National: Voter ID Wars | NYTimes.com If you’ve only got 30 seconds to make your case in the debate over photo ID laws — which require voters to show up at the polls with a government-issued photo ID — it’s much easier to argue in favor of the laws.“You need a photo ID to get…
Hong Kong voters go to the polls Sunday with their government mired in controversy, not least for the attempt this week to force “national education classes” on school children. With more seats in the legislature being decided on the basis of one-person-one-vote, the city’s pro-Beijing administration faces a challenging future as democrats look to make electoral gains before the anticipated introduction of universal suffrage in 2017. Sunday’s election in Hong Kong will see over half of the legislature’s 70 seats returned by universal suffrage, the remainder by generally pro-Beijing groups. The vote is likely to prove a defining moment for the city’s new leader, chief executive Leung Chun-ying.
Editorials: Voting Rights: This Is What a Strong Party Platform Would Look Like | Andrew Cohen/The Atlantic
In tone and tenor, the Democratic and Republican voting-rights planks could not be more different. But there’s clearly room for a third way. The most elemental civil right, the one from which all other rights ultimately flow, is the right to vote. Can we all at least agree on that? This election year, to a degree unimaginable even in the wake of the Florida recount and Bush v. Gore, the issue of voting rights and election procedures is a key part of the political debate leading up to the first Tuesday in November. It’s as if some great lock has been turned, some vast door has been opened, and all the primal grievances from those furious days in November and December 2000 have come pouring out again. Add to the mix strident white fear about America’s changing demographics over the interceding decade, and you have a combustible brew indeed.
A special election is taking place today that is costing taxpayers big bucks to fill the seat of former Congressman Thaddeus McCotter who resigned over the summer. McCotter stepped down in the 11th district after a scandal involving his staff members putting together false signatures on a nominating petition. Three former aides are facing charges. This special election will cost taxpayers $650,000. “It’s ridiculous. It’s $650,000 of costs that are caused by the selfish decision of one man, Thaddeus McCotter, former Congressman,” said Bill Bullard, the Oakland County Clerk and Register of Deeds. Cities have to pay for this election when they did not budget for it and might not be able to afford it, yet it has to be done.
Now that the Minnesota Supreme Court has ruled that a proposed constitutional amendment calling for voters to present ID at the polls on the November ballot, groups for and against it are ramping up their campaigns to win voters. Supporters of the proposed requirement point to public opinion surveys that have consistently shown it has strong support. Opponents are trying to convince voters it could disenfranchise some Minnesotans and that there is scant evidence of voter fraud. One visible reminder of the amendment battle already underway is a simple billboard along Interstate 94 near Albertville, Minn., with a stunning proclamation: Minnesota is “number one” for voter fraud. But that message is simply not true, said Joe Mansky, elections director for Ramsey County.
The Justice Department approved New Hampshire’s new voter ID, a version that is stricter than existing rules in the Granite State, but not as restrictive as other voters ID laws that the DOJ has rejected.’ Under New Hampshire’s previous rules, no ID was required as a condition of voting. Ballot clerks checked the names that voters announced at the polls, read back the addresses for verification, and handed over a ballot. Under the state’s new law, voters must present a photo ID — a driver’s license, a voter ID card, a military ID card, a US passport, a student ID card, a photo ID issued by any level of government, and any other photo ID deemed legitimate by supervisors at the polls.
Eight current North Dakota State University football players and one former player are among 11 people expected to be charged with voter fraud tied to two attempts to place measures on this fall’s general election ballot. Backers of the measures pulled from the ballot expressed sadness Tuesday. “We’re extremely disappointed that this alleged fraud occurred. We had no desires to be on the ballot in any other than a pure and honest way,” said Stephen Adair, chairman of the committee backing a constitutional initiative that, had it passed, would have created a land and water conservation fund.
Ohio: Secretary of State Jon Husted must appear in federal court to explain delay in restoring early voting | cleveland.com
A federal judge ordered Secretary of State Jon Husted on Wednesday to personally appear next week at a hearing about his reluctance to restore early voting the weekend before the Nov. 6 election. Judge Peter Economus, whose ruling Husted has resisted, scheduled the hearing on Sept. 13 in the U.S. District Court in Columbus. Economus set the hearing after President Barack Obama’s re-election team filed a motion Wednesday requesting the court to enforce its order to restore in-person early voting during the final three days before the presidential election. In-person early voting over the final weekend before the Nov. 6 election has emerged as a signature issue for Democrats who have repeatedly bashed Republicans’ attempts to limit early voting opportunities. Husted, a Republican, once again took fire from Democrats with a directive he issued on Tuesday.
