Michigan: Republican Spokesman: Splitting Up Electoral College Votes Would Prevent Detroit Voters From “Distorting” Results | Slate

In the last few weeks, a small number of Republican legislators — all in states that voted for Barack Obama — have talked about splitting up their electoral votes. When I wrote about this, I got a few comments along the lines of “hey, is this a trend, or are you scaremongering?” No. It’s a trend. Reid Wilson reports that Wisconsin, along with Michigan and Pennsylvania, is home to Republicans who might press their gerrymandered legislative advantage to assign electoral votes by gerrymandered congressional districts. “If you did the calculation, you’d see a massive shift of electoral votes in states that are blue and fully [in] red control,” said one senior Republican taking an active role in pushing the proposal. “There’s no kind of autopsy and outreach that can grab us those electoral votes that quickly.”

National: The GOP’s Electoral College Scheme | NationalJournal.com

Republicans alarmed at the apparent challenges they face in winning the White House are preparing an all-out assault on the Electoral College system in critical states, an initiative that would significantly ease the party’s path to the Oval Office. Senior Republicans say they will try to leverage their party’s majorities in Democratic-leaning states in an effort to end the winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes. Instead, bills that will be introduced in several Democratic states would award electoral votes on a proportional basis. Already, two states — Maine and Nebraska — award an electoral vote to the winner of each congressional district. The candidate who wins the most votes statewide takes the final two at-large electoral votes. Only once, when President Obama won a congressional district based in Omaha in 2008, has either of those states actually split their vote. But if more reliably blue states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin were to award their electoral votes proportionally, Republicans would be able to eat into what has become a deep Democratic advantage.

National: Redistricting Helped Republicans Hold Onto Congress | NYTimes.com

Wisconsinites leaned Democratic when they went to the polls last month, voting to re-elect President Obama, choosing Tammy Baldwin to be their new United States senator and casting more total votes for Democrats than Republicans in races for Congress and the State Legislature. But thanks in part to the way that Republicans drew the new Congressional and legislative districts for this year’s elections, Republicans will still outnumber Democrats in Wisconsin’s new Congressional delegation five to three — and control both houses of the Legislature. Pennsylvanians also voted to re-elect Mr. Obama, elected Democrats to several statewide offices and cast about 83,000 more votes for Democratic Congressional candidates than for Republicans. But new maps drawn by Republicans — including for the Seventh District outside Philadelphia, a Rorschach-test inkblot of a district snaking through five counties that helped Representative Patrick Meehan win re-election by adding Republican voters — helped ensure that Republicans will have a 13-to-5 majority in the Congressional delegation that the state will send to Washington next month.

Voting Blogs: Every Second Counts: UPS’ Lesson for Polling Places | Election Academy

Recently, NBC News had a segment focusing on the intensive training United Parcel Service requires of new drivers. It’s a fascinating look – especially the video of trainees (and then the reporter) struggling on the “icy sidewalk” used to teach balance – but it also included a discussion about efficiency that got me thinking about election administration and polling places in particular. What struck me was the degree to which the training focuses on shaving time – literally seconds – off of every delivery. For drivers, that means keeping keys to the truck on their fingers (so they don’t set them down or have to fumble for them) and learning how to fasten a seat belt with one hand while turning the keys to the ignition with the other. This focus on efficiency may strike you as extreme, but when you consider that the average driver is delivering 200-300 packages a day those seconds begin to add up.

California: Mail ballots hit an all-time high in California general election | Sacramento Bee

California saw a record share of general election voters opt to cast their ballot by mail this year, with 51 percent of the state’s 13.2 million participants using mail-in ballots. The general election record, which still trails the state’s all-time high of 65 percent mail-in ballots set in this year’s primary, was announced today as Secretary of State Debra Bowen’s released the official statement of vote. The numbers include vote-by-mail ballots dropped off at polling stations as late as Election Day.

Florida: Miami-Dade Group Meets To Consider Election Law Changes | CBS Miami

For the first time Friday, Miami-Dade’s election task force agreed to five ideas to prevent another election fiasco. The proposals are meant to avoid a repeat of the 8 hour lines to vote and days to count the votes. This is just the second meeting for the Task Force but due to an upcoming vote by the Miami-Dade Commission they forced the proposal through.  The commission will vote next week on a delegation agenda for their Tallahassee legislators.

