National: Obama Administration Violates Voter Registration Law On Obamacare Website, Voting Rights Coalition Alleges | International Business Times

A coalition of voting rights advocates are criticizing the Obama administration for what they consider its failure to adhere to its own voter registration law. In a letter sent to the administration Wednesday, the groups said officials have not offered registration services through the federal healthcare exchanges set up under the Affordable Care Act, as the federal law requires it to do, Talking Points Memo reported., the website of the healthcare reform law known as Obamacare, does not ask people using the service if they would like to register to vote, said the coalition, which suggested it would take legal action. The National Voter Registration Act, the so-called Motor Voter law of 1993 law that expanded registration methods, requires that people seeking state services such driver’s licenses and ID cards, disability assistance, food stamps or Medicare get the opportunity to register to vote during the application process. “We hope to avoid litigation, but we note that the NVRA includes a private right of action,” stated the letter signed by Demos, ProjectVote and League of Women Voters. Separately, the groups have successfully sued states for not offering voter registration through public service programs, according to Talking Points Memo.

Voting Blogs: The Good News, and Bad News, About Voting Rights in America | Project Vote

The year before a major election has brought about a flurry of legislative activity impacting voter eligibility and election procedures. Each week, Project Vote tracks such legislation and voting-related news throughout the country. Our biannual Legislative Threats and Opportunities report summarizes and highlights the information obtained from three areas: our ongoing bill tracking effort, our work with local advocates and officials, and a compilation of information on related factors like the partisan makeup of legislatures and state election officials. The report provides an important snapshot of activity by issue area and by state so we can reflect on current trends and prepare for the future. The good news: Recent policy trends favor voting rights expansion and election modernization over unnecessary restrictions that limit access to our democracy. Comparing the rates of both bill introduction and successful bill passage, proposals expanding voter access far outpaced those seeking to limit and restrict the right to vote. While positive legislation covered many areas, from restoring voting rights for disenfranchised felons to providing early voting, online registration and automatic registration dominated the year.

Alabama: Merrill: Alabama working to finally comply with ‘motor voter’ rules | The Anniston Star

Alabama has never fully complied with the federal “motor voter” act designed to allow people to register to vote at driver’s license offices, Secretary of State John Merrill acknowledged this week. Still, Merrill said, he hoped the state could avoid a federal lawsuit by working to implement the law now. “It’s like being pregnant,” Merrill said in a Monday telephone interview. “Either you’re fully in compliance with the law or you’re not in compliance. And we’ve never been compliant.”

California: Chinatown seniors caught in middle of voter fraud claims — again | The San Francisco Examiner

Most seasons bring unwanted rituals. Christmas begets horrid fruitcakes, Thanksgiving balloons our waistbands and San Francisco’s election season brings predictable accusations of voter fraud — with Chinatown seniors caught in the middle. This election, the Asian Pacific Democratic Club, comprised of local, politically active Asian-Americans connected to Mayor Ed Lee, is suggesting that a powerful Chinatown nonprofit, the Chinatown Community Development Center, may be connected to the theft of Chinese-speaking seniors’ votes. According to Tom Hsieh, a prominent political consultant in charge of the APDC, anonymous elderly Chinese-speaking voters were wrongfully persuaded to hand over their ballots, which were then filled out and illegally cast by someone else.

Colorado: Eight counties to test new voting machines | Castle Rock News

Douglas County is one of eight counties that will be testing new voting machines this election season. The effort is part of an attempt by the Colorado secretary of state’s office to possibly unite all of the state under one system. As part of that initiative, four small counties and four large counties, including Douglas, were asked to pilot next-generation equipment. The other test counties are Adams, Denver, Garfield, Gilpin, Jefferson, Mesa and Teller. They will be trying out four different vendors. According to the secretary of state’s office, the upgrades to newer machines will cost about $10 million to $15 million and the counties will be dividing the cost, if the program moves forward following the test period. There is no charge to the counties during the test period.

Florida: Senate modifies redistricting map by altering Miami-Dade districts | Miami Herald

Faced with a close vote on a leadership-backed map to redraw state Senate districts, the Florida Senate agreed to modify three minority-based districts in Miami-Dade County on Tuesday, hoping to win the crucial votes needed to send the proposal to the House and win support for the revision in court. The sponsor of the amendment, Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, R-Coral Gables, argued that change was needed to make the districts more compact, in compliance with the anti-gerrymandering provisions of the Florida Constitution, and to preserve the voting strength of Hispanic voters. He argued that the original map, which was drawn by House and Senate staff and approved on a party-line vote last week by the Senate Reapportionment Committee, diminished the ability of Hispanics to elect a candidate of their choice.

