Iowa: Moulton man challenges Iowa caucus results | Des Moines Register

The Republican Party of Iowa says it has no reason to doubt the accuracy of results it reported from the state’s first-in-the-nation precinct caucuses despite a claim of an error that would change the outcome. The final vote count reported Tuesday gave former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney an eight vote victory over former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. The Iowa GOP reported Romney edged Santorum in a see-saw battle by 30,015 to 30,007.

Since then, however, a Moulton man has called those results into dispute. Edward L. True has filed a notarized statement claiming Santorum is the real winner and that there was an error in the caucus results from Appanoose County. According to True, the number of votes Romney received from Washington Wells Precinct were inflated by 20 when recorded by the state GOP.

True, who said he hopes the discrepancy is a simple mistake, reportedly helped count the votes and kept a record of the outcome to post to Ron Paul Facebook pages. He said he noticed the error when he looked at the state GOP website.
If his claim is accurate, then Santorum was the winner with 30,007 votes to Romney’s 29,995 rather than 30,015. Late last night, The Gazette received a report of a discrepancy in the vote totals that were reported in the Illyria and Westfield townships in Fayette County. The report could not immediately be verified.

Iowa: Could Typo Rewrite Caucus History? | KCCI Des Moines

Caucus night was chaotic in many places, with hundreds of voters, candidates showing up and the throngs of media who followed. The world’s eyes were on Iowa. But in the quiet town of Moulton, Appanoose County, a caucus of 53 people may just blow up the results.

Edward True, 28, of Moulton, said he helped count the votes and jotted the results down on a piece of paper to post to his Facebook page. He said when he checked to make sure the Republican Party of Iowa got the count right, he said he was shocked to find they hadn’t.

“When Mitt Romney won Iowa by eight votes and I’ve got a 20-vote discrepancy here, that right there says Rick Santorum won Iowa,” True said. “Not Mitt Romney.” True said at his 53-person caucus at the Garrett Memorial Library, Romney received two votes. According to the Iowa Republican Party’s website, True’s precinct cast 22 votes for Romney. “This is huge,” True said. “It essentially changes who won.”

Editorials: California sits on sidelines in 2012 primaries |

California’s distant spectator seat in the presidential nominating arena is, in part, the result of misplaced spending priorities in Sacramento. We bought a ticket in the nosebleed section because Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature refused to spend an estimated $100 million for a separate presidential primary early in the nominating process.

Instead, they combined presidential balloting with the regular state primary on June 5, long after the Republican nomination surely will have been nailed down, most likely by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. That means Republican voters in the nation’s most populous state will probably have no voice in whom the party nominates for president. They can only shout a meaningless cheer or catcall.

“Cost is always a problem,” says state Sen. Bob Dutton (R-Rancho Cucamonga), who stepped down Wednesday as Senate minority leader. “But sometimes you can be penny wise and pound foolish. It’s hard to put a price on democracy. “Frankly, I don’t think we’re treating the voters of California the way they ought to be treated.”

Florida: Legislator files bill to reverse controversial elections measures | Florida Independent

State Rep. Mark Pafford, D-West Palm Beach, has introduced a bill that would reverse some of the controversial measures in the elections law passed by the Florida Legislature last year. Groups opposed to the state’s new elections law have called it a “voter suppression” effort, arguing that the new rules could reduce turnout among young, disabled, minority and low-income voters.

Among the many controversial provisions in the last elections law were restrictions on the amount of time that a third-party registration group has to turn in a voter registration form, a provision that refers an accused third-party registrar of violating the election law to the attorney general, a limit on the shelf-life of ballot initiative signatures, a provision requiring a voter who moves within the same county to fill out an affirmation form and provisions limiting early voting days in the state. Pafford’s bill would reverse all of those.

Florida: Early Voting Limits Could Negatively Affect Blacks, Latinos | Huffington Post

On the Sunday before the 2008 presidential election, church goers in Florida streamed from the pews to early voting places to cast their ballots. The so-called Souls to the Polls campaigns were a windfall for then-presidential candidate Barack Obama and the Democrats. According to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, more than 32 percent of those who voted early on that last Sunday before Election Day were African American, and nearly 24 percent were Latino. Moreover, according to a report released by the Florida State Senate, 52 percent of people who voted early in the 2008 election were registered Democrats.

