Press Release: Clear Ballot Pilots ClearVote, Voting System Technology in Gilpin County, Colorado | Clear Ballot

Clear Ballot will be piloting its voting system technology, ClearVote, in Gilpin County, Colorado this election. This will be the second time Gilpin County has piloted Clear Ballot software – Clear Ballot worked with Gilpin in December 2014. Since the first pilot the Clear Vote system has been certified for use in the evaluation process for Colorado’s Uniform Voting System, an ongoing project that the Secretary of State’s office began in 2014. Clear Ballot’s ClearVote certification was the result of an extensive and successful testing campaign at Pro V&V, a federally accredited voting systems test laboratory.

National: US turning into plutocracy as small number of donors buy into power | Irish Times

It says something about the topsy-turviness of the Republican presidential race that TV star and frontrunner Donald Trump spent more on his “Make America Great Again” hats in the last quarter than down-the-field candidate Bobby Jindal spent on his entire campaign. In the US money and politics are firmly bound in a mutually beneficial relationship. The quarterly fundraising figures are as closely watched as the day-to-day polls for indicators of how the candidates are performing. The money race is the “invisible primary” as the cash totals are used as a proxy for viability and popularity. Large numbers of small donors show broad support which can turn on big donors too. “Success begets success,” said Rick Hasen, a professor at the University of California, Irvine who specialises in election law. “Being able to show you have lots of people supporting you is a good way to get the big fish to give you money too.”

National: Voter ID foes stress legal cost in new tactic | The Philadelphia Tribune

As Voter ID law opponents continue to push back against the voter suppression strategy in the courts with mixed results, it has been a hard sell in the political war to win over hearts and minds. And with so much focus on the very obvious civil rights arguments repeatedly stressed in the drawn out legal battles over Voter ID, it remains unclear if that narrative works when translated for consumption by the larger public domain. That’s becoming problematic for Black voters. “Yes, there is a pattern heading into 2016,” Congressional Black Caucus Chair G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) tells the Tribune. “While voter disenfranchisement is nothing new, this is a new iteration of it that we’re very worried about. Most just don’t understand the impact.” Implementation of Voter ID laws, as well as state and local propagation of voter suppression tactics, have already become a drain on already cash-strapped government coffers. To date, Texas has already spent $8 million defending its controversial Voter ID law.

Editorials: In face of voter ID laws, younger generation must get involved | Michael Sainato/The Hill

The right to vote is one of the most frequently cited constitutional right in the Constitution itself; appearing five separate times total, including four individual amendments enacted to protect it. Since African-American men were granted the right to vote in 1870, and the passage of women’s suffrage in 1920, many states have used arbitrary methods to deter certain blocks of voters from the polls. Poll taxes, literacy tests and complicated voter registration were commonplace up until the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that abolished these practices. A Supreme Court decision in 2013 invalidated a key component of the Voting Rights Act, giving nine Southern states the power to change their election laws without federal approval. Today, the impetuous transgressions against the right to vote from which the Voting Rights Act was enacted to protect Americans are being undermined by voter ID laws that are in currently being enforced in 32 states, 17 of those requiring photo identification. It is no coincidence that the year many voter restriction laws were put into place, 2014, voter turnout for the elections that year were the lowest in any election cycle since World War II.

California: Ranked-choice voting linked to lower voter turnout | San Francisco State News

On Tuesday, Nov. 3, San Francisco voters will return to the polls and cast their votes using the ranked-choice voting (RCV) system, a relatively new method that allows voters to rank candidates in order of preference, thus eliminating the need for a runoff. But as Election Day draws near, a recent study reveals that RCV may actually make voting more difficult. The research from San Francisco State University Assistant Professor of Political Science Jason McDaniel, recently published in Journal of Urban Affairs, analyzed racial group voter turnout rates in five San Francisco mayoral elections from 1995 to 2011. The 2007 and 2011 elections used RCV ballots; the 1995-2003 elections used the traditional two-round, primary runoff system. The analysis revealed a significant relationship between RCV and decreased turnout among black and white voters, younger voters and voters who lacked a high school education. RCV did not have a significant impact on more experienced voters, who had the highest levels of education and interest in the political process.

