With control of the Senate up for grabs and a Republican House looking to expand its majority in November, it would seem strange for DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz to spend even a minute thinking about usually sleepy down-ballot races like the open seat for Iowa’s Secretary of State. But at the Democratic National Committee summer meeting last month, Wasserman Schultz not only talked about that Iowa contest—she also promised to campaign for the Democrat in the race, Brad Anderson, and four other Democratic secretary of state candidates in swing states across the country this fall. Why use so much fire power on such low-profile offices? “We’re committed to ensuring that those who administer elections do so fairly,” Wasserman Schultz said, singling out five races in Ohio, New Mexico, Colorado, and Nevada, in addition to Iowa, as the ones she’s most focused on. “The fights over voter ID and early voting are just the latest reminder of how important the rules for elections are in shaping the electorate and determining the eventual outcomes.”
The state of Alaska says it will do a better job offering language assistance to its native population following a federal court ruling this week. The ruling marks the end of a legal campaign that began a year ago when the state was sued by four tribes and two native voters for failing to provide sufficient ballot language assistance. After a nine-day trial earlier this summer, U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason on Wednesday issued her ruling, asking the state to submit a proposal by Friday for changes that could be implemented before the November election. “This case boils down to one issue,” Natalie Landreth, an attorney with the Native American Rights Fund, which filed the lawsuit with two national law firms, said in a statement following the ruling. “English speakers receive a 100-page Official Election Pamphlet before every election and Yup’ik speaking voters have been receiving three things: the date of the election, the time of the election, and a notice that language assistance will be available at the poll. That’s it. That is a very clear violation of the law, and it has to change, now.”
Mississippi: McDaniel’s camp files notice to appeal dimissal of lawsuit | Mississippi Business Journal
A tea party-supported candidate is taking the first step to try to revive his lawsuit that challenges his Republican primary loss to Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran. Attorneys for state Sen. Chris McDaniel filed a notice of appeal Friday, saying they intend to ask the Mississippi Supreme Court to overturn a judge’s dismissal of the lawsuit. Judge Hollis McGehee ruled Aug. 29 that McDaniel missed a 20-day deadline to challenge results of the June 24 Republican primary runoff. A written order of dismissal was filed Thursday, starting a 30-day period for McDaniel to appeal to the state Supreme Court. The document filed Friday contained no legal arguments.
A federal judge’s decision this morning to allow early voting in Ohio is a big victory for those who think voting should be easier and more accessible. It was also a remarkable decision in purely human terms, showing a deeply compassionate understanding of the lives of the low-income people who have been the most harmed by Republican efforts to put barriers around the ballot box. In February, Ohio Republicans passed a law cutting early voting from 35 to 28 days, and eliminating the week in which residents could register and vote at the same time, known as the “Golden Week.” In blocking that law today, federal District Judge Peter Economus described in detail the people “struggling on the margins of society” who have been the biggest users of early voting and the Golden Week since 2008.
Even if New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo lost his Democratic primary on Tuesday, he’d still be on the ballot in November — as a candidate for three other parties. That seems unlikely, but it’s not the extent of Cuomo’s ballot issues. If insurgent candidate Tim Wu beats Cuomo’s chosen running mate, former congresswoman Kathy Hochul, Cuomo could actually end up stealing votes in November from none other than himself. Wu, the Columbia law professor who was recently endorsed by the New York Times, would be Cuomo’s Democratic running mate if he wins Tuesday. But several other minor parties in the state have already sided with the Cuomo-Hochul ticket. And while it would seem that these minor parties could simply swap in a Cuomo-Wu ticket, that actually might not be the case, because they all need at least 50,000 votes on their line to automatically be on the ballot in the far-more-exciting 2016 presidential election. Why might Cuomo wind up running against himself? Well, it has everything to do with New York’s long and confusing ballots. Below, we explain.
Nine losing candidates from the August elections are contesting the results in a Shelby County Chancery Court lawsuit. … It was filed earlier in General Sessions Court before the new filing in Chancery Court. The lawsuit, filed pro se by Brown and Ross against the Shelby County Election Commission, seeks “a vote recount and/or the setting aside of the election results as they are individually affected and a declaration declaring them to have won the election.” The action also seeks an open inspection of records from the election, including computer records.
This week the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments over Wisconsin’s voter ID law. Multiple lawsuits have been filed since the state legislature passed the measure in 2012. In July the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled the law constitutional. But now a panel of three federal judges will question Friday whether the requirement to show a photo ID at the polls violates the Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution, as Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen ask the law be reinstated for the November elections.