“Preachers would preach a great sermon and then march to the polls with their congregations,” said Hilary Shelton, senior vice president for advocacy and policy at the NAACP.

But voting laws passed in Florida last year have limited early voting, including on the Sunday before Election Day. Opponents say the early voting limitations are part of a broader effort by Republican-led legislatures across the country to suppress the black, minority and elderly voting blocs, groups expected to be key to President Obama’s bid for reelection in 2012. The efforts include new voting laws passed in more than a dozen states, some requiring government-issued identification to vote and others limiting third-party voter registration drives.

Massachusetts: Ware to consider backing legislation changing how Massachusetts awards Electoral College votes |

The town has asked other small towns across the state, including Ware and Whately, to back state legislation that could impact the way presidential contests are decided, but similar bills in other states have been lightning rods for partisan anger.

House Bill 00200, sponsored by state Rep. Robert M. Koczera, D-New Bedford, would make it possible for the state to split its 11 Electoral College votes between candidates. The legislation calls for each Congressional district to choose an elector and for two electors-at-large to represent the whole state. This matches the number of congressmen and senators. Erving selectmen contend the bill would add weight to each person’s vote.

Nebraska: Voter ID Bill Creates Heavy Debate | KPTM FOX

Wednesday was the first session of the 2012 Nebraska Legislature and already there is heavy debate. LB 239 would require voters to show an identification before casting a ballot in an election. Some groups in Omaha think this bill will make it difficult for youth, elderly, minority and the poor to vote.

Bubba McCrimon has been voting for more than 30 years and he has never had to show his ID. He is against this proposed bill. “To say it’s racism is harsh, to say it’s targeted its harsh, to say it’s going to take away lot of opportunities that is easy to say,” McCrimon said. He and others at a news conference this morning want to stop this bill from ever becoming a law.

Montana: SCOTUS expected to weigh Montana campaign finance appeal |

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to wade into the hot-button debate over corporate cash in politics again, just in time for the 2012 election season. The conservative group American Tradition Partnership announced plans Thursday to appeal a Montana Supreme Court ruling that upheld a state law banning corporations from spending to directly support or oppose candidates.

Campaign finance experts predict that the court will almost certainly address the ruling, since it’s seen as a direct challenge to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision that allowed corporations, unions and other special interests to use their treasury funds to make or fund political ads that support or oppose political candidates.

… At least one justice on the Montana court isn’t expecting the state law to stand. “Citizens United is the law of the land, and this Court is duty-bound to follow it,” said Montana Supreme Court Justice James Nelson, one of the two dissenting judges in the 5-2 ruling issued on Dec. 30. “When this case is appealed to the Supreme Court, as I expect it will be, a summary reversal on the merits would not surprise me in the least,” he wrote. But campaign finance reform advocates see opportunity in re-opening the contentious debate at the federal level.

South Carolina: Counties Tally Up Cost of Republican Primary | WSPA

Upstate counties are getting a clearer idea of how much South Carolina’s Republican Presidential Primary will cost their taxpayers. Spartanburg County Voter Registration Director Henry Laye says his estimate now is that the Republican Presidential Primary will cost the county about $55,000 (significantly lower than his original projection of $106,000).

He still believes the state should reimburse the county for overtime for poll workers (since the election will be held on a Saturday), cost of fuel involved in dropping off and picking up voting machines at the precincts (about $1200), and maintenance and testing of voting machines. Laye says he had budgeted for these expenses. Oconee County’s Voter Registration Office did not, according to the chairman of that county’s Board of Elections. Hence the office’s request to Oconee County Council for $10,000.

“We thought either the state or the Republican Party would cover the whole cost of this election,” said Robert Brock, chair of Oconee County’s Board of Elections. County council will vote on the expense at a meeting later this month. The statewide cost of ballots, poll workers, data processing and other expenses related to the Jan. 21 primary is expected to total about $1.5 million, according to state election commission spokesman Chris Whitmire.

