The Voting News Daily: The FEC: A Toothless Watchdog for a $6 Billion Election, Election Regulations and Voter Disengagement

National: The FEC: A Toothless Watchdog for a $6 Billion Election | Businessweek Worried about election fraud in 2012? Consider this: The Federal Election Commission has six members, and five of them are serving on borrowed time. Cynthia Bauerly’s and Matthew Petersen’s terms expired in 2011, Steven Walther’s and Donald McGahn’s in 2009. Then there’s…

Alaska: Anchorage Assembly certifies election, subject to recount in 15 precincts |

The Anchorage Assembly voted 8 to 3 Thursday to finally certify the flawed April 3 city election, subject to the results of a recount of 15 precincts. The election was plagued by ballot shortages at precincts all around town. Some people voted on sample ballots that couldn’t be counted until after election day. Some would-be voters said they gave up and went home. But a private lawyer hired to advise the Assembly on certification told the Assembly it can’t arbitrarily decide not to certify the election.

Arizona: Cities, counties urge Governor to veto consolidated Arizona elections bill | Arizona Capitol Times

Dozens of local and county officials are asking Gov. Jan Brewer to veto a bill that would force cities to consolidate their election dates with the state. The officials appealed to Brewer’s background as a county supervisor and secretary of state, asking her to help cities maintain local control of their elections. They argued that HB2826 would stamp out local control, politicize non-partisan elections and increase election costs. HB2826 would force all cities in Arizona to hold their primary and general elections for candidates in even-numbered years beginning in 2014, at the same time as state and federal elections. Twenty-seven county election officials signed a letter to Brewer, urging her to veto the bill. At least 40 of the 76 municipalities that would be affected, along with the League of Arizona Cities and Towns, also sent letters to the governor, according to Ken Strobeck, the league’s executive director.

Arizona: Plan to Repay Russell Pearce’s Recall Election Expenses Fails | Fox News

Friends of the former Arizona state senator known nationally for his tough stance on U.S.-Mexico border policy failed to pass legislation that would have repaid him for expenses related to fighting the voter effort that removed him from office. Critics said it would be outrageous to reimburse Russell Pearce, the suburban Phoenix Republican who had been one of Arizona’s most powerful politicians. Democratic Sen. Linda López said she’d received more than 150 emails critical of the proposal, “and they’re still coming in. People don’t know it’s not going anywhere.”

Voting Blogs: Arizona Election Consolidation Bill Divides Counties | Election Academy

This morning’s Arizona Capitol Times includes a story about several counties’ call for the Governor to veto an election consolidation bill. According to the article, 27 county officials and 40 of 76 affected municipalities signed a letter arguing that the bill “would stamp out local control, politicize non-partisan elections and increase election costs.” More specifically, they are concerned that by bringing local elections in line with federal and state elections would create a host of problems.

Florida: Election officials frustrated with reform law’s implementation | electionlineWeekly

In 2011 Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed into law sweeping election reform legislation that limits third-party registrations, decreases the length of time for early voting and creates more reasons to cast a provisional ballot. At the time the governor signed the legislation into law, many supervisors of elections throughout the Sunshine State were concerned about the impacts the new law could have not only on their offices, but also on voters. Now, just about a year later, some of those concerns, in the eyes of the people responsible for administering elections, seem justified. “Several of the changes were very unpopular with supervisors of elections, but at the end of the day, barring court intervention, we must implement any new laws passed by the legislature and signed by the governor,” said David Stafford, supervisor of elections for Escambia County.  Stafford is also the current president of the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections. “That said, as an association we will continue to advocate for changes to Florida’s statutes, including provisions contained in HB 1355, to improve the administration of elections in our state,” Stafford said.

Nevada: Voter registration effort reaches out to unlikely constituency: ex-inmates | Las Vegas Sun

As customers entered Mario’s Westside Market on a recent Friday afternoon, they might not have noticed the nondescript table and its occupants sitting outside. There were no signs or group logos, just papers impeccably stacked on a table beside a pile of pens. Nearby, a neatly dressed Antoinette Banks, 42, sat in a folding chair next to her friend, watching streams of people come and go from the neighborhood store on Martin Luther King Boulevard. “How are you doing?” Banks asked those nearing the door, catching their attention. “Are you registered to vote?”

