The Voting News Daily: Voter ID laws tied to conservative group ALEC, RNC Platform Committee Officially Endorses Proof Of Citizenship, Voter ID Laws

National: Flurry of Voter ID laws tied to conservative group ALEC | Open Channel A growing number of conservative Republican state legislators worked fervently during the past two years to enact laws requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls. Lawmakers proposed 62 photo ID bills in 37 states in the 2011 and 2012 sessions,…

National: Flurry of Voter ID laws tied to conservative group ALEC | Open Channel

A growing number of conservative Republican state legislators worked fervently during the past two years to enact laws requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls. Lawmakers proposed 62 photo ID bills in 37 states in the 2011 and 2012 sessions, with multiple bills introduced in some states. Ten states have passed strict photo ID laws since 2008, though several may not be in effect in November because of legal challenges. A News21 analysis found that more than half of the 62 bills were sponsored by members or conference attendees of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a Washington, D.C., tax-exempt organization. ALEC has nearly 2,000 state legislator members who pay $100 in dues every two years. Most of ALEC’s money comes from nonprofits and corporations — from AT&T to Bank of America to Chevron to eBay — which pay thousands of dollars in dues each year. “I very rarely see a single issue taken up by as many states in such a short period of time as with voter ID,” said Jennie Bowser, senior election policy analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan organization that compiles information about state laws. “It’s been a pretty remarkable spread.”

National: RNC Platform Committee Officially Endorses Proof Of Citizenship, Voter ID Laws | Huffington Post

The GOP’s platform committee convened in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday, expanding the party’s official endorsement of state voter ID laws to include support for similarly divisive proof of citizenship laws. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) submitted an amendment calling for the addition of language to the draft GOP platform expressing support for state legislation that requires voters to show proof of citizenship when registering to vote. The amendment would build on a prior backing of “true, robust photo ID laws,” Kobach said. “We support state laws that require proof of citizenship at the time of voter registration to protect our electoral system against a significant and growing form of voter fraud. Every time that a fraudulent vote is cast, it effectively cancels out the vote of a legitimate voter,” the amendment, later adopted by the committee, read. Kansas and Georgia are the only states that currently have such laws on the books. Measures passed in other states remain mired in legal challenges.

Alaska: State Sues U.S. Challenging Voting Rights Law Oversight | Businessweek

Alaska sued the U.S. claiming the Voting Rights Act is unconstitutional because it creates “significant, ongoing administrative burdens” and isn’t warranted based on the state’s voting rights history. Alaska said the law’s preclearance requirement creates uncertainty and delay and “places Alaska’s elections at the mercy of Department of Justice attorneys,” according to a complaint filed today in federal court in Washington. The law intrudes on the state’s sovereignty without evidence Alaska discriminates against minority voters, the complaint alleges. “Section 5’s preclearance requirement denies Alaska the flexibility and autonomy necessary to run its elections in a manner that best accounts for local conditions and circumstances,” the state said in the lawsuit.

Colorado: Election glitches raise concerns heading into November | The Denver Post

Reports of traceable ballots, voting irregularities and a county clerk who was “completely unprepared” for the June primary are prompting concerns about Colorado’s readiness as Election Day draws near in a presidential battleground state. Last week, an elections integrity group asked a federal judge to order clerks in Boulder, Chaffee and Eagle counties to stop marking ballots in a way that allows them to be traced to the person who cast them. If the practice continues, it could lead to election results in those counties — and others that use similar markings — being invalidated, an attorney for the non-profit Citizens Center stated in court filings. Late Monday, Secretary of State Scott Gessler issued an emergency rule prohibiting the markings, saying in a press release “this practice ends today.”

Colorado: Scott Gessler adopts emergency rule to prevent ballots from being traced to voters | Westword

After a voter advocacy group offered proof that county clerks and other election officials could identify how specific people voted — which would violate a citizen’s basic right to a secret ballot — Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler announced an “emergency rule” effective immediately that will prevent officials from linking ballots to voters. It’s a big win for activist Marilyn Marks, who has been criticizing the system for more than a year. But at least one county clerk thinks the rule change will only create a whole host of headaches come Election Day. The rule announced late yesterday afternoon is a noteworthy move for Gessler, who has faced numerous lawsuits and considerable criticism from government watchdog groups and other political organizations as the November election nears.

Florida: Keeping track of Florida early voting challenges |

State lawmakers are now pressuring Florida Governor Rick Scott to extend the number of early voting days offered after a federal court ruled the new law could not take effect in some counties. The current law cuts the number of early voting days offered by the state and includes a few other regulations.  A federal court ruled last week that the reduction could not be enforced in five Florida counties covered by the Voting Rights Act because it would directly impact the ability of minorities to vote.  Because the state wants one unified election plan which covers all of Florida’s 67 counties, officials are now working with the elections office in those counties to bridge the gap.

