National: Verified Voting Marks 10 Years of Safeguarding US Elections | Scoop News

In 2004, Verified Voting began working to make U.S. voting systems more secure. The organization sprang from the energy created when founder David Dill issued the Resolution on Electronic Voting, which today has 10,000+ endorsers including top computer security experts and elected officials. Dill was subsequently appointed to the California Ad Hoc Task Force on Touch Screen Voting by then-Secretary of State Kevin Shelley (now a Verified Voting Board member). Click here to read Dave and Kevin’s look back at the origin of their relationship… What a difference a decade makes! At the time, fewer than one-sixth of the states had a requirement for voters to be able to verify their vote on a paper record or ballot: today, nearly three-fourths do. Yet, this November, sixteen states will use voting systems that do not provide an independent means of verifying individual votes, and nearly half the states will not conduct post-election audits to verify the accuracy of election results.

National: Will Voter ID Changes Affect the 2014 Elections? | Governing

Over the past few years, new limitations on voting — including stricter requirements for voter identification, cutbacks in early voting options and rollbacks of same-day voter registration — have spread across the nation, provoking outrage from critics who charge that Republican-dominated legislatures and GOP governors have increased obstacles to voting in order to disenfranchise minorities and less affluent voters who disproportionately vote Democratic. As three dozen states gear up for statewide elections in 2014, we thought it would be a good time to look at how these changes might affect actual electoral results this fall. Adding obstacles to voting is clearly something that’s a problem for individual voters. However, the cumulative impact of voting-rule changes on determining the winner of key races looks more likely to be hit and miss in 2014. (In our next column, we will look at some of the impacts of voting-law changes beyond the 2014 election, which are likely to be more significant.)

Editorials: Registering to vote in Kansas and Arizona just got more difficult | The Washington Post

A federal judge on Wednesday sided with two states that want to force new voters to prove they are citizens, over a federal elections commission. In the process, the ruling opens the door to other states that want to impose proof-of-citizenship requirements — and an almost certain Supreme Court showdown over the latest front in the war on voting rights. Kansas and Arizona both require new registrants to provide a birth certificate, passport or some other proof that they are citizens; they sued the U.S. Election Assistance Commission after the EAC refused to modify its federal form to account for the state requirements. On Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Eric Melgren ruled the EAC didn’t have the authority to deny Kansas and Arizona’s request, and ordered the EAC to modify a national voter registration form to include special instructions for residents of the two states. The ruling won’t have much of an immediate impact on voters. Few voters actually register using the federal form; elections officials in Maricopa County, population nearly 4 million, estimated only about 900 residents had registered to vote using the federal form without showing proof of citizenship.

Editorials: Suppressing the Vote | New York Times

If a federal judge’s disappointing ruling this week on a voter registration case is allowed to stand, state lawmakers around the country could well make it harder for eligible citizens to register to vote in federal as well as state elections. State officials in Kansas and Arizona had sued the United States Election Assistance Commission for refusing to include their strict proof-of-citizenship requirements on the federal voter registration form the commission prepares under the National Voter Registration Act, also known as the “motor voter” law. The federal form requires only that voters state under oath that they are citizens, and while the commission includes certain state-specific instructions on the form, it denied the request by Kansas and Arizona because it found no evidence that noncitizens registering to vote was a “significant problem” in either state.

Voting Blogs: If you provide it, they still might not come: Marin County CA surveys disabled voters about voting | electionlineWeekly

Marin County, Calif.’s Registrar of Voters Elaine Ginnold was faced with a vexing problem. Since installing accessible ballot-marking devices in each precinct in 2006 in the Bay Area county, on average no more than seven disabled voters used the machines per election. The machines were there to make voting easier, but why weren’t voters using them? Ginnold had heard of no problems with the machines themselves and only anecdotally heard about voting preferences of some disabled voters. “We wondered why more voters weren’t using the accessible ballot marking machine at the polls, which are required by the Help America Vote Act [HAVA],” Ginnold said. “We wondered if we needed to do more outreach to encourage voters to use them. We also wondered if there could be accessibility issues we didn’t know about.”

Delaware: Democrats rally for same-day voter registration | The News Journal

Democrats rallied at Legislative Hall on Tuesday in favor of legislation that would allow Delawareans to register to vote on the same day as a primary or general election. “We should so everything we can to make sure eligible others have every opportunity to exercise their constitutional right to vote,” said Rep. John Viola, D-Newark, the legislation’s sponsor. Democrats and activists supporting the bill dismissed concerns that same-day registration could lead to voter fraud. “There’s nothing there,” Viola said, adding that he feels “confident” the bill will pass the House in the “next couple weeks.”

Ohio: Judge rules Libertarians will stay off ballot |

Libertarian candidates for Ohio governor and attorney general were rightly disqualified from the ballot, a federal judge said Wednesday, upholding a ruling this month by Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted. Husted had removed gubernatorial candidate Charlie Earl and attorney general candidate Steven Linnabary from the ballot because people who gathered the 500 signatures they each needed to qualify did not identify their employers, as required by Ohio law. That law is constitutional, Judge Michael Watson said Wednesday. “The public interest is best served by allowing Ohio to acquire the identities of petition circulators and those who pay them in order to detect and deter fraud in the election process,” Watson said in his decision.