New Hampshire: House redistricting plan faces more legal challenges |

Two more legal challenges have been filed to the House redistricting plan that redraws the political boundaries for its 400 seats. One suit was filed by nine Republican House members and the other by the town of Gilford and two of its residents. Both claim lawmakers did not follow the New Hampshire constitution requiring communities with sufficient population to have their own representative. The two suits filed this week bring the total to five challenges to the House plan that was vetoed by Gov. John Lynch but overridden by the House and Senate.

Pennsylvania: Most College IDs Don’t Comply With Pennsylvania’s New Voter ID Law | CBS Philly

The vast majority of Pennsylvania’s 110 colleges and universities do not have student IDs that comply with the Commonwealth’s new voter ID law.  This could put students from other states who wish to vote in Pennsylvania in a catch 22. Under the new law, student IDs are acceptable if they contain the students name, the name of the institution, the student’s photo and an expiration date. Since most Pennsylvania college IDs don’t comply, students who want to vote in the Commonwealth are left with a choice. “They will have to surrender a license from a different state.”

Voting Blogs: New Legal Challenge to Pennsylvania GOP’s Polling Place Photo ID Restriction Law Likely to Succeed | BradBlog

92-year old Viviette Applewhite, 59-year old Wilola Shinholster Lee, 72-year old Grover Freeland, 86-year old Dorothy Barksdale and 93-year old Bea Booker are just a few of the Pennsylvania residents and long-time legal voters now fighting to retain their right to vote under the state GOP’s new polling place Photo ID restrictions, according to a…

Wisconsin: Voting machine concerns bubble up as Wisconsin recall elections near | Statehouse News

You might be forgiven for thinking John Washburn is paranoid. Plenty of people do, Washburn admits with some humor. … “Quite frankly, I’m not really concerned by (being called paranoid), because it’s highly correlated with how much people have checked my claims,” he said. Washburn’s fears — that Wisconsinites and, really, voters nationwide, are putting too much faith in a questionable voting system — may be unfounded. But he’s not the only one worried. As part of a University of California-Santa Barbara study in 2007 that reviewed electronic voting machines similar to some used in Wisconsin, researchers designed software they said “developed a virus-like software that can spread across the voting system, modifying the firmware of the voting machines. The modified firmware is able to steal votes even in the presence of a Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail.”

Canada: Online voting system mulled in Alberta | Sherwood Park News

Strathcona County council gave its thumbs up at a meeting on April 24 to a partnership with the City of Edmonton and the City of St. Albert to establish an internet voting pilot project for the 2013 municipal election. Jacqueline Roblin, manager of Strathcona County Legislative and Legal Services (LLS), stated in her presentation to council that the pilot would be applied to solely the special ballot process for those people who will be absent from the jurisdiction during the 2013 election. She noted that administration wants to add an amendment allowing for any voter to vote through this process. “We’re taking it in a very small portion of our election so that we can test out our systems and that will gradually start to build voter confidence in the process,” Roblin said.

Iran: Second round of parliamentary elections to be held in Iran | AFP

Iran will hold a second round of parliamentary elections on Friday to decide 65 seats still outstanding in its 290-member legislature following a March 2 first round. Conservative MPs of various stripes easily dominated in the first round, meaning the parliament’s political stance is unlikely to change significantly from the previous legislature. But with half of them new faces, it will take until after the inauguration of the next parliament, at the end of this month, to see how that conservative force is configured.

Serbia: Pro-EU vs. nationalist camps in Serbia vote | San Jose Mercury News

Serbia’s bid to join the European Union will be strongly tested in elections this weekend that pit ruling pro-Western democrats against nationalists who are promising jobs, economic revival and closer ties with Russia. Held in the shadows of French and Greek ballots, some seven million voters in Serbia will choose a president, a 250-seat national parliament and local councils—a triple vote held amid deep economic problems, joblessness and widespread discontent over rapidly falling living standards. Sunday’s balloting is key for Serbia’s plans to become an EU member, after being an isolated pariah state under late autocrat Slobodan Milosevic in the ’90s. It also could determine whether Serbia continues to reconcile with its neighbors, including the former province of Kosovo which declared independence in 2008.

United Kingdom: Local elections: Council and mayoral voting under way | BBC News

Voters are going to the polls for local elections in England, Wales and Scotland – and to elect mayors in London, Liverpool and Salford. More than 4,700 seats are up for grabs on 128 English councils, most of which were last contested in 2008. Every seat on Scotland’s 32 unitary authorities is up for election and the make-up of 21 unitary authorities in Wales will also be decided. Referendums on whether to elect a mayor are being held in 10 English cities.