Michigan: New Technology for Tech Bond Election | The Ann Arbor Chronicle

On Tuesday, May 8, Ann Arbor voters will be asked to approve a bond to support investments in technology for Ann Arbor Public Schools. And it turns out that new technology will play a part in the Ann Arbor city clerk’s implementation of the election. A driver’s license can be swiped for automatic lookup in the electronic pollbooks that will be deployed at eight precincts for the May 8 election. The voting process itself will take place using the usual paper ballots. In eight of the city’s 37 precincts, election workers will deploy electronic pollbooks (EPBs) – information downloaded onto laptop computers (the night before the election) from the state’s qualified voter file. (The count of 37 precincts arises from the combination of several of the city’s usual 48 precincts for this local election.) The laptops are supplied to the city of Ann Arbor by the state of Michigan through the Help America Vote Act. Michigan’s secretary of state’s office told The Chronicle in a phone interview that of Michigan’s roughly 1,500 different municipalities across Michigan about 800 will use EPBs in the May election, and more than 1,000 will use them in the August primaries. In 2009 40 different municipalities had tested the system.

The Voting News Daily: Conservative group seeks FEC approval to keep donors secret, Caucus System Cracks Revealed During 2012 GOP Primary Season

National: Conservative group seeks FEC approval to keep donors secret | chicagotribune.com A conservative group that plans to run a barrage of television ads attacking President Obama has asked the Federal Election Commission if it can avoid disclosing its donors by not naming him explicitly in its commercials. American Future Fund, a tax-exempt free-market advocacy group…

National: Conservative group seeks FEC approval to keep donors secret | chicagotribune.com

A conservative group that plans to run a barrage of television ads attacking President Obama has asked the Federal Election Commission if it can avoid disclosing its donors by not naming him explicitly in its commercials. American Future Fund, a tax-exempt free-market advocacy group based in Iowa, wants to air a series of spots hammering Obama’s energy and healthcare policies within 30 days of upcoming primary elections and 60 days of the November election, the group’s lawyers wrote to the FEC last month.

Voting Blogs: Caucus System Cracks Revealed During 2012 GOP Primary Season | governing.com

When it comes to running elections and counting votes, states and counties have come a long way over the past dozen years. Nothing demonstrates their progress better than watching other people try to do the same job. During the Republican presidential primary campaign this year, several states were embarrassed by snafus with their caucuses, which are run by political parties rather than by public officials. In Iowa, an eight-vote election-night win for Mitt Romney was later converted into a 34-vote victory for Rick Santorum, with party officials admitting that they didn’t, in fact, know the actual number. (The state party chair resigned.) Counting was slow enough in Nevada to raise doubts during the delay, while in Maine, the GOP decided to declare Romney the statewide winner before some counties had even held their caucuses. “It’s been stunning to watch,” says Cathy Cox, a former Georgia secretary of state. “Caucus voting looks like the Wild West of voting.”

Arizona: Bill limiting local election dates goes to Governor | Arizona Daily Star

Insisting they know better, state lawmakers voted Monday to limit local elections to just two days every two years. HB 2826 says, with only a few exceptions, cities, counties, school districts and other government entities could have their elections only at the same time as the state. That means the same days as the statewide primary, which usually occurs in late August, and the general election in November. The 32-28 House vote came over the objections of lawmakers from both parties who questioned why the state should overrule what local communities have decided. “Local rule is still the best rule,” complained Rep. Cecil Ash, R-Mesa. It also presages a legal fight.

Connecticut: House Debates Controversial Same-Day Voter Registration | Hartford Courant

After more than five hours of debate, the state House of Representatives voted Monday night for the controversial Election Day voter registration bill that has a long history in the state legislature. By a vote of 83-59, the House voted allow the same-day registration, despite complaints by opponents about potential fraud. Nine conservative Democrats broke with their party and voted against the bill. Only one Republican, Livvy Floren of Greenwich, voted in favor. Lawmakers have been clashing for more than a decade as the issue has been blocked by a veto by then-Gov. John G. Rowland in 2003 and a federal court ruling in 2005 in Connecticut that rejected same-day registration.

Ohio: Voting law to be subject of congressional hearing | Cincinnati.com

Ohio’s controversial new voting law will get some congressional scrutiny next week, when a top Senate Democrat convenes a field hearing on the measure in Cleveland. Sen. Dick Durbin, the Senate’s No. 2 Democratic leader and chairman of a key Senate Judiciary subcommittee, announced Monday that he would hold a hearing on the law May 7 at the Carl B. Stokes United States Court House. Durbin, of Illinois, and other Democrats fear the Ohio law—and other similar state restrictions—are aimed at making it harder for citizens to vote in the November election, particularly lower-income and minority voters who tend to support Democrats. “A spate of recently passed state voting laws seem designed to restrict voting by making it harder for millions of disabled, young, minority, rural, elderly, homeless, and low income Americans to vote,” Durbin said in a statement Monday.

Virginia: Governor McDonnell still weighing voter ID bill | The Washington Post

As Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) continued to mull what to do with a pair of voter ID bills passed by Virginia’s General Assembly, Sen. Thomas A. Garrett Jr. (R-Louisa) appeared on national television to make his case for the legislation. “We thought this would be a bipartisan, common-sense issue,” said Garrett, who tried two people for voter fraud as a Louisa county prosecutor. “It passed [the Senate with a] 20-20 tie, with the lieutenant governor breaking the tie. The only conclusion I can reach is that there are some entities that are interested in allowing the loopholes to continue and not ensuring the sanctity of one person, one vote. And that’s very disconcerting in the United States of America.”

