A streamlined and secure voting system is now available for use across the state of Idaho. The Secretary of State confirmed recently that Hart InterCivic’s Verity® Voting system passed rigorous testing and review and is certified for purchase by local Idaho jurisdictions. “This certification is a milestone for the voters of Idaho who deserve an easy-to-use and transparent voting experience. Counties are now free to make the Verity Voting system their top choice when they replace aging, perhaps unreliable, equipment,” said Phillip Braithwaite, President and CEO of Hart InterCivic.
An Alabama congresswoman has formally asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the state’s shuttering of driver’s license offices in several heavily black counties, warning that the closures throw up another obstacle to voting. The call for a federal probe comes as opposition to the state’s decision, announced last Wednesday, continues to mount. “These closures will potentially disenfranchise Alabama’s poor, elderly, disabled, and black communities,” wrote Rep. Terri Sewell in a letter sent Monday to Attorney General Loretta Lynch. “To restrict the ability of any citizen to vote is an assault on the rights of all Americans to equally participate in the electoral process.” Sewell, a Democrat whose district includes Selma, the historical birthplace of the push for African-American voting rights, called for “a full and thorough investigation by DoJ.”
A former Republican legislator has come up with a genius idea for how to fix what ails the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission. OK, so maybe it’s not a genius idea, exactly, but it’s a pretty good one, given that the current system is a slap in the face to the largest segment of Arizona voters. First reason it seems like a good idea: The Republican Party, which controls most everything in this state, won’t like it. Second reason it seems like a good idea: Neither will the Democratic Party, which managed to outmaneuver Republicans when it came to redrawing congressional and legislative maps for this decade. Third reason: It gives a fair shake to independent voters.
California: State high court set to hear arguments on Citizens United advisory measure | Los Angeles Times
California legislators decided last year to ask voters whether they supported overturning a landmark ruling that allowed unlimited corporate spending to support or denounce federal candidates. A conservative taxpayers group balked, arguing that state legislators lack the power to put advisory measures on the ballot. The California Supreme Court agreed to remove Proposition 49 and to decide in a later ruling whether it could go forward in a future election. The court will hear arguments on the case Tuesday, generally the last step before issuing a decision. If the Legislature wins, Californians will be able to cast an advisory vote next year on whether Citizens United, a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision that overturned campaign spending laws, should be repealed by a federal constitutional amendment.
Florida: Lawmakers set the stage for special session on redrawing district maps | News Service of Florida
Legislative leaders hope to have a new map of the 40 state Senate districts done by 3 p.m. on Nov. 6, according to the official “call” of a special redistricting session scheduled to begin in two weeks. House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, and Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, issued the call Monday for the special session, which will start at noon Oct. 19. Legislative leaders earlier announced the dates of the session, but the call provides formal details. Lawmakers have to draw new Senate districts as part of a settlement with voting-rights organizations and voters who sued to overturn the existing map under the anti-gerrymandering “Fair Districts” redistricting standards approved by voters in 2010. The current map was drawn in 2012, following the once-a-decade U.S. Census.
A year ago the Iowa Supreme Court issued a splintered decision on Iowans’ constitutional voting rights that left an important question for a future case. Such a case appears headed to the court, and it could restore this fundamental right to thousands of Iowans. Iowa is one of just three states — including Kentucky and Florida — that permanently disenfranchise otherwise eligible voters with a record of a felony conviction. Convicted felons in Iowa must apply to the governor for restoration of voting rights after completing their sentences. Few go to the trouble, however, which is understandable given the intimidating bureaucratic process. As a result, these Iowans are forever denied a right that is fundamental in a free society even after they have paid their debt to that society. That is wrong, but a fix will not be easy.
Oklahoma will soon join two dozen other states in allowing people to register to vote online. The law making this possible takes effect November 1, but News 9’s Alex Cameron tells us the system won’t be ready then. November 1 is when the state is officially authorized to begin working to put an online registration system in place, and it could take a while. The sponsor of the legislation, Sen. David Holt, says the hope is to have online registration available in time for the 2016 election, but there’s no guarantee.
Virginia: E-signatures for absentee ballots spark debate at elections board | Richmond Times-Dispatch
A partisan battle over absentee voting broke out Tuesday at a State Board of Elections meeting, with Republicans warning that a new policy has opened the door to electronic voter fraud and Democrats dismissing the charge as unverified and overblown. The concern was raised Tuesday evening at the end of what will likely be the last elections board meeting before the Nov. 3 General Assembly elections, when control of the state Senate will be up for grabs. The debate centered on a policy that allows voters to use electronically typed signatures to apply for absentee ballots. The policy was approved in May at the request of Speaker of the House William J. Howell, R-Stafford, who was facing a spirited primary challenge from Susan B. Stimpson.
Political developments are heating up in Colombia as the country prepares for another election, with at least seven candidates killed and 30 municipalities uncovering cases of voter fraud. Seven politicians have been killed since February this year, with the most recent murder victim Giraldo Ojeda, a conservative leader and mayor of San Jose de Alban who was killed Sept. 30. According to Colombian daily El Tiempo, 157 other candidates have also reportedly received threats, just days ahead of the Oct. 25 legislative elections. Most of the threats have been made in the states of Valle del Cauca, Narino and Antioquia, considered some of the most dangerous regions of the country.
Guinea: Curfew Imposed Amid Violent Clashes Between Supporters Of Conde And Diallo | International Business Times
Authorities in Guinea imposed a curfew in the city of Nzerekore overnight Monday following violent clashes between rival political groups ahead of the presidential election. Dozens were injured in fighting over the weekend and local media sources said one person was killed, according to Reuters. “The situation is very, very serious. We have 29 people with gunshot injuries,” Aboubacar Mbopp Camara, prefect for Nzerekore, told reporters Monday. Medical charity Alliance for International Medical Action said on Twitter Monday that more than 80 people had been admitted to its local hospital for a range of injuries inflicted by bullets, stones and batons.
Lithuania’s Ministry of Justice submitted a bill on Tuesday that, if passed, would allow creating a system for online voting in elections and referenda. According to BNS, the proposed legislation outlines basic principles of online voting, procedures for voters to verify or retract their votes, measures to ensure secret ballot, voter identification as well as requirements for the would-be online voting software.
Officials in rebel-controlled eastern Ukraine announced Tuesday they will postpone local elections that were going to be held shortly, sidestepping a contentious issue that had blocked progress toward a resolution for the war in Ukraine. Ukraine’s president and Russian lawmakers hailed the move as a step toward peace. More than 8,000 people have been killed since April 2014 during fighting between Ukrainian government troops and the Russia-backed separatists. A statement Tuesday from Denis Pushilin and Vladislav Deinego said the rebel-run areas of Donetsk and Luhansk provinces would put off their local votes until Feb. 21.