Nigeria: Vote delay prompts suspicion of election rigging, worries of violence | The Washington Post

It had been two days since Nigeria’s presidential election was postponed at the behest of the military, and Idayat Hassan’s phone was ringing nonstop. “It’s like a coup against democracy,” said the director of the Center for Democracy and Development to the ninth or 10th reporter of the day. “It’s like blackmail,” Hassan said when her phone rang again. “I’m very worried,” she said to a colleague, and now she hung up the phone, put her head in her hands and sighed. “After 16 years of democracy — this.” This: For weeks, Africa’s most populous nation appeared to be barreling toward its most fiercely competitive election since it returned to civilian rule in 1999, a race between President Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari, a former military dictator. Hassan and others were training poll watchers. Ballot boxes were being distributed across the country. And Nigerians, from elite professionals to street hawkers, were beginning to sense a startling possibility: An election could actually kick the ruling party out. Except that then it all came to a grinding stop.

Alabama: Run-off Election Timing Disenfranchises Overseas Military Voters | Courthouse News Service

Alabama’s mandate that runoff elections be held 42 days after an inconclusive federal primary pre-empts the right of overseas military personnel to participate via absentee ballots, the 11th Circuit ruled. “In our nation’s recent history, active military personnel and their families have faced severe difficulties exercising their fundamental right to vote,” said U.S. Circuit judge Stanley Marcus, writing for the three-judge panel. “For affected service members, the decision to serve their country was the very act that frequently deprived them of a voice in selecting its government,” Marcus added. To remedy the problem, Congress in 1986 passed the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, which provides that a state must send absentee voters a ballot 45 days before a federal election.

Colorado: Voter ID bills struck down | The Durango Herald

Colorado lawmakers Wednesday once again took up the issue of photo identification as a requirement to vote, killing two measures that would have mandated the practice. The Republican-backed measures were killed by the Democratic-controlled House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee on party-line votes. Similar attempts in recent years at the Legislature also failed. Both bills Wednesday addressed same-day voter registration, enacted by a Democratic-backed measure in 2013 that made sweeping reforms to the state’s election laws, including allowing voters to register on Election Day. One of the bills Wednesday was sponsored by Rep. Don Coram, R-Montrose. His idea with the legislation was to send the question to Colorado voters, pointing to a Magellan Strategies poll that indicated 72 percent of voters support photo ID as a condition of same-day voter registration.

Colorado: Secretary Of State Admits Voting Restrictions Stop Eligible Voters, Pushes Them Anyway | ThinkProgress

The state with some of the most accessible elections laws in the nation could soon make it more difficult to cast a ballot. Colorado lawmakers began debating a bill Wednesday that would require voters to present a photo ID if they register to vote on Election Day — a policy that would disproportionately impact people who are younger, lower income, non-white, and newly naturalized. While attending a recent conference in DC, Secretary of State Wayne Williams told ThinkProgress that he supports these measures despite the fact that investigations by his predecessor found voter fraud to be nearly non-existent in the state. “Most people don’t rob banks but we still protect against bank robbery,” he said. “Most people vote honestly but we did have some instances — for example, one individual submitted five separate voter registration forms with sequential Social Security numbers. The overwhelming majority of people don’t do that, but we need to have the protections in place to ensure all of us can have confidence in our elections.”

Georgia: Bill To Shorten Early Voting Period Advances In Georgia Legislature | Huffington Post

An extra day of voting access at some Georgia polls in 2014 may have inadvertently backfired, as Republican state legislators push a bill to reduce the number of early voting days from 21 to 12. When, for the first time, the state’s most populous counties decided to open some polling places on the Sunday ahead of the November midterms, GOP lawmakers argued that the early voting sites were chosen to maximize votes for Democratic candidates. Fears that Sunday voting would lead to Democratic victories were unfounded in the highest-profile races, however, as U.S. Senate candidate Michelle Nunn and gubernatorial challenger Jason Carter lost their races by about 8 percentage points each.

