Texas: Man gets three years in prison for casting a single vote | abc13.com

Adrian Heath was recently sentenced to three years in prison and slapped with a $10,000 fine, and he has become an unlikely face for voter fraud in Texas. His sentencing in a Montgomery County court capped a four-year journey that began with Heath’s plan to bring more oversight to a special utility district and ended with Heath a convicted felon. Heath’s interest was in The Woodlands Road Utility District, a 2,400-acre taxing body that weaves through the suburb. The district was collecting taxes to pay off bond debt and Heath wanted a say. He argued that even though his home wasn’t exactly in the district — few residences were — it imposed taxes indirectly on him because he did much of his shopping and dining there. “We learned there was an election pending,” Heath said. “Three seats open. So we said, ‘Why don’t we just get some people to run for those seats?'” In May 2010, Heath, along with a handful of his neighbors booked rooms at a Residence Inn inside the Road Utility District.

Afghanistan: Election results delayed amid fraud accusations | Reuters

Preliminary results from Afghanistan’s presidential election, due to be announced on Wednesday, have been delayed, an election official said, amid accusations of fraud that threaten to split the fragile country along ethnic lines. Votes from around 2,000 polling stations in the June 14 run-off are to be reviewed and recounted, said Sharifa Zurmati Wardak of the Independent Election Commission (IEC). The contest pitted former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah against former World Bank economist Ashraf Ghani. “This will take nearly a week and the final result won’t be announced on time,” Wardak told Reuters.

China: Hong Kong, Beijing Consider New Reality After Pro-Democracy Referendum | VoA News

Hong Kong and Chinese officials and lawmakers are considering how to deal with a new political reality in which almost 800,000 Hong Kong residents made an unprecedented show of support for greater democracy by participating in an unofficial referendum. Occupy Central With Love and Peace, a movement of Hong Kong pro-democracy activists who organized the 10-day referendum that ended Sunday, said 792,000 citizens cast valid ballots. The vast majority of them used Internet and mobile phone, though several thousand cast paper ballots at polling stations. Hong Kong had approximately 3.5 million regisered voters in 2012, according to The Guardian.

Indonesia: Most Election Violations During Counting, Constitutional Court Says | The Jakarta Globe

The Constitutional Court has warned that based on recent legislative election cases it has handled, most election violations were committed during the vote counting process. “Our evaluation shows that violations mostly occurred during vote counting, or the recapitulation process at the village, ward and subdistrict level. That’s where opportunities for violations are high. The MK [Constitutional Court] trial did not find many violations committed at the district level,” Chief Justice Hamdan Zoelva said in Jakarta on Tuesday. Although he did not provide statistics, Hamdan maintained that few violations were committed during the voting process as opposed to the vote counting process. Hamdan expressed his hope that the General Elections Commission (KPU) and Elections Supervisory Body (Bawaslu) would take note of the problems especially now that the presidential election is near. “Surely the polling committees need to take note of this,” Hamdan said.

Turkey: Erdogan To Run In First Direct Presidential Election | Eurasia Review

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s prime minister for the last 11 years and an increasingly authoritarian and polarising figure, will, as expected, run in the country’s first direct election for the presidency on 10 August. No one expects him to lose, least of all Erdogan himself. His Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) has won the last six general and local elections. He faces a term limit as prime minister next year. Erdogan will run against Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the former head of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, who is the joint candidate of the two biggest opposition parties, the centre-left Republican Peoples Party (CHP), established by Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, and the right-wing National Action Party (MHP), and Selahattin Demirtas, a pro-Kurdish politician. By uniting under one candidate, the CHP and the MHP, which represent the secularist elite, hope to narrow the distance with the AKP.

Kansas: ACLU seeks to block Kansas voter-citizenship move | Topeka Capital-Journal

The American Civil Liberties Union asked a Kansas judge Friday to prevent Secretary of State Kris Kobach from starting a “dual” voting system to help the conservative Republican enforce a proof-of-citizenship requirement for new voters that he championed. The ACLU filed a request for a temporary injunction with Shawnee County District Judge Franklin Theis in a lawsuit that the group filed last year on behalf of two voters and Equality Kansas, the state’s leading gay-rights group. Theis already had scheduled a hearing for July 11, and the ACLU wants its request considered then, ahead of the state’s Aug. 5 primary.

