The Voting News Daily: Voter fraud found to be rare, survey indicates, New voting rules make getting Latinos to polls harder than ever

National: Voter fraud found to be rare, survey indicates | KansasCity.com A new nationwide analysis of more than 2,000 cases of alleged election fraud over the past dozen years shows that in-person voter impersonation on Election Day, which has prompted 37 state legislatures to enact or consider tougher voter ID laws, was virtually nonexistent. The analysis…

National: Voter fraud found to be rare, survey indicates | KansasCity.com

A new nationwide analysis of more than 2,000 cases of alleged election fraud over the past dozen years shows that in-person voter impersonation on Election Day, which has prompted 37 state legislatures to enact or consider tougher voter ID laws, was virtually nonexistent. The analysis of 2,068 reported fraud cases by News21, a Carnegie-Knight investigative reporting project, found 10 cases of alleged in-person voter impersonation since 2000. With 146 million registered voters in the United States, those represent about one for every 15 million prospective voters. The News21 report is based on a national public-records search in which reporters sent thousands of requests to elections officers in all 50 states, asking for every case of alleged fraudulent activity — including registration fraud; absentee-ballot fraud; vote buying; false election counts; campaign fraud; the casting of ballots by ineligible voters, such as felons and non-citizens; double voting; and voter impersonation.

National: New voting rules make getting Latinos to polls harder than ever | Tucson Sentinel

Every month for the next two decades, 50,000 Latinos will turn 18 years old. With that many new eligible voters and dramatic population growth expected, Latinos could dominate voting in the Southwest, particularly Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center. Every year, 600,000 more Latinos become eligible voters, making them a potentially potent voting force. However,  Latinos have a historically low turnout at the polls: Only around 30 percent of eligible Latinos vote, according to the non-profit Washington, D.C.-based Pew Hispanic Center. Advocacy groups see the national push toward more stringent voter identification laws as a way to suppress an already apathetic Latino vote. Of the nation’s 21.3 million eligible Latino voters, only 6.6 million voted in the 2010 elections, according to the Pew Hispanic Center. White and black voters had higher turnout — 48.6 percent and 44 percent, respectively.

National: Two Dark Money Groups Outspending All Super PACs Combined | ProPublica

Two conservative nonprofits, Crossroads GPS and Americans for Prosperity, have poured almost $60 million into TV ads to influence the presidential race so far, outgunning all super PACs put together, new spending estimates show. These nonprofits, also known as 501(c)(4)s or c4s for their section of the tax code, don’t have to disclose their donors to the public. The two nonprofits had outspent all other types of outside spending groups in this election cycle, including political parties, unions, trade associations and political action committees, a ProPublica analysis of data provided by Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group, or CMAG, found. Super PACs, which do have to report their donors, spent an estimated $55.7 million on TV ads mentioning a presidential candidate, CMAG data shows. Parties spent $22.5 million.

National: Early Voting in 2012: What to Expect | Huffington Post

Early voting in recent American elections has skyrocketed, reaching a record thirty percent of all votes cast in the 2008 presidential election, remarkably higher than the twenty percent cast in 2004. All indications are the record will be shattered again in 2012, with somewhere around thirty-five of the vote cast prior to Election Day. States vary their early voting options. Some states like Indiana and Texas allow persons to vote early at special polling locations. Some like Oregon and Washington, and some local jurisdictions, run all-mail ballot elections. Some like California and Colorado allow persons to request that they vote by mail in all future elections. Some like Ohio allow persons to request a mail ballot for any reason. Then there are a handful of holdouts like Pennsylvania and Virginia have traditional absentee balloting laws that extend early voting only to those who provide a valid excuse. Complicating definitions is that some states like Florida and North Carolina allow both early voting at special polling locations and no-fault absentee balloting. And where mail balloting is the primary method of early voting, voters can vote in-person at an election administration office. (I recommend seeking up-to-date voting information from state and local election officials.)

Editorials: The truth about voter fraud | The Washington Post

Ostensible justification for a spate of Republican-sponsored voter ID laws — which would require voters to present government-issued photo ID at the polls — has been the threat of voter fraud, specifically, in-person voter impersonation. It has seemed likely, given the absence of evidence of such crimes, that the threat was overstated. Now we know for sure: Such fraud virtually never takes place. Listening to Republican advocates of voter ID laws, you’d think that impersonations at the polls are the biggest danger to democracy since the Chicago political machine allegedly registered thousands of dead people to vote for John F. Kennedy in 1960. The Republican National Lawyers Association — devoted to promoting “open, fair and honest elections” — frequently cites the figure of 375 cases of voter impersonation fraud.

