National: Obama wins Electoral College vote; Republicans seek changes in state rules | Boston Herald

Despite predictions that the presidential election could end in an electoral vote tie, or that the winner of the popular vote could again be denied the White House by the Electoral College, President Barack Obama won his anticipated 126-vote landslide Monday as the 538 electors officially voted in statehouses. But 12 years after Al Gore’s defeat prompted some Democrats to call for changing to the constitutionally prescribed method of choosing the president, Republicans are now mounting efforts in key states to end the winner-take-all method that most states employ. Some Republican strategists believe that could counter the advantage Democrats have gained on the path to the needed 270 electoral votes.

National: Senate hearing on voting rights turns partisan |

Senate Democrats and Republicans sparred Wednesday over whether voter ID laws, attempts to purge voter rolls and restricted early voting were legitimate efforts to stop fraud or mainly Republican strategies to hold down Democratic votes. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., and former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, a onetime Republican who recently turned Democrat, said the state GOP aimed its efforts at Hispanics and African-Americans. They cited as one example the elimination of early voting on the Sunday before the election, when members of those groups historically vote after church.

Colorado: Death threats made against the Colorado Secretary of State |

On Aug. 28, the day Ann Romney spoke at the GOP convention in Tampa, a disturbing phone call came into the Secretary of State’s Office in Denver. Gessler’s office was flooded with phone calls after he publicly announced a plan to identify illegal immigrants who are voting in Colorado. Gessler was at the convention in Florida when he learned of a threatening call, described in a newly released report from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Read the full CBI report

Florida: Charlie Crist trashes Gov. Rick Scott in Senate hearing over bad voting ‘joke’ |

In a prelude to a long and bitter campaign, former Gov. Charlie Crist pointedly criticized Gov. Rick Scott during a U.S. Senate hearing Wednesday over an elections law that led to voting troubles and helped turn Florida into a “late-night TV joke.” Crist’s Senate Judiciary Committee testimony came just hours after a new poll showed he’s more popular than the current governor, who is preparing to face his predecessor on the 2014 ballot. Before and since Election Day, Scott has been under fire for an elections law he signed that cut back the days of in-person early voting and increased the size of voters’ ballots, which led to embarrassingly long lines.

Florida: Former Governor Urges Congress to Consider New National Voting Standards | The BLT

Former Florida Governor Charles Crist Jr. on Wednesday urged Congress to consider new national standards to make voting easier and more accessible. Speaking at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on voting rights, Crist, who was a Republican when he was governor from 2007 to 2011 and is now a Democrat, said senators should “think long and hard” about national standards that include a “lengthy” window for in-person early voting, and other “common sense provisions.” In Florida, many people who wanted to vote early during 2012 election had to wait in lines for hours, making the state “a late-night TV joke,” he said. “I think that what all of us want are free, open and fair elections for everyone,” Crist said.

Florida: As Charlie Crist testifies before Congress on Florida’s voting problems, Gov. Rick Scott voices support for changes | Tampa Bay Times

Former Gov. Charlie Crist condemned Florida’s election law before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, accusing the Republican-controlled Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott of bringing changes “designed to encourage a certain partisan outcome.” Crist, who registered as a Democrat last week and is a potential rival to Scott in 2014, spoke of “horrifying lines” voters endured and called for a reinstatement of early voting days that were cut before the election. But a couple of hours before the hearing, Scott himself was calling for change, saying on CNN that supervisors of election need flexibility on the size of polling locations and that early voting could be expanded.

Florida: St. Lucie elections office plans personnel changes after visit from Florida Secretary of State |

Florida’s top elections official said he expects changes in the St. Lucie County elections office, and Supervisor of Elections Gertrude Walker confirmed Tuesday personnel moves are on the way. Walker reassured her plans won’t cost anyone a job, however. “We’re rearranging, that’s all,” Walker said Tuesday. “Nobody is going to be going anywhere.” Walker said she’ll be reassigning responsibilities in her office after Secretary of State Ken Detzner visited last week to discuss election woes. The changes will be specific to information technology and how votes are tabulated. They also will address redundancies, Walker said.

Pennsylvania: Philadelphia, State officials differ on whether computer glitch caused Election Day problem | NewsWorks

On Election Day, there were widespread reports of registered voters showing up at polling places and being told they weren’t on the rolls. They were allowed to cast paper ballots, which could be counted once their registration status was verified. A record 27,000 provisional ballots were cast in Philadelphia this November. A new review by City Commissioner Stephanie Singer concludes that 5,000 duly registered citizens didn’t appear on the voter rolls because of a “software malfunction” in the Pennsylvania-run voter registry. But Singer said those provisional votes were cast and counted.

South Carolina: Richland County leaders ready to see a change at the Election Commission |

One day after Richland County election commission board chair Liz Crum stepped down, county leaders are still looking for change. Members of the delegation that appointed election commission director Lillian McBride say she should follow suit after a reviewing a report about the elections failures. “We really have no other option but to replace the executive director, that’s really the only way publics confidence in this whole process will ever be restored”, said Senator Joel Lourie.

