Election officials in Kern and Imperial counties continued hand recounts Monday of thousands of ballots in the state controller’s race, with a new survey by the secretary of state’s office suggesting that the recount could last well beyond the Nov. 4 election if it covers all of the 15 counties sought by former Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez. In election results certified Friday, Pérez finished 481 votes behind second-place finisher Betty Yee, out of more than 4 million votes cast. Both Democrats seek to take on first-place finisher Ashley Swearengin, the Republican mayor of Fresno.
One billionaire’s plan to divide California into six states might actually make an appearance on the ballot in 2016. Clad in a tie depicting his vision for a divided state, venture capitalist Tim Draper on Tuesday delivered 1.3m signatures to Sacramento, the state’s current capital. That exceeds the state’s 807,615 signature requirement for getting a constitutional amendment on the ballot, though officials will still have to determine the validity of those signatures. Draper, who recently purchased 29,656 bitcoins in a government auction, said that he wants the state divided into six separate entities, each with their own constitutions, governments and, presumably, flags. He believes that dividing the state into six parts would solve California’s problems and lead to greater accountability.
Two top Republican leaders in Florida announced Tuesday that the Legislature would redraw the boundaries for the two congressional seats that a judge ruled unconstitutional, but they said they did not want the map to take effect until the 2016 elections. In agreeing, for the moment, not to appeal Thursday’s state court decision, Will Weatherford, the State House speaker, and Don Gaetz, the State Senate president, are hoping to persuade the judge that the 2014 elections would be thrown into “chaos” if the process was rushed. The Legislature’s decision surprised analysts and lawyers who expected a protracted legal fight. Still, the possibility of an appeal remains, depending on the judge’s decision.
Hinds County GOP Chairman Pete Perry on Tuesday said only 300 to 350 questionable votes were found as the Chris McDaniel and Thad Cochran campaigns scoured records of more than 25,000 votes cast in the county in their primary runoff. Perry said he believes McDaniel’s claims of 1,500 or more potentially illegal votes — and voter fraud — in Hinds County has been “debunked.” “I guess inflation occurs in campaigns with numbers just as it does with egos,” Perry said at a press conference at the county courthouse Tuesday. McDaniel and his campaign have claimed there were widespread irregularities and voter fraud in Hinds County and statewide. They appear to be working toward a legal challenge of the runoff. Six-term incumbent U.S. Sen. Cochran defeated McDaniel in the runoff by 7,667 votes, winning 51 percent of more than 382,000 votes statewide.
Establishment Republicans and allies of Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) have scoffed at state Sen. Chris McDaniel’s (R) claims of rampant voter fraud in the runoff election between the two for U.S. Senate. But, ahead of a press conference on Wednesday where McDaniel plans to discuss the evidence he’s found, Cochran’s campaign and the Mississippi Republican Party have also taken steps to prepare for some kind of lawsuit. Since the runoff, McDaniel and his supporters have been poring over poll books in search of proof that Cochran only won the runoff through Democratic votes. McDaniel’s lawyers claim that if the state senator can prove that Cochran’s margin of victory was only through votes that shouldn’t have been counted in a Republican primary, a new election is automatically triggered (legal experts are skeptical of this). McDaniel, according to Mississippi College School of Law Professor Matthew Steffey, needs the state Supreme Court to order a new election so a legal challenge seems to be the next step.
Oregonians could dramatically alter the way they choose candidates if a ballot initiative to open the state’s primary elections passes in November. The open or top-two primary initiative qualified Tuesday for the November ballot with 91,716 valid signatures, according to the Secretary of State’s Office. The measure would create a new, nonpartisan primary election process where candidates from all parties appear on a single ballot. The two candidates who received the most votes in that election would advance to a general election. “We are very happy; excited,” chief petitioner James Kelly said. “We’ve been waiting a long time.” Washington and California both have open primaries, but Oregon voters overwhelmingly rejected a similar measure in 2008.
