National: U.S. Should Consider Automatic Voter Registration: Holder | Bloomberg

The U.S. should consider automatically registering eligible voters and extending voting hours to counter the November election’s long lines and administrative hurdles, Attorney General Eric Holder said. Holder, speaking today at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston, proposed expanding access for voters and overhauling a registration system he called “antiquated.” “It is important for national leaders, academic experts, and members of the public to engage in a frank, thorough and inclusive discussion about how our election systems can be made stronger and more accessible,” Holder said in prepared remarks.

National: GOP consultant: Voter ID, long lines help “our side” |

A Republican consultant admitted that Voter ID laws and long lines at the polls help Republicans win elections, saying that, “A lot of us are campaign officials — or campaign professionals — and we want to do everything we can to help our side. Sometimes we think that’s voter ID, sometimes we think that’s longer lines — whatever it may be.” Huffington Post, which first pointed out the comments, reports that Tranter owns Vlytics, a “data consulting” company that was paid more than $3000 by Mitt Romney’s campaign.

California: Special election could cost $1.7 million; officials look for ways to improve efficiency | Redding Record

When it’s all added up, the special election to fill the state Senate seat vacated by Doug LaMalfa, who has moved on to Congress, could cost north state counties more than $1.7 million. … County boards over the next few days will be asked to spend additional money to hold the special election. The amounts range from $35,000 in Colusa County to $362,000 in Butte County. The extra expense in Butte County, the most populous county in the district, takes into account, among things, the cost to hire poll workers and set up polling sites. It does not factor the costs for the regular elections staff.

Mississippi: Hosemann: Study may help win approval for Mississippi voter ID law | The Clarion-Ledger

A study shows more than 98 percent of voters who voted in the November general election have one form of acceptable photo identification that would satisfy the state’s Voter ID law, which is awaiting U.S. Department of Justice approval, says Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann. The study of 5,965 voters from all demographic groups showed 98.3 percent of voters interviewed after exiting polls had at least one of the eight forms of photo ID outlined as acceptable under the Voter ID law. Hosemann said today that he hopes the information will help gain Justice Department approval for the state’s voter ID law.

Montana: Secretary of State reacts to canceled recount |

Montana Secretary of State and Chief Elections Officer Linda McCulloch received word from the Eleventh District Court at 3pm Tuesday that Sandy Welch was withdrawing her application for a recount of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction Race. Welch trailed democrat incumbent Denise Juneau by 2231 votes after the official statewide canvass. “We are disappointed that there will not be a recount, ” said McCulloch.

Ohio: Data entry error inflated tally of provisional ballots at site | The Columbus Dispatch

A data-entry error is responsible for election officials believing that voters at a polling location in northwestern Franklin County cast an abnormally large percentage of provisional ballots in November. On Monday, The Dispatch reported that almost a month after the election, county board of elections officials had not been able to explain why almost 1 in every 3 votes cast at a polling location in Washington Township were provisional ballots. In fact, just 1 in every 20 votes cast there was by provisional ballot, elections officials said yesterday.

Pennsylvania: Voter ID Law Is Back In Court Today | CBS Philly

The voter ID law is back in Commonwealth Court this morning, as the Judge in the case checks in with both sides for a status conference. The law’s opponents don’t plan on giving up the fight anytime soon. Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson is expected to layout the timeline for the remainder of the case, including the date when a final decision on the voter ID law could be made. “We’re probably looking at a year, year and a half to get to a final decision,” says ACLU Attorney Vic Walczak.

Tennessee: Tennessee’s law for challenging votes at polls |

On the heels of the November election, an East Tennessee Republican group considered blocking future votes from some of its members. It would have been punishment for supporting the wrong candidate, and state law permits it. Few people know, when you vote in any election in Tennessee anyone can challenge your vote. That voter challenge law is rarely enforced.  As political tension has increased over the past few years, it is coming up more in local elections. Last week, the Anderson County Republican party threatened two of its members, both who hold local offices, with a voter challenge in future primary elections. Some political experts believe that state law, especially it it’s actually used in more counties, could further strain national politics.

Virginia: How the Republican Party is planning to marginalize urban voters in the next election | Slate Magazine

In the busy mind of Virginia state Sen. Charles Carrico, voters can be divided into two species. The first: “people in my district,” which covers a swath of the state’s rural southwest. These voters are real people. The second species: voters in “metropolitan districts.” In 2012 and 2008, rural voters watched Democrats turn out that metro vote, which elected Barack Obama. That experience apparently taught Carrico and the people he represents that “their votes don’t mean anything.” Carrico’s solution: Make the rural vote matter more and make the metro vote count less. His bill, SB273, would assign 11 of Virginia’s electoral votes to its 11 congressional districts. The state’s two remaining votes would go to whoever received the “highest number of votes in a majority of congressional districts.”

Bermuda: Survey predicts big turnout by voters | Bermuda Politics

Ninety percent of registered voters will likely head to the polls on December 17, according to the latest survey. While 43 percent of voters say they will vote for the Opposition One Bermuda Alliance, and 30 percent for the governing Progressive Labour Party, almost a quarter say they do not know — or refuse to say — who they will be casting their ballot for. Independent candidates said the results reflect Bermuda’s political and racial polarisation, dissatisfaction with the political system, and vindicate their positions. But some have suggested that the survey is part of a conspiracy to influence the outcome of the elections.

Bulgaria: Ruling Party Pushes Back-Door Changes to Electoral System |

At the Parliamentary elections in 2013, voters in Bulgaria will not have the right to rearrange party lists of MP candidates. The decision was voted Wednesday in Parliament, with a total of 96 MPs in attendance, of whom 72 voted for, 17 against and 7 abstained, according to reports of Only 67 MPs of center-right ruling party GERB voted on the proposed change in the electoral system, while the other MPs of GERB did not attend the sitting. However, a large number of MPs of the right-wing and the left-wing opposition, who had declared they wanted the preferential voting element to remain, also failed to show up for the sitting.

Egypt: Opposition group urges ‘no’ vote on draft constitution –

Egypt’s leading opposition group urged its followers Wednesday to vote against an Islamist-inspired draft constitution, ending weeks of indecision over whether antigovernment forces should boycott the referendum, which begins this weekend and pits secularists against the Muslim Brotherhood. The move by the National Salvation Front is a crucial test of its popularity against President Mohamed Morsi and his Islamist supporters. The opposition movement has revived the country’s revolutionary fervor but has been marred by division and poor organization, which are expected to be exploited by the Brotherhood’s vast grass-roots networks.

South Korea: Absentee voting begins amid uncertainty over North Korean rocket launch | Yonhap News

Absentee voting for South Korea’s presidential election kicked off Thursday, with each competing camp claiming that the uncertainty surrounding North Korea’s long-range rocket launch will sway voters to their side. With the main election just six days away, voting began at 6 a.m. at polling stations nationwide. A record 1.09 million voters have registered to cast their ballots during the two-day absentee voting period that ends at 4 p.m. Friday, the National Election Commission said. The vote comes a day after North Korea launched a three-stage long-range rocket in defiance of international warnings and successfully put a satellite into orbit.