National: With no money to replace them, can we count on old voting machines? | The Kansas City Star

Election authorities in Kansas and Missouri are growing nervous. Their touch-screen and optical-scan election machines that voters poked and punched just a few weeks ago are growing old. Some devices now exceed their expected life cycle and need to be replaced. But the enormous cost of buying new election equipment has left legislators and budget officers with little appetite for the job. Replacing all the voting machines in just Jackson and Johnson counties would cost between $10 million and $20 million, according to some estimates, far more than lawmakers have set aside for such purchases. As a result, election officials say, voters in the 2016 presidential election may confront old, unreliable machines — and the potential for another Bush vs. Gore debacle. “We’re just really concerned,” said Bob Nichols, the Democratic election director for Jackson County. “Going into a presidential election year with old equipment — we don’t want to be another Florida.” The Presidential Commission on Election Administration warned of a voting machine crisis in a report it issued nearly a year ago. “This impending crisis arises from the widespread wearing out of voting machines purchased a decade ago,” it wrote. “Jurisdictions do not have the money to purchase new machines, and legal and market constraints prevent the development of machines they would want even if they had the funds.”

National: A Facebook Change Makes It Harder for Political Campaigns to See Your Friends | New York Times

When you log in to a politician’s Facebook app, the campaign enjoys relatively easy access to your friends on the social network. But starting next year, that automatic access will go away. That may provide users with some relief from unwanted messages. It will certainly help Facebook respond to complaints that it shares too much of its users’ information without their consent. But it also could lead to more campaigns advertising on the platform, which is good for the company’s bottom line. President Obama’s 2012 campaign used Facebook to create a list of 1 million people; users who signed into its website via Facebook used the campaign’s custom app to do so. They were then asked to authorize the campaign to access information about all of their Facebook friends. When granted, the campaign could compare those users with existing voter files in order to help better define the voters it needed to reach. Now many political campaigns have their own Facebook apps, not just pages.

Arizona: Recount set to begin in Barber-McSally race | The Arizona Republic

The state’s first-ever congressional recount begins this week in the nail-biter race between Republican Martha McSally and U.S. Rep. Ron Barber, D-Ariz. McSally leads by 161 votes out of more than 219,000 cast in southern Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District, a margin so narrow it will trigger the recount once Secretary of State Ken Bennett certifies the canvass. He is scheduled to do so Monday. Barber sought to cut into McSally’s lead ahead of the recount by challenging election officials’ rejection of 133 ballots in Pima and Cochise counties. But on Thanksgiving Day, a Tucson federal judge denied the campaign’s request to count the ballots, a development that one expert says bolsters McSally’s likelihood of victory.

Arizona: Despite progress in Arizona, early ballots again delay vote count | The Arizona Republic

Despite Arizona’s progress in lowering the number of provisional ballots cast in the recent general election, results in several legislative and congressional races were again delayed because voters continue to drop off their early ballots at the polls. The number of early ballots left to count after this year’s Election Day dropped 38 percent compared with 2012. Experts and election officials attributed the decline to this year’s decreased turnout. The number of provisional ballots cast statewide, however, dropped by more than 60 percent compared with 2012, when Arizona was embarrassed on the national stage as record numbers of provisional and early ballots went uncounted for two weeks after the polls closed, leaving key races hanging in the balance. Election officials said there were fewer provisional ballots cast this year due to voter-education efforts by the state and Maricopa County, the county’s use of easier-to-notice yellow early ballots, and its new electronic poll books that helped lessen the number of provisional ballots cast in the wrong polling places.

California: Lawmaker proposes to revamp California recount rules | Sacramento Bee

Assemblyman Kevin Mullin said Friday he will introduce another bill requiring automatic recounts in extremely close statewide races, citing the confusion and discord during last summer’s brief recount in the June primary for state controller. Mullin, D-South San Francisco, carried legislation last August that would have required automatic recounts in any statewide race where the margin of victory is one-tenth of one percent or less. The bill, though, stalled in the state Senate after bogging down in partisan fighting. In a press release, Mullin said he will introduce another recount proposal Monday. It would require a state-funded hand recount for any statewide race where the margin of victory is one-tenth of one percent or less and would take effect for the 2016 elections.

