Colorado: Gov. John Hickenlooper critical of Jon Caldara’s recall voting “stunt” | Denver Post

Gov. John Hickenlooper is the latest to weigh in with concerns about Jon Caldara’s residency switch Saturday so he could vote in the recall election of Senate President John Morse of Colorado Springs.  Caldara, a longtime Boulder resident, said he was was trying to make a point that a new election law passed by Democrats and signed into law by Hickenlooper in May undid residency requirements that had been in Colorado law for years. “We are hearing disturbing reports that some people are being encouraged to go to the polls, not to legitimately vote, but to disrupt the process,” Hickenlooper said in a statement issued today. “That would be unlawful and makes a mockery of the democratic process. We urge the county clerks in Pueblo and El Paso counties to make clear that people engaged in attempting to disrupt the elections are open to criminal prosecution. We’ve also reached out to the attorney general to help us ensure fair elections take place this week.” Morse and another Democratic senator, Angela Giron of Pueblo, face recall elections Tuesday for their support for gun legislation in the 2013 session. The Independence Institute opposed the bills, and Caldara talks about the election law on the group’s web site. The governor’s spokesman, Eric Brown, on Sunday talked about “political stunts.”

Editorials: The pulpit should be free of politics | Los Angeles Times

Churches and other nonprofits long have been forbidden from endorsing political candidates. But erratic enforcement of the law has emboldened supporters of legislation in Congress that would end the restriction. Far from needing to be repealed, the ban on politics in the pulpit ought to be enforced more aggressively. A bill sponsored by Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) would repeal a 1954 amendment to the tax code sponsored by then-Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson. The amendment says that churches and other so-called 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations may not “participate in, or intervene in … any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.”

Colorado: County clerk discounts voter fraud allegations | The Gazette

As voters continued to cast ballots early in the recall election Saturday, questions swirled about voter fraud and ballot box stuffing. The fears are, so far, unfounded. Although Jon Caldara, president of the think tank Independence Institute, cast a blank ballot in the election Saturday to prove a point that ‘gypsy voting’ is very real. Caldara lives in Boulder but attested a Colorado Springs address was his permanent residence in a sworn affidavit. “It is easy to move voters around,” Caldara said Saturday morning after casting a ballot he left blank at the Garden of the Gods voting center. “The whole purpose of this was to finally show what I think and I speculate happens often, that people come and use this same-day voter registration to move voters around.”

Colorado: New El Paso County resident Jon Caldara turns in blank recall ballot | The Denver Post

Republican Jon Caldara changed his voter registration Saturday morning from Boulder to El Paso County, saying a flawed election law Democrats passed earlier this year allows him to claim residency in another jurisdiction. But Caldara didn’t mark a ballot in the recall of Senate President John Morse of Colorado Springs, a Democrat who faces ouster for pushing through stricter gun laws in the 2013 session. Caldara is president of the Independence Institute, a think tank that fought the gun legislation and would like to see Morse lose his seat. Critics of Caldara’s plan claimed he could be charged with vote fraud, but he said that’s not why he left his ballot blank when he submitted it. “The point was not to be that last vote for Morse — as delicious as that might be — the purpose is to show how easy it is under the new law to move voters from district to district,” he said. Caldara originally marked his ballot “VOID,” which resulted in the elections machine not taking it, so he received another ballot, which had to be specially entered into the voting machine because it was not filled out.

