Pennsylvania: Defenders of the Vote – Can a small army of volunteers prevent hundreds of thousands in Pennsylvania from losing their right to vote? | American Prospect

You know you’re in a fledgling campaign office the moment you step off the street and into one of the plainest buildings in Germantown, a mostly black Philadelphia neighborhood that contains several Colonial landmarks. Along garish, peach-colored walls are maps of every inch of the city: council districts, wards, divisions, recreation centers. Mismatched tables sit empty, waiting for soon-to-be-installed phones that volunteers will use to call number after number. In one corner of the back office, there’s even a double megaphone ready to perch atop a van and spread the message. Rather than touting a candidate, though, this campaign’s volunteers will be spreading news that they hate: Hundreds of thousands of registered voters in Philadelphia, and hundreds of thousands more across the state, are in danger of losing their voice in the November election. Welcome to the world of the Pennsylvania Voter ID Coalition, made up of 140 organizations—churches, labor unions, civic groups—which began training volunteers in July. The group’s job is to let voters know that, thanks to a law passed in March, they will have to carry a government-issued picture ID to the polls to ensure that their vote counts. The coalition will also help voters who lack the proper ID to acquire one—a process that is, in some cases, time-consuming and complicated.

The Voting News Daily: Challenges to Voting Laws May Play Havoc On and After Election Day, Voter fraud and its discontents: Restricting the franchise

National: Challenges to Voting Laws May Play Havoc On and After Election Day | Roll Call Democratic Rep. Mark Critz’s chances of hanging onto his seat representing Southwestern Pennsylvania could hinge on a lawsuit filed by a 93-year-old great grandmother over the state’s new voter identification law. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania is hearing Viviette Applewhite’s…

Editorials: Voter fraud and its discontents: Restricting the franchise | The Economist

Politico led this morning with a piece arguing that Mitt Romney’s clay feet on the subject of national security threaten to turn him into John Kerry. I don’t quite buy the comparison, however Kerry-like Mr Romney may be in his stiffness and aloofness; Mr Romney never claimed national security as a core competency, as Mr Kerry did. Yet this is part of an ongoing narrative that says this election is like 2004, in which a relatively unpopular and vulnerable incumbent won because the out-party overestimated voters’ distaste for the incumbent and nominated a dreadful candidate. The bases of both parties were gripped by a visceral disdain for the president that voters at large simply did not share. Both Mr Kerry and Mr Romney had fairly easy rides to the nomination: for all the ginned-up primary drama this year, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich stood no better chance of becoming president than did Howard Dean or Dennis Kucinich. But if the campaign looks like 2004, Ethan Bronner makes a far more persuasive case that its aftermath may more closely resemble 2000. The thicket of new voting laws enacted over the past four years—mostly by Republicans, and most of them with the effect, if not the intent, of making it harder for voters who belong to Democratic-leaning blocs to cast their ballots—will likely provoke a flurry of court challenges if the election is as close as it looks as though it might be. Those challenges have already begun. Florida lost in its effort to restrict early voting, as did Ohio. A federal court ruled that Texas’s voter-ID law fell afoul of the Voting Rights Act for imposing “strict, unforgiving burdens on the poor, and racial minorities in Texas are disproportionately likely to live in poverty.” Pennsylvania’s voter-ID law, on the other hand, was upheld (the state supreme court will hear appeals on Thursday).

National: Campaigns prepare for post-election court fights on voting laws | Reuters

The campaigns of President Barack Obama and his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, are preparing for what could be a series of legal battles over new U.S. voting laws after the Nov. 6 election – especially if the result of the presidential race is close. The campaigns and political parties are lining up lawyers for what would amount to a new wave of litigation surrounding election laws that have been approved by Republican-led legislatures in more than a dozen states since 2010. Some of the laws involve requiring voters to produce photo identification. Others curtail early-voting periods that are designed to help working-class people cast ballots if they can’t make it to the polls on Election Day. Still others have imposed strict requirements on groups that conduct voter-registration drives.

