The Voting News Daily: Partisan feud escalates over voter ID laws in South Carolina, other states, Internet picks presidential candidate if Ackerman gets his way

National: Partisan feud escalates over voter ID laws in South Carolina, other states | The Obama administration’s recent decision to block a new voter ID law in South Carolina is fueling one of the biggest partisan debates of the day: Do stronger state voter ID laws really curtail the minority franchise? States have been on…

National: Partisan feud escalates over voter ID laws in South Carolina, other states |

The Obama administration’s recent decision to block a new voter ID law in South Carolina is fueling one of the biggest partisan debates of the day: Do stronger state voter ID laws really curtail the minority franchise? States have been on a tear of late to enact tighter controls on voting, including in South Carolina. Last year, 34 approved or considered tougher voting regulations, in a bid to ensure that voters who show up at the polls on Election Day are who they say they are.

National: Internet picks presidential candidate if Ackerman gets his way | The News Journal

It’s just after 8 a.m. on Nov. 11, and Peter Ackerman is staring at red numbers flashing on an electronic board. He sees 2,008,069. “That’s 2 million Americans who have signed on to having another candidate on the presidential ballot,” he says, beaming, in the Manhattan offices of the marketing agency for Americans Elect, the group he’s backing with more than $5 million. Ackerman, 65, who made more than $300 million working alongside Michael Milken at Drexel Burnham Lambert Inc.’s Beverly Hills, California, offices in the 1980s, is Americans Elect’s chairman and top donor. He wants to circumvent U.S. politics-as-usual by letting voters choose a presidential candidate via the Internet who, with a running mate from a different political party, will appear on every state ballot for the 2012 election, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its February issue.

National: New super PAC breed pushed by group |

Corporate- or union-sponsored political action committees should be free to raise and spend unlimited sums of money, a conservative nonprofit corporation tells the Federal Election Commission in a new advisory opinion request. In it, attorney Dan Backer asks the FEC to consider allowing PACs connected to corporations, unions and trade associations to create super PACs within their structure – effectively creating hybrid PACs.“

National: RNC Fights For Corporate Right To Give Money To Candidates And Party Committees | Huffington Post

In the latest GOP effort to accord corporations the same rights as people, the Republican National Committee wants to strike down the century-old ban against direct corporate contributions to candidates and party committees. The ban, part of a 1907 anti-corruption law that helped curb the influence of corporate robber barons, is one of the last bulwarks of campaign finance law left after the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision two years ago. Despite the explosion of so-called independent super PACs, which can collect unlimited contributions, corporations remain banned from making contributions directly to candidates or party committees.

National: Will Obama Issue an Order Exposing Big Corporate Political Spenders in Citizens United Era? | AlterNet

A executive order requiring that federal contractors disclose their electoral spending—by top officers and as corporations—is being reconsidered by the White House despite stiff opposition from the business lobby after it was first proposed last spring, according to civil rights attorneys working on the issue. “There’s a lot of movement at the White House,” said Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen. “I just had a meeting at the White House counsel’s office, trying to encourage them to move forward with the executive order. They have the perfect window of opportunity to get the executive order done.”

Indiana: Vote Centers are Here to Stay in Indiana | State of Elections

Indiana is one of several states pioneering vote centers, which are consolidated polling places open to any eligible voter in a locality. Vote centers came into existence in 2003, when Larimer County, Colorado first pioneered the configuration. Today, nine states have laws permitting vote centers, but Indiana was the first to use them on a large scale. In 2006, the Indiana Secretary of State began a pilot program, allowing counties to test vote centers to determine if they would be an effective means of election day administration. Three counties, Cass, Tippecanoe, and Wayne, participated in the program from 2007 to 2010, and their reports prompted the state legislature to pass a bill during its 2011 session to enable all counties to adopt the vote center model as their permanent method for voting.

Nebraska: Opponents say voter ID bill unneeded, costly | Journal Star

As lawmakers prepare to a debate a measure to require voters to show some sort of identification before casting ballots, Fremont Sen. Charlie Janssen says he has amended the bill to make it less onerous to opponents. “This is much ado about nothing,” Janssen said before dozens of opponents gathered Wednesday in the Rotunda to assail the measure. And they begged to differ with his “much ado” characterization.

New Hampshire: Election Law Experts Say James O’Keefe Accomplices Could Face Charges Over Voter Fraud Stunt | TPM

It was one of the few — if not the only — coordinated efforts to attempt in-person voter fraud, and it was pulled off by affiliates of conservative activist James O’Keefe at polling places in New Hampshire Tuesday night. All of it part of an attempt to prove the need for voter ID laws that voting rights experts say have a unfair impact on minority voters. Now election law experts tell TPM that O’Keefe’s allies could face criminal charges on both the federal and state level for procuring ballots under false names, and that his undercover sting doesn’t demonstrate a need for voter ID laws at all.

North Carolina: Election Official Refuses to Put Marriage Up for Vote | The Advocate

A North Carolina supervisor of elections has quit her job rather than put a same-sex marriage ban on the ballot there. Sherre Toler had been Director of Elections in Harnett County for 11 years before she submitted her resignation on January 3, saying she could no longer act objectively, as the law required her. “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stated, ‘Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter,'” she noted in her resignation letter, as posted on Pam’s House Blend. “I simply could not continue in the position of Director of Elections and remain silent on this important issue.”

South Carolina: GOP ready to battle over voter ID law |

Three of South Carolina’s top political leaders announced Tuesday their plans to file a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice’s decision to block the state’s controversial voter ID law. Attorney General Alan Wilson said he will file a lawsuit within the next two weeks against the Justice Department in Washington D.C. district court. It’s necessary, Wilson said, to protect the integrity of South Carolina elections.

