National: Parties at odds over more election changes | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

On election night, President Barack Obama thanked voters who braved long lines at polling places throughout the country. People waited as long as seven hours in some precincts in Florida, with some still waiting to cast a ballot long past midnight. In other states, such as Virginia and Maryland, lines also stretched into hours. “By the way, we have to fix that,” Mr. Obama said. But with the presidential election over, comprehensive overhauls to the patchwork of state election laws remain a distant goal. More than a decade after the 2000 Florida vote-count debacle, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee last week spotlighted complaints about the casting and counting of votes that persist despite a package of post-2000 adjustments.

Voting Blogs: Statewide Recounts Remain Scarce: Zero in 2012 | FairVote

There were no statewide election recounts in 2012. This is particularly noteworthy, considering the fact 419 statewide elections took place this year. In this post-Florida 2000 political landscape, the specter of recounts continues to loom large and you will even read thoughtful people suggesting that the possibility of a recount is enough to oppose a having one-person, one-vote elections for president by national popular vote. However, when we step back and take a close look at the numbers, it becomes clear that chance of actually having to perform a recount is relatively remote. Indeed, from 2000 to 2012, 99.457% of statewide elections have been successfully held without recounts – and recounts take place consistently show minuscule changes in victory margin.

Voting Blogs: The Year in Recalls – 168 recalls in 2012; 509 petitions taken out | The Recall Elections Blog

As it is this blog’s second year, we are now looking at our second recap, and the number are pretty impressive. In 2012, there were at least 168 recalls in 93 different jurisdictions. Here’s my article in The Week examining the phenomena. This is an increase from last year, when there were 151 recalls. This year, I also compiled a list of how many times recall petitions were reported to have been taken out — 509 times. There were also numerous reported recall threats, but I never saw a follow-through, so I didn’t include those. I should point out that I am fairly certain that there are almost certainly recalls that I missed, so the 168/509 numbers should be seen as a floor, rather than a ceiling.

California: More young voters register unaffiliated | SFGate

Young adults in California flexed their muscle in the voting booth in 2012, registering in record numbers and increasingly choosing “no party preference” to the two major political parties, a new study shows. The study by the UC Davis Center for Regional Change and the California Civic Engagement Project also showed that Democrats reaped big numbers this year among voters 18 to 24 with the start of online voter registration – a trend that could shape future elections and campaigns.

Florida: Three-step election reform |

Here is what Gov. Rick Scott recently said, during an interview with CNN about Florida’s elections: “We need to have bipartisan legislation that deals with three issues. One, the length of our ballot. Two, we’ve got to allow our supervisors more flexibility in the size of their polling locations and, three, the number of days we have. We’ve got to look back at the number of days of early voting we had.” We couldn’t have said it better. In fact, Herald-Tribune editorials focused on the 2012 general election have emphasized those same three points.

Editorials: Florida Election Reform: Ballot, Polls, Duration |

Gov. Rick Scott told CNN the following Dec. 19 about Florida’s elections: “We need to have bipartisan legislation that deals with three issues. One, the length of our ballot. Two, we’ve got to allow our supervisors more flexibility in the size of their polling locations and, three, the number of days we have. We’ve got to look back at the number of days of early voting we had.” Scott is right, although many have made the same points in recent months.

Editorials: End the war on voter fraud | Tampa Bay Times

Here is the great irony of increased voting options in Florida: Cast either a mail-in ballot or a provisional ballot at the polls, and you increase the chance your vote won’t count. That’s because poorly crafted regulations intended to thwart fraud, which is no discernible threat, can end up disenfranchising legal voters. The Republican-led Legislature helped create this mess, and now it needs to adopt some simple fixes.

Hawaii: Lt. Gov. Schatz named to Inouye’s seat | The Hill

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) chose Hawaii Lieutenant Gov. Brian Schatz (D) to fill the seat left open by the death of longtime Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), deciding against  Inouye’s deathbed wish that Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii) succeed him. The move comes as a surprise — most expected Abercrombie to honor Inouye’s wish, delivered in a letter to the governor on the day of his death earlier this month. Abercrombie chose Schatz over Hanabusa and former congressional candidate Esther Kia’aina (D), the options presented to him by the state Democratic committee.

Iowa: Felons to have easier time getting voting rights restored in Iowa | TheGazette

Gov. Terry Branstad said Friday he has agreed to streamline the application for convicted felons who seek to have their voting rights restored. In response to concerns raised last month by leaders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Branstad said the application now has simplified instructions, removes the requirement for a credit history check for the voting application, and provides a more detailed “checklist of materials” to help applicants turn in a completed application.

