Voting Blogs: Why We Should Still Pay Attention to Voter Registration Drives | Brennan Center for Justice

If you thought voting rights battles ended with the election, think again. Tomorrow morning the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit will hear argument in an action challenging Texas’s new laws restricting voter registration drives. U.S. District Court Judge Gregg Costa issued an injunction blocking the laws in August. The Brennan Center, along with the League of Women Voters and Rock the Vote, has filed an amicus brief urging the appellate panel to uphold the lower court’s ruling.

Voting Blogs: Should pressure for a fast count determine how we vote? | EVIC

The new clerk-recorder in Riverside County, CA, Kari Verjil, has apparently avoided the pothole that ended the career of her predecessor Barbara Dumore. Riverside has the 10th fastest count among California counties, according to information just released by the Secretary of State’s office. Verjil attributes the improvement to a dedicated effort by her office to encourage citizens to cast their ballots by mail.  Verjil did the smart thing by figuring out the best way to respond to the pressures placed on her by political actors.

Editorials: Vote suppression in Florida? The numbers don’t lie |

Jim Greer has not been so tight with the Florida Republican establishment lately. Greer, the former Republican state party chairman, is under indictment for misusing party funds. I’m guessing that he was not pleased to see former colleagues line up to testify against him. So when he talks about how party operatives were fairly obsessed with tamping down voter turnout in the 2012 general election, party officials can retort that Greer is just out for revenge. “Jim Greer has been accused of criminal acts against this organization and anything he says has to be considered in that light,” a party spokesman said after Greer told the Palm Beach Post last week that the party had been hell-bent on cutting back on early voting since the 2008 election. “The Republican Party, the strategists, the consultants, they firmly believe that early voting is bad for Republican Party candidates,” Greer told the Post.

Florida: Election over? Not yet, insist Florida Democrats | Tampa Bay Times

Democrats delivered Florida to President Barack Obama for a second time last month and loosened Republicans’ grip on power in the state Capitol. But they may have won something more meaningful in the 2012 election than a few more seats in the Legislature. As they gathered Monday in a caucus room in Tallahassee, Democrats had one thing on their minds: how to maintain ownership of the hottest issue in the state now. That is, protecting the right to vote and holding Republicans accountable for long lines, delayed ballot counts and an expansion of provisional ballots. The election may be over, but the fight over how the election was managed has only just begun.

Editorials: Just say ‘no’ to Kris Kobach, the secretary of distractions |

Another legislative session coming up, another attempted overreach by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. The conservative Republican has said he will again ask the Legislature to give his office the power to search out and prosecute suspected cases of voter fraud. Let’s hope lawmakers turn him down, as they did the last time he asked. Prosecuting voter fraud is currently the job of county prosecutors. Kobach says those offices are overworked, and voter fraud isn’t a high priority with them.

Minnesota: Minneapolis election official offers ways to fix voting problems |

First, City Clerk Casey Carl apologized to Minneapolis voters for last month’s voting snafus, then he recommended how to keep them from recurring. The city’s top election official told the City Council on Monday that hours-long lines, voters showing up at wrong precincts and late reporting of results arose from a number of factors: an extraordinary turnout with huge numbers of Election Day registrants, redistricting, precinct changes and technical problems ranging from balky pens to misprinted ballots. Carl recommended working with Hennepin County to buy new voting machines, changing state law to allow early voting for any reason and voting at centralized kiosks, plus mobilizing more City Hall workers to form a rapid-response team of election judges for Election Day.

Montana: Welch seeks recount in Montana, but faces long odds | Helenair

Alleging widespread voting machine errors and other Election Day problems, Republican Sandy Welch requested a manual vote recount Monday in the race she narrowly lost for Montana schools superintendent. Official results had Democrat Denise Juneau leading Welch by 2,231 votes out of more than 468,000 cast in the Nov. 6 election. An elections expert said Monday that slim margin is likely too large for Welch to overcome. But Welch, a Martin City education consultant, said voting glitches in Lewis and Clark, Yellowstone, Beaverhead, Missoula and other counties were widespread enough that she can make up the difference and prevail on a recount.

Nevada: Clark County elections chief endorses voter ID proposal |

The head of the Clark County Election Department on Monday supported Secretary of State Ross Miller’s proposal to use photos to verify voters’ identities at the polls, arguing a new system could make it easier for election workers and cut down on intimidation. Registrar of Voters Larry Lomax said political campaigns and parties now send poll watchers to ensure election clerks properly check every voter signature on paper, creating a tense atmosphere. At the same time, voters often object when asked to show ID when their signatures don’t appear to match the registration book, he added. Nevada law doesn’t require showing ID before voting, but it can be requested to verify identity.

Ohio: State Rep. Phillips Concerned About Provisional Ballot Process | WOUB

Nearly one month after Election Day, politicians are still debating about the conditions under which provisional ballots are counted in the State of Ohio. State Representative Debbie Phillips (D-Athens) said she believes some Ohio citizens have not had their voices heard in this year’s election and has cited several problems with the way provisional ballots are counted in the state.  She said some voters’ ballots are being wrongfully purged and rejected, and worries that some ballots are not being counted because of errors caused by poll workers or glitches in the system.