Missouri: Voter ID law gets initial House approval | Kansas City Star

Year after year, Missouri Republicans try to implement a photo ID requirement to vote. Despite overwhelming legislative majorities, they come up short every time. The GOP has watched voter ID bills vetoed by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon, tossed out by the courts and bargained away by lawmakers in favor of other legislative priorities. The perennial push began anew this week, with the House granting initial approval to a pair of bills sponsored by Rep. Tony Dugger, a Hartville Republican. One bill would ask voters to amend the state’s constitution to allow the state to require a photo ID before casting a ballot. This is a necessary step to overcome a state Supreme Court ruling that deemed a previous voter ID law unconstitutional.

Nevada: Republicans introduce voter identification bill | Las Vegas Sun

Nevada Republicans introduced a bill on Tuesday that would require voters to show identification at the ballot box. Republican Sen. James Settelmeyer introduced SB169, which would require proof of identification in order to vote and provide for free voter identification cards. The bill lists acceptable forms of identification, including driver’s licenses and other government-issued identification cards, and requires the state Department of Motor Vehicles to provide free identification cards to voters who don’t have another way of verifying their identity. The bill would also allow voters without identification to cast a provisional ballot which would be counted after they show identification at a county or city clerk’s office.

Voting Blogs: Oil-lections: North Dakota Elections Are Corrupted But Nothing Needs To Change | State of Elections

North Dakota is perhaps best known for the Midwestern “charm” portrayed in the 1996 film, Fargo. However, even that movie took place almost entirely in Minnesota. In other words, North Dakota is about as nondescript a State as States come. But then North Dakota suddenly hit the national headlines when technological advances allowed for the extraction of oil from the state’s Bakken Shale Formation. This oil boom has drastically increased the state’s financial well-being, its oil output, and its population. By now, you may be asking, “What does this have to do with state election law?” The answer is, “A lot.” North Dakota remains the only state in the country that does not register its voters. An interesting side note: North Dakota was one of the first states that adopted a voter registration scheme, but then abolished it in 1951. The state prides itself on the ease of its electoral process – “Voting in North Dakota is as easy as pie!” This unique system of voting is based on the state’s rural character and small precincts, where every community is (or at least was) tight knit and election boards know the voters who come to the polls to vote on Election Day and can easily detect those who should not be voting in the precinct. To cast a ballot, a voter need only present identification (no photo required), which is a relatively recent addition to the ballot-casting process and only very recently made a strict requirement (North Dakota issued documents only).

Oregon: Kate Brown’s deputy, Robert Taylor, takes over as acting secretary of state | The Oregonian

Kate Brown’s deputy, Robert Taylor, took over as Oregon’s acting secretary of state when Brown was sworn in as governor Wednesday. Taylor will manage the day-to-day responsibilities until the new governor chooses a more permanent successor, secretary of state spokesman Tony Green said. That will include planning and overseeing the elections, auditing public spending and serving as the state’s chief archivist. Robert TaylorRobert Taylor “The deputy secretary, in absence of the secretary, has all legal power of the secretary,” Green said. According to Green, Taylor spent most the day Wednesday preparing for the secretary of state’s annual budget presentation to the Legislature’s Joint Ways and Means Committee. Kristen Grainger, Brown’s new communications director, said she’s not sure when Brown plans to announce an appointment.

Editorials: GOP ignoring real issue with voting: Old machines | The Virginian-Pilot

State lawmakers repeatedly claimed in recent years that preserving the integrity of Virginia’s elections justified – demanded, even – mandating that voters show photo identification in order to cast a ballot. This year, Republicans are pushing forward a proposal that requires voters seeking mail-in absentee ballots to provide photo ID. None of these requirements, of course, is based on evidence of widespread ballot fraud.…But the biggest risk to the integrity of Virginia’s elections exists in the unreliability of aging electronic voting machines used at four out of five polling stations across the commonwealth. And Republicans, who control both chambers of Virginia’s legislature, have taken a curiously hands-off approach to solving that problem. Gov. Terry McAuliffe proposed designating $1.6 million to help reimburse localities that recently replaced their equipment, and another $28 million in bonds to help more localities purchase new electronic voting machines. Those funds could have played a vital role in efforts to ensure that every vote is counted, yet Republicans in the Senate and House of Delegates rejected the request while assembling their respective budget plans.

