Some ideas offered to curb the partisan gridlock that envelops Congress involve changing how voters select the candidates who appear on the November general-election ballots. One proposal is to eliminate separate party primaries–registered Democrats voting for Democrats, and registered Republicans voting for Republicans—and adopt a so-called “Top-2” primary, under which candidates of all partisan stripes would run on a single ballot. Then the top two vote-getters in the primary would advance to the November election, regardless of their party preference. This system, the idea goes, would produce less ideologically rigid representatives because the entire electorate would be eligible to participate, and candidates would have an incentive to reach out to a larger swath of voters. It might also increase voter participation. There’s very limited evidence to determine its rate of success or failure.
More than a month after the Nov. 4 election, Congressional District 2 voters will learn next week who will represent them in Congress. Pima County on Wednesday finished the electronic recount of polling place, early and provisional ballots, and will begin a hand count of 5 percent of precincts Monday. The results will be turned over to the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office by 5 p.m. Tuesday, and Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Katherine Cooper will declare the results at a 10 a.m. hearing Wednesday in Phoenix.
An attorney for former Secretary of State Charlie White faced tough questioning Tuesday from Indiana’s three-judge appeals court during White’s latest bid to overturn the voter fraud convictions that forced him from office. Chief Judge Nancy Vaidik interrupted attorney Andrea Ciobanu only seconds after the attorney began her oral arguments and asked Ciobanu what her “strongest argument” was in White’s appeal of his convictions on six felony counts. Ciobanu said her most substantial argument in seeking to overturn White’s 2012 convictions is that the trial court in central Indiana’s Hamilton County failed to apply Indiana’s residency statute “at all” as his case played out. She said that left White unable to convey to jurors where his actual place of residence was as they heard evidence and eventually convicted him on three counts of voter fraud, two counts of perjury and one count of theft.
The month-long saga of the state Senate District 25 race is over. The controversy over a disputed recount and 21 mystery ballots from Long Island was resolved in a eureka moment Tuesday at the State House. When the dust settled, Democrat Cathy Breen of Falmouth finished ahead of Republican Cathy Manchester of Gray in the race to represent several towns in Portland’s northern suburbs, including the tiny Casco Bay island. The discovery stemmed from a mundane act that could have taken place before the entire mess started. All they needed to do was recount the ballots. It may be hard to imagine a crowd so riveted by people counting out loud to 171, the number of ballots on Long Island. But that’s how it was in the balmy, standing-room-only chambers when state officials opened up the locked ballot container from Long Island and double-checked the math.
It started out as a seemingly harmless act: voters posting photos of their completed ballots on the Internet. One wrote in his deceased dog’s name for senator because he didn’t like any of the candidates, then shared his message of frustration on Facebook. A state legislator, and another a candidate for the state House, also publicly published photos of their ballots. Now they’re under investigation by the New Hampshire attorney general’s office. The reason? It turns out the act of photographing or sharing a marked ballot is illegal under state law — and in 43 other states.
In the next two years, the New York City and State election boards may finally arrive in the 21st Century. The New York City and New York State Boards of Election are planning major technological upgrades to their vote counting and finance disclosure systems, staff told State Assembly members at a hearing Friday morning in Manhattan. By late 2015, voters in the city may know the results of most elections by 10 p.m. on election nights, thanks to tablets at every polling site that can upload vote counts just minutes after polls close. And in late 2016 or early 2017, the state board plans to launch a new campaign finance filing system, replacing a two-decade-old network that candidates say is difficult to use. On election night in New York City, poll workers and police officers usually transport memory sticks filled with vote count data to police precincts, where they are counted.
North Dakota: Legislative session could bring proposed changes to voting law | Prairie Public Broadcasting
Senate Minority Leader Mac Schneider says he has an idea of how to change North Dakota’s voter ID law. The 2014 election was the first election with the new law in effect. It requires a North Dakota voter to present a valid ID at their voting precinct, which means the information on the ID should match what’s on record with the DOT. Due to confusion at several precincts, some voters were turned away. Schneider says the new law was meant to address voter fraud, which he says is not a problem in North Dakota. He says he would prefer a return to the old law, which required that a voter would swear under oath that they are who they say they are to be able to vote. But he says if that is not possible, he has another proposal.
