The Voting News Daily: Ten Weeks Out From Election Day, Outside Spending Exceeds 2008 Total, Voter registration drives adopting new methods

National: Ten Weeks Out From Election Day, Outside Spending Exceeds 2008 Total | OpenSecrets With the end of the Democratic convention today, we’ve only just now reached the beginning of the traditional presidential election season, but that hasn’t stopped outside groups from unleashing a torrent of advertising on the political landscape early on in this…

National: Voter ID Wars |

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 on an airplane or rent a movie from Blockbuster. Get over it!” While investigating voting in America for the documentary film “Electoral Dysfunction,” I heard versions of this line over and over from the laws’ backers. The message is clear: “If you’re too lazy to get a government-issued photo ID, then you probably don’t deserve to vote. And please, let’s not forget 9/11.” (The airplane reference is a handy conversation-stopper.) But voting rights are worth at least 60 seconds of our attention. So here’s why these laws hurt more than they help: The only crime these laws address is voter impersonation — someone showing up at the polls and claiming to be someone else in order to cast a fraudulent vote. (I know, sounds almost delightfully madcap.)

National: Report: Half of military bases lack voting facility | Washington Times

Half of all U.S. military bases around the world lack legally required facilities where troops can register to vote and get absentee ballots, according to a report from the Pentagon’s inspector general. Advocacy groups said the report shows the military has let down its service members by failing to implement the 2009 Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act. “It’s disappointing. This was the will of Congress,” said Eric Eversole, founder of the Military Voter Protection Project. “Here you have an agency [the Pentagon] that basically said to Congress, ‘We’re not going to do what you told us to do. We think we know more about voter registration than you do and we’re not going to do it.’?”

National: Defense Department inspector General questions military voting |

Many military installations across the globe lack offices where troops can register to vote and obtain absentee ballots, the Defense Department’s inspector general concludes in a newly released report. Investigators attempted to contact 229 voting-assistance offices and were able to reach just 114 — about 50 percent. Under the 2009 Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act, all military installations are required to have such offices. The report could inflame tensions between the Obama administration and House Republicans, who have accused the White House of moving too slowly to implement the law, which also requires states to mail absentee ballots to service members at least 45 days before an election.

National: Ten Weeks Out From Election Day, Outside Spending Exceeds 2008 Total | OpenSecrets

With the end of the Democratic convention today, we’ve only just now reached the beginning of the traditional presidential election season, but that hasn’t stopped outside groups from unleashing a torrent of advertising on the political landscape early on in this election cycle.  The amount spent by super PACs, political non profit groups and other non-political party entities on the presidential and congressional races, about $306.2 million as of Sept. 5, is already more than such groups spent during the entirety of the last presidential election cycle, about $301.6 million.  And such estimates are surely conservative, as Center for Responsive Politics research only accounts for spending released by the Federal Election Commission, which doesn’t track so-called issue ads spent by political non-profit groups outside of 60 days of a general election or 30 days outside of a primary. Such groups are dropping tens of millions of dollars this cycle, hammering the airwaves with under the radar spending.

National: Voter registration drives adopting new methods | AP News

Some organizations are turning to sophisticated data mining, direct mail, the Internet and other strategies to register voters typically underrepresented on the rolls, including young people and ethnic minorities. Others are simply targeting those who favor their political goals, such as conservative Christians. The shift away from more traditional voter registration drives – like volunteers with clipboards in front of a supermarket – is driven as much by restrictive state laws as it is better technology. Several states including Florida have recently passed legislation setting tight deadlines for groups to turn in voter applications, so groups like the NAACP were looking for ways to get the applications directly into the hands of voters. And they also have to rely on voters to turn in the applications themselves. “This is a new effort since the 2000 election,” said University of Florida political scientist Daniel Smith. “Technology has made it more cost-effective. … When you have upwards of 40 percent of eligible populations not registered, there is a market for this kind of work.”