Editorials: The Reformers Strike Back! | Mother Jones

Since the mid-2000s, a small cadre of lawyers and activists has reshaped the role of money in American politics. Led by Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), attorney James Bopp, Jr., and law professor and activist Brad Smith, this group has won a string of victories that have imploded campaign finance laws. Citizens United? That was Bopp. Super-PACs? Thank Smith’s Center for Competitive Politics. The 2010 and 2012 DISCLOSE Act filibusters? All McConnell. But it’s been rough going for the deregulators as of late. They’ve lost a slew of cases intended to gut existing political disclosure laws. They’ve failed to knock down bans on contribution limits. And despite their objections, the Internal Revenue Service has said it might revisit how it regulates dark-money nonprofit groups, which outspent super-PACs 3-to-2 in the 2010 elections and unloaded at least $172 million through June of this election cycle. “The free speech crew’s winning streak has hit a bump in the road,” says Neil Reiff, an election law attorney who used to work for the Democratic National Committee.

Editorials: How to Get Out the Vote in a Voter ID World | American Prospect

Voter ID laws create an unnecessary barrier to voting that disproportionately affects poor and nonwhite voters. If you’re going to have them, you should at least tell people that they’re going into effect. But given the impetus of these laws—to disenfranchise Democratic-leaning voters—it’s no surprise that few of the states that have passed them have made any effort to educate voters. Since 2010, 12 states have passed laws requiring voters to show government-issued identification in order to vote. One such law is Pennsylvania’s, where studies estimate anywhere from 780,000 to 1.2 million could be turned away at the polls on Election Day because of new ID requirements. A state court is expected to rule this week on whether the law can go forward, but in the meantime, many have blasted Pennsylvania’s anemic efforts to inform voters. Because the state originally estimated that far fewer voters would be affected, the plan was simply to remind those who turned out for the April primaries that they would need an ID next time around. The state also conducted a much-criticized PR campaign by a Republican-owned firm—during the court proceedings, a political scientist testified that one-third of Pennsylvania voters were unaware of the law.

Michigan: Reports of confusion, frustration over voter ID law after Michigan primary | Michigan Radio

Some Michigan voters were wrongly turned away from the polls last Tuesday after refusing to affirm their US citizenship. But some other voters—and an elections watchdog group—say they also encountered problems with misguided enforcement of the state’s voter ID law. Jennifer Gariepy she walked to her polling place in Warren to vote without photo ID. She said poll workers there told her she couldn’t vote without one—even though state law allows people without ID to vote, if they sign a legal affidavit affirming their identity. “And [I said], ‘No! That’s not right. You can’t refuse me a ballot,’” Gariepy recalled. Gariepy said the poll workers relented after awhile, and she did get did to vote–eventually. “I had to insist,” she said. “They weren’t about to volunteer that.” Hundreds of similar reports came into an election protection hotline last Tuesday, says Jocelyn Benson, head of the Michigan Center for Election Law.

Pennsylvania: The Startling Urban Dynamic in Pennsylvania’s Voter ID Law | The Atlantic Cities

Something big is happening in Philadelphia ahead of this fall’s presidential election – the first in the state since a stringent new Voter ID law was passed earlier this year – although people there concerned about it are having a maddeningly hard time putting their finger on the precise size of the problem. The city has just over 1 million registered voters. About 800,000 of them are considered “active.” “And about a third of them are on one of these two lists as potentially having ID problems,” says Tom Boyer. He’s a former journalist and computer scientist living in Philadelphia who has gotten involved in analyzing the potential impacts of Pennsylvania’s controversial law, which is now in the throes of a legal challenge. Boyer suspects that something historically bad could happen if the law isn’t overturned, and not enough people are talking about it. The Pennsylvania Department of State recently released two lists of the Pennsylvania residents whose state IDs have expired since last November (and thus can’t be used to verify their identity at the polls this fall), as well as a list of the active voters whose names don’t match up with the PennDOT database as currently having an ID. This second list is terribly sloppy (one database spells names like McCormack as “Mc Cormack,” and there’s all kinds of chaos with hyphens and apostrophes). But nonetheless, the best official data available suggests that as many as 280,000 voters in Philadelphia may need to get an ID between now and November to have their votes counted.

Tennessee: Election Commission could take ‘serious’ action in response to Shelby County’s voting problems | The Commercial Appeal

The Tennessee Election Commission could take “serious and substantial” action — possibly including ousting members of the Shelby County Election Commission — depending on the outcome of a review of the problems in the Aug. 2 election, a Memphis member of the state board said Monday. A performance audit of those problems by the state comptroller’s office is expected to begin as soon as this week, State Election Commission member Greg Duckett of Memphis said. The audit was requested July 26 by Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett and State Election Coordinator Mark Goins, who both called the problems “unacceptable.” Election analyst Joe Weinberg of Germantown estimates that nearly 3,200 Shelby voters were given incorrect ballots, mostly for the new state legislative districts they were moved into during this year’s redistricting, during the Aug. 2 election, including its early voting period. That number included some voters in areas annexed by Collierville, who were not given ballots that included that city’s referendum on municipal schools. The votes cast in incorrect districts were not counted and voters had no chance under state law to cast correct ballots after they had already voted.

