California: Voting Rights Act leading California cities to dump at-large elections | Los Angeles Times

First came Modesto. Then Compton, Anaheim, Escondido, Whittier, Palmdale and others were pushed into the growing ranks of California cities under pressure to change how they elect their city councils. Activists seeking minority representation on those councils are clamoring to have members elected by geographic district. Ethnically diverse cities that hold at-large elections and have few minority officeholders have proved vulnerable to lawsuits under the 11-year-old California Voting Rights Act. All a plaintiff has to do, experts say, is demonstrate that racially polarized voting exists — and often that can be done with election results that reveal contrasting outcomes between predominantly minority precincts and white ones. Across California, community college and school districts are making the switch.

Colorado: Officials reviewing voter fraud allegations | Colorado Springs Gazette

About 268 voters registered to vote or changed their address through election day to vote in the Senate District 11 successful recall of Sen. John Morse, D-Colorado Springs. The historic recall elections Tuesday in El Paso and Pueblo counties were the first under a new law that allows election day address changes and voter registration. Christy Le Lait, who ran Morse’s campaign to stay in office, said a stunt illustrating how to abuse that law that was covered widely by the media has cast a pall of doubt over those votes. “What is real, what isn’t, what’s fraud?” Le Lait asked. “I don’t even know how you start to look at that.” Morse, the sitting Senate president, was removed from office by 343 votes in the special election taken to the ballot by citizens angered by stricter gun laws who signed a recall petition. Le Lait said there are no plans to challenge the election results, which could be certified any day.

Michigan: Board of Canvassers to hire handwriting expert for review of Detroit primary recount | Detroit Free Press |

The Wayne County Board of Canvassers decided Saturday to hire a handwriting expert to review ballots from Detroit’s August primary election. The decision came as the board met at Cobo Center to consider more than 170 challenges filed so far in the latest recount of the primary. The top vote-getters in the mayor’s race, as certified by the state — former Detroit Medical Center CEO Mike Duggan and Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon — will face each other in the November general election. Despite the decision to hire a handwriting expert, several challengers criticized the 19 samples that would be reviewed as too small to be representative.

New Hampshire: Voter ID law hasn’t uncovered fraud, but officials are still checking | Nashua Telegraph

The attorney general’s office hasn’t found any voter fraud in recent elections, following the passage of the state’s voter ID law. At least, it hasn’t found any yet. Or, more accurately, it hasn’t found any yet so far as we know. “It’s an open investigation,” Assistant Attorney General Stephen LaBonte said in response to a query from The Telegraph. Because of that status, LaBonte declined to discuss details so far, such as how many people who voted without showing an ID have been contacted or whether any evidence of voting fraud has been uncovered. “We are following up with trying to track down the people who were sent verification mailings. … We have been successful in tracking down some of them,” he said. There are slightly over 2,000 names to track down. That’s the number of voters who didn’t returned postcards on time, confirming they had signed affidavits at polling places before voting in the November 2012 presidential election or in town and school elections in March. The affidavits, which swore to their voters’ identity, were required of anybody who lacked a photo ID; about 1 percent of voters in November signed them, and a smaller percentage than that did the same in March.

New York: BOE: 78K Paper Ballots To Be Counted In Democratic Mayoral Primary | CBS New York

The Board of Elections says there are 78,000 paper ballots across the five boroughs that still need to be counted from Tuesday’s Democratic primary. Bipartisan teams across the city are unsealing and opening more than 5,000 lever voting machines Friday. BOE Executive Director Michael Ryan said the process is expected to wrap up by Sunday. “There’s always the potential for human error and that’s why New York has one of the most extensive recanvassing procedures in the country, to make sure that every vote is counted and every vote is counted accurate,” Ryan said. Bill de Blasio has slightly more than the 40 percent of the vote needed to avoid an Oct. 1 runoff. If de Blasio dips under 40 percent, he’ll face runner-up Bill Thompson. The outstanding ballots make up more than 11 percent of votes cast.

New York: Election Math Works in Favor of de Blasio | New York Times

It is not rocket science. The odds favor Bill de Blasio. With tens of thousands of votes from the Democratic mayoral primary still to be counted, Mr. de Blasio needs only about one in three of them to remain above the 40 percent threshold he passed in the unofficial count to avoid a runoff against the second-place finisher,William C. Thompson Jr., on Oct. 1. The math will not be lost on Mr. Thompson as he mulls whether to remain in the race. Based on the preliminary count from lever voting machines and emergency ballots cast where machines were not working, about 645,000 votes were cast in the election on Tuesday. Mr. de Blasio received 260,000 votes, or about 2,100 more than he needed to surpass 40 percent.

