National: E-Voting Snafu Pushes Back Oscar Nomination Deadline |

This year, Oscar voters are getting a deadline extension, giving members an extra day to vote on the nominees for this year’s Academy Awards after technical issues plagued the first attempt by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to allow online voting. The Academy announced in early 2012 that it would be making e-voting available to members, and as is often then case in the move from analog to digital, the transition to the new voting platform hasn’t been without hiccups. In a recent Hollywood Reporter analysis, many Academy voters complained of issues with logging in to the voting site — something an Academy representative attributed to voters “forgetting or misusing passwords”  – difficulty navigating the site once they were logged in, and even the potential for hackers to infiltrate the website and influence the vote.

Florida: Republicans rethinking election law |

In the wake of Florida’s Nov. 6 election fiasco, Republican state legislators and Gov. Rick Scott acknowledge the massive election reform law they passed amid partisan controversy two years ago needs to be revised. Scott, who signed the new rules into law and initially defended the conduct of the Nov. 6 voting, has since said Floridians “are frustrated” and the state needs “bipartisan legislation … to restore confidence in our elections.” Republican legislative leaders who solidly backed the election reform bill two years ago now say it needs revisiting. “The only 10 laws that were divinely inspired and could never need any amendment came down from the mountain with Moses,” said state Senate President Don Gaetz, a Niceville Republican.

Michigan: Voters must affirm citizenship on ballot application under bill signed by Snyder | Detroit Free Press

Voters won’t have to check a box affirming that they’re U.S. citizens when they go to vote in the future. But there will be a sentence on ballot applications affirming U.S. citizenship that every voter will have to sign before they get a ballot. After vetoing similar legislation in July, Gov. Rick Snyder signed a bill late Friday that requires the citizenship affirmation to be included on ballot applications. The amendment was included in a separate bill at about 2:30 a.m. on Dec. 14 in the final hours of legislature’s lame duck session.

New Hampshire: Conservative Group Attempts To Block New Hampshire’s Bailout From Voting Rights Act | Huffington Post

The state of New Hampshire and the Justice Department agree that the state shouldn’t have to seek permission from the federal government before making changes to its voting laws. But a conservative group that doesn’t think any state should be subject to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which requires certain jurisdictions to pre-clear any such changes, is trying to block New Hampshire’s so-called bailout, alleging it’s all part of a scheme to trick the Supreme Court. The Center for Individual Rights filed a motion to intervene in a federal lawsuit last month to attempt to block New Hampshire from getting out of Section 5, alleging the 10 New Hampshire towns or townships covered by the provision aren’t entitled to a bailout under the law.

New Jersey: Democrats hit with $42,000 fine for robo calls in ’09 governor’s race |

The New Jersey Democratic Party has paid more than $42,000 to settle allegations that it improperly spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a series of controversial automated campaign calls meant to pull support from Chris Christie in his 2009 campaign against former Gov. Jon Corzine. The party had faced more than $200,000 in fines stemming from the six in-kind contributions, which totaled $227,120.64, most of which were used to pay for automated phone calls, known as robo calls, that supported third-party candidate Chris Daggett, who was seen as drawing votes away from Christie.

New Mexico: Two lawmakers drop voter ID bills | The Deming Headlight

Two New Mexico legislators are dropping their attempts to require photo identification or a Social Security number to vote.
Republican Reps. Dianne Hamilton and Cathrynn Brown said it would be futile to introduce any voter identification bills because Democrats have strengthened their hold on the state House of Representatives. “We don’t have the votes to pass anything,” said Brown, a second-term lawmaker from Carlsbad. She introduced bills in each of the last two years that would have required government-issued photo identification to vote. Both failed.

New York: Cecilia Tkaczyk not giving up election fight in NY 46 Senate District |

Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk has appealed “hyper-technical mistakes” that invalidated more than 300 paper ballots cast in the race for the state’s 46th Senate District seat, her attorney said on Friday. Republican candidate George Amedore was expected to file a response to his opponent’s appeal by 4 p.m. Friday, but Amedore’s spokesman could not be reached for confirmation of that. Acting state Supreme Court Justice Guy Tomlinson on Dec. 18 certified Amedore the winner of the 46th Senate District race by a margin of just 37 votes, 63,141 to 63,104. The ruling was made public the following day, at which point Tkaczyk’s campaign indicated she would file an appeal. That appeal was filed Wednesday with the state Supreme Court Appellate Division, Third Department.

New York: Early Voting Option for New York State? |

Back in 2010 voters saw a major change as voting machines went from the lever over to the scanner. And now in Albany as we approach a new year, State Assembly Democrats including Speaker Sheldon Silver are talking about voting for another change in the way we run our elections. “Early voting” would start two weeks before the designated Election Day. That is similar to what Ohio, Florida, and other states now allow.

Australia: Swan on the attack over compulsory voting rethink | ABC News

Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan says the Queensland Government wants to scrap compulsory voting in order to stifle debate on public service job cuts. State Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie has released a discussion paper on electoral reforms, including making voting at state elections voluntary. Australia is one of only around 20 democracies where voting is compulsory. Mr Swan says the “absolutely stunning” proposal is aimed at stopping voters having a say on the state’s decision to cut around 14,000 public service jobs.

Cyprus: Last-minute dash to register for elections | Cyprus Mail

Hundreds of Cypriots made last minute applications yesterday to become eligible to vote in next month’s presidential elections.
According to head of the Interior Ministry’s Electoral Service, Demetris Demetriou, the number of people who registered on the electoral roll in the last five days equalled the tally collected for the last three months. The Electoral Service, District Offices, and Citizen’s Service Centres around the island closed their doors at 5pm yesterday to those eligible voters wishing to add their names to the electoral roll, both domestically and abroad, ahead of the February 17 presidential elections.

Ecuador: President taking leave in re-election bid | Ventura County Star

Ecuador’s Congress voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to grant President Rafael Correa a monthlong leave of absence while he campaigns to be the first Ecuadorean leader in more than a century to hold the presidency for more than a single term. The South American nation limited its presidents to single terms in the 20th century until the charter was changed in 2008 to allow re-election, a move that benefited the populist Correa. Correa said handing his job over to Vice President Lenin Moreno starting Jan. 15 shows how far he’s willing to go to support democracy and avoid abusing his presidential powers ahead of the Feb. 17 vote. “I don’t have to do it, but I prefer to avoid any suspicion,” Correa told Congress.

Jordan: Election season exposes flaws | Al-Arabiya

After months of discussions and debates, the parliamentary election season is finally upon us, and it exposes numerous flaws and weaknesses. Jordanians spent the better part of 2012 arguing about the best elections law for the country. In the aftermath of the Jordanian Arab Spring, many wanted an elections law that can usher in a new, more robust, representative parliamentary government. From the look of things, the 17th Parliament of Jordan will most likely resemble the 16th or the ones before it. A study conducted by Radio Al Balad’s parliamentary reporter Hamzeh Sou’d and investigative journalist Musab Rawashdeh showed that 139 candidates to the 17th Lower House served in earlier parliaments. Of the repeat MPs, 68 served in the 16th Parliament.