As voters in 12 states head to the polls for Super Tuesday, there are scattered reports of election problems — especially in the South. Officials at Election Protection, a coalition of groups that runs an election-day hotline to help voters who encounter problems, say the phone lines have been busy, with about 1,500 calls as of around 5:45 p.m. ET. The highest volume came from Texas, Georgia and Alabama, with Virginia and Colorado also well represented. Many of the calls came from voters who have moved recently and want to know whether they can still vote at their old polling location, said Kristen Clarke, the executive director of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which helps lead the effort.
The US presidential election is fast approaching and the nation, along with the rest of the world, is waiting to see who will be chosen to run for the White House. … Yet, even though the US is among the most technologically advanced nations in the world, most of its voters cannot cast their ballots online. This is despite the fact that nowadays we can do pretty much anything in the virtual world: work, entertainment, paying bills or buying things are now part of our everyday online lives. So is internet voting really such a risk? And if so, where’s the catch? There are actually several of them. First of all, cyberspace isn’t actually as safe as everyone thinks, not even for banking or paying for for online shopping … that is if you’re not properly protected. The upside is that potential fraud affects only a small portion of all online transactions. Due to this, online merchants, banks and big companies can ‘hide’ the costs that the victims of fraud would normally have to pay. The rather unpopular downside is that everyone ends up covering these losses in the form of fees or higher prices. But this approach doesn’t apply to online voting. Who would pay for the damage done by electoral fraud? And what would be the mechanism to fix glitches, especially if they were uncovered years later? Making things ‘even worse’, voting is anonymous, so by design there should be no way to find out who rigged the results or who cast the fraudulent ballots.
During President Obama’s final State of the Union address, he called for reforms to the voting process, saying, “We’ve got to make it easier to vote, not harder. We need to modernize it for the way we live now.” Just ahead of Super Tuesday and in the midst of the presidential primaries—where we’ve already witnessed record turnout and long lines in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada—it’s a good time to reconsider the president’s appeal to modernize the voting process, and review an encouraging effort to do just this. Many have questioned the burden and fairness of voter ID laws, particularly for minority voters. But even easing voter ID laws doesn’t eliminate the bias of the polling locations themselves. In fact, a score of recent studies highlight how the building where you vote—whether it’s a church or a school—can subconsciously influence which boxes you check on the ballot.
A single, instantly updated list of registered voters in California became reality on Monday, as two final counties plugged in to an electronic database mandated by a federal law enacted in the wake of the contentious 2000 presidential campaign. In other words, a database that was long overdue. “It’s been more than a decade in coming,” Secretary of State Alex Padilla said. The $98-million project allows elections officials in each of California’s 58 counties to easily track voters who move from one place to another and to quickly update their records in the event of a death or a voter deemed ineligible after conviction of a felony.
An Illinois voter’s lawsuit challenging Ted Cruz’s eligibility to run for president of the United States because he was born in Canada was dismissed on a technicality on Tuesday by a state judge. Cook County Circuit Court Judge Maureen Ward Kirby in Chicago ruled that she did not have jurisdiction in the lawsuit – which had sought to have Cruz removed from the state’s primary election ballot – because it had not been properly served on the state Board of Elections. She found that the plaintiff, Lawrence Joyce, had not properly filed his petition for judicial review.
Editorials: Kansas’s restrictive voter-ID law keeps citizens from exercising a fundamental right | The Washington Post
The American Civil Liberties Union went to court last month to challenge an egregious Kansas law that requires residents to provide proof of citizenship — such as a birth certificate — to register to vote. The requirement seems contrary to the intent of the federal Motor Voter law, which was supposed to make registration simple. But legal or not, this state law and others like it are truly awful public policy. The case for the Kansas law is that noncitizens might be able to get driver’s licenses and register to vote at the department of motor vehicles, potentially allowing them to skirt the fraud prevention that more conventional voter-ID laws provide. But there is scant evidence of such voter fraud, and certainly not enough to justify demanding that people jump through even more hoops to cast a ballot.
Mississippi is spending about $15,000 to follow a state Supreme Court order and add another Democratic candidate to the March 8 presidential primary ballot, the state’s top elections official said Monday. Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann also said counties could face additional costs totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars. Justices on Thursday ordered Hosemann to list Chicago businessman Willie Wilson on the primary ballot after the state Democratic Party had initially rejected Wilson’s petition to run.
Missouri: Voter ID laws again are gaining traction in the Missouri legislature | The Kansas City Star
It seemed that Missouri Republicans scored a big win when they passed a voter ID law in 2006, but the cheers were short-lived. The Missouri Supreme Court struck down the law on grounds that requiring voters to present photo IDs to vote was at odds with the constitutional right to vote. Every year since, Republican lawmakers sought to amend the state constitution and pass voter ID, yet came up short every time. This year, Republican leadership fast-tracked voter ID, and a pair of bills have cleared the House with an overwhelming majority and await debate in the Senate. “It has been a priority for us in the past, but not to the level it has been a priority this year,” said Sen. Will Kraus, a Lee’s Summit Republican who has sponsored sponsored voter ID bills for several years.
