In a day filled with developments in the Charlie White case, Indiana Democrats threw another punch in the fight for the secretary of state’s office. The Democrats filed a motion Monday asking the Indiana Court of Appeals to enforce a Marion County judge’s ruling that their candidate, Vop Osili, should become secretary of state. White was removed from office early Saturday when a jury convicted him of six felony charges, including voter fraud. A judge on Monday set his sentencing for Feb. 23. Jerry Bonnet, appointed by Gov. Mitch Daniels to fill in, began his tenure as interim secretary of state Monday. It’s uncertain when the Court of Appeals will rule, but the Democrats’ request adds another wrinkle to the already complicated case of who should become secretary of state.
Kansas: Opponents criticize effort to move up start date of citizenship requirement for voter registration | Wichita Eagle
Kansas is ill-prepared to ensure poor, elderly, minority and transient Kansans have convenient access to documents and ID cards that will allow them to cast a ballot in elections this year, voter advocates said this morning. Louis Goseland, who represents the KanVote group fighting voter suppression, said he and others in Wichita have tested agencies to see if they’re prepared for voter ID laws now in effect and that those agencies seem uninformed and unprepared to help would-be voters. “It’s just been one thing after another,” he told the House Elections Committee this morning.
Minnesota’s nearly three million registered voters must sign a registry when they go to their polling place, but they don’t have to produce photo identification. That, however, might change soon. The Republican controlled legislature is currently pushing a measure that would leave the question of voter ID up to voters on the November ballot. Recent contested elections have given rise to concerns about imposter voters and the potential for fraud at the ballot box.
Wake County commissioners want a better deal than the one offered by the company that has the voting-machine franchise in every North Carolina county. Election Systems & Software, represented in North Carolina by New Bern-based Printelect, became the state’s sole supplier in 2006. Cherie Poucher, director of the Wake County Board of Elections, told Wake County commissioners Monday that the company spent about 80 hours cleaning and maintaining the county’s election machines for a $200,000 fee last year. The issue was before the commission because ES&S has been pushing a maintenance agreement to Wake County’s elections board and others across the state.
Editorials: Political parrying to blame for Pennsylvania reapportionment mess | Aaron Kaufer/The Times Leader
The recent Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision should teach us one thing about the reapportionment process: There is too much party control. Redistricting is supposed to be based on census data and population changes to help balance out uneven districts. Instead, it has become a political tool for the majority party to gain an upper hand over its opposition. Both parties are to blame for this mess. Democrats have done it in the past, and this year it’s the Republicans using reapportionment to their advantage. They sought to manipulate districts in order to strengthen Republicans’ re-election bids and challenge vulnerable Democrats. To do this, many Democratic municipalities got reapportioned out of these districts and placed into one heavily Democratic territory where Republicans already have conceded victory. This political chess match results in partisan districts, partisan politicians and partisan stalemate.
Rhode Island: Why Did Liberal African-Americans In Rhode Island Help Pass A Voter ID Law? | The New Republic
At a Senate hearing on voting rights last fall, Democrat Dick Durbin pointed out that voter ID laws were nothing more than a coordinated Republican effort to block poor and minority voters from the ballot. It’s a familiar charge, and Hans Von Spakovsky—Heritage Foundation fellow and leading voter ID proponent—squirmed briefly, before finding an out: “I don’t believe that the Democrats in Rhode Island who control…the state legislature would agree with that.” There’s a reason voter ID supporters have turned Rhode Island into a talking point: Of the eight states to pass photo ID laws in 2011, only Rhode Island had a fully Democratic legislature and a liberal governor. What’s more, black and Latino lawmakers were among the most vocal supporters of the July bill. Since then, Republicans have been happily invoking the law to rebut liberal accusations that voter ID laws are reviving Jim Crow-era tactics to disenfranchise minorities. If voter fraud is indeed taking place in Rhode Island, it would lend some credence to GOP talking points. But does the Rhode Island law actually represent good faith electoral reform?
The U.S. Justice Department was wrong to block South Carolina from requiring voters to show government-issued photo identification to vote, the state’s top prosecutor argued in a lawsuit filed Tuesday. Enforcement of the new law “will not disenfranchise any potential South Carolina voter,” Attorney General Alan Wilson argues in the suit against U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. “The changes have neither the purpose nor will they have the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race, color, or membership in a language minority.” The Justice Department in December rejected South Carolina’s law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls, saying tens of thousands of the state’s minorities might not be able to cast ballots under the new law because they don’t have the right photo ID. It was the first such law to be refused by the federal agency in nearly 20 years.