Florida: Senate girds for redistricting debate | Orlando Sentinel

Senators on Tuesday will debate a plan to redraw 40 Senate districts that could shift the partisan make-up of the chamber, the leadership of the body and the political futures of the members. Republican legislative leaders are hoping to avoid another rebuke from the courts as well as another stalemate between the House and the Senate, as happened in August when the two chambers didn’t agree to a plan redrawing congressional districts. But the new redistricting plan has sparked plenty of disagreement within the Senate itself. Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, who is currently battling with Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, to become Senate President after the 2016 elections, issued a strong critique of the new plan for not drawing enough incumbents into districts with each other. He suggested the courts could again strike the maps down because they could be seen as being drawn to protect incumbents. “Unfortunately, I see in this plan today . . . I see history repeating itself,” Latvala said during a hearing Friday.

Hawaii: Judge OKs Native Hawaiian election | Associated Press

A federal judge ruled Friday that an election can go forward to choose delegates to draft a document allowing Native Hawaiians to govern themselves. U.S. District Court Judge J. Michael Seabright explained the election is a private poll — not one run by the state — as he denied a motion for a preliminary injunction to stop the vote set for next month. Native Hawaiians are the last remaining indigenous group in the U.S. that hasn’t been allowed to establish its own government.

Maryland: Governor’s Redistricting Commission Faces Deadline | WBAL

One week from today, the governor’s commission on congressional redistricting is scheduled to issue a final report to the governor to create an independent commission that would draw the boundaries of congressional and state legislative districts. Governor Larry Hogan favors the commission, as an alternative to the current system where the governor appoints a panel to create the boundaries and the legislature approves the plan in tact. Hogan and other critics have said the current system favors the Democrats and creates oddly shaped districts that divide communities.

Voting Blogs: Lee v. Virginia Board of Elections: Wait, Virginians have to present a photo ID to vote? | State of Elections

In 2013, Republican majorities in both houses of the Virginia General Assembly enacted a “voter ID law” that significantly restricts accepted forms of identification that voters must present before casting a ballot on Election Day. Now, officers at the election booths will require voters to present one of the following forms of photo identification: (1) a valid Virginia driver’s license; (2) a valid United States passport; (3) any photo identification issued by the Commonwealth, one of its political subdivisions, or the United States; (4) a valid student identification card containing a photograph of the voter and issued by any institution of higher education located in the Commonwealth; or (5) a valid employee identification card containing a photograph of the voter and issued by an employer of the voter in the ordinary course of the employer’s business. Any voter that is unable to present an acceptable form of photo identification at the polls will be offered a provisional ballot, but the voter must deliver a copy of a proper form of identification to the electoral board by noon of the third day after the election. Provisional voters may submit copies by fax, e-mail, in-person submission, timely United States Postal Service, or commercial mail delivery.

Washington: Seattle initiative puts spotlight on campaign financing | The Seattle Times

Proponents of Seattle Initiative 122 say large companies and wealthy individuals are increasingly using their money to push regular people out of the political process. They say Honest Elections Seattle would push back — by giving every registered voter in the city “democracy vouchers” to spend on candidate campaigns. The Nov. 3 ballot measure would authorize a 10-year, $30 million property-tax levy to pay for the vouchers while tightening rules for campaign contributions and lobbying. Seattle would be the first jurisdiction in the country to have such a voucher system.

Argentina: Runoff needed to settle surprisingly close presidential race | Los Angeles Times

In a much closer first round of presidential voting than expected, Buenos Aires Mayor Mauricio Macri did well enough to force a Nov. 22 runoff with first-place finisher Daniel Scioli, the candidate of Argentina’s ruling party. With nearly all votes counted, Scioli, who is governor of Buenos Aires state and a former vice president, tallied 36.9% of the ballots cast. Macri was close behind with 34.3%. Scioli, the handpicked choice of outgoing President Cristina Fernandez, needed at least 40% and a 10-percentage-point advantage to avoid a second round of voting. When it became clear he would not win outright, Scioli emerged from his campaign headquarters in Buenos Aires on Sunday night to ask for independent voters’ support. Macri was more euphoric: “What happened today has changed the political history of the country.”

Bulgaria: Election authority faces renewed criticism over ballot processing | The Sofia Globe

Bulgaria’s Central Electoral Commission (CEC) faced more public backlash on October 26 after slow processing of ballots required intervention by emergency services. A total of 25 people required first aid, while 10 people, including two pregnant women, had to be taken to hospital. An earlier report that claimed one person died was later denied. Under Bulgarian law, election officials from polling stations are held responsible for all ballot papers until officially signing them into the custody of the municipal electoral committee. In Sofia, the process was so slow that some people spent, reportedly, more than 20 hours waiting for their turn at the Arena Armeec sports hall, which caused several people to faint.