New York: Elections Board Rings In the Old, as Lever Machines Replace Scanners | New York Times

Dented, dinged and dated, New York’s battleship-gray lever voting machines have been hauled out of retirement because the city can’t seem to get the hang of electronic voting.Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook for news and conversation. The board is using the lever machines for the coming primary elections because of their quicker turnaround. About 5,100 old machines, each weighing more than 800 pounds and made of 20,000 parts, have been lubricated, and the names of candidates from 2009 (Michael R. Bloomberg, anyone?) have been removed and replaced with those of this year’s contenders. But there is a question no one can answer for sure: Will they work? “I’m very nervous about it,” said Councilwoman Gale A. Brewer, who leads a City Council panel that monitors the Board of Elections. Ms. Brewer’s interest is personal as well — she is one of four candidates in a hotly contested Democratic primary for Manhattan borough president. The lever machines to be used on Tuesday were acquired in the 1960s. In 2010, they were replaced with a $95 million electronic system that uses optical scanners to read paper ballots. But after long lines and chaotic polling scenes in 2012, as well as problems producing complete election results, the State Legislature this year authorized the return of the lever machines for the primary and any ensuing runoff, though it insisted that the city make the electronic machines work for the November general election.

North Carolina: Voters fear new ID law will keep them from polls | Los Angeles Times

Alberta Currie, the great-granddaughter of slaves, was born in a farmhouse surrounded by tobacco and cotton fields. Her mother, Willie Pearl, gave birth with the assistance of a midwife. No birth certificate was issued; a birth announcement was handwritten into the Currie family Bible. Today, 78 years later, that absence of official documentation may force Currie to sit out an election for the first time since 1956. Under a restrictive new voter ID law in North Carolina, a state-issued photo ID is required for voting as of the 2016 election. Voters can obtain a state-issued ID at no cost. But that requires getting to a state driver’s license office, waiting in line — and providing documents that many voters lack, among them an original or certified birth certificate and original Social Security card.  The law’s Republican backers say the new measure combats voter fraud and ensures voting integrity. Civil rights groups contend that the bureaucratic obstacles are a part of a blatant attempt to make it difficult for Democratic-leaning voters — particularly African Americans, students and the elderly — to obtain IDs needed to vote.

North Carolina: One victory, one defeat for student voting rights in North Carolina | MSNBC

In what’s been described as a victory for student voting rights, the North Carolina Board of Elections ruled Tuesday that an Elizabeth City State University student can run for office using his school address, despite challenges from Republicans. The Pasquotank County Republican Party chair had challenged Montravias King‘s candidacy for city council on the grounds that his on-campus address did not prove permanent residency. Republicans on the local board of elections upheld that challenge, disqualifying King from running for office. On Tuesday, the State Board of Elections reversed that decision.

North Carolina: Voter registration for 2013 election affected by voter ID bill | Tryon Daily Bulletin

North Carolina voters will see some changes during the upcoming election even though the law a new voter ID bill signed by Gov. Pat McCrory doesn’t take effect until Jan. 1, 2016. The new law will specifically require photo identification for the November 2016 election. As of Oct. 1, 2013, however, same day voter registration (G.S. 163.82.6A) is repealed. This means residents will no longer be able to register to vote during early voting. Previously, residents could register to vote during early voting as long as they voted when they registered. Residents will have until 5 p.m. Oct. 11 to register for the Nov. 5 municipal election. Registration can be done at the Polk County Board of Elections Office in the Womack building in Columbus. Another change as of Sept. 1, 2013 is that persons must be at least 17 years old and turning 18 by Election Day in order to register. Previously, North Carolina allowed 16-year-olds to preregister to vote at the department of motor vehicles while obtaining a driver’s license.

Editorials: Equal voting rights still a dream in North Carolina? | Al Jazeera America

For Noah Read, Mondays have become a day set aside for civil disobedience. For months, the 42-year-old from Burlington, N.C., has rearranged his work schedule as a restoration contractor so he can participate in weekly protests. The Moral Monday rallies, launched by the North Carolina NAACP outside the state’s general assembly in late April, continue to attract thousands to Raleigh to voice opposition to a spate of Republican-led legislation that critics pan as socially regressive. The issues range from an education budget devoid of teacher raises to the state’s decision to end federal unemployment benefits. “There’s one issue that affects all of the constituents that are gathering at Moral Mondays, and that is voting rights and voting access,” Read said. Now, 50 years after Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech at the March on Washington, the state that was the site of the Greensboro sit-ins protesting segregation in 1960 is again a flash point in the debate over voting rights — proving for many that the struggle for racial equality is not over.

