National: The GOP’s electoral vote gambit: Reasonably popular, but doomed | Washington Post

Many Americans support the way that Republicans want to adjust how some states award their electoral votes. But that doesn’t mean there’s going to be any new life breathed into the dying effort. A new poll from Quinnipiac University shows that neither awarding electoral votes on a winner-take-all basis to the winner of the statewide vote nor awarding them by congressional district gains majority support. Forty-six percent prefer the winner-take-all method, while 41 percent prefer to do it by congressional district, as Republicans in some key states are proposing. The rest are unsure. But that probably says more about people’s openness to Electoral College reform than it does about how much they like the GOP’s proposal.

National: Teachers Union Pushes Voting Rights, Disclosure Ahead Of State of the Union address | TPM

The largest teachers unions in the country is pushing President Obama to prioritize a number of electoral reforms, from new protections for voters to disclosure requirements, in his State of the Union address next week, suggesting a determination not to be outgunned once again during the upcoming midterm elections. “Reactionary state laws, unequal and unethical administration of voting procedures, and the unfettered access of corporations to influence electoral outcomes has severely damaged our democracy,” wrote NEA president Dennis Van Roekel in a letter Friday to Obama.

Arizona: Bill would bar State secretary from serving on candidate committee | AZ Central

In the last two presidential elections, Arizona’s chief elections officer doubled as the head of one of the presidential nominees’ state campaign committees, raising eyebrows that the dual role could be a conflict of interest. A bill has been introduced in the state Senate that would bar that from happening again. Under the terms of Senate Bill 1335, the Arizona secretary of state could not serve as an officer of any candidate’s campaign committee if that candidate is running in an election the secretary of state would oversee. Sen. Robert Meza, D-Phoenix, the bill’s sponsor, said it’s a way to ensure that election oversight is not biased. It would bring the elections office in line with the same prohibitions that apply to the judiciary: judges can’t serve on a candidate’s committee, he said.

Colorado: Judge denies halting ethics probe of Gessler; appeal coming | The Denver Post

Amid questions over the very meaning of the word “ethics,” a Denver judge on Thursday rejected Secretary of State Scott Gessler’s request to block the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission from investigating his spending of office funds. David Lane, an attorney for Gessler, said the secretary of state would appeal District Judge Herbert Stern’s decision to the Colorado Supreme Court and expected the court to act within a week or so. That appeal could once again halt the ethics commission from releasing the report of its investigation at its Feb. 15 meeting. The commission had planned to release the report at its Monday meeting, but Gessler, a Republican, last week sued the commission and sought a temporary restraining order to halt its investigation and thus prevent release of the report.

Florida: League of Women Voters Wants More Election Changes than Proposed | Sunshine State News

Election reforms proposed by Secretary of State Ken Detzner are an “encouraging” first step, the League of Women Voters of Florida announced Wednesday while putting a number of their own suggestions before legislators. “The League of Women Voters of Florida does not believe that the secretary’s recommendations alone are sufficient to enable Florida to move past the problems that have plagued our democratic process and which were clearly apparent in the most recent general election,” wrote League President Deirdre Macnab to Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, who chairs the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee.

Iowa: New bills in House of Representatives could affect elections | Iowa State Daily

Two Republican-sponsored bills have recently appeared in the Iowa House of Representatives. One would require voters to show a photo ID when voting. The second would eliminate the straight-party voting option from the ballot. Neither bill has made it to the Senate floor yet. “It’s something that may or may not get on the Senate floor in the first place,” said Mack Shelley, professor of political science, about the voter ID bill. The bill would require a state-issued or student ID to vote. This makes it less restrictive than other states’ voter ID laws as student IDs are usually not accepted.

Montana: Online voter registration bill wins committee support | Montana Standard

Montana could make it more convenient, improve accuracy and save money by allowing people to register to vote online, a senator told a committee Wednesday. “This is simply another mechanism to make sure more people have access,” Sen. Dave Wanzenried, D-Missoula, told the Senate State Administration Committee. His Senate Bill 206 would let people register to vote online, provided they have a valid Montana driver’s license or a Montana identification card. People registering online would have to attest the information they are entering is true, agree to use the signature on their Montana driver’s licenses or ID card on file with the state and submit it electronically.

