The Voting News Daily: Many Strict Election Laws Blocked or Delayed, Is True the Vote Shaking Down States With Nuisance Lawsuits?

National: Many Strict Election Laws Blocked or Delayed | Associated Press Tough new election laws aimed at forcing voters in many states to show photo identification at polling places have been blocked or delayed, delighting opponents who claim they were among a variety of partisan attempts to keep minorities from voting. Supporters of the measures nevertheless…

National: Many Strict Election Laws Blocked or Delayed | Associated Press

Tough new election laws aimed at forcing voters in many states to show photo identification at polling places have been blocked or delayed, delighting opponents who claim they were among a variety of partisan attempts to keep minorities from voting. Supporters of the measures nevertheless predict they will prevail in the long run. And court battles continue in some states even as the Nov. 6 election date draws near. The stakes are high especially in swing states where a close margin is expected in the race between Democratic President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney, as well as in numerous congressional and local campaigns. Other battles in key states such as Florida and Ohio have been fought over reductions in the number of early voting days and new restrictions on voter registration drives.

Editorials: Is True the Vote Shaking Down States With Nuisance Lawsuits? | The Nation

Less than a month before Election Day, the “election integrity” group True The Vote is battered, bewildered and disappointed. The upcoming election landscape will hardly resemble the “ground war” they were hoping for. Voter fraud as a thing has been exposed by civil rights watchdogs and a wide range of journalists as pure conspiracy theory. And civil rights legal advocates have at least temporarily blocked all of the most strict voter ID laws for which they fought so hard. But while True the Vote is down, they’re certainly not out. The group still hopes to make an impact in November, though they’ve downgraded their self-descriptors from “armies” prepared for “ground wars” to “grannies with clipboards.” Besides their cheering for billboards warning that voter fraud is a felony targeted in poor, black neighborhoods in Ohio, their last operative hope is to shake down states, including Ohio, that don’t comply with their purging demands with frivolous lawsuits.

Florida: Does Your Vote Count? The Overvote Worries | CBS Miami

Imagine going to the polls November 6th and casting your vote for President Barack Obama or Governor Mitt Romney and somehow the machine thinks you voted for both candidates. That’s called an overvote, and your vote may be thrown out. Sound impossible? It isn’t. “You are  getting to the crux of the problem with this technology. We are supposed to trust what goes on back there blindly,” voting rights advocate and attorney Lida Rodriguez-Taseff told CBS4 Chief Investigator Michele Gillen. Rodriguez-Taseff  has spent a decade battling to pull back the curtain on election transparency. She helped get the touch screen machines tossed in Florida in favor of getting voters a paper ballot and paper trail – only to learn that the variety of optical scan machines now in use now across  America and  Florida may have flaws no one could have predicted. Or could they have?

Indiana: Lake County: No repeat of 2008 election results this year | Post-Tribune

“We have made a substantial change since the primary in 2008 when we had that vote count hold up,” said Steve Shamo, with MicroVote Indiana, the company that provides the county’s election technology. Shamo Tuesday told the Lake County Board of Elections during the test of the 2012 voting machines that the problem in 2008 arose when it came to entering the 15,000 absentee ballots into the computerized system election day. Once workers began entering the absentee ballots for a precinct, they could not access the polling place results for that precinct, even though those results were available, until all the absentee ballots were manually entered causing the delay in reporting.

Kansas: Voters don’t have to have IDs scanned at polls | Wichita Eagle

Voters don’t have to have their IDs scanned with the new electronic equipment that Sedgwick County uses to quickly pull up voters’ information at polling places, a top state elections official said Tuesday. The electronic devices, which are similar to a grocery store bar-code scanner, speed up the voting check-in process by quickly verifying voters’ identification if they have a Kansas driver’s license or other state-issued ID. But some voters didn’t want to have their IDs scanned or had alternative IDs that can’t be scanned. Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau, D-Wichita, said some of those voters told her that poll workers forced them to cast provisional ballots, which are more likely to be rejected. “That’s a mistake,” said Brad Bryant, deputy assistant secretary of state.