Wisconsin: Mixed ballots OK in recall primary | Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune

When voters go to the polls in a week for a statewide recall primary, they will have the option to cross party lines with their votes. Voters may select only one candidate each in the race for governor and lieutenant governor, but they don’t need to stick to one political party with their votes, which is unusual for a primary, said Cindy Cepress, Wood County clerk. In Wisconsin Rapids, it should be easy to understand the ballots, said Shane Blaser, Wisconsin Rapids clerk. The ballot has two columns, and Blaser is instructing poll workers to tell people to vote for one person in each column.

Wisconsin: Local governments face challenge to pay $17 million price tag for recall elections | Green Bay Press Gazette

The governor’s office might not be the only place affected by Wisconsin’s recall election. Local governments are facing a price tag of about $17 million for the related contests. Officials are scrambling to make up for five- and six-figure expenses that have not been figured into their 2012 budgets. In Northeastern Wisconsin’s largest county, for example, the clerk says she might not have enough manpower to keep up with the additional workload. “We’re buried. Just buried,” said Darlene Marcelle, Brown County clerk since 1996. “We’re going to need a temporary employee just to keep up with this.” Her staff estimates that it will spend almost $122,000 to conduct the May 8 recall primary, according to figures from the state Government Accountability Board. The June 5 general recall vote likely will double that cost. Outagamie County expects to spend about $132,000 per election. Seven smaller counties predict they’ll shell out a combined $140,000 on each contest.

Australia: Queensland Electoral commission under fire over polls | ninemsn

Pressure is mounting for Queensland councils to resume control of local government elections after a woeful voter turnout. The Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) will survey councils from next week, asking them to judge how the Electoral Commission of Queensland did running last weekend’s polls. It was the second time the electoral commission ran the elections, and LGAQ executive director Greg Hallam believes it should be the last. He says councils should resume control of the process, after a poor voter turn out of 60 per cent despite voting being compulsory.

Canada: U.S. voter fraud convict calls Canada’s robocall scandal ‘sophisticated’ | Montreal Gazette

A Republican political operative who spent three months in an American prison for making illegal political calls says that fraudulent calls in the last Canadian election are likely an American import. In his 2008 book How to Rig an Election, Allen Raymond tells the story of his 10-year political career, which ended abruptly when he was convicted of jamming the New Hampshire Democrats’ phone bank during a Senate election. When the FBI closed in, officials on the Republican National Committee cut off Raymond, and rather than face 25 years in prison, he co-operated with the investigation. Raymond, who now works in Washington as a lobbyist for a labour organization, suspects whoever made illegal voter-suppression calls in Canada in the last election likely learned their dirty tricks south of the border.

Israel: Centrifuges, Palestinians, army service and cottage cheese — an Israeli election primer | The Times of Israel

According to recent polls, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is cruising to reelection. His Likud party is expected to win 30 or 31 Knesset mandates, up from 27 three years ago and way ahead of second-place Labor, which the polls predict may gain about four or five seats to 17-18. Much has changed in the political landscape since 2009 — parties splintering, leaders ousted, new parties created — but despite Labor’s resurgence under new chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich and the creation of a new populist party by former TV personality Yair Lapid, Netanyahu’s right-wing bloc can reasonably expect to stay in power. Likud, Yisrael Beytenu and Shas alone could get about 55 seats; add to that the seats of the United Torah Judaism and Jewish Home parties, and Netanyahu has a comfortable majority. But Lapid — whose new Yesh Atid (There is a Future) party is expected to win up to a dozen seats — is not the only wild card. Ousted Shas member Haim Amsellem hopes to enter the Knesset with his newly founded Am Shalem (A Complete Nation) party, and ex-minister (and ex-con) Aryeh Deri is still considering whether to field his own faction. That could cost Shas important mandates, which might force Netanyahu to look for another coalition partner — perhaps the far-right National Union. And that, in turn, could push him even further to the right and toward a collision course with the US.

Kosovo: OSCE will only monitor elections in Kosovo | B92

liver Ivanović says the agreement signed on Monday stipulates that the OSCE will only monitor Serbian presidential and parliamentary elections in Kosovo. The the Ministry for Kosovo and Metohija also underlined on Tuesday that the polls will be organized by the Republic Electoral Commission (RIK). In a statement for Tanjug, Ivanović dismissed the claims by the government in Priština that the OSCE had taken it upon itself to organize the parliamentary and presidential elections in the province on May 6. The Kosovo Albanian authorities in Priština, meanwhile, issued a statement welcoming the OSCE decision to take it on itself to ensure that all conditions are met for the Serbs in Kosovo to vote in the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections.

Pakistan: Pakistan seeks to emulate India’s electronic voting system | Dawn.com

Impressed by India’s successful use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) in its elections, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is seeking to emulate the system in the upcoming general elections. The third meeting of the poll management bodies of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was held at the Indian capital, where “India showcased its use of modern technology for strengthening democracy and election management systems,” a report in Indian daily The Hindu said. Following a presentation on the use of technology in polls, an ECP member admitted an interest in the Indian mechanism.