Despite rampant concerns on both the right and left about the integrity of the election, we seem to have dodged a bullet on Nov. 7, at least on the presidential level. There were no serious problems reported — no hanging chads, endless recounts or credible evidence of widespread dirty tricks — and 97 percent of voters said they had no problems voting this year, aside from waiting in lines. It’s lucky that was the case, because the federal commission tasked with making elections function better has been stymied by partisan infighting that has left it with zero commissioners, with Republicans refusing to appoint new ones and blocking Democrats from doing the same.
The Pima County Board of Supervisors denied a request from its Election Integrity Commission to sort early ballots by precinct for a special hand audit for this election. The board spent about an hour Tuesday listening to commissioners and activists describe the need for an improved ballot-counting process. Pima County is the only county in the state that doesn’t sort ballots by precinct, said commissioner Michael Duniho. “Resisting improvement in vote count auditing has earned Pima County a reputation for suspect elections,” he told the board. A precinct-level hand count would confirm the accuracy of the machine count, Duniho said.
Florida: Allen West’s Concession Won’t End Troubles for St. Lucie County Elections | Sunshine State News
U.S. Rep. Allen West may have ended his two-week battle with election officials in St. Lucie County on Tuesday, but the Treasure Coast office will continue to face scrutiny over how it handled the election. Florida Rep. Gayle Harrell, R-Stuart, vowed she will pursue correcting how the supervisor of elections office reportedly double-counted some ballots and misplaced others in West’s defeat to Democrat Patrick Murphy of Jupiter. “We’re going to move forward looking very carefully at the recommendations, seeing exactly what they say and see what went wrong with this election process in St. Lucie County,” Harrell said Tuesday.
Now that Jesse Jackson Jr. has resigned his seat in Congress, Gov. Pat Quinn must set the date for an election to fill the seat. Cook County Clerk David Orr has a plan — and hopes the courts will go along. It would require a court order condensing the schedule so that the primary and general elections to replace Jackson would fit the existing suburban Cook County, Will and Kankakee County election schedules. All have primary elections Feb. 26 and general elections April 9. However, as it stands, there is a March 15 deadline to hold a special election. Orr said sticking to the existing deadline would mean staging extra elections — and incurring extra costs.
A general election that went off with hardly a hitch hasn’t changed Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz’s determination to clean up voter registration rolls. Now that the election is over, Schultz plan to resume efforts to root out voter fraud as soon as a Polk County District Court judge lifts a temporary injunction preventing him from removing ineligible Iowans from voter registration rolls. “My position hasn’t changed: If you’re not a citizen you shouldn’t be voting,” the first-term Republican said. “It’s my job to protect the integrity of the vote. If every vote really does count, then it’s important for us to protect that.”
New Jersey: Slammed by Sandy, New Jersey counties seek more time to count ballots | Philadelphia Inquirer
Fourteen New Jersey counties, swamped with provisional and mail-in ballots in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, on Tuesday were granted more time to count. Those counties, including Burlington, Camden and Gloucester, have until next week to certify the results of the Nov. 6 election. That means a few close local races in towns such as Stratford, Laurel Springs, Delanco, Bordentown, and Moorestown will remain undecided a while longer. “Election offices are bombed here” because of overseas and provisional ballots, Camden County Election Commissioner Robert Venuti said Tuesday. The county has yet to start counting those ballots, he said.
Ohio: Cuyahoga County elections chief Jane Platten leaving to take job at prosecutor’s office | cleveland.com
Cuyahoga County Board of Elections Director Jane Platten, who helped bring credibility and efficiency to the once-broken office, announced Tuesday she is taking a job as chief of staff for Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty. Platten’s resignation comes two weeks after a largely trouble-free general election in Cuyahoga County — an occurrence much less common under previous elections directors. “When I told people that I had accepted the job as Board of Elections director, many of the reactions I received were, ‘Are you crazy?’ or they laughed,” Platten recalled in an interview Tuesday. “People’s perception of the Board of Elections was that it was an agency of extreme turmoil and it was broken, and we turned it around.”
Voting irregularities in Philadelphia on Election Day have prompted city official to launch an audit. City Controller Alan Butkovitz announced Tuesday afternoon that his office would conduct an audit of the Philadelphia City Commissioners’ handling of the election, in light of the fact that more than 27,000 individuals in the city were forced to vote by provisional ballot on Nov. 6. There are plenty of questions to be answered about how the election went down in Philadelphia. In a letter sent to the city commissioners – a three member board that is responsible for conducting elections in Pennsylvania’s largest city – Butkovitz said there were numerous reported incidents where individuals who had voted in one election district for years were forced to vote with a provisional ballot this year because their names had been removed from the voting rolls. The 27,000 provisional ballots is more than double the number of such ballots cast in 2008 – though turnout was actually slightly lower this time around.
