Clear Ballot, in partnership with the Adams County Clerk and Recorder’s Office, will be piloting its ClearVote voting system Monday, November 2, at 10:00 am. The 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.
Press Release: Clear Ballot Voting System Increases Efficiency and Transparency in Elections in Colorado and Oregon | Clear Ballot
Election jurisdictions in Colorado and Oregon successfully conducted elections using Clear Ballot’s ClearVote voting system on November 3rd, improving the efficiency and transparency of their election processes. The ClearVote voting system has provided election officials with an easy and intuitive ballot layout process, a tabulation and reporting system that scans ballots with commercial off-the-shelf scanners and gives election officials a complete digital database of the election that includes visual verification of all votes. ClearVote’s digital inventory of the election also reduces ballot handling and potential errors. ClearVote was certified for use in the state of Colorado during the live election evaluation phase of Colorado’s Uniform Voting System process, an ongoing project that the Colorado Secretary of State’s office began in 2014. Clear Ballot’s ClearVote system was successfully used in Adams and Gilpin Counties in Colorado during the November 3rd elections as part of this evaluation by the Colorado Secretary of State’s office. Adams County, Colorado Clerk and Recorder Stan Martin stated that his county now has a much more efficient voting process in place through the County’s use of the ClearVote system. “The use of Clear Ballot’s voting system saved us 5,350 work hours and approximately $60,000 in comparison to the time and money spent during our last election,” said Martin. “5,600 ballots had to be manually processed through our old system, but through the ClearVote system, this process is managed digitally, significantly increasing our efficiency.”
Pre-election polls in numerous countries this year have widely missed their marks, often by underestimating support for candidates on the ideological fringes. The polling failures in countries like Britain, Poland and Israel point to technical issues that could well foreshadow polling problems in the United States, many analysts believe. “The industry has a collective failure problem,” said John Curtice, the president of the British Polling Council and a professor of politics at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. Partly this is the result of changing methodologies. “It’s now a mix of random-digit dialing — that is, telephone polls — and Internet-based polls based on recruited panels,” he said. Both modes present potential problems. Opinion polls in advance of Britain’s general election in May severely underestimated the number of seats that Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative Party would win. After the election, the polling council called for an independent inquiry into what had caused the error. The council plans to release its findings in mid-January, a report that will be closely read by pollsters in Britain and around the globe.
National: FEC Deadlocks On Whether Candidates Can Coordinate With Their Own Super PACs | Paul Blumenthal/Huffington Post
A request to relax limits on coordination between candidates and super PACs left the Federal Election Commission divided and, at times, confused at a hearing on Tuesday. Marc Elias, lawyer for House Majority PAC and Senate Majority PAC, laid out 12 questions asking the commission to decide when a candidate becomes a candidate under federal election laws, and whether candidates can coordinate with super PACs or nonprofits that plan to support them prior to publicly announcing their candidacy. The request laid out plans for House and Senate Democrats to establish single-candidate super PACs for prospective candidates to coordinate with prior to officially announcing their candidacy. This would dramatically expand the already overlapping worlds of campaigns and super PACs.
Each new chapter of American history has a way of casting what came before it in a different light. So when the composer Philip Glass and the playwright Christopher Hampton decided to revive “Appomattox,” the opera about the Civil War that they wrote a decade ago, they found that the changing civil rights landscape cried out for a rewrite. “We were writing it in 2005 and 6,” Mr. Glass said in an interview. “But it never occurred to me that the Supreme Court would gut the Voting Rights Act.” Since the first version of “Appomattox” had its premiere in 2007 at the San Francisco Opera, many states have passed laws making it harder to vote, and, in 2013, the Supreme Court effectively struck down the heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. So Mr. Glass and Mr. Hampton significantly revised the opera and made voting rights a central theme. When the reimagined work has its premiere at the Kennedy Center here on Saturday, presented by the Washington National Opera, audiences will see how Mr. Glass, perhaps the most prominent American composer of his generation, weighs in on a pressing issue in the nation’s capital — where many of the scenes he is depicting took place and where, if history is any guide, there are likely to be policy makers and a Supreme Court justice or two in the audience.
