The Voting News Daily: Voter ID Foes’ Wins in Pennsylvania, Other States Could be Short Lived, Presidential campaigns target new citizen voters

National: Voter ID Foes’ Wins in Pennsylvania, Other States Could be Short Lived | Stateline In recent months, courts have struck down voter identification laws in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Texas, heartening critics who feared the laws would turn away legitimate voters in November. But because the judges declined to reject the laws as unconstitutional, voter…

Editorials: Voter Fraud: The GOP Witch Hunt | Huffington Post

Recently, two large frauds within the Republican voter suppression effort this year have surfaced, which are proving far more serious than any of the alleged shenanigans which have been used to justify these measures. To cover the entirety of the vigorous voter suppression effort on the Right would require a far longer article than this, however, I will be focusing in on two very ugly details: Strategic Allied Consulting and voter suppression vigilantes like True the Vote. Republicans have ended the voter drives in Nevada, Florida, Colorado, Virginia and North Carolina. Why would they do such a thing? Because the firm they hired, Strategic Allied Consulting, the only company the Republican Party had running registration campaigns in these states, has been rocked by scandal after scandal. This election year, voter suppression law after voter suppression law rolled out, many of which have been struck down as unconstitutional by the courts, all to catch fraud; so far the only fraud that has been proven has been on their side.

National: Presidential campaigns target new citizen voters | The Associated Press

From Florida to Virginia, Massachusetts to California, candidates and political parties seeking to squeeze every vote from a divided electorate are targeting America’s newest citizens. It’s a relatively small bloc but one that can be substantial enough to make a difference in razor-close presidential swing states and competitive congressional races.In Florida, which President Barack Obama won by less than 5 percentage points four years ago, a new analysis of U.S. Census data shows people who naturalized as Americans since 2000 make up 6 percent of the population of voting-age citizens. For months, the Obama campaign has been sending volunteers to citizenship ceremonies to register people and canvassing Miami-area neighborhoods where immigrant families live. In California, where new citizens comprise nearly 9 percent of potential voters, Republicans hope House candidates Ricky Gill and Abel Maldonado can reach that group by highlighting their families’ journeys from India and Mexico, respectively, in search of the American Dream.

National: Feds should ‘rarely’ need time off to vote | GovExec

Federal employees who want to take off a few hours from work to vote in November will be permitted to do so only in a limited number of circumstances. A memo from Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry to chief human capital officers advises agencies on the government’s long-standing policies governing excused absences for voting. Berry told agencies that such absences “should rarely be needed” since most polling places now are open for extended periods of time, with some offering early voting options. Excused absences for voting can be granted in cases where an employee must vote early, has an extended commuting time, or attends a polling place that is not open at least three hours either before or after regular working hours. The policy applies to federal, state, county and municipal elections.

National: Study Says Transgender Voters Could Lose Rights Under ID Laws | ABC News

“It just throws people for a loop,” said Yan, 28. “I have trouble at the polling booth with people not believing that it’s me.” A study from the Williams Institute, an LGBT think tank at the University of Los Angeles, estimates that about 25,000 transgender Americans could be disenfranchised in the upcoming election because of a patchwork of voter ID laws. And it’s not just voter ID requirements that are the problem. Poll workers have discretion in giving voters a regular ballot or a provisional ballot, and bias could still affect who gets to vote. Provisional ballots can also be counted differently from regular ones.

Editorials: Voter ID Laws Live On | Huffington Post

Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist began his political career intimidating blacks and Hispanics waiting in line to vote in his home state of Arizona. It was 1964 and Rehnquist, a practicing lawyer at the time, demanded to see identification and conversed with Hispanics to determine if they spoke sufficient English to vote. He was working as part of “Operation Eagle Eye,” a Republican plan to suppress the vote. In 2012, nearly half a century later, the Kochs and Karl Rove have fueled legislation to require stringent voter identification in states they helped pack with Republican lawmakers and governors in the 2010 Republican sweep. They turned that sweep into a below-the-national-radar campaign to suppress voter turnout in this election cycle, including in the battleground states of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida. Like cheap paper targets at a carnival shooting gallery, the courts have at least temporarily shot down almost every onerous voter ID law that has passed in the last two years to protect Americans from “voter fraud” that doesn’t appear to exist.

