National: Conservative lawmakers weigh bid to call for constitutional convention | The Washington Post

Conservative state legislators frustrated with the gridlock in Washington are increasingly turning to a plan to call a convention to consider a new amendment to the U.S. Constitution — an event that would be unprecedented in American history and one that could, some opponents predict, lead to complete political chaos. Legislators in 27 states have passed applications for a convention to pass a balanced budget amendment. Proponents of a balanced budget requirement are planning to push for new applications in nine other states where Republicans control both chambers of the legislature. If those applications pass in seven of the nine targeted states, it would bring the number of applications up to 34, meeting the two-thirds requirement under Article V of the Constitution to force Congress to call a convention. What happens next is anyone’s guess.

Alaska: Lawmakers eye ways to improve voter access to polls | Alaska Dispatch

Come next election, Alaskans may be able to register to vote as late as Election Day under bills introduced in the Senate and House that call for elimination of the current 30-day pre-election voter cutoff. Sen. Lesil McGuire, R-Anchorage, ran for lieutenant governor last year and discussed voting issues and problems with people all over the state, she said. “The biggest issue people had was access to voting and making it easier,” she said. “We have really low rates in our state.” McGuire’s bill, Senate Bill 93, and a companion bill, House Bill 95, would allow Alaskans to register and vote on the same day. Now, they must have been registered a month before an election to cast a ballot.

Indiana: Low 2014 voter turnout highlights challenges in Indiana | Associated Press

Indiana’s record-low voting turnout in the 2014 election reflects challenges with midterm elections and raises scrutiny of how states register their voters, a new report says. Since 2002, Indiana has consistently been ranked among the five states with the lowest midterm voter turnout. Just over 28 percent of Indiana’s eligible voters cast a ballot last year, the lowest rate in the nation, the Tribune-Star reported. “The last time Indiana was in the top 25 for voter turnout nationwide was in 1982,” said George Pillsbury, senior consultant for Nonprofit VOTE and author of the report “America Goes to the Polls 2014: A Report on Voter Turnout for the Midterm 2014 Election.”

Kansas: Sealing of votes means time is past for researcher seeking paper records, Kobach says of election lawsuit | The Wichita Eagle

Secretary of State Kris Kobach said a researcher wanting to check the accuracy of voting machines from the November election missed her opportunity to do so before the votes were sealed. For the first time, Kobach commented Friday on a lawsuit, in which he is a defendant, involving election results in Sedgwick County. Kobach was added as a defendant Wednesday to a lawsuit brought in the Sedgwick County District Court by Beth Clarkson, the chief statistician for the National Institute for Aviation Research, who is seeking to study the accuracy of reported vote tallies in Sedgwick County. She emphasized that this activity is independent from her duties at the institute.

New Hampshire: Officials weighing another round of voter ID, eligibility changes | Concord Monitor

As presidential hopefuls swing by New Hampshire on a near-weekly basis to start making their pitches to prospective voters, state officials – in the legislative, executive and judicial branches – are busy weighing a number of changes that could affect who’s able to cast a ballot here in 2016. “There are ideas, depending on what party you belong to, as to how elections should look,” David Scanlan, deputy secretary of state, explained in an interview last week. “And there’s always a tension that takes place between ease of voting and just doing our best to protect the elections from fraud. The tug of war takes place with every change of party that’s in power.”

Virginia: Touchscreen problems worry Virginia election officials | Daily Press

Looking into what went wrong when Virginia Beach supporters of Rep. Scott Rigell couldn’t get voting machines to register their choice last November, the state Department of Elections found problems with some touchscreen machines — but not the kind that frustrated Rigell’s backers. Instead, it found such serious problems with another, aging touchscreen device — AVS WinVote — that it thinks the State Board of Elections should consider stopping its use altogether. … In November, dozens of Virginia Beach voters reported that machines were recording their votes for Rigell as votes for his opponent, Suzanne Patrick. The city used 820 touchscreen machines — unlike localities on the Peninsula, it relied on them as its primary means of voting. In Newport News, the two voters who reported problems on Election Day said their votes for Sen. Mark Warner were shown as votes for his GOP opponent, Ed Gillespie. The more serious problems emerged when the consultant audited the WINVote machines in Henrico and Spotsylvania counties, which are different from the machines Virginia Beach and Newport News use.

