National: Will ID laws lower college student vote? |

It’s a group that can score respectably on the SAT, find its way to classes most days and survive most midterms. But, the young campus crowd is often new to independence and to record-keeping. So how will college students do at democracy? Tougher voter identification laws, some advocacy groups contend, might present new challenges for thousands of college students who want to cast ballots this fall. “There are more obstacles (for student voters),” said Jon Sherman, an attorney with the Atlanta-based Voting Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union. “For a demographic that sometimes struggles to get out to the polls, it’s much more challenging.” The size of that challenge will vary from state to state this year. In Tennessee, for example, voters must present a photo ID to vote, but student IDs aren’t considered valid for that purpose. A Texas law — now facing a legal challenge — allows use of a concealed weapons permit as a voter ID, but not a student ID card.

Voting Blogs: Public Benefit from Online Voter Registration? | TrustTheVote

Some feedback on a couple recent blogs showed that I didn’t do such a great job on defining how our OVR work creates public benefit. So let me try again, with thanks to a canny reader who pointed out the subtlety involved. But first, let me restate what our OVR work is: online voter registration assistance technology for NGOs like RockTheVote and government organizations like state and local boards of election. Through our work with RockTheVote, a large and expanding number of good government groups and other NGOs can quickly get an OVR system of their own, without deploying software or operating computers; and some can take advantage of options to largely re-work the appearance of the OVR web application, and/or integrate with mobile clients and social media. We’re also helping drive registrants to the government organizations as well, for those states with a strong online voter registration systems, who have requested that the Rocky OVR system give users the option of registering with the state board of elections. Then, out at the bleeding edge, it is even possible for local or state election officials to piggyback on the OVR system to have their own 100% election-official-managed online voter registration assistance system, with the same look and feel as other county or state web sites, and all without any procurement or deployment.

Alaska: Report blames Anchorage ballot woes on inexperience and neglect | Anchorage Daily News

The Anchorage city clerk’s office relied on an inexperienced deputy to run the trouble-plagued April 3 election, didn’t send enough ballots to polling places and failed to realize the depth of the problem as inevitable shortages began, a new report says. Released Monday, the review by independent investigator Dan Hensley spreads blame for the chaotic election among the outgoing city clerk, the now-fired deputy clerk who handled Election Day details and Assembly members who were not aware of the potential problems. Voter outcry over ballot shortages at more than half of Anchorage precincts spurred the review. “He hit it dead on. I think all of us became complacent over the years,” Assembly chairman Ernie Hall said of the findings. The Anchorage Assembly voted May 8 to pay Hensley, a retired Superior Court judge, up to $35,000 to conduct a month-long investigation. Hensley said he found no evidence of intent by any city or election workers to sway the election or influence voting results. Instead, the report describes a combination of inexperience, hands-off management and short-sighted planning that left printed ballots unused at City Hall even as Anchorage residents scrambled from precinct to precinct looking for a place to vote.

Florida: Ex-felons need voting rights restored, group says |

Hundreds of thousands of Florida ex-felons who have completed their sentences still can’t vote, a prohibition that is hindering their re-entry into society, a group of voting rights advocates said Tuesday as they urged Congress to step in. Changes made last year in Florida have stopped restoration efforts for ex-felons who have served their prison sentences or completed probation, a shift in policy that came four years after former Gov. Charlie Crist and the Cabinet voted to join most other states and automatically restore the rights of felons who had paid their debt to society. Hampered in efforts to change state law, Mark Schlakman, a Democratic candidate for Congress and Walter McNeil, former Department of Corrections secretary, on Tuesday urged Florida’s congressional delegation to push for federal law changes to require automatic restoration of civil rights for federal elections.

Mississippi: Hinds County Election Commission candidates may not be on ballot | The Clarion-Ledger

Three candidates for Hinds County Election Commission, including one incumbent, failed to meet the legal requirements to run in November. All three, including District 2 Election Commissioner Bobbie Graves, said they were unaware of those requirements and are asking Hinds County supervisors to let them stay on the ballot. But if supervisors do so, it could be illegal. After an hour-plus discussion Monday, a majority of supervisors failed to approve the candidacy of all vying for the five election commissioner slots, leaving their places on the ballot in limbo. “It’s the candidate’s responsibility to know” the procedure, District 4 Supervisor Phil Fisher said. “And if the election commissioners themselves don’t know when to hand something in, what does that say about their ability to do the job?”

