Arizona: Can Arizona Make You Show Your Birth Certificate to Vote? The state’s voter ID requirement goes to the Supreme Court on Monday | Slate Magazine

You’ve probably heard that the Supreme Court may be on the verge of striking down an integral part of the Voting Rights Act. That case, however, is not the only chance that the highest court will have this term to affect voting rights around the country. On Monday, the justices will hear oral arguments in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc., a case that concerns Arizona’s power to impose its own conditions on top of the federal rules for voter registration. The case began as a challenge to Proposition 200, an initiative passed by Arizona voters in 2004 that requires voters to prove that they are U.S. citizens by showing a birth certificate, passport, driver’s license, naturalization certificate, or tribal document before registering and also to show identification when casting their ballots. Under the law, state election officials must reject any voter registration forms not accompanied by sufficient evidence of citizenship—even the federal form produced by Congress under the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), which doesn’t generally require the documents Arizona does.

National: How voter ID kept minority youths from the polls in 2012 | MSNBC

Voter ID laws had a disproportionate impact on minority youth voters last November, even in states without the restrictive laws.
“The very existence of identification laws makes young people of color more likely than white youth to be asked to prove their identity,” said Dr. Cathy Cohen, a researcher at the University of Chicago. Her findings showed that young minority voters (under 30-years-old) were more likely to be asked for identification, even in states without ID requirements. Nearly two-thirds of black youth report they were asked for ID in states without voter ID laws, and a little more than half of young Latino voters reported being asked. Meanwhile only 42.8% of white youth said that they were asked for ID. In voter ID states, the application of the law was more even, but white youth voters were asked for identification less often than African American youths (84.3% of the time for whites compared to 94.3% for African- Americans).

Arkansas: Voter ID measure advances in Arkansas State House | Reuters

Arkansas lawmakers, following the lead of other legislators across the country, approved a measure on Wednesday to require voters to show photo identification before they can cast a ballot. The measure passed on a 51-44 vote in the Republican-controlled state House with support from one Democrat. It now returns to the Senate, which approved a similar measure, for a vote on an amendment. Democratic Governor Mike Beebe has not said whether he would sign the bill into law and have Arkansas join the nearly three dozen states that have similar laws on the books, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Legal challenges to those laws are pending in several states where the measures have passed.

Florida: Legislature tries fixing loophole preventing some servicemembers from voting |

Following a 10 News Investigators report that drew national headlines, lawmakers in the state capital are trying to close a legal loophole that prevented dozens of active servicemembers from casting votes last fall. In November, 10 News reported how routine maintenance of the voting rolls was removing servicemembers overseas. Because many of the voters hadn’t cast a ballot or been in contact with supervisor of elections offices in four years, they were un-enrolled, as required by the law, which is designed to prevent voter fraud. But if a military veteran requests a mail ballot prior to the election and discovers he or she has been removed from the rolls, the person is allowed to re-enroll up to five days before election day.

Indiana: Threat to early voting neutralized for now as amendments pulled | RTV6

A threat to voters casting ballots before Election Day has been averted at the Statehouse, but the fight might not be over. Currently in Indiana, voters can cast ballots at their county clerk’s office up to 29 days before an election, even in counties that don’t allow satellite voting. But a pair of amendments that were prepared for a vote Monday but then withdrawn could have reduced that to just 10 days. Last year, nearly 40,000 people voted early in Marion County. People who do so say they like it because it’s convenient, it doesn’t interrupt their job schedules and it eliminates the possibility that a last-minute problem might cost them their vote.

Iowa: Voter photo ID bill offers compromise |

A proposal to require Iowa voters to show a photo ID at the polls has become a hot-button issue. Supporters argue it’s necessary to eliminate voting fraud. Opponents say it would hurt certain groups, like the elderly, who may no longer have a photo ID such as a driver’s license. A bill that just passed out of a House committee could be a compromise of sorts. The bill, HF 485, would allow residents in health care facilities and hospitals who can’t provide a photo ID to sign an affidavit to that effect and have a witness verifying the voter’s identity. “You can sign an affidavit indicating that you don’t have proof of ID and someone who knows you can sign it also,” said Rep. Mary Ann Hanusa, R-Council Bluffs. “It requires a witness.” The bill was recently approved by the House State Government Committee on a party-line vote and is now eligible for floor debate.

