Gov. Scott Walker said Wednesday that a Government Accountability Board report that says it would cost the state $5.2 million to end the state’s same-day registration law convinced him that he would not sign such a bill. “There is no way I’m signing a bill that costs that kind of money,” Walker told reporters. Walker cited a report by the state’s Government Accountability Board that concluded it would cost $5.2 million, and would do nothing to end the administrative work of clerks around the state. Walker said that, in light of the GAB report, he didn’t think members of the Legislature would even try to approve a bill to end the same-day registration law.
Call it the sentence that spawned a thousand ideas for election reform. When President Obama stood on stage in Chicago last month delivering his victory speech, he thanked the millions of Americans who cast their ballots on Election Day. He especially noted those who “waited in line for a very long time” just to vote. “By the way,” he added, “we have to fix that.” There’s a lot to fix. Reports from diverse parts of the country detailed all sorts of problems at polling places. Ballots were misprinted, poll workers were unclear about certain laws or regulations and long lines greeted many voters at the polls.
One of the most popular post-election narratives remains that voter suppression efforts were soundly defeated. While the concept is essentially true, it says very little about how voting rights will fare in the near future—or how activists are continuing the work they began to preserve voting rights. Many voter ID measures, cut-offs to early voting and excessive voter purges were blocked or weakened at the state level in 2012, but lawmakers are aiming to propose new measures in 2013. The Supreme Court, meanwhile, has announced that it will hear a challenge to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 next year. That’s in addition to Arizona v. InterTribal Council of Arizona, which stems from a rule that demands voters demonstrate proof of citizenship when registering to vote. The two cases, which hinge on the Court’s interpretation of federal legislation that bars discrimination and its interpretation of what’s known as the Motor Voter Act, could make sweeping changes to the ways voting rights are—or are not—protected. Those stakes aren’t lost on community groups around the nation that hope to continue their voting rights work, even without the spotlight of a presidential election.
On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court said it would hear two cases challenging state and federal laws which prevent the legal union between same-sex couples. But it’s not the only significant civil rights case the Court has decided to take up this term. Last month, the Supreme Court said it will consider the constitutionality of a key part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the hallmark legislation from the Civil Rights era that has come under increased challenge.
In an early sign of Republican muscle-flexing in the reordered Alaska Legislature, an Anchorage House member says he plans to revive a dormant bill to require Alaskans to show a photo ID to vote. “It’ll be one of the first bills we hear,” said Rep. Bob Lynn, R-Anchorage, the chairman of the House State Affairs Committee. Voter photo ID laws in other states were hugely controversial in this fall’s national elections because poor, elderly and minorities are less likely than other voters to have photo identification like a driver license; those same groups are also more likely to vote Democratic. Judges in two states with strict photo ID requirements, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, held off enforcement of those laws, at least for this election.
Colorado: Election officials across Colorado push for voting overhauls by lawmakers | The Coloradoan
In the run-up to a presidential election, storms of emotions from all sides of the aisle color the months of October and November like the burnt-orange leaves that carpet a lawn. Come December, the electorate’s attention turns to gingerbread, candy canes, sleigh rides and stocking stuffers. But the potholes that mar the road to democracy are fresh in the minds of election officials. So Colorado’s county clerks have developed a list — not for Santa, but for state lawmakers — to remedy a handful of persistent thorny issues well in advance of the next general election almost two years from now.
Absentee ballots are often touted as a pain-free, easy way to cast a vote without having to stand in long lines at a polling station. But nearly 2,500 Miami-Dade County voters had their absentee ballots rejected this election in what amounts to a wake-up call for those who ignore or fall prey to the pitfalls of not voting in person. In Broward and Palm Beach counties, about 2,100 and 1,400 absentees were rejected, respectively. A majority of absentee ballots were rejected because they arrived well after Nov. 6 at the elections office. Many voters were angry. They cast their mail-in ballots from home for convenience, only to face a greater inconvenience when their vote didn’t count.
In the perennial political tug-of-war between ballot security and voting access, the advocates of making voting easier in Minnesota are the big winners. A month after voters shot down the photo ID requirement and the Republican legislative majorities that supported it, the incoming DFL regime at the Capitol has a chance to open up the nation’s highest-turnout voting system even further by allowing more pre-Election-Day voting.