Washington: Federal judge orders district voting for Yakima in ACLU case | Yakima Herald Republic

Citing the disenfranchisement of Latinos under Yakima’s current council elections system, a federal judge on Tuesday ordered the city to conduct future elections using seven geographic districts — including two majority Latino districts. Under U.S. District Judge Thomas Rice’s ruling, all seven City Council positions would be placed on the ballot this year and candidates would be elected by voters solely from within their district. Under the ruling, candidates would no longer be voted on citywide. The ruling comes in a voting rights lawsuit filed more than two years ago by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of two Latino residents. Rice, of the Eastern District Court of Washington, ruled in August that the city’s hybrid election system of at-large and district voting routinely “suffocates” the will of Latino voters.

Wyoming: House committee clears e-pollbooks, vote centers | Wyoming Tribune Eagle

A House committee gave its approval Tuesday to a bill that would allow county clerks to begin using electronic pollbooks and vote centers instead of traditional polling places on Election Day. Senate File 52 would allow county clerks to replace their existing paper pollbooks with electronic books for the purposes of keeping track of who is registered to vote, who has voted and where they voted. With electronic pollbooks, clerks would also be able to open “vote centers,” or polling places where anyone in a given jurisdiction can vote on Election Day, regardless of where they live within that jurisdiction. The idea of the bill is to provide better access to voters, particularly for jurisdictions where some far-flung polling places are having trouble staying open due to a lack of election judges. It also, in the case of elementary schools, would help alleviate any safety concerns about interaction between schoolchildren and the voting public.

Nigeria: Boko Haram threatens to disrupt Nigeria poll | Al Jazeera

Nigeria’s presidential election on March 28 will not take place peacefully, AbuBakr Shekau, leader of Boko Haram, has said in a new video purportedly released by the group. In the video, released on social media on Tuesday and obtained by US based SITE intelligence group, Shekau issued a warning to the Goodluck Jonathan’s government that next month’s elections would be disrupted with violence. “Allah will not leave you to proceed with these elections even after us, because you are saying that authority is from people to people, which means that people should rule each other, but Allah says that the authority is only to him, only his rule is the one which applies on this land,” he said. “And finally we say that these elections that you are planning to do, will not happen in peace, even if that costs us our lives.

Nigeria: What’s next for Nigeria’s democracy? | The Washington Post

The delay of Nigeria’s elections, originally scheduled for Feb. 14 and now set for March 28, did not exactly come as a surprise for Nigeria watchers. The Associated Press reported nearly 12 hours before the announcements that the elections would be pushed back six weeks, referencing an anonymous source. Princeton Lyman, in Foreign Policy, advocated for a delay of the elections due to the difficulties posed by the “nearly one million people displaced or controlled by Boko Haram.” Others, including National Security Adviser Sambo Dasuki, noted that the low levels of voter ID card distribution would hamper the election’s credibility. In particular, the uneven distribution of voter ID cards among Nigeria’s states portended political violence in a country with a short history of democracy and a long history of inter-regional distrust. And yet, when Attahiru Jega, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, arrived at the press conference to announce the delays, after a delay of more than five hours, voter ID distribution and IDPs were not on the agenda.

Saint Kitts and Nevis: Confusion over poll results continues in St. Kitts and Nevis | EFE

Fifteen hours after the national polls closed in St. Kitts and Nevis, confusion over the outcome continues as the supervisor of elections said he would not disclose final results. The opposition Team Unity appealed Tuesday for “calm” after the state-owned radio and television station reported that there would be no more announcements about the results of Monday’s general election. “Let us be calm, your duly expressed will, will have life and substance,” Team Unity leader Timothy Harris said in a radio broadcast. “Clearly, the public know there has now been a movement for change from the results that have been made available to the people of St. Kitts and Nevis. Clearly, what the supervisor is purporting to do cannot be done and will not be sanctioned by right thinking people in St. Kitts and Nevis,” Harris said.