Texas: ES&S acknowledges Bexar ballot glitch that omitted Greg Abbott’s name | San Antonio Express-News

The company that supplies Bexar County with iVotronic ballot machines acknowledged Wednesday that a glitch caused an electronic ballot to display the wrong name for the Republican candidate in the race for Texas governor. A written statement from Election Systems & Software said a faulty memory card appeared to be the reason why GOP candidate Greg Abbott’s name was missing from the ballot. In his place was Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. “I’m happy they were able to find the glitch,” said San Antonio voter Jade Stanford, who took two cell phone photos of the error that immediately went viral on the Internet. “It wasn’t Photoshop, it wasn’t botched, it was real.” Stanford said she and Bexar County voters deserved an apology from Elections Administrator Jacque Callanen, who said yesterday she believed the photos had been doctored. “It’s her job to protect the voters,” she said.

Virginia: Voting irregularities in Virginia Beach, Newport News | The Virginian-Pilot

Republicans and Democrats alike reported problems Tuesday using touch-screen voting machines in Virginia Beach and Newport News, with some claiming they almost cast ballots for candidates they did not support. “They told me my finger was too fat,” said John Owens, recounting a conversation he had with the Virginia Beach Voter Registrar’s Office after experiencing trouble voting for Republican U.S. Rep. Scott Rigell. The extent of the “calibration issues” is unclear. Virginia Department of Elections Commissioner Edgardo Cortes said 32 of Virginia Beach’s 820 AccuVote TSX machines were pulled from service by 3:30 p.m. Another four were discontinued in Newport News, where most votes were recorded on paper ballots. Cortes said he didn’t know how many people voted on the machines before they stopped using them at the 25 precincts.

Romania: Irregularities cloud Romanian election runoff | EurActiv

As the first round of the Romanian presidential election has passed, many legal irregularities and troublesome voting procedures cast uncertainty over the second round. Euractiv.ro reports. The two candidates that have moved on into the second round of the Romanian presidential election are Victor Ponta (PSD) and Klaus Iohannis (ACL). The latest partial results presented by the Central Electoral Office show Ponta with 40.33% of the number of valid votes and Iohannis with 30.44%. Although Ponta is leading by 10%, nothing is certain for the second round. An important element that stands to influence the second round is represented by the actions of the former candidates. Combined, all the other 12 candidates have gained almost 30% of the votes, half of which were cast for the first three, including Călin Popescu Tăriceanu (independent, a former liberal Prime Minister), Elena Udrea (PMP, a former Liberal Democrat Minister of Development) and Monica Macovei (independent, currently a member of the European Parliament).

National: Unusual level of glitches at US polling stations reported on election day | The Guardian

As the United States went to the polls for the first time in 50 years without the full protection of the federal Voting Rights Act on Tuesday, lawyers and voter registration groups around the country reported an unusual level of irregularities and glitches at polling stations. The largest non-partisan voter protection coalition in the US received more than 12,000 calls to its hotline from people struggling to cast their ballot amid a slew of new voter-ID laws. The coalition of 150 groups led by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law said it has received an unusually high volume of distress calls from would-be voters to its eight call centers across the country. The top three states (in terms of the number of cries for help) were Florida – a state notorious for its long lines and historical voting interference – Georgia, and Texas. In Georgia, almost 1,500 calls had come in over the past two days and long lines were reported in Atlanta and several other urban centers. Many were from people who are among the 40,000 “disappeared” people who were registered to vote but whose details have not been transferred to voting rolls, a problem that was exacerbated on Tuesday by the secretary of state’s own voting website crashing, leaving voters in the dark about the location of their polling stations.

Editorials: Midterm Election Results 2014: Did Voter ID Laws Help Republicans Win The Senate Majority? | Howard Koplowitz /International Business Times

Thousands of voters in Texas, North Carolina and Georgia said they were unable to cast ballots in Tuesday’s midterm elections amid growing efforts by Republicans to stamp out voter fraud. The complaints suggest that a slew of laws passed in recent years by GOP lawmakers and blasted by critics as a modern-day poll tax aimed at suppressing Democratic turnout may have influenced the results in some of the nation’s most contested contents. In states that recently passed election reform laws, voters said they were turned away because they didn’t have photo identification or after they showed up at the wrong precinct. Voters also complained of long lines, faulty voting machines, language hurdles and confusion over voter requirements, according to the nonpartisan coalition Election Protection. In all, the nonprofit fielded 18,000 complaints, a 30 percent increase from 2010, according to the Seattle Post‑Intelligencer. Republicans have led efforts in recent years to require photo identification and reduce or eliminate early voting or same-day voter registration because of alleged incidents of voter fraud. But critics argue that the laws suppress voter turnout of key Democratic demographics, including low-income, black, Hispanic, female and young voters.

