House Bill 3 is strongly opposed by a number of Southeast leaders, including lawmakers and Native officials. It passed out of the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. As of today, it was in the Rules Committee, waiting to be scheduled for the House floor. At a recent hearing, Alaska Native Brotherhood Grand Camp President Bill Martin said a photo-ID requirement could keep people from casting ballots.
Say the words “fraud,” “Miami” and “grand jury” in the same breath, and you’re going to get people’s attention in Tallahassee. Especially when the subject is voting. Miami-Dade State Attorney Kathy Fernandez Rundle wants the Legislature to reinstate an old Florida law requiring voters to obtain a witness signature from someone 18 or older in order to cast an absentee ballot. It’s one of 23 recommendations from a Dade grand jury that investigated the practice of absentee ballot brokering in last year’s primary election. The witness requirement, enacted after a 1998 absentee voting scandal in Miami, was wiped off the books in 2004. Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, revives the requirement in SB 600, saying the prosecutor lobbied him to do so. (Witnesses’ signatures would not have to be verified.)
Maryland: Contractor salaries questioned as state moves to paper ballot voting system | Maryland Reporter
State election officials are planning to spend up to $1.2 million to hire just five contractors working for nine months, a high-dollar figure that has shocked key lawmakers and voter advocacy groups watching as the state transitions from touch-screen voting to paper ballots. The transition, which is scheduled for the 2016 presidential elections, will move the state from computerized voting without a paper trail to optical scan paper ballots. Under the recommendation of State Election Board Administrator Linda Lamone, the state budgeted $1.2 million for the five positions handling the initial transition. The elections budget calls for the senior project manager position to receive up to $350,000, the deputy project manager $300,000, two business analysts $210,000 each and a technical writer $170,000. The budget figures are estimates, since the elections board has not yet selected contractors. … State Election Board Deputy Administrator Ross Goldstein defended the expenses. In an email, he stated that the state estimated the cost using an existing state agency master contract for consulting and technical services. In that contract, vendors stated how much they will charge for a given service. “We used an average from different vendors under the master contract to come up with our estimates for each of the labor categories we need,” Goldstein stated.
Some groups are threatening to sue if lawmakers adopt new restrictions on early voting and who can take someone else’s ballot to the polls, claiming the measures target minorities. John Loredo said Monday that the two measures, likely up for a House vote this week, violate the federal Voting Rights Act. That law precludes states from altering any voting laws in a way that puts new restrictions in the path of minority voting. And Monica Sandschafer, of One Arizona, said the two bills are no accident. “This is a direct response to the Latino vote,” she said at a Monday press conference at the Capitol.
Colorado’s Republican Secretary of State criticized Democratic state legislators Monday over a sweeping elections reform bill, which he says was drafted without his involvement. The Democrat-sponsored bill got initial approve in a House committee on a 7-4 party-line vote with Democrats in favor on Monday evening. The hearing drew dozens to the Capitol. House bill 1303 would make a series of changes to Colorado elections law which supporters say will make voting easier. Opponents say the bill is unnecessary and opens the door to more possibility of voter fraud.
Colorado could change the way America votes, but first the Voter Access and Modernized Elections Act has to make its way through the Colorado statehouse. And that’s going to be a tall order. The ground-breaking proposal would send mail ballots to every voter, allow Election Day registration and put all the counties on a real-time statewide database that supporters say would weed out cheaters who try to vote twice. The bill cleared its first legislative hurdle Monday evening when it passed the House’s State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee by a 7-4 party line vote, after more than seven and a half hours of testimony from dozens of public officials and otherwise private individuals on each side. it now moves to the House appropriations committee.
After Florida once again surfaced as an error-ridden quagmire at the polls during the last presidential election, lawmakers crafted legislation attempting to end its starring role as late-night talk-show fodder. Now, however, a controversial proposal within the bill has critics crying foul and could force Florida legislators to take a second look. The Senate Rules Committee approved the elections bill on a 10-5 party line vote last week. It was the final committee stop for SB 600 before going to the Senate floor.
Editorials: No vote for you: How Idaho lawmakers are silencing the vote of the people | Arbiter Online
The Idaho Legislature altered ballot measure rules earlier this year, making a successful petition campaign more difficult to achieve. Starting July 1, when Senate Bill 1108 goes into effect, it will be harder for Idahoans to gather enough signatures to place initiatives and referendums on the ballot. Governor C. L. “Butch” Otter signed a bill into law on April 2 thatwill require petitioners to gather six percent of registered voters’ signatures from a minimum of 18 districts. Currently, petitioners must collect six percent of registered voters’ signature statewide. SB 1108 originally required each signature sheet to be separated by legislative district, but the statehouse quickly pushed through Senate Bill 1191 last month to remove that stipulation.