The Obama campaign filed a motion on Wednesday asking a federal court to force the state of Ohio to obey its decision to restore early voting in the three days before the November election. The motion was filed in response to an announcement from Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, who said Tuesday that he wouldn’t set early voting hours until an appeals court ruled on a decision made by U.S. District Judge Peter Economus last week. Economos found that the “public interest is served by restoring in-person early voting to all Ohio voters.”
Last Friday, a federal court judge in Ohio issued an order in Obama for America v. Husted directing the State of Ohio to restore early voting for all Ohio voters on the three days before Election Day 2012. On Tuesday. Secretary of State Jon Husted issued a directive in response to the order. The directive notes that the order is being appealed and states, in pertinent part:
Announcing new hours before the court case reaches final resolution will only serve to confuse voters and conflict with the standard of uniformity sought in Directive 2012-35 [concerning early voting]. Therefore, there is no valid reason for my office or the county boards of elections to set hours for in-person absentee voting the last three days before the election at this time. If the appellate courts ultimately reverse the trial court’s decision, in-person absentee voting for non-UOCAVA voters will end the Friday before the election. If however, the appellate courts uphold the trial court’s decision, I will be required to issue a consistent uniform schedule for statewide in-person voting hours for the last three days before the election. I am confident there will be sufficient time after the conclusion of the appeal process to set uniform hours across the state.
The most important political news of the day has nothing to do with the Democratic national convention. It is that Constitution Party nominee for President Virgil Goode Jr. has made the ballot in Virginia. Last month Goode turned in over 20,000 signatures to make the ballot, and today a sufficient number were certified as valid. While it is unlikely Goode will get more than one percent of the national popular vote, he has a very specific regional appeal in the critical swing state of Virginia. For over a decade Goode represented Virginia’s 5th congressional district before leaving the Republican party. Given his long history and name recognition in the state it is likely he could significantly over perform in Virginia compared to elsewhere.
West Virginia will use technology from Scytl for an online ballot system for military members and other voters who are overseas. Barcelona-based Scytl said Wednesday that the state used its technology in eight counties under a pilot program during the 2010 elections.
Angolan democracy turned another page when the nation went to the polls on 31 August. The ruling party MPLA won with 72% of the vote – 10% less than in 2008 but still a huge majority. Voter participation was approximately 63%, a drop of nearly 20% from 2008. Voter apathy could be attributable to the fact that in the minds of many Angolans the victory of the MPLA was never in doubt. Predictions of unrest and violence in the run-up and after the elections were unfounded. The opposition parties UNITA and CASA-CE have alleged fraud and called the election process into question. Their main criticisms are that the Angolan National Election Commission (CNE) failed to accredit party observers to all polling stations and that the voter register was not made public. Both parties will contest the results from some polling stations where they did not have observers present but this will happen within the framework of the law. UNITA has stated that they will provide a dossier ‘proving fraud’. But any legal challenge will likely be a long drawn-out affair and may fizzle-out as the MPLA get on with running the country.
The chairman of Ghana’s Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) says the ongoing voter registration process will ensure a credible general election December 7. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan called on prospective voters to verify their personal information during a 10 day registration program. “We are exhibiting the provisional voter register [and] after that we will make any corrections that are appropriate, and then print the final voters register,” Afari-Gyan said. “Without the register we can’t take nominations, so I reckon that we take nominations for the elections around the middle of October, and then we will be on.”
Guinea: Head of Guinea’s election commission resigns, days after violent protests | Montreal Gazette
The head of Guinea’s electoral body has announced his resignation in a statement read on state TV, bowing to the demands and protests of an opposition alleging the rigging of the electoral process ahead of much-delayed parliamentary elections. Louceny Camara, president of the National Independent Electoral Commission, made his resignation public on Wednesday evening. The opposition had accused him of being an ally of President Alpha Conde, who won the 2010 presidential election in a vote that was deemed democratic but deeply divisive.
Dutch concerns about the euro crisis are dominating the election campaign and have led to a sharp increase in socialist popularity in recent polls. Should the German Chancellor Angela Merkel be worried? The warm summer weather has returned to the small Dutch town of Boxmeer. An ice cream shop on Steen Street provides locals with place to cool off. The leading candidate for the Socialist Party (SP), Emile Roemer, vigorously scoops the ice cream and doles out a red clump of ice cream into a cone. In the background, the bells of the chapel drone, while dozens of photographers and cameramen snap photos and film the event. The Socialist Party leader laughs at the disfigured result of his efforts. But that’s no problem for Roemer. It’s the thought that counts. The powerful politician is offering a special sweet locals will probably have a hard time getting again: tomato ice-cream. The tomato is the symbol of the socialist political party. Back in the day, in the much wilder years, Dutch Socialists enjoyed pelting their political opponents with juicy, red tomatoes.