The Voting News Daily: You Can Now Register to Vote at 35,000 Feet, Will new photo ID laws keep down the black vote in the South?

National: You Can Now Register to Vote at 35,000 Feet | US News and World Report If on-demand movies, a 4,000 song playlist and onboard video games aren’t enough to keep guests entertained on a Virgin America flight, the airline is now offering a complimentary new service to get passengers engaged before the November election…

National: You Can Now Register to Vote at 35,000 Feet | US News and World Report

If on-demand movies, a 4,000 song playlist and onboard video games aren’t enough to keep guests entertained on a Virgin America flight, the airline is now offering a complimentary new service to get passengers engaged before the November election — voter registration at 35,000 feet. Starting Tuesday, guests can register to vote on all of Virgin America’s flights, about 1,000 flights a day. The voter registration drive is in cooperation with “Rock the Vote,” a non-partisan voter registration organization targeted at young voters, that hopes to get 1.5 million new voters engaged in time for the 2012 election.

National: Will new photo ID laws keep down the black vote in the South? | Open Channel

Raymond Rutherford has voted for decades. But this year, he doesn’t know if he’ll be able to cast a ballot. The Sumter, S.C., resident, 59, has never had a government-issued photo ID because a midwife’s error listed him as Ramon Croskey on his birth certificate. It’s wrong on his Social Security card, too. Rutherford has tried to find the time and money to correct his birth certificate as he waits to see if the photo voter ID law is upheld by a three-judge U.S. District Court panel, scheduled to convene in Washington, D.C., in late September. In June, South Carolina officials indicated in federal court filings that they will quickly implement the law before the November election if it is upheld. Voters without photo ID by November would be able to sign an affidavit explaining why they could not get an ID in time. An estimated 81,983 voters in South Carolina do not possess a government-issued photo ID, mainly because of missing or inaccurate personal documents. These are mostly elderly, black longtime residents.

Hawaii: Hawaii Elections Officials Try to Get to the Bottom of Elections Day ‘Chaos’ | Hawaii Reporter

County election officials in all four counties will meet today with Office of Elections officials to review problems they encountered during Saturday’s Primary Election. They are hoping to make adjustments by the November 6 General Election. State officials will attempt to learn from Big Island County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi exactly what happened on Saturday that led to “chaos” and as many as 25 polling places opening late. At first, state elections officials heard there were three polling places of 40 that did not open on time, but by midday that number increased to 11 and then to 25. ‪Rex Quidilla, spokesman for the State office of elections, said they learned about the delays from Oahu reporters who received press releases from Kawauchi.

Missouri: Ballot snafu puts one-vote-margin Missouri state House race in question | Stltoday

The St. Louis County Election Board has declined to certify the results of the Democratic primary for the 87th State Representative District—which was apparently won by one vote on Aug. 7—because 102 voters were given incorrect ballots, the board announced today. The contest was between two incumbents thrown into the same district by redistricting, state reps. Stacey Newman and Susan Carlson. According to the unofficial results from election night, Newman beat Carlson 1,823 votes to 1,822. However, that outcome now will have to be determined by a circuit court, since the county election board won’t certify the results.

Ohio: Election boards required to standardize early voting hours | The Columbus Dispatch

It matters not whether a county tilts Democratic or Republican, all Ohio voters will have the same opportunity to show up and cast an early ballot under a new directive Secretary of State Jon Husted issued today. Husted’s move came in response to a growing controversy over disparities in early voting hours across Ohio. In big urban counties, voters were being confined to normal business hours, but hours were being extended into the evening and Saturdays in several more-Republican counties. “There’s no question that the principle of fairness is being upheld today in Ohio, because all voters are being treated equally,” he said at a hastily called press conference this afternoon. Under his directive, county boards must be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the first three weeks, and from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. for the last two weeks before the Nov. 6 election. No board will have Saturday hours. “For the first time in Ohio history all Ohioans will vote by the same standard,” Husted said. “I am leveling the playing field on voting days and hours during the absentee voting period in each of the 88 counties – rural, urban and suburban.” Early voting in the 2008 presidential election had a “patchwork of hours and days of operation,” he said.