North Carolina: Election reforms will cost counties | Times-News

An elections reform bill passed by the General Assembly has drawn national attention for its shortening of early voting and Voter ID requirements. But little mention has been given to its impact on county coffers. A 15-page analysis by the legislature’s Fiscal Research Division says local election boards will spend $4 million statewide to hold an additional primary in early 2016 and $10.9 million to switch to paper ballots by 2018, as required under House Bill 589. Henderson County will spend around $500,000 to convert from its current touchscreen voting systems to optical scanners used to read paper ballots, special machines for the visually impaired and voting booths for privacy, elections officials estimate.

Wisconsin: Voting Rights Advocates Quietly Mount Challenge to Voter ID Law | Afro-American

The first legal challenge to an elections law under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), since the U.S. Supreme Court shot down preclearance protections under Section 5 of the VRA in June, is underway with little to no fanfare. On Nov. 4, 2013, U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman will hear a challenge to Wisconsin’s voter identification law brought by Advancement Project, a civil rights advocacy group, and pro bono counsel Arnold & Porter. In 2011, the state’s Republican-led legislature passed a law that would require voters to present a government-issued ID in order to cast a ballot in local, state and federal elections. The new measure would have counted Wisconsin among nearly three dozen states with voter ID laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Republican proponents say such laws protect against voter fraud. But Democrats and other detractors argue there is little evidence of rampant voter fraud to support the need for such changes, but instead, the laws unfairly hinders minorities, the elderly and the poor from participating in elections.

Australia: Accidental Senator a Kingmaker in Australia Micro Party Era | Bloomberg

David Leyonhjelm realized he could win an Australian Senate seat when his small Liberal Democratic Party scored the plum spot for the Sept. 7 election — the top, left-hand corner of the ballot sheet in New South Wales state. “That was just complete luck,” said the 61-year-old former veterinarian, who said he wants to broker deals with the Liberal-National coalition government if his place in the 76-seat upper house is confirmed. Some “confused” voters may have mixed up his group with the Liberal party of Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbott, he added. Leyonhjelm and six others from tiny, mostly center-right parties are set to hold the balance of power in the upper house from July 1, complicating Abbott’s legislative agenda even as his coalition won a majority in the lower house. While they may back Abbott on his promise to repeal the previous Labor government’s carbon price mechanism and mining tax, his maternity-leave plan costing A$5.5 billion ($5.1 billion) a year could be blocked.

Cambodia: Talks held after election protest clashes | BBC

Cambodia’s political rivals have held talks, a day after protests in Phnom Penh over contested election results left one person dead. Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has been in power for 28 years, met opposition leader Sam Rainsy on Monday. They issued a joint statement promising more talks, election commission reform and a non-violent end to the dispute. The opposition has accused the ruling party of widespread fraud in July’s general election. According to results from the National Election Commission, Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) won 68 seats to the CNRP’s 55 seats – a greatly reduced majority. The opposition says the vote was rigged and wants an independent inquiry. It also says it will boycott the opening of parliament on 23 September. Despite the joint statement, the central issues of the disputed election and the opposition’s threat to boycott parliament remain unresolved, says the BBC’s Jonah Fisher in neighbouring Bangkok.

Germany: New anti-euro party could leave election outcome open | The Guardian

In devotedly pro-European Germany, it is a radical message. In a packed beer hall meeting on the outskirts of Stuttgart, Roland Klaus tells scores of middle-aged, middle-class Germans what they want to hear. In short – no more bailouts. “We’ve got the possibility to stop this madness,” the former financial TV journalist intones. “Germany pays for no more rescue packages.” In an election in which the major parties essentially support Chancellor Angela Merkel’s approach to the euro crisis, and two-thirds of Germans back her euro rescue plans, it is a surprise to find that thousands of Germans want to leave the single currency. The conventional argument is that Germany has come out of the euro crisis better than its partners, and that Merkel has protected German national interests by foisting austerity on the European south. But not everyone sees it that way. And a new party, the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), is seeking to tap into that resentment to get seats in parliament in next Sunday’s election.

Maldives: Apparent fraud in Maldivian elections threatens prospects for democracy | openDemocracy

While the international community is distracted by the ongoing tragedy in Syria, apparent election fraud is threatening efforts to restore democracy in what was until recently considered a bright spot for nonviolent democratic change in the Islamic world. In the Maldives, popular former president Mohamed Nasheed – who was deposed in a coup last year -was expected to easily win a majority of the vote in the first round of Saturday’s election against three other candidates.  However, the results show him getting less than 46% of the vote, forcing him into a runoff with Abdulla Yameen, half-brother of the former dictator Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, whose allies seized power from the democratically-elected government in February 2012 and have ruled the small island nation ever since. There are a number of troubling indicators that major fraud may have occurred in the election held on September 7, which raises questions regarding the integrity of the September 28 runoff. The official turnout reported by the media at the close of the polls was 70%.  However, based upon the announced results, the official turnout was raised to an improbable 88%. A number of voting districts in which Yameen was popular reported anywhere from 10% to 300% more votes cast than there were eligible voters.