The Texas attorney general announced both parties reached a compromise map in the Texas redistricting case today — hours before the court-mandated deadline to keep the April 3 primary. But the majority of the plaintiffs say there’s no compromise yet, and a federal court in San Antonio suggested it agrees. Texas will pick up four House seats in 2012 because of population growth, mostly in the Hispanic community. Lone Star State GOP lawmakers passed an aggressive new Congressional map last year, but the plan has been stuck in court as the state seeks pre-clearance approval under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. State Attorney General Greg Abbott’s alleged compromise map is somewhat similar to the plan passed by the Texas GOP Legislature last year but includes an additional Hispanic-majority seat in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Texas: Attorney General and key minority groups reach deal on Texas Redistricting | San Antonio Express-News
A federal court overseeing a Texas redistricting lawsuit rejected a proposal presented Monday, saying the plan did not have the support of all parties involved, a requirement outlined in an earlier order. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott on Monday announced that a compromise plan had been reached, saying that one coalition of Latino groups had signed off on redistricting maps for the 2012 election that would give Hispanics two of the state’s four new congressional districts. But the Texas Democratic Party and other groups suing the state rejected the proposal, arguing that the deal still shortchanges minority voters.
Legislation forcing voters to bring identification to Virginia polling places on Election Day won Senate passage Monday after Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling broke a 20-20 partisan deadlock. Monday’s vote in the 40-member Senate marked what opponents felt was the last chance to stop the legislation that they likened to Jim Crow-era poll taxes, claiming it would suppress votes of minorities, the elderly or disabled and students. The next stop for the bill is the House of Delegates, where Republican conservatives control two-thirds of the seats and have already passed similar legislation on largely party line votes.
In 2010, Chris Rothfuss was elected to the Wyoming Senate, even though registered Republicans and independents in his Laramie district didn’t have a choice in the matter. Now, the Laramie Democrat wants to ensure that doesn’t happen again. Today, he plans to introduce legislation that would change the way political primaries in Wyoming are held. Currently, voters from the two major parties choose their general election nominee during the August primary election; minor parties, such as the Libertarians, nominate their own candidates for the November ballot. Under Rothfuss’ proposal, statewide and legislative candidates from all parties — as well as unaffiliated candidates — would run against each other in a single primary race. All registered voters would be asked to pick two candidates, and the top two vote-getters would then face each other in the general election.
Presidential hopeful Amr Moussa has called on Egypt’s ruling military, the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF), to hand over power to an elected president before the end of April. Speaking at a press conference on Saturday, the former Arab League chief said Egypt is enduring unprecedented challenges that might “threaten the stability of the entire nation.” He was commenting on Wednesday’s deadly football clashes in Port Said which left around 73 dead and scores injured following an Egyptian Premier League game between Cairo giants Ahly and Masry.
The ‘No-Vote’ option would not be available in the Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) for the civic polls, the Central Election Commission (CEC) and State Election Commission (SEC) informed the Bombay high court on Monday. A division bench of justice DD Sinha and justice VK Tahilramani was hearing a PIL filed by Thane doctor Mahesh Bedekar, seeking to maintain the privacy of people choosing not to vote for any candidate. An affidavit filed by chief electoral officer Debasish Chakrabarty before the high court stating that the Election Commission of India had considered the issue of providing a separate ‘None of the above’ panel in the EVMs.
Romania’s government has collapsed following weeks of protests against austerity measures, the latest debt-stricken government in Europe to fall in the face of raising public anger over biting cuts. Emil Boc, who had been prime minister since 2008, said Monday he was resigning “to defuse political and social tension” and to make way for a new government. Thousands of Romanians took to the streets in January to protest salary cuts, higher taxes and the widespread perception that the government was not interested in the public’s hardships in this nation of 22 million. President Traian Basescu quickly appointed Justice Minister Catalin Predoiu, the only Cabinet member unaffiliated with a political party, as interim prime minister to serve until a new government is approved.
A new hot topic has emerged ahead of Slovakia’s parliamentary election this spring: Alleged corruption at the highest levels of government, and anger over lawmakers’ immunity from prosecution. The allegations have stirred dissent among some Slovaks who have taken to the streets to vent their anger at the government and the opposition. The accusations stem from wire-tap transcripts — whose authenticity have yet to be verified by police — of alleged secret meetings between Slovak officials and local business leaders. The transcripts are contained in a report allegedly compiled by the Slovak Intelligence Service. According to local media reports, the intelligence document — code named Gorilla — was compiled over many years by the spy agency and leaked to Slovak press late last year. Police haven’t charged anyone in connection with the leaked document.