bulgarian communities abroad at Bulgarian diplomatic representations in the respective country.

Maryland: Takoma Park explores online absentee voting |

Takoma Park may offer absentee voters the option to vote online in this falls city council and mayoral election.

The city Board of Elections is working with Scantegrity, a research group that ran the citys 2009 elections, to develop a system in which absentee voters could vote online. The city will still be conducting traditional voting at polling places, regardless of whether an online absentee system is implemented, City Clerk Jessie Carpenter said.

Wisconsin: Numerous Challenges Could Push Back Date of Wisconsin Recall Election | Fox Point-Bayside, WI Patch

Challenges filed by state Sen. Alberta Darling and three other senators against the recall petitions filed against them could push back the date of the recall elections, the state Government Accountability Board said Friday.

The board had tentatively set the date for all recall elections for July 12. However, that date was set before the four incumbents – Darling, and Democrats Jim Holperin, Robert Wirch and Dave Hansen  – raised “numerous factual and legal issues” regarding the petitions, the board said.

National: Republican States Push Revisions to Voting Laws |

Less than 18 months before the next presidential election, Republican-controlled statehouses around the country are rewriting voting laws to require photo identification at the polls, reduce the number of days of early voting or tighten registration rules.

Republican legislators say the new rules, which have advanced in 13 states in the past two months, offer a practical way to weed out fraudulent votes and preserve the integrity of the ballot box. Democrats say the changes have little to do with fraud prevention and more to do with placing obstacles in the way of possible Democratic voters, including young people and minorities.

Editorials: Ben Chipman: Bill to end same-day voter registration in Maine could take away right to vote for thousands of people | Portland Daily Sun

For the last forty years, Maine has allowed people to register to vote on Election Day and cast a ballot if they have proof of residency and some form of identification. A bill making its way through the Maine Legislature this session, L.D. 1376, would prohibit same-day voter registration and eliminate voting rights we have had since 1972.

It is hard enough to get people to vote now. Why would anyone propose making voting more difficult? Some have said that processing new registrations on Election Day is too much of a burden for city and town clerks and that allowing people to register and vote the same day opens up the potential for fraud.

Philippines: Bill seeks to get biometric data of all Filipino voters | FutureGov

The Philippine government is seeking to institutionalize the use of biometrics in voter registration to clean the voter record in preparation for the midterm elections in 2013. House Bill 3469 which requires all voters to have their biometrics data — photographs, fingerprints and signature — taken by an election officer and prohibits those without biometric data from voting has now hurdled Third Reading at the House of Representatives.

According to the author of the bill, 2nd district Tarlac Representative Susan Yap, the move will “cure the perennial problem of multiple registrants and flying voters” since every registrant is assigned a unique key of identification.

Editorials: Jon Ralston: If only Heller had done his job as secretary of state, we wouldn’t have mess to replace him as U.S. representative | Reno Gazette-Journal

If only Secretary of State Dean Heller had written regulations for a House special election, we wouldn’t have such controversy over filling U.S. Sen. Dean Heller’s seat.

But the Republican did not, as a 2003 law instructed, write any rules, so now we have chaos, thanks to a Carson City judge’s stunning decision last week that overturned the guidelines proposed by Heller’s Democratic successor, Ross Miller. And reading through the 97-page transcript of Judge Todd Russell’s decision reveals a jurist who seemed immediately predisposed to the GOP argument that party central committees should nominate and hostile to the Democratic Party claim that it should be, as Miller calls it, a “ballot royale.”

Arizona: Group Determined to Get More Signatures to Arizona Senate President Recall Pearce |

Tuesday marks the deadline for one group looking to force a recall election of state Sen. President Russell Pearce. The group needs thousands of valid signatures from Mesa residents in order to move the recall effort forward.

Organizers with the Citizens for a Better Arizona believe they not only have enough signatures, they’re going for a kind of end zone spike symbolic victory as well.

California: Dean Logan and Michael Alvarez: Needed – a 21st century voter registration system for California | San Francisco Chronicle

The world looks to California for 21st century innovation, especially for the application of technology that makes life less costly and more efficient.

