Montana will open satellite voting offices on the Crow, Northern Cheyenne and Fort Belknap reservations in October as part of a settlement in a federal voting-rights lawsuit. The offices will be open twice week for late registration and for voters to cast absentee ballots for the Nov. 4 general elections. Last year, 12 Indian plaintiffs sued Secretary of State Linda McCulloch and elections officials in Blaine, Rosebud and Big Horn counties. They argued they had to drive long distances to county courthouses — in some instances, a more than 100 miles roundtrip — to register late and vote early in elections.
Ohio: U.S. Supreme Court will allow constitutional challenge of Ohio law that bars campaign lies | Cleveland Plain Dealer
The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled today that an anti-abortion group can challenge the constitutionality of an Ohio law that bars lies about politicians during an election. The Susan B. Anthony List in April told the Supreme Court that the law, which allows citizens to file complaints about untruthful statements with Ohio’s Election Commission, chills free speech before elections. “The threatened proceedings are of particular concern because of the burden they impose on electoral speech,” said the decision authored by Justice Clarence Thomas. “Moreover, the target of a complaint may be forced to divert significant time and resources to hire legal counsel and respond to discovery requests in the crucial days before an election.” The case stemmed from an ad the group placed that accused former Cincinnati-area Democratic congressman Steve Driehaus of voting for “taxpayer-funded abortion” by backing the Affordable Care Act.
Was a vote for the Affordable Care Act a vote for “taxpayer-funded abortion”? Sounds like a question of opinion, doesn’t it? But when a pro-life advocacy group called the Susan B. Anthony List said as much about then-Congressman Steve Driehaus’s vote during the 2010 election cycle, Driehaus filed an action charging them with making a false statement about his voting record, a crime under Ohio law. Driehaus lost the election, and the case was never decided. But the SBA folks still wanted the federal court to strike down the Ohio law as unconstitutional. Yesterday, the Supreme Court allowed their challenge case to go forward — and that tells us something important about the future of election law. Because the Ohio court never got a chance to find SBA guilty or not guilty of making a false statement about Driehaus’s voting record, no court has yet addressed the question of whether Ohio can outlaw such false statements altogether. The Supreme Court restricted its unanimous decision, written by Justice Clarence Thomas, to the threshold question of whether SBA could go to court seeking to have the law overruled when there were no present charges against it. The court held that the answer was yes.
A judge ruled Tuesday that Cesar Chavez, the former Republican who changed his name from Scott Fistler, will be removed from the primary ballot in the 7th Congressional District because hundreds of his signatures were invalid. Chavez, who acted as his own attorney in a hearing which veered from comical antics to tearful testimony, vowed to appeal the decision to the Arizona Supreme Court. He asked supporters to “funnel money” to his campaign and find him legal counsel. The ruling caps a bizarre episode in Arizona politics, one observers have called unprecedented. It attracted international media attention when The Republic revealed the full story behind Chavez, the candidate who chose the name of a deceased civil-rights leader and registered as a Democrat for political gain in the heavily Hispanic left-leaning district. He had lost two previous elections. His familiar name threatened to siphon votes in a hotly contested race to replace longtime retiring Rep. Ed Pastor, D-Ariz.
Thousands of mail-in ballots that could have made a difference in the tight primary election for state Controller have been invalidated because they showed up at registrars’ offices too late to count. Fresno’s mayor, Republican Ashley Swearengin, finished first and will be in November’s general election. The contest for the second spot has swung back and forth between two Democrats — former Assembly Speaker John Perez of Los Angeles and Board of Equalization member Betty Yee, from the Bay Area. With more than 3.9 million ballots counted, Perez led by fewer than 1,800 votes Tuesday afternoon. The total has been changing several times a day since the June 3 primary as California’s 58 county registrars send updates to the Secretary of State.
Justice will soon be served for hundreds of Florida voters, after a man from Washington state admitted that he tried to keep local Republicans from turning out in the 2012 presidential election. That man could soon be headed to prison. State and federal agencies first started looking into possible voter fraud in Palm Beach County in the fall of 2012. Investigators say Bob Hiering of Delray Beach, a Republican, was one of the targets. “When I got that letter, I was like ‘Are you kidding me?’,” he said of a letter received just before the 2012 presidential election – with a postmark from Seattle, Washington. “I got a letter in the mail questioning my citizenship and my ability to vote,” said Hiering.
It’s a baby step but an important one, says a Peoria city councilman about the goal of merging the city’s and county’s election commissions. On Tuesday, the Metro Peoria Committee, composed of members from both City Hall and Peoria County, voted to recommend approval of a measure that allows Peoria County to retain control of money used by the city to fund elections. Tax money is collected by the county and then divvied out to the city election commission, which then uses the funds, about $500,000 annually, to pay for elections. Any unspent money stays on the city’s books but can be used only for election purposes, says 3rd District City Councilman Tim Riggenbach, Metro Peoria’s former chair.
Lyon County election officer Tammy Vopat and deputy election officer Heather Dill recently finished training roughly 80 poll workers on the county’s new E-pollbooks. The books will change the way that voters sign in before entering the voting booth, but in a very minor way. Instead of signing a piece of paper, they will be putting their signature on an electronic pad. Just like the paper version, the new system will simply record that a person voted, not what ballot they received or who they voted for. “The main thing that I want to let the voter know is that we do have new equipment, and actually the only change that the voter will see is when they sign their name,” Vopat said. “It won’t be on paper, it will be on one of the electronic signature pads.”