An audit of votes from Afghanistan’s disputed presidential election has been completed, officials say, but results will not be made public for days. Candidate Abdullah Abdullah withdrew observers from the audit, amid fraud concerns. His rival Ashraf Ghani also withdrew his team after a UN request. Both camps believe they won June’s poll and both alleged widespread fraud.
Myanmar’s election commission scrapped November by-elections in 35 parliamentary seats, citing the pressure of hosting an upcoming regional summit and extra costs ahead of a nationwide poll in 2015. The Union Election Commission made the surprise announcement after a meeting with more than 30 political parties in Yangon. Explaining the decision, deputy director of the commission Hla Maung Cho said the number of lawmakers who would have been returned to parliament in the by-elections “will not make a big difference” to voting. He cited Myanmar’s chairing of the Asean summit in November and the high cost of contesting polls for smaller political parties that were also planning their campaigns for the nationwide vote slated for November next year.
Canada: Progressive Conservative executive says some party members tried to cheat electronic voting system | Calgary Herald
Voting in the PC leadership race proceeded more smoothly Saturday after a rocky start Friday, but some party members tried to cheat the electronic voting process, says a top party official. Kelley Charlebois, executive director of the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta, declined to elaborate on the attempts to cheat in the race for Alberta’s next premier, but he said Saturday: “We caught them and they won’t be voting.” In addition to the unsuccessful attempts to cheat, a number of party members attempted to vote twice, Charlebois said. “We enabled them to do that so in that case we don’t consider it cheating,” he said. “We’re simply going to disallow the second vote they cast.” Charlebois said party officials didn’t detect anyone voting on behalf of others — which is not permitted — but the party is continuing to monitor phone lines and IP addresses to ensure that is not occurring. The three candidates — Jim Prentice, Thomas Lukaszuk and Ric McIver — declined to comment on the revelations of cheating, but Lukaszuk said he was disappointed about all the problems with the electronic voting process.
Police may be called in to probe the suspected hacking of the online voting system used to elect Jim Prentice as Alberta Tory party leader and premier-designate, a senior party official said Sunday. PC party executive director Kelley Charlebois said it appears there were multiple attempts to infiltrate the website during the 36 hours of voting that ended at 6 p.m. Saturday. “Attempts were made throughout the voting process to hack into the system,” Charlebois said in an interview. He said there appear to have been several cyberattacks on the website and possibly the telephone voting system. “I can’t say if it was organizations or individuals, I just know that different attempts were made through different IP addresses.” Charlebois stressed the attempts to infiltrate the system were thwarted by internal security systems. He said the party is still waiting for a full report from the company hired to conduct the online vote and will call in police to investigate once the attacks are confirmed. “We certainly feel it is our responsibility — if we suspect the law has been broken — that we contact the appropriate authorities,” he said. “We haven’t reached a point yet where we have confirmed all the information.”
Voting Blogs: ‘Change’ in Indonesia: critical reflections on the Indonesian elections | openDemocracy
Indonesia is under the spell of ‘change’. Last Thursday 21 August the Constitutional Court confirmed that Joko Widodo, or Jokowi as he is commonly referred to, will be the new president of Indonesia for the next five years. For many, Jokowi and his political style represent a clean break with traditional politics, and although his popularity waned in the last few weeks due to a disorganised political campaign, he still enjoys great confidence among large sections of the country’s urban poor and middle class. Foreign observers waved him much praise as well: ‘His success will mean real ‘change’ – and it will have major implications for not only Jakarta or Indonesia but also much of Asia’, wrote the prominent Indian commentator Pankaj Mishra. Elsewhere, his rise to power was compared with that of Obama. Who is this man, who does he represent and what does ‘change’ mean in his words? Can he bring about a revolution in Indonesian politics, or is he indeed a new Obama?
New Zealand’s electoral commission is confident no one can hack into its servers and access election results, but there’s still a possibility cyber criminals could target its website. Amid an election campaign that has been dominated by emails of controversial blogger Cameron Slater leaked by a hacker known as Rawshark, it seems no system is impenetrable to rogues with the right skills and network. Hackers in the United States have also previously shown how they can circumvent the security measures on electronic voting machines to change votes. Despite the risk of manipulation, there’s been no reported instances of votes in the US being compromised. New Zealand’s Electoral Commission doesn’t want to disclose how it fights cyber attacks, but says it has a robust system in place for the September 20 election. “The Electoral Commission takes information security and privacy very seriously,” said chief electoral officer Robert Peden.