Maryland: Online voter registration vulnerable to attack, researchers say | The Washington Post

A voting rights group and some of the nation’s leading researchers on election technology are urging Maryland voters to check the accuracy of their online voter registration files after warning that the data had been left vulnerable to tampering. Researchers at the University of Michigan, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and a former president of the Association for Computing Machinery wrote to Maryland officials late last month urging them to take immediate steps to better protect a new system that allows Marylanders to update their voter registration online. The letter warned that anyone with access to a Maryland voter’s full name and birth date could exploit a simple online tool to change the voter’s address, party affiliation or other information. Such changes, especially a change of address, could lead to a voter’s ballot not being counted normally on Election Day.

North Dakota: National Group Sues To Overturn Election Day Campaigning Ban | Huffington Post

A conservative group that helped lead the legal battle that would eventually allow for the creation of super PACs is now working to overturn North Dakota’s ban on election day campaigning, arguing it violates the First Amendment. The Center for Competitive Politics is representing former North Dakota Republican Party Chairman Gary Emineth in a lawsuit Emineth filed in federal court Tuesday to overturn the state law. “We think the law is unconstitutional and it should be invalidated,” Allen Dickerson, the center’s legal director, told The Huffington Post. The suit has garnered opposition from Democrats — including the campaign of Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Heidi Heitkamp — who believe the suit is intended to help Republican Senate nominee Rep. Rick Berg win the seat.

Ohio: Husted says he will probe any voter intimidation | Dispatch Politics

If Secretary of State Jon Husted becomes aware of voter intimidation in this year’s election, he will act swifty to investigate and seek prosecution of any offenders, spokesman Matt McClellan said today. His comments came in response to a warning to Husted from the 10 Democratic Ohio senators about the activities of a Houston-based group, True The Vote. The tea party group “insists that voter fraud is a pervasive problem and has taken it upon itself to employ questionable, and possibly illegal, methods to combat the ‘problem’. These methods have turned up no fraud and have posed a serious threat of intimidation of entirely eligible voters,” the senators said in a letter today to Husted. “Working through an affiliated group, the Ohio Voter Integrity Project, True the Vote has challenged hundreds of voters in Hamilton (380 challenges) and Franklin (308 challenges) counties. The overwhelming majority of these challenges were rejected, but not before the voters involved were frightened by the prospect of being denied the opportunity to vote.”

Minnesota: Veterans in thick of photo ID struggle | Marine Corps Times

Military veterans have moved front and center in the debate over Minnesota’s proposed voter ID constitutional amendment. For voter ID supporters, veterans are a symbol to sell their message of election integrity. Opponents have turned to veterans to point out the potential problems that soldiers could face when they try to vote. The pro-amendment campaign organization Protect My Vote started airing its first television ad last month. The 30-second spot features Robert McWhite of Minneapolis, a 91-year-old World War II veteran and former prisoner of war in Europe, who talks about defending the nation and its ideals. “Nothing is more central to America’s success than the right to vote,” McWhite says in the ad. “That’s why I’m supporting the effort to protect that right by showing photo ID.” Dan McGrath, chairman of Protect My Vote, told Minnesota Public Radio that the ad is certain to appeal to voters who respect the military.

Ohio: Fight ends over early voting in Ohio as US Supreme Court refuses to step in |

The US Supreme Court on Tuesday declined an invitation to enter a raging election-year legal dispute in Ohio over the state legislature’s decision to eliminate one form of early voting for most voters in the three days prior to the Nov. 6 election. The action lets stand earlier decisions clearing the way for all Ohio voters to engage in early voting on the Saturday, Sunday, and Monday before Election Day. The high court action comes less than three weeks before Election Day and more than two weeks after voters in Ohio began casting early ballots on Oct 2.

Ohio: Husted says election boards can’t notify absentee voters of errors | WLWT

Voter rights groups in Ohio took issue Tuesday with an order from the state’s elections chief that bans local boards of elections from calling or emailing voters in the presidential battleground state about errors or incomplete information on their absentee ballots.  According to the Oct. 4 directive, “notification may not be made via telephone, email, facsimile, or by any means other than in writing by first class mail.” Voters would then need to appear at their board during office hours to address any problems. Husted also has told boards to provide accommodations for the disabled.  The order is a change from how absentee voters were notified of errors in 2008. Former Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, a Democrat, permitted boards to alert voters by phone, email or letter that there were problems with their ballots.

