As this year’s presidential primaries move beyond the First Four states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina, and into the dozen “Super Tuesday” states voting on March 1, millions of Americans will find themselves exercising their right to vote on computerized machines from the pre-iPhone era running on software like Windows 2000 with hardware like 512 kilobyte memory cards. “It’s concerning because this is the infrastructure for our elections,” said Lawrence Norden, co-author of America’s Voting Machines at Risk, a recent Brennan Center for Justice report found 43 states have counties using voting equipment 10 to 15-years-old. “The most immediate short-term concern is that we get more failures on election days – that machines crash or shut down or have to be taken out of service, because they’re not working like they’re supposed to,” Norden said. “That can create chaos at the polling place and long lines.”
“What’s the point?” How many times have you asked yourself a question like this? Perhaps at school, when no matter how hard you study, you can’t seem to pass that exam. Maybe at the office, when you spend hours working on a presentation only to have your boss pass you over again. Not seeing any results from our efforts can be frustrating, irritating and can test the patience of the most resolute among us. Not seeing any results can drive us to seek out new paths. A lack of results demands change. So again, I ask: “What’s the point?” This time, however, my question is directed to Congress. What’s the point of a non-voting member on the floor?
Missouri: Partisan divisions are clear as Missouri Senate takes up Voter ID | St. Louis Post-Dispatch
If you drive a car or buy alcohol, you probably need a photo ID. So shouldn’t you have one to vote? It depends on whom you ask. Partisan divisions are clear as the Missouri Senate takes up a proposal to require photo ID at the polls. The bill passed out of the GOP-dominated House in January on a party-line vote. While Republicans say requiring photo identification is necessary to ensure integrity at the ballot box, Democrats characterize the proposals as an attack on minorities, students and poor people — voters less likely to have a valid ID and more likely to support Democrats. The Missouri Secretary of State’s office estimates that 225,000 registered voters in the state lack a photo ID.
A ruling by federal judges on North Carolina’s congressional districts this month has turned the primary election on its head. Now there are two primary dates — June 7 for the congressional elections and the previously scheduled March 15 for all other races. Here’s a look at how the state got to this point, what the changes mean for voters and candidates and the chances for more election complications before November. How did we get here? North Carolina held elections in 2012 and 2014 under congressional and legislative district maps the General Assembly drew in 2011. All the while four lawsuits challenging the maps meandered their way through state and federal courts. All the litigation essentially alleged Republican mapmakers created more majority black districts than legally necessary by splitting counties and precincts. Republicans said the maps were fair and legal.
Virginia: State election official says he’s unaware of any voter impersonation in past 20 years | Richmond Times-Dispatch
The commissioner of the Virginia Department of Elections, one of the defendants in a lawsuit challenging the state’s photo voter ID law, testified Friday that he was not aware of any case of voter impersonation in Virginia over the past 20 years. Edgardo Cortés also said on cross-examination Friday, the fifth day of the trial before U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson in Richmond, that he believes the only form of voter fraud requiring photo voter identification might prevent would be someone trying to impersonate someone else.
The law took effect in 2014, and Cortés acknowledged there was some confusion and mistakes made by local election officials that year and in 2015. He expects to see more problems this year because it is a presidential election and turnout in the state could be 70 to 80 percent, compared with the 20 percent who might vote in an off-year.
A proposed state Voting Rights Act that has languished for years in Olympia now appears to have bipartisan support in the Senate. For four years Rep. Luis Moscoso, D-Mountlake Terrace, has led the effort in the House to pass the law he says would make it easier to avoid costly court battles over local voting rights. Yakima’s expensive years-long case with the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is the prime example cited by supporters in the House, where the bill passed earlier this month on a 50-47 vote. No Central Washington lawmakers supported the measure.
Australia: Former Australian Electoral Commission official says Senate voting change is ‘incoherent’ | The Conversation
A former official of the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC), Michael Maley, has attacked the government’s planned reform of Senate voting as internally inconsistent. Maley says the scheme proposed will create an anomaly never previously seen at Senate elections – identical preferences for candidates may produce a formal vote if the elector expresses them “above the line”, but an informal one if they are expressed “below the line” because the ballot paper would be insufficiently completed. Maley had a 30-year career at the AEC and was deeply involved in the 1983 drafting of the current provisions governing Senate elections. He was the recognised in-house expert on the Senate electoral system. He has lodged a submission for the brief inquiry into the government’s legislation, which is being done by the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters.
Hardliners in Iran have been dealt a humiliating blow after reformist-backed candidates in Friday’s hard-fought elections appeared on course for a sweeping victory in Tehran, with a combination of moderates and independents sympathetic to President Hassan Rouhani leading in provinces. A coalition of candidates supported by the reformists, dubbed “the list of hope”, is likely to take all of the capital’s 30 parliamentary seats, according to the latest tally released by the interior ministry, in surprising results seen as a strong vote of confidence in Rouhani’s moderate agenda. Mohammad Reza Aref, a committed reformist who has a degree from Stanford University in the US, is at the top of the list. Preliminary results for the Assembly of Experts, which is responsible for appointing the next supreme leader, showed Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a key Rouhani ally, leading the race. Elections to the assembly are usually a lacklustre event but have attracted huge attention this time because of the age of the current leader, 76-year-old Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Khamenei and Rafsanjani, a prominent pragmatist who was not allowed to run for president in 2013, have been at odds in recent years.
Ireland is voting for a new government Friday, but the country might not know the full official results until Monday — and the government won’t take shape until next month, if one can even be formed. The AP explains some of the peculiarities of Ireland’s democracy and its slow dance with election results. In Ireland’s system of proportional representation, voters get one ballot but can vote for as many listed candidates as they like in order of preference. You literally can vote for every single politician with a hand-written No. 1, 2, 3 and so on. The multi-numbered ballots mean they must be counted in multiple rounds. At first the total number of votes cast in a district is calculated. This is divided by the number of seats in that district, which produces a quota, which is the target needed to win a seat. If the winning candidate in the first count gets more votes than the quota, their surplus votes are redistributed to lower-ranking candidates, starting with the No. 2s registered on the winning candidate’s ballot. And if there is no winner in a round, they eliminate a losing candidate at the bottom of the list and the No. 2s on those ballots are transferred to other candidates.
Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has pleaded for supporters of both major political parties to maintain calm as the recount of ballots continues, following last week’s general election. With reports of tension in some areas across the island, the prime minister has appealed to supporters of both parties to remain calm. Electoral officials yesterday indicated that the recount of ballots for St Thomas Western was relocated to Kingston as a precautionary measure.