Ohio: Campaigns spar over Ohio election law | The Crescent News

It doesn’t take much to start a political spat in Ohio, where jockeying for every presidential vote is practically blood sport. The latest pits President Barack Obama’s campaign against groups representing military voters, an uncomfortable place for the commander in chief. At issue is the legality of an Ohio law cutting three days out of the early-voting period for everyone except members of the armed forces and Ohio citizens living overseas. The dispute reaches court today, thanks to what the Obama campaign describes as its first lawsuit anywhere in the nation for the 2012 election. Put simply, looser rules for early voting are seen by both political parties as an advantage for Obama because they may encourage minorities, young people and other harder-to-reach voters to cast a ballot. Military votes are thought to lean Republican.

Ohio: Democrats, Republicans fight in federal court over voting rights | The Columbus Dispatch

If active military members are allowed to vote on the three days prior to Election Day, then everyone should have that right, Democrats argued in federal court this morning. But those representing some military groups and two of the state’s top Republican officials say the law already treats military voters differently, and having different cut-off dates for in-person early voting is justifiable. William Consovoy, an attorney representing Secretary of State Jon Husted, noted, for example, that military members get their absentee ballots earlier than the rest of Ohioans. “There is an easily rational basis for providing special accommodations for the military,” Consovoy said. “And that is all that is required.” Democratic lawyers, including those from the Obama campaign, slogged it out for nearly 90 minutes with Republican counsel over whether it’s constitutional for the state to allow military voters to cast in-person ballots on the Saturday through Monday before Election Day, when no one else can do so. In recent elections, all Ohioans could vote early on those three days, and Democrats estimate 93,000 cast in an in-person ballot on those days in the 2008 presidential election.

Ohio: Limit on early voting in Ohio sparks campaign dispute, with military voters at center | The Washington Post

It doesn’t take much to start a political spat in Ohio, where jockeying for every presidential vote is practically blood sport. The latest pits President Barack Obama’s campaign against groups representing military voters, an uncomfortable place for the commander in chief. At issue is the legality of an Ohio law cutting three days out of the early-voting period for everyone except members of the armed forces and Ohio citizens living overseas. The dispute reaches court Wednesday, thanks to what the Obama campaign describes as its first lawsuit anywhere in the nation for the 2012 election. Put simply, looser rules for early voting are seen by both political parties as an advantage for Obama because they may encourage minorities, young people and other harder-to-reach voters to cast a ballot. Military votes are thought to lean Republican.

Pennsylvania: Judge Keeps Voter ID Law Intact on Its Way to Higher Court | NYTimes.com

A Pennsylvania judge on Wednesday declined to block a new state law requiring specific kinds of photo identification to vote. Liberal groups, arguing that minorities and the poor would be disproportionately deprived of the ballot, said they would appeal to the State Supreme Court to stop the law before the November elections. The groups said the law, like those recently passed in 10 other states, was a Republican attempt to suppress participation of the less privileged, who tend to vote for Democrats. The laws’ backers said they were seeking to preserve the integrity of the electoral process. Both parties acknowledge that voter turnout could play a crucial role in what many predict will be a tight race between President Obama and Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee, especially in battleground states like Pennsylvania. Other court cases under way include federal inquiries into voter ID laws in Texas and South Carolina and a state challenge in Wisconsin. In Ohio, a dispute over rules for early voting ended on Wednesday when the secretary of state set uniform hours statewide.

Pennsylvania: Judge Wouldn’t Block Pennsylvania’s Voter ID Law | TPM

A state judge on Wednesday refused to block Pennsylvania’s controversial voter ID law. Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson’s 70-page order ruled that opponents of the law failed to establish “that disenfranchisement was immediate or inevitable.” Simpson did not rule on the case’s merits, only on whether it could be enjoined. Opponents of the law are expected to appeal to the state’s Supreme Court. “We’re not done, it’s not over,” Witold J. Walczak, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who helped argue the case, told the Associated Press. “It’s why they make appeals courts.”

Pennsylvania: Judge won’t halt Pennsylvania voter identification law | The Associated Press

A Pennsylvania judge on Wednesday refused to stop a tough new voter identification law from going into effect, which Democrats say will suppress votes among President Barack Obama’s supporters. Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson said he wouldn’t grant an injunction that would have halted the law requiring each voter to show a valid photo ID. Opponents are expected to file an appeal within a day or two to the state Supreme Court as the Nov. 6 presidential election looms. The Republican-penned law — which passed over the objections of Democrats — has ignited a furious debate over voting rights as Pennsylvania is poised to play a key role in deciding the presidential contest in November. Opponents had asked Simpson to block the law from taking effect in this year’s election as part of a wider challenge to its constitutionality.
Republicans defend the law as necessary to protect the integrity of the election. But Democrats say the law will make it harder for the elderly, minorities, the poor and college students to vote, as part of a partisan scheme to help the Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, beat Democratic Obama.

