The Voting News Daily: Federal voting program’s objective: Make itself obsolete, Does Americans Elect Really Have 400,000+ Identity-Verified Delegates?

National: Federal voting program’s objective: Make itself obsolete | Making sure such voters can cast ballots in federal elections is the mission of the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP), a Defense Department office that offers assistance not just to military personnel, but to any U.S. citizen who needs help casting a ballot from overseas.…

National: Federal voting program’s objective: Make itself obsolete |

Making sure such voters can cast ballots in federal elections is the mission of the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP), a Defense Department office that offers assistance not just to military personnel, but to any U.S. citizen who needs help casting a ballot from overseas. It offers resources, including a wizard on its website that takes a voter through the entire process of registering to vote and casting a ballot in the appropriate jurisdiction. But Robert Carey, FVAP’s director, said his office’s assistance role to state and local governments is just as important. … Carey said 2009 was a watershed year in terms of election law changes designed to improve voter participation among servicemembers and overseas voters. Among other things, the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act requires state and local elections officials to mail absentee ballots to servicemembers at least 45 days prior to an election in order to ensure a ballot can make its way to a remote location — and back to elections officials — in time to be counted.

Voting Blogs: Does Americans Elect Really Have 400,000+ Identity-Verified Delegates? | horizonr

Yesterday, Americans Elect was out with a press release that included the following claim (emphasis mine):

Americans Elect delegates, which now total more than 400,000 and counting, can draft and support a presidential candidate of their choice and nominate a presidential ticket that will appear on general election ballots nationwide this November.

Is this true? Does Americans Elect really have more than 400,000 identity-verified delegates? What evidence there is suggests that it possibly is not even close to that number. As I learned a couple of weeks ago, when I went to and completed the delegate verification process, becoming an Americans Elect delegate requires a bit of a commitment. It’s not as simple as just “signing up.”

Alabama: Mobile County ballot problems caused by tiny printing error |

A printing mistake on some Mobile County ballots in Tuesday’s election caused electronic voting machines to reject them — forcing poll workers to count roughly 3,000 ballots by hand into the early morning hours, Probate Court officials said today. “This little white dot,” said Probate Judge Don Davis, pointing to a white, donut-shaped mark barely one-tenth of an inch wide. The tiny error, though, ended up in an important spot, on the security markings that let the electronic machines know whether to count it. The markings look like a bar code stretching along the side of the ballot.
The faulty marks appeared only on Republican primary ballots for precincts within the contested Mobile County Commission District 3. Not all of the District 3 ballots were affected, officials said. Poll workers at 12 precincts on Tuesday noticed that machines were rejecting some ballots as they were scanned in.

Colorado: Ballot bill passes Colorado Senate committee | The Pueblo Chieftain

A Senate committee passed a bill Wednesday that would limit when completed ballots can be inspected, despite objections from voters’ rights advocates who said the documents should be publicly available on demand. Lawmakers introduced SB155 in response to a Colorado Court of Appeals ruling that affirmed ballots are subject to inspection under the Colorado Open Records Act. It would limit the availability of ballots around election time and institute safeguards to prevent individual voters’ ballots from being traced back to them. “It’s not a problem for Pueblo, because our ballots aren’t being requested under CORA,” said Pueblo County Clerk Gilbert “Bo” Ortiz, who supports the bill. “Our job is to protect voter privacy. That’s why we need this. Transparency is important, but voter privacy is sacred.” The bill would shield ballots from inspection for 45 days preceding an election through a recount time period. Sponsors said that would prevent the inspection process from compromising the election process.

Indiana: Charlie White eligible to run for office, Indiana Supreme Court rules | Indianapolis Star

Former Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White was eligible to run for office, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled this morning. The state’s highest court issued a unanimous decision this morning saying that even though White was registered to vote at his ex-wife’s house when he ran for office, he could still be a candidate. The court’s decision will allow Gov. Mitch Daniels to appoint a permanent successor for White, who was removed from office last month after being convicted of six felony charges, including voter fraud. Daniels will not appoint someone today, his spokeswoman, Jane Jankowski, said. Daniels issued a statement this morning, thanking the Supreme Court for ruling on the matter quickly. “Now that the duty to select a new Secretary of State is certain, we’ll do so with promptness,” Daniels said in the statement.

Indiana: Indiana board rules Lugar ineligible to vote in home district | CNN

An election commission in Indianapolis ruled Thursday that Sen. Richard Lugar is ineligible to vote in his former precinct, a blow to the Republican who has been battling residency questions amid a primary battle for reelection. The Marion County Election Board voted 2-1 against Lugar and his wife in a vote along party lines, according to Angie Nussmeyer, a spokesperson for the board. Democrats who voted against Lugar determined he no longer resided at the home address listed on his voter registration. Lugar has lived in McLean, Virginia since the sale of his Indianapolis home in 1977. Lugar’s campaign characterized the decision as an attempt to infringe upon Lugar’s right to vote.

