Colorado: Gessler voter sting nets 1 conviction despite accusation of widespread fraud | Aurora Sentinel

An Arapahoe County judge last month sentenced an Aurora man to probation for falsely registering to vote — marking the lone conviction in a 2013 voter fraud investigation that identified more than 100 suspects. Vitaliy B. Grabchenko, 49, pleaded guilty to procuring false registration, a misdemeanor, on Feb. 24. Arapahoe County Judge Addison Adams gave Grabchenko a two-year deferred sentence and ordered him to complete 48 hours of community service. He will also be on supervised probation for two years. Grabchenko, a Polish national, was one of four people charged in 2013 as part of a large-scale and controversial voter fraud investigation launched by former Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler. Gessler had identified more than 100 people he said illegally voted, but the four charged in Arapahoe County were the only people in Colorado to face charges.

Connecticut: Local Voting Officials Oppose Plan To Eliminate Elected Registrars | The Newtown Bee

Newtown’s two registrars of voters were unable to catch the “Checks and Balances Express,” a bus full of Fairfield County registrars and voting rights supporters, as it carried opponents of a proposal to eliminate elected registrars to a hearing on Monday, March 9, in Hartford. But Democratic Registrar LeReine Frampton and Republican Registrar Joanne Albanesi stood with their colleagues in spirit, while providing written testimony against SB1051, legislation proposed by Secretary of the State Denise Merrill which eliminates the balance of power between two registrars of opposite parties, in favor of an appointed administrator. According to a release issued the Monday, registrars from Danbury, Ridgefield, Brookfield, Shelton, Greenwich, Stamford, Norwalk, New Canaan, and Fairfield boarded their rented bus to head to Hartford.

Missouri: Ferguson Mayor James Knowles faces recall effort | St. Louis Post-Dispatch

For the past few months, a series of protests have targeted the homes of politicians, and Mayor James Knowles III figured his turn was coming soon, especially after Friday, when five residents filed an affidavit to remove him from office. And sure enough, about 6:45 a.m. Monday, roughly 10 protesters were outside his house, playing music along with sound bites of his own comments through a bullhorn. Knowles said he had warned his wife that if the protesters showed up at his door, he was going to open it, and so he did. “They were clearly not expecting that,” he said.

Missouri: Callaway County Clerk requests new voting machines | Fulton Sun

The Callaway County Commission and County Clerk Denise Hubbard met with sales associates from Springfield-based Elkins-Swyers Company to learn about options for new voting machines. Hubbard said the current voting machines are at least 10 years old, and the most common glitch is with the piece that rolls ballots into the machine’s hub for storage. She added that piece of equipment can sometimes be fixed internally, but when the issue is more complex, the machine has to be shipped to Springfield for repairs. Clerk employees use Windows 98 on election nights. Cory Nibert, a sales associate with Elkins-Swyers, said the current machines have not yet been phased out, but parts are becoming more expensive. He and his co-worker, Steve Byers, brought a new voting machine inside the Commission’s office Thursday for demonstration. Hubbard told the commission she wanted to give them an idea of what’s available. “(The system) is very similar to what we use now. It’s just a little more computerized, maybe,” Hubbard said. “It’s a little easier, a little smoother. It’s going to cut down on man hours.”

New Mexico: Voter ID bill passes the House | NM Political Report

The House voted to approve a voter ID bill after three hours of debate, the latest in a long line of Republican priorities that have passed this session. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Cathrynn Brown, R-Carlsbad, would require voters to present a form of identification when voting in person or by mail. The legislation passed on a 37-29 vote. While presenting the bill Brown said her aim was to prevent voter fraud no matter how prevalent it is. She argued that if laws were written based on how often crimes are committed, many current laws would be non-existent. “Frequency is not the test,” she said. Brown went on to say, “Some people say voter ID is a barrier, I say it’s a guardrail.” House Minority Leader Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe, offered a floor amendment that would lessen some of the identification requirements. Egolf told the body that the amendment would avoid disenfranchising voters by allowing less stringent requirements for voter identification.

Nevada: Bill would give Nevada first-in-nation presidential primary | Las Vegas Sun

When it comes to presidential politics, it’s not enough for some Nevada politicos to be first in the West: A bill proposed today in the state Legislature would move Nevada’s presidential nominating system to first in the nation. The bill, proposed by Assemblymen John Hambrick, R-Las Vegas, and Stephen Silberkraus, R-Henderson, would change the Nevada Republican and Democrat presidential caucuses in February to a primary election in January. The bill also calls for moving Nevada’s June primary for all other races to January, too. The goal is to put all eyes on Nevada by making it the first state in 2016 to choose its presidential contenders.

Ohio: Judge finds Husted liable for enforcing unconstitutional law | The Columbus Dispatch

Must public officials assess a new law to determine whether it’s constitutional before carrying it out? That’s the upshot of a federal-court ruling Monday declaring Secretary of State Jon Husted liable for enforcing a law passed by the Ohio General Assembly that later was declared unconstitutional. At issue was a 2013 measure — Senate Bill 47 — declaring that circulators of initiative petitions must be Ohio residents. Judge Michael Watson of U.S. District Court in Columbus said that even if Husted assumed the law were constitutional, “a reasonable official would have understood that enforcement of the residency requirement would violate plaintiffs’ First Amendment right to engage in political speech despite the presumptive validity of the statute.”