Hawaii: Big Island Elections Chief Short on Experience, Long on Problems | Honolulu Civil Beat

The Big Island became the epicenter of primary election day fiascos when the delayed opening of numerous polling places forced Gov. Neil Abercrombie to issue an emergency proclamation authorizing them to stay open for an extra 90 minutes. But that was just the latest snafu in a series of problems that all trace back to Jamae Kawauchi, the Hawaii County clerk who has been on the job since 2010. The incidents have raised doubts about whether she’ll stay on board for the general election. The state Office of Elections on Thursday released a scathing report faulting Kawauchi for her mismanagement. Rex Quidilla, state elections spokesperson, said the problems occurred because of a failure in leadership training and an unwillingness to ask for help. “We at every turn provided offered our assistance,” he said. “We were met with reassurances that that wouldn’t be necessary.” Meanwhile, and in the aftermath of the report, Kawauchi has gone on the offensive.

Minnesota: Twin Cities mayors say voter ID requirement expensive, restrictive | Minnesota Public Radio

The Democratic mayors of Minnesota’s two largest cities are speaking out against a proposed voter identification constitutional amendment. During a state Capitol news conference today, mayors Chris Coleman of St. Paul and R.T. Rybak of Minneapolis warned that the proposed change in state election law will be expensive for their cities. They also claim it will restrict the rights of many eligible voters. The mayor of St. Paul offered numerous adjectives describing the effort to require all eligible Minnesotans to show photo identification in order to vote. Within just a couple of minutes, Mayor Chris Coleman said the amendment is terrible, unnecessary, restrictive, cynical and wrongheaded. Coleman is also concerned about the cost to his city, which he estimated at $870,000 just for first-year implementation.

Minnesota: Federal Court Rejects Challenge to Election Day Registration | Election Academy

While observers in Minnesota await the fate of two separate court challenges to a proposed voter ID amendment, a federal court recently rejected an attempt to limit the use of Election Day registration (EDR) in the state for 2012 and beyond. The suit – brought by seven voters, State Rep. Sondra Erickson (R-Princeton), the Minnesota Voters Alliance and the Minnesota Freedom Council – asked the federal court to require state and local officials to verify the eligibility of EDR voters before counting their ballots in 2012 and in any election thereafter. The suit also challenged state law on voting by disabled individuals under guardianship – in particular, the presumption that such individuals have the right to vote unless a court orders otherwise. Both procedures, they claim dilute the effect of legitimate voters by exposing the election system to potentially ineligible voters.

North Carolina: Voter-fraud activist ‘frustrated’ by outcome in Wake County NC |

t’s not every day that a Wake County Elections Board hearing is the setting for a temper tantrum. That’s what happened today when the Voter Integrity Project’s Jay DeLancy snatched his microphone off the board’s table mid-meeting, kicking glass doors open in front of him as he stormed out of the meeting room in the Public Safety Center. He slowed down once he realized news cameras were chasing him. Earlier this year, DeLancy brought the Wake Elections Board some 550 challenges to voters he says are not legally entitled to vote in the US – proven, he says, by DMV and jury duty records that say they’re not citizens. Elections board investigators and voting-rights advocates who looked into the allegations say DeLancy used old DMV records and mismatched names, and failed to understand how the county collects data. Only 18 challenges rose to the level of further investigation. All 18 were dismissed today.

Pennsylvania: State wants later date for voter ID appeal | Philadelphia Inquirer

After winning their first round in Commonwealth Court last week, state officials are in no hurry to hear what the state Supreme Court may have to say about Pennsylvania’s new voter-ID law. The state Attorney General’s Office, defending the law against contentions that it will disenfranchise thousands of voters, filed papers Tuesday suggesting that the Supreme Court consider the case the week of Oct. 15 – barely three weeks before the Nov. 6 general election. Opponents of the law say the dispute should be settled as quickly as possible so voters will have a clear idea of what will be required of them when they go to the polls.

Pennsylvania: Testy defense: If the state’s voter ID law is fair, what’s the worry? | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Corbett administration must subscribe to the theory that a strong offense is the best defense. Its response to a request from the U.S. Justice Department for information concerning Pennsylvania’s compliance with the Voting Rights Act starts out with sarcasm and goes on to accuse its Civil Rights Division of engaging in a political stunt. This from a Republican administration that oversaw the passage of a new voter identification law that could keep an untold number of citizens from exercising their right to cast ballots in the upcoming presidential election. By the Corbett administration’s various tellings, the voter ID law will negatively impact a scant 1 percent of the state’s eligible voters (says the governor’s office) and nearly 759,000 registered voters lack appropriate ID from the state Department of Transportation (says the secretary of the commonwealth who oversees the election department). That discrepancy alone justifies the interest of the Civil Rights Division, which sought, among other items, records supporting those assertions, along with the complete state voter registry and PennDOT’s lists of licensed drivers and those holding PennDOT-issued non-driver ID cards.

