Eric Cantor’s primary defeat last night offers a good explanation for why so many Republicans are no longer willing to back efforts to protect voting rights. After the Supreme Court’s decision invalidating a key section of the VRA last year, Cantor vowed to “find a responsible path forward that ensures that the sacred obligation of voting in this country remains protected.” He was the only member of the GOP leadership to take such a position. Supporters of the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014 were counting on his support (even though he remained noncommittal to date).
In an important Alaska voting rights case being tried in U.S. District Court this month, the state has asserted it isn’t required by law to translate all election materials into Native languages and that in general its language program is adequate. U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason overruled the state, saying the constitutional right to vote requires Alaska to translate all election materials into Native languages. The Alaska Federation of Natives has long endeavored to protect Alaskans’ right to vote. While the state has been slow to recognize the challenges facing Alaska Native voters, the federal government – including our Alaska Congressional Delegation and the federal Department of Justice – has been quickening its pace.
The grandson of Cesar Chavez is challenging the Arizona congressional candidate who has been using the farm labor leader’s name. Alejandro Chavez has filed a legal complaint in the Arizona Superior Court asking that Cesar Chavez, formerly known as Scott Fistler, be removed from the Democratic primary ballot. “This is an attempt to fool voters. This is nothing more than that, so that’s not right,” Alejandro Chavez said. Fistler previously ran for Phoenix City Council in 2013. He has since changed his name and party affiliation from Republican to Democrat.
Up until now, the state of California has been able to boast about one of the most liberal election “recount” statutes in the nation. It allows any voter or group of voters to request a post-election hand-count of any number of precincts in any race or ballot initiative in the state. The state election code allows crucial access to citizen oversight of public elections. That may all be about to change, however, if a Republican proposal, currently being supported by Democrats in the state legislature and causing alarm among some who have carried out recent “recounts”, becomes law. Under current law, voters seeking such a post-election count have to pay for the cost, though if the outcome of the election is changed in favor of the requester, they are entitled to receive a refund. … Still, the provision for post-election citizen oversight of election results in the state, until now, has been far better than most such laws elsewhere in the nation.
Colorado: Lone prosecutor in Gessler anti-vote-fraud campaign drops first case | The Colorado Independent
The charge has been dropped in what’s believed to be the first voter fraud case set for trial since Secretary of State Scott Gessler urged district attorneys statewide to prosecute people who purportedly are cheating Colorado’s election system. Mike Michaelis was scheduled to be tried today for allegedly procuring false information on a voter registration form. Michaelis, 41 and now in construction, registered voters in 2012 on behalf of Work for Progress, a nonprofit that, as its website states, campaigns “for social justice, a fair economy, consumer protection, clean energy, and the environment.” On a voter registration form submitted to Michaelis by Aurora resident Lydie Kouadio, a box was marked saying she is a U.S. citizen. Gessler’s office determined she isn’t. Her name was among 155 voters the Secretary of State deemed to be suspicious. Last June, Gessler sent prosecutors lists of residents in their districts for possible prosecution. In Arapahoe County, District Attorney George Brauchler’s office investigated Kouadio along with the 40 other people in his district Gessler was targeting. Instead of prosecuting Kouadio, Brauchler’s office charged Michaelis based on Kouadio’s claims that Michaelis filled out the registration form for her.
From Election Day registration to more time to cast early ballots, Illinois voters could see fewer restrictions in November, under a measure Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to sign into law. Democrats pushed the legislation last month on the second-to-last day of the spring session with the idea that it would boost voter turnout. However, Illinois Republicans say it is part of a larger effort to increase Democrats’ numbers at the polls in a competitive election, namely Quinn’s bid for a second full term against Republican businessman Bruce Rauner. House Bill 105, which comes in the wake of abysmal voter turnout in the March primary, comes as a record number of voter questions could appear on the ballot. That includes a signature-driven effort for term limits backed by Rauner to poll-style questions pushed by Democrats that wouldn’t affect policy. The topics include minimum wage, birth control and a tax on millionaires.
Hard as it is to believe, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is making good on his threat to implement a two-tiered voting system in which some registered voters are treated as less legitimate than others and only some of the votes on their ballot will count. Kobach told the Associated Press on Tuesday that those who registered to vote using the federal form without providing proof of citizenship will be given full provisional ballots for the Aug. 5 primary but that only the votes cast in federal races will be counted. Imagine the hassle local election officials will have trying to carry out that mandate.
Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann said Wednesday that Mississippi’s first election requiring photo identification reinforces his belief that the state no longer needs federal oversight to handle elections and redistricting. The Republican released figures showing 513 Mississippians cast affidavit ballots June 3 because they lacked proper identification, with at least 177 returning later to show ID and get votes counted. Another 298 ballots were rejected because people did not return by the Tuesday deadline, and 13 were rejected for other reasons, such as voters not being registered. Three counties with 25 ballots among them had not reported by Wednesday what happened to those affidavits. A total of 400,000 ballots were cast.
Nevada: ‘None of the above’ beats out all Democratic Governor candidates in Nevada | Las Vegas Review-Journal
Those few registered Democrats who bothered to vote in Tuesday’s primary might have been driven more by dissatisfaction with the party choices for governor than optimism about the slew of candidates on the ballot. In what appeared to be a protest vote over the lack of a strong challenger to GOP Gov. Brian Sandoval, more Democrats opted for “None Of These Candidates” over the eight actual individuals running for the party nomination. Despite U.S. Sen. Harry Reid’s pronouncement that a credible party-backed candidate would file against Sandoval, no such individual sought the office. Sandoval is expected to win re-election easily this fall. The “none” ballot option was picked by nearly 30 percent of Democratic voters, edging out Las Vegas resident Bob Goodman, who pulled about 25 percent of the vote. The other seven candidates lagged well behind. Goodman will be the party choice on the Nov. 4 general election ballot, however. Goodman ran Nevada’s economic development program under the late Gov. Mike O’Callaghan.