National: Decision 2012: Voter ID Laws Could Impact Election |

Poll workers across the country have a new task: asking for ID. Thirty-three states now have voter ID laws. Fifteen were passed or strengthened since President Obama took office. “It’s an unfortunate and cynical attempt to undermine the voting rights of students, of elderly, of poor,” said Newark Mayor Cory Booker. The rush of new requirements was a topic of conversation at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. “If you want every American to vote and you think it is wrong to change voting procedures, just to reduce the turnout of younger, poorer, minority and disabled voters, you should support Barack Obama,” former President Bill Clinton said in his convention speech.

Voting Blogs: New IG Report Sets Off Debate About MOVE Act Implementation | Election Academy

Three years after the enactment of the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act of 2009, a new report by the Department of Defense’s inspector general found that MOVE’s requirement of installation voting assistance offices (IVAO) on all non-warzone facilities is not being implemented across the globe. More specifically, IG researchers attempted to call every IVAO identified by the Federal Voting Assistance Program. The report says the “results were clear,” with about half of IVAOs unreachable. Those findings have touched off an interesting debate in Washington. One of the IG’s recommendations is to amend MOVE to make IVAOs discretionary, not mandatory.

Colorado: Can your vote be traced? Boulder County is in the thick of Colorado’s budget battle | Boulder Weekly

The election ballot system used by Boulder County is at the center of a standoff between Secretary of State Scott Gessler and several of Colorado’s county clerks. And someone has to blink soon, since the deadline for printing ballots is fast approaching. In addition to Boulder County Clerk and Recorder Hillary Hall, the players include Marilyn Marks, an Aspen activist who has filed suit against Gessler and a number of counties for using ballots printed with information that can be used to trace the identity of voters, contrary to state law. After being confronted with the outcome of Marks’ investigation, in which she and others demonstrated how to track ballots from a June primary election in Chaffee County to the individuals who cast them, Gessler recently issued an emergency rule saying counties could no longer use the serial numbers or bar codes in question. The rule also requires clerks to black out that information when releasing past voted ballots under the state’s open records act, in an attempt to mitigate the damage done and prevent any further tracing.

Colorado: Secretary of State’s effort to purge voter lists continues | Northglenn Sentinel News

Almost 90 percent of a group of Colorado voters identified as noncitizens may be legal voters. According to an analysis by the Secretary of State’s Office, about 87.5 percent of the 3,903 people identified through a voter-roll comparison to state Department of Motor Vehicle records may be legal voters. Those identified as noncitizens had presented a noncitizen document to obtain a Colorado driver’s license or identification card. They were sent letters asking them to voluntarily withdraw their voter registration. Rich Coolidge, communications director in the Secretary of State’s Office, said 643 of them had Jefferson and Adams county addresses. The Secretary of State’s analysis showed that about 25.9 percent of the addressees had moved with no forwarding address. An additional 482 voters affirmed their citizenship, while only 16 voluntarily withdrew their voter registration. As of Aug. 31, the remaining 2,394 voters had not responded to the letters.

Michigan: State Won’t Reimburse Local Governments For Special Election | CBS Detroit

A spokesperson for Governor Rick Snyder says the state will not help offset the cost of Wednesday’s special primary election held to fill former Republican Congressman Thaddeus McCotter’s seat in Washington. “This was absolutely something that the governor hoped to avoid and that was the special election that was needed. That said, the constitution and the state election law are pretty clear and it compelled the governor to act,” said Snyder spokeswoman Sara Wurfel. “And currently there is nothing that allows reimbursement to Oakland County or any local government for that matter.”