Flathead County District Court Judge Stewart Stadler ruled Friday that a statewide recount is warranted for the state Superintendent of Public Instruction race, but a state attorney told Stadler his ruling would be appealed to the Supreme Court Monday. Even though the Republican candidate in the race, Martin City resident Sandy Welch, has to pay for the recount, Friday’s proceedings turned out to be a legal skirmish involving issues beyond vote counting. Amy Eddy, a Kalispell attorney representing Democratic incumbent Denise Juneau, said Welch’s team is aiming to “disenfranchise voters” by challenging and disqualifying ballots that may be legally tainted.
A few weeks after he stunned the Nevada political world, especially elected officials and activists in his own party, with a “visual verification” plan (Don’t call it voter ID!), Secretary of State Ross Miller is in fence-mending mode. Or explanatory mode. Or “what I meant to say” mode. Miller acknowledged on “Ralston Reports” shortly after Review-Journal reporter Ed Vogel broke the story that it was not his most graceful unfurling of a policy initiative (damn media didn’t help). Beyond a few economia here and there, Miler has been savaged by the left, which sees this as some kind of nefarious plot to win over Republicans in his attorney general’s campaign, as well as a seemingly less than cardinal sin: suppress voters.
There will be no internet voting during the 2014 municipal elections here after city councillors received a report Monday that is critical of nearly every aspect of digital ballots. Randy Gosse, Kitchener’s director of legislated services, told city councillors the time will come when voters will use nothing but smart phones and computers to vote, but that time is definitely not now. “I think there are issues that need to be addressed before you get there,” Gosse said.
Ghana’s election commission announced Sunday night that the West African nation’s president won re-election, though the main opposition party says it has “credible evidence” the results were manipulated. In a statement streamed live on the Internet, Electoral Commission Chairman Kwadwo Afari-Gyan declared “John Dramani Mahama president-elect” after securing 50.7% of the vote. Nana Akufo-Addo, the candidate for the New Patriotic Party (NPP), garnered 47.7% of the vote, according to the commission.
“We must celebrate together as Ghanaians and refrain from anything that will derail the peace and unity we have enjoyed over the years,” Mahama told supporters after the result was announced. But reiterating claims made earlier that the vote had been “manipulated,” the New Patriotic Party issued a statement it has “credible evidence (that) undermines the integrity of the electoral process and the results.”
President John Dramani Mahama was declared the winner Sunday of Ghana’s recent presidential election, according to provisional results, despite widespread technical glitches with the machines used to identify voters, and over the protest of the country’s opposition, which alleges vote-rigging. Armored tanks surrounded Ghana’s electoral commission and police barricaded the road around the electoral offices as the election body’s chairman Kwadwo Afari-Gyan announced that Mahama had polled 5.5 million votes, or 50.7 percent. Opposition leader Nana Akufo-Addo, who lost the 2008 election by less than 1 percent, came in second with 5.2 million votes, or 47.7 percent, Afari-Gyan said. Voter turnout was high, with more than 80 percent of the roughly 14 million registered voters casting ballots in Friday’s presidential and parliamentary election.
Iran’s Majlis (Parliament) is set to make some important changes to the Islamic Republic’s presidential electoral law. “Election law needed to be reformed. The changes to the composition of the provincial executive board will definitely help the Interior Ministry during the whole process of elections,” Iranian lawmaker Laleh Eftekhari said. Last week, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad criticized the planned changes, saying the amendments would pave the way for the parliament’s interference in the electoral process.
Returns from Romania’s parliamentary elections on Monday gave an overwhelming victory to the center-left alliance of Prime Minister Victor Ponta, leaving the country poised for Round 2 of a political standoff that has destabilized one of the European Union’s newest and poorest members. The governing alliance won about 59 percent of the vote in in Sunday’s elections, making Mr. Ponta the leading contender to return to the job. With almost all of the votes counted, a center-right group linked to President Traian Basescu had received just 16.5 percent of the vote. The two men cannot stand even to be in the same room with each other, according to aides, and their acrimony has poisoned Romania’s politics since Mr. Ponta pressed to have the president removed from office last summer.
The electoral commission of the breakaway region of Somaliland, announced that it would be recounting the votes from Hargiesa district elections, after violent protests broke out on Thursday, Garowe Online reports. Hargeisa residents waited anxiously on Saturday as the NEC issued a much-anticipated statement, saying that it would be recounting Hargeisa district election results. For two days south Hargeisa erupted into protests after preliminary results were released Thursday.