National: Will other states delay use of SAVE for voter checks? | Miami Herald

Florida is one of a handful of states that signed agreements with the Department of Homeland Security to use SAVE to search for non-citizens on voter rolls. Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner announced Thursday that he was delaying his plan to start a new round of looking for non-citizen voters due to DHS revamping the SAVE website. DHS started changes to the website in February but may not finish the project until after the 2014 election however SAVE remains operational by agencies nationwide. So we wondered if any other agencies that use SAVE for voter registration purposes have also halted efforts as a result of the website changes.

California: Leland Yee quits secretary of state race | San Francisco Chronicle

State Sen. Leland Yee withdrew from the California secretary of state race Thursday, one day after his arrest on public corruption charges, his attorney said. “This was a very personal decision on the part of the senator,” said Paul DeMeester, his attorney, at a news conference outside the federal courthouse in San Francisco. “This is what he wanted to do.” Yee, a Democrat who represents half of San Francisco and most of San Mateo County, was one of 26 people ensnared in a five-year federal investigation that targeted Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow, a notorious Chinatown gangster who had claimed to have gone straight, officials said. An outspoken advocate of gun control and open government, Yee is charged with conspiring to traffic in firearms as well as six counts of scheming to defraud citizens of honest services. He has not commented on the allegations. Investigators say Yee took bribes in exchange for political favors in order to pay off a $70,000 debt from an unsuccessful run for San Francisco mayor in 2011 and to fund his run for secretary of state. The bribes were paid by undercover agents, the FBI said.

Florida: Online voter registration appears dead in Florida this session | Naples Daily News

Legislation that would create a process for registering to vote online got its “day in court” Monday, but isn’t going anywhere this legislative session. A bill sponsored by state Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, would require the Department of State to set up a website that would allow for online registration, which is in 13 states, by July 2015. Because the Florida House has decided it won’t pass any voting-related legislation this session, it means the Senate bill doesn’t have a companion in that chamber or a chance of passing. “This bill is not moving in the House, which is no big surprise to anyone,” said state Sen. Jack Latvala, R-St. Petersburg, chairman of the Ethics and Elections Committee.

Georgia: Westside valedictorian first to sign up as Georgia launches on-line voter registration | The Augusta Chronicle

The first Georgian to register to vote online, Westside High School valedictorian Eniolufe Asebiomo, signed up Monday before an audience of hundreds of elections officials from across the state. Asebiomo called the new system, unveiled Monday by Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, “really a good step that innovates technology into the civic process” at a conference of elections officials at the Augusta Convention Center. Kemp said the system will save counties time and money. It requires new voters to have a Georgia driver’s license.

Guam: Election Commission will get new tabulators for election | Pacific Daily News

The Guam Election Commission is getting new tabulators in preparation for the upcoming General Election. During a meeting on Thursday, commissioners voted to approve the GEC’s Invitation for Bid committee’s recommendation to award a bid for new machines to Election Systems & Software for new voting tabulators. The company was the lowest bidder out of the three that submitted bids, said Maria Pangelinan, election commission executive director. The other bidders were Hart InterCivic and Dominion Voting Systems. Election Systems & Software offered three central voting tabulators at a price of $134,250, Pangelinan said.

Illinois: Big election night errors discovered in Champaign County |

A lengthy retabulation of the March 18 primary results in Champaign County uncovered major discrepancies in some unofficial vote totals reported on election night. In the uncontested race for 13th Congressional District Democratic Central Committeewoman, for example, Jayne Mazotti of Taylorville now has 5,284 votes — rather than the 450 votes with which she was credited on March 18. In another race — for 15th Congressional District Democratic Central Committeeman — Brandon Phelps had 517 votes, not the 574 votes he was credited with on election night. The badly erroneous election results all were in the Democratic Party primary and all in uncontested races where there was just one candidate for one position.