Kansas: State agency spokeswoman calls League of Women Voters ‘left-wing’ agitators | The Wichita Eagle

A Brownback administration spokeswoman criticized the League of Women Voters on social media for promoting a college course aimed at registering to students to vote. The League is partnering with professors at Washburn, Emporia State and Fort Hays State universities to develop a lesson plan on Kansas voting laws that can be taught over a day or a week with the goal of helping college students successfully register to vote and enabling them to help their peers do the same. Angela de Rocha, spokeswoman for the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, panned the idea on Facebook. “So it takes an entire semester to learn how to register to vote. Really?” de Rocha wrote on Facebook around noon on Monday. “Do we want these slow learners voting? Or is this a stealth course paid for by taxpayers to train left-wing ‘community organizers’ like the League of Women Voters on how to agitate?”

Minnesota: Does your vote count? Duluth mulls ranked-choice elections | Minnesota Public Radio

Duluth citizens go to the polls on Nov. 3 to elect city council members and a new mayor. But the hottest race isn’t over a political office. It’s over how future city elections should take place. Duluth voters will decide whether to follow in the footsteps of Minneapolis and St. Paul and adopt ranked-choice voting. Ranked-choice voting lets citizens choose up to three candidates and rank them first, second and third among all the candidates in an election.

New Hampshire: Tiny communities guard midnight voting tradition | Reuters

At midnight on a yet-to-be chosen Tuesday early next year, the roughly 40 residents of New Hampshire’s smallest town will pack into a small log building off the main road to cast some of the first votes in the race for the White House. Hart’s Location is one of three tiny communities nestled in the White Mountains where people cast the first votes in the first U.S. presidential nominating primary every four years. Midnight voting is one of the quirkier traditions of New Hampshire’s 100-year-old primary, and not a terribly accurate gauge of which candidates will win their parties’ nominations. The winners of the statewide Republican and Democratic primaries have gone on to clinch the nominations in 11 of 14 races, excluding challenges to an incumbent president, over the past four decades. The success rate is just three out of seven for the top vote-getters in Hart’s Location and nine out of 14 in Dixville Notch, near the Canadian border. But for the residents of these flinty towns, the point is turnout.

Utah: Judge poised to strike down part of new Utah election law | Deseret News

A federal judge appears poised to strike down part of a disputed new state election law that defines how political parties choose candidates for elected office. U.S. District Judge David Nuffer signaled Tuesday that he intends to find forcing parties to hold open primary elections is unconstitutional. He noted that every other court has found that requirement violates the First Amendment. “Honestly, that’s how I think I’m ruling,” he said after hearing arguments from the Utah Republican Party, the Utah Constitution Party and the state. Nuffer will issue a written decision in the coming days, which could potentially end the lawsuit that the Utah GOP filed against the state. The law includes a clause that says if part of it is struck down, the remainder stands.

Virginia: Plaintiffs appeal to US Supreme Court in redistricting case | Associated Press

A group of Virginians who unsuccessfully challenged the state’s legislative boundaries in federal court is appealing a recent ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court. The group, which is backed by lawyers who frequently work for the Democratic Party, filed its notice of appeal Monday. Last week a panel of federal judges rejected the allegations that the Republican-led Virginia House of Delegates illegally packed black voters into a dozen legislative districts.

Editorials: The Revenge of Scott Walker | The New York Times

Only weeks after giving up on his lackluster presidential campaign in the face of national indifference, Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin is back to making mischief in his home state. Last Friday, Mr. Walker signed a bill to protect public officials like himself from an effective and well-established tool for rooting out political corruption. The tool, known as the John Doe law, lets prosecutors conduct secret investigations into possible crimes by executing search warrants and compelling people to testify. It is essentially a grand jury proceeding, with a judge rather than jurors deciding whether there is enough evidence for an indictment. Mr. Walker has been a target of two John Doe investigations in recent years.

Bulgaria: Huge Hack Attack on Bulgaria Election Authorities ‘Not to Affect Vote Count’ | Novinite

An unprecedented hack attack to which the Central Election Commission of Bulgaria and several ministries were exposed on local elections day last week will not affect voting results, officials say. On Sunday, as Bulgarians were casting ballots in local and municipal elections and in a national referendum on e-voting, the so-called “distributed denial-of-service” (DDoS) attack hit the commission’s website which provided updates on voter turnout. The incident began just hours into the election, with over 65 000 000 simultaneous sessions targeting the website. That would be equal to an attempt by 65 000 000 users to access the website at the same time, while Bulgaria’s population numbers just 7.2 million.

