President Obama hasn’t officially secured a second term in the White House. Technically, that won’t happen until the electoral college casts its ballots Monday — presumably in favor of the winner for each state. Even then, Congress has to formally declare Obama the victor after counting the electoral votes on Jan. 6. Such is the nature of an often poorly understood — and some argue arcane — system for electing the U.S. president. Essentially, Nov. 6 marked the beginning, not the end, of the process for this cycle. No one is expecting anything but a routine process Monday for Obama, who decisively won the popular vote last month, earning 332 pledged electoral votes to Mitt Romney’s 206. There have been some electoral defectors in the past, but they’ve been rare.
Seven hours in line to vote? That’s outrageous in America. But many voters faced waits like that on election day because of some states’ attempts to discourage voting rather than encourage it. The federal government has to intervene and set some rules. All Americans should have reasonable access to the polls. California Sen. Barbara Boxer has a proposal she calls the LINE Act that could work. It would require national standards for the number of voting machines, election workers and other resources to ensure no one has to wait longer than an hour to vote.
Florida: Provisional ballots spike, but Florida elections supervisors say they’re not needed | MiamiHerald.com
A new law resulted in a spike in the number of provisional ballots this election year. But elections supervisors say there’s no evidence they’re needed and they just cause extra paperwork. It’s the most unreliable way to vote, a last resort in which half of the ballots are disqualified. Created by Congress a decade ago, the provisional ballot was intended as a final attempt to preserve the right to vote for someone whose eligibility is in doubt. Florida saw a surge in such ballots in 2012 even though turnout was nearly the same as four years ago.
Decisions by local election officials to recount all early votes cast before Nov. 6 will cost taxpayers $21,355, according to figures provided by the office of Supervisor of Elections Gertrude Walker. That expense includes at least $2,272 for sheriff’s deputies, who ordered spectators out of the Supervisor of Elections Office moments after A Nov. 11 recount, then stood watch over crowds of disgruntled partisans the following weekend.
Michigan: GOP operative Ron Weiser of Ann Arbor in hot water over remarks about Detroit voters | AnnArbor.com
Ann Arbor resident and high-ranking GOP fund-raiser Ron Weiser is facing criticism after a video surfaced of him making allegations of voter fraud and crime in Detroit at a tea party gathering in Milford, the Detroit Free Press reported Sunday. In the video, which was filmed in August by a Democratic operative and posted to YouTube by the Michigan Democratic Party, Weiser discussed Detroit’s population decline and the lack of political “machines” as reasons Republicans should be optimistic about the election.
Although Missouri has no photo identification requirement for voting, thousands of residents showed their driver’s licenses to get ballots this year. That could become the new norm because of technological advances that use of the bar codes embedded in driver’s licenses to check in people to vote. In roughly 20 states and about one-fifth of Missouri counties, local election officials this year used laptop computers or tablets to verify eligible voters. In many of those instances, prospective voters provided a driver’s license or voter registration card containing a bar code, which when scanned by poll workers automatically matched their identities against a computerized list of registered voters to determine if they were eligible to vote and in the correct precinct.
South Carolina: Big precincts, long lines and voting machine shortages: It’s all relative | TheState.com
My first inclination was to applaud Richland County legislators for thinking about maybe reconfiguring the county’s voting precincts, nearly two-thirds of which have more than the 1,500 voters that state law allows — nearly half of those with more than 1,000 extra voters, and one with nearly four times the legal limit. But as with so very, very many things at the perilous intersection of legislative hegemony, executive authority and local self-rule, the news is only good in relative terms. Sort of like you’re much better off when you’ve only lost your job, as opposed to losing your job, your home and your family.
Richland County’s elections office used turnout from previous elections to help decide the number of voting machines distributed last month, two poll managers and a machine technician said. That might have been one of many miscalculations by the Elections & Voter Registration office – but so far not publicly acknowledged – that prompted machine shortages that created hours-long lines and disenfranchised uncounted others. State law requires one machine for each 250 registered voters. The law has no specific provision for using turnout as a gauge.
State election records show that voters in Wisconsin’s Democratic-leaning counties have been more likely to register to vote at the polls, but voters in Republican-leaning areas also made heavy use of the state’s same-day registration law. The Wisconsin State Journal reported that in three recent statewide elections, one in eight ballots came from voters who registered that same day, according to data from the Government Accountability Board. The data was for the November 2008 and November 2010 elections, and the June 2012 gubernatorial recall election.
Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood has claimed victory in the first round of the country’s bitterly divisive constitutional referendum, with opposition forces complaining of large-scale rigging and violations. Unofficial results from Saturday’s first round showed 56% approval to 43% rejection on a low turnout of 33%, with a clear no win in Cairo, one of the 10 governorates where polling took place. The referendum is to be held in the country’s remaining 17 governorates next Saturday – where prospects for a no win are poorer. The figures were reported by the Freedom and Justice party (FJP), the political wing of the Brotherhood, which has been accurate in previous elections.
Ghana: Despite Some Glitches, Ghana’s New Biometric Voting System Widely Viewed as a Success | TechPresident
Ghanaians went to the polls last Friday to cast their ballots for president. Widely viewed as a poster child for stability and democracy in a region that is fraught by civil war and conflict, the West African country must now decide how to invest its newly discovered oil wealth. The current elections placed the incumbent President John Dramani Mahama, 58 (@JDMahama), of the National Democractic Congress (NDC) against Nana Akufo-Addo, 64 (Nadaa2012), of the leading opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP). Mahama favors generating wealth by investing the country’s oil revenues in infrastructure, while Akufo-Addo counters that the way to raise the population out of poverty is to invest the money in free primary and secondary education. The average Ghanaian makes $4 per day, with the majority of the population yet to experience the benefits of oil revenues.
Proposed changes in Iran’s election laws are proving contentious, sparking a debate over who should decide which candidates can compete in June’s contest to succeed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The possible reforms and the controversy around them mark another round in the struggle between Ahmadinejad and his more conservative rivals, who hope to stymie any chance that an ally of the administration might continue its agenda, including the populist economic policies that many here believe have contributed to Iran’s recent fiscal woes.
The conservative party that dominated post-war Japan is back in power after a three-year absence, in a landslide election victory Sunday that will result in hawkish Shinzo Abe returning as prime minister. Abe, 58, who served in the post once before, is likely to pursue a tougher stance toward China and prevent the nation from abandoning nuclear energy. The conservative Liberal Democratic Party was projected by NHK Television to win 291 out of 480 seats in Japan’s lower house, while its ally, the New Komeito Party, had 30. That would give them the two-third majority needed to overrule the upper house, perhaps breaking deadlocks that have long stymied Japanese governments.
Papua New Guinea: Disqualified Papua Candidates Take Election Commission to Court | The Jakarta Globe
Two potential candidates for Papua’s gubernatorial elections have reported the poll commission to the state administrative court, after they were disqualified by the Papua General Elections Commission on Monday. The elections commission, known as the KPU, declared that the running pair, Barnabas Suebo and John Tabo, had not passed the verification phase to run for the governor position. “On Friday, we registered our lawsuit against the Papua province KPU,” said Mathias Rafra, a spokesman for John.
Park Geun-hye spent part of her childhood in South Korea’s presidential palace, raised by an autocratic father who seized power in a military coup 51 years ago. She returns now as the democratically elected president of a nation concerned about its slowing economy and mounting social problems. With her narrow victory in Wednesday’s election, Park, 60, becomes an unlikely leader: She’s the first female president in a nation dominated by men, and she’s a conservative selected by voters to address their largely left-leaning wishes, including greater engagement with North Korea and a major expansion of government welfare spending.