Mississippi: McDaniel still not conceding; fight over poll books continues | Mississippi Business Journal

State Sen. Chris McDaniel has presented no evidence to support his claim that voter fraud pushed Senate incumbent Thad Cochran to victory in Mississippi’s GOP runoff. And without evidence, the tea party-backed hopeful is going to have a tough time overturning Cochran’s nearly 6,800-vote win. But a week after the balloting, McDaniel isn’t giving up. McDaniel spokesman Noel Fritsch said yesterday that the campaign continues to examine poll books for possible examples of crossover voting that is prohibited by state law — people who voted in both the Democratic primary June 3 and the Republican runoff June 24. “We haven’t determined our specific legal recourse,” Fritsch said. “We’re kind of in a holding pattern, to a certain degree, while we’re collecting evidence.” Mississippi voters don’t register by party. State law says the only people banned from voting in the June 24 Republican runoff were those who voted in the June 3 Democratic primary.

Oregon: Website breach: State officials failed to patch ‘high risk’ software problem | OregonLive.com

The hackers who breached the Oregon Secretary of State’s website in February probably exploited software that cybersecurity websites had identified as vulnerable but that state IT officials had not patched, documents and information obtained by The Oregonian show. On Friday, agency spokesman Tony Green said the hackers first gained access to the site Jan. 21. That’s one week earlier than previously disclosed and two weeks before the breach was detected Feb. 4. The attack, possibly from China or North Korea, prompted officials to take the state’s campaign finance and business registry databases offline for about three weeks. State officials also closed international access to the entire website for weeks, and this week declined to say what controls on foreign traffic remain.

California: Law sought to prevent recount fights | Fresno Bee

In 2010, California lawmakers approved legislation meant to reduce the incentive for expensive and contentious ballot recounts of the sort looming in the exceedingly close race for second place in the state controller’s primary. But the law went dormant at the end of last year and will have no bearing on the controller’s contest between Betty Yee and John A. Pérez. In a statement Tuesday, the Pérez campaign said it is conducting a review to “determine whether a recount is warranted. After nearly a month of counting votes and a vote margin of just 1/100th of one percent, out of more than 4 million votes cast, nobody would like to the see this process completed more than we would,” the statement said. “Since this is one of closest statewide elections in the history of California, we have an obligation to review and ensure that every vote cast is accurately counted. During our review, we will also determine whether a recount is warranted.”

Hawaii: Governor signs same-day voting registration measure | Hawaii News Now

A measure taking aim at Hawaii’s worst-in-the-nation voter turnout is now law. Gov. Neil Abercrombie today signed a bill making Hawaii the 12th state in the country where late registration could be done on the day voters head to the polls. But same-day voting registration won’t begin until the 2018 elections to give state election officials time to phase in the program. “Hopefully, this will improve voter turnout and as I say, the delayed implementation gives the county clerks and the Office of Elections time to make sure it’s implemented accurately,” Abercrombie said.

Illinois: Quinn Signs Bill Relaxing Voting Restrictions | WTTW

Illinois citizens will now be able to register to vote on the same day as voting. Today, Gov. Pat Quinn signed that into law and other new provisions that he says will expand voter access. But some Republicans are calling the new law purely political, and are criticizing the shadowy way in which it came about. This law will only affect the coming November election, not future elections, which have set off criticism that this relaxation of voting laws will ultimately benefit Democrats – not enfranchise more voters as supporters contend. But the governor and other lawmakers say they will revisit the law after the election, they just want to see how it works first. “This bill is designed to take a look at some new ideas,” Quinn said. “We want to see how it works. I think a lot of the election authorities asked us to make this a bill that would be for this election and take a look at how this works out.”

Mississippi: McDaniel not giving up on claims that voter fraud produced Cochran runoff win | Associated Press

Chris McDaniel has presented no evidence to support his claim that voter fraud pushed Senate incumbent Thad Cochran to victory in Mississippi’s GOP runoff. And without evidence, the tea party-backed hopeful is going to have a tough time overturning Cochran’s nearly 6,800-vote win. But a week after the balloting, McDaniel isn’t giving up. McDaniel spokesman Noel Fritsch said Tuesday that the campaign continues to examine poll books for possible examples of crossover voting that is prohibited by state law — people who voted in both the Democratic primary June 3 and the Republican runoff June 24. “We haven’t determined our specific legal recourse,” Fritsch said. “We’re kind of in a holding pattern, to a certain degree, while we’re collecting evidence.”