Voting Blogs: Pennsylvania Senate Leader Pileggi Wrong on Prescription for Electoral College Reform | FairVote

Hot off the presses from Bloomberg News is a major Electoral College development. Pennsylvania Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi has circulated a letter to his legislative colleagues seeking support for a bill to replace the winner-take-all allocation of his state’s Electoral College votes with one based on proportional representation – with two electoral votes going to the winner of the state and 18 votes allocated proportionally. The proposal is sure to trigger an intense partisan reaction. Pennsylvania Republicans often come close in  presidential elections, but last won an electoral vote in 1988 when George Bush defeated Michael Dukakis. Yet if Sen. Pileggi’s plan had been in place this year, President Barack Obama’s 5.4% win in the statewide popular vote would have translated into his earning 12 electoral votes rather than 20, while Gov. Mitt Romney  would have won eight electoral votes rather than zero. Shifting eight electoral votes in Pennsylvania would have provided a bigger boost to Romney than switching the outcome in Iowa.

Wisconsin: On Voter ID, GOP Leader Open To Changing Wisconsin State Constitution | Huffington Post

Requiring every Wisconsin voter to show photo ID at the polls is going to be a top priority for the Republican-controlled legislature in the next session, according to incoming Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester). “I do think that having photo ID is something that is broadly supported by the public,” Vos said in an interview on Sunday with WISN’s Mike Gousha. “It’s something that I really hope we’re going to have in place by the next general election.”

Wisconsin: Incoming Senate leader favors political appointees over judges on GAB | Journal Sentinel

The state Senate’s incoming leader said Monday that he would like to take retired judges off Wisconsin’s nonpartisan elections and ethics board and replace them with political appointees. Sen. Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau), who becomes Senate majority leader in January, said he believes that the state Government Accountability Board has made decisions favoring Democrats and that putting political appointees on the board would “strike more of a balance.” “GAB, it’s not working the way it’s supposed to,” Fitzgerald said. A professor specializing in election law who has studied the accountability board bemoaned the proposal. “I think that’s about the worst idea I’ve heard this year,” said Daniel Tokaji, a professor at Ohio State University Moritz College of Law who has written about Wisconsin’s accountability board.

Armenia: Election official praises conduct of by-elections amid complaints from opposition |

The head of Armenia’s Central Election Commission (CEC) has praised Sunday’s by-elections to the National Assembly in two constituencies as democratic, saying that no formal complaints had been filed by the defeated candidates yet. “I think the elections were in full compliance with the requirements of the Election Code and that citizens managed to fully exercise their rights and express their will,” said Tigran Mukuchyan on ArmNews TV.

Egypt: Election commission set to oversee referendum on constitution despite judges’ strike | Star Tribune

The Egyptian president’s top legal adviser says the country’s election commission has begun preparations for the referendum on a highly contentious draft constitution. Mohammed Gaballah said Monday that the commission, which is composed of senior judges, began meeting a day earlier to organize the Dec. 15 referendum. Gaballah claimed that judges will oversee the vote despite a strike by the judiciary to protest a set of decrees issued by President Mohammed Morsi that place him above judicial oversight. According to Egyptian law, judges must observe the voting at polling stations.

Iran: Speaker dismisses “concerns” over presidential election reform bill | APA

Speaker Ali Larijani dismissed Monday “concerns” over the recent presidential election reform bill prepared by the Iranian lawmakers, APA reports quoting Xinhua. On Sunday, Majlis passed generalities of the presidential election reform bill. According to part of the bill, a presidential candidate requires at least 100 lawmakers to endorse him as a statesman or at least 12 members of the assembly of experts to endorse him before he can present his credentials, Press TV reported.

Japan: Election Draws Record Number of Parties |

Official campaigning for Japan’s general election kicked off Tuesday with the main opposition party leading in voter support. But the crowded race is likely to result in a coalition government plagued again by gridlock and policy stagnation. A record number of parties—12 in total—are expected to register more than 1,400 candidates to compete for the 480 seats in the lower house. The leaders of the two main parties—Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and main opposition leader Shinzo Abe—both hit the campaign trail starting in Fukushima prefecture, highlighting the region’s significance in the wake of the March 2011 tsunami and subsequent nuclear crisis.

South Korea: Elections driven by voters’ desire for reform | Guardian Weekly

When the popular independent candidate Ahn Cheol-soo pulled out of South Korea’s presidential contest last month, he completely changed the odds in a race that might have marked a new phase in the country’s history. Now only two candidates are still in the running, representing the main conservative and progressive camps, which have been squabbling over power since the end of the dictatorship in the late 1980s. On the right is Park Geun-hye, 60, standing for the ruling New Frontier party, and on the centre-left Moon Jae-in of the opposition Democratic United party.