South Carolina: GOP lacks money to pay for upcoming primary | ScrippsNews

With less than three weeks until South Carolina’s GOP presidential preference primary, state elections officials say they lack the cash to pay for it. But they say they are not letting that deficit prevent them from preparing for the vote.

The cost of ballots, poll workers, data processing and other expenses related to the Jan. 21 Republican primary is expected to total about $1.5 million, state election commission spokesman Chris Whitmire said Tuesday.

But the commission currently has only about $1 million earmarked to cover these costs, Whitmire said. That amount includes more than $800,000 set aside by the South Carolina legislature and $180,000 in filing fees from the nine GOP candidates whose names will appear on the ballot.

Texas: Supreme Court to examine Texas redistricting |

As the election season intensifies, the Supreme Court will hear a dispute Monday involving the fairness of new voting districts drawn by the Texas Legislature. The case arises as several challenges from other states and localities have been made against the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act. Advocates on both sides are watching the Texas case for signals from the court on whether a decades-old provision intended to ensure equality at the polls should stand.

In Texas, a San Antonio-based federal court blocked the Legislature’s voting-district maps, saying they could not be used until officials had ensured, based on the 1965 law, that they didn’t harm the interests of Hispanics and blacks. Texas contends the lower court judges wrongly drew a new, interim plan for state House and Senate districts and Texas’ 36-member U.S. House of Representatives. State lawyers say the judges should have deferred to the legislative plan even though it had not been cleared under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

Myanmar: Suu Kyi’s Party Gets Approval To Contest Myanmar By-election |

Myanmar’s election commission has given the green signal to the country’s main Opposition party to contest upcoming by-elections. A month after National League for Democracy (NLD) decided to rejoin national politics, its leader Aung San Suu Kyi and 20 other members applied for the party’s registration to the Union Election Commission on December 23.

NLD spokesman Nyan Win told media on Thursday that it got the approval of the Election Commission, and registered to participate in the April by-elections. Suu Kyi, who earlier said the party would contest all the 48 seats to which by-elections are held, in which she also would be a candidate, has not yet officially announced her decision. In an interview to BBC on Thursday, the Nobel laureate said she was optimistic Burma would hold “full democratic elections” in her lifetime.

India: ‘Consider column for negative vote on Electronic Voting Machines’ |

The Bombay High Court on Thursday asked the Maharashtra Election Commission to consider including the column for ‘Negative Vote’ in the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) so as to ensure secrecy.

A division bench headed by Justice D D Sinha was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Thane based doctor Mahesh Bedekar stating that when secrecy is maintained while a voter casts his vote for a candidate, the same should also be ensured when a person wants to cast a negative vote.

“By casting a negative vote, the voter decides not to vote for any of the available candidates. When a voter wishes to do so, he or she is asked to fill out a separate form and a register is also maintained with name and details of the voter. Chances of the person being harassed is there,” Sanjeev Gorwadkar, petitioner’s advocate argued.

Jersey: Jersey’s Electoral Commission could include politicians | BBC News

Politicians may become involved in the work of in a commission looking at States reform in Jersey. Privileges and procedures (PPC), which sets rules for politicians, backed overturning a bar on them taking part. The PPC, which set up the Electoral Commission, challenged the States’ backing of ex-deputy Daniel Wimberley’s argument it should be independent.

On Wednesday, the PPC also backed equalising the number of politicians and non-politicians sitting on it. The non-politicians would almost certainly be local, but the positions would be open to people who do not live in Jersey but have a connection with the island.

Mexico: Will Migrants Matter in the Mexican Election? | NAM

The clock is ticking as the registration deadline fast approaches for Mexican expatriates to vote in their country of origin’s presidential election this year. Although Mexican election officials are confident a late rush of applications will mean greater absentee participation than in the 2006 election, preliminary reports of the number of applications received indicate few expatriates will vote in the 2012 race.

According to Mexico’s Federal Electoral Institute (IFE), 14, 776 voter registration applications had been received as of December 20. That’s out of a potential voter pool of an estimated four million migrants. Opened in October, the registration window for Mexicans living abroad closes on January 15-more than four months before the July election.