Indiana: Dick Lugar vows to appeal ruling |

For the moment, Dick Lugar can’t even vote to save himself. A local election board ruled Thursday that the six-term senator has abandoned his Indiana home and cannot cast a ballot in the state he represents. The Indiana Republican is up for re-election this year and faces a conservative challenger in the state’s May 8 primary. “I don’t want to cast aspersions on anyone,” Lugar told reporters on Capitol Hill Thursday, “but there has been a rather concerted campaign by self-appointed persons who believe this is the best way to settle the Indiana election.” The two-to-one party-line decision by the Marion County Election Board has important legal implications, but also resurrects the crippling narrative that Lugar is disconnected from Indiana, where he hasn’t owned a home in more than three decades.

Voting Blogs: Monopoly or Broken Market? Either Way, St. Charles, MO Can’t Buy New Voting Machines | Election Academy

The St. Charles, MO County Executive recently vetoed a $1.2 million contract for new voting machines requested by the elections director and approved by the county council. Unlike his counterparts in some other county governments, he isn’t unhappy with the performance of the election director. Nor does he appear to have any issue with the new voting machines being sought or the company providing them under the contract. Rather, he is concerned that the County only got one bid for the new machines, saying “[a]nytime we have $1.2 million in expenditures and only one bid, I’m going to be very suspicious.” Normally that would make sense, but here’s the problem: only one vendor (the one who got the contract – the contract that got vetoed) is certified to do business in the State of Missouri.

Montana: Judge indicates part of initiative on Montana Supreme Court elections invalid | The Missoulian

A District Court judge indicated Wednesday that a portion of a Republican-backed ballot initiative, which many in the GOP hope will tilt Montana Supreme Court elections to their party’s favor, could be unconstitutional as alleged by critics. The Legislature last year sent the initiative directly to this June’s primary ballot. It establishes regional districts that would each elect one justice to the state’s high court. The court’s six justices and one chief justice are currently elected in statewide elections. Supporters argued that justices elected statewide favor Democrats and do not represent certain places, like the rural areas that generally favor Republicans. Opponents argued Wednesday in District Court in Helena that the proposal runs afoul of the Montana Constitution by adding qualification criteria for the judicial candidates. They are asking the courts to remove it from the ballot.

New York: Cuomo to sign New York Legislature’s redistricting plan |

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Senate and Assembly majorities agreed Wednesday to enact the Legislature’s redistricting proposal as part of a long-term reform effort. The Senate Republican and Assembly Democratic majorities planned to pass the plan Wednesday night, despite condemnation from some good-government groups that the district lines were gerrymandered to protect the majorities’ political power and perks for the next 10 years. A senior administration official said Wednesday night that Cuomo will sign the measure, withdrawing his promised veto of any “hyper-partisan lines.” Cuomo ultimately traded his veto for a long-term overhaul through a constitutional amendment promised by legislative leaders. The senior administration official spoke on condition of anonymity because although the deal is sealed, the officials hadn’t yet announced it. Critics denounced Cuomo’s decision. As candidates in 2010, Cuomo and lawmakers promised independent redistricting.

Pennsylvania: Strict voter ID law passes in battleground Pennsylvania | CBS News

In an election year rush pushed primarily by Republicans, Pennsylvania has become the 16th state to adopt a strict voter photo ID law and the ninth state to do so in the past year. The law requires voters to produce a Pennsylvania driver’s license or another government-issued photo IphilD, such as a U.S. passport, military ID, or county/municipal employee ID. The state will also accept college ID or personal care home IDs, as long as they are current and include an expiration date. “I am signing this bill because it protects a sacred principle, one shared by every citizen of this nation. That principle is: one person, one vote,” said Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett said at a signing ceremony in Harrisburg yesterday. “It sets a simple and clear standard to protect the integrity of our elections.”

Tennessee: Bill to repeal voter ID law faces uphill struggle for approval | The Commercial Appeal

A brief bipartisan victory in efforts to repeal Tennessee’s new voter-photo ID law will be short-lived: State House Speaker Beth Harwell said Thursday that the bill will likely be killed in committee and denied a House floor vote. The Democratic bill to repeal the law requiring Tennessee voters to produce a government-issued photo identification prior to voting won a surprising approval vote Wednesday in a House subcommittee when one Republican and one independent member joined Democrats in voting to advance the measure to the full committee. “We still have a full committee to go through and I suspect that will not come out of that committee,” Harwell said in her weekly news conference. Asked to elaborate, she said, “I always let the committees function … but I feel strongly that bill will not come out.”