South Carolina: Richland’s fiasco has South Carolina lawmakers pushing to put state in charge of elections |

Dueling, partisan bills were filed Tuesday at the State House to change the way elections are run across South Carolina. The proposals are the first statewide ripple effect from Richland County’s election meltdown that outraged thousands, disenfranchised uncounted would-be voters and held no one accountable six weeks after the fiasco. Bills sponsored by Democrats call for stripping local election boards of their power and centralizing control in the State Election Commission. The state agency also would set statewide standards for qualifications of local election directors, mandate their training and generally transfer supervision away from all 46 counties.

Wisconsin: GAB: Four state agencies could be sued if same day voter registration dropped | WSAU

Four state agencies which give out public benefits could be sued if Wisconsin drops Election Day voter registration. Government Accountability Board attorney Mike Haas told the panel Tuesday the departments of Transportation, Health Services, Children and Families, and Workforce Development would probably face lawsuits at some time. That’s because they would be required to carry out the federal Motor Voter act, from which the Badger State is currently exempt because it has same-day registration.

Egypt: Top election official resigns ahead of vote on Egypt draft constitution | CTV News

One of the top officials in charge of overseeing Egypt’s vote on a contentious Islamist-backed draft constitution resigned Wednesday, citing health problems, a judicial official said, in what critics saw as another blow to the legitimacy of the process. The resignation comes amid allegations of vote irregularities and follows boycotts of the referendum judges and others leaving the voting process with a severe shortage of monitors to oversee it. Secretary General of the Election Committee Zaghloul el-Balshi attributed his resignation to “a sudden health crisis,” according to a copy of a letter he sent to the committee that was published by several Egyptian dailies including the privately owned el-Watan. The official confirmed the authenticity of the letter. Relatives told local Egyptian media that el-Balshi has undergone eye surgery.

Ghana: NPP urges Electoral Commission to clarify the status of biometric machines used in Ghana presidential election |

The General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has called on the Electoral Commission in Ghana to clarify the status of all biometric verification machines used in the country’s latest election, earlier this month. General Secretary Kwado Owusu Afriyie has made these calls, as reports of District Returning Officers allege that they had received instructions to reset biometric machines to zero verification at the polling stations, Joy Online reports. The National Democratic Congress (NDC) party’s John Dramani Mahama has won the election with 50.7% of the vote, narrowly defeating the NPP’s Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo who held 47.74% of the vote.

South Korea: Park Geun-hye, South Korean President-Elect, Calls for Reconciliation |

South Korea’s president-elect, Park Geun-hye, called for national reconciliationon Thursday and met with foreign envoys in Seoul, a day after she was elected the country’s first female leader in a close contest that reflected generational and regional divides and growing unease over North Korea’s military threat. Ms. Park, 60, the daughter of South Korea’s longest-ruling dictator, won 51.6 percent of the votes cast on Wednesday to choose a successor to President Lee Myung-bak, who was barred by law from seeking a second term. “I will reflect various opinions of the people, whether they have supported or opposed me,” Ms. Park said in a speech Thursday. She pledged “impartiality,” “national harmony” and “reconciliation,” saying she would bring people into her government “regardless of their regional background, gender and generation.”

Florida: Governor Rick Scott admits voting errors | Pensacola News Journal

Acknowledging the debacle in counting all the votes in Florida election day, Gov. Rick Scott said the state must consider adding early voting days and shortening the ballot to avoid the long lines that plagued elections in some counties this year. Scott suggested in interviews Wednesday aired on CNN and WNDB radio in Daytona Beach that local supervisors of elections should have more flexibility on polling locations in order to allow for more voting machines where they’re needed. But the most surprising thing the Republican governor suggested may be that he and GOP legislators may have erred in reducing the number of early voting days from 14 to eight for the 2012 elections.

Michigan: Snyder signs bills to overhaul recall rules despite opposition from Senate minority leader | The Detroit News

Without ceremony, Gov. Rick Snyder signed two bills Thursday that make sweeping changes to the process for recalling an elected official. Critics say the bills could make it nearly impossible to recall a state senator or representative by limiting signature gathering to 60 days — instead of the current 90-day window — and limiting recalls to May and November election dates. The legislation changes the dynamic of a recall election by requiring a challenger to run in the recall race against the elected official who is being recalled instead of holding a referendum on the incumbent. One of the bills creates a process for a special primary election to nominate a recall challenger. Governors, however, would still be subject to a yes-or-no recall vote, as stipulated in the state constitution.

Pennsylvania: Philadelphia City Commissioner Singer Releases Provisional Ballot Report | Philadelphia Weekly

Philadelphia City Commissioner Stephanie Singer recently released a report which attempts to provide details as to why 27 thousand Philadelphians had to cast provisional ballots during this past November election. The report, conducted without the input of City Commissioner Co-chairs Al Schmidt and Anthony Clark, concludes that number “is not out of line with the general trend since provisional ballots were first introduced in 2004,” though details the reasons why provisional ballots were cast and what can be done to help fix the system. (Read the whole report here)