National: Texas to test 1965 voting rights law in U.S. court | Reuters

The Voting Rights Act – a cherished safeguard for minority voters since 1965 – has been under siege for two years and this week faces one of its toughest test on an apparent path to the U.S. Supreme Court. Twenty-five hours of argument, starting on Monday and spread over five days, will help the judges of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia decide whether Texas can require voters to present a photo identification at the polls. Formulated at a time of racial turmoil, the Voting Rights Act passed 77-19 in the U.S. Senate and 333-85 in the House of Representatives. The votes transcended party lines to protect black voters of all political ideals. Ever since, it has served as the U.S. government’s chief check on the fairness of election rules imposed by local governments. While it passed with bipartisan support more than 45 years ago, a shift in political preferences along racial lines has turned the landmark piece of civil rights era legislation into a highly charged political issue. In the 1960s, Democrats held a monopoly of voters in the Southern states. But since then, most white Southern voters have shifted allegiances to the Republican Party, while black and Hispanic voters moved further toward the left.

National: Voter ID Laws Could Block Thousands in November | Fox News

Thousands of votes could be in jeopardy this November as more states with larger populations look to have tough voter ID rules in place that, opponents say, could reject more legitimate voters than fraudulent ones. As more states put in place strict voter ID rules, an AP review of temporary ballots from Indiana and Georgia, which first adopted the most stringent standards, found that more than 1,200 such votes were tossed during the 2008 general election.  During sparsely attended primaries this year in Georgia, Indiana and Tennessee, the states implementing the toughest laws, hundreds more ballots were blocked. The numbers suggest legitimate votes rejected by the laws are far more numerous than are the cases of fraud that advocates of the rules say they are trying to prevent.

Editorials: What could tighter voter ID laws mean in November? | Christian Science Monitor

When Edward and Mary Weidenbener went to vote in Indiana’s primary in May, they didn’t realize that state law required them to bring government photo IDs such as a driver’s license or passport. The husband and wife, both approaching 90 years old, had to use a temporary ballot that would be verified later, even though they knew the people working the polling site that day. Unaware that Indiana law obligated them to follow up with the county election board, the Weidenbeners ultimately had their votes rejected — news to them until informed recently by an Associated Press reporter. Edward Weidenbener, a World War II veteran who had voted for Mitt Romney in the Republican presidential contest, said he was surprised by the rules and the consequences. “A lot of people don’t have a photo ID. They’ll be automatically disenfranchised,” he said.

National: Foes of Voter ID Laws Find Ways to Mute Their Impact |

As most legislative work around the country came to a standstill over the July 4th holiday, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder made headlines last week when he broke with the Republican Party to veto a law that would have tightened Michigan’s current “voter ID” law, just a few months ahead of Election Day. The move is an indication that despite the intense anxiety about the wave of voter ID laws, which place new restrictions on voters before they can cast a ballot, the legislation is facing tough challenges even before being enacted. Opponents have found a variety of means to mute the impact of such legislation. Republicans backing the laws, which have passed in 11 states in the past two years alone, insist that the measures are meant to curb voter fraud and are commonsense requirements that shouldn’t prove to be too onerous for any legitimately eligible voter. But Democrats see a more sinister design in the measures — as part of a broader GOP effort to rig elections in its favor by suppressing constituencies that tend to vote Democratic: minorities, low-income voters, students, and even women. That impression was fueled recently when Republican Mike Turzai, majority leader of the Pennsylvania House, highlighted the partisan impact of the state’s new voting restrictions. “Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done,” Turzai said to applause at a Republican State Committee meeting.