Voting Blogs: Unlikely Challenge: North Carolina Election Challenge Procedures and Write-In Candidates | State of Elections

You can’t beat somebody with nobody”. On Election Day 2012, President Obama was re-elected, and North Carolina elected a Republican Governor for the first time in two decades. But there were thousands of other races further down the ballot, ones that are barely noticed by the public. In one of the most competitive counties in a swing state, on the last race on the ballot, a very odd thing happened. There was an election for an office that no one ran for. This election, for Watauga County Soil and Water Supervisor, had only write-in candidates since no one officially filed to run. Of the 27,764 ballots cast in Watauga County, only 1,839 votedin the race, all write in votes.  The election was won by Chris Stevens, a college student who registered to vote in September in Watauga County. The ineligible candidate discussed by this post, Alan Teitleman,finished fifth.

Pennsylvania: Proposal To Split Pennsylvania’s Electoral Votes Causes Republican Party Rift | CBS Philly

There may be a change in direction on a politically explosive issue — the electoral vote in Pennsylvania. There is a quiet conflict going on, but it is not the usual fight — Republican vs. Democrat. Republican insiders say that there is a rift between the Republican leadership in the Keystone state about powerful Senate President Dominic Pillegi’s plan to enact proportional voting instead of winner take all in Presidential elections.

Tennessee: Sevier County’s voting machines to stay in place for liquor measure | Knoxville News Sentinel

Same issue. Same voting machines. For the second time, the Sevier County Election Commission has effectively decided to retain the current voting machines for a March 14 re-vote on the question of offering liquor by the drink in Pigeon Forge. Commissioner John Huff said Thursday he favors keeping the machines for two reasons. “The people who vote are already familiar with them, and our poll workers are familiar with them,” he said. The March 14 vote was set after a judge voided a Nov. 6 due to ballot errors. Huff said those errors were because of human error, not because of a problem with the machines.

Armenia: Is Election Date a Roll of the Dice? |

With less than ten days to go before Armenia’s February 18 presidential vote, Armenians still do not know for sure when, exactly, the election will take place. The reason is presidential candidate Paruyr Hayrikian, the victim of a January 31 shooting attack. By law, Hayrikian can ask the Constitutional Court to postpone the vote for two weeks to give him time to recover his health; a request he had previously indicated he would make. But on Tuesday, he decided against such a move. Then, late on Thursday, he changed his mind again. At last word, Hayrikian intended to file the request on February 8, but a spokesperson for the Constitutional Court told late in the day that it still had not heard from him. The Court will remain open over the weekend in case Hayrikian stands by his latest decision and requests a delay in the elections.

Canada: St. Albert not likely to pursue Internet voting – City council will probably follow Edmonton’s lead | St. Albert Gazette

Edmonton’s decision not to proceed with an electronic voting pilot project likely means St. Albert will drop the idea as well, but with regrets. On Wednesday Edmonton councillors voted down a proposal to test out Internet voting in the October municipal election. Edmonton had partnered with St. Albert and Strathcona County for the pilot project, which would have offered electors the chance to vote in an advanced poll later this year. Mayor Nolan Crouse conceded that, with Edmonton’s vote, the project is likely doomed in St. Albert as well. “Likely we’re going to follow Edmonton and not pursue it,” Crouse said.

Canada: Airdrie council OK’s online voting system | Calgary Herald

Airdrie city council has approved an online voting system for the upcoming election in October. After the city’s success using an online census in 2010, manager of legislative services for Airdrie, Sharon Polyck, introduced the proposal for online voting last month in hopes the system would provide Airdronians with an alternative voting option. “It provides that convenience to residents and I think with the way things are going here with technology it’s important to our residents,” she said. Edmonton, Strathcona County and St. Albert were all part of the same pilot program as Airdrie, although Airdrie officials decided not to participate in the testing phase. Edmonton’s city council on Wednesday voted against using the online voting system this fall due to concerns such as hacking and voter fraud. But security was not as big an issue for Airdrie officials.

National: U.S. Voting Flaws Are Widespread, Study Shows |

The flaws in the American election system are deep and widespread, extending beyond isolated voting issues in a few locations and flaring up in states rich and poor, according to a major new study from the Pew Charitable Trusts. The group ranked 50 states based on more than 15 criteria, including wait times, lost votes and problems with absentee and provisional ballots, and the order often confounds the conventional wisdom. In 2010, for instance, Mississippi ranked last overall. But it was preceded by two surprises: New York and California. “Poor Southern states perform well, and they perform badly,” said Heather K. Gerken, a law professor at Yale and a Pew adviser. “Rich New England states perform well and badly — mostly badly.”