Editorials: How will Canada vote next time? | The Record

Of all the promises Justin Trudeau made before this week’s federal election, the promise to change how Canadians vote may come back to haunt him most. If he ignores it, the Liberal Party leader and soon-to-be-prime minister will be accused of breaking his word. If he keeps it, the majority government he just won may be his last. Trudeau and the Liberals are still celebrating their sweeping victory in Monday’s vote that left them in control of the House of Commons with 184 out of 338 MPs. But in order to carve out that 54 per cent majority in the House of Commons, the Liberals needed only 39.5 per cent of the votes cast. What’s being called a landslide win would look very different if the proportion of votes the Liberals captured translated precisely into the number of seats they hold in Parliament. Were such an electoral system in place, the Liberals would today hold 134 seats in the House of Commons — more than anyone else but far short of the commanding majority they now enjoy. And that, to state the obvious, would mean Trudeau would lead a far more unstable government that would need support from at least one other party to implement even some of the Liberal agenda and would have no guarantee of governing for even two more years, far less four.

Congo: Referendum should be annulled due to low turnout, opposition says | Reuters

A referendum held in Congo Republic to decide whether the president can legally stand for a third consecutive term should be canceled due to low turnout, a senior opposition leader said on Monday. An opposition boycott of Sunday’s plebiscite means the country’s veteran ruler, President Denis Sassou Nguesso, is likely to have won voters’ support, paving the way for him to run in an election next year and potentially extend his decades-long rule over the oil-producing central African country. “It (the turnout) totally discredits the referendum. Either they annul it or else he will impose a dictatorship and the Congolese will not accept it,” said opposition leader Pascal Tsaty Mabiala, secretary of the Pan-African Union for Social Democracy party. “The smart thing would be to annul the referendum,” he told Reuters by telephone.

Haiti: Haiti elects a president – but nobody knows for sure who voters chose | The Guardian

Haiti’s voters have spoken. But nobody’s quite sure what they’ve said. Even tentative results of Sunday’s presidential election likely won’t be known for at least 10 days, despite the election, which involved 54 presidential candidates and tens of thousands of contenders for other races, going unusually smoothly. Few places in the world take longer to give citizens any hint of who won an election. One reason is that it’s against the law for results to be released by anyone other than the Provisional Electoral Council, whose members are replaced every election cycle. “A lot of the learning that is accrued every time they go through an election process seems to be lost,” said Kenneth Merten, Haiti special coordinator for the US State Department and a former US ambassador to the country.

Ivory Coast: Results Expected in Ivory Coast Vote | VoA News

Ivory Coast’s election commission is expected to announce Tuesday the first results from an election that was widely expected to give President Alassane Ouattara another term in office. The commission has already estimated turnout from Sunday’s vote at around 60 percent, though a civil society group put the figure at 53 percent. The opposition National Coalition for Change expressed further doubts about the turnout, saying many Ivorians stayed home and fewer than 20 percent actually voted.

Poland: Nationalist Party Wins Poland’s Election | Wall Street Journal

Poland’s incoming ruling party is expected to be a more difficult partner for European governments, particularly on the migrant crisis, after voters in parliamentary elections gave it a strong mandate to stand up to Brussels and Berlin. The opposition Law and Justice party swept to victory with nearly 38% of the vote and looked likely Monday to have enough legislators in the lower house of Parliament to govern on its own, after promising to spend more on welfare, focus on traditional Catholic values and take a more-assertive stance within the European Union. The election on Sunday ended the eight-year rule of the Civic Platform party and its junior ally, a period marked by uninterrupted economic growth and good relations with Germany, but marred by internal struggles and scandals.

Tanzania: Tanzania Is Wary as Election Results Trickle In | The New York Times

The police fired tear gas and opposition leaders said dozens of supporters were arrested Monday in Tanzania as votes were slowly tabulated from the presidential election over the weekend. Many observers, foreign and domestic alike, said this election was going to be the tightest and most turbulent in Tanzania’s history. The nation holds a special place in Africa as one of the most peaceful on the continent. But this time, a well-financed opposition coalition is challenging the governing party’s decades-long lock on power, and some Tanzanians have been fearful about the result. On Monday evening, the governing party’s candidate, John Magufuli, a chemist and minister of public works, was leading Edward Lowassa, the most popular opposition figure, by a ratio of nearly two to one, according to preliminary results from a small number of constituencies.

Ukraine: Elections comply with democratic standards: OSCE | Deutsche Welle

The local elections held in Ukraine on the weekend “generally showed respect for the democratic process,” international monitors said on Monday. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) called the elections “competitive” and “well-organized,” while acknowledging that they took place in “a challenging political, economic, humanitarian and security environment,” according to a statement on the organization’s website.