Florida: Legislature and challengers blame each other for redistricting ‘manipulation’ | Tampa Bay Times
Who is to blame for the latest legislative impasse over redistricting? The finger-pointing began quickly last week as Florida lawmakers adjourned their second special session on redistricting and faced the prospect of another court-ordered map. Lawmakers blamed the Fair Districts amendments to the state constitution as impossible to follow, and House and Senate leaders lashed out at the challengers — a coalition of Democrat-leaning individuals and voter groups led by the League of Women Voters and Common Cause of Florida — for manipulating the process. This week, the challengers lashed back.
The three-year battle over Florida’s congressional boundaries moved to the state’s highest court Tuesday where lawyers for the Legislature tried to get a trial court map declared unconstitutional but instead found themselves defending the way lawmakers handled two Hispanic districts in Miami-Dade County. Supreme Court Justice Barbara Pariente, who authored the landmark ruling in July that invalidated Florida’s 27 congressional districts, grilled the attorney for the Florida House for “jumping over” portions of the ruling “as if it didn’t exist.” “The reason that it was to be redrawn was it was drawn to favor the Republican Party,” Pariente told George Meros, the lawyer for the House. When the House redrew Districts 26 and 27 in Miami, “it was redrawn to favor Republicans even more than the original,” she said. “I’m having trouble with the House’s position here.” Meros countered: “There is no evidence in the record that these map drawers drew that configuration in order to improve Republican performance,” he said. “They had no idea.”
As it stands now, all Georgians will cast their 2016 votes for president on English-language ballots. While the population of Hispanic voters is growing, it’s not grown enough for Georgia counties to join the 248 counties in 25 states that by law must offer bilingual voting material. But some advocates for Latino and Hispanic voting rights are working on a way around that. To get a language other than English on a ballot, more than 5 percent of voting age citizens in a county must primarily speak that specific language. In Georgia, that hasn’t happened. But the Voting Rights Act makes an exception when it comes to one particular community: Puerto Ricans.
Michigan: Straight-ticket voting ban speeds through Michigan Senate with shield against repeal | MLive.com
Michigan voters would lose the ability to cast a straight-ticket ballot for candidates of a single political party under fast-tracked legislation approved Tuesday evening in the state Senate. The Republican-backed bill advanced through committee earlier the same day before reaching the floor, where it was amended to include a $1 million appropriation that would make it immune to referendum. Michigan voters overturned a similar law in 2002 after Democrats forced a ballot referendum via petition drive. The new bill would provide funding to the Michigan Secretary of State to assess the impact of eliminating straight-ticket voting, assist in ongoing fraud prevention and “provide equipment to facilitate the integrity of the election process,” among other things. Sen. Dave Robertson, R-Grand Blanc, called the appropriation “entirely legitimate,” but critics pointed out that most state spending decisions are made during the budget process, not within policy bills.
South Carolina voters could be using new voting machines by 2017. The Voting System Research Committee met at the state house today to talk about the issue. The Director of the South Carolina State Elections Commission, Marci Andino, says it could cost around $40 million to replace all the machines in the state. That’s about $3,000.00 per machine.
Texans will vote in the 2016 elections using electoral maps that activists have challenged in court for five years as biased against the state’s burgeoning minority population. A panel of federal judges in San Antonio ruled Friday it’s too close to the March 1 primary to change district boundaries. Civil rights advocates had sought to put in place new maps now to prevent Hispanic and black voters from having their voting strength minimized for another election cycle. The judges said they haven’t made a final decision whether the Republican-drawn districts violate federal voting-rights protections. They said they didn’t want to risk delaying elections or confusing voters so close to the start of voting. Candidates for most elective offices can begin filing to to run on Nov. 14.
Just when you thought the ‘Count My Vote’ war was over, a new battle breaks out within Utah’s Republican party. Candidates can start their applications for petitions recently allowed under the Count My Vote compromise on Jan. 4, less than two months away. There is however a problem, if Republican candidates go through with a petition, they could be kicking themselves out of their own party. There are two issues at hand. The first is in an inconsistency in Senate Bill 54 – passed In the Count My Vote compromise. Under the plan candidates have three options to get on the ballot:
1.Go to the convention and get nominated by 100 delegates.