Californians are well into the 21st century, working in the cloud, using smart phones and tablet computers, and getting their entertainment on-demand by satellite. But when it comes to voter registration, California seems to be stuck in the 18th century. State law won’t allow eligible citizens in our state to register online until at least 2015 — and maybe much later.

Spain: Spain’s election commission says weekend protests illegal | AFP

Spain’s electoral commission declared late Thursday that protests set for this weekend by thousands of people angry over the economic crisis are illegal.

The Central Electoral Commission (JEC) said protests planned for Saturday and for Sunday, the day when regional and municipal polls are scheduled, “go beyond the constitutionally guaranteed right to demonstrate.”

Tunisia: Electoral Commission Wants Vote Delay | ThirdAge

Tunisia’s electoral commission announced Thursday it wants the first national election since the toppling of the country’s longtime strongman delayed for three months.

According to CBS News, the commission wants to hold the vote for a constituent assembly on Oct. 16 instead of in July to allow organizers more time.

Pakistan: Election Commission impasse: Pakistan Government to introduce 20th amendment | The Express Tribune

The government announced on Sunday that it would introduce the 20th amendment to the constitution, in a bid to pre-empt a likely Supreme Court decision to disqualify 26 lawmakers for having been elected through by-elections that were held without a fully constituted Election Commission of Pakistan.

The move is likely to trigger fresh concerns about the priorities of the government at a time when the country is facing severe security and economic challenges. The Pakistan Peoples Party-led coalition is bleeding political capital even as the opposition Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz is actively campaigning against what it describes as the government’s failures.

Zimbabwe: How Zanu-PF plans to steal the Zimbabwe elections | Politicsweb

Despite clear and binding international agreements to the contrary, evidence now available shows that President Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zanu-PF is again planning to steal the next elections with the help of a grossly rigged electoral register.

After the 2008 elections, in which the opposition Movement for Democratic Change won a parliamentary majority but in which the MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, was forced to withdraw from the ensuing presidential election due to the overwhelming level of government-orchestrated violence, Zimbabwe’s neighbours in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) stitched together a deal, the Global Political Agreement, which saw Mugabe remain as President with Tsvangirai as Prime Minister and a commitment to a new constitution with free and fair elections.


Malaysia: Solid proof to declare Sarawak polls null and void | Free Malaysia Today

A political activist said he has visual and documented evidence to prove that rampant vote-buying in the recent Sarawak polls was a well-oiled plot from the very top. BK Ong, who was deported from Kuching last Tuesday, claimed he has the evidence which revealed cheques and vouchers to voters were issued from the Chief Minister’s Office.

“The evidence is strong enough to declare Sarawak polls null and void,” said Ong, a coordinator of the Malaysian Election Observers Network (MEO-Net).
Ong claimed that BN candidates were the main culprits in buying votes with monetary payments to secure ‘default’ victories.

Vietnam: Impressive Election Day in Vietnam | VOVNEWS.VN

Last weekend Vietnam held general elections for its National Assembly (NA) and all levels of People’s Councils. Such elections are held every five years but this year’s elections were particularly significant because it was the first time the NA and People’s Councils were elected simultaneously.

… Electronic voting has not yet appeared in Vietnam and the ballots are still counted by hand, similar to the way I voted in the small town where I lived in the USA. While this method may take longer to count and ostensibly have greater potential for human error, it does avoid fiascos like the infamous “dangling chads” of the US 2000 presidential elections.


UAE: UAE Election Commission approves formation of sub-committees | gulfnews

The National Election Commission (NEC) Sunday approved the composition of the sub-election committees across the UAE.

The formation of the committees was made in coordination with the courts of Their Highnesses the Members of the Supreme Council and the Rulers of the Emirates. The setting up of the Emirates Committees is one of the basic stages of the election of half of the 40-member Federal National Council (FNC).

