Arkansas: Senate to take up override of voter ID veto | Assocaited Press

The Arkansas Senate is expected to attempt to override Gov. Mike Beebe’s veto of a bill that would require voters to show photo identification before casting a ballot. Republican Sen. Bryan King is expected to ask the Senate on Wednesday to override Beebe’s veto of his voter ID bill. It takes a simple majority in the House and Senate to override a governor’s veto. If King is successful, the House is expected to vote on an override Thursday.

National: Lawmaker criticizes Obamacare questions on voter registration | Washington Times

A House Republican leader wants the Obama administration to explain why an application to use insurance marketplaces under the health-care law asks people if they would like to register to vote. “While the healthcare portions are lengthy and complex on their own, the draft documents wander into areas outside the Department’s purview and links applications for health insurance subsidies to voter registration,” Rep. Charles W. Boustany Jr., Louisiana Republican, said Monday in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Editorials: America needs the Voting Rights Act | Howard Simon/

The U. S. Supreme Court seems poised to declare Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional. The challenge, filed by Shelby County, Alabama, was invited by signals sent by the Supreme Court in earlier cases. It will be surprising if the decision departs from the Court’s ideological and partisan 5–4 divide. Section 5 requires that 9 states and parts of 7 others — all with a history of discrimination against racial and ethnic minorities — get approval from the Department of Justice or the federal court in Washington before making changes to voting laws or procedures. This “pre-clearance” is designed to ensure that changes do not have a retrogressive impact on the voting rights of minorities. …  The tactics of voter suppression have changed since the enactment of the Voting Rights Act. It is less common that people of color face violence or are murdered when they try to exercise their fundamental rights as a citizen. Instead, bureaucrats purge voter rolls and legislators restrict voter registration activities. … The tactics of voter suppression have changed, but voter suppression has not ended.

Arkansas: Governor rejects voter ID measure |

A bill that would have required voters in Arkansas to produce photo identification before being allowed a ballot was rejected on Monday by the state’s Democratic governor, who said the measure was too expensive and could disenfranchise legal voters.
Gov. Mike Beebe wrote that he thought the bill “unnecessarily restricts and impairs our citizens’ right to vote,” adding the implementation costs would have risen to $300,000. Beebe’s spokesman Matt DeCample said those costs would come in “establishing and distributing a new ID card as required by the law,” adding the state would be prohibited from charging for the new voter identification cards under the proposed legislation.

California: Report shows online registration drive draws broader voter base | UCB News

California’s new online voter-registration system, which premiered last fall, generated some striking results, including that more registrants come from low- and middle-income neighborhoods than expected, says a new University of California, Berkeley, study. Researchers Lisa García Bedolla, a UC Berkeley associate professor of education and of political science, and researcher Véronica N. Velez, a postdoctoral research fellow at UC Berkeley’s Center for Latino Policy Research, just released their report for the center about California’s entry into online voter registration. California opened up its voter registration process last fall, and UC Berkeley researchers have found some interesting results. “Given voters in California are, on average, significantly more affluent than the general population, this study suggests that online voter registration opened up the … process to a wider range of voters in terms of their socioeconomic status,” García Bedolla and Velez reported.

Minnesota: Clerk looks for ‘Plan B’ to fund Minneapolis election | Minnesota Public Radio

A request to boost the budget for this year’s Minneapolis election has received a thumbs-down from the city’s finance department. The City Clerk’s office says it needs an extra $385,000 to run the election, which combines the relatively new ranked-choice voting system with a red-hot mayor’s race. The clerk proposed using unspent money left over from last year’s budget to pay for the added expense. But a list of Finance Department recommendations for allocating those rollover dollars contains no mention of the election request.

Missouri: Senate Bill Would Eliminate Electronic Voting | KMBZ

Electronic voting machines could be on their way out in Missouri. A bill before the Missouri Senate wants to go back to all-paper ballots, with the legislation’s sponsor saying there have seen numerous reports of the machines miscounting and malfunctioning. In Kansas City, Elections Board Director Shelley McThomas says most folks here already vote on paper, but it could mean problems in larger elections. “When we use our satellite absentee voting polls, when we set those up, we always use the touch-screen machines because a voter can come in from any part of the city and vote on that machine,” says McThomas.

Texas: Caucus versus primary: Party leaders consider costs, role of voters in candidate selection | Daily News Journal

The 2014 race for county mayor, sheriff and four other offices will start out with either party primaries offered to all voters or caucuses where a limited number will decide the nominees. To help the county save money during tough economic times in 2010, the Republican and Democratic parties agreed to hold caucuses for mayor, sheriff, trustee, county clerk, register of deeds and Circuit Court clerk. The cost for a countywide primary that would be May 6, 2014, will come to an estimated $110,000 to cover poll workers and voter machine expenses, said Nicole Lester, the administrator who oversees the full-time staff for the Rutherford County Election Commission.