Michigan: U.S. District Court Issues Decision Explaining Why Sore Loser Law Applies to Gary Johnson | Ballot Access News

On the afternoon of September 7, U.S. District Court Judge Paul D. Borman issued this25-page opinion in Libertarian Party of Michigan v Ruth Johnson, eastern district, 12-cv-12782. He had ruled the day before that the Libertarian Party has lost this case, but only on September 7 did his opinion explain why. The decision implies on page 17 that the precedent set in 1980 by John B. Anderson, who ran in Michigan’s presidential primary and also ran as a minor party nominee, doesn’t apply because Anderson’s name wasn’t on the Republican primary ballot in Michigan. But, that implication is mistaken. Anderson’s name did appear on the Republican presidential primary ballot in 1980 and his votes were counted. The decision says that the Michigan Supreme Court had removed Anderson’s name from the 1980 presidential primary ballot. Because this writer is on vacation, and has no access to his home files or a law library, this assertion must remain a mystery for a few days, unless someone else has more information.

Ohio: Husted rescinds order against early-voting hours | Dayton Daily News

Secretary of State Jon Husted on Friday rescinded his directive forbidding Ohio counties to set their own voting hours for the weekend before the Nov. 6 election, pending a legal appeal. But Husted asked a federal court to issue a legal stay that would effectively accomplish the same thing. His court motion was the fourth development in eight days regarding “final-weekend” voting. *U.S. District Judge Peter Economus in Columbus ruled Aug. 31 that Ohio laws prohibiting final-weekend voting were unconstitutional, adding that he “anticipated” Husted would set a “specific, consistent schedule on those three days.” *Husted and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine appealed the ruling, and Husted issued a directive prohibiting counties from setting their own hours while the appeal was pending, saying he was trying to prevent more confusing changes. *When the Obama campaign objected to that directive, Economus quickly set a hearing for next Thursday, demanding that Husted attend in person.

Editorials: Texas Voter ID Misstep | Alberto Gonzales/Fox News

As widely reported, last week a federal court rejected a Texas law that would require voters to present photo identification to election officials before being allowed to vote. This decision comes on the heels of another federal court decision that found the Republican-controlled Texas legislature had intentionally discriminated against Hispanics in drawing new legislative districts. The Texas voter ID law was signed into law last year. However, the law has never gone into effect because Texas is a covered jurisdiction under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and must receive either administrative preclearance from the Department of Justice or judicial preclearance from a federal court that a proposed change in its election laws (such as a requirement to present a photo ID) will not have the effect of diminishing minority voters’ rights, and was not enacted with a specific intent to discriminate against such voters.  The Justice Department earlier objected to the new Texas law concluding it would have a disparate negative impact on minority voters. The court last week reached a similar conclusion that the legislation would impose unlawful burdens on poor minority voters.

Iran: June 14 set for presidential poll | Reuters

Iran will hold presidential elections on June 14 next year, the Interior Ministry said on Friday, the first such vote since a violent crackdown on protests over Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s disputed re-election in 2009. The 2013 presidential vote is expected to be a contest between candidates representing Ahmadinejad’s allies and his more conservative opponents. Ahmadinejad himself cannot run for a third term due to a constitutional limit.

Ukraine: Nationalists bring nuclear arms to election fight | RT

The Ukrainian nationalist party UNA-UNSO, known for sending armed volunteers to fight on the post-Soviet space, has announced in its elections program that Ukraine needs nuclear weapons. “In order to do something we need leverage as a state. We need to demand the restoration of the nuclear status of our country,” said Valery Bobrovich, chief of the headquarters of the Ukrainian Nationalist Assembly – Ukrainian People’s Self-Defense. The politician added that Ukraine has no future without nuclear weapons. In addition, a return to nuclear status would boost the Ukrainian economy, Bobrovich said. “The military industrial complex is not just cannons, but also tens of thousands of jobs,” he told reporters. At the time of the Soviet Union’s collapse, Ukraine possessed the third-largest nuclear arsenal in the world. However, Ukraine gave up its nuclear arsenal in exchange for recognition of its independence and security guarantees by leading nuclear powers.
The agreement was sealed in 1994 in the Budapest Memorandum and the removal of nuclear weapons from Ukrainian territory was fully completed in 1996 (the warheads were sent to Russia, where they were dismantled and reutilized).