New York: Latino Groups Call for Probe of Rangel Race | Fox News

A national Hispanic civil rights group is asking the Department of Justice to investigate alleged voter suppression in the Democratic primary in the 13th congressional district. The group, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, has sent a letter to the DOJ voicing concern that Spanish-speaking voters found it difficult to cast ballots because they were unable to receive Spanish-language assistance and were turned away, or were told to vote by affidavit ballots, according to a statement by the organization. The appeal to the DOJ by LatinoJustice, which recently was among several voter advocacy groups that sued Florida over its decision to target more than 2,600 registered voters whose citizenship was questionable, comes as veteran U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel has seen his lead over the runner-up dwindle to slightly more than 800 votes. Some 2,000 absentee and affidavit ballots remain to be counted; the result is expected to be announced Thursday.

Oklahoma: Election Board says software to blame for errors in primary | Tulsa World

After a glitch in reporting the June 26 primary election results, the Oklahoma State Election Board has decided to no longer use a subcontractor to report election results on its website, board Secretary Paul Ziriax said Tuesday. The June 26 primary election results initially were incorrectly reported on the agency’s website, causing about a two-hour delay in getting the right numbers posted. The software initially was indicating that some precincts had fully reported, when in fact they had not been fully reported, Ziriax said. He called the errors an “isolated vendor software glitch at the website.” The actual vote totals reported were correct, Ziriax said. “I am 100 percent confident the tabulation occurred correctly,” he said.

Oklahoma: Investigation finds missing ballots accounted for in HD 71 race |

Precinct workers in Tulsa County mistakenly allowed two people to each vote twice, resulting in the contested and missing ballots in the House District 71 race, a state Election Board investigation found. The investigation results were presented to the state Election Board Tuesday night at the state Capitol. Democrat Dan Arthrell defeated Republican Katie Henke by a single vote. However, the election results already have been nullified by the Oklahoma Supreme Court, and the candidate to hold the state House Seat representing Tulsa will be determined in the November elections. “We certainly don’t want to see things like this happen,” Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax said. “But we’ve certainly learned a lot.”

Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania Voter ID Law May Bar 9% – Over 750,000 – From Presidential Election | Businessweek

Three-quarters of a million Pennsylvanians may be denied a chance to vote in November unless they can come up with an acceptable form of identification, a tally released by the state suggests. In a move lawmakers said would deter fraud at the polls, the Republican-led Legislature passed a law in March requiring voters to have a photo ID to obtain a ballot. A comparison of registration lists and state Transportation Department records showed 758,939 people don’t have either a driver’s license or an alternative state ID, the secretary of the commonwealth said.

South Carolina: Court schedule tightens window for new voter ID |

A revised timetable for a federal lawsuit over South Carolina’s voter ID law would make it harder for the new state requirements to impact the Nov. 6 general election. On Tuesday, the judges who will consider the case rescheduled oral arguments for September 24. That’s nearly two months later than originally planned – and is also more than a week after the deadline by which state officials have said they would need a decision in order to prepare to implement the law this year. The three-judge panel doesn’t forecast when it might rule in the case. But state prosecutors say they’ll need a determination by September 15 in order to have enough time to make sure people understand the requirements. In December, the federal government blocked South Carolina’s photo ID requirement in December, saying it could keep tens of thousands of the state’s minorities from casting ballots and failed to meet requirements of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which requires approval from that agency for changes to South Carolina’s election laws because of the state’s past failure to protect blacks’ voting rights.

Ireland: E-voting machine buyer will donate €10,000 to charity |

The company that bought the controversial e-voting machines will donate €10,000 to charity after being refused permission to sell 100 of the machines to the public. The managing director of KMK Metals Recycling in Co Offaly, Kurt Kyck, had planned to raise the money by auctioning 100 e-voting machines. But he was refused permission to do so by the Department of the Environment — which said they had to be dismantled and recycled. Yesterday, Mr Kyck said he would donate €10,000 to children’s charity Barretstown in lieu of the charity auction.

Kuwait: Row rages over rumored election law changes – Liberals call for legalizing parties, election commission | Kuwait Times

Two key liberal groups called yesterday for important democratic reforms that include establishing an independent election commission, legalising political parties and issuing legislation to combat corruption as part of democratic reforms necessary to resolve the political deadlock in the country. The National Democratic Alliance, an umbrella group of liberals, and the Kuwait Democratic Forum, made the calls in a joint statement which insisted that these are essential demands to gradually achieving a full parliamentary system of governance after 50 years of democracy. Kuwait does not have an independent election commission and the ministries of interior and justice organize and manage the election process and declare results, whereas the constitutional court tackles challenges to election results or the election process. The statement also called for issuing legislation to guarantee more independence of the judicial authority and to support the constitutional court in order guarantee all factors for a fair judiciary.