Minnesota voters can now request an absentee ballot online at mnvotes.org through a new tool launched by the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State. The service allows voters to apply for an absentee ballot quickly and easily without the need to print, scan forms, and return by mail, fax or email. A similar tool for military and overseas voters was introduced in September 2013. Voters may request an absentee ballot for both the August 12 Primary Election and November 4 General Election. Ballots for those elections will be mailed when they become available on June 27 and September 19, respectively.
His hand forced by a judge, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has announced hours for early voting. But the war over access to the ballot in the nation’s most pivotal swing state isn’t over by a long shot. In a directive issued Tuesday afternoon, Husted, a Republican, set early voting hours for the four weeks before Election Day that are roughly comparable to the hours offered in 2012. Husted acted after a federal judge, in a ruling last week, required him to restore early voting on the last three days before the election. Husted had previously tried to cut early voting on those days. The judge’s ruling ensured that the “Souls to the Polls” drives that many black churches have conducted in recent years—in which people vote en masse after services—can continue.
The Senate has approved legislation to do away with the straight-ticket voting option on Rhode Island ballots. The House already endorsed a bill to eliminate the so-called “master lever” but that version would have taken effect in time for November’s elections. The Senate version takes effect in 2015. The vote was 34-3.
When the Supreme Court weakened the Voting Rights Act last year, it allowed Texas to implement what is perhaps the nation’s strictest photo ID law. But according to the state’s Republicans, the federal government still has too much influence on how it runs elections. The Texas GOP platform, released Thursday, calls for the repeal of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965, the most successful civil-rights law in the nation’s history. It also supports scrapping the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, which has helped millions register to vote. And it advocates making voters re-register every four years, among other restrictive policies. In sum, the party wants to get the federal government out of the business of overseeing state elections—returning voting law to where it was before the civil rights movement. “We urge that the Voter [sic] Rights Act of 1965, codified and updated in 1973, be repealed and not reauthorized,” the platform says.
Afghanistan’s presidential election was cast into crisis on Wednesday as the candidate Abdullah Abdullah announced a boycott of the electoral process, accusing his opponent and President Hamid Karzai of engineering huge fraud in the runoff vote on Saturday. Rejecting the process laid out under Afghan electoral law, he called on the election commission to halt all vote-counting and immediately investigate any inflated ballot totals — steps that are designed to come after partial vote results are announced in the next few weeks. Mr. Abdullah also withdrew his election observers from the vote-counting and suspended his cooperation with the Independent Election Commission, which his campaign accuses of bias. If Mr. Abdullah were to reject the official results of the vote, it would cast into doubt an election that Western and Afghan officials alike have considered critical to the legacy of the long Western war in Afghanistan. The election’s legitimacy has been directly tied to the country’s stability, and to continued international aid now that Western troops are leaving.
China: ‘Referendum’ organisers to extend poll after cyberattacks on electronic voting system | South China Morning Post
Organisers of Occupy Central say they will extend voting on Friday’s “referendum” on electoral reform from three days to 10 days after its electronic system was targeted by hackers. The system, set up to accept advance registrations, has been hit by more than 10 billion cyberattacks since it was launched last week. The civil disobedience movement was not the only victim of the attacks. Chinese-language newspaper Apple Daily – known for its pro-democracy stance – was also brought down by hackers. And the attacks were of the same type – distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) – in which the server of a website is besieged by demands to access the site. Access to the online editions of Apple Daily in Hong Kong and Taiwan was limited yesterday and it instead relied on content uploaded to social media before normal service resumed after a 12-hour disruption.
On Thursday, June 5, 2014, the Chairman of Ghana’s Electoral Commission, Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, took a potentially dangerous and indefensibly stubborn position by insisting that the electoral management body would not bow to pressure from political parties and civil society groups to commission an independent audit of the biometric voters’ register. To him, there was no evidence that the register was bloated or not credible. Looking cursorily at Ghana’s 2012 voters’ list, having 56.2% of the population certified as eligible voters, may appear pretty normal. But, the picture becomes evidently disturbing upon closer scrutiny of the statistics and when compared to figures across the globe. What comes out is that Ghana has one of the most abnormal, if not the worst, electoral roll in the entire world. It is certainly the worst in democratic Africa.
Former Mauritanian president Ely Ould Mohamed Vall on Tuesday called on local and international civil society groups not to recognize the country’s upcoming presidential polls in which incumbent President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz will vie for a second term in office. “These farcical elections will be supervised by a non-representative commission dedicated to serving the interests of one political party,” read a press statement issued by Vall. The June 21 presidential election is being boycotted by the National Forum for Democracy and Unity, an umbrella group of opposition parties ranging from social democrats to Islamists.
Namibia: Implementing Biometric-Based Systems – Researchers Challenge Electronic Voting | allAfrica.com
In line with last week’s article “Implementing Biometrics based Systems: Electronic Voting Selection Criteria”, we continue our focus on electronic voting, known as e-voting, to be held in Namibia. In addition, the Biometric Research Laboratory, BRL, at Namibia Biometric System will answer some of the questions received in last week’s article. However, researcher at BRL and worldwide have been keen to get access to e-voting machine and independently assess the merits of the machines. Researchers at BRL would like to highlight some of the latest findings on e-voting machines conducted by researchers from the University of Michigan. Recently in May 2014, researchers at the University of Michigan said they have developed a technique to hack into the Indian electronic voting machines. University of Michigan researchers were able to change results by sending text messages from a mobile.
Tunisia’s electoral commission on Monday proposed holding long-planned parliamentary elections in October and a presidential poll in November after the political parties agreed a deal following months of negotiations. “The draft timetable that we have presented (proposes) legislative elections on 26 October, the first round of the presidential election on 23 November, and the second round on 28 December,” the commission’s chairman, Chafik Sarsar, told journalists. He was speaking after meeting National Assembly speaker Mustapha Ben Jaafar.