Editorials: Sunshine and the ego | Aspen Daily News

It was a tiny election in the scheme of things. Only 2,544 votes were cast on a quiet May day in 2009. But over three years later, the ballots in the 2009 mayoral race remain at issue, their photographic images locked up in a court fight which may cost taxpayers well over $200,000 if the winner takes all. What has this squabble over ballot inspection proven so far? In the short run, we proved to ourselves that instant runoff voting produced enough of a stink that we booted it. The procedure, run here by a Maryland firm, was supposed to simulate a runoff if no one won a majority. When we learned that there were multiple ways for guessing how people would vote, we decided that an actual runoff beat one run by a computer program. But that race had another by-product. It produced a court battle that seemed rooted in a clash of egos.

Editorials: Walking a fine line on voter ID issue – the Minnesota Secretary of State and the voter ID amendment |

The much-debated voter ID amendment is a potential minefield for Minnesota’s top elections official. Secretary of State Mark Ritchie’s opposition to the proposed changes in election law has been well-known for years. Yet now that the Legislature has put the issue on the ballot for voters, his office must be sure that the referendum is carried out fairly and impartially. Some supporters of the amendment contend that Ritchie already has failed that test. The Minnesota Majority, a citizen’s group, says it is considering filing a complaint against the secretary with the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board. Amendment supporters raise legitimate questions. Ritchie and his staff are the go-to government officials for information on voting practices, and now a major elections change is on a ballot they must administer. Despite the Star Tribune Editorial Board’s opposition to the amendment, it is the board’s hope that Ritchie’s office will strive to remain as neutral as possible between now and the election.

New Hampshire: Voter ID law takes effect | NEWS06

Town and city clerks should have an easier time complying with the state’s new Voter ID law after Gov. John Lynch let Senate Bill 1354 become law Friday without his signature. The new law requires voters to present a valid photo ID to vote at the polls or be photographed and sign an affidavit saying they are who they say they are. The bill lets election officials use an existing form called a challenged voter affidavit instead of a new form to be called a qualified voter affidavit in an earlier version of the law. “The challenged form is something we’re familiar with; we’ve been using it a long time,” Nashua City Clerk Paul Bergeron said Friday. “I think it’s just a small way of helping to simply the implementation of the new process,” he said.

Editorials: The Rangel Bungle | John Fund/National Review

The near-meltdown in the vote count for the New York Democratic primary featuring scandal-tarred congressman Charlie Rangel should serve as a warning siren about what could happen in this November’s national election. It’s not just voter fraud we have to worry about. Sometimes it’s hard to tell where the fraud ends and the incompetence begins. The Rangel fiasco reminds us that the United States has, as Walter Dean Burnham, the nation’s leading political scientist, put it, “the developed world’s sloppiest election systems.” And New York City is no unsophisticated backwater. The troubles in the Rangel race began on Election Night, June 26. The voting-machine totals put down on paper had the incumbent beating his challenger, state senator Adriano Espaillat, by a comfortable 2,300 votes in a Harlem district that is now equally divided between black and Hispanic populations. But after the voting-machine totals were sent to a computer, the Rangel lead melted to 802 votes; a partially completed recount has boosted his lead to 945 votes.

Ohio: Appeal dropped in Hamilton County juvenile judge race |

The Hamilton County Board of Elections voted 4-0 last week to finally end the 2010 race for Hamilton County Juvenile Judge that pitted Democrat Tracie Hunter against Republican John Williams. In May, Hunter prevailed by 74 votes during a lawsuit in federal court over counting provisional ballots. The Republican Party had the option of appealing, but the vote means that won’t happen. “We’ve had enough,” said Hamilton County Republican Party Chairman Alex Triantafilou. “It’s time to put this thing behind us.” Triantafilou is on the board, which is comprised of two Republicans and two Democrats.