Arizona: McSally leads Barber by 36 votes; recount set for early Cochise County ballots | KGUN

Republican challenger Martha McSally grabbed a 36-vote lead overnight against Democratic incumbent Rep. Ron Barber in the rematch of a congressional race decided by less than one percent of the vote in 2012. McSally trailed Rep. Barber after the initial early ballot numbers from Congressional District 2 were released Tuesday night. But those numbers did not include early ballots from Cochise County, the conservative portion of District 2 McSally won with 59 percent of the vote in 2012. Late Tuesday night the Cochise County elections website posted this message: “Due to technical difficulties the early ballot counting machine did not match the hand count. Therefore, early ballots are in the process of being delivered to Graham County where they will be counted by their equipment.”

Connecticut: Voters Reject Constitutional Amendment for Early Voting | CT News Junkie

Connecticut voters appear to have rejected a proposed amendment to the state Constitution that would have eased restrictions on absentee voting. With 90 percent of precincts reporting Wednesday afternoon, 441,469 — or 53 percent — voted “no” on the ballot question, outnumbering the 395,309 — or 47 percent — who voted “yes.” Final figures were not available as of late Wednesday afternoon. Had it passed, the amendment would have given the legislature the authority to pass laws that would allow “no excuse” absentee voting, or allowing polls to be open on the Saturday before elections. In the weeks leading up to Election Day, advocates said changing the Constitution could increase voter turnout by allowing people to vote early and make voting more accessible. Opponents feared the change would lead to voter fraud and endanger the state’s election process. With the amendment’s defeat, current restrictions will stand: absentee voting is allowed only when a voter is sick on Election Day, outside the district, serving in the military, or has a religious obligation that keeps him or her from the polls.

Illinois: City, county election consolidation wins on third try | Journal Star

The third time was a charm for the vote to consolidate city and county election commissions. Voters decided to create an Peoria County Election Commission out of the Peoria City Election Commission and the portion of the Peoria County Clerk’s Office that handles the county’s polling places. Voters approved the referendum with 25,589 votes in favor, or 53 percent, and 23,026 votes opposed, or 47 percent. “I’m pleased that it passed,” said Peoria County Board Member Allen Mayer, who represents District 6. “I look forward to working with everyone in the next couple of months to transition to a countywide election commission.” The vote totals reflected different desires in the county and the city.

Mississippi: Hinds County election official takes blame for ballot shortage | WAPT

A Hinds County election commissioner is taking the blame after several polling places ran out of ballots on election night. Election officials said 35 to 40 polling locations in Hinds County ran out of paper ballots before the polls closed at 7 p.m. “I usually zip right in and right out, but not tonight. I’m going to sit here until I vote,” voter Susanna Green said Tuesday night. “Most of these people are taking it very nicely. They are, as you can see, sitting around waiting for the ballots to show up,” said poll worker Sandy Wilkerson. Connie Cochran, the District 4 election commissioner, apologized Wednesday to voters who were inconvenienced. Scores of voters were forced to stand in line, some for more than an hour, waiting for more ballots to be brought in.

Montana: State Votes To Keep Same-Day Voter Registration | MTPR

Montanans rejected efforts to curb late voter registration Tuesday. The legislative referendum, LR-126, would have ended the ability for people to register to vote as late as Election Day, which has been allowed in Montana since 2006. With 78 percent of precincts in, the Associated Press reported that 56 percent had voted to keep same-day registration and 44 percent had voted to end it. The measure was sponsored by Sen. Alan Olson, a Republican from Roundup, who says he introduced it because late registrants cause problems for volunteers at polling places and create long lines.

North Carolina: Recount possible in North Carolina Supreme Court race | News Observer

Despite an effort by the Republican State Leadership Committee to influence the Supreme Court races in North Carolina, the three candidates targeted by the organization emerged as victors. Democrats Cheri Beasley, Sam Ervin IV and Robin Hudson won their races for seats on the bench of the state’s highest court. Hudson, an incumbent targeted in a spring attack ad funded largely by the Republican State Leadership Committee, and Ervin each received more than 52 percent of the vote. Ervin, a N.C. Court of Appeals judge who ran an unsuccessful bid for a high court seat in 2012, collected more votes than Bob Hunter, a former colleague on the state appeals court.

Oregon: Voters reject change to state’s “top-two” primary system | Associated Press

Oregon voters on Tuesday rejected a big change to the state’s primary election system. They voted down Measure 90, a proposal to scrap Oregon’s current primary-election system in favor of a “top-two” format. Currently, only Democrats vote in the Democratic primary, and only Republicans vote in the Republican primary. In a top-two system, all primary candidates are on single ballot, and all registered voters can participate. The top two vote-getters then advance to the general election, even if they are from the same party.

Vermont: Legislature to decide Vermont governor’s race  | Associated Press

Vermont’s 2014 gubernatorial election appears headed for a decision in 2015, with incumbent Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin holding a narrow lead over Republican Scott Milne but not the majority needed to keep the decision from going to the Legislature. With all but a handful of precincts reporting early Wednesday, Shumlin had won about 47 percent of the vote. Milne had about 45 percent, with five other candidates accounting for the balance. Under Vermont’s Constitution, if no candidate for governor, lieutenant governor or treasurer gets an outright majority, the election goes to the Legislature Democrats are expected to maintain control of both houses, but the Legislature nearly always chooses the plurality winner in a gubernatorial election — the last time it didn’t was in 1853. That’s happened 23 times before — including in 2010, when Shumlin got 49.5 percent of the vote to 47.7 percent for the Republican, then-Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie.