Nevada: Clark County registrar confident voting cartridges left behind weren’t compromised | Las Vegas Review-Journal
Clark County election officials scrambled late Tuesday to retrieve the electronic ballots of 127 voters left behind when polls closed at the Las Vegas Academy. Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria said Wednesday the cartridges where the data was stored were retrieved but not before delaying by several hours the release of vote totals for races in the primary election. He said that all of the votes were counted and he was confident that the cartridges were not tampered with between the voting station’s closure and their recovery. “At no time was there any chance those votes could have been in jeopardy,” Gloria said. He said that federal law requires redundancy paths, or backups, to be in place to ensure votes can be retrieved if cartridges are lost or damaged.
Long opposed to changing New Mexico’s closed primary system, top Democrats are starting to flirt with the idea of allowing independents to vote in partisan primaries. “I’ve originally been in the position that I was not in favor of opening primaries, but I’m reconsidering,” says Sam Bregman, chairman of the Democratic Party of New Mexico. New Mexico is one of 11 states that does not allow registered independents, most of whom are known here as “declined to state voters,” to cast ballots in either Democratic or Republican party primary elections. But just 20 percent of the state’s eligible voters showed up to the polls to vote in the primary last week, which critics cite as a reason the current system isn’t working. Statewide, voters who decline to affiliate with a party make up 19 percent of the electorate, or about 238,500 people, according to Secretary of State figures as of Dec. 31, 2013. In Santa Fe County, that proportion is even greater at 20 percent of registered voters, or 20,589 people.
North Dakota: Election results: now you see them, now you don’t as glitch hits website | Daily Journal
North Dakota political junkies scrambling to get primary election results Tuesday night suffered a case of now you see them, now you don’t as a computer glitch confused the numbers. A snafu in the state’s election website had supporters at a party for Fargo’s mayor and deputy mayor refreshing their smartphones and laptops for most of the evening, with only limited results. At one point Tuesday evening, the numbers went backward.
The almost three-hour waiting game that resulted in no final vote tally in Aiken County during South Carolina’s primaries on Tuesday was what one person called a “worst-case scenario.” Aiken County was the only county that did not report to the State Election Commission by Wednesday morning. Only by 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday were unofficial partial votes tabulated for the state to report. “The worst that can happen has already happened – you having a delay in reporting your complete county results,” Chris Whitmire, State Election Commission spokesman, said. A State Election Commission technician was sent to the Aiken County Government Center early on Wednesday to troubleshoot why candidates, the press and residents were unable to view any tabulated voting results – both absentee and electronic – until almost 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
Major Zaidi Ahmad was demoted from his post as commanding officer at the Butterworth airbase after he complained publicly about the inefficacy of the indelible ink used in Election 2013, his court-martial heard today. Captain Nor Asyikin Mohd Azmi, an officer in charge of keeping documents of officers’ personal details including ranks and positions, told the military court that Zaidi was moved to the administrative post after he blew the whistle about the ink meant to prevent repeat voting. “Major Zaidi was transferred to the Human Resources Department at the Air Force headquarters on May 3, 2013. “It was a temporary position as a second staff officer in research,” she told the court.
The latest online transactional service from government has gone live as part of the digital by default initiative to put more public services online. Electoral registration is the third public service to go live online after lasting power of attorney and student finance. These public services are three of the 25 most used government services that Government Digital Service (GDS) is moving online as part of a two-year project. The 25 services – ranging from visa applications to benefits claims to booking prison visits – were identified as exemplars that would be the first to be redeveloped under the digital by default plan. Registering to vote is the latest service which hopes to make the process simpler for citizens and save the government money. People will be able to register to vote online and on any device in three minutes by providing their name, address, date of birth and National Insurance number.
Ohio must allow voters to cast in-person ballots on the final three days before an election, a federal judge ordered Wednesday. The order wraps up one segment of long-running dispute over early-voting days in the quintessential swing state. Most notably, the decision allows voters in the November gubernatorial election to cast ballots on one Sunday, a popular voting day for urban churches whose largely African-American congregants organize “souls to the polls” caravans after services. For years, Democrats have claimed Ohio’s laws, along with orders from Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted, unequally affected some voters in the state, especially those in urban areas. In 2012, President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign and Democrats filed a lawsuit over an Ohio law that cut off in-person early voting three days prior to Election Day. The law made an exception for military personnel and Ohio voters living overseas. Democrats claimed that was unequal treatment, and everyone should have the chance to vote those three days.
Afghans head to the polls Saturday for a second-round election to choose a successor to President Hamid Karzai, with the threat of Taliban attacks and fraud looming over the country’s first democratic transfer of power. April’s first-round vote was hailed a success as turnout topped 50 percent and Islamist militants failed to launch any high-profile attacks on polling day. But Saturday presents another major challenge in the prolonged election process, which began with campaigning in early February and will end when the final result is announced on July 22.
Colombia: 11,000 polls ready, overseas voting under way in Colombia’s presidential election | Colombia Reports
Colombia’s National Registrar has confirmed that all the necessary preparations have been made for the country’s second-round elections this Sunday. According to the Registrar, more than 32 million Colombians are eligible to vote in Colombia’s June 15 elections, both domestically and abroad. Early voting for the nearly 600,000 Colombian citizens living abroad started on Monday, with polling stations located in 64 different countries. Nearly 11,000 polling stations will be open in the country on election day. According to Radio W, the National Registrar has installed thousands of biometric identification tools throughout the country to combat voter impersonation fraud. Nearly half a million Colombian citizens will also be working as jurors to ensure that the elections run as smoothly as possible.