Keith Ingram, director of elections for the Secretary of State’s Office, described in a letter, addressed to Harrison County Judge Hugh Taylor, just how serious the mistakes and oversights made by the county’s elections administrator Becky Dotson were for the 2014 general election. The letter was one of the things the local elections commission took into consideration Friday as they called for Dotson’s termination, which was approved by the Harrison County Commissioners Court. “These issues are very serious,” Ingram wrote in the letter dated Nov. 26. Ingram said that after reading articles regarding the concerns and also a letter to the editor from Dotson printed in the Marshall News Messenger, he decided to give the county judge the Secretary of State’s perspective on the situation. In the letter, he noted how he became aware of the issues after being notified by military and overseas voters that they hadn’t received their ballots by the deadline in compliance with the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act.
Wisconsin: Republicans seize on audit critical of state elections board | Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
A report of the state’s ethics and elections agency released Friday found officials waited years in some cases to review whether felons had voted and did not promptly audit electronic voting equipment. The Government Accountability Board also avoided imposing late fees on candidates and political groups that hadn’t file their campaign finance reports on time. Republicans who control the Legislature pounced on the report by the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau, saying it provided evidence the accountability board needs to be dismantled. … The board’s director, Kevin Kennedy, said his agency had many successes but had fallen behind on some matters because its resources have been strained in recent years by a wave of recall elections; implementing a voter ID law that has been sidelined by courts; conducting the first statewide recount in more than 20 years; administering newly drawn legislative districts; and responding to litigation on such matters.
With only four days to go before Greece’s MPs begin voting for the country’s new president, it’s still far from clear how the coalition under prime minister Antonis Samaras will secure the necessary support to have its candidate elected. This it must do to prevent snap elections that would almost certainly see it lose power to a government led by the anti-memorandum Syriza party. Already a clear 25 votes short of the minimum required to elect a president, Mr Samaras earlier this week decided to take a gamble by making a surprise announcement that he was bringing the election for a new head of state forward by two months.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, brushing aside suggestions that a low turnout tarnished his coalition’s election win, vowed on Monday to stick to his reflationary economic policies, tackle painful structural reforms and pursue his muscular security stance. But doubts persist as to whether Abe, who now has a shot to become a rare long-lasting leader in Japan, can engineer sustainable growth with his “Abenomics” recipe of hyper-easy monetary policy, government spending and promises of deregulation. “We heard the voice of the people saying ‘Move forward with Abenomics’,” Abe told a news conference at his ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) headquarters, adorned with giant posters of the premier and his campaign slogan “This is the only path”. … Many voters, doubtful of both the premier’s “Abenomics” strategy to end deflation and generate growth and the opposition’s ability to do any better, stayed at home.
Officials in Ebola-stricken Liberia have postponed senatorial elections elections until the end of the week, while some urged calling off the vote for fear the results would not be credible. Ebola has killed nearly 3,200 people this year in Liberia, and many question whether elections can be held at all under such circumstances. The elections, first scheduled in October, were supposed to be held Monday, but have been moved back to Saturday. It was not immediately clear whether the extra days would be sufficient delay to address the logistical problems posed by Ebola.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is set to hand down by Tuesday its decision on whether to bid out a contract to refurbish 80,000 voting machines or tap technology partner Smartmatic International for the job. Smartmatic claims to have exclusive rights over the equipment it had sold to the Comelec. Comelec Chair Sixto Brillantes Jr. said the commission en banc may promulgate a resolution on the matter in a meeting Tuesday, although he had earlier hinted that the commissioners would be split on the decision. “The resolution is already being passed around. We have had meetings in the en banc on this issue since last week. So we might issue the resolution on Tuesday,” said Brillantes in an interview with reporters on Friday.
Thousands of supporters of a conservative opposition party in Poland marched on Saturday to protest the results of recent local elections, which party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski says were falsified. The November elections were marred by problems, with a computer glitch delaying results and many ballots declared invalid because voters apparently were confused and marked them incorrectly. However, there is no indication they were falsified. Kaczynski’s critics accuse him of making false claims about the election outcome to motivate his base ahead of national elections next year. His supporters marched in Warsaw under the slogan “in the support of democracy,” chanting “repeat the elections.”