Outgoing Puerto Rican Gov. Luis Fortuño is not going down without a fight. The Republican leader of the U.S. territory is demanding a recount to the results from this month’s elections that saw him lose his gubernatorial post to Alejandro García Padilla, the Popular Democratic Pary candidate who pulled in 47.78 percent of the vote, compared with Fortuño’s 47.09 percent. “I was informed by our electoral commissioner that, with a number of write-in votes still remaining and estimated at 20,000, which are yet to be verified, counted and included, whatever the case is, the trend observed so far in the candidacy for governor indicates that, provided it continues, the point-five percent (0.5%) difference referred to in Article 10.010, quoted, will probably be reached,” Fortuño wrote in a letter to Puerto Rico’s president of the State Elections Commission, Hector Conty, according to the newspaper El Nuevo Dia.
The state Board of Elections will ask the General Assembly to approve the purchase of new voting machines for precincts across the state. Robert Kando, the board’s executive director, estimated the purchase would cost $9 million to $10 million and would be spread over eight or nine years under a lease-to-own agreement.
South Carolina: South Carolina Governor Haley admits state failed to protect its residents | TheState.com
As more South Carolinians learned that hackers hold their tax return data, Gov. Nikki Haley admitted Tuesday that the state did not do enough to protect their sensitive financial information and accepted the resignation of the agency director in the middle of the controversy. “Could South Carolina have done a better job? Absolutely, or we would not be standing here,” said Haley, who had insisted in the first days after revealing the cyber attack that nothing could have prevented the breach. Hackers possess Social Security and other data belonging to 5.7 million people – 3.8 million taxpayers and their 1.9 million dependents, Haley said. The number of businesses affected has risen slightly to nearly 700,000. All of the stolen tax data dating back to 1998 was unencrypted.
There’s a saying: If you don’t like the weather in South Carolina, wait five minutes. This year, that might also be said for election results. The Great Richland County Election Debacle of 2012 is already being described in monumental terms. In news stories, The State has called it “perhaps the mother of all bungled county elections in modern S.C. history.” State Democratic Party Chairman Dick Harpootlian summed it up in fewer words. “It’s f#!ked up,” he said. Richland County Democratic Rep. Mia Butler characterized it even more succinctly. “Inexcusable,” she called the county’s election process in an open letter to media and her constituents.
Hope Andrade, the first Latina to serve as Texas secretary of state, abruptly announced her resignation Tuesday in the wake of controversy over a so-called voter purge. “It has been the highest honor of my professional life to serve as the secretary of state for the greatest state in our nation,” she said in a statement announcing her departure. In a letter to Gov. Rick Perry, who in 2008 named her to the post in which she served as Texas’ chief elections officer, the San Antonio resident said her resignation would be effective Friday. There was no immediate word on her replacement.
US Virgin Islands: Outcome unchanged on St. Croix after board finishes counting votes | Virgin Islands Daily News
Almost two weeks after the General Election, the St. Croix Board of Elections on Monday morning wrapped up counting all elements of the vote, an official said. The final tallying of votes did not change the outcome of the election or displace any of the winners, which have held their leads since electronic votes were totaled on the evening of Nov. 6, just after the polls closed for the General Election.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to create a special commission to examine problems on Election Day, namely long lines that forced some voters to wait hours to cast their ballots. “The fact that so many people came out to exercise their right to vote is a good thing,” said Chairman Sharon Bulova (D), who proposed the commission. “That so many people had to wait in long lines for several hours was not. We’ll never know how many people gave up.” The commission’s mandate will be to study a range of issues suspected of contributing to the lines — from equipment and staffing shortages to reports of poorly trained poll workers — and to return with findings and recommendations.
According to PotomacLocal.com, Prince William County has decided to use paper ballots in elections, following long lines at the polls on Election Day. The local-news website tweeted the news Tuesday night: “Breaking News: Prince William County Board of Elections to institute use of paper ballots following long lines at polls Nov. 6.” On Election Day, some voters in the county waited for up to four hours to vote. The long lines attracted some press reports – including from News4’s Voter Patrol – and even national attention. But it also prompted concern for the Board of Elections.