Editorials: The Supreme Court and Ed Corsi’s Life of Political Crime | Bradley Smith/Wall Street Journal

In the winter of 2008, Ed Corsi decided that he was tired of stewing about the politics in his home of Geauga County, Ohio, and the country at large. He started a website, put Thomas Jefferson’s quote, “The price of freedom . . . constant vigilance” at the top, dubbed the site “Geauga Constitutional Council,” and set about blogging his thoughts on local and national politics. So began his life of political crime. Over the next two years, Mr. Corsi and a few friends would sometimes gather to talk politics. He occasionally sponsored meetings featuring speakers (not political candidates) on public policy issues (not elections), and charged a nominal fee for seating to offset his costs. He and two friends passed out political pamphlets they made at the Geauga County Fair. Mr. Corsi spent $40 a month to maintain his website, and perhaps a couple hundred dollars a year in other expenses. According to the state of Ohio, however, these activities are illegal under campaign-finance laws because Mr. Corsi did not first register with the state, report to the state on his activities, and subject himself to the regulations governing the operation of a state political action committee.

Pennsylvania: State: Only opinion on voter ID should come from court | Observer-Reporter

Mum’s the word when it comes to local election board members discussing the status of the Pennsylvania Voter ID law with prospective voters at the upcoming election. Larry Spahr, Washington County elections director, told a group of trainees gathered Friday morning to learn about operating the new electronic poll book that he had just received notification from the Pennsylvania Department of State that it intends to provide a flier to counties to disseminate to election boards. “You are not to verbalize an opinion on the law’s constitutionality to any voters,” Spahr told the election board members.

South Dakota: No deal on voting rights lawsuit fees | The Argus Leader

An inability to agree to the wording of a joint news release has stalled negotiations between the Four Directions voting rights advocacy group and the South Dakota Public Assurance Alliance, the insurance cooperative that provides liability coverage to local government entities in the state. Four Directions executive director O.J. Semans now plans a return to the court of public opinion to try to persuade the SDPAA to stop trying to recover $6,300 in court costs from 25 mostly low-income plaintiffs from the Oglala Sioux Tribe who filed a federal lawsuit against the state and Shannon and Fall River counties to get early voting provisions established on the tribe’s Pine Ridge Reservation. But SDPAA executive director Judy Payne said she thinks while an initial agreement could not be reached, talks between the insurance cooperative and Four Directions are ongoing. “We’re still waiting to hear from their attorney,” she said Thursday. SDPAA lawyer Sara Frankenstein and Four Directions lawyer Steven Sandven are the principals exchanging positions on a joint press statement, “as it should be,” Payne said.

Texas: Court: Texas can use existing election maps in 2014 | Associated Press

A federal court said Friday it will not delay Texas’ primary elections and ordered the state to use political maps drawn by the Legislature _ but only temporarily, while the judges sort out a complex and possibly precedent-setting lawsuit. The three-judge panel in San Antonio gave both sides in the lawsuit over Texas’ voting maps reason to claim victory. The court will not draw its own map for the 2014 elections, as civil rights groups wanted, but it also did not throw out the lawsuit completely, as Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott requested. The court order, signed by all three judges, also allows the civil rights and minority groups to argue that all changes to Texas election law should be reviewed by federal authorities before they can be implemented. The Justice Department has sought to intervene in the case after a recent Supreme Court decision requiring Congress to make changes to the Voting Rights Act. The fundamental issue of the lawsuit, filed in 2011, is whether the Legislature illegally drew political maps that intentionally diminish the voting power of minorities in Texas. Abbott’s office has argued in court papers that Republicans who control the Legislature drew maps to boost the chances of their party _ which is legal _ and that if minorities who vote predominantly Democratic are hurt as a result, that does not constitute a civil rights violation. That argument could eventually put this case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Texas: Few voter-fraud cases would have been prevented by photo ID law, review shows | Dallas Morning News