Indiana: Some military men and women are still waiting on absentee ballots |

While early voting is an option for those who are here in the states, for the men and women in the military, voting absentee is their only option. A father of a soldier said his son serving in Afghanistan is still waiting on his absentee ballot. “Time to ask some questions. Why aren’t we getting ballots over there,” Randy Williams asked. Randy Williams’ son is currently serving overseas in the Army in Afghanistan. For weeks he has been trying to help his son figure out where his absentee ballot’s at. After talking with other soldiers families within the same company on Facebook, Randy found out his son isn’t the only one. “There were people from the Michigan area that were wondering where their ballots were.”

Illinois: Voter fraud not a big problem in Illinois |

A new report is raising questions about Republican efforts to enact tougher voter identification laws in Illinois. According to News21, a national investigative reporting project funded by the Carnegie Corp. and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, of the 23 voter fraud cases logged in Illinois over the past 12 years, none has been related to someone impersonating someone else at the polls. “The ‘rampant’ voter fraud alarm has been exposed as a myth and a deliberate falsehood,” said Michael Del Galdo, a Berwyn attorney who specializes in legislative efforts to address election fraud. “Having no cases of voter impersonation fraud here in Illinois in 12 years speaks for itself regarding the scope of the ‘problem.’”

Maryland: 8,000 registered voters told they’re not by state board |

At least 8,000 registered voters got cards recently from the State Board of Elections telling them they were not registered. The cards were apparently part of a mailing to a million people eligible to vote in an effort to encourage greater voter registration. But after receiving dozens of distressed calls from senior citizens, Howard County Democratic Chairman Michael McPherson said Tuesday that the effort to push online voter registration by the state elections board “smacks of voter suppression.” According to David Becker, director of election initiatives at the Pew Center on the States, the state board — in conjunction with the Pew Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) – notified 1,000,000 Maryland residents by postcard beginning in late September they were not registered to vote. The card provided instructions on how to register online and included a phone number to the new state election board call center.

New Mexico: AG announces investigation into voter suppression | New Mexico Telegram

Attorney General Gary King’s office announced today that it was opening an investigation into voter suppression based on a secretly-recorded video that showed a Republican poll training class being told they can ask for Voter ID — even though this is not allowed by state law. “I will not tolerate voter suppression efforts by anyone, period,” King said in a statement. “We have received a number of complaints since last Friday that there seems to be a concerted effort afoot to discourage some New Mexicans from exercising their right to vote this November. My office is committed to helping ensure fair elections by working to put an immediate stop to such misinformation and publically [sic] correcting what has already been disseminated.”

South Carolina: Court Blocks South Carolina Voter ID Law, for Now | NYTimes

A federal court on Wednesday blocked South Carolina from enforcing its new voter photo ID law in next month’s election, saying that there was not enough time to educate voters and officials about it. The ruling was the latest in a string of judicial interventions blunting a wave of Republican-led efforts to impose new restrictions on voting for the Nov. 6 election. But the court also ruled that South Carolina might put the law into effect in 2013. That permission, however, was contingent on a promise by state election officials to use an “extremely broad interpretation” of a provision that will make exceptions for voters who lack photo ID cards, allowing them to cast ballots as long as they give a reason for not having obtained one.

South Carolina: South Carolina Voter ID Blocked In 2012, Cleared For 2013 | TPM

A panel of federal judges ruled on Wednesday that South Carolina’s new voter ID does not have a discriminatory effect, but they also blocked it from going into effect in November. A Justice Department spokeswoman said DOJ was pleased that the court blocked the law from going into effect next month and noted that the law underwent “broad modifications” during the course of the trial to allow it to comply with Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson called the ruling “a major victory for South Carolina and its elections process. It affirms our voter ID law is valid and constitutional under the Voting Rights Act. The fact remains, voter ID laws do not discriminate or disenfranchise; they ensure integrity at the ballot box,” he said in a statement. The Washington, D.C.-based panel concluded that the voter ID law was “not enacted for a discriminatory purpose” and precleared the law for any election in 2013. But it blocked the state from implementing the law this year “given the short time left before the 2012 elections, and given the numerous steps necessary to properly implement the law — particularly the new ‘reasonable impediment’ provision — and ensure that the law would not have discriminatory retrogressive effects on African-American voters.”