Texas: Supreme Court Argument in Texas Redistricting Cases Highlights Importance of Shelby County Voting Rights Act Case | Text & History

Yesterday, in an unusual afternoon session, the Justices of the Supreme Court jumped right into the political thicket, debating the authority of a federal court in Texas to draw election districts for the state’s  upcoming primaries.  Texas currently has no legally enforceable district lines.  Its current districts are now badly out of step with the constitutional requirements of one person, one vote, and its new district lines have yet to be precleared, as required by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, one of our Nation’s most iconic and important federal civil rights statutes.  During yesterday’s 70-minute argument in Perry v. Perez, the Justices sought to figure out a solution that would permit the upcoming primary elections to go forward, consistent with the requirement of the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act.  Hovering over oral argument in Perry v. Perez was the question of the constitutionality of the Act’s preclearance requirement.  In 2009, in NAMUDNO v. Holder, the Roberts Court came dangerously close to striking down this bedrock provision of the Voting Rights Act, but yesterday, at least, the Justices showed little interest in debating the Act’s constitutionality. As Chief Justice Roberts specifically observed, “the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act is not at issue here.”

Virginia: Perry urges appeals court to uphold Virginia absentee ballot order |

Rick Perry filed a brief Wednesday morning with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, asking that the court not reverse a district court judge’s order earlier this week to stop printing Virginia absentee ballots. After a federal judge in Virginia issued an order halting the preparation of ballots for the state’s March 6 primary, Virginia officials filed an emergency appeal asking for that order to be overturned.

Wisconsin: Voter ID Law Causes Concern For Seniors | WISN

Advocates for seniors are holding education seminars for senior citizens to help educate them about Wisconsin’s new voter ID law, but some are concerned that effort may not be enough. “Every opportunity we get to get the word out, we’re doing that,” said Sue Edman of the Milwaukee Election Commission. Edman heads a panel for seniors trying to educate them about Wisconsin’s new voter ID law.

Canada: Spanish firm to provide Halifax e-voting service |

Council picked the cheaper — but not local — option to provide telephone and e-voting for the next election. Scytl Secure Electronic Voting, a Spanish firm, bid $553,007 for the contract to distribute voter notification cards and two weeks of advance polling over the Internet and by phone for October’s municipal election. Intelivote Systems Inc. from Dartmouth has previously done the work but their bid was $330,000 over Scytl’s proposal.

India: Election Commission lauds Thane’s e-voting but BMC snubs the system, News | Mumbai Mirror

The State Election Commission is impressed with Thane Municipal Commissioner (TMC) R A Rajeev’s idea of counting the votes immediately after the polling, and will urge nine other civic corporations to follow suit. However, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is opposed to the idea, and will have the counting a day after the February 16 polls. In the system adopted by TMC, the polling stations are mapped and connected to a central server through SIM cards that will be used in a protected manner (Thane civic polls are slated for February 16). These SIM cards will be given to polling station staff through which they can communicate only to the control room number and the server.

Ireland: E-voting machines ‘to be sold off’ | The Irish Times

Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan this afternoon announced plans to try to sell off the State’s unused 7,500 electronic voting machines. Earlier, Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said the machines, which have cost the State nearly €55 million since 2002, are now “valueless”. In a statement following today’s Cabinet meeting, Mr Hogan said a request for tenders will be issued by the end of this month seeking proposals for either the purchase of the equipment or for their disposal. “I want to finally draw a line under the electronic voting project and also see that the equipment is disposed of properly,” Mr Hogan said. “Every effort must be made now to sell the equipment and get as much of these costs back as is possible in the circumstances.

Ireland: E-voting machines for sale or disposal | RTÉ News

The Government has announced plans to dispose of electronic voting machines, which have cost €54.756m. Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan has said a request for tenders will be published by the end of the month, seeking proposals either for the purchase of the equipment, or its disposal as waste. In a statement, the Minister said the market was to be tested to see if anyone wants to buy the machines. However, he said that while being optimistic, they also had to be realistic, which is why the request for tenders also included the option of disposal as waste.

Editorials: The infamous E-voting machines of the noughties are now officially worthless | JOE

Remember all that money that the Government spent on those new E-voting machines that never saw the light of day, except in three constituencies in 2002? Well according to Michael Noonan, they are now completely worthless. RTE reports that an estimated €51 million was spent on the machines before the decision to scrap them was made – never mind the added costs of storage and maintenance (although why they needed maintenance if they were never going to be used is anyone’s guess).

Mongolia: Democrats quit coalition ahead of poll | Associated Press

The Democratic Party of Mongolia announced Thursday that it plans to quit the governing coalition, in maneuvering ahead of elections likely to center on how the poor country can better distribute wealth from a recent mining boom. The Democratic Party’s withdrawal, if finalized, still leaves the dominant Mongolian People’s Party with a majority in parliament, so the move is unlikely to affect the workings of the government. But it presages bruising elections for parliament and local councils in June.

Taiwan: Taiwan Vote Lures Back Expatriates in China |

The only thing more striking than the $32,000 diamond-encrusted eyeglasses on display at the Baodao Optical department store here is the bronze statue of Chairman Mao that greets shoppers entering what is billed as the world’s largest eyeglass emporium. That is because Baodao Optical’s owners are from Taiwan, the island whose governing party, the Kuomintang, fought a fierce — and losing — civil war against Mao’s Communist forces before fleeing the mainland in 1949 with more than a million refugees. The rival governments have yet to sign a peace accord.