New Hampshire: How New Hampshire Used the Wrong Math and Gave One of Rubio’s Delegates to Trump | The New York Times
After the polls closed in New Hampshire on Feb. 9, the Republican primary had a clear winner: Donald J. Trump. It took nearly two weeks for the state to award its 23 delegates, and in the end it gave Mr. Trump 11, John Kasich four, Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush three each and Marco Rubio two. But there’s a small problem: It looks as if New Hampshire gave Mr. Trump a delegate that actually belongs to Mr. Rubio. To understand how this works, it helps to know that there are no national rules in the Republican Party for awarding delegates. Each state makes up its own rules. In New Hampshire, the rules seem pretty straightforward. A candidate must get at least 10 percent of the vote to be eligible to win a delegate, a threshold cleared by both Mr. Trump (who earned 35.6 percent of the vote) and Mr. Rubio (who earned 10.6 percent). Then the candidates are awarded delegates in proportion to the total vote, with the statewide winner — in this case Mr. Trump — getting any delegates left unallocated.
The voters who convinced a three-judge panel that two of North Carolina’s congressional districts were racial gerrymanders contend in a court document filed late Monday that new maps drawn in February are no better. Attorneys for David Harris of Durham and Christine Bowser of Mecklenburg County asked the three-judge panel to reject the new maps drawn last month as “a blatant, unapologetic partisan gerrymander” that provides no legal remedy to the 2011 maps that were struck down Feb. 5. Many are watching the latter case as one that could test the limits of drawing districts for partisan advantage — something courts have allowed, to an extent. In their 40-page filing, the challengers contend the North Carolina districts go well beyond what previous rulings have allowed. They also argue that legislators drew maps that intentionally limit minority representation.
More than four years have passed since the Republican-controlled Texas Legislature passed a controversial voter ID law, one of the strictest in the nation. At the time, civil rights groups and Democrats pointed out that hundreds of thousands of Texans lacked a driver license or other government-sanctioned forms of photo ID, and that cost and access could be a barrier to acquiring them. In one of the few concessions to opponents, Republicans agreed to create a new form of ID, the election identification certificate (EIC). The EIC is free to any qualifying voter as long as you can produce some combination of an array of underlying documentation, such as a birth certificate, Social Security card and proof of residence. But years into the voter ID experiment, the EIC has been all but forgotten — by voters and by elections administrators alike.
Voter rights advocates, in a federal complaint, allege serious flaws at the Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles in the process for providing the photo IDs needed to vote in the state. As part of the voter ID law signed by Gov. Scott Walker, people are supposed to be able to request a free photo card from the DMV under certain circumstances. However, according to One Wisconsin Institute, bureaucratic delays and improper denials are preventing people from obtaining the IDs they need to vote. “There has been a comprehensive, systematic effort in Wisconsin to make voting harder and more complicated for targeted populations by Republican politicians attempting to gain an unfair partisan advantage,” Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Institute executive director, said in a news release. “The documented failures of the DMV to provide legal voters with the ID they now need to exercise their right to vote is yet another sad episode in the assault on democracy underway in Wisconsin.”
Australia: Election experts predict Senate changes will encounter High Court challenge | Sydney Morning Herald
Senate voting changes, if passed in their current form, are almost certain to incur a High Court challenge, polling experts have warned. Veteran psephologist Malcolm Mackerras said the voting changes – which would clear the way for a snap double-dissolution election likely to clean out the current crossbench – stemmed from a “filthy deal” between the Greens and the Liberal Party, “led by the unelected, dud Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull”. Greens senator Lee Rhiannon questions Glenn Druery when he appeared before the Senate voting reform committee on Tuesday. Photo: Andrew Meares Mr Mackerras faced a truncated hearing of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters along with fellow psephologist Antony Green, the ABC election expert, constitutional expert Professor George Williams and University of Tasmania academic Dr Kevin Bonham.
A final count of the votes cast in Thursday’s general elections in Jamaica has concluded with the main opposition Jamaica Labor Party unseating the ruling People’s National Party by a narrow margin. Jamaica Labor Party candidates won 32 of the 63 constituencies, while the People’s National Party won 31, the Electoral Office of Jamaica said in a statement. It is expected to communicate the final election results to Governor-General Patrick Allen.
One of the candidates who sought to end Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s thirty years in power in last month’s presidential vote filed a petition on Tuesday seeking to nullify Museveni’s victory due to widespread irregularities. Museveni, 71, who came to power in 1986 and is one of Africa’s longest-serving rulers, won the Feb. 18 vote with 60 percent of the votes. Former prime minister Amama Mbabazi, Museveni’s ally-turned-challenger, won less than two percent of the vote, but has accused Uganda’s security services of intimidating candidates and has questioned how the votes were tallied. Opposition candidate Kizza Besigye, who won 35 percent of the vote but has dismissed the tally as fraudulent, missed Tuesday’s deadline, with officials from his party saying Besigye’s repeated detentions had made it impossible to mount a challenge.