2. Get a petition with 2000 signatures and head straight to the primary.
3. Or both.
Virginia: Presidential Campaigns Use Virginia Elections as Opportunity to Qualify for 2016 Primary | National Journal
After serving eight terms in Congress, Tom Coleman got used to asking people to vote for him. This Election Day, though, Coleman camped out in front of a Virginia precinct asking for signatures on behalf of another candidate. As voters arrived at Washington Mill Elementary School in Alexandria on a crisp fall morning to vote in state and local elections Tuesday, Coleman greeted them, holding a clipboard with a stack of petitions, a pen, and a blue “Kasich For Us” sticker affixed to the back. His job—one that’s usually reserved for volunteers and low-level staffers—was to collect as many signatures as possible to help his onetime House colleague, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, qualify for the 2016 Republican presidential primary in Virginia. By 8:15 a.m., Coleman was an hour into his day and had 15 signatures to show for it. “I had no idea if I’d even get one,” Coleman joked, noting he had never done this before.
Wisconsin: Judge criticizes proposed changes to Government Accountability Board | Eau Claire Leader-Telegram
After serving on Wisconsin’s nonpartisan elections board for 6½ years, retired judge Thomas Barland of Eau Claire was succinct and direct in summing up his disappointment with the state Senate’s vote early Saturday morning to abolish the panel. “It’s a great step backwards,” Barland said Monday. Barland, who served as a Republican Assembly representative for six years before a 33-year career as an Eau Claire County judge, called the effort by the Republican-controlled Legislature to dismantle the state’s Government Accountability Board politically motivated and warned that going back to a partisan elections board could result in a return to a stalemate situation in which nothing gets done. “It opens the door to corruption in the future, potentially by both parties,” he said of the measure that passed around 2:30 a.m. on an 18-14 party line vote. “It’s hurtful to good government.”
The Central African Republic has scheduled presidential and parliamentary elections for 13 December, the electoral commission has said, reviving delayed efforts to restore democracy in a country rocked by fighting since 2013. The polls were initially to have been held on 18 October but were postponed, in part due to violence in the capital. A run-off presidential vote would be held on 24 January if needed, state radio said.
The vast majority of democratic countries in the world offer the right to vote to their citizens living abroad. Ireland is an exception to what is now the norm. Political rights are a central component of modern citizenship, and voting is a significant right in modern democracies and assumed to be enjoyed by all citizens, on a formally equal basis. Dismissing fears of a “hypothetical mass invasion of electors from abroad”, for instance, a 1999 Council of Europe report argued that “the issue has nothing to do with the number of people concerned, but is essentially a matter of fundamental, inalienable human rights”. The call for the introduction of voting rights for disenfranchised overseas citizens is growing louder. The Irish Government is now in danger of a case being taken against it at the European Court of Justice, challenging the restriction on voting rights and thereby forcing the State to act. Why has Ireland had such a chequered record on this issue?
International election observers endorsed Myanmar’s landmark election as credible, but warned that a transition of power would be limited despite what is shaping up to be a historic loss for the military-run government. As of Tuesday evening, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy had secured 107 seats in the 664-seat legislature, according to official results, with only seven for the army-linked incumbent party and a handful for smaller ethnic minority parties. Soe Thane, the economics minister in the cabinet of Myanmar President Thein Sein, also won a seat, though he was running as an independent rather than with his party. A final count isn’t expected for several more days.
The ruling Saenuri Party and the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD) resumed their negotiations Tuesday to redraw constituencies in preparation for the general election slated for April 13 next year. They previously planned to complete the talks by Friday, five months ahead of the election, following the collapse of their previous talks, but the deadline is likely to be extended further due to wide differences on how to redraw the electoral map. Some worry that their debates could drag on into next year. “They are not expected to reach an agreement by either the Nov. 13 deadline or anytime soon due to differing views,” said Bae Jong-chan, the chief director at political pollster Research and Research.
The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS) on Tuesday severely criticized the head of Venezuela’s electoral board in a harshly-worded letter saying authorities were failing to ensure fair elections in December. The OAS’ Luis Almagro wrote a 19-page letter to Tibisay Lucena, who heads Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE), urging her to level the playing field between the Socialist Party and opposition. “There are reasons to believe that the conditions in which people will vote … aren’t right now as transparent and just as the (electoral council) ought to guarantee,” wrote Almagro. He was responding to a letter from Lucena which was not made public. The CNE did not respond to a request for comment.