New Mexico: Secretary of State opposes bill that would streamline voting process | Santa Fe Reporter

… State Rep. Nate Cote, D-Doña Ana … has a package of bills designed to prevent such a catastrophe in the future. Yet one is being opposed by the very official who oversees New Mexico’s elections, Secretary of State Dianna Duran. Duran, who served as Otero County clerk from 1989 to 1993, has connections to the same office that critics blame for the Chaparral fiasco. “Let’s face it, that’s where the Secretary of State comes from,” Cote says. (Duran did not respond to SFR’s request for comment.) One of Cote’s bills would require an early voting site within 50 miles of population areas representing at least 1,500 registered voters. (Last election, the closest early voting site for Otero County Chaparral residents was in Alamogordo, roughly 85 miles away.) A second bill would establish stricter guidelines for voting center staff and resources on Election Day. Duran’s office has neither endorsed nor opposed the latter bill, but Guerra says it’s unnecessary because she’s already planning to add more staff for upcoming elections. Duran’s office does oppose the early voting bill, arguing that the Chaparral mess happened because two voting precincts were represented by one election board and one polling place.

North Carolina: A voter ID battle in North Carolina | Washington Post

Elections have consequences. In North Carolina, which elected Republican Gov. Pat McCrory and a GOP super-majority in both the state House and Senate in 2012, legislation to institute photo identification as a prerequisite for voting is again on the table. In 2011, a bill requiring voters to present government-issued photo identification made it to the desk of Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue, who vetoed it, saying it would “unnecessarily and unfairly disenfranchise many eligible and legitimate voters.” Back then, the legislature did not have the numbers to override her veto. That’s changed. As public hearings on the bill began Tuesday in Raleigh, an eventual bill seems inevitable. There are, however, complications that have state Republicans treading carefully as they look to change voting rules with an eye on the state’s future — and their own. North Carolina has trended purple in recent elections. President Obama narrowly won in 2008 and lost by just two percentage points in 2012. In U.S. House races, though Republicans picked up seats, largely through redistricting, Democratic candidates actually won 51 percent of the vote.

North Carolina: Voter ID proposal brings out opponents and advocates |

The politically volatile issue of whether North Carolina should require voters to have photo identification brought an overflow crowd and emotional testimony to the legislature Tuesday. At a public hearing conducted by the House Elections Committee, nearly 100 people argued over whether such a step would ensure election integrity or was an effort to disenfranchise voters. The majority of speakers criticized the proposal, arguing there was little voter fraud in the state and that requiring photos would be an obstacle to voting for those without driver’s licenses. They also argued it would cost the state money. “As many as 1 in 10 voters may not have a valid, state-issued photo ID,” said Sarah Preston, policy director for the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. “That is 600,000 North Carolinians who could be prevented from voting under a strict photo ID law.”

North Carolina: Supporters, opponents of voter ID law cite data to back up their position | NewsObserver

Lawmakers heard from election experts Wednesday who said there was little evidence of voter fraud in North Carolina, but that voter ID laws in other states had not led to voter suppression as critics have predicted. Of the 21 million votes cast in North Carolina since 2000, the State Board of Elections only turned over one case of voter impersonation for prosecution – the sort of fraud that requiring a photo ID is designed to stop. “Voter fraud is rare and cases of voter impersonation even more uncommon,” Keesha Gaskins, senior counsel for the Brennan Center for Justice, a New York think tank that has opposed voter ID laws, told a House committee considering legislation to require a photo voter ID. “There is no evidence of coordinated or systemic voter fraud anywhere in the country and there is certainly no evidence here in North Carolina,” Gaskins said. “A voter ID law would not improve North Carolina’s elections, but what we do know is that many North Carolina voters lack the kind of identification required by such a law.”

North Carolina: The slow, painful road to voter ID | IndyWeek

Let the perfunctory public hearings begin. On Tuesday, lawmakers in Raleigh listened to more than 100 speakers debate the pros and cons of a law that would require North Carolinians to produce a photo ID on Election Day. Detractors say that requiring an ID to vote will disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of low-income, minority and elderly voters. But supporters of the measure say that producing an identification card is commonplace in today’s society and should be required at the polls. Some have even suggested that voter fraud is a widespread problem, but little evidence has directly backed up that claim.

Virginia: Advocacy groups urge McDonnell to veto voter ID bills | Augusta Free Press

The ACLU of Virginia and more than a dozen other groups concerned about voting rights today sent a letter to Governor Bob McDonnell urging him to veto legislation that imposes stricter identification requirements at the polls, which the groups expect will limit eligible voters’ access on Election Day. “We all agree that the integrity of our electoral process is paramount,” said ACLU of Virginia Executive Director Claire Guthrie Gastañaga.  “And part of maintaining the integrity of the process is ensuring that no eligible voter is denied the right to vote.” “Last year, Virginia changed its voter ID laws and spent $2 million in taxpayer dollars to issue new voter registration cards and launch a voter education campaign,” added Gastañaga.  “Now, following an election with long lines but no instances of fraud, we are looking at legislation that imposes even stricter ID requirements that are unnecessary and will be burdensome, particularly for voters who are elderly, racial and ethnic minorities, students, persons with disabilities, and low-income.”