There will be much less handling of ballots in Yakima County this election, thanks to a new $200,000 machine that systematically counts, verifies and sorts each ballot into its corresponding precinct. “It will save a lot of time and a lot of hands by not pulling other auditors away from their jobs to help us,” county Elections Manager Kathy Fisher said Monday as a representative from the manufacturer demonstrated how to use the machine. Although the new machine won’t speed up the time it takes to count votes, it will get ballots to the counting process faster.
Wisconsin: U.S. attorney general wades into Wisconsin voter ID court battle | Wisconsin State Journal
The U.S. Justice Department plans to get involved in Wisconsin’s voter ID lawsuit, Attorney General Eric Holder said in a recent interview. “We have already filed suit in Texas and North Carolina,” Holder said. “I expect that we are going to be filing in cases that are already in existence in Wisconsin as well as in Ohio.” Holder’s comments were made in an interview with ABC News that aired Sunday. Holder’s office confirmed the statement but would not elaborate on what kind of action was planned. Wisconsin’s Republican attorney general, J.B. Van Hollen, criticized Holder’s comments.
The euphoria over a U.S.-brokered deal between Afghanistan’s rival presidential candidates at the weekend was a sign of how close some people believe the country came to a split along ethnic lines that could quickly turn violent. The speed at which that relief has evaporated suggests the political crisis, playing out as foreign troops prepare to withdraw after more than a decade policing the war-torn nation, is not over yet. And while Afghans and foreign governments fret over the fate of the election, an insurgency led by the ousted Taliban militia rages on. On Tuesday, at least 89 people were killed when a car bomb exploded in a crowded market in the eastern province of Paktika, one of the worst attacks in a year.
The Australian Electoral Commission has refused a Senate order to reveal the underlying source code of the EasyCount software used to tabulate votes in upper house elections. A motion moved by Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon on 10 July directed Special Minister of State Michael Ronaldson to table the source code as well as correspondence between Ronaldson’s office and the AEC relating to a freedom of information request for the source code. In October, following the fraught outcome of the Senate election in WA, Hobart lawyer Michael Cordover filed a freedom of information application with the AEC requesting the release of the source code and documentation of any data formats used by the software. The AEC rejected the FOI application, citing section 45 of the FOI Act, which exempts “documents that disclose trade secrets”.
This year’s election in Indonesia has charted a lot of firsts for the world’s third-largest democracy. It was the first race between just two candidates, the first to end with quick counts from pollsters showing different winners and the first to use crowdsourcing to involve volunteers with the vote tabulation. The candidates, Joko Widodo and Prabowo Subianto, are both waiting for official results to be released by the Indonesian Elections Commission early next week and current President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has called for their supporters to hold off celebrating. In the meantime, several neutral groups have set up websites asking for volunteers to keep track of the vote count by submitting scanned copies of their voting papers. They’re also asking people to post evidence of irregularities on Twitter. Meanwhile, the General Elections Commission (KPU), which is charged with counting and confirming the votes, has started uploading PDF forms from each polling station to its website. Known as C1, these forms document the number of votes cast at each polling station and show how many went to each candidate.
Some 1,500 ballot boxes from May’s disputed election in Malawi have been destroyed in an unexplained fire. It comes amid an opposition demand for a recount of voting papers for a parliamentary seat in a constituency in the capital, Lilongwe. The High Court was set to hear arguments about the case on Thursday. In May, it overruled an attempt by former President Joyce Banda to annul the presidential vote, which she said was marred by rigging. Peter Mutharika, leader of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), was declared the winner, taking 36.4% of the presidential vote.
The Department of Presidential Affairs has announced a tender for research on the electoral systems of foreign countries in a potential bid to reform Russia’s own electoral system, the Vedomosti newspaper reported Tuesday. Citing a copy of the tender’s technical requirements, Vedomosti reported that the president’s advisers on domestic policy are interested in themes including the practice of limiting citizens’ right to elect and to be elected “within the framework of democratic norms,” various electoral systems and practices for uniting electoral blocs and international practice in regulating the activities of election monitors and campaigners.