Texas: Ruling on Texas voter law expected this week | Galveston Daily News

A federal judge is expected to rule by early next week whether Texas can resume enforcing what some call the most strict, burdensome and punitive body of voter registration law in the nation. The uncertainty arises after lawyers from the Texas Attorney General’s Office, who are representing Texas Secretary of State Hope Andrade, on Wednesday asked U.S. District Court Judge Gregg Costa to suspend a temporary injunction against enforcing several provisions of the state election code governing voter registration drives. If Costa grants the stay, the state can resume enforcing the law while it appeals the injunction to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court.

Wisconsin: Ryan likely to run for both House seat and VP | Human Events

From Washington D.C. to Wisconsin, betting is strong that newly-minted Republican vice presidential hopeful Paul Ryan will run on Mitt Romney’s ticket while simultaneously seeking re-election to Congress. “It is perfectly legal under state law for Paul Ryan to run for the House and vice president concurrently,” veteran Madison (Wisc.) Republican consultant Scott Becher told Human Events shortly after Ryan was formally tapped as Romney’s running mate Saturday morning. Becher noted that the Badger State will hold its primaries next Tuesday (August 14) and Ryan is already on the ballot for renomination to a seventh term as U.S. Representative from the 1st District. Ryan, who has more than $5 million in his congressional campaign committee, appeared headed for another big re-election. Since winning his first term in 1998 with 57 percent of the vote, the Janesville lawmaker has been re-elected with margins ranging from 63 to 68 percent of the vote.

Canada: Security of BC online voting proposal cited as a concern | Kamloops This Week

He’s spent the summer chatting with voters via Twitter and a web-based video feed, but when it come to actually casting ballots, Coun. Arjun Singh is still a fan of the voting booth. “I like the idea of being able to go into a booth where some other people are there and they can monitor whether people are being influenced or coerced,” Singh said. The B.C. government has announced it will ask the province’s chief electoral officer to strike an independent panel to examine Internet voting. Attorney General Shirley Bond said adding online voting to the range of options in B.C. could improve accessibility in elections — which could improve voter turnout that sagged to less than 30 per cent on average in the last round of B.C. municipal elections. The panel will examine “best practices” for online votes in other provinces and jurisdictions. However, critics of online voting argue there is more room for manipulation of online voting — or, just as problematically, claims of manipulation.

Canada: Mark your X online? | Kimberley Daily Bulletin

The B.C. government has officially requested that the chief electoral officer convene an independent panel to examine the potential for using Internet voting in British Columbia. Premier Christy Clark says it’s keeping a promise to modernize British Columbia’s electoral process. Columbia River Revelstoke MLA Norm Macdonald says it’s almost impossible to imagine an online voting system that would not be open to abuse of some sort. …  Macdonald says he doesn’t necessarily buy the argument that online voting will increase participation. “I don’t accept that it will draw more people in, or engage more youth. People have an obligation to be involved, it’s a civic obligation. It’s not difficult to get out and vote. People that are bed-ridden have the ballot come to them. I don’t think it’s difficulty in getting out that is the problem, especially with youth. It’s cynicism with the system. The only answer is to participate and change it. The system has to be relevant and authentic. You saw that with the Occupy movement. It was a bit misplaced but it did have youth activated and involved.” But Macdonald’s major concern is security.

Editorials: The Electoral Commission’s Goldilocks formula | The National Business Review

The ‘Goldilocks’ formula has been used by the Electoral Commission to come up with its controversial proposals to change MMP. This is the age-old process by which politicians and authorities decide on compromise policies on the basis of them being ‘not too hot and not too cold’ – i.e. something between the extremes of opinion on any one issue. This is how the Electoral Commission has come up with its recommendation to abolish the so-called ‘one seat rule’ that helps small parties get proportional representation in Parliament, and reduce the 5% threshold slightly to 4%. This Goldilocks method is both explained and approved of today by John Armstrong (National faces tough decision on closing door to cosy deals) and Andrew Geddis (Should the government dissolve the people, and appoint another one?)  The danger, however, of trying to please everybody by choosing a middling and mild approach is that you end up satisfying very few, and you make poor choices.

Ukraine: Tymoshenko denied registration as election candidate | EurActiv

The European Parliament’s centre-right political group has joined Ukrainian opposition forces in condemning the Ukrainian Central Election Committee’s refusal to register imprisoned political leaders Yulia Tymoshenko and Yuri Lutsenko as candidates for the October parliamentary elections. Tymoshenko’s party, Batkivschyna (Fatherland), has appealed to the country’s Supreme Administrative Court over the administrative refusal to register the former prime minister and Lutsenko, the former interior minister, as the party’s parliamentary candidates, the Ukrainian News website reported yesterday (13 August). Tymoshenko and Lutsenko were sentenced last year to seven and four years, respectively, for abuse of power. Tymoshenko led the 2004 Orange Revolution protests that derailed current President Viktor Yanukovich’s first bid for presidency. The former prime minister says she is the victim of a vendetta by Yanukovich.