Wisconsin: New court filing: Documents were deleted from GOP redistricting computers | Journal Sentinel

Documents were deleted from state redistricting computers last year even after a lawyer for the Legislature told lawmakers’ aides to preserve all records on the computers, according to documents filed Wednesday in federal court. Nine hard drives were recently given to groups suing the state because of questions about whether legislators and their attorneys had turned over all the documents they had been ordered to provide. One of the nine hard drives was unreadable and the outside of it was dented and scratched, which suggested its metal housing had been removed, according to affidavits in the case. In addition, some of the hard drives had a program installed on them that could remove electronic data and hide the fact that files had been deleted, according to the filing. So far, however, a computer expert has not been able to determine if the program was actually used. A lawyer representing the law firm that helped lawmakers with redistricting called the new allegations premature and unproven. Left unanswered so far is who was responsible for the deletion of any documents. The technician reviewing the computers hopes to recover at least some documents.

Canada: Internet voting kiboshed in Airdrie | Local | News | Airdrie Echo

It turns out Airdronians won’t be able to vote online in this year’s municipal election. On Monday, Alberta’s Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths sent word that Internet voting for municipal elections would not be held in Alberta. At least for now. Mayor Peter Brown was notified by Griffiths’ office Monday night that they were pulling the plug on the possibility of allowing municipalities like Airdrie to offer online voting in the 2013 municipal elections. Airdrie city council recently voted to use online voting if it was an option this year. Larger municipalities and their councils, like Edmonton and St. Albert, had scrapped plans to offer Internet voting overwhelmingly, citing high costs and possible fraudulent activity as key concerns during trial runs. “Since we don’t have proven technology yet and there isn’t confidence in the system, we won’t be proceeding,” Griffiths said in an interview with the Echo. “(Voting) is the most important franchise right that any citizen has and you have to make sure it’s never abused.”

Egypt: Morsi’s government appeals vote suspension | The Washington Post

A government legal agency representing Egypt’s Islamist President Mohammed Morsi appealed on Wednesday the court-ordered suspension of a controversial parliamentary election, a judicial official said. But Morsi’s office, which had earlier indicated that it would not appeal, immediately distanced itself from the move. An official said that there was “no going back” on the elections suspension. The elections, coming amid a surge of protests, strikes, and economic shortages, are the latest focus in Egypt’s long-running political conflict. The Brotherhood hopes elections will provide some legitimacy to Morsi’s embattled government. But Morsi’s government is also keen to show that it is not in conflict with the judiciary, a body with which he has clashed several times since he came to power last year. The opposition has meanwhile called for a boycott of the vote, expressing concern they may be fraudulent.

Venezuela: Government Cracks Down on Opposition Tweets as Election Heats Up | Bloomberg

Venezuela’s government is monitoring social networking websites for messages from the opposition that might destabilize the country in the run-up to next month’s election pitting Hugo Chavez’s handpicked successor against the socialist leader’s former rival. Authorities today arrested a computer technician for allegedly sending “inappropriate” and “destabilizing” messages from a hacked account, Interior and Justice Minister Nestor Reverol said on state-owned television. He didn’t provide details of the messages. “We are going to be very watchful,” Reverol said. “We won’t permit one millimeter of destabilization.”

Zimbabwe: Election body won’t ease group’s monitor ban, Mugabe party probes cheap radio imports | The Washington Post

Zimbabwe’s official election body said Wednesday it will not back down on its ban preventing a leading human rights group from monitoring a referendum Saturday on a new constitution. Zimbabwe Human Rights Association is facing charges related to alleged electoral offenses and will not be cleared to observe the referendum, said the election commission’s acting head Joyce Kazembe. Officials with the group, also known as ZimRights, have been accused of the illegal possession of voter registration forms and fraud in obtaining them. The group denies any wrongdoing. Most independent civic groups say they will boycott vote monitoring Saturday if any activists are barred access to observe polling. Police loyal to President Robert Mugabe have intensified raids and arrests targeting activist groups in recent weeks and have seized from offices documents and equipment, including cheap radio receivers that can tune in to stations not controlled by Mugabe’s local broadcasting monopoly.