The Voting News Weekly: TVN Weekly May 21-29 2011

Laws requiring that voters produce a photo ID were signed into law in Texas and Wisconsin this week – and vetoed in Minnesota. John Tanner, former chief of the voting section of the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, has an interesting perspective on how the Texas bill might fare in the inevitable court challenges…

Texas: Perry’s Provocative Push Back | Technorati

Governor Rick Perry of Texas today signed into law “voter ID” legislation which requires polling places within the state to verify the identity of potential voters with a photo identification card. Voter ID laws are designed primarily to address voter fraud and prevent ineligible citizens, or non-citizens, such as criminal aliens, from participating in elections. Twelve states, including Texas, now have voter ID laws which require photo identification.  Seventeen additional states have similar laws which require a form of identification, but not a photo.

Editorials: John Tanner: Why voter ID won’t fly in Texas |

It has started again. Proponents of voter ID requirements are preparing another push, confident that the law is on their side. In fact, they are backing into a buzz saw.

On the surface, the pro-ID group has reason to be complacent. It won in the Supreme Court in Indiana, which had the most restrictive ID requirement in the nation, and also in Georgia. Those states, however, are a world away from Texas.

The Voting News Daily: Without DOJ sign-off, Florida elections chief balks at voting law, Election Transparency Must be Apolitical

Florida: Without DOJ sign-off, Florida elections chief balks at voting law | Until the Justice Department gives a green light, the elections officials in five [Florida] counties won’t begin implementing an election law that critics say violates the Voting Rights Act protecting minorities. The elections supervisor in Rick Scott’s home county refuses to recognize…

Florida: Without DOJ sign-off, Florida elections chief balks at voting law |

Until the Justice Department gives a green light, the elections officials in five [Florida] counties won’t begin implementing an election law that critics say violates the Voting Rights Act protecting minorities.

The elections supervisor in Rick Scott’s home county refuses to recognize a new law the governor signed out of concerns that the U.S. Department of Justice hasn’t decided whether it violates a law protecting minority voters.

Voting Blogs: Election Transparency Must be Apolitical | TrustTheVote

For those of you who have been following the recount saga in Wisconsin, here is a bit of news, and a reflection on that.

So, the news from a couple of days ago (I’m just catching up) is that the process of re-counting is complete, but the resolution of that close election may not be.  The re-counting did not change which candidate is leading, and apparently expanded the margin slightly.

Trailing candidate Joanne Kloppenburg explains her motivation for the recount in a newspaper letter to the editor, building on the old but true assertion that, “One may be entitled to their own opinions, but they are not entitled to their own facts.”

Bangladesh: Moudud Ahmed says BNP to boycott e-voting in Bangladesh |

A [Bangladesh Nationalist Party] BNP policymaker has said they will not take part in elections if the government introduces e-voting, as it will be ‘a tool of vote rigging’.

“We won’t accept e-voting and take part in elections. Elections must be held under the existing voting system,” Moudud Ahmed said at a human chain programme at the South Plaza of the parliament building on Saturday morning.

Canada: Internet voting nixed for November municipal elections | Vancouver Sun

Vancouver voters can expect to line up the old-fashioned way this November, after the provincial government, citing “a number of serious risks,” nixed a plan to allow online voting in upcoming municipal elections.

“There are potential benefits to Internet voting namely convenience to voters, and accessibility for voters with disabilities or limited mobility,” James said in the letter. But online voting technology cannot guard against hackers, service disruptions or vote buying and selling, James said.

As well, B.C.’s chief information officer is still developing a way to confirm a voter’s identity and then make their vote anonymous. “[The voting process] is unlike online banking where the user’s identity is maintained throughout the transaction,” James said in his letter.

Wisconsin: Wisconsin Governor Walker Signs Voter ID Law, Angering Democrats |

Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker signed a bill that will require voters to produce a photo identification card (Wisconsin issued driver’s license, passport, military ID, or student ID with certain details) at the polls. Poll workers will begin to ask voters for identification on January 1, 2012, but it will not be required by law until the spring elections of 2012.

The primary rationale for the law, according to Republican proponents, is to combat voter fraud. Democrats, however, feel that the law is a political move to limit the vote of their biggest constituents.