Kentucky: Felon voting rights bill likely dead in Senate | The Courier-Journal

Despite broad bipartisan support in the Kentucky House of Representatives and the backing of U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, a bill that would automatically restore voting rights for most convicted felons who complete their sentences appears dead. Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer said he likely won’t call the measure for a second vote because the Senate backs amendments he placed on the bill in the Senate State and Local Government Committee. Senate President Robert Stivers said that House members have indicated they won’t compromise on the issue and that there is little Senate support for House Bill 70 as originally proposed. But two House sponsors of the measure — Democrat Rep. Jesse Crenshaw of Lexington and Republican Minority Leader Jeff Hoover of Jamestown — both said they’ve never claimed they wouldn’t compromise.

Missouri: Senate panel considers photo ID requirement for voters | PoliticMo

A Senate committee heard legislation Monday that would require voters to present a form of state-issued photo identification at the polls. The bill and accompanying ballot question are being sponsored by House Elections Committee Chairman Tony Dugger and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Stanley Cox, both Republicans. “As long as people aren’t eligible to vote, I don’t want them to vote,” Cox said. Similar bills have been filed in recent years in the state legislature. Still, none of the policy’s supporters said they knew of a case of voter fraud in the state. Crystal Williams, with the ACLU, said the issue has hardly ever been voter impersonation fraud, which supporters of voter ID requirements say the policy aims to prevent. “Most of time what we’ve seen has been voter registration fraud, not voter impersonation fraud,” she said.

Nebraska: Coming soon to Nebraska: Online voter registration | Omaha World Herald

The governor signed a bill into law Monday to enable online voter registration by the middle of 2015. The new law, which also allows voters to update their registrations, is the latest in an ongoing effort by Secretary of State John Gale to make voter registration more convenient and efficient. Gale stood alongside Gov. Dave Heineman on Monday when he put his signature on the bill. “This is a huge, big step forward in terms of what we do with voter registration,” Heineman said. Legislative Bill 661 was introduced by Omaha Sen. Bob Krist on the secretary of state’s behalf.

Virginia: Gerrymandering distorts Virginia’s House makeup | Associated Press

Take a look at Virginia’s congressional delegation and you might think it’s the same old reliably Republican state that backed 10 GOP presidential candidates in a row, starting with Richard Nixon in 1968. But that 8-3 Republican advantage in the delegation is misleading. Democrats have won every recent statewide election. President Barack Obama broke the GOP winning streak and carried Virginia in 2008 and 2012. Both of the state’s U.S. senators are Democrats. And last fall, Democrats swept the top three statewide offices – governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general – for the first time in 24 years. “Virginia really stands alone when we talk about how rapidly this state has moved from a reliably red state to a purple state,” said Stephen J. Farnsworth, a political science professor at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg. “The Democrats are clearly in the ascendancy and have rapidly moved from underdog status to really the dominant party in statewide elections. That’s not reflected in the state House of Delegates and Congress because of gerrymandering.”

Afghanistan: Taliban’s Onslaught to Disrupt Presidential Elections Has Failed to Curb Voter Enthusiasm | Wall Street Journal

Lining up behind hundreds of fellow Afghans, Ghazanfar spent up to six hours each day over the past week waiting to register for Saturday’s elections. “Sun and rain, none of that has been a problem for me,” said Mr. Ghazanfar, a 46-year-old laborer in Kabul, who like many Afghans has only one name. “I am here to support a better future for Afghanistan.” The Taliban have launched a violent onslaught on Kabul and other Afghan cities in recent days, trying to disrupt the historic election. But, so far, the Taliban intimidation has failed to tamp down the enthusiasm of ordinary Afghans like Mr. Ghazanfar for the election, in which the country will pick a new leader after 13 years under President Hamid Karzai. Notwithstanding occasional violence and bureaucratic weakness that requires such registration waits, the country has gone through a full-fledged campaign, with crowded, nationwide rallies by the main candidates, and lively televised debates.