Attorney General Greg Abbott champions a requirement for voters to show photo identification to prevent ballot fraud. But such a rule would have deterred just a few of the cases his office has prosecuted in the last eight years. Abbott, who’s making his defense of the state’s voter ID law a centerpiece of his campaign for governor, has pursued 66 people on charges of voting irregularities since 2004. Only four cases involved someone illegally casting a ballot at a polling place where a picture ID would have prevented it. In most cases, voter-fraud violations in Texas have involved mail-in ballots. A few involved felons who aren’t allowed to vote. Some involved an election official engaged in illegal behavior. But none of those would have been stopped by the photo ID requirement. Nevertheless, Abbott defends voter ID and says the fact that he hasn’t found many cases of in-person voter fraud doesn’t mean there aren’t any.

Cambodia: Election challenge rejected |

Cambodia’s government-appointed election board has ratified the victory of incumbent prime minister Hun Sen’s ruling party, rejecting opposition claims that the polls were unfair. The results announced on state television on Sunday morning handed 68 National Assembly seats to Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s party and 55 to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue party.

Maldives: Coconut detained in Maldives over vote-rigging claims |

A coconut has been detained by Maldivian police on suspicion of vote-rigging in a key presidential election. The coconut, described as “young”, was found near a school that will be used as a polling station on Saturday on the remote Kaafu atoll, one of the hundreds of islands that comprise the Indian Ocean archipelago state. Though the population of the Maldives is Sunni Muslim, continuing belief in magic is widespread in rural areas. Coconuts are often used in rituals and inscribed with spells. The hundreds of thousands of international tourists who travel to the Maldives usually stay in isolated resorts and have no contact with local people other than staff. The local Minivan news website reported that police “took the coconut into their possession” around 7.05am on Tuesday, after they received a complaint about the suspicious fruit near the school on the Guraidhoo Island, which lies 130 miles from the capital, Male, and has a population of around 2,000.

Norway: OSCE monitors Norway parliamentary elections | The Foreigner

2013 is the second General Election year this will be done. Their presence is by official invitation from the Government of Norway. It is also based on the findings and conclusions of a Needs Assessment Mission (NAM), conducted between 4 to 6 June. The OSCE/ODIHR (Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights)-deployed Election Assessment Mission (EAM) is headed by American Peter Eicher. Other foreign core team members are election analyst Goran Petrov (former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), and Lisa Klein, a legal and campaign finance analyst from the UK. Sweden’s David Bismark, a new voting technologies analyist, and Yuri Ozerov (procurement and contracting officer, Russia), make up the final two foreign NAM team members. In particular, the election observers will investigate aspects related to the Internet voting pilot project.

Russia: Mayor’s Rival Contests Moscow Vote | Wall Street Journal

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny delivered an unexpectedly strong showing in Moscow’s mayoral elections, but still vowed to challenge the preliminary official results, which gave a majority to incumbent Sergei Sobyanin. Mr. Navalny said he didn’t expect to win himself, but was confident that his Kremlin-backed opponent had fallen short of the 50% needed to avoid a runoff. The final official count, with 100% of precincts in Moscow reporting had Mr. Sobyanin winning 51.37% with just under 1.2 million votes and Mr. Navalny 27.24% with 632,697 votes; the rest was split among four other candidates, according to the Moscow City Election Commission. The tension over the election raises the prospect of a repeat of the massive demonstrations against the Kremlin that were spurred by widespread allegations of falsification of votes in the Dec. 2011 parliamentary ballot. Mr. Navalny’s supporters received a permit to hold a rally Monday evening at one site of those protests. It wasn’t clear how large turnout was likely to be; recent opposition protests have been thinly attended.