Voting Blogs: New Equation for Voting Technology: Auditing > Testing? | Doug Chapin/PEEA

Berkeley’s Philip Stark and David Wagner recently shared a paper they have submitted for publication entitled “Evidence-Based Elections“. While subject matter is highly technical, the authors do a nice job of making it accessible to the informed layperson – and tucked into the piece is an observation that could significantly revamp the approach to voting technology at every level of government nationwide. Stark and Wagner start with this assertion: “an election should find out who won, but … should also produce convincing evidence that it found the real winners – or report that it cannot.” Working from that premise, the authors describe various recent elections where voting technology failures created controversy about the validity of the results.

Editorials: Voting in Plain Sight | Linda Greenhouse/

Of all the domestic policy differences between the Bush and Obama administrations, just about the sharpest and most telling may be their opposite responses to the drive by Republican-dominated states to require voters to present photo identification at the polls. The Bush administration thought photo ID was a dandy idea. The Obama administration recognizes it for what it is: a cynical effort to insure that fewer young people and members of minority groups (read, likely Democratic voters) are able to cast a ballot.

Editorials: Voter ID cases could test Voting Rights Act | Facing South

Since 1965, Section 5 of the Voting Rights Acthas been a key tool used by civil rights and election reform advocates to protect the franchise in the South. By requiring states and counties to “pre-clear” major election changes with the Department of Justice, the measure has allowed groups to challenge a variety of state laws that threatened to disproportionately hurt African-American and other historically disadvantaged voters. But Section 5 has come under increasing scrutiny from conservative lawmakers and the Supreme Court itself. Three years ago, in alawsuit brought by a Texas sewer district, the court came close to striking down Section 5 on the grounds that it represented an unconstitutional over-reach by Congress over states’ rights.

Voting Blogs: Multiple States Considering Legislation To Increase Voting Rights | ThinkProgress

If voting legislation in 2011 centered largely on hindering access to the ballot box, 2012 will hopefully be defined as the year that voting rights began fighting back. Last year, a rash of anti-voting legislation popped up in states around the country, from Florida to Texas to Wisconsin. New laws banning anyone without photo IDs from voting (commonly known as “voter ID”) grabbed the headlines, in part because of their potential to disenfranchise over 3 million citizens in the 2012 election, but lesser-known legislation emerged as well.

Editorials: Reject voter ID – Seniors, minorities, young people and the poor could lose their right to vote | Pittsburgh Post Gazette

State senators in Harrisburg will soon consider House Bill 934, which would require citizens to provide one of a very short list of government-issued photo IDs in order to vote. It sounds simple, but it is not. If it became law, this bill would create one of the most extreme restrictions on voting in the country — and would threaten to needlessly disenfranchise a massive number of Pennsylvania citizens. Many Americans don’t have driver’s licenses or the other photo IDs that would meet H.B. 934’s narrow standards. Survey research indicates that 11 percent of voting-age citizens don’t have the limited forms of government-issued photo ID that would be accepted under H.B. 934 — even though these taxpayers and voters could prove their identity with other types of documents.

Editorials: Where Did They Get the Money For That? |

Over the past few weeks, voters in early primary and caucus states have been deluged by political advertising. Some of the ads are pure hagiography, while others are slashing. Disclaimers tell viewers which candidate or group with a soothing name is responsible in each case. But even as they choose from among the Republican presidential candidates, voters haven’t been able to find out who is really behind the spots – who has been putting up the big money it takes to make and air these messages.

Mississippi: Study: 75 percent of non-white voters against voter ID | Hattiesburg American

A study finds that more than 75 percent of non-white voters in Mississippi voted against a measure to require photo identification before someone may vote. Initiative 27, a state constitutional amendment, passed in November with approval from 62 percent of nearly 870,000 voters. But there was a wide split between black and white voters, according to an analysis released by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, a Washington, D.C., group.

Nebraska: Supporters, opponents debate effectiveness of Nebraska voter ID law proposal | Daily Nebraskan

State Sen. Charlie Janssen of Fremont, Neb., has found himself yet again in the middle of a passionate legislative battle. Last year, it was over an immigration bill, one of the most controversial of that legislative session. This time around, political conflict is brewing over his voter ID bill, a requirement that Nebraska voters present official identification, most often a photo ID such as a driver’s license, before they mark the ballot.

New Hampshire: Video alleges voter fraud in New Hampshire | Union Leader

The New Hampshire Attorney General has launched a comprehensive review of state voting procedures, after people obtained ballots of dead voters during the presidential primary on Tuesday. No fraudulent votes were actually cast. But in nine instances, clerks readily handed over ballots after a would-be voter implied he was the city resident, recently deceased, still listed on the voter checklist, according to a video posted on the Internet. After receiving the ballot, the person departed without voting.

Oklahoma: Mock elections prepare voters for new machines, laws – counties test-run in anticipation of big election year | electionlineWeekly

While voters in New Hampshire went to the polls for real this week, hundreds of voters throughout the state of Oklahoma headed to the polls to test-drive the state’s new voting machines. The mock election, occurring in all of the state’s 77 counties this week, was designed to not only acclimate voters with the state’s new voting machines, but to also provide additional training to elections workers and to find any kinks in the process before the state’s March primary.

Tennessee: Redistricting May Run Afoul of the Voting Rights Act | Metro Pulse

In 1994 the Tennessee Republican Party won a big victory. The Republicans elected a governor, Don Sundquist, two senators, Fred Thompson and Bill Frist, and took a 5-4 majority in the House delegation. But amidst all these victories the Democrats retained control of the state House of Representatives and would continue that control until 2008. They were able to do that because in 1992 they redrew House districts and put 12 Republican House members in six districts, thus automatically removing six incumbent Republicans in the House. Had those six incumbents still been in office in 1994 the Republicans would have won control.