South Carolina: South Carolina voter ID law blocked until 2013 | Reuters

A federal court ruled on Wednesday that South Carolina may not implement a photo ID law for voters until 2013, in the latest setback for a mainly Republican effort to establish identification rules in several states before the November 6 elections. South Carolina joined Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin as states with voter ID laws that have been blocked or deferred by state or federal judges. A three-judge panel in U.S. District Court in Washington said unanimously that South Carolina’s law would not discriminate against racial minorities. The U.S. Justice Department had argued the measure ran afoul of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, a landmark of the civil rights movement. But the judges said there was too little time to put the law into effect this year, and added they might have blocked the law entirely if South Carolina had not pledged to give wide leeway to voters who cannot comply.

Iraq: New Iraqi Electoral Commission Head Promises Transparency |

The new head of the Iraqi High Electoral Commission IHEC, Sarbast Mustafa Rasheed Amedi says that the post he occupies is usually decided by political parties, and that he was the only contender for the position this year. “The post was in the Kurds’ share [of appointed positions],” he told Rudaw. “When I ran for the post, I met no objections and no opposition. No one else ran for the post. All seven members of the IHEC voted for me. Amedi says that as head of IHEC he has the powers of a minister and he represents the government and parliament within the commission. He also rejects claims that IHEC interferes in the election process in favor of political parties. “The results of the elections have not been manipulated and will not be manipulated,” he says. “Elections take place at the lower level, not at the top level. The IHEC only makes decisions. However, if at the lower level results [at one particular polling site] are altered, then all the ballots will be disregarded. We try to maintain the maximum transparency and integrity in our work.

Israel: Netanyahu calls early election for Israel | CNN

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for an early election after failing to agree on a budget with his coalition partners, saying the vote should be held “as soon as possible” for the good of the country. In a televised announcement Tuesday, Netanyahu said the election was necessary to ensure “a responsible security and economic policy” in the face of the economic downturn and threats to Israel’s security from Iran and elsewhere. The election will ideally happen in three months’ time, he said, rather than in October 2013, as originally scheduled. “It is my obligation as the prime minister to put the national interest above everything else,” Netanyahu said. “So I have decided that it is in the best interest for the state of Israel to go to elections now and as soon as possible.”

Jordan: Jordan’s king appoints new PM ahead of elections | Yahoo News

Jordan’s King Abdullah II appointed a veteran independent politician on Wednesday as his new caretaker prime minister ahead of parliamentary elections — the last time he will make such an appointment, according to his own reform plan. The appointment of Abdullah Ensour is part of the king’s political roadmap that addresses popular pressure for a broader role in decision-making. It paves the way for elections scheduled for the end of this year or early 2013. That parliament will choose the next prime minister. The changes were decreed by Abdullah earlier this year to transfer more power to elected bodies and forestall any chance of an Arab Spring-style uprising similar to those that toppled regimes elsewhere in the region.

Pakistan: What is an error-free voters’ list? | Naeem Sadiq

Pakistan is rapidly heading for another electoral disaster. It continues to retain its archaic and unnecessary electoral list-making process that can do no better than what it did last time. While it ended up manufacturing 37 million fake voters in 2008, the results will not be much different this time around. There are at least four types of flaws that call for immediate attention. Based on the 1998 census, Pakistan’s current population should be around 190 million people. Fifty-one percent of our population is above 18 years. This means there are 97 million Pakistanis who are eligible to vote. The voters’ list released by the Election Commission of Pakistan shows only 84.4 million voters. It simply means that there are 12.6 million eligible voters who are not included in the current voters’ list. Organisations such as the Free and Fair Elections Network consider the gap to be much higher.