Efforts to improve election administration and address the long lines that greeted voters on Election Day shifted to Capitol Hill on Thursday as House and Senate lawmakers unveiled related bills. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., introduced legislation that would establish a competitive-grant program within the Justice Department to provide states with incentives to improve their voting processes. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., quickly pledged to co-sponsor the bill, citing the “embarrassment” that long lines caused Virginia last week. “In Prince William County, folks waited for up to three hours. In Chesapeake, Va., folks waited up to four hours. It was remarkable that it was five days after the fact before we even knew the results in Florida,” Warner said on the Senate floor.
National: New Legislation Would Help Shorten Voting Lines, Strengthen People’s Ability to Vote | Daily Kos
Citing widespread reports of hours-long waits and blocks-long lines at polling places around the country during Election Day, Rep. George Miller (D-CA) today announced that he will introduce new legislation intended to shorten wait times at polling stations and enhance the ability of all citizens who want to vote to cast their ballots. Miller’s bill would require early voting in all states for federal elections, for a minimum of 15 days prior to Election Day. Today, 15 states do not have any form of early voting and for states with early voting the number of days varies from state to state and in some states, like Florida, the number of days was shortened in this last election. In addition, Miller’s bill would also require states to ensure that all voting precincts have adequate resources to ensure that no voter must wait in line for more than one hour to vote.
Elaine Schmottlach has been a ballot clerk in the small southeastern New Hampshire town of Nottingham – population, 4,785 – for the last 25 years. Yet when it came time for her to vote on Nov. 6, she had to show valid photo identification as required under a new state law. Schmottlach refused and submitted a challenged voter affidavit instead. “My view is this is a horrendous law,” she told ProPublica. “I absolutely detest it. I hated having to ask my best friend to show an ID to prove that she is who she is.”
Editorials: This year’s election was marred by challenges, confusion and long lines of people waiting to exercise their American duty. Let’s fix the problems, now | cleveland.com
Despite all the fears and uncertainty unleashed by nearly two years of bitter legislative battles, lawsuits and red-hot partisan rhetoric, Election Day in Ohio went off with relatively few problems. There were long lines some polling places and scattered equipment glitches, but nothing compared to the problems seen in prior years or in other states, most notably Florida once again. President Barack Obama’s narrow yet clearly decisive victory in the state — and nationally — no doubt put a damper on post-election jockeying and muted potential claims. ‘As Florida showed in 2000, grievances are loudest when the margin between victory and defeat is thinnest. But Ohioans should not feel too cocky about the relative calm.
The question of tipping the political scales in Arizona, like anyplace, is “purely mathematical,” Bruce Merrill said. More people voting for the other side matters only if enough of them vote to overcome the power of a loyal base of voters. Dr. Merrill, a senior research fellow at the Morrison Institute for Public Policy at Arizona State University, has made a successful living dissecting and analyzing voting patterns and trends in the state and beyond. Along the way, he has helped more than 100 candidates, almost all of them Republican, use numbers to tailor their messages and assess the viability of their campaigns. He is used to addressing large forums; last month, he spoke before the Arizona Medical Association. On Tuesday, he opened the doors to his home here, a spectacular 14,000-square-foot house on the edge of a golf course, to talk to about 60 people about the Nov. 6 elections.
Florida: State Rep. Gayle Harrell Calls St. Lucie County Elections ‘A Disaster’ | Sunshine State News
An election inspection team ordered by Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner is on the ground in Fort Pierce as the city mayor’s contest has spawned the second lawsuit that questions the general election results in St. Lucie County. The three-day audit by the state Division of Elections, spurred by state Rep. Gayle Harrell, R-Stuart, adds to a scene already dominated by U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Palm Beach Gardens, disputing problems encountered during early voting by the county supervisor of elections office and further adds to Florida’s history of voting problems that have earned national scorn since 2000.
Kansas Secretary of Kris Kobach lost a legal battle Wednesday to block one of his most persistent critics from contacting voters who cast uncounted provisional ballots in her close legislative race, and some county officials suggested his stance represented an attempt to change office policy. U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten ruled against the Republican secretary of state in a federal lawsuit Kobach filed last week to prevent Democratic state Rep. Ann Mah of Topeka from obtaining a list of provisional voters. When his litigation failed to prevent the release of 131 names, Kobach sought to prevent Mah and her GOP challenger, Ken Corbet of Topeka, from contacting the voters.
Kansas: State Rep. Mah criticizes voter ID law, Kobach as counting of 54th District votes continues | LJWorld.com
A Democratic legislator in a close re-election fight alleged Thursday that Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach was trying to deflect scrutiny of a voter ID law he championed when he filed an unsuccessful lawsuit aimed at preventing her from contacting constituents who cast provisional ballots. But Kobach rejected the criticism from state Rep. Ann Mah of Topeka, saying he has repeatedly given her and other legislators detailed information about the law’s administration. Mah, one of Kobach’s most persistent critics, trailed Republican challenger Ken Corbet of Topeka by 42 votes out of nearly 10,700 cast in her race as officials in Douglas and Shawnee counties reviewed provisional ballots Thursday.
