The Republican push to make it more difficult to vote this year — seen by many as a racially tinged attempt to keep Democratic turnout down — could not have failed more spectacularly, a top African American activist told a left-leaning think tank Tuesday. Chanelle Hardy, a vice president at the National Urban League, told an audience at the Center For American Progress in Washington that, as conservatives had suspected, there was a drop-off in enthusiasm among the African American electorate between 2008 and 2012. Republicans based a lot of their strategy on enthusiasm dips like these, assuming that Obama wouldn’t be able to maintain the same level of minority turnout he had enjoyed in 2008. Unfortunately for those Republican strategists’ plans, however, other Republicans in legislatures across the country were on a quest to impose restrictions on voting, chasing the ghost of in-person voter fraud.
Sometime in the next few months, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide two cases that could fundamentally reshape the rules of race in America. In one, a young white woman named Abigail Fisher is suing the University of Texas over affirmative action in college admissions. In the other, an Alabama county wants to strike down a law that requires certain states to get federal permission to change election rules. If they win, the names Fisher and Shelby County, Ala., will instantly become synonymous with the elimination of longstanding minority-student preferences and voting-rights laws. But behind them is another name, belonging to a person who is neither a party to the litigation nor even a lawyer, but who is the reason these cases ever came to be. He is Edward Blum, a little-known 60-year-old former stockbroker.
Maricopa County voters living in precincts with higher percentages of minorities had a greater chance of casting provisional ballots in the Nov. 6 election, a Cronkite News Service analysis found. The statistical analysis drew upon a precinct-level summary of provisional ballots from the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office and precinct-level demographic data prepared by the U.S. Census Bureau and provided by the county to a reporter. It found strong relationship between provisional ballots as a percentage of total ballots in a precinct and the precinct’s percentage of minorities. That is, the likelihood that voters would cast provisional ballots tended to increase with a precinct’s minority population.
Florida: State lawmakers not convinced their law’s to blame for election hardships | Palm Beach Post
Four weeks after the presidential election, Florida lawmakers were told Tuesday of a host of culprits that contributed to the long voting waits, inadequate equipment and lengthy delay in ascertaining President Obama’s victory in the state. The media, select county elections supervisors, stingy county commissions and possibly the legislature itself played a role in the problems, according to testimony from Secretary of State Ken Detzner, Pasco County Elections Supervisor Brian Corley and Ron Labasky, the veteran general counsel of the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections.
Florida lawmakers on Tuesday began scrutinizing all that went wrong at the polls last month, and Gov. Rick Scott’s elections team made plans to investigate five counties that “underperformed.” Secretary of State Ken Detzner said he and voting experts will make “fact-finding” trips next week to Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, St. Lucie and Lee counties and report findings to the governor. Lines of voters in Miami-Dade were up to seven hours long, Palm Beach had to fix thousands of misprinted absentee ballots and St. Lucie was the only county that failed to count all ballots by a state deadline. The other two counties struggled with long lines, too. “Long lines are unacceptable,” Detzner testified.
As Superintendent of Public Instruction candidate Sandy Welch prepares for her Kalispell District Court hearing tomorrow, a letter from the Lewis and Clark County Elections Supervisor confirms a software error in their ballot counting machines. Welch’s application emphasized six specific counts where adequate probable cause is presented to the court on ballot counting errors that may have falsely affected the superintendent race. Two of the six counts noted specific errors in the use of model 650 ballot counting machines.
Sweeping changes to recall election laws would limit the time that citizens could attempt to remove someone from office and require that the recall be held at the same time as an election to replace the person targeted for removal. The proposed changes are in response to a flood of recall elections, especially ones aimed at local officials, like last months mayoral recall in Troy. “In a one and a half-year time frame, we knew of 165 township officials facing recall,” said Tom Frazier of the Michigan Townships Association. “And school districts suffer the same type of situations.”
