Press Release: Clear Ballot is market leading voting system provider in Oregon with 42% of registered voters using its technology | Clear Ballot

Clear Ballot entered into purchasing agreements with three election jurisdictions in Oregon over the past month making ClearVote the leader in Oregon voting system market share in just over six months since becoming certified by the Oregon Secretary of State’s office in May 2015.

Seven counties, including new Clear Ballot customers Klamath, Coos, and Washington Counties represent 42% of Oregon’s 2.2 million registered voters. These three counties join Multnomah, Josephine, Harney and Linn Counties who have already elected to use ClearVote to increase the efficiency and transparency of their election processes.

Multnomah, Josephine and Linn Counties successfully implemented ClearVote for the November 3rd elections. Oregon voters in all seven of the aforementioned counties will be using ClearVote in the upcoming May 2016 elections.

Press Release: Advanced Voting Technology Answer to Aging Equipment Crisis | Hart Intercivic

America’s aging voting machines increase the risk of Election Day problems, according to a recent report from the Brennan Center for Justice. However, rapidly changing election technology opens the door to voting systems that are more reliable, more usable and less expensive.

“Aging voting systems are a serious issue that must be proactively addressed,” said Phillip Braithwaite, President and CEO of Hart InterCivic, referring to recent news stories about aging election systems based on the Center’s report.

“Failing systems are not Hart systems,” he emphasized. “We support all Hart technologies, and 94 percent of the jurisdictions we serve rank our customer service as excellent or above average.”

National: Wary High Court Tackles Texas ‘One Person, One Vote’ Case | Associated Press

Practical concerns about forcing states to abandon the way they have drawn electoral districts for more than 50 years seemed to give a key justice pause Tuesday in a Supreme Court case of immense importance to the nation’s growing Latino population. The court heard arguments in a case from Texas on the meaning of the principle of “one person, one vote,” which the court has said requires that political districts be roughly equal in population. But it has left open whether states must count all residents, or only eligible voters, in drawing district lines. In Texas, and other states with large immigrant populations, the difference is more than academic. Urban districts include many more people who are too young, not citizens or otherwise ineligible to vote.

Editorials: Justices will get no satisfaction with a new ‘one person, one vote’ rule | Richard Hasen/Los Angeles Times

At the Supreme Court on Tuesday, the justices struggled over the meaning of the 1960s-era “one person, one vote” rule. Should Texas legislative districts contain an equal number of people — as they do now — or an equal number of eligible voters, as the plaintiffs in Evenwel vs. Abbott demand? Ultimately, the justices may have no choice but to heed some other words written in the 1960s: You can’t always get what you want. Before the 1960s and the “reapportionment revolution,” there were few federal constitutional constraints on how district lines were drawn. In practice, this meant that many states gave much greater voting power to rural areas (with much smaller populations) than urban areas. In California, for example, as J. Douglas Smith explained in his book “On Democracy’s Doorstep,” despite huge increases in the state’s urban population, control of the Senate “remained in the hands of a shrinking rural and small-town minority.”

Editorials: At the Supreme Court, Equal Representation Is in Danger | David Gans/New Republic

This morning, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in the case of Evenwel v. Abbott, a huge case about a fundamental question that goes to the very heart of our Constitution’s system of representative democracy. Who counts when states draw election districts—all the people or only voters? The case was initiated by activists who seek to empower certain voters at the expense of the entire population, which in Texas would tilt power toward more rural and, yes, conservative areas of the state. But the Constitution settles this question, and Evenwel should begin and end with the text and history of the Constitution. The Constitution guarantees equal representation for equal numbers of people. Our Constitution is based on the idea that all persons—whether or not they are voters—should be represented in our democracy. This is apparent in the Census Clause, which requires an “actual Enumeration” of all the people of the nation for purposes of federal representation, the disbursement of federal funds, and other ends. It is also contained in the Fourteenth Amendment, which requires “counting the whole number of persons in each State” and guarantees “equal protection of the laws” to any “person,” not merely voters. In these and other ways, the Constitution is clear: Ours is a representative democracy open to all. Indeed, Sue Evenwel’s argument that representation should be based only on the voting population was flatly rejected during the debates over the Fourteenth Amendment, when the amendment’s framers reaffirmed total population as the Constitution’s system of representation.