Illinois: Permanent same-day voter registration considered | Associated Press

Lawmakers are set to consider making permanent a law that allowed same-day voter registration for Illinois’ Nov. 4 election. Legislation sponsored by State Sen. Don Harmon is scheduled to be presented in a House committee in Springfield on Monday afternoon. It would make permanent a measure passed last spring that allowed same-day voting registration, extended early voting and made it easier to vote on college campuses.

Wyoming: Legislature mulls election changes | Wyoming Tribune Eagle

A legislative proposal could change how residents vote next Election Day. The state Legislature will consider a bill during the upcoming session that would allow county clerks to use electronic pollbooks and voting centers. These features would allow residents to vote at a centralized location – or locations – within their county instead of having to go to the specific polling place for their precinct. This, for example, could allow a resident who lives in Burns to vote in Cheyenne on Election Day. The electronic pollbooks, which would replace traditional paper books that poll workers use to check in voters, also could speed up the voting process and enhance the security of elections.

Bahrain: Claims of bribery in Bahrain election | Arabian Business

A Bahraini group monitoring the country’s recent election claims some voters were bribed with cash to vote for certain candidates. Bahrain Dialogue Society vice-president Rashid Al Ghayeb called on authorities to investigated allegations it received from several voters relating to both the first and second rounds of voting. He said other alleged violations included election staff using their mobile phones rather than assisting voters, no provisions in some centres for veiled female voters and some candidates continuing to campaign during the 24-hour ban leading up to the election. “In some centres, our monitors saw voters indicating to the candidate they have voted for him,” Al Ghayeb was quoted as saying by Gulf Daily News.

France: Cyber attack fails to halt leadership vote | BBC

Members of France’s centre-right UMP party have continued with an online leadership ballot despite an early cyber attack which slowed voting. A complaint was lodged with police after the attack on Friday evening, which may have prevented some members casting their vote. The party was voting online after fraud accusations beset its last ballot. Nicolas Sarkozy is tipped to win but needs a strong showing to keep his presidential re-election hopes alive. Since Mr Sarkozy’s defeat by Socialist candidate Francois Hollande in the 2012 election, the UMP has struggled to organise as an effective opposition party despite Mr Hollande’s dismal opinion ratings. Challenging Mr Sarkozy for the UMP leadership are two men, former Agriculture Minister Bruno Le Maire and MP Herve Mariton. The cyber attack had been “one of the risks anticipated” and had only succeeded in slowing the voting process, the party said, though Mr Mariton warned “thousands” had been unable to vote.

Moldova: Pro-Europe parties to win majority in new parliament – analysts | Reuters

Moldova’s three main pro-Europe parties appeared on Monday to be able to form a new coalition with most of the vote from an election on Sunday counted, despite the pro-Moscow Socialist Party taking first place. With 87 percent of the vote counted, according to the election authorities, the three parties – the Liberal Democrats, the Liberals and the Democrats – had a combined vote of 44 percent – enough to win a majority in the 101-seat parliament. This was in spite of the pro-Russia Socialist Party taking a surprise lead with 21.5 percent of the vote and the communists, who wish to revise part of a trade deal with the European Union, taking third place with 17.8 percent. A three-party coalition, led by Prime Minister Iurie Leanca’s Liberal Democrats, has piloted one of Europe’s smallest and poorest countries along a course of integration with mainstream Europe since 2009, culminating in the ratification of a landmark association agreement with the EU this year.