Czech Republic: Minister proposes foreigners’ vote in local elections | Prague Monitor

Foreigners from the countries outside the EU and with a long-term stay in the Czech Republic may be perhaps granted the right to vote in local elections, Human Rights Minister Jiri Dienstbier (Social Democrats, CSSD) told CTK Friday. Immigrants’ participation in the decision-making process in their place of residence would contribute to their integration, Dienstbier said. He said he wanted to open a debate on the voting right to immigrants and amendments to election laws. At the end of last year, some 441,500 foreigners had a legal stay in the Czech Republic, 238,900 of whom a permanent one.

Hungary: Socialists request written guarantee on election-tabulating software |

The Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) has asked for a written guarantee that the software which will aggregate the results of next weekend’s election is safe from any outside tampering. According to HVG, party MP Ferenc Baja put forward the request on Wednesday, when the National Elections Office (NVI) gave a closed-door briefing on the functioning of the software. NVI director Ilona Pálffy promised to present the results of an audited test of the system on Tuesday. The portal also noted that the NVI had planned to hold a public demonstration of the software the previous Friday, which apparently failed to take place. Members of the opposition have repeatedly voiced concerns in recent weeks about the software, pointing out that under previous Socialist-Liberal (MSZP-SZDSZ) governments the was in place and subject to public demonstrations 90 days before elections.

Indonesia: Overseas-vote counting will take place on Election Day | The Jakarta Post

Overseas Election Committee (PPLN) head Wahid Supriyadi has confirmed that ballots cast by registered Indonesian voters living overseas will be counted on April 9 concurrently with the legislative election in Indonesia. “The counting of votes cast for the legislative election at overseas polling stations will be carried out at PPLN offices in those countries at the same time as the votes are being counted in polling stations in Indonesia,” he said in Jakarta on Tuesday, as quoted by Antara news agency. As of Monday, voting for the legislative election had taken place in five countries: Brazil, Chile, China, Denmark and Hong Kong. Votes were cast at six PPLN offices in Beijing, Brazil, Copenhagen, Hong Kong, Santiago and Shanghai.

Editorials: The Turkish Ballot-Box Revolt That Wasn’t | Sohrab Ahmari/Wall Street Journal

The winding streets and alleys that surround Istanbul’s Taksim Square are lined with designer-clothing stores and fashionable nightclubs and bars. The area is popular with the city’s college students and young professionals, and although a high-stakes municipal vote loomed the next day, on Saturday night it was still teeming with Turkish men in tight jeans and young women in dangerously high heels. My guide to this scene was Onur Dedeoglu, a 27-year-old information-systems manager and Istanbul native whom I’d met earlier that day at an election rally for the Republican People’s Party. Known as CHP, it is the main group opposed to Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Islamist and increasingly authoritarian government. You could call them the Gezi generation: It was these young people who last summer took to the streets to protest the government’s plan to raze Gezi, a park near Taksim Square, to make way for a commercial development. The protest movement politically awakened the Gezi generation, and on Sunday they would be joining the estimated 2.5 million young Turks voting for the first time—in local elections across the country that were widely considered a test of strength for the movement and for Mr. Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party, or AKP.

Ukraine: Electoral hopes ride on nation’s ‘Willy Wonka’ | New York Times

After a leading contender dropped out of Ukraine’s presidential race Saturday, the hopes of many Ukrainians and their Western supporters are now on a man known as the Willy Wonka of Ukraine, the billionaire owner of a chocolate-candy company. Petro Olekseyevich Poroshenko, 48, was the highest-profile Ukrainian industrialist to support the protests that ousted President Viktor Yanukovych last month, and he has for several weeks led in polls for the May 25 presidential election. Known as a centrist who had previously worked for both pro-Western and pro-Russian governments, he became a strong advocate of integration with Europe after Russia banned imports of his chocolate. On Saturday, the candidate who had been running second in polls, the former heavyweight boxing champion Vitali Klitschko, withdrew from the race, throwing his support behind Poroshenko and solidifying his lead.