Editorials: Justices hard to read on Arizona redistricting plan | Amy Howe/SCOTUSblog

“Where’s the beef?” That was the question from Washington attorney Paul Smith, arguing at the Court today on behalf of the five-member independent commission charged with drawing new state legislative maps for Arizona. The Justices heard oral arguments in a challenge by several Arizona voters to the maps that the commission drew after the 2010 census; the voters allege that the commission violated the principle of “one person, one vote” when it intentionally put too many residents into Republican-leaning districts while putting too few into Democratic-leaning districts. The Court’s four more liberal Justices seemed inclined to agree with Smith, but some of the Court’s more conservative Justices were harder to read. Because a ruling in favor of the challengers could potentially affect redistricting maps around the country, both sides could be on tenterhooks waiting for the Court’s eventual decision.

Alabama: Transportation officials probe possible civil rights violations in Alabama | USA Today

Federal transportation officials will investigate whether Alabama violated civil rights laws by cutting back on motor vehicle services in predominantly black counties. The cutbacks already are under fire by civil rights activists who say they make it harder to get a photo ID, a requirement to vote under a new state law. Transportation officials wrote Wednesday to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, citing concerns over the reduction in services.

Alaska: Anchorage Assembly endorses vote-by-mail election in 2017 | Alaska Dispatch News

The Anchorage Assembly unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday night to support conducting the 2017 city election by mail, rather than by in-person polling precincts. In a vote-by-mail election, the city will automatically mail ballots to every registered voter in Anchorage, deputy clerk Amanda Moser said in a recent interview. Voters would no longer visit a polling precinct on Election Day to fill out a ballot. Officials have been exploring the change for several years and say it will boost low voter turnout in city elections.

Iowa: Democrats abroad can phone-in caucus votes | Des Moines Register

Caucusing as an absent Iowan will be easier than ever for Democrats this election cycle. The Iowa Democratic Party on Tuesday announced the first ever Tele-Caucus initiative. It will allow deployed service members and other Iowans living abroad to participate in the first-in-the-nation event. The effort piggybacks on a satellite caucus initiative the party announced this fall. Both programs aim to expand participation in the Feb. 1 Iowa caucus to those who are normally unable to attend.

Maryland: Challenge to Maryland Gerrymandering Revived | Courthouse News Service

A federal judge improperly disposed of a challenge to Maryland gerrymandering without convening a three-judge panel, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Tuesday. Stephen Shapiro, O. John Benisek and Maria Pycha filed the lawsuit pro se after the Maryland Legislature set new district lines for the state’s eight congressional seats in 2011. They appealed to the Supreme Court after the Fourth Circuit summarily affirmed a federal judge’s decision to dismiss the action. The basis for their challenge hinged on Section 2284(a) of Title 28, which since 1976 has required a three-judge panel to hear any action “challenging the constitutionality of the apportionment of congressional districts or the apportionment of any statewide legislative body.”

Michigan: Straight ticket voting ban tied to absentee bill, headed to House floor |

An amended version of the bill to eliminate the straight-ticket voting box on Michigan ballots moved out of the House Elections Committee Tuesday with only Republican support. Senate Bill 13 would eliminate the box on current ballots that allows people to automatically vote a straight Republican or Democratic ticket, though voters could still go through and vote individually for all members of one party. Sponsor Sen. Marty Knollenberg, R-Troy, said last week that 40 states had eliminated this option. Michigan is one step closer to joining those states after the House Elections Committee adopted a substitute version of the bill that increased the appropriation that would go to clerks for voting equipment by $5 million and tie-barred the bill to House Bill 4724, a bill that would allow people to vote absentee with no reason by getting a ballot in person at their local clerk’s office.

