Members of the House Oversight Committee are urging a review of the Defense Department’s Federal Voting Assistance Program for military personnel living overseas. The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) assists military service members abroad and U.S. citizens living in foreign countries with absentee voting. Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), an Iraq War veteran, spearheaded the letter to Comptroller General Gene Dodaro asking the Government Accountability Office to conduct an investigation about the program’s effectiveness.
A piece of legislation that would allow voters over the age of 70 and the disabled to avoid waiting in line at polling places passed in the Alabama House today after little discussion. Rep. David Standridge, R-Hayden, said he sponsored the bill after witnessing elderly citizens standing in long lines waiting to cast their votes. “This would just merely allow them to move up in line if they so request it,” he said today on the House floor.
Connecticut: Merrill, Registrars Praise Bipartisan Passage of Bill to Strengthen Elections | StamfordPlus
Secretary of the State Denise Merrill on Monday joined the Registrars of Voters Association of Connecticut in praising the legislative Government Administration and Elections Committee’s passage of Senate Bill No. 1051 “An Act Strengthening Connecticut Elections.” By an overwhelming vote of 13-2, the GAE committee approved a bill that will increase accountability and professionalism among Connecticut’s registrars of voters who are primarily charged with the responsibility of administering elections in Connecticut. Secretary Merrill had sought legislation to redefine the position of Registrar from two partisan, elected positions for each city and town to a professional hired locally by municipalities.
Gov. Eddie Calvo enacted several bills into law yesterday including legislation updates, prison contraband regulations and reforms to Guam’s voter registration laws. … In her first act as an island lawmaker, freshman Sen. Mary Camacho Torres, R-Santa Rita, authored three voter registration reform bills aimed at modernizing and streamlining the process. Two of the measures — Bills 23 and 24 — were deliberated and passed during the March session, but she agreed to send Bill 25 back to committee. “We’ve seen that democracy is so dependent on participation,” Torres said. “There’s a steady decline of participation in the voting process, we felt incumbent to do something to enable people to have better access to online voter registration.”
Editorials: Aaron Schock can make it up to taxpayers by paying for special election | Phil Luciano/Journal Star
Finally, there’s good news for Aaron Schock. He can fulfill his wish to try to square things with his congressional district. And he can do it in the most sincere way possible politically: by putting his money where his mouth is. Schock can use his campaign cash — about $3.3 million — to cover the costs of special elections for his replacement. That’s the opinion of a former chairman of the Federal Election Commission. … He has no obligation toward the special elections. Taxpayers get stuck with those surprise bills. How much? Hard to say. The 18th Congressional District has 21 separate voting entities: 19 counties, plus the cities of Peoria and Bloomington. Each will bear the expense of a primary election and general election this summer. Peoria County (not including the city) is looking at perhaps $150,000 in added costs. McLean County, which likely has the largest population base in the district, might have to pay $293,000 — and that doesn’t even include Bloomington.
Kansas: Wichita State mathematician sues Kris Kobach, Sedgwick County elections commisioner seeking court order to audit voting machines | Lincoln Courier-Journal
A Wichita State University mathematician sued the top Kansas election official Wednesday seeking paper tapes from electronic voting machines, an effort to explain statistical anomalies favoring Republicans in counts coming from large precincts across the country. Beth Clarkson, chief statistician for the university’s National Institute for Aviation Research, filed the open records lawsuit in Sedgwick County District Court as part of her personal quest to find the answer to an unexplained pattern that transcends elections and states. The lawsuit was amended Wednesday to name Secretary of State Kris Kobach and Sedgwick County Elections Commissioner Tabitha Lehman.
When Dexter Stanton got out of prison in 2009 after serving time for a felony drunk-driving conviction, he wanted to get involved in the community in a positive way. He volunteered for political campaigns, worked a phone bank, canvassed neighborhoods and was even elected caucus chairman for the local DFL party. What he couldn’t do, however, was vote. “I was a part of the community, and yet I was separate,” Stanton said. “I wasn’t a community member.” Stanton said it doesn’t seem right for someone to be working and paying taxes in the community, but not have a say in decisions. For someone from a family long active in politics, “it was really frustrating,” he said.
North Carolina: Opponents cry ‘gerrymander’ as Wake County redistricting advances | News and Observer
A change to Wake County elections, driven by state legislators, drew a step closer to passage Tuesday. After more than two weeks below the radar, Senate Bill 181 reappeared before a state House committee with less than 24 hours’ notice. Republican Sen. Chad Barefoot’s bill would redraw electoral district lines and create two new super-districts, each representing half the county, for the Wake County Board of Commissioners. Instead of casting ballots in each race, as they do now, voters would be limited to two races each. The change likely would curtail the influence of Raleigh’s heavy Democratic presence in current countywide elections. The new lines would consolidate partisan voters in some districts, to a potential Republican advantage.
A Virginia Department of Elections (DOE) report cites “serious security concerns” with certain voting equipment used during the November 2014 General Election. On Wednesday, the DOE released it’s “Interim Report on Voting Equipment Performance, Usage and Certification” that it said was conducted in response to the widespread report of voting machine irregularities during the November election. On election day, Gov. Terry McAuliffe told only 10 On Your Side that the voting machine irregularities were “unacceptable” and that he wanted an investigation. This was after the DOE confirmed technical difficulties with a number of touchscreen voting machines in Virginia Beach and Newport News. Other areas reported irregularities, including Spotsylvania and Henrico counties.
In becoming the first Nigerian to defeat a sitting president through the ballot box yesterday, Muhammadu Buhari’s victory turned into a political flashpoint for African hopefuls determined to set the same precedent in their country. In Kenya, five democratic elections have yet to see an opposition candidate successfully unseat a sitting president. But Raila Odinga, who lost in 2007 and 2013, said the outcome of Nigeria’s election gives him hope. Buhari, who is 72 years old, lost elections three times before his successful campaign. Odinga will be the same age when Kenya holds its sixth presidential elections in 2017. In Tanzania, a young presidential hopeful, January Makamba, hopes to unseat his country’s ruling party candidate in October. The incumbent president, Jakaya Kikwete, is ineligible to run for a third term. In the lead up to a hotly contested race, and in a climate of escalating sectarian tensions between Christian and Muslim communities in Tanzania, Makamba commended the importance of a ruling party concession.
While security fears always get a regular airing in debates about electronic voting, another question that has so far escaped attention is whether electronic voting itself can change who people vote for. We have known for decades that the structure of paper ballots has an impact on the way people vote. We know there is a small bias in favour higher placed candidates on the vertical lower house ballot paper, and a left to right bias on horizontal upper house ballot papers. This bias by position is as a result of the order in which people read the ballot paper. Some electors seem to stop and vote for the first candidate or party they recognise rather than look at all options. It can also lead to donkey voting, where people simply number candidates top to bottom or left to right. These factors get worse the larger the ballot paper. Some of the giant ballot papers in recent years have shown evidence of voter confusion as voters have struggled to find the parties they do know amongst a profusion of micro party offerings.
Over 60 percent of CSV voters and over 80 percent of ADR voters are against foreigner voting rights, a poll conducted by TNS Ilres has found. The Politmonitor, commissioned by the “Luxemburger Wort” and RTL, polled a representative group of 841 voters, asking them the three referendum questions as they will appear on the ballot. Only 44 percent answered “yes” to granting voting rights to foreigners on the condition of having lived in the country for at least ten years and having previously participated in a local or European election. This compared to 48 percent of voters against the measure and 8 percent undecided.