The 2012 election should have gone off without a hitch in Minneapolis. For starters, the city clerk and his staff studied turnouts from the last two elections following redistricting, and they looked at the last three presidential elections and they monitored absentee voting beginning in September. All of their research indicated turnout would be smaller than in 2008 when 71 percent of the city’s eligible voters cast ballots. They were prepared for a 71 percent turnout, but what they got was 81 percent, or 2l5,804 voters.
It was only a matter of time … After nearly a month of focus on long lines, voter ID is making a comeback in the headlines. The big news is a new proposal by Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller (D) which is getting national attention. The proposal has gotten interesting reactions, many of them predictable. Republican legislators seem to like the idea, as evidenced by the comments of Assembly Minority Leader Pat Hickey: “The fact that the current system does not require any voter identifications rubs a lot of people the wrong way … I think the concept is very worthy of looking into. We need to see the details. The integrity of elections is at the center of believable democracy.”
Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie-Toulouse Oliver is considering changes to the absentee ballot counting process, days after KOB Eyewitness 4 broke the story about dozens of unopened ballots found. Tens of thousands of absentee ballots in Bernalillo County are counted by hand, something Toulouse-Oliver took into account Tuesday, for how so many ballots may have gotten misplaced during this past November’s election. “There are some loopholes in the process,” Toulouse-Oliver said. “There’s some areas that need improvement.”
Oregon: Deanna Swenson, former Clackamas County elections worker, pleads not guilty to ballot tampering charges | OregonLive.com
Deanna Swenson, a former Clackamas County elections employee, pleaded not guilty in Circuit Court this afternoon to charges of ballot tampering. Swenson, 55, did not speak during the two-minute arraignment. The Beavercreek resident’s next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 16. Swenson, a part-time temporary elections employee and a registered Republican, allegedly filled in down-ballot races left blank to cast additional votes for Republicans around Oct. 30 or 31.
US Virgin Islands: Losing candidates send complaints blasting Elections System | Virgin Islands Daily News
Almost a month has passed since the polls closed on Election Day, but the fight is not over for a handful of unsuccessful candidates who sent letters on Monday blasting V.I. elections officials for the conduct of the 2012 election and demanding a recount or a new election. “These are just some of the problems, and nobody seems to want to step up to the plate to bring them forward, but I’m going to do it because I am a citizen of the Virgin Islands and a voter and a candidate, and I observed this first-hand,” said Lawrence Olive, a candidate for the 30th Legislature who was one of five candidates who filed complaints on Monday. “Now I know what we’re dealing with in the Elections System. Reform must come. Changes must be brought forward. If an investigation needs to take place, if people have to go to jail, then so be it. That is the only way we’re going to clean up the corruption.”
Gov. Scott Walker set off a firestorm last month when he suggested Wisconsin should do away with same day registration. He says eliminating the on-site procedure would alleviate the burden on poll workers. “It’s difficult for them to handle the kind of volume of folks who come in at the last minute. It would be much better if registration was done in advance of Election Day,” Walker says. Incoming Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos supports the governor’s idea of requiring voters to register ahead of time. Vos says lines would be shorter at the polls. He also claimed in a television broadcast a few days ago, that same day registration sometimes results in fraud.
Egypt: Election commission set to oversee referendum on constitution despite judges’ strike | Newser
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. Morsi’s decrees also gave immunity to the Islamist-led constituent assembly, which hurriedly approved the draft charter last week despite an opposition boycott. The president’s decrees have split the nation, and plunged Egypt into a deepening political crisis.
There are months to go before Iranians choose a new president, but the Islamic regime already appears to be preparing the ground for a preferred candidate. A controversial election-reform bill working its way through parliament contains measures that could prevent undesirables from running while granting the clerical establishment greater control over the election’s outcome in June 2013. The bill, which passed in its first reading on December 2, would tighten an already strict vetting process for potential candidates by adding prerequisites for age, experience, and loyalty to the establishment.
The Sri Lankan government has taken measures to introduce an electronic voting system to the country, a government minister revealed. Water Supply and Drainage Minister Dinesh Gunawardena has told parliament that the government has taken immediate measures to formulate the relevant legal amendments to introduce electronic voting.