Tennessee: Shelby County election official responds to state’s questions about voting problems | The Commercial Appeal

The County Commission’s failure to develop its redistricting plan, the loss of critical local precinct-change data by the state, the massive complexities of redistricting overall, and a new staff without redistricting experience contributed to unprecedented local problems in the Aug. 2 elections, Shelby County’s chief election official reported Wednesday night. The County Commission’s redistricting plan was legally due last Dec. 31, but was never finalized. The Shelby Election Commission decided on June 14 that it “must proceed at a rapid pace to implement the redistricting at all levels” based on no county commission plan, but the next day a court ruling approved a plan — and that ruling was promptly appealed. That was only a month before the start of early voting. “I believed we could not act until the county commission enacted a redistricting plan,” Shelby Elections Administrator Richard Holden wrote. “Had they acted in compliance with state law, we would have implemented the plan we developed after the March election certification and the results would have been dramatically different.”

Canada: Proceed with caution on internet voting | Campbell River Mirror

The provincial government has asked Elections BC to look more thoroughly into electronic voting. While this makes a great deal of sense, given how much business can be easily transacted on computers, it is important not to jump into the deep end. This is because voting is a privilege in a democratic society, or at least needs to be treated as such. Many people in various parts of thje world do not have the opportunity to vote. In many cases when they do, the system is rigged. It would be foolish to think that our system cannot be rigged. Political parties and their most avid supporters know no bounds when it comes to trying to work the system to their advantage. When there are opprtuinities to stack a vote,  they will do so if there is little fear of consequences.

China: China’s very different election show | FT.com

On November 6 or 7, two American men in suits will appear on television. Even with the sound off you will be able to tell, by the expression on their faces, which of them has been elected president and which has not. And, on an unspecified date between now and the end of the year, an unspecified number of Chinese men in dark matching suits will applaud themselves on to the stage of the Great Hall of the People. From the order in which they appear, experienced onlookers will be able to tell who is president, who is premier and who has which of the other jobs on the Politburo’s standing committee, China’s pre-eminent ruling body. My colleague Richard McGregor, in his enthralling book The Party , says the spectacle provides “something rare in modern China, a live and public moment of genuine political drama”.

Netherlands: Top candidate in Dutch national elections: ignore Europe’s 3 percent deficit limit in 2013 | The Washington Post

One of the leading candidates in the upcoming Dutch national elections said he would not feel bound by Europe’s rule to keep budget deficits within a certain limit if elected prime minister. The remarks were made by Emile Roemer, the leader of the Socialist Party, which is neck-and-neck with Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s conservative party in early polls ahead of September 12 elections. In an interview with Het Financieele Dagblad, published Thursday, Roemer said it was “idiocy” to fixate on meeting the rule in 2013. The rule requiring governments to keep budget deficits below 3 percent of GDP has often been flouted since the euro was introduced in 1999. Roemer reportedly said he would pay a fine from Brussels “over my dead body” and noted that the Dutch are one of the largest contributors to the European Union budget in terms of its population. Roemer’s remarks could not immediately be confirmed with his campaign office, but they are in line with the his party’s stance throughout European sovereign debt crisis.

Ukraine: Court Upholds Decision on Tymoshenko, Lutsenko | VoA News

A Ukrainian court has upheld a decision to bar two jailed opposition leaders from registering as candidates for upcoming parliamentary elections. The decision Wednesday on former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and former Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko cannot be appealed. The United Opposition party had appealed a court decision to refuse to recognize a complaint against election officials who would not register Tymoshenko and Lutsenko for the October 28 elections because of their convictions.

Massachusetts: Voter fraud suspected in Massachusetts House primary | Boston.com

The district attorney in Hampden County is investigating whether a ­Republican candidate for state representative orchestrated an illegal scheme to cast absentee ballots on behalf of hundreds of voters in hope of winning a primary election. State election officials were tipped off to the potential voter fraud when a suspiciously large number of residents of the Springfield suburb of East Longmeadow suddenly changed party registration from Democrat to independent, making them eligible to vote in the upcoming Republican primary. When contacted, several of the voters said they had not changed party affiliations, raising concern that someone had switched their party in an attempt to cast fraudulent absentee ballots on their behalf.