The proposed new voter photo ID law could cost as much as much as $3.6 million to implement – the price of providing free photos to those without driver’s licenses, and voter education efforts, officials said. The voter ID bill cleared another hurdle Thursday when it was approved by the House Finance Committee by an 18-10 party-line vote. It is scheduled for a full House vote next week.The legislative staff prepared an analysis of how much it would likely cost to implement the law requiring voters to provide a photo ID by the 2016 election. It would also require a trial run for the 2014 election.
A measure that would allow Minnesotans to vote early is headed to the floor of the Minnesota House, but it doesn’t appear to be getting the bipartisan support that DFL Gov. Mark Dayton has said is needed for election law changes. The House Ways and Means Committee advanced the bill today by a vote of 15-12, with all Republicans opposed. The bill allows voters to cast their ballots at centralized polling places during a specified period before Election Day.
Candidates in this month’s primaries for the special U.S. Senate election in Massachusetts announced they were suspending campaign activity Monday as authorities continue to investigate apparent bombings at the Boston Marathon. Rep. Ed Markey, the Democratic frontrunner, said he was “disturbed and saddened” by the explosions that left dozens injured and caused multiple deaths. “We all are grateful for the first responders who rushed to the scene to help the victims. The heart of the city is hanging heavy, and our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by this senseless tragedy,” the longtime congressman, who represents Boston suburbs, said in a statement.
Three Republican senators are apparently so anxious to suppress Democratic-leaning voters that they have gone to an extreme considered heresy in the GOP: They’re proposing a tax increase. Young voters, especially college-aged students, have been trending Democratic in recent elections. Often rallied by campus get-out-the-vote efforts, students can be a significant factor in college-town elections.
The Legislature has sent Gov. Jack Dalrymple a bill requiring an identification to vote. By a 60-24 vote, the House passed House Bill 1332, which will abolish the use of voter affidavits if Dalrymple signs it. Those backing the measure have said the affidavit process, which allows people to vote without proving who they or where they live, causes multiple problems during an election and can easily lead to voter fraud. During the 2012 election, 10,519 affidavits were signed, 379 were returned to the county auditor as unverifiable, and nine are being prosecuted as fraudulent, all out of a total of 325,000 votes.
A bill proposing to allow voters who moved to a new county within the month before an election to vote at their old precinct received a lukewarm reception in the House Elections Committee Monday evening. Rep. Gene Wu, D-Houston, introduced House Bill 3081 to close a loophole that blocks people from voting on election day if they moved to a new county shortly before the election and didn’t have time, or make the effort, to register in their new county.
Albania’s parliament sacked an election official on Monday despite warnings from the country’s international partners that the move could damage domestic and overseas confidence in June parliamentary elections. The fresh political row came after Prime Minister Sali Berisha saw his main coalition ally jump ship to join the opposition ahead of the June 23 elections, but its representative in the seven-member Central Election Commission (CEC) stay put.
Opposition parties have condemned efforts by the ruling Democrats to replace a member of the Central Electoral Commission, CEC, after the Democrats’ junior partner quit the government. The Democrats have asked parliament to relieve one of the seven election commissioners, who had been nominated by the Socialist Movement for Integration, LSI. On Wednesday, Prime Minister Sali Berisha declared that the move was justified, based on a 2003 agreement between the majority and the opposition.
Neighbouring Norway and Finland have already done digital voting test runs. Now some Swedish municipalities could follow the trend after a majority of members in the parliamentary election law committee voted in favour of a new proposal. “If it works well, it would be a natural step to introduce it in the 2022 elections,” Billy Gustafsson, Social Dem. … However, the proposal was not met with unanimous approval.
Venezuela’s government on Monday defended a presidential election that authorities said gave interim leader Nicolas Maduro a six-year term, backtracking on a pledge he had made to permit an audit of ballots demanded by the opposition after the razor-thin victory. Henrique Capriles, who had challenged Maduro in the Sunday election, which was held six weeks after President Hugo Chavez’s death, insisted that he had won the vote and called for a hand count of all the paper ballots.
Venezuela: Opposition candidate demands recount after Chavez’s heir Nicolas Maduro wins Venezuela presidency | Fox News
Hugo Chavez’s hand-picked successor, Nicolas Maduro, won a razor-thin victory in Sunday’s special presidential election, edging the opposition’s leader by only about 300,000 votes, electoral officials announced. His challenger, Henrique Capriles, declared that he wouldn’t accept the results and called for a full recount. Maduro’s stunningly close victory came after a campaign in which the winner promised to carry on Chavez’s self-proclaimed socialist revolution while Capriles’ main message was that Chavez’s 14-year regime put Venezuela on the road to ruin.
Both sides in Venezuela’s political stand-off will hold rival demonstrations on Tuesday after authorities rejected opposition demands for a presidential election recount and protesters clashed with police in Caracas. Opposition leader Henrique Capriles says his team’s figures show he won the election on Sunday and he wants a full audit of official results that narrowly gave victory to ruling party candidate Nicolas Maduro, the country’s acting president.