Oklahoma: Legislature considering online voter registration | Associated Press

With more than a third of Oklahoma’s eligible voters not even registered, lawmakers are considering allowing online registration to make the process more convenient and renew interest in elections. An online voter registration bill that received bipartisan support in the Senate is among several measures regarding Oklahoma’s election process that are pending as the session passed the deadline for proposed legislation to be considered in the chamber of origin. In January 2005, more than 2.1 million people were registered to vote, according to state Election Board statistics. Ten years later and about 10 percent more residents, 119,280 fewer Oklahoma residents were registered to vote than in 2005. Last year’s general election drew less than 30 percent of Oklahoma’s eligible voters.

Oregon: Governor signs sweeping automatic voter registration into law | Reuters

Sweeping first-in-the nation legislation making voter registration automatic in Oregon was signed into law on Monday by Governor Kate Brown, potentially adding 300,000 new voters to state rolls. The so-called Motor Voter legislation will use state Department of Motor Vehicles data to automatically register eligible voters whose information is contained in the DMV system, with a 21-day opt-out period for those who wish to be taken off the registry. Supporters say the legislation’s goal is to keep young voters, students and working families who move often from losing their right to vote. Republican lawmakers, who unanimously voted against the bill, complain it puts Oregonians’ privacy at risk.

South Dakota: Lawmakers pass stiffer election laws | Aberdeen News

A variety of changes to South Dakota’s elections law, including stiffer requirements for independent candidates and for any candidate to withdraw from the ballot, won passage Friday from the Legislature. The House of Representatives voted 50-16 and the Senate 26-7 to approve the package. The measure, Senate Bill 69, began as proposals from new Secretary of State Shantel Krebs and the state Board of Elections to provide an earlier window for candidates to circulate nominating petitions and to provide more time for court challenges of petition signatures.

Virginia: Special Election: Columbia Voters to Decide Fate of Virginia’s Tiniest Town | WVIR

decide whether to end its 227-year-old incorporation. Columbia is holding a special election with a yes or no question on the ballot: “Shall the charter for the town of Columbia be annulled and repealed?” Mayor John Hammond says dissolving the town will allow Fluvanna County to provide resources that Columbia council’s $3,800 budget cannot. Eighty-nine-year-old Irene Newton has lived in Columbia most of her life and believes it’s time to give up the charter. “It’s time to give it up and get some help before we lose it completely to destruction,” she said.

Australia: New South Wales e-vote system taken down | The New Daily

New South Wales’ online voting system was suspended for six hours because of an error on the Upper House ballot paper for the state election. The NSW Electoral Commission (NSWEC) “paused” the iVote system after two parties were omitted from a section of the paper. The iVote system is available to voters who are vision-impaired, have reading difficulties, live more than 20km from their nearest polling station or will be interstate or overseas on election day. The Animal Justice Party and the Outdoor Recreation Party were left off the “above the line” section of the paper, the ABC reports. By 5pm Tuesday the iVote website was back up and running.

Editorials: Lessons from El Salvador’s Botched Elections | Alejandro Ascencio/PanAm Post

On Sunday, March 1, around 50 percent of voters in El Salvador turned out to elect mayors, national deputies, and Central American Parliament (Parlacen) delegates. Previous tinkering with electoral procedure — allowing Salvadorans to choose between party lists or select individual candidates, for example — complicated and delayed the counting of votes. A long campaigning season was short on substantive proposals, failing to answer key questions: What will be done? Why? How? When will it be ready? And, above all, how much will it cost? Many candidates promised reforms that were beyond their remit as prospective officials. Dirty politics was never far from the surface, with serious debate taking a back seat to political theater and media circuses.

Israel: Some Israelis living abroad are flying home to cast ballots | Jerusalem Post

A trickle of Israelis living abroad has begun arriving in Israel in the days prior to Tuesday’s election, in order to cast ballots for the next Knesset. Unlike the United States, which allows its expatriate community abroad to vote in local, state and national elections, Israelis residing outside of the Jewish state are legally barred from exercising their sovereign franchise. Martin Berger of Brighton, England, is one of them. A sales manager for a media company, he first came to Israel in 1988 as part of a crew filming a movie about the 40th anniversary of Israel’s founding. While he never resided here full time, he obtained citizenship and visits Israel on a regular basis, sometimes as often as once every two weeks.

Nigeria: Election Agency Says It’s Ready for Credible Vote | Reuters

Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission is set to hold credible elections starting March 28 after delaying the ballots by six weeks, its Chairman Attahiru Jega said. “We believe we have done everything humanly possible to be able to conduct elections that are free, fair, credible and peaceful,” Jega told reporters on Monday in the capital, Abuja. “We are adequately prepared.” Out of 68.8 million people on the electoral register, 56 million, or 81 percent, have collected voter cards, from 67.8 million printed for national distribution, he said.