Virginia: New voter ID legislation expected to face less opposition from DOJ than others | The Washington Post

Just days before the Obama administration blocked a Texas voter ID law, Virginia’s General Assembly approved a pair of voter ID bills of its own. GOP legislatures nationwide have been adopting stricter identification standards since the 2000 presidential election, saying they are needed to combat voter fraud. Virginia jumped on the bandwagon just as the Justice Department has decided to crack down on the trend. The department contends that the Texas law, and a South Carolina measure it blocked in December, would disproportionately harm minority voters. But some observers say Virginia’s legislation is less likely to draw Justice objections than the Texas and South Carolina legislation, which required voters to present government-issued photo identification at the polls.

Wisconsin: Wisconsin Attorney General Van Hollen files appeals in 2 voter ID cases | JSOnline

Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced Thursday that his office had filed appeals in two challenges to Wisconsin’s voter photo ID law. “Both of these cases involve novel constitutional challenges to the voter ID law,” Van Hollen said in a news release. ” Due to the important statewide legal and policy issues at stake, defendants are suggesting in their filings today that certification of both cases to the Supreme Court would be appropriate.” Judges in Dane County had ruled against the law in both cases one brought by the NAACP’s MIlwaukee branch and Voces de la Frontera, and the other by the League of Women Voters.

Australia: Victorians to vote online next year | SC Magazine Australia

Some Victorians may get the chance to vote over the internet next year as the state electoral commission trials a new system it hopes will replace paper polling. The new system would be trialled in by-elections due to be held in 2013, before being made available to 10,000 eligible voters identified as remote or disadvantaged during wider station elections in 2014. It was expected online voting would provide an alternative to current paper systems for remote, overseas and postal voters which are deemed more at risk than those cast at the polling station, as they are handled by people outside the electoral commission.  The system — and indeed all voting platforms — was not imprevious to hacking. Rather, it was designed to meet or improve on the current level of risk experienced by remote and disadvantaged voters. Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) electronic voting manager, Craig Burton, said the system was designed to return an accuracy rating of 99.35 per cent or higher chance of detecting any fraudulent, missing or damaged votes. By comparison, he estimated online banking would have an accuracy of no more than 95 per cent.  However, internet banking was markedly different to online voting as financial transactions could be validated and possibly contested after the fact, whereas votes could no longer be accessed by the voter once cast.

Canada: Elections Canada boss breaks silence over robo-call controversy | The Globe and Mail

The man in charge of Elections Canada has broken his silence on the fraudulent robo-calls controversy, divulging that the agency has received 700 specific complaints about phony dialling from the 2011 ballot in the past three weeks. In his first statement on the matter, Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand also strongly hinted Thursday that he would like to be called before a parliamentary committee so he can offer more detail about the allegations received. His office is already investigating what it has alleged in court filings is an operative connected to the Conservative campaign in Guelph, Ont., one it believes used an alias “Pierre Poutine” and misleading robo-calls to try to suppress voting by supporters of rival parties. A senior Conservative government official said later Thursday that the Tories, who control House and Senate committees, are “amenable” to having Mr. Mayrand speak before MPs. The Commons, however, is rising for a spring break after March 16 and MPs won’t be sitting again until March 26.

Kenya: Right to vote in poll demanded by Kenyans abroad |

Kenyans in the diaspora want to be involved in decisions on the country’s political process to ensure their rights are safeguarded. They said they would not acknowledge the work of any taskforce set up by the government or ambassadorial offices without their direct participation. In a three-hour meeting on Sunday, participants vowed they won’t be left out of Kenya’s political process and resolved to ensure that the civil rights of Kenyans living abroad were not violated. The meeting was conducted via Skype and telephone connections and brought together more than 100 diaspora leaders and organisations from the US, UK, Germany, Canada, Australia and several others.

Russia: Less Than Half of Russians Say Presidential Election Could Be Trusted | WSJ

Less than half of Russians consider March 4 presidential election trustworthy, a drop from previous elections that reflects a negative assessment of the ballot by the European Parliament. A poll by the All-Russian Center for the Study of Public Opinion, or Vtsiom, published Thursday shows the number of Russians who see the election as trustworthy is at 44%, down from 53% after the presidential election in 2004 and 2008. Vladimir Putin claimed victory, and 64% of the vote, in the election this year and is set to take the office of president on May 7 amid widespread criticism by the opposition, which cited mass irregularities, lack of real competition, and abuse of state resources in securing victory for Mr. Putin.