Florida: Miami-Dade group stresses need to restore voting Sunday before Election Day | MiamiHerald.com

Miami-Dade County wants more early-voting days — but how many more is up for debate. Mayor Carlos Gimenez and his appointed elections supervisor, Penelope Townsley, asked the Florida secretary of state earlier this week to consider supporting restoration of 14 voting days, up from the eight days offered this year. But a county election advisory group agreed Friday to ask state lawmakers for only one more day of early voting: the Sunday before Election Day. “I’m not sure that you’re going to get 14 days out of the state Legislature,” Gimenez conceded.

Florida: Provisional-ballot law prevented little fraud but forced extra work | Tampa Bay Times

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. The reason: a much-maligned law approved by Gov. Rick Scott and the 2011 Legislature that, among other things, required people moving to a different county to vote provisionally if they didn’t change their address a month before Election Day.

Voting Blogs: Numbers Show Ohio at Unique Risk of Disputed Presidential Votes | ElectionLaw@Moritz

Today, December 17, is the date the presidential electors of each state meet to cast their official votes for president. No drama surrounds the event this year, because there have been no vote-counting disputes between November 6 and now that could affect the outcome of the presidential election. To invoke a phrase that has become familiar, the margin of victory was comfortably beyond the margin of litigation. But, as 2000 showed, it may not always be so, and some numbers from this year’s election indicate that, of all the presidential swing states, Ohio is the most vulnerable to a ballot-counting dispute that would delay determining the Electoral College winner. As will be detailed below, the swing states fall into three categories in terms of their level of risk–low, medium, or high–with respect to a disputed presidential election.  Ohio stands alone in having the highest risk.

Texas: Voter ID Suit Put on Hold Till Supreme Court Rules | Bloomberg

A federal court deferred further proceedings in a lawsuit filed by Texas over the state’s voter identification law until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on whether part of the Voting Rights Act is constitutional. A three-judge panel in Washington said today that “in the interest of efficiency and judicial economy” it will wait for the Supreme Court to review a provision of the 1965 law requiring all or part of 16 mostly Southern states to get federal approval before changing their voting rules. The Texas suit challenges the same provision.

Wisconsin: Both sides saw big same-day voter registration numbers | Journal Sentinel

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.

Bermuda: Historic election for Island | Royal Gazette

Bermudians head to polling stations today in a historic general election that both parties feel confident of winning. Today’s poll is the first to be held under redrawn constituency boundaries since the single seat electoral system was introduced in 2003, the first to be held without the United Bermuda Party and the first to have as many as 15 independent candidates seeking office since the advent of party politics 50 years ago. And the election is also taking place in the context of the worst economic recession in living memory for most of the 43,767 voters who are registered to cast their ballots today.

Editorials: Japan and Korea: A tale of two elections | Foreign Policy

2012 will end with Japan and Korea both choosing new governments as the leadership on Asia policy changes at the State Department. All three transitions could have an impact on the president’s vaunted pivot to Asia. In Japan the conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe just walloped the ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) at the polls. On the one hand, this is nothing new. The last three Japanese elections (2005, 2009 and 2012) ended with lopsided victories as the frustrated Japanese electorate searched for leadership to get them out of their current doldrums. With the election of Shinzo Abe, however, the Western media and the left have hit general quarters. Time Magazine predicts dangerous new friction in Northeast Asia; the folks at Foreign Policy have featured analysis warning Japan could go nuclear; and within some quarters of the administration there is nervous chatter about whether Tokyo might provoke China too much.

Romania: After the elections, an alarming audit of Romanian democracy | openDemocracy

A motley alliance of socialists, liberals and conservatives won the 9 December Romanian parliamentary elections. What they clearly share is profound dislike for the country’s once-powerful president, Traian Basescu, whose five-year mandate continues into 2014. What is less obvious is how they will govern the country. The Socialist-Liberal Union (USL), made up of the Social-Democrats, the Liberals and the Conservatives, won the majority in both chambers of the Romanian parliament, with about 60 percent of votes for each house. The great loser was the Right Romania Alliance (ARD), president Basescu’s political family, which got just 16 percent.

Egypt: Top Egyptian election official steps down | Al Jazeera

Tne of the top officials in charge of overseeing Egypt’s vote on a contentious draft constitution has resigned citing health problems, while critics believe the resignation was prompted by widespread irregularities. Zaghloul el-Balshi, the secretary general of the election committee, attributed his resignation to “a sudden health crisis”, according to a copy of a letter he sent to the committee on Wednesday that was published by several Egyptian dailies including the privately owned el-Watan. Relatives told local Egyptian media that el-Balshi had undergone eye surgery.