An 18-member citizen jury will decide this weekend if Edmonton should go ahead with a controversial proposal to allow Internet voting next fall. The jurors will hear presentations on security, software and other issues from almost a dozen expert witnesses before reaching a verdict in what organizers say is the first time this form of public involvement has been tried in Canada. “I think this process is groundbreaking,” city clerk Alayne Sinclair said Friday. “As a municipality, we have to think about how we can engage citizens better, how we can actually get them to be involved.”
Republican lawmakers say it’s time to do away with the federal commission that has given states election-related advice for the past years. The lawmakers say the Election Assistance Commission has outlived its usefulness. “We do not need a separate federal agency for the small number of useful functions it performs,’’ said Republican Rep. Gregg Harper of Mississippi, who introduced a bill last year to shut down the commission. “They can be accomplished more efficiently within another agency.” The EAC drew new attention after the Nov. 6 election.
A little over a week after the presidential election has ended, many voting rights watchers are reflecting on all that we learned through this year’s campaigns: what went right, what went wrong, and the unresolved challenges that remain ahead. As for the overall takeaway, Advancement Project director Judith Browne-Dianis wraps it up nicely, saying, “The national conversation around voting rights was amplified like we haven’t seen since 1965.” This year, more Americans arguably learned more about the voting process than any year in recent memory. Civil rights and election protection campaigns made people aware of things like the difference between a poll watcher and a poll observer; how people use data to purge voters; and what voters’ general rights are while standing in poll lines. On a more nuanced level, the discussion around voter ID laws gave Americans a greater understanding of not only how many people don’t have government-issued ID, but also the reasons why.
Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) is heeding President Barack Obama’s election night call to “fix” the problems voters faced at the polls this year, by introducing legislation that would reward states for election reform. Coons’ bill, titled the Louis L. Redding Fair, Accurate, Secure and Timely (FAST) Voting Act of 2012, is modeled on Obama’s Race to the Top program for education. States that make voting faster and more accessible would be rewarded with federal grants. Voters in several states this year — most notably, Florida and Ohio — stood in extraordinarily long lines at the polls, with some people waiting nine hours. Citizens also dealt with shorter early-voting periods, confusion over whether they needed to present photo ID and reports of uncounted ballots.
Does a federal law that applies to some states but not to others, even to some counties but not to others, make constitutional sense? That’s the question the country has been debating, sometimes bitterly, across political, geographical and racial lines for almost half a century now. The law in question is of course the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which made the most fundamental right of citizenship a reality for millions of Americans, mostly black and mostly in the South, to whom it had been long denied through the slimiest and most cynical kinds of political chicanery.
The election may have ended almost two weeks ago, but in Arizona, it goes on. Perhaps it’s fitting for a state with its own time zone, but as of last night, there remained over 100,000 uncounted votes in the state’s two largest counties, leaving election officials unable to officially certify the results of a number of the state’s high profile races, including the Senate race, several House contests, and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s reelection bid. Friday was the deadline for counties to finish counting ballots, but the state blew past it yesterday when Maricopa, which contains Phoenix, and Pima County, which contains Tucson, said they needed more time. In most cases, the margins are the large enough by this point that candidates have declared victory or conceded defeat, even if the results aren’t official. And late Friday night, the Arizona Republic newspaper declared Democrat Ron Barber the winner in the highest profile race outstanding, the one to replace Democratic Rep. Gabby Giffords. That contest had been too close to call for over 10 days, with fewer than 1,000 votes separating Barber from Republican Martha McSally, but the remaining outstanding ballots come from heavily Democratic areas so the paper was able to project Barber’s victory.
A gun shop in Arizona has a clear message to would-be customers who happened to vote for President Barack Obama: take your business elsewhere. The Southwest Shooting Authority in Pinetop, Ariz. took out an advertisement last week in the local newspaper, the White Mountain Independent, that spelled out the store’s new policy in explicit terms. “If you voted for Barack Obama your business is not welcome at Southwest Shooting Authority,” the ad reads. “You have proven that you are not responsible enough to own a firearm.” amendment
Democrat Patrick Murphy’s campaign is claiming victory in his race to unseat GOP Rep. Allen West (Fla.) on Sunday after a deadline for certifying results passed and a partial recount added votes to the challenger’s lead. But the West campaign says they are still evaluating whether to launch a legal challenge contesting the count. A partial recount of early ballots in St. Lucia Country showed Murphy gaining 242 votes, according to media reports. Before the partial recount of early ballots Sunday, Murphy was leading by 1,907 votes. A noon Sunday deadline, though, required officials to certify the result, leaving the Murphy camp to claim that the race was over.
Florida: West seeks hearing after Murphy camp declares victory when St. Lucie board misses noon deadline | Palm Beach Post
The St. Lucie County canvassing board has missed a noon deadline to file election results to the Division of Elections, prompting campaign officials for Patrick Murphy to declare the political newcomer the winner in the race for congressional District 18 race. Under Florida law, the final certified results were due from all of the state’s 67 supervisors of elections today. If the results do not arrive on time, the certified unofficial results submitted last Sunday stand. Those results have Murphy winning by 0.58 percent. A spread of less than 0.5 percent would have triggered an automatic recount. “Today at noon, it became clear Patrick Murphy will be officially certified as the next congressman from the 18th Congressional District,” Anthony Kusich, Murphy for Congressman campaign manager, said in a prepared statement issued around 12:40 p.m. “The voters have spoken and Patrick Murphy is once again the clear winner. It is beyond time to put this campaign behind us and put the interests of the people of the Treasure Coast and Palm Beaches first.”