Wisconsin: Supreme Court Election Raises Concerns About Partisanship | New York Times

The Wisconsin Supreme Court, defined in recent years by polarization and reports of dysfunction, could be profoundly reshaped by an election on Tuesday. The outcome hinges on two choices — whether voters re-elect a justice who is seen as part of the court’s liberal minority and whether they approve a constitutional amendment that seems likely to lead to the installation of a conservative chief justice. The election is officially nonpartisan, but the ideological divides are clear. Money has poured in from far beyond Wisconsin, and harsh advertisements have filled the airwaves. Donations have poured in, including some from outside Wisconsin, and harsh advertisements have filled the state’s airwaves.

Australia: Tasmanian Electoral Commission warns of ‘perfect storm’ of reduced funding | ABC

The Tasmanian Electoral Commission (TEC) has warned its ability to conduct elections is being threatened by a “perfect storm” of reduced funding. To date, the commission’s main source of funding has been the state’s 29 councils through local government elections. Changes to the election cycle from three years to four has meant the money is coming in less frequently.

India: Election Commission for new machine to enhance voter secrecy | The Economic Times

The Election Commission wants to use a new machine which prevents disclosure of voting pattern during counting to enhance voter secrecy and has received the backing of the Law Commission, but the government is yet to take a final call on the issue. The EC has approached the Law Ministry with a proposal to introduce ‘Totaliser’ machine for counting of votes. The poll panel is of the view that by use of Totaliser, a further level of secrecy in voting and the mixing of votes at the time of counting will be achieved, which will prevent the disclosure of pattern of voting at a particular polling station.

Philippines: Comelec doubtful on touch screen technology | Philippines Star

Voters in the coming elections may not be able to try out the new automated election system (AES) after all. The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is reportedly having second thoughts on pilot-testing the touch screen technology and Internet voting system for the 2016 electoral exercise. A Comelec source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the commission is reviewing a previous decision to pilot test the Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) or touchscreen technology.

Poland: Votes in presidential elections to be hand-counted | Associated Press

Poland’s electoral authorities say that the votes in the May presidential election will be counted by hand and calculator because of a lack of a reliable electronic system. The decision by the State Electoral Commission follows a major computer malfunction that largely delayed the vote count in the local government elections last fall. The scandal led to the resignations of most of the commission members.

Sudan: Rebels seize election material days before vote | Manorama

Rebels in Sudan’s South Kordofan said they had captured a lorry carrying ballot boxes to polling stations for nationwide elections due next week, vowing to disrupt voting in the conflict-hit region. The Sudan People’s Liberation Army-North “ambushed and captured a vehicle loaded fully with ballot boxes” on Saturday on the road linking the state capital Kadugli with the town of Dilling, spokesman Arnu Lodi said Sunday. The SPLA-N will press its “military campaign plan” to stop elections in South Kordofan, Lodi said in the statement, warning civilians to avoid military sites “because they are legitimate targets”. But army spokesman Colonel Al-Sawarmy Khaled Saad said he had no information on the ambush.

Turkey: Security of ballot boxes and voter lists main concern before June elections | Today’s Zaman

While there are only two months left until the general election in June, vote-rigging incidents during previous elections have increased concerns over the security of the ballot boxes and the fate of the votes on the Supreme Election Board (YSK) list as millions of citizens failed to check whether they will be able to vote or not. Rigging claims were frequent during past elections, although no major vote-rigging has been made public yet which might change the results. Some unused ballots were found in the trash, some people were claimed to have voted twice and there were claims that some voted using the names of dead people. Still others were not able to vote as their names were not on the list specifically drawn up for voters. Power outages took place in 41 provinces on the night of the local elections on March 30, 2014. Allegations of election fraud were rampant following the local elections, with observers documenting many discrepancies between the numbers recorded at polling stations and those finally entered into the YSK’s computer-based Elector Record System (SEÇSİS). More interestingly, a cat that allegedly got inside an electrical transformer was held responsible by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government for at least one of the power cuts that occurred in 22 provinces during vote tallying on the evening of March 30.