Mexico: Election recount begins at more than half of Mexico polls |

Mexico is recounting votes cast at more than half its polling places during Sunday’s presidential election, the electoral body said Wednesday, as reports of vote-buying marred the apparent win of the former ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI. Ballots from more than 54% of polling places will be recounted within 72 hours, the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) said. The figure marks a huge increase over the 9% of ballots that were recounted in the long and contentious aftermath of the disputed 2006 election. The recount began early Wednesday as part of the IFE’s normal procedure of validating results gathered from the institute’s 300 electoral districts. By law, ballots are recounted when a polling place shows irregularities, such as more votes cast than there are registered voters, a complete sweep by a single candidate or party, or a 1-percentage-point or smaller margin between first and second place. Separately, the PRI is facing growing accusations that campaigns gave potential voters supermarket debit cards in exchange for their votes, among other allegations.

Mexico: Elections agency to do recount of 1/3 of ballots | Fox News

About one-third of the ballots cast in Mexico’s general elections last weekend, according to estimates, will have to be recounted for a variety of reasons specified by the law, election officials said Tuesday. The recount is a normal procedure under election rules, with the ballots cast at one-third of polling places being tallied a second time after the 2009 legislative elections. Recounts can be executed for a number of reasons, including when there is a difference equal to or less than 1 percent separating the winner and the second-place finisher, when there are errors on ballots or when the number of void ballots is greater than the difference between the victor and the candidate who came in second.

Mexico: Vote buying alleged, recount demanded in Mexico | CBS News

Thousands of people rushed to stores Tuesday to redeem pre-paid gift cards they said were given to them previously by the party that won Mexico’s presidency, inflaming accusations that the weekend election was marred by widespread vote-buying. Meanwhile, the projected runner-up in the election, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, said he has asked Mexico’s Federal Election Institute for a recount of the ballots. The Election Institute says it expects the final count results Sunday, and that the law will already likely mandate recounts of about a third of the total ballots cast. At least a few gift cardholders were angry, complaining that they didn’t get as much as promised or that their cards weren’t working. Neighbors at one store in a poor neighborhood on the outskirts of Mexico City said the unusually large crowds prevented them from doing their daily shopping. Some people shopping at the store said that they were told the cards would be valid only during the two days after Sunday’s election and that they had waited to cash them in until Tuesday because the store was packed Monday.

Ukraine: Snap election possible over language law crisis | The Irish Times

Ukrainian PResident Viktor Yanukovich has threatened to call snap elections after his allies sparked a political crisis by rushing through a new law boosting the status of the Russian language. More than 1,000 protesters clashed with police in central Kiev yesterday, parliamentary speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn and one of his deputies announced their resignations, and seven politicians went on hunger strike over the law, which was passed on Tuesday evening. The vote took place amid chaotic scenes in parliament after an unexpected proposal by a pro-Yanukovich deputy. The speed of events prevented opposition parties debating the legislation or gathering all their deputies in the chamber for the vote. “I was cheated, Ukraine was cheated, the people were cheated,” Mr Lytvyn said. He was not present for the vote, and accused a deputy who presided over Tuesday’s session of betrayal.

Ukraine: Protests against Russian language law |

Riot police have deployed teargas and batons in Ukraine to repress a protest march against a new law that boosts the status of the Russian language inside the former Soviet country. Hundreds of Ukrainians took to the streets of Kiev to protest against the law, which opposition deputies warn could divide the country in two and thrust one half of it into the arms of neighbouring Russia. The law, adopted amid fistfights in parliament late on Tuesday, gives Russian the status of regional language, approving its use in courts, schools and other government institutions in the country’s Russian-speaking southern and eastern regions. Ukrainian remains the country’s only official federal language. It has heightened divisions between those hoping to strengthen Ukraine’s independent post-Soviet identity and those seeking to maintain close links with Russia, a fracture that has haunted the country since the Orange Revolution in 2004. “With this law, the Russian language will become a de facto government language for eastern Ukraine,” said Ksenya Lyapina, an opposition deputy. “It’s very dangerous for Ukraine. It can lead to the division of the country.”

United Kingdom: First Minister says Electoral Commission will be given ‘central role’ in Scottish referendum process | The Courier

The First Minister pledged the involvement of the Electoral Commission in ensuring a fair and clear question would be ”identical” to that in Westminster referendums. But he repeated his refusal to opposition party requests for a cross-party group of independent experts be set up to formulate the question. ”By accepting the central role of the Electoral Commission, we have accepted the requests previously put forward by the opposition parties,” he said. ”However, the referendum will still meet the requirement of being made in Scotland, with the Government responding to the Scottish consultation, the Electoral Commission advising and recommending potential changes and parliament deciding as part of the legislative process.” Ministers want to respond to the consultation on the staging of the referendum, then propose the question or questions, which keeps the door open to a multi-option ballot. The commission will then send advice and test the intelligibility of the question, including any recommendation for changes, which MSPs will be able to debate.