Embarrassed by their worst in the nation results conducting the 2012 election for President of the United States, Florida Governor Rick Scott and the Republican state legislature are promising to get to the bottom of what happened to cause the debacle in which the last votes were not cast until the following day and results were not reported until four days later. However, HB 1355 seems to be the clear culprit, and amendments proposed by the minority party seem to clearly indicate that lawmakers were aware of the fiasco the new rules would cause, but ignored efforts to mitigate it. The new election law, passed by Republicans in the 2011 session amid fierce opposition from Democrats and non-partisan voter rights groups, was signed into law by the Governor, despite warnings that it would cause chaos similar to what voters endured last week. The law shortened early voting, made for longer ballots by expanding the summary of unlimited proposed ballot amendments, and created restrictions that ensured local supervisors would have more of the time-consuming provisional ballots to collect and count.
Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) indicated on Thursday that he may continue to pursue legal options if a circuit court rules against his request for a full recount on Friday. West’s request, for a full recount of all eight days of early voting in a county in the 18th District, is due to be heard in court on Friday. If the court rules against him, Democrat Patrick Murphy will likely be named the official winner of the race. But West has 10 days after the race is officially called to contest it. On Thursday, he didn’t rule out the prospect of continuing the battle.
Florida: Human error and call company’s hands-off approach led to faulty Election Day robocalls | Tampa Bay Times
After robocalls went out on Election Day telling Pinellas County residents that “tomorrow” was the last day to vote, blame for the national embarrassment ricocheted from Largo to Santa Monica, Calif. At first, Pinellas Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark pointed at CallFire Inc., the California-based broadcast messaging company she paid to remind 38,700 voters to return their mail ballots. CallFire CEO Dinesh Ravishanker shot back, blaming the debacle on the elections office and “human error.” But images of the CallFire program provided by Clark’s office, as well as interviews with election and county officials, now suggest the botched calls were caused by a combination of public servants’ blunders and CallFire’s hands-off approach.
Public outrage is on the rise after more information about the Office of Elections management failures on General Election Day is documented. Hundreds of people at 24 precincts around Oahu waited as long as three hours to vote because of ballot shortages. In some cases, people left without voting because they could not wait. Callers to local talk shows are demanding a revote. Several note the precincts that ran out of ballots were largely in districts that opposed the controversial $5.2 billion rail project and supported the mayoral candidacy of former Gov. Ben Cayetano. Cayetano lost the election to union-backed Kirk Caldwell after a substantial lead in the polls.
A judge has dismissed corruption charges against former New Mexico Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron after ruling that repeated delays violated her right to a speedy trial. Second Judicial District Judge Reed Sheppard ruled late Wednesday that Vigil-Giron did nothing to cause the delays other than file one motion asking the state attorney general’s office to be disqualified, the Albuquerque Journal reported. Vigil-Giron issued a statement saying she felt vindicated and plans a return to the public arena. She served two terms as secretary of state and left office in 2006.
Of course there are several ways to rig an election but I have put them in a four quadrant grid to cover some of the other variations as well. In the case of Ghana’s forthcoming elections I came up with these: the Tain Effect strategy (TES), flaws in the Biometric exercise, Voter suppression and the Voter maximizer strategy. Certain factors must come into play for it to execute efficiently: It must take place in a constituency you are highly favored to win aka Tain. You intentionally cause a delay in your Tain using ‘Dumsor’ (rolling blackouts) as an excuse- an act of their evil god. Your opponents have already turned in figures and all their polling stations closed. You cause disruptions using Djan’s method of machomen and foot soldiers to dispute your opponents figures.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda dissolved the lower house of parliament Friday, paving the way for elections in which his ruling party will likely give way to a weak coalition government divided over how to solve the nation’s myriad problems. Elections are set for Dec. 16. If Noda’s center-left party loses, the economically sputtering country will get its seventh prime minister in six and a half years.
Two minor parties led by local Japanese politicians—who have stirred controversy with hawkish views on matters ranging from relations with China to Japan’s wartime past—formally merged Saturday as campaigning for the Dec. 16 national election ground into gear. With the most recent opinion poll showing the ruling Democratic Party of Japan trailing the opposition Liberal Democratic Party but narrowing the gap, the former governor of Tokyo and the mayor of Osaka jointly presented what they said will be an alternative force in Japanese politics at a news conference. But while Shintaro Ishihara, the former governor of the capital, and Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto both have local power bases and have garnered support in polls in recent months, a survey conducted Thursday and Friday by Japanese daily newspaper Asahi showed both minor parties still trailing the incumbent DPJ and opposition LDP by a long way. More than half of those polled, however, said they supported no particular political party.
The newly-established National Election Commission yesterday disqualified 40 candidates including several former MPs over a variety of reasons – mainly over not keeping good conduct – but many of them said they will challenge the decision in court and were confident they will nullify the decisions. The commission, established by an Amiri decree last month, comprises nine top judges and is independent. Its decisions cannot be appealed but can be challenged in the administrative court. Prominent among those disqualified are former MPs Youssef Al- Zalzalah, Saleh Ashour, Khalaf Dumaitheer, Askar Al-Enezi, Khaled Al- Adwah, Saadoun Hammad and Mubarak Al-Khrainej, all of whom were incidentally questioned over allegations that they received millions of dinars in illegal deposits into their bank accounts.
After a peaceful day of voting in the presidential, parliamentary and local elections on Saturday, locals crowded around crackling radios releasing unofficial results from individual polling stations. Sporadic cheering erupted in communities across the capital Freetown, a traditional stronghold of the ruling All People’s Congress (APC), as results trickled in. Polling officials counted votes throughout the night, mostly by lantern light, under the watch of observers, party officials, police and soldiers.