Texas: Is Voting Rights Act target of redistricting case? | San Antonio Express-News

The Supreme Court began hearing arguments Monday in the Texas redistricting case that could reach far beyond the districts in dispute. What began as a partisan spat could end up as a challenge to the Voting Rights Act and the power of Congress. Every 10 years when the census count is in, the states redraw the boundaries of their state and federal election districts to reflect changes in the population over the past decade. In Texas, as in most states, that is the job of the majority party of the legislature. After Republicans became a majority of the Legislature in 2002, they took control of the redistricting process. They drew plans designed to keep and increase their legislative and congressional majorities in 2012 at the expense of the will of minority voters.

Virginia: Judge to Rule on Virginia Primary Ballot Friday | NBC4 Washington

As a result of Virginia law, some residents of the state may not have the opportunity to vote for their desired candidate in the March 6 primary. Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and Jon Huntsman have joined Rick Perry in seeking a court order to be included on Virginia’s primary ballot. However, a federal judge did say on Tuesday that the candidates are likely to prevail in the case because of a possibly unconstitutional provision.

Wisconsin: Glitch puts some Wisconsin voters in Africa | JSOnline

Clerks in the state are scrambling to assign voters to the right districts after last summer’s redrawing of legislative maps, with changes to the process putting voters in incorrect locations across town or even across the Atlantic Ocean. The problems could add to the confusion for voters who may already be affected by the redistricting law approved by legislators last summer. Primaries for spring races are being held on Feb. 21, leaving little time to sort out the problems. The errors affect thousands of voters around the state and stem from different sources, including inaccuracies in U.S. Census Bureau data and problems with a new way of assigning voters to districts in a state database.

Wisconsin: Signature review in recall election of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker to take longer than original plan of 60 days – Board to use software to analyze signatures | Appleton Post Crescent

The review of signatures submitted seeking a recall election of Gov. Scott Walker will take longer than the 60 days originally planned. The director of the Government Accountability Board which is charged with handling the review said Thursday that it’s not clear how long it will take, but it will be more than 60 days. Board director Kevin Kennedy says more time is needed in order to do a more extensive review of the signatures to look for duplicates and obvious fakes as ordered by a judge last week. Kennedy says the board will proceed with the review next week even if the state decides to seek an appeal.

India: Statue-gate: Mayawati’s party attacks Election Commission | NDTV

A day after the Uttar Pradesh government complied with the Election Commission’s deadline to cover all statues of Chief Minister Mayawati and her party’s election symbol, the elephant, the Bahujan Samaj Party has hit out at the poll panel saying the decision was one-sided and had hurt the sentiments of the downtrodden. In a letter to Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi, senior party leader Satish Chandra Mishra questioned the commission’s intention to conduct free and fair elections in the state, which will see voting over seven phases in February. He claimed that the decision was unjustified and was a violation of Article 14 of the Constitution.

Ireland: Pubs ‘could use e-voting machines’ |

Finance Minister Michael Noonan has said Irish pubs around the world could offer new homes for defunct and costly e-voting machines. The idea would give punters and emigrants the chance to vent their electoral anger on 7,500 electronic units rather than turning to jukeboxes and gaming machines. “Fianna Fail thought it would not be fashionable as Bertie (Ahern) said to be ‘using the peann luaidhe’ any more and that you needed to have a hi-tech machine,” he said. “But when the hi-tech machine was checked out it didn’t do the job that it was supposed to do so the system was flawed. They are valueless now. “There may be a market for them in Irish-themed pubs across the world.”

Ireland: Noonan’s e-voting offer shot down in pub polls |

Michael Noonan’s tongue-in-cheek suggestion that e-voting machines could be a novelty factor in pubs got few Number Ones from publicans yesterday. Mr Noonan aired the notion that the 7,500 machines could be an attraction in Irish pubs around the world. He failed to explain, however, how they would be packed and shipped to far-flung venues. Pub owners were certainly not taking the suggestion in the spirit with which it was delivered by Mr Noonan. He reckons they would give punters and emigrants the chance to vent their electoral anger on 7,500 electronic machines rather than turning to jukeboxes and gaming machines.

Malaysia: The Election Commission and absent Malaysian voters | ALIRAN

The time has come for the EC to fulfil the task of helping Malaysians to exercise their right as voters rather than excluding some because of an archaic interpretation, writes Christopher Chong. Article 119 of the Federal Constitution gives the right to vote in elections to every Malaysian citizen who is 21 or above. The Article defines a voter as being either a resident of a constituency or an absent voter. A resident of a constituency simply means someone who lives in a constituency in which he or she has registered with the Election Commission (EC) to vote in.

Pakistan: Senate Elections to be held on March 2 | NewsPakistan.PK

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has issued the formal schedule for Senate Elections, according to which the said polls will be held on March 2 this year. The formal announcement by the ECP has cleared the fog created by rumours regarding postponement or an early holding of Senate elections in the backdrop of swiftly changing political scenario in the country.

Taiwan: Security scare hits Taiwan election | My Sinchew

Taiwan increased security for presidential election candidates Wednesday after a gun scare around opposition hopeful Tsai Ing-wen who is vying to be the island’s first female president, police said. Officers in the central city of Taichung arrested a man after they found him sitting with the weapon in his car, parked along a route planned for Tsai’s campaign motorcade, police said. The man, identified as 34-year-old Tai Kuo-feng, explained that the gun, a potentially lethal modified air gun, was for sports purposes, and he was later released, according to polic