Virginia: Governor signs strict voter ID law | MSNBC

Only a day after Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe’s veto of a strict voter ID law, Virginia’s Republican Governor Bob McDonnell signed into law Tuesday the second major change to voting requirements in just over a year. The bill shrinks the list of acceptable forms of identification a voter can use to cast a ballot starting in 2014. The law eliminates the use of a utility bill, pay stub, bank statement, government check or Social Security card as acceptable identification, leaving only drivers licenses, voter ID cards, student IDs, and concealed handgun permits. Republicans insist the measure will help prevent voter fraud and improve the integrity of election, although according to an exhaustive study from News 21, there has been only one case of voter fraud in Virginia that would have been prevented by an ID requirement since 2000.

Virginia: McDonnell signs bill requiring photo ID for voting | Richmond Times Dispatch

Gov. Bob McDonnell has signed legislation requiring voters to present photo ID at the polls. He will also issue an executive order directing the state Board of Elections to implement a campaign to educate the public on the changes and to help them obtain a photo ID before the 2014 election. The legislation allows for a free photo ID for those who need a valid photo identification. In his executive order, McDonnell says Virginia has “long required” voters to bring valid ID to the polls in order to cast a vote and that federal law has required ID for certain first-time voters in federal elections for almost a decade. “These efforts have made our electoral system less subject to fraud, but we must continue to look for ways to further address any vulnerabilities in our system,” the executive order states.

Bhutan: Bhutan’s Second Trip to the Parliamentary Polls | The Diplomat

Nestled in the eastern Himalayas, Bhutan conjures up images of peace and tranquility. Indeed, it is a country of serene and striking geographic beauty. But this setting brings with it an isolation that kept Bhutan politically sealed off from the rest of the world as an absolute monarchy until 2008, when it became a democracy. Over the next couple of months Bhutan will take steps towards further consolidating its fledgling democracy. Its people will vote first for the National Council (the upper house of parliament) and then the National Assembly (the lower house). This is the second time in their country’s history that the Bhutanese will be voting in parliamentary elections. Voting for the 25-member Council will take place on April 23. While voting dates for the more influential Assembly are yet to be announced, they are expected in June.

Bulgaria: More parties register for Bulgaria’s May 12 early elections | The Sofia Globe

The process of Bulgaria’s Central Election Commission accepting applications by political parties to register to stand in the May 12 ahead-of-term parliamentary elections continued on March 25, with those filing documents including the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) and Volen Siderov’s ultra-nationalists Ataka. “Today is the Annunciation, a nice and bright Christian holiday that always brings hope, so I express hope for our society in the upcoming election,” BSP leader Sergei Stanishev said. He said that the BSP had submitted more than 21 000 signatures in support of its registration, more than three times the number required by statute.

Kenya: Petition challenging Kenyatta’s vote win to be heard | Reuters

Kenya’s Supreme Court hears a petition on Wednesday challenging the victory by Uhuru Kenyatta in this month’s presidential election, a case that will test Kenyan democracy five years after a disputed vote ignited tribal violence. Peaceful voting on March 4 went a long way to restoring Kenya’s reputation as one of Africa’s more stable democracies, reinforced when losing candidate Raila Odinga took his challenge to court rather than letting it play out on the streets. But the final test will come on Saturday, the deadline for the court to announce its ruling after petition hearings on Wednesday and Thursday. That is when the court will decide whether to uphold Kenyatta’s win or order another vote.

Venezuela: Country readies for key post-Chavez election | BBC

As Venezuela prepares for 14 April elections – the first presidential poll without Hugo Chavez’s name on the ballot in almost two decades – the choice for voters appears as stark and as divisive as ever, the BBC’s Will Grant in Caracas reports. While he was alive, very few committed supporters of late President Hugo Chavez would ever openly criticise him. They had no time for opposition arguments about the government’s control of the media and the judiciary, and rejected the idea that Venezuela was living under a dictatorship. Rather, when there were complaints they tended to be over more immediate quality-of-life issues: infrequent rubbish collections or a lack of local sporting facilities. In pro-Chavez neighbourhoods – like 23 de Enero in the capital, Caracas – such problems were easily solved with oil money.

Kenya: Odinga Says Technology Failures Led to Vote Fraud | ThisDay

Lawyers challenging Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory in the Kenyan presidential election said on Wednesday new technology meant to counter fraud had broken down, leading to a manipulated vote count. Losing candidate Raila Odinga is contesting the result in court and both sides have agreed to accept the outcome. A disputed vote five years ago ignited tribal violence that dented Kenya’s reputation as a stable democracy but the presidential election on March 4 took place without bloodshed, reports Reuters. Lawyers for Odinga told the Supreme Court that the failure of an electronic system to transmit numbers from polling stations to a tallying centre and the breakdown of other equipment had undermined the chances of a transparent vote. “The voting system was prone to manipulation in the absence of electronic voter identification,” said Odinga’s lead counsel, George Oraro. “Tallying was manipulated to achieve certain results.”