National: Study Shows Voter ID Laws Could Disenfranchise 1 Million Young Minority Voters | Huffington Post

An estimated 700,000 young minority voters could be barred from voting in November because of photo ID laws passed across the country in recent years, according to a new study. The number of minority voters under the age of 30 likely to be disenfranchised by these new voting laws — passed overwhelmingly by Republican-led legislatures across the country — is a conservative estimate, according to the study’s authors. The actual number of voters in that category who could be disenfranchised is probably closer to 1 million, they said. The projections include African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, Native Americans and Pacific Islanders. “It’s a reminder that our voting rights have always been under attack and probably always will be,” said Cathy Cohen, a professor of political science at the University of Chicago who co-authored the report, Turning Back the Clock on Voting Rights: The Impact of New Photo Identification Requirements on Young People of Color.

Arizona: Voting violations claimed – Gila County recorder hit for using public resources to campaign | Payson Roundup

Gila County’s recorder is facing tough criticism from both a failed challenger and county supervisors. Although he lost the primary, former recorder candidate James “Mac” Feezor is still fighting. Feezor says he plans to file a formal complaint on what he calls “numerous incidents of misconduct on the part of the elections personnel, specifically in the recorder’s office.” Supervisor Shirley Dawson said she is also unhappy with the recorder, specifically her handling of voter registration on the San Carlos and White River Apache Reservations and her decision to shorten polling place hours. Dawson said she believes Sadie Jo Tomerlin, a Republican, did not want to collect those votes because they come primarily from Democratic voters.

Colorado: Election watchdogs seek to block Boulder County ballot printing | Boulder Daily Camera

Boulder County Clerk Hillary Hall says a new system for numbering ballots would preserve voter anonymity as well as efficiency in tallying election results, and she expects it to pass muster with the Secretary of State’s Office. However, election integrity activists say any “distinguishing marks” on ballots violate the law and open the door to linking individual voters with their ballots. The group Citizen Center has filed a request for a restraining order in federal court to stop the printing of Boulder County’s ballots with distinguishing serial numbers. A hearing on the request is scheduled for Sept. 21. Like other counties who use the Hart Voting System, Boulder County’s ballots have three sets of numbers and bar codes — one that identifies the election, one that identifies the precinct and ballot content (which jurisdictions and ballot questions the voter is voting on) and one that identifies the ballot.

Florida: State Agrees to Let Citizens Mistakenly Purged From Rolls to Vote |

In a partial victory for voter rights and immigrant groups, Florida residents who were mistakenly removed from the voter rolls this year because the state classified them as noncitizens will be returned to the rolls and allowed to vote in November. The Florida Department of State, which initiated the review of noncitizens on the voter rolls, also agreed Wednesday to inform the 2,625 people on the list who are eligible to vote that their voting rights had been fully restored. Still unresolved is whether Florida broke a federal law preventing voter purges within 90 days of an election. The agreement stems from a lawsuit brought by several groups that said the so-called voter purge was discriminatory because it singled out mostly immigrants. “There will be no purging before the election,” said Katherine Culliton-González, director of voter protection for the Advancement Project, one of the civil rights groups that sued the state. “American citizens won’t be purged, and naturalized citizens won’t be purged. For us, it’s a great victory.”

Florida: Voter Roll screening yields few non-citizens | KEYC

Florida’s attempt to screen voter rolls for non-U.S. citizens is yielding a smaller number than state officials had anticipated. The Florida Department of State announced Wednesday that it used a federal immigration database to verify 207 voters are not citizens. Earlier this year, state officials under Republican Gov. Rick Scott had said they suspected more than 2,600 voters were ineligible and had asked election supervisors to purge those on the list. State officials, however, said the screening process was still a success because it yielded some ineligible voters. Florida’s announcement came the same day that it reached an agreement with voting groups that had challenged the purge, alleging it was discriminatory because they said it mostly targeted Hispanics. The groups that work with immigrants, Haitian-Americans and Puerto Ricans had filed suit in Miami and they are dropping most of their claims “This settlement represents a historic milestone for voting rights in Florida,” said Advancement Project Co-Director Judith Browne Dianis. “It will ensure that naturalized citizens, the majority of whom are Latino, black and Asian, have the same opportunities as all Americans to participate in our political process and exercise the most fundamental right in our democracy – the right to vote.”