Texas: Voter ID fight returning to federal court | Houston Chronicle

The decades-old legal battle between states’ rights and civil rights returns to a familiar venue – a federal courtroom – on Monday as lawyers for the state of Texas try to convince a panel of judges that the U.S. Justice Department has no legal authority to block the state from immediately implementing a voter ID law. Civil rights groups contend that Texas’ 2011 law requiring voters to provide identification with a photo issued by the state or the military discriminates against minority citizens and violates the federal Voting Rights Act. They say it harkens back to state laws designed to disenfranchise minorities, such as poll taxes and literacy tests. “The effort to suppress the vote is not a new thing,” said Leon W. Russell, vice chairman of the NAACP Board of Directors. “What we’ve seen in the last two years, though, is the most egregious effort to compound and collect every single method that anybody could think of that would discourage a person to vote and put it in a piece of legislation and inflict it on our community.”

Texas: Voter ID, immigration widen Legislature racial split | Lubbock Online

Forget the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. After the historic setback for Texas and 25 other states that had challenged the constitutionality of the federal law critics call Obamacare, on Monday the legal team of state Attorney Greg Abbott is back in Washington for another big fight. This time in a lower federal court to defend the merits of a pending Texas law that, if upheld, would require voters across the state show government-issued photo identification before casting a ballot. Here we go again. Although thanks to the weeklong trial the public might have a better idea how serious voter fraud is in Texas — opponents of the voter ID law say it isn’t — the deep racial divide which highlighted last year’s session of the Texas Legislature might be in full display again when supporters and opponents of the legislation take the stand. This is not an exaggeration. It is hard to think of another way to describe the racial tensions this measure triggered when the Republican-dominated body passed it over the strong objections of the Democratic minority.

Canada: Nova Scotia Business Inc. invests $800,000 in Dartmouth e-voting company | The Chronicle Herald

A Dartmouth electronic voting company is looking to increase its share of the national market, and has received a funding boost from the province. Nova Scotia Business Inc. announced Friday that it has submitted a venture capital investment of $800,000 to Intelivote Systems Inc., located in Burnside Park. Dean Smith, company president and founder, said Intelivote has signed up 15 of the 16 municipalities in Nova Scotia that will be offering telephone and Internet voting in municipal elections this fall., including Digby, Yarmouth, Kentville and Truro. Barcelona-based Scytl Secure Electronic Voting is handling the election in Halifax Regional Municipality.

Libya: Carter Center Observers Encouraged With Libya Vote | VoA News

An official of the U.S.-based Carter Center poll monitoring delegation said the group is pleased with the organization of Libya’s first election in over four decades. Alexander Bick, field director of the Carter Center’s mission in Tripoli, said the poll observer group is encouraged by the level of participation by Libyan voters in the just ended poll. “The High National Election Commission has really done a remarkable job…Many people were wondering, ‘Would Libya be able to hold elections on this very tight timeframe, just coming out of the conflict and with really no history of elections being practiced here,’” said Bick. “I can say with confidence that we’ve been very impressed with the performance of the electoral commission, by the organizational ability that they’ve shown, by their commitment to hold this election on time.  The materials were largely delivered to all the polling places and even against quite challenging odds.”

Mexico: Loser of Mexican election to challenge vote count | The Boston Globe

Leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he will file a formal legal challenge this week to the vote count in Mexico’s presidential election. The electoral authority issued final results Friday showing that former ruling party candidate Enrique Pena Nieto won by a 6.6-percentage-point margin, almost exactly the same lead as a quick count gave him the night of the election. The final count, which included a ballot-by-ballot recount at more than half of polling places, showed Pena Nieto getting 38.21 percent of votes in Sunday’s election. Lopez Obrador got 31.59 percent.

Somaliland: Electoral Commission Gears up For Local elections But still Fails to set Date for Polls |

The Somaliland Electoral Commission spokesperson Mr. Mohamed Ahmed hirsi (geelle) speaking at a press conferences speaking at the brand new commission headquarters  has confirmed that the government of Somaliland has deposited the 25% of the funds required for the upcoming local government Election which are due to be held soon. The NEC spokesperson revealed to the press the government of Somaliland had deposited the 25% of the funds required for the upcoming local elections and that we are currently awaiting for the funds which were promised to us by international donors for the process.