Virginia: Election officials look into machine glitches | The Washington Post

Virginia election officials were gathering information Wednesday about a glitch that affected 32 voting machines in the southeastern part of the state, a Department of Elections spokeswoman said. Rose Mansfield said that once all the information is received, the head of the department will conduct a complete review and will likely present a report on Tuesday’s troubles to the State Board of Elections. “Our voting technology specialists are working on it,” Mansfield said, adding that the priority is to get the right answers about what went wrong on Election Day. The faulty machines are a fraction of the 820 touchscreen devices that were used in the affected precincts, most of them in Virginia Beach. They were taken out of service after voters complained that they tried to vote for one candidate, but the machine attempted to record the vote for another. Mansfield said all the machines were calibrated and tested before the election.

Lebanon: Lawmakers delay elections, sparking dismay, anger among voters | The Washington Post

Lebanon’s frenetic but relatively functional democracy suffered what many here describe as an ominous setback as lawmakers decided Wednesday to postpone parliamentary elections for the second time in less than two years. Amid fears of rising instability linked to the civil war in next-door Syria, Lebanon’s 128-member legislative body voted overwhelmingly to extend its mandate for an additional two years and seven months. The elections had already been pushed back from June 2013 because of similar security concerns. Recent attacks by militants linked to the Syrian conflict have shaken the fragile sectarian balance in Lebanon, where a 15-year civil war ended in 1990. Rights groups and activists warned that the vote’s postponement could sow further instability in one of the few democracies in the Middle East, a region beset by chaos and dominated by monarchies and authoritarian leaders.

Ukraine: Analysts say separatist election results rigged | Kyiv Post

While Russia hailed the Nov. 2 elections held by Ukraine’s Kremlin-backed separatists as a legitimate expression of popular will, more evidence has piled up in recent days that the results of the elections had been rigged. Other reported problems with the elections: not being held in accordance with Ukrainian and international law, the absence of independent observers, the removal of all major competitors of the incumbent leaders from the race, the distribution of vegetables at polling stations and the lack of media freedom. On top of that, separatist guards wielding assault rifles at polling stations were seen by some commentators as intimidating. Others criticized the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic for artificially decreasing the number of polling stations to a minimum, causing long lines intended to demonstrate a high turnout on Russian television. The governments of the unrecognized republics were not available for comment.

Tunisia: Arab Spring Alive in Tunisia as Power Transfers Peacefully | Businessweek

Like the rest of Egypt, Tahrir Square in Cairo is off-limits nowadays to the protesters who made it famous three years ago. Its Tunisian equivalent is still open for business. In the run-up to the North African country’s parliamentary election last week, Habib Bourguiba Avenue in Tunis hosted rallies by major parties. Islamists and leftists were among groups sharing the tree- and café-lined boulevard, marking out their own spaces for rival campaign events. Violent upheaval and even civil war have followed the uprisings in Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain and Syria in 2011. Tunisia, where that wave of unrest began, showed that it’s on a different trajectory when Islamists agreed to cede power peacefully after losing the latest vote. The Tunisian exception, analysts say, results from a less meddlesome army, more flexible politicians, and an absence of the external interference that countries deemed more important were subjected to.

Ukraine: Merkel, Juncker Say EU’s Russia Sanctions to Stay After Eastern Ukraine Elections | Wall Street Journal

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the new European Commission president said there was no prospect in sight of scaling back sanctions on Russia, maintaining a tough stance after Moscow embraced the results of a separatist election in eastern Ukraine. Ms. Merkel said in Berlin on Wednesday that the European Union should consider expanding its sanctions list to include the winners of Sunday’s local voting. The EU, Kiev and the U.S. have refused to recognize the elections and said that Russia’s refusal to condemn them are a breach of a September cease-fire. “We should also have another look at the list of specific individuals who now have responsibility in eastern Ukraine due to these illegitimate elections,” Ms. Merkel told reporters. “Otherwise I think we should maintain the sanctions we have.”

National: Preliminary Turnout Numbers Are Way Down From 2010 And 2012 | FiveThirtyEight

We don’t know final turnout numbers for Tuesday’s elections for the same reason we don’t have official winners in the Senate races in Alaska and Virginia: Ballots remain uncounted. Nonetheless, enough data is in for Michael P. McDonald, a political scientist at the University of Florida, to make preliminary estimates of turnout. And what they show is a steep decline from recent national elections. McDonald estimates that just 36.6 percent of Americans eligible to vote did so for the highest office on their ballot. That’s down from 40.9 percent in the previous midterm elections, in 2010, and a steep falloff from 58 percent in 2012.