The point was to protest what the 30 people assembled said was the state’s misplaced priorities in recent attempts to shut down rural driver’s license offices – major sources of photo IDs required for voting – while keeping some money-losing Alabama Beverage Control (ABC) stores open. “They would leave state-owned liquor stores open that were losing up to $75,000 a year,” said Sen. Hank Sanders, D-Selma. “What it did was told us over how many a year it was easier to get alcohol than it was to get the ballot. They work hard to make sure you get alcohol. They work hard to make sure you don’t get the ballot.” The crowd chanted “Give us the ballot, not just the bottle” at the end of the performance. The Save Ourselves Movement for Justice and Democracy organized the event.
The county will lease almost two dozen new voting machines as part of a statewide effort to improve election administration and enhance accessibility for voters. Last week the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors approved an agreement with Dominion Voting Services, sole certified provider of voting machines compliant with both federal and state regulations. The new electronic devices will be more accessible to the vision- and hearing-impaired, said county clerk-recorder Alissia Northrup. They will also tally votes in real time, meaning results will come in much sooner after polls close on a given election day. The agreement lasts through 2021 at more than $110,000 per year. By leasing rather than purchasing, the county will have an easier time complying with any yet-upcoming technology requirements in six years hence. It’s not too hard to imagine those standards changing in short time, since the state is currently processing a small flurry of voting-related legislation.
The plaintiffs in the state Senate redistricting case have reshuffled their proposed maps to redraw the state’s 40 senatorial districts, saying they want to “narrow the issues for trial.” Part of their reason was the much-maligned “jumping the Bay,” or districts that cross the water from Hillsborough County into Pinellas County to capture a Democratic voting base in southeast Pinellas. On Tuesday, the League of Women Voters of Florida, Common Cause and others withdrew two maps and submitted a new “corrected” map, after filing six versions of a redrawn district map last week. In a notice filed by attorney David King, they took away one map that “includes a fourth Hispanic district in South Florida (District 38) and an African-American district in Hillsborough County that does not cross Tampa Bay into Pinellas County (District 19).”
After a regular and two special sessions of Florida’s Legislature failed to pass a legislative redistricting map compliant with Florida’s Constitution, Florida’s courts are now in charge of the redistricting. Circuit Court Judge George Reynolds has scheduled a Dec. 14-18 trial to begin the process of choosing a map from those submitted to him. His recommendation will then be passed on to Florida’s Supreme Court. Legislators have an inherent conflict of interest in drawing legislative districts because in doing so they are picking their voters, which violates the democratic principle that voters should pick their representatives. This conflict results in a gerrymander.
A group of Hawiians, some of whom won’t be able to vote in a special election that ends on November 30 that is a prelude to recognizing a new Indian-like tribe including many residents, asked the Supreme Court to temporarily stop the completion of that election until their challenge can be decided. In an application filed Thursday night, the challengers argued that the election is based along strict racial lines, and is thus unconstitutional under the Fifteenth Amendment. The election — favored by the state and endorsed by the federal Department of the Interior — will be limited to a voter roll made up of people who can qualify as “native Hawaiians.” The election will choose delegates to a convention to write a constitution for what would be a new government entity, similar to a traditional Indian tribe. The aim is to give those who qualify a right of “self-determination.”
In 2013, North Carolina drew national attention when it passed the nation’s most restrictive voting law—currently the subject of a challenge in federal court. The Republican-backed measure likely kept tens of thousands of voters, disproportionately minorities, from the polls last fall. But a subtler maneuver—and one that, until now, has largely flown under the radar—could throw up another major roadblock for non-white would-be voters next year, when the state figures to once again be a presidential battleground. Last year, North Carolina’s county election boards, which are controlled by Republicans, moved the location of almost one-third of the state’s early voting sites. Those changes, according to new data analysis by a consulting firm that was shared with MSNBC, will significantly increase the distance African-Americans have to travel to vote early, while leaving white voters largely unaffected.