Ohio: Blind voters sue Jon Husted over website accessibility | Cleveland Plain Dealer

A national advocacy group for visually impaired people and three Ohio voters are suing Secretary of State Jon Husted, claiming some services provided by Husted’s office are in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The complaint, filed Monday in federal district court in Columbus, alleges the state’s voter services website is inaccessible to visually impaired voters and the state’s system of paper-only absentee ballots infringes on their right to vote. Visually impaired people use screen access software that reads websites aloud or displays the text on a Braille device. The secretary of state’s website, which allows voters to update their registration information and request absentee ballots, is incompatible with screen access software, according to the complaint. Blind voters must then complete forms on paper, which they cannot do without human assistance.

Voting Blogs: Virginia’s Ongoing Struggle to Ensure Proportionate Minority Representation | State of Elections

As of 2014, African Americans made up just under 20% of Virginia’s total population. Yet, of the eleven congressmen and women elected from Virginia, incumbent Bobby Scott is currently the only African American representing the state, and only the second to be elected in the state’s entire history. This means that, while amounting to almost 20% of the total population, only 9% of Virginia’s seats in the House of Representatives are held by African Americans. Statistics improve slightly when looking at Virginia’s General Assembly. Of the one hundred members of the House of Delegates, thirteen representatives are African American (13%); of Virginia’s forty senators, five are African American (12.5%). Ultimately, a total 12.8% of the Virginia’s legislators are African American, falling about 6% below the total African American population in the state.

Armenia: Vote Boosts PM’s Powers, Opposition Cries Foul | VoA News

Armenians voted in a referendum to boost the prime minister’s powers, results showed on Monday, a move supporters say will bolster stability but opponents warn will entrench the ruling party’s control over the ex-Soviet state. Observers from the Council of Europe rights group reported problems with the voting lists and other irregularities, and said that the low turnout suggested many voters saw Sunday’s referendum as a piece of political maneuvering. The ruling Republican party, which called the vote, said minor violations could not affect the result.

Seychelles: Run-Off Election Set After Inconclusive Presidential Poll |

Seychelles is set for a run-off on 16-18 December after no presidential candidate amassed enough votes to be declared outright winner following elections held in early December. According to final results announced by the island nation’s Electoral Commission, incumbent President James Michel of the Parti Lepep and Wavel Ramkalawan of the Seychelles National Party led the first round of presidential polls, with 47.76 and 33.93 percent of the vote, respectively. The President in Seychelles is elected by an absolute majority vote to serve a five-year term. However, if no candidate receives at least 50 percent plus one vote, a second round of voting is conducted involving the top two contestants, and the winner of this round is declared elected.

United Kingdom: Scottish Government gets electronic voting system for local elections | Computer Weekly

The Scottish Government has contracted CGI to develop a vote counting system that will be used in the local elections in 2017. The elections use the single transferable vote system (STV), which is a form of proportional representation where votes choose multiple candidates in order of preference. As a result, manual counting would take up to four days. CGI provided an electronic vote counting system at the same elections in 2012. The current contract, worth around £6.5m, covers all 32 Scottish local authorities. There are about 1,200 councillors in 353 wards.

Venezuela: Opposition coalition secures ‘supermajority’ | The Guardian

Venezuela’s opposition has won a key two-thirds majority in legislative elections, according to final results, dramatically strengthening its hand in any bid to wrest power from President Nicolás Maduro after 17 years of socialist rule. More than 48 hours after polls closed in the mid-term election, the National Electoral Council published the final tally on its website, confirming that the last two undecided races went the opposition coalition’s way, giving them 112 out of 167 seats in the national assembly. The ruling socialist party and its allies got 55 seats. The announcement ends two days of suspense in which Maduro’s opponents claimed a much larger margin of victory than initially announced by electoral authorities.