Hawaii: Police Open Investigation Into Possible 2010 Voter Fraud | Big Island Now

Hawaii County police say they have launched an investigation into an allegation of voter fraud on the Big Island. In a brief statement sent out at 4:26 p.m. today, Capt. Mitchell Kanehailua of the Criminal Investigation Division said the investigation is based on information provided by the Hawaii County Office of Elections involving elections conducted in 2010. According to Kanehailua’s statement, voter fraud is a class “C” felony. Such crimes carry a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Iowa: Secretary of State Schultz defends emergency voter rules to lawmakers | SFGate

Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz told a legislative rules committee on Tuesday that he’s not trying to give an advantage to any candidates in November but only doing his job by passing emergency voter rules to ensure only U.S. citizens vote. Schultz defended the rules before the Legislature’s Administrative Rules Review Committee when confronted by some of the group’s Democrats who said the rules will intimidate Hispanic voters, and perhaps others, and scare them away from voting. Sen. Tom Courtney, of Burlington, said many Latinos he’s talked to in his district are afraid election officials are going to try to keep them from voting. “These are good people who happen to be naturalized American citizens and they want to vote. They want to do their part. They’re scared, Mr. Secretary,” Courtney said. “This scares them and I don’t like that. We’ve never had that in this state. We’ve always been above board and everybody voted.”

Louisiana: State takes ‘middle-ground approach’ to voter identification | The Town Talk

Voters in Louisiana will show identification Nov. 6 to cast ballots for president and on local issues. And they’ll do it without the controversy kicked up by new voter ID requirements around the country. Republicans say new laws that require voters to show state-issued photo ID guard the election system’s integrity. Democrats say the requirements discourage low-income people and minorities from voting. “Louisiana falls in the middle, and for right now, it does seem like a good, moderate approach,” said Ryan Teten, a Ph.D. in political science who teaches about campaigns and elections at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Maryland: Wendy Rosen voting allegations sent to prosecutors in Florida |

Elections officials in Florida say they are asking prosecutors there to investigate allegations that former Maryland congressional candidate Wendy Rosen was registered and voted in both states. “After receiving information locally concerning this issue, we are referring this matter to the State Attorney’s Office of the Sixth Judicial Circuit of Florida,” Julie Marcus, the deputy supervisor of elections for Pinellas County, Fla., said Tuesday. State prosecutors in Maryland, meanwhile, declined to say whether they were investigating the allegations here. Rosen, who won a close Democratic primary in April to challenge Republican Rep. Andy Harris in the 1st Congressional District, withdrew from the race Monday after she was confronted with the allegations by the Maryland Democratic Party.

New Hampshire: Voter ID law draws protests in New Hampshire primary |

A controversial new law that will require voters to show identification drew mixed reactions at the polls Tuesday, causing outbursts of aggravation from some voters and frustration from poll workers who took the brunt of the complaints. The law, which requires registered voters to show an approved form of identification to receive a ballot, appeared to be at the forefront of voting-related issues reported at the polls. It will officially go into effect in November, when voters without an accepted ID will be required to fill out a challenged voter affidavit, which asks the voter to affirm his or her identity under penalty of law before voting. Voters who did not produce an ID Tuesday, a day poll workers used as an opportunity to prepare residents for the new requirement, were handed an information card explaining the new law and what will be required in the Nov. 6 election.