A South Dakota county fighting the voting-rights lawsuit Poor Bear v. Jackson County has asked the court to dismiss it. The November 13 request followed Jackson County striking a deal with South Dakota’s secretary of state and top elections official, Shantel Krebs. The motion to dismiss also followed a missed early-November court deadline, when the county failed to submit an expert report supporting its election procedures. In the agreement with Secretary Krebs, Jackson County consented to spending long-allotted funding to open a satellite registration and absentee-voting office for the next four federal elections in Wanblee, on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Jackson County handles elections in this portion of Pine Ridge but has refused to access Help America Vote Act (HAVA) money for a full-service polling place.
A federal judge Monday permanently barred the state from forcing political parties to hold open primary elections and dismissed all other claims in the Utah Republican Party’s lawsuit. As U.S. District Judge David Nuffer closed the case, the Utah GOP and the state continued to wrangle over the meaning of part of the law, setting the stage for another court battle, possibly before the Utah Supreme Court. Meantime, Gov. Gary Herbert told the Republican State Central Committee over the weekend that he wishes he would have vetoed the controversial new election law and let voters decide the issue as proposed by the Count My Vote initiative.
On Sunday, 29 November, around 5.5 million people are expected at the polls in Burkina Faso to elect the next president and the 127 members of Parliament. These elections, the first after the ousting of former president Blaise Compaoré, will see 14 presidential candidates and 6 944 Parliamentary candidates vie for top spots in the country’s leadership. The current mind-set among most Burkinabes is a mixture of hope and anxiety. The electoral process, which was interrupted following the attempted coup d’état of 16 September 2015, was meant to end with elections initially scheduled for 11 October. Although some voters seem to have lost faith in the power of the ballot as a means to express and realise their expectations, many remain hopeful that these elections could mark the beginning of long-awaited change. The polls will certainly be a test for the country’s democratic maturity.
Vote-buying and other misuses of campaign funds accounted for most violations of election rules during the second round of Egypt’s parliamentary elections, according to various bodies responsible for observing the poll. Observers highlighted several types of infringement related to the use of political funds by candidates over the two-day voting period. These included the distribution of money bribes, food and drinks, posters and flyers, as well as the use of microbuses to advertise the candidates and transfer voters. Children were also seen wearing campaign t-shirts outside polling stations. Mohamed El-Shentnawy, manager of the parliamentary observatory mission led by the Maat foundation, told Daily News Egypt: “The candidates were well prepared for this round. They avoided repeating the mistakes of the first round, and used creative methods of bribery which resulted in the improved turnout of 17% in this round, compared with around 11% to 12% in the first round.”
Election experts, government officials and lawmakers yesterday concluded that giving voting right to overseas Pakistanis was practically impossible though lawmakers of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) stuck to politics of idealism insisting on giving rights to voters abroad. The sub-committee of Electoral Reforms Committee was informed by officials of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) that the mock voting exercise in Pakistani missions abroad went unsuccessful and proposed that participation of Pakistanis living abroad in election will be a futile exercise without any success. The meeting was told that it took two weeks to receive the results of votes polled by 67 voters in seven Pakistani missions during the mock exercise. Voters had cast votes through postal ballots and email. Minister for Climate Change Zahid Hamid who is also convener of the committee told reporters that Tuesday’s briefing by ECP and Nadra officials was evidence that the project of giving voting rights to overseas Pakistanis was not feasible at all.
Venezuela’s opposition said on Sunday shots were fired at one of its candidates’ campaign caravan in a poor neighborhood of Caracas amid rising national tensions over next month’s parliamentary election. President Nicolas Maduro has said the Dec. 6 vote for a new National Assembly is the toughest election the ruling socialists have faced in their nearly 17-year government and polls show widespread voter anger at Venezuela’s economic crisis. The opposition Democratic Unity coalition believes the poll could mark the beginning of the end for “Chavismo,” as the ruling movement is known for its founder Hugo Chavez.