The head of Maine’s Republican Party defended himself on Thursday over comments he made about black people committing voter fraud in his state. In an interview with TPM, Charlie Webster said his remarks earlier in the week had been misinterpreted as racist, but he still insisted it was “unusual” to see so many black voters at the polls in an overwhelmingly white state. Webster had claimed in interviews with local media outlets that having a high number of blacks showing up at the polls could be a sign of voter fraud. He vowed to investigate. That investigation would be conducted using his own private funds after he steps down from his party post on Dec. 1, Webster told TPM.
Yellowstone County officials are reviewing what happened during the Election Day ballot count that delayed voter returns from the state’s most populous county by several days. Election administrator Brett Rutherford told county commissioners Tuesday he will prepare a report for them on what went wrong and will recommend improvements. “Obviously, we had some problems election night,” Rutherford said. “I want to look at the whole thing from top to bottom,” he added.
The Richland County Election Commission has completed their counting of remaining absentee ballots in Richland County. The group finished the hand count of all paper ballots around 7 p.m. Thursday. The final tabulation came around 8:30 p.m. The result? No change in the outcomes of races, although the final numbers did change by a few votes. For example, in House District 75, numbers Wednesday showed Kirkman Finlay with 7,207 votes and Joe McCulloch with 6,891. On Thursday, those statistics were Finlay 7,218 and McCulloch 6,906.
As the St. Thomas-St. John Board of Elections on Tuesday resumed counting paper ballots from the week-old General Election, tension is showing between some board members and the V.I. attorney general, who announced late last week that his office will investigate the territory’s election. Allegations of improprieties on and surrounding Election Day have been widespread. The St. Thomas-St. John Board, for instance, did not certify its voting machines until about 12 hours before the polls opened and failed to conduct a public test of the machines working properly prior to certification.
When long lines forced some Fairfax voters to wait until 10:30 p.m. to cast their ballots on Election Day, county elections chief Cameron Quinn said the delays arose partly because she had had huge problems recruiting poll workers. That explanation enraged some Fairfax Democrats. They complained that they’d proposed appointments of hundreds of elections officials whom Quinn and others in the Republican-controlled Fairfax elections apparatus had failed to approve in time. It might be a coincidence. Hans von Spakovsky, the GOP-appointed vice chairman of the Fairfax Electoral Board, said the board approved “every single individual” who filled out the necessary paperwork.
A rookie HRM councillor is calling for an end to online voting, but a couple of his vetrean colleagues would prefer to focus on how to make the system better. Coun. Waye Mason of District 7 told the CBC this week that since public turnout wasn’t any higher with a web system, the municipality should focus on traditional ballot boxes. “I’m not ready to say ‘let’s scrap’ the e-voting,” Distirct 8 Coun. Jennifer Watts told Metro on Thursday in response to Mason’s comments.
The recent parliamentary election in Georgia saw the ruling United National Movement (UNM) party defeated by the opposition Georgian Dream (GD) coalition led by new Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili. This election has been variously described as evidence of the strength of Georgian democracy, a turn toward Russia by Georgia, a victory which Ivanishvili bought by spending lavishly in the United States, Europe and Georgia, the end of UNM domination, and more or less everything in between. It is still too early to know the real meaning of this election, but it is possible to make some observations, and raise some questions.
As German Chancellor Angela Merkel prepares to defend her office against what promises to be a tough campaign, Russia – as was the case in recent American presidential elections – has been dragged into the fray. The Kremlin is “perfectly aware” that anti-Russian rhetoric in Germany has been ratcheting up “in the past weeks and even months,” presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov told journalists prior to Putin’s talks with Merkel on Thursday. With an election season in Germany right around the corner, some politicians see an opportunity to exploit German-Russian relations for their own political interests.
The Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Dr. Kwadwo Afari Gyan has given the strongest indication yet that proxy voting would be allowed during the December polls. He made the assertion during an interaction with senior journalists at the Editors’ Forum. According to Dr. Afari Gyan the EC initially had written off proxy voting because of the biometric voting. He however conceded that after careful consideration they [Electoral Commission] had devised a means to allow for proxy voting.
Four years have passed since the financial system crashed in Iceland. The crisis hit Iceland harder than many other countries: the whole banking system defaulted and crashed. Attempts to bail out the banks failed, and because of the size of the banking system in Iceland, the government did not have the option of taking them over – the Icelandic state would have defaulted. It was a crude awakening for most people. The enormous “success” of the financial sector before 2008 was a matter of national pride. Living standards, mostly based on great expectations and debt, had skyrocketed. But it had all been a lie. And the political system had failed to prevent this unsustainable bubble. In fact political parties attributed the “success” to their own policies, while most did not read the danger signs and the few who did sound the alarm were not heard. After the crash swept it all away, trust in the political system fell to ten percent. It has not risen since then.
Somaliland: Students Demonstrate Against the Electoral Commission, Presidential Convoy held up | Somalilandpress.com
Students at the prestigious TIMA-CADDE University yesterday held a massive demonstration in Gebiley town against the national electoral commission. The students demonstration coincided with same time the Presidential convoy was passing through the town en-route to Borama , with reports saying the President Silanyo convoy was booed and others even suggesting their attempted stoning of the convoy.