Oklahoma: New Voting Machine Helps Oklahoma Visually Impaired Cast their Ballot | KOKH

The Oklahoma State Election Board demonstrates how a new voting machine can help visually impaired voters cast their ballot on Election Day. “It is an interface that allows voters with disabilities to vote without assistance while the regular voting is still going on,” said Pam Slater with the Oklahoma State Election Board. The new voting machine uses an audio-tactile interface (ATI) which allows blind voters to listen and scroll through an audio version of the general election ballot to make their choices. “It is very easy to feel around and feel exactly what you need,” said Cathy Tuton who is visually impaired. “It tells you everything you need to know.”

South Dakota: Decision puts responsibility for ballot statements on secretary of state | Aberdeen News

In one respect Circuit Judge Mark Barnett brought clarity to a vaguely written piece of South Dakota election law last week. He decided the secretary of state must compile “pro” and “con” statements about measures on the statewide election ballot. The judge said the Legislature specifically directed that the secretary of state shall perform that duty and therefore it must be don. That answered the question of whether a “con” statement submitted by state Sen. Stan Adelstein should be added to the voter pamphlet that Secretary of State Jason Gant had already prepared and published for this fall’s general election.

Virginia: Investigation Launched Over Trashed Virginia Voter Registration Forms | NBC29

Is it a case of election fraud, voter suppression, or something far less sinister?  That’s what Rockingham County investigators are trying to find out, after someone trashed a folder of voter registration forms. Just hours before the Monday deadline for voter registration, a Harrisonburg store manager made a discovery that will keep eight citizens from being silenced.  Their completed registration forms were discarded like trash.  Investigators don’t yet know if it’s criminal activity or just bad business. A typical Monday afternoon at Tuesday Morning, a store in Harrisonburg, took a strange turn, when the manager Rob Johnson spotted someone putting a bag of trash in his recycling bin.  Johnson went to retrieve the misplaced refuse. “That’s when I realized, this bag is really light and looked inside,” Johnson said.  “There was the manila folder with the eight voter registration applications, and I was like, we’ve got something here.”

Virginia: Fairfax Democrats worry GOP might taint vote process | The Washington Post

A political and legal tussle is gaining force in Northern Virginia over guaranteeing a fair vote on Election Day. Fairfax County Democrats are complaining that Republican-appointed county elections officials are breaking or twisting some rules to help the GOP in the biggest jurisdiction in a key swing state. The arguments might end up in court in the next two weeks. The disputes are mainly over Republicans’ plans to restrict activities by party lawyers and other elections observers inside polling places and to limit access to provisional ballots while a decision is made on whether to count them. The GOP says that federal and state law support its policies. Democrats say that the Republicans are violating or misinterpreting the law, with the possible result that legitimate votes will go uncounted.

Belgium: Flemish voters back nationalists in local elections | Deutsche Welle

Belgium has been voting in local elections that have taken on added significance in light of the country’s linguistic divide. Flemish nationalists looked set to make strides in pulling away from French-speaking Wallonia. With nearly 80 percent of votes counted late on Sunday, the New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) had taken a 36 percent share in the port city of Antwerp, Flanders’ largest city. Across Flanders, the N-VA appeared be garnering 20-30 percent of the vote, compared with just 5 percent in municipal polls six years ago.

Ukraine: Violations ahead of vote, monitors say |

Foreign election monitors in Ukraine said they’ve observed campaign violations roughly two weeks before parliamentary elections are scheduled. Anna Szyptur, a coordinator for the Canadian observer mission in Ukraine, told reporters there was evidence of bribery and other irregularities observed ahead of the Oct. 28 contest. “Canada’s mission remains concerned about drawbacks in the administration of elections, improper access to balanced and reliable information in the media, the ineffective consideration of complaints and the absence of changes in the issue of accountability for the violation of election procedures,” she was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying.