The Voting News Daily: If the Supreme Court cuts early voting in Ohio, it could swing the state from Barack Obama to Mitt Romney, State voting-law cases test Supreme Court’s politics just ahead of Election Day

National: If the Supreme Court cuts early voting in Ohio, it could swing the state from Barack Obama to Mitt Romney | Slate Magazine The Supreme Court will soon decide whether to reverse a federal court ruling requiring the state of Ohio to let its counties decide whether to permit early voting during the weekend…

National: If the Supreme Court cuts early voting in Ohio, it could swing the state from Barack Obama to Mitt Romney | Slate Magazine

The Supreme Court will soon decide whether to reverse a federal court ruling requiring the state of Ohio to let its counties decide whether to permit early voting during the weekend before Election Day. With the presidential race tight in Ohio, and the presidency potentially turning on the state’s electoral votes, the court’s decision could help determine who will win the White House. While the Obama campaign has a strong policy argument for the extension of early voting to include this final weekend, its constitutional claim is a major stretch. In 2008, more than 100,000 voters—many poor, women, less educated, and minorities—cast ballots in Ohio during the weekend before Election Day. Voting in Ohio in 2008 was a great success compared with 2004, when long lines, especially in urban areas such as Cleveland, were common and discouraged people from voting. Early voting relieved the stress of Election Day.  But the Ohio legislature, dominated by Republicans, cut back on the last weekend of early voting for 2012. Florida’s Republican legislature did the same thing, likely out of a belief that this late period of early voting helps Democrats.

National: State voting-law cases test Supreme Court’s politics just ahead of Election Day | USAToday

Efforts by some states that could make it tougher to register to vote or vote are heading toward the Supreme Court, providing a fresh test of the justices’ political mettle. The court agreed Monday to hear Arizona’s appeal of a lower-court ruling that blocked the state from requiring proof of citizenship when registering by mail. The case, which could affect other states including Alabama, Georgia, Kansas and Tennessee, likely will be heard in the winter and decided in the spring. More urgent is the court’s imminent decision whether to hear Ohio’s appeal of lower-court rulings that blocked the state from closing early voting centers three days before the election, while allowing military and overseas voters continued access. President Obama’s campaign is opposing the state’s case.

Editorials: Can Employers Tell Their Workers How to Vote? | CNBC

A flurry of emails from CEOs telling workers how to vote in November has raised a troubling question: Can a company legally tell workers how to vote? For the most part, the answer is yes. Election regulators and corporate lawyers say no federal election law specifically prevents employers from telling workers they could lose their jobs if they vote for a certain candidate. The issue has come into public view after Westgate CEO David Siegel sent an email to his 7,000 workers saying that if President Obama is elected “I will have no choice but to reduce the size of this company.” (Read more: CEO to Workers: You’ll Likely Be Fired If Obama Wins) The news was followed with a missive from the Koch brothers to their 45,000 workers at Georgia Pacific that they could “suffer the consequences, including higher gasoline prices, runaway inflation, and other ills” if they voted for candidates not supported by Koch-owned companies or its political fund-raising arm. According to In These Times, the “approved” list of candidates started with Mitt Romney and didn’t include any Democrats.

Arizona: Fake write-in votes cost the county | Arizona Republic

If some voters had their way, Mickey Mouse would be an Arizona senator. And U.S. president. And a mayor. And on every local school board. Donald Duck, a close runner-up for all those races, likely would concede. Mickey has always been the front-runner among fake write-in candidates. Superheroes from Marvel comics are popular, too, along with other characters from box-office favorites around election time. Some voters write in their names, or names of friends or family members. Others go on rants about politics on the write-in line. While some may find it funny, Maricopa County elections officials aren’t laughing. Every write-in entry must be verified with the list of legitimate write-in candidates for that election, by a three-member review team. In the August primary election, Maricopa County elections officials saw the biggest ratio of fake-to-legitimate write-in candidates in recent memory: Among 90,433 entries in write-in slots, 1,738 were votes for legitimate write-in candidates. Each fake entry cost Arizona counties money and manpower and slowed down the tabulation process, said Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell, who oversees elections.

Arizona: Supreme Court to weigh Arizona voter registration case | Reuters

The Supreme Court agreed on Monday to consider whether Arizona can demand that voters show proof of U.S. citizenship to register to vote in federal elections. The high court will not hear the case before the November 6 U.S. election, ensuring that the disputed registration requirement in Arizona will not be in effect. The legal dispute over the registration requirement dates back to 2004 when Arizona voters passed a ballot initiative, Proposition 200, designed to stop illegal immigrants from voting. The measure amended state election laws to require voters to show proof of citizenship to register to vote, as well as identification to cast a ballot at the polls. Arizona residents, Indian tribes and civil rights groups sued to challenge measure. The registration law requires voters to present “satisfactory evidence” of U.S. citizenship, including a driver’s license number, naturalization papers, U.S. birth certificate or passport. It is one of many measures nationwide championed by Republicans and put in place at the state level that Democrats say are intended to make it more difficult for certain voters who tend to vote Democratic to cast ballots.

Colorado: Colorado Secretary of State Gessler continues to stir things up | Colorado Statesman

Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler told a national conservative audience in Denver last Thursday that those on the left only pretend to care about vote fraud but are only interested in stirring up anger against conservatives to win votes when they “demagogue” the issue. What’s more, he said, his political opponents are happy to play “the racism card, and they are more than willing to lie to do this.” Speaking on a panel at the Conservative Political Action Committee Colorado conference, Gessler blasted the organizers of left-leaning voter registration drives for “illegally registering people to vote” by encouraging non-citizens to register and vote, despite the serious legal consequences. “I think they are very happy to manipulate people into believing it is OK to ignore these laws,” he said.

Florida: Absentee ballot delays worry some voters | Palm Beach Post

About 10,000 absentee ballots have been in limbo since Palm Beach County Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher discovered that there was a mistake on about 60,000 ballots that were mailed out Oct. 2. But, she said Friday, that’s a good thing. The 10,000 ballots were in the batch that had printing errors. Tabulating machines won’t be able to read about half of the flawed ballots. So when voters return them, they will have to be hand-copied onto new ballots which will be fed through machines. “We stopped 10,000 from going out,” she said. Workers were stuffing new ballots into envelopes Friday, in hopes of getting them in the mail.

Indiana: From levers to touch screens: A brief history of Tippecanoe voting technology | Journal and Courier

In the past 20 years, Tippecanoe County has spent more than $1.5 million upgrading its voting technology, transitioning from pull-lever machines to modern touch-screen devices. Even so, some observers say the new technology hasn’t removed the potential for vote-counting chaos that marred the 2000 presidential election. A look at voting technology in Tippecanoe County. Dec. 12, 1978: Tippecanoe County Clerk Sarah Brown proposes switching from pull-lever voting machines to computer punch cards. One reason, she says, is the expense of moving 90 voting machines the size of upright pianos into and out of precincts at election time — $10,000 that year alone ($35,000 in 2012 dollars).

Maryland: Cracks in Maryland and Washington Voter Databases |

Computer security experts have identified vulnerabilities in the voter registration databases in two states, raising concerns about the ability of hackers and others to disenfranchise voters. In the last five years, Maryland and Washington State have set up voter registration systems that make it easy for people to register to vote and update their address information online. The problem is that in both states, all the information required from voters to log in to the system is publicly available. It took The New York Times less than three minutes to track down the information online needed to update the registrations of several prominent executives in Washington State. Complete voter lists, which include a name, birth date, addresses and party affiliation, can be easily bought — and are, right now, in the hands of thousands of campaign volunteers.

Minnesota: Judge hears senator’s photo ID complaint against Minnesota Secretary of State Ritchie |

A state senator who sponsored the proposed photo ID constitutional amendment took his beef against Secretary of State Mark Ritchie to a judge on Friday. Sen. Scott Newman, R-Hutchinson, filed a complaint accusing Ritchie, a DFLer who opposes the amendment, of using his website, staff and state resources to promote his political opposition to the measure. An Administrative Law Judge heard arguments in the case Friday without making a decision. Lawyers for the two sides are to submit further briefs before the judge, Bruce Johnson, decides if there is probable cause for the case to go forward.

Minnesota: Voter ID foes decry unfairness to seniors | Winona Daily News

For nearly 70 years, Christeen Stone has voted in every election without having to present a document to prove she is a qualified voter. Stone has voted in the same precinct since 1944, when she moved into her Maplewood home. That’s one reason she said she strongly objects to a proposed constitutional amendment that would require Minnesota voters to present photo identification at the polls. “It’s just an insult to people who have voted all their lives,” said Stone, 91. “They’ve been good citizens, and then to go in and be suspects in their own country, I don’t like that.“ Opponents of the constitutional amendment claim the proposed requirement would it make harder, if not impossible, for thousands of people to cast a ballot. They say senior citizens are among those most likely to face hurdles, because many of them cannot readily produce the documents to prove their identity.

Ohio: Secretary of State appeals early voting ruling to U.S. Supreme Court | Hudson Hub Times

Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to determine whether Ohio should open its early polls to all voters on the final three days before Election Day. Husted announced the move Oct. 9, several days after a federal appeals court sided with an earlier judge’s ruling allowing voting on Nov. 3, 4 and 5 — a decision he called “an unprecedented intrusion … into how states run elections. This ruling not only doesn’t make legal sense, it doesn’t make practical sense,” Husted said in a released statement. “The court is saying that all voters must be treated the same way under Ohio law but also grants Ohio’s 88 elections boards the authority to establish 88 different sets of rules. That means that one county may close down voting for the final weekend while a neighboring county may open one. How any court could consider this a remedy to an equal protection problem is stunning.”

Ohio: Voting dispute makes its way to the Supreme Court | The Washington Post

On one side, 15 states have joined Ohio in asking the Supreme Court for emergency protection from federal judges who seek to “micromanage” elections. On the other, President Obama’s reelection committee has invoked the lessons of Bush v. Gore to counter that Ohio is attempting to favor one group of voters above all others. And now, in a case with legal and political ramifications, the Supreme Court must decide whether to intervene just three weeks before the election in a state that both Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney consider critical to their chances of winning.

South Dakota: Judge rules South Dakota Secretary of State Gant must reprint pamphlets | Rapid City Journal

A judge on Friday ordered Secretary of State Jason Gant to reprint the state’s election pamphlet and include Sen. Stan Adelstein’s opposition statement to a constitutional amendment backed by the governor. Adelstein, a Republican from Rapid City, filed suit against Gant last week in circuit court in Hughes County, saying Gant broke the law by not including Adelstein’s opposition statement regarding a balanced-budget amendment proposed by Gov. Dennis Daugaard. Adelstein opposed the measure in the Legislature. The court ruling Friday means Gant must reprint the pamphlets with Adelstein’s opposition statement, distribute it to county auditors throughout the state and publish the new version online. Adelstein said the ruling gives voters balanced information about the amendment. “The voters otherwise would be voting for an entirely different thing than they are told,” Adelstein said. “It would be awful for the state to be stuck with this impediment to the constitution.”

Tennessee: Voter ID law challenge continues as early voting starts | The Tennessean

Tennesseans will begin casting ballots this week in a general election for the first time under the state’s new voter identification requirement, but the law’s future remains in question as a Nashville court prepares to hear arguments on whether it should be struck down. Early voting starts Wednesday for the Nov. 6 election, one day before the Tennessee Court of Appeals is to hold a hearing on the constitutionality of the law that requires voters to show photo ID at the polls. The timing of the hearing means that some voters will go to the polls without certainty about the law’s status. Foes say they will shift from their assault on the law itself to get-out-the-vote efforts. State election officials are similarly proceeding as if the law will be upheld.