Mississippi: Chris McDaniel, True the Vote challenge Mississippi primary vote | Washington Times

A conservative group filed a lawsuit in federal court Tuesday challenging the outcome of the bitter Mississippi GOP Senate primary, saying that investigators should take more time to determine whether election laws have been broken and whether illegal ballots were cast. True The Vote, which bills itself as the nation’s leading voters’ rights and election integrity organization, said that it had no choice but to file a lawsuit after the Mississippi secretary of state and Mississippi GOP refused to respond to requests to review possible “double-voting” in the state’s primary, where Sen. Thad Cochran was declared the winner over tea party-backed state Sen. Chris McDaniel. The group said the outcome could have been diluted by some of the votes cast and said it could be in violation of the Equal Protection Clause under the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution.

Mississippi: Cochran campaign denies vote-buying reports | Clarion-Ledger

The U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran campaign is denying reports from a conservative blogger that it was trying to buy votes in Lauderdale County. Blogger Charles C. Johnson of GotNews.com is reporting that Stevie Fielder says the Cochran campaign told him to offer black voters in the Meridian area $15 each to vote for Cochran in the June 24 GOP primary runoff against Chris McDaniel. Cochran campaign spokesman Jordan Russell called the accusations of illegal vote buying “baseless and false. It comes from a blogger who in the last 24 hours has accused a Mississippi public official of being responsible for an individual’s death and had to retract other outlandish accusations regarding another Mississippi elected official,” Russell said. “The author of this article admits he paid his source for the story.” The report comes as McDaniel continues to examine records from the June 24 runoff which he narrowly lost and consider a challenge of the results.

North Carolina: NAACP, others to argue for a preliminary injunction against voting law | Winston-Salem Journal

The state NAACP and other civil rights groups want a federal judge to block what they call the worst voter suppression bill since the days of Jim Crow. “The reality is that this monster voter suppression law was passed a few weeks after Shelby,” said the Rev. William Barber, the president of the state NAACP, in a conference call Tuesday. Barber was referring to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act that required states and other communities to seek federal approval for changes in voting laws. Forty counties in North Carolina had been under the Section 5 requirement. The law, officially known as the Voter Information Verification Act, includes a number of provisions. The most well-known is a requirement that voters present a photo ID, beginning in 2016, but it also reduces the number of days for early voting from 17 to 10, eliminates same-day voter registration during early voting and prohibits county elections officials from counting ballots cast by voters in the right county but wrong precinct.

North Dakota: ACLU, Fargo nonprofit urge Jaeger to expand new voter ID requirements | Jamestown Sun

The American Civil Liberties Union is urging Secretary of State Al Jaeger to expand what it calls his “exceedingly narrow” interpretation of North Dakota’s new voter ID law to allow voters to use more forms of identification, warning the law could disenfranchise Native American and disabled voters, among others. Jaeger said Monday he received the letter from the ACLU — as well as a supporting letter from the Fargo-based nonprofit Freedom Resource Center for Independent Living — on Friday and was still reviewing it to develop a response, adding, “I can just go by what the law allows. As to whether we can do anything or not, that remains to be seen,” he said.

Ohio: Why early voting cuts hit African-Americans hardest | MSNBC

Voting restrictions imposed by Ohio Republicans earlier this year will make casting a ballot in the Buckeye State significantly harder, and will hurt African-Americans far more than whites, according to a new court filing which offers a wealth of data to back up its claims. The brief, filed Monday by lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), asks a federal judge for an injunction to block the restrictions—cuts to the early voting period, and the elimination of same-day voter registration—before this November’s election. The ACLU filed suit earlier this year, alleging that the moves violate the Voting Rights Act’s ban on voting changes that have a racially discriminatory effect. But until Monday, it had not offered detailed information in support of its case.

Ohio: ‘Voters Bill of Rights’ effort misses July deadline, will continue to collect signatures | Cleveland Plain Dealer

Supporters of a “Voters Bill of Rights” constitutional amendment won’t attempt to put the issue on the ballot this November but plan to continue collecting signatures for a future November ballot. Amendment supporters had to collect roughly 385,000 valid signatures from registered Ohio voters by July 2 for the amendment to appear on the November ballot. The group has been collecting signatures since March, but were more than 200,000 signatures short. State Rep. Alicia Reece, a Cincinnati Democrat leading the group, said the all-volunteer effort has collected about 100,000 signatures in less than 90 days on a “shoestring budget.” Signatures that have been collected will still count toward the group’s final total.