New Hampshire: Voter ID law will require state to contact tens of thousands of people after election | Nashua Telegraph

New Hampshire election officials may have to hunt down nearly 50,000 people in November and ask whether they really voted.
That’s one possible conclusion from Tuesday’s dry run of the state’s new voter ID law, which also produced some hard feelings, irritation and a bit of rudeness, judging from comments recorded by ballot clerks at Nashua’s Ward 2. Roughly 7 percent of the 7,570 people who voted in Nashua on Tuesday didn’t have a photo ID or didn’t want to show it. Figures for ID-less voters varied around the region, from 2 percent in Hudson to more than 10 percent in some Souhegan Valley towns. Statewide figures were not available Wednesday. But let’s assume the 7 percent figure holds true statewide in November – and City Clerk Paul Bergeron expects it to rise in Nashua, since the presidential race will draw lots of casual voters who won’t know about the new law. Then consider that 700,000 people voted in New Hampshire’s last presidential election, a number that also seems likely to rise. The conclusion? At least 49,000 people may have to fill out and sign an affidavit attesting to their identity before they can vote, which could lead to long lines at voting places, the need for more poll workers and, assuming a longer wait, some people turning away from voting entirely.

New Hampshire: Challenge to voter ID law considered | NEWS06

After reportedly receiving complaints from voters in nearly two dozen communities regarding the state’s new voter ID law, the League of Women Voters and the New Hampshire chapter of the Civil Liberties Union are contemplating a legal challenge. Claire Ebel, executive director of the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union, said the complaints ran the gamut from signs in polling places saying identification was required, to some voters claiming they were told they had to show a photo ID before they could vote. “The debacle that occurred in some places yesterday may impact the decision on whether to challenge the voter ID law,” Ebel said yesterday. “Information given (Tuesday) may give more credence to challenging that law.”

Ohio: Secretary of State orders more provisional ballots counted |

The state’s elections chief on Tuesday issued new rules for counting provisional ballots in response to a federal judge’s order seeking more access for the coming presidential election. Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, directed poll workers to count all so-called “right church, wrong pew” ballots. Those are ballots cast by voters who show up at the correct polling place but are mistakenly directed to an area of the polling place where votes for other precincts are being cast.

Pennsylvania: Divisive voter ID law goes before Pennsylvania high court |

With 54 days until Pennsylvanians help decide who will be president, state Supreme Court justices will listen to arguments over whether a new law requiring each voter to show valid photo identification poses an unnecessary threat to the right, and ability, to vote. The high court appeal follows a lower court’s refusal to halt the law from taking effect Nov. 6, when voters will choose between President Barack Obama, a Democrat, Republican nominee Mitt Romney and as many as two third-party candidates. The arguments will be heard on Thursday morning. The state’s lawyers say lawmakers properly exercised their constitutional latitude to make election-related laws and that every registered voter, including those suing, will be able to cast a ballot, either after getting a valid photo ID or by absentee ballot if they are disabled or frail. But lawyers for the plaintiffs insist their clients, as well as hundreds of thousands of other registered voters, do not know about the complicated requirements, do not have a valid ID or will be unable to get one. ‘‘At stake in this case is the fundamental right to vote,’’ the plaintiffs’ lawyers argued in a 58-page appeal.

Pennsylvania: High Court Set to Hear Voter-ID Law Case | Businessweek

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments today over the state’s voter-ID law as a new study found almost 700,000 young, minority voters nationwide could be barred from the polls by similar statutes. Proponents argue the law, passed by Pennsylvania’s Republican-controlled legislature, is needed to stop voter fraud and enhance the integrity of the election process. Voter advocacy groups say the measure is aimed at keeping some likely Democratic voters away from the polls. Laws requiring photo identification to vote in battleground states including Pennsylvania and Florida could be the deciding factor in the Nov. 6 presidential election, according to the study by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Chicago. More than 100,000 voters under the age of 30 could be barred in Florida and as many as 44,000 in Pennsylvania if the laws in those states are upheld, according to the study.

Tennessee: Davidson County Election Commission reconsiders use of electronic poll books | The Tennessean

The group that first complained about improperly programmed technology that led to ballot errors in the August elections now worries that the panel is about to bring the electronic poll books back in November. The Davidson County Election Commission will reconsider the use of electronic poll books during its meeting Thursday afternoon, said Election Administrator Albert Tieche. Tieche has acknowledged that the poll books were improperly programmed, causing an undetermined number of voters to be steered toward the Republican primary by default even when they didn’t express their preference.

Texas: Harris County says state erred with lists of ‘dead’ voters | Houston Chronicle

The Harris County Attorney’s office on Tuesday defended Tax Assessor-Collector Don Sumners’ decision not to purge presumed-dead voters from the rolls until after the November election, and accused the secretary of state’s office of not following the law in providing a list of 9,000 such voters to the county. About 72,800 voters statewide have received or will receive letters telling them records suggest they may be dead and that they must act within 30 days to stay on the rolls. The list was generated by the secretary of state using the Social Security Administration’s master death file, as outlined in a new state law. “The notice from the secretary of state did not make the required determination that the voters on the list were deceased,” County Attorney Vince Ryan said, adding that two of his attorneys received the letters. “This action by the Texas secretary of state is outrageous, wrong, and unlawful.” Ryan also said the state cannot force Sumners, as the county voter registrar, to send the letters.

Texas: Sorting out the facts involving Texas’ dead voter “purge” |

Some 600,000 names represent Travis County’s voting roll, and who’s on the list is the target of the latest round of election inspection.
Passed virtually unanimously during the 82nd Texas Legislature in 2011, HB 174 requires the state to verify its voter rolls against the U.S. Social Security Administration’s Death Master File. “In addition to comparing against the information submitted by local officials concerning deceased persons, the Secretary of State must also obtain death information quarterly from the United States Social Security Administration and compare against this information as well,” states the bill’s summary. As a result, some voters have received letters saying some combination of their name and date of birth potentially match someone listed by the federal government as deceased, giving them 30 days to contact the county and avoid having their registration canceled.

Washington: State can’t use Homeland Security records to check voter lists |

Washington can’t use immigrant registration records from the U.S. Homeland Security Department to verify names on its voter rolls, state elections officials said today. The reason: The state doesn’t have a system that requires proof of legal residence before issuing a driver’s license, which is necessary to use the federal system. Secretary of State Sam Reed requested access to the federal system in July as a way of checking the accuracy of the state’s voter rolls. But to use the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements Program, which is designed to determine whether a person qualifies for different social and medical programs, the state would need to issue some sort of identification card that checks for legal immigration status.

India: Supreme Court to examine plea on electronic voting machines printers | The Economic Times

The Supreme Court today agreed to take up for hearing on priority basis Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy’s plea to incorporate paper printouts in electronic voting machines or restore paper balloting system allegedly because EVMs “are not tamper proof.” “We will hear the matter on a priority basis so that it is concluded by the next parliamentary elections. That is the reason we are giving the priority,” said a bench of justices P Sathasivam and Ranjan Gogoi. The bench adjourned the matter for further hearing on September 27 after hearing Swamy’s submission for over an hour and asked the Election Commission to be prepared with its submission.

Netherlands: Election analysis: Dutch show faith in Europe | BBC News

These elections were always going to be seen as the first real test of Dutch public opinion on the Netherlands’ future relationship with Europe. It has been a long and strong bond, cemented by the country’s strong reliance on the European export market. But the eurozone financial crisis has brought the reciprocity of this union under intense scrutiny. Many voters are frustrated by what they see as the flow of “blank cheques” being signed off by their leaders and sent to bailout-struggling economies abroad, while austerity is making life harder at home.

Ukraine: OSCE/ODIHR starts observing parliamentary elections in Ukraine | Kyiv Post

The Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE/ODIHR) has officially opened its mission for the observation of the parliamentary elections in Ukraine. “The upcoming elections will be an important challenge for Ukraine from the viewpoint of democracy, and they will be held according to the new law,” the head of the mission, Audrey Glover, said at a press conference in Kyiv on Wednesday. She said that 20 experts from the organization will work in Kyiv, and 90 long-term observers will work all over Ukraine. The ODIHR will employ 600 short-term observers to watch the process of counting votes on the voting day.