Editorials: Answering South Carolina’s Voting Question |

Coming in 2014 to a theater near you, a hard look at the vulnerabilities and the issues of electronic voting in our nation. At least, first-time documentarian Jason Grant Smith hopes his film will be in theaters then. Even if it’s not, the issue will still likely be apt. Intrigued by the lack of rational explanations for the 2010 primary election win of U.S. Senate candidate Alvin Greene in South Carolina, Smith embarked upon a journey shortly afterward into what he called “the byzantine rabbit hole of election administration in the United States.”

Texas: Days before hearing over Dallas’ newly drawn city council map, plaintiffs drop their federal redistricting suit | Dallas Morning News

On Friday, the federal lawsuit over the Dallas’ city council district map died a quiet death. According to a single-page filing, plaintiffs Renato de los Santos and Hilda Ramirez Duarte — who claimed in a July lawsuit that the recently redrawn council map discriminates against the city’s Latinos by diluting their voting strength — said they “no longer wish to pursue their claims” against the city. Their attorneys, and those representing the city of Dallas, have signed off on the Stipulation of Dismissal with Prejudice, which means the case can’t be refiled. And so, just like that, what had been expected to be a contentious, drawn-out and expensive battle over the city’s district boundaries is no more.

Pennsylvania: Republicans look to alter state’s electoral vote system | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

One year after requiring voters to show photo identification, state Republican leaders are set in 2013 to consider changing Pennsylvania’s nearly two-century-old method of awarding its presidential votes. As with voter ID, the proposal is being met with howls of protest from Democrats. Like 48 other states, Pennsylvania uses a winner-take-all system with its electoral votes: when Barack Obama won 52 percent of the state’s vote on Nov. 6 to Mitt Romney’s 47 percent, he bagged all 20 of them. A measure from state Sen. Dominic Pileggi, R-Delaware County, would instead award 18 of them according to the popular vote breakdown and give two others to the state’s overall winner.

US Virgin Islands: 5 losing candidates ask judge to stop swearing-in | Virgin Islands Daily News

Five unsuccessful candidates from the 2012 election are asking a federal judge to halt the swearing-in of the territory’s newest elected officials, claiming irregularities in the election cycle prevented a fair vote. In an amended complaint filed Dec. 21, Senatorial candidate Lawrence Olive, Senate At-large candidate Wilma Marsh-Monsanto, Delegate to Congress candidate Norma Pickard-Samuel and Board of Elections candidates Harriet Mercer and Diane Magras are seeking a temporary restraining order to prevent the January swearing-in ceremony.

Wisconsin: Walker open to changing state’s Electoral College allocations | Journal Sentinel

Gov. Scott Walker is open to having Wisconsin allocate its Electoral College votes based on results from each congressional district – a move that would offer Republicans a chance to score at least a partial victory in a state that has gone Democratic in the last seven presidential elections. The idea is being considered in other battleground states that have tipped toward Democrats as Republicans try to develop a national plan to capture the presidency in future years. The GOP governor said he found the notion intriguing but neither embraced it nor rejected it. “To me, it’s an interesting concept, it’s a plausible concept, but it’s not one where I’m convinced either of its merits or lack thereof,” he said in a recent interview at the governor’s mansion in Maple Bluff. Democrats promised to fight such a change, saying they viewed it as a way for Republicans to try to rig elections to their advantage.

Editorials: Bulgaria makes its choices | The Sofia Globe

There are to be two defining political events in Bulgaria that may be predicted in the coming year – the January 27 referendum on nuclear power and the mid-year national parliamentary elections; as to everything else, as is always the case with politics, that is unpredictable. Albeit at a long remove, the referendum will be a test for the government, after the strange saga of on-again, off-again twists and turns in the question about building the long-planned nuclear power station at Belene.

Italy: Mario Monti will not stand in election, but is open to offers for leadership |

After keeping Italians, and the rest of Europe, in suspense for weeks, caretaker premier Mario Monti yesterday ruled out running in February’s elections but said he would consider leading the next government if political forces sharing his reform-focused economic agenda requested it. The decision positions Mr Monti to take the helm again without having to get involved directly in campaigning – preserving his image as someone above the political fray who can make tough decisions imposing austerity measures.

Editorials: Jordan’s electoral system needs reform | Al Arabiya

Jordan’s registration results at the Independent Elections Commission show that 61 parties and lists featuring 824 candidates (among them only 88 women) will be competing for 27 national seats of the 150-seat expanded 17th Parliament, while 698 candidates (among them 196 women) will compete for the remaining 123 local seats. While it will take years to reach the ideal of three major parties, the closed lists introduced a system whereby politicians (and tribal leaders) should have been able to create alliances and coalitions to win nationwide seats. The system, however, needs major corrective steps (as well as time) if a fiasco is to be avoided.

Philippines: CBCP to push probe of voting machines | Inquirer News

The president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) believes the computerized voting machines successfully used in the 2010 elections are flawed and he wants them thoroughly examined before these are used in next year’s midterm elections. Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma’s doubts about the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines echo those of Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, who has been saying for some time that the voting machines are not perfect.