Namibia: Electronic Voting Machine glitches slowed voting across Namibia | New Era

Hundreds of thousands of Namibian voters joined long queues when voting started on Friday from seven o’clock in the morning but were slowed by technical problems ineptly handled by nervous-looking polling officials. Officially polling was supposed to start at 07h00 and close at 21h00 for the over 1.2 million registered voters among them first-time voters or so-called ‘born frees’ but at some polling stations voters only cast their votes on Saturday morning at around 03h00. The ‘born free’ generation comprising of people born after Namibia’s independence in 1990 constituted 20 percent of the over 1.2 million registered voters across Namibia. Voting was expected to start in the morning at 7:00 but some of the polling stations could not start on time because of glitches with some of the electronic voting machines (EVMs) being used for the first time in any African presidential and parliamentary elections. By early Friday morning hordes of Namibians could be seen congregating at the polling station at Dagbreek Special School in Klein Windhoek. But by 08:45 some of these potential voters among them senior officials left the polling station in frustration because the EVMs were not working at the polling station. Other potential voters could be seen still milling around. One of the potential voters said he had heard that at least five other nearby polling stations had similar problems.

Namibia: Election first in Africa to use electronic voting machines | ABC

Namibians voting in their presidential election will become the first in Africa to use electronic voting. It has been 25 years since Namibia’s first democratic elections, and for the first time 1.2 million people are expected to cast their votes electronically in the country’s fifth election since independence. “The decision to consider acquiring electronic voting machines was primarily based on some challenges and experiences that we have had in the manner and way we manage our elections,” the electoral commission’s Theo Mujoro told China’s CCTV. The voters will cast their ballots for presidential and parliamentary candidates on separate machines, chunky slabs of green and white plastic with the names and images of candidates and their party affiliation that make a loud beep after each vote. “The younger people get it first time, but the older ones you have to explain a little,” said presiding officer Hertha Erastus.

Switzerland: Voters reject plan to hoard gold, limit immigration | Associated Press

Swiss voters overwhelmingly rejected three citizen-backed proposals to protect the country’s wealth by investing in gold, drastically limit immigration and eliminate a special tax that draws rich foreigners. The separate proposals — put to voters nationwide Sunday by conservative politicians, ecologists and a liberal group — had needed a majority of voters and Switzerland’s 26 cantons (states) to pass. A proposal to require the central bank to hold a fifth of its reserves in gold was opposed by 77.3 percent of voters, according to final results from Swiss broadcaster SRF. It would have forced the Swiss National Bank to buy massive amounts of gold within five years, likely causing its global price to jump.

Taiwan: President Ma expected to quit as KMT chairman as Premier Jiang and 80 in Cabinet resign | South China Morning Post

Premier Dr Jiang Yi-huah led 80 members of his Cabinet to resign en masse this morning following the humiliating defeat of the ruling Kuomintang in Saturday’s local elections. Taiwan’s Vice-President Wu Den-yih then offered his resignation as vice-chairman of the KMT to President Ma Ying-jeou, who is chairman of the KMT. “Vice-chairman Wu Den-yih tendered his resignation to chairman Ma this morning,” Wu’s office said in a text message to journalists. However, it was not immediately known whether Ma had accepted his resignation as the deputy head of the ruling party. Yesterday party officials said that Ma was also expected to resign as chairman of the KMT following the defeat. Jiang had resigned on Saturday in order to assume responsibility for the KMT’s worst electoral setback since coming to power in 1949. A caretaker administration would remain in office until after President Ma appointed a new Cabinet head, Cabinet spokesman Sun Lih-chyun said.

Uruguay: Vazquez wins presidential vote, extends leftist rule | Reuters

Tabare Vazquez won back his old job as president of Uruguay in a runoff election on Sunday, extending the decade-long rule of a leftist coalition and allowing it to roll out a groundbreaking law that legalizes the production and sale of marijuana. Vazquez won comfortably with 52.8 percent support while his center-right challenger, Luis Lacalle Pou, trailed on 40.5 percent, official results showed late on Sunday night. Lacalle Pou earlier conceded defeat after quick counts showed an easy victory for Vazquez, and thousands of ruling Broad Front supporters streamed through the rain-soaked streets of Montevideo, waving party banners in celebration.