Rhode Island: Bill abolishing ‘master lever’ signed into law by Chafee | The Providence Journal

The campaign to abolish the “master lever” crossed its final hurdle Tuesday with Governor Chafee signing matching House and Senate bills that will soon make a one-line straight-party voting option a thing of the past. Passed during final days of the 2014 legislative session, the bills ended a decades-long campaign to do away with the straight-ticket or “master-lever” option — so named because of the levers that were once present on voting machines The legislation will not change this year’s election ballots. Lawmakers, concerned that removing the straight-party option might confuse some voters, ultimately decided that the secretary of state’s office should conduct a “training and community outreach” campaign “throughout the state,” before an election is held without the master-lever option.

Afghanistan: Election result faces delay amid fraud allegations | Deutsche Welle

On Tuesday, Afghanistan’s electoral commission announced that it would likely delay the preliminary result of last month’s presidential runoff until the weekend at the earliest. The result was originally scheduled to be made public on Wednesday. “The announcement of preliminary results is likely to be delayed until Saturday,” election commissioner Sharifa Zurmati said. “Around 2,000 polling centers are to be recounted because of alleged fraud.” In June, Afghans defied Taliban violence to vote in a presidential runoff between former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah and ex-World Bank official Ashraf Ghani. Ballots were cast at 6,000 polling stations across the country. The Independent Election Commission (IEC) reported that 99.7 percent of the ballots had been logged into its database. IEC chief Zia ul-Haq Amarkhail resigned his post last week after Abdullah’s campaign released a phone conversation in which Amarkhail allegedly called for ballot boxes to be stuffed. Amarkhail claimed the recording was fake but said he was stepping down so that Abdullah would end his boycott of the vote.

China: Tens of thousands turn out for Hong Kong democracy march | Reuters

Clutching banners and chanting slogans, tens of thousands of protesters have staged a pro-democracy rally in Hong Kong that organisers say could be the largest since the city was handed back to China. The rally on Tuesday reflects surging discontent over Beijing’s insistence that it vet candidates before a vote in 2017 for the semi-autonomous region’s next leader. The march comes after nearly 800,000 people voted in an informal referendum to demand a electoral mechanism to nominate candidates. The poll has irked Beijing, which branded it ‘‘illegal and invalid’’ despite the unexpectedly high turnout.

Turkey: Opposition fears power grab as Erdoğan stands for presidency | The Guardian

Turkey’s worst-kept political secret was revealed when the ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) announced that the current prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, will be its official candidate to become the country’s next president. Six weeks ahead of the country’s first direct presidential elections, the AKP announced Erdoğan’s candidacy on Tuesday to a cheering crowd of party members. Erdoğan’s nomination, kept under wraps until Tuesday, has long been rumoured among political analysts and the media. The nomination was revealed at an extravagant and emotionally charged event in the capital, Ankara, where the prime minister’s long-time political ally Mehmet Ali Şahin, former parliamentary speaker and justice minister, addressed a more than 4,000 party members. Şahin stressed that the decision had been unanimous. “In order to designate a presidential candidate, at least 20 signatures of party MPs are needed,” he said. “We were able to gather all signatures of all our [party MPs].”

Editorials: Will Same-Day Voter Registration Law Fix Hawaii’s Poor Voter Turnout? | Honolulu Magazine

On June 30, Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed legislation into law that will eventually allow same-day voter registration, first at absentee polling places beginning in 2016, and at all precinct polling places on Election Day starting in 2018. Lawmakers hope the adoption of HB 2590 will improve Hawaii’s abysmal voter turnout. Allowing same-day registration in other states, including Connecticut and Colorado, has boosted voter turnout. Other studies have shown election-day registration can increase turnout between 7 and 14 percentage points. Hawaii has one of the lowest voter turnouts in the nation, with just 44 percent of eligible voters actually casting ballots in last year’s presidential election, even when local boy Barack Obama was on the ballot.

Illinois: State to allow same-day registration, expand early voting hours | The Washington Post

Illinois will dramatically expand access to the ballot box this year by allowing voters to register on Election Day, and by significantly extending the hours early-vote locations will be open. Gov. Pat Quinn (D) has said he will sign the measure, passed by the legislature late last month. The bill expands both the number of days during which early voting locations are open and the number of hours each day they remain open. Voters who cast a ballot early will not have to show a photo identification. “Democracy works best when everyone has the opportunity to participate,” Quinn said in a statement. “By removing barriers to vote, we can ensure a government of the people and for the people.”