Ohio: Libertarians Say GOP Schemed To Keep LP Candidates Off State Ballot |

Charles Earl is trying to run for governor of Ohio. A native of Bowling Green, the one-time Republican state representative now represents the Libertarian Party of Ohio (LPO). As the LPO’s gubernatorial candidate, Earl would challenge current Republican Gov. John Kasich and Democrat Ed Fitzgerald come November 2014, possibly siphoning off dissatisfied Ohio voters from Kasich. But Earl’s candidacy is currently in limbo. Last week, Earl received a letter from Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted disqualifying him from the May primary ballot. Earl was disqualified on the grounds that those circulating petitions for his inclusion weren’t Libertarian Party members and/or failed to disclose themselves as paid LPO employees.

Afghanistan: Election: First Round Or Nothing For Abdullah | Radio Free Liberty

It’s often said that slow and steady wins the race. But that’s not the case for Abdullah Abdullah, who needs a quick and decisive victory if he hopes to emerge as Afghanistan’s next president. Afghanistan’s complex ethnic politics likely mean that Abdullah must secure a first-round win — requiring more than 50 percent of the vote on April 5 — because he would struggle to win any second-round matchup. This is because of the nine remaining candidates, Abdullah stands as the exception. He is a mixed ethnic Tajik and Pashtun, while the other eight are Pashtun, the largest ethnic group in Afghanistan.

Netherlands: Polling booth selfies sweep the Netherlands | AFP

Dutch citizens and politicians united on Wednesday in posting voting booth selfie photos, an increasingly popular phenomenon that could threaten the principle of the secret ballot but also encourages people to vote. Alexander Pechtold, who heads the centrist D66 party, was among the many Dutch voting in Wednesday’s local elections who tweeted a #stemfie, a combination of “stemmen”, the Dutch word for voting, and selfie. The photos, often of voters posing with the red pencil used to make their democratic choice or the candidate list, spread over Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, with the #stemfie hashtag trending. Interior Minister Ronald Plasterk tweeted: “I’m not calling on people to take a #stemfie, but it is allowed.”

Thailand: Court could declare February election void | The Malay Mail

Thailand’s Constitutional Court was due to rule today on the validity of a general election held in February that was disrupted by protesters, with speculation growing it could void the vote, adding to the political turmoil in the country. The protests are the latest chapter in an eight-year crisis that pits Bangkok’s middle class and royalist establishment against supporters of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and her brother, ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra, who was toppled by the army in 2006 and lives in exile to avoid a jail term for graft. Now in their fifth month, the protesters have shut government offices and at times blocked major thoroughfares in Bangkok to try to force Yingluck out. Twenty-three people have died and hundreds have been injured in the violence. The court complaint was brought by a law lecturer who argues among other things that the Feb. 2 election was unconstitutional because voting did not take place in all areas on the same day.

Editorials: Votes at 16 – is the UK waking up to our young citizens? | openDemocracy

Young people should be welcomed into the democratic system. This is an opportunity we should not pass up. The next general election may be the last in which 16 and 17-year-olds cannot vote, after the announcement that Labour targets the Vote at 16. Extending the vote to 16 has institutional support at the European level. In the UK, however, the vote at 16 may not be an equal one. In January, shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan confirmed Labour is considering compulsory voting for 16 and 17-year-olds, arguing that we must “get [young people] into the habit of voting” – a direct reference to the current crisis in electoral turnout. Increasingly, young people do not vote and continue not to vote as they get older. Now, we may be about to punish them with fines for failing to do so.

National: Two States Win Court Approval on Voter Rules | New York Times

A federal judge in Kansas on Wednesday ordered federal election authorities to help Kansas and Arizona require proof of citizenship of registering voters, in a decision that could well set a trend for other Republican-dominated states. Judge Eric F. Melgren of United States District Court in Wichita ruled that the federal Election Assistance Commission had no legal authority to deny requests from Kansas and Arizona to add state-specific instructions to a national voter registration form. The states sued the agency to force the action after it had turned them down. The Supreme Court ruled last June that Congress holds full power over federal election rules, but indicated that states could require proof of citizenship in state and local elections. Federal rules require prospective voters only to sign a form attesting to their citizenship, a procedure favored by Democrats who want to increase participation of minorities and the poor in elections, but that Republican officials say fosters voter fraud. In his ruling, Judge Melgren, appointed to the bench by President George W. Bush, characterized the decision by the election commission to deny the states’ requests as “unlawful and in excess of its statutory authority.” He said that Congress had not “pre-empted state laws requiring proof of citizenship through the National Voter Registration Act.”

Voting Blogs: Republican States May Soon Demand Proof of Citizenship for Voting in Federal Elections | Election Law Blog

Today a federal court decided Kobach v. United States Election Assistance Commission.The upshot of this opinion, if it stands on appeal, is that states with Republican legislatures and/or Republican chief election officials are likely to require documentary proof of citizenship for voting, making it harder for Democrats to pursue a relatively simple method of voter registration. The case is complicated and has a complex history, but here are the basics. In 1993, Congress passed the National Voter Registration Act (or “motor voter”), which makes a number of changes at issue in federal elections. Among other things the law requires that states must accept from voters voter registrations submitted on a federal form for voting in congressional elections. Preparing this form used to be the responsibility of the Federal Election Commission, but when Congress created the U.S. Election Assistance Commission as part of its Help America Vote Act after the 2000 contested presidential election, it shifted responsibility for preparing the form to the EAC. The federal form approved by the EAC is a relatively simple form, and those who register voters like to use it for voter registration not only because it is easy, but because it is uniform across the country. Democratic-aligned groups like the federal form a lot.