Vermont: State to fight Justice Department lawsuit over late ballots | Burlington Free Press |

The state plans to argue it won’t be necessary to extend the deadline to count votes in the upcoming election until Nov. 16 to be sure that ballots from the military and other Vermonters overseas have been returned. The U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit Thursday asking a court to require the state to give military and overseas voters more time because some towns failed to send out ballots 45 days prior to Election Day as required under a 2009 federal law. The lawsuit claims local election officials received 894 requests for ballots from citizens overseas and military stationed both abroad and elsewhere in the United States, but failed to respond to 191 of those requests by Sept. 22, which is 45 days before the Nov. 6 election.

Wisconsin: Romney campaign sues over absentee ballots in Wisconsin | Christian Science Monitor

Both presidential campaigns are closely watching states’ election officials for any ballot or voting-law irregularities. The Romney team is the latest to sue, over Wisconsin’s handling of absentee ballots for residents abroad. The Mitt Romney campaign has filed a federal lawsuit in Wisconsin seeking a five-day extension for absentee voters overseas and in the military. The campaign for the Republican presidential candidate is concerned about 44 ballots that the state’s Government Accountability Board says were sent out by local election officials after the Sept. 22 deadline. Under federal election law, all ballots are to be returned by Nov. 9 (three days after the general election); the Romney campaign wants that deadline pushed back to Nov. 14 for overseas absentee ballots.

Ghana: EC spells-out electoral offences for 2012 polls | Ghana Business News

The Electoral Commission (EC) on Monday set-out acts and inactions that may constitute electoral offences in Election 2012 and called on the political parties and other democratic stakeholders to respect the laws or face the consequences. The offences include: to make or publish, by written or spoken word or by song, a false statement about the personal character of another candidate or the conduct of a political party; and to excite enmity against a person, group of persons, or political party on grounds of religious, ethnic, professional, regional, or political affiliation. In an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Accra, Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, the EC Chairman, explained that a careful examination of the offences indicated that an election official, a polling agent, a party official, a candidate, a voter, or any member of the general public could commit an election offence.

Russia: Rampant Vote Rigging in Russian Elections | RIA Novosti

Scandals at the recent parliamentary and presidential elections in Russia failed to discourage the authorities from meddling with the polls, with Sunday’s regional elections fraught with violations, an independent watchdog said Monday. About 850 violations were reported by vote monitors at the regional polls that took place in 77 of 83 Russian regions on Sunday, electoral watchdog Golos said. Main electioneering tricks include obstructing the work of vote monitors, abuse of absentee ballots and multiple voting, the group’s deputy executive director, Grigory Melkonyants, told a press conference in Moscow. These vote rigging tactics are “shamelessly used wherever needed in a blatant and explicit way,” he said. United Russia carried all five gubernatorial polls and won majorities in all seven regional legislatures to undergo a revamp on Sunday.

Russia: Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party wins regional elections | The Washington Post

President Vladimir Putin’s ruling party decisively swept regional elections, according to results tabulated Monday, paradoxically confronting his top-down authoritarian system with a serious challenge. Since December’s parliamentary vote, when large numbers of demonstrators unexpectedly began protesting rigged elections, Putin and his allies have been trying to regain what had been an undisputed grip on power. Sunday’s election would appear to confirm they had done so. The United Russia party won all five governorships at stake and dominated all six regional legislatures up for election, along with a host of municipal councils and mayoralties. Yet political observers called it an illusory victory because serious challengers were kept off the ballot, either through the inventive use of election laws or by secret deals. That meant Putin opponents found no outlet at the polls for their anger. “If the party of power continues playing games with imitation elections,” said Boris Makarenko, an independent political analyst, “the opposition will have to challenge them on the streets instead of at the polls.” Makarenko, chairman of the board of the Center for Political Technologies, said it was in United Russia’s interest to work for political pluralism, to determine the country’s direction through elections. But he was unsure, he said, whether authorities understood that.