North Dakota: Groups want adjustments to voter ID rules | Bismarck Tribune

Two national groups have sent letters to the North Dakota Secretary of State protesting the application of the state’s new voter identification laws. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Freedom Resources Center for Independent Living claim the new voter ID laws could disenfranchise voters. In its letter, sent on Friday, the ACLU recommends expanding the forms of ID permitted to be used to include items such as passports, game and fish licenses and utility bills. Secretary of State Al Jaeger said Monday his office will review the letters and craft a response. However, he said his office is limited by statute as to what it can do in adopting any recommendations made by the groups.

Texas: Young County takes voting equipment decision to the 12th hour | Graham Leader

For the fourth time, Young County Elections Administrator Lauren Sullivan pitched the purchase of new election equipment to county officials, and, for the fourth time, county officials tabled the item. The Young County Commissioners Court will discuss the new equipment one final time at its June 30 meeting; the last day the county can purchase the equipment at a drastically reduced price, according to representatives from its manufacturers, Hart Intercivic. The court’s last-minute approach has to do with the cost, more than $330,000 over 60 months, a deal that Sullivan said the county will not see again once the June 30 deadline for the discounted “cutting edge” Hart Intercivic Verity election equipment passes. Once the deadline passes, the new equipment, which Sullivan said will become a necessity one way or another, could raise in price as much as $150,000.

US Virgin Islands: Board of Elections misses key federal deadline | Virgin Islands Daily News

The St. Thomas-St. John Board of Elections is in violation of a federal consent order that mandated the board to send out absentee ballots to overseas military personnel by June 17. During an emergency meeting called for Friday afternoon at the board’s offices in Lockhart Gardens on St. Thomas, board members were irate with the V.I. Elections System for not better communicating the status of the ballots in the last two weeks. They said that during that time, they thought that the ballots were finalized and sent out to military members. “We have a crisis,” said Arturo Watlington Jr., chairman of the St. Thomas-St. John Board of Elections. The U.S. Attorney’s Office asked the V.I. Attorney General’s Office to check on the status of sending out ballots for the Aug. 2 primary election in the territory, at which point the territorial office discovered this week that the ballots had not yet been finalized.

Wisconsin: Voter fraud case targets Scott Walker backer | Capital Times

In one of the biggest cases of voter fraud ever in Wisconsin, a Milwaukee area health insurance executive has been charged with casting multiple votes for Republican candidates — including Gov. Scott Walker in the 2012 recall election. Robert Monroe of Shorewood was charged Friday with 13 felonies related to his voting a dozen times in five elections between 2011 and 2012, using his own name along with his son’s and his girlfriend’s son. The charges followed a WisPolitics.com review of records from the John Doe investigation that revealed the investigation into Monroe’s voting habits. “During 2011 and 2012, the defendant, Robert Monroe, became especially focused upon political issues and causes, including especially the recall elections,” says the criminal complaint against Monroe.

Australia: Voter ID push: opponents say laws would disenfranchise the disadvantaged | The Guardian

A Liberal party push to roll out voter identification laws across Australia has sparked warnings that the move would make it harder for disadvantaged groups to have their say at the ballot box. Party delegates at the Liberal federal council meeting in Melbourne at the weekend passed a motion calling on Coalition governments at all levels to change the law to ensure people must present identification containing a name and residential address when voting. The resolution, passed resoundingly after it was promoted as a “sensible” way to prevent electoral fraud, indicates a mood for such changes within the Liberal party but is not binding on the federal or state Coalition governments.

Afghanistan: Amid Claims of Fraud, Presidential Candidate Vows More Deadlock | New York Times

After a potential opening last week to ease Afghanistan’s political crisis, the presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah signaled on Sunday that more deadlock was ahead, promising again that he would not accept any decisions made by the country’s election commission after the panel rejected a list of his demands. “From today onward, we reject all the decisions and activities of the Independent Election Commission, which will not have any legal value anyway,” said Baryalai Arsalai, Mr. Abdullah’s campaign manager. “They have no intention to assess the fraudulent votes and separate the dirty votes from the clean votes.” In the two weeks since the presidential runoff vote, the election process has been shadowed by accusations of fraud and conspiracy, with the Abdullah campaign accusing a range of officials all the way to the presidential palace of rigging the vote against him. There have been dramatic protests flooding the streets of Kabul, and secretly captured phone calls that allegedly show election officials conspiring to rig the race.