Washington: ACLU to file voting rights lawsuit against city of Yakima WA | Yakima Herald-Republic

The American Civil Liberties Union today will announce details of what it calls a major voting rights lawsuit against the city of Yakima. “It’s something we’ve been looking at for a while,” said Seattle-based ACLU spokesman Doug Honig, who otherwise declined to release any details of the lawsuit prior to today’s announcement. Since 2010, the ACLU has made several threats to sue the city under the federal Voting Rights Act, most recently after voters rejected an August 2011 proposition that would have forced City Council elections to be voted on by district.  The council members are currently elected under a hybrid system of at-large voting for three seats and district-based voting for four seats. District selections only occur in the primary, but all seven seats are voted on at-large in citywide general elections. Voting rights advocates have argued there’s enough evidence to prove the city has a history of racially polarized voting that is suppressing candidates who represent minority interests. “It’s very likely,” ACLU legal director Sarah Dunne said about the possibility of a lawsuit in August 2011 when voters turned thumbs down on district only voting.

Wisconsin: Attorney General Seeks to Restore Voter-ID Law | Bloomberg

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen asked the state Supreme Court to reinstate a voter identification law before the Nov. 6 elections. The law would require otherwise-eligible voters to present a government-issued photo ID before being allowed to cast ballots. It was declared unconstitutional March 12 by Circuit Judge Richard G. Niess in Madison. A second judge, David T. Flanagan, ruled the law invalid July 17 after a nonjury trial. The attorney general appealed both rulings on the state’s behalf. “While I respect the judicial process and the right to challenge a law in court, it is time for our Supreme Court to take control of these cases,” the Republican attorney general said in a statement.

Angola: Over 70,000 police to Guard Elections in Angola | Prensa Latina

The Angolan government announced the mobilization of more than 70,000 police, in order to ensure public peace in the upcoming general elections on the 31. The second general commander of public order, Paulo de Almeida, confirmed in statements to the press that all the members of that body have already been trained and informed about their duties in the upcoming election. In addition he noted that if necessary, the police will be assisted by Angolan Armed Forces.

Editorials: Dutch go to the polls | Financial Times

François Hollande’s victory in the French presidential polls this year showed how a single national election can change Europe’s political equilibrium. Now the forthcoming Dutch election is being shaken up by the eurozone’s attempts to end its crisis and threatening in return to cause complications for Europe.
The election itself is a result of the Dutch government being a casualty of the eurozone crisis. Long a hawkish supporter of deficit cuts in the currency union’s periphery, the Netherlands was forced to take its own medicine when it went into recession last year and was set to miss fiscal targets agreed with the EU. An austerity package, designed by the coalition between prime minister Mark Rutte’s centre-right Liberal party and the Christian Democrats, led Geert Wilders’ populist Freedom party to withdraw parliamentary support and bring the government down. Both right and left are now riven by disagreements over how to handle the eurozone debt crisis. On the right, Mr Wilders has burnt his bridges and can only play the role of obstructionist. On the left, the Socialist party has outflanked the Labour party with strident criticism of both domestic austerity and the Fiscal Compact – the disciplining treaty demanded by German chancellor Angela Merkel.

Paraguay: After Lugo ouster Paraguay sets April 2013 polls | Radio Netherlands

Paraguay, rocked two months ago by the ouster of its president Fernando Lugo, will hold general elections in April 2013, the country’s superior court of electoral justice said. “Some 3.5 million people are registered to vote,” in the April 21, 2013 polls, court head Alberto Ramirez said during a ceremony attended by President Federico Franco, who came to power in June after Congress sent Lugo packing. “It has been rumored that this government would not organize elections, or that it intended to delay them to stay in power for a longer time,” Franco said. “The process will be completed when the new president takes office on August 15,” 2013, said Franco, pledging to step down on that date.

Romania: Court: reinstate president, referendum invalid | Reuters

Romania’s Constitutional Court on Tuesday struck down a referendum to impeach President Traian Basescu, foiling a drive by the leftist government to oust its chief political opponent months before a parliamentary election. The government said it would accept the decision, but the acting president said Basescu was now an “illegitimate” leader. Several hundred people gathered in two main Bucharest squares in the afternoon, one crowd supporting the president and the other protesting against him. Both remained peaceful.