Congo: 10% or 70% turnout? No matter, as Congo officials say over 90% backed president-for-life vote | Mail & Guardian

The real battle in a weekend referendum to enable Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso to extend his 31-year stay in office looks to have been over the turnout, with the opposition claiming only 10% came out to vote, while the government put the figure at seven times that. But no matter the percentage, more than 90% of people voting in the controversial referendum in the Republic of Congo approved the bid, according to official results announced on Tuesday. A total of 92.96% of voters approved the constitutional change, which has now been adopted, Interior Minister Raymond Mboulou said. The draft text of the new constitution has been adopted and will come into force as soon as it is put into effect by the president of the republic, he added. Official results showed turnout was high at 72.44%, though on Monday opposition leader Pascal Tsaty Mabiala had said only 10% of Congolese voted.

Egypt: Egyptians return to vote in election run-off | AFP

Egyptians cast their ballots Tuesday in a first round run-off of a parliamentary vote expected to elect lawmakers firmly backing President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in the absence of any opposition. Turnout for the first round held in 14 of Egypt’s 27 provinces last week was just 26.6 percent, and there was no sign of any increased enthusiasm among voters in the latest round. One polling station in Cairo’s Dokki district saw only 20 people vote in the hour after it opened at 9:00 am (0700 GMT), an official said. Voting stations closed 10 hours later, and are to reopen at 9:00 am Wednesday for a second and final day.

Haiti: Haiti faces long wait for results of presidential election | Associated Press

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 fact that the election, which involved 54 presidential candidates and tens of thousands of contenders for other races, went 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 U.S. State Department and a former U.S. ambassador to the country.

Tanzania: Opposition party challenges vote count, cites rigging | Reuters

Tanzania’s main opposition party said on Tuesday it did not recognize results announced so far from a weekend presidential and parliamentary election due to “widespread rigging”, after a broadly peaceful vote that the ruling party said it won. Tanzania has been one of Africa’s most politically stable nations, ruled for half a century by the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party despite the CCM president being changed often. But Sunday’s vote was the most hotly contested in CCM’s history. The opposition has often complained about abuses in past votes, but this challenge carries more weight because Chadema and other major opposition parties have united in a coalition for the first time, fielding a single presidential candidate. Full and final results are not expected until Thursday.

Tanzania: Zanzibar’s electoral commission annuls elections | AFP

Zanzibar’s electoral commission on Wednesday annulled elections on the semi-autonomous Tanzanian archipelago citing “violations of electoral law”. Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) chairman Jecha Salum Jecha, in a statement broadcast on public television, said the polls on the Indian Ocean archipelago were “nullified” and must be carried out again. Jecha alleged violations including double-voting and cheating. Tanzania’s ruling party presidential hopeful held a narrow lead Wednesday with around half the votes counted in the country’s tightest ever election. With 133 of 264 constituencies having released results on the third day of counting in east Africa’s most populous country, John Magafuli of the long-ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) had won 56.51 percent of votes.

Turkey: Confusion as Turkey clocks defy time-change delay | BBC

Confused Turks are asking “what’s the time?” after automatic clocks defied a government decision to defer a seasonal hour’s change in the time.
Along with other countries, Turkey had been due to “fall back” an hour on Saturday at the end of summertime daylight saving. The Turkish government however decided to postpone the change until after upcoming polls. But some clocks have changed the time regardless – causing bewilderment. The hashtag #saatkac – or “what’s the time?” – is now trending in Turkey as Twitter users express confusion. Along with countries in the Eastern European Time (EET) zone such as Bulgaria, Lithuania and Ukraine, and countries elsewhere, Turkey had been expected to add an hour to Sunday at the end of daylight saving time.

United Kingdom: Lords allow Cameron to bring forward reforms to voting system | The Guardian

David Cameron’s reforms to the voting system have narrowly survived an attempt to kill them off in the House of Lords, despite warnings from the Electoral Commission that people could be disenfranchised. Peers rejected a fatal motion that would have stopped the Conservatives bringing forward use of a new electoral register to December 2016, even though it contains up to 1.9 million fewer names than the old register. The new register requires everyone to be registered as an individual, which differs from the old system under which the head of a household was able to register all occupants. The narrow win will be a relief for Cameron after the House of Lords voted down the government’s cuts to tax credits on Monday.