The search for solutions to increase voter numbers on Election Day continues as states rack up underwhelming turnouts in both presidential and non-presidential election years. But Eugene Spafford, a computer science professor at Purdue University, says online voting is not one of those solutions. The most important aspects of an election are privacy and accuracy for citizens and, from the standpoint of candidates, the vote total accountability. However, current online technology available to the average citizen dictates that you can’t have it all, says Spafford, the executive director of Purdue’s Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security. “Voting by Internet sounds attractive, but either we have to give up the anonymity of the ballot, which is not a good practice, or we have to give up the ability to confirm that the count is correct,” he said.
A crowning achievement of the historic March on Washington, where Dr. Martin Luther King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech, was pushing through the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965. Recognizing the history of racist attempts to prevent black people from voting, that federal law forced a number of Southern states and districts to adhere to federal guidelines allowing citizens access to the polls. But in 2013, the Supreme Court effectively gutted many of these protections. As a result, states are finding new ways to stop more and more people—especially African-Americans and other likely Democratic voters—from reaching the polls. Several states are requiring government-issued photo IDs—like driver’s licenses—to vote even though there’s no evidence of the voter fraud this is supposed to prevent. But there’s plenty of evidence that these ID measures depress voting, especially among communities of color, young voters and lower-income Americans.
It’s unlikely anyone would find this year’s presidential primary boring, but some California voters are finding the upcoming June primary a little confusing. “I was expecting to see both parties and that you could make a choice,” said voter Rosetta Winston. Christine Krynak also said she expected to see candidates from both parties. In 2011 a new “Open Primary” law took effect in California that’s left some voters thinking when it comes to the June 7 presidential primary, they can vote for any of the candidates, regardless of their party preference. But that’s not quite how it works because the Open Primary law does not apply to candidates running for president.
James Williams qualified weeks ago as the only challenger to a Republican incumbent state lawmaker in South Georgia, one of a host of Democrats trying to tilt the balance at the state Legislature in this statewide election year. But now the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office — which keeps the official records used by political parties to qualify candidates — says its records were wrong about which district Williams lives in, likely disqualifying him from the race. The mix-up apparently happened four years ago when the state last re-drew district lines in a statewide process known as redistricting, including around House District 151 which includes part of Dougherty County as well as all of Terrell, Calhoun, Early, Randolph, Webster, Stewart, Quitman and Clay counties.
The campaign to hold presidential primaries in Maine took a tentative step forward Monday. A legislative committee voted unanimously in support of a bill that directs the Secretary of State’s Office to begin the groundwork for switching Maine from a caucus state to a primary state starting with the 2020 presidential election. The push toward holding primary elections gained traction last month after a record number of voters overwhelmed some caucus sites. Lawmakers added a clause to the bill, L.D. 1673, that would allow the Legislature to stick with caucuses if it is uncomfortable with the anticipated cost or other aspects of holding primaries. “We’re moving in a different direction but recognizing that we need to figure out a lot of these details,” said Sen. Justin Alfond, D-Portland, the lead sponsor of the bill.
On a West Baltimore street corner last week, John Comer launched the same conversation he’s begun hundreds of times in the past 22 days. “You registered to vote, bro?” he shouted. “Nah, nah,” Jeffrey Burns responded. “I got a felony.” “Everybody can vote now,” Comer told him. “We passed that law, just for that.” Burns, 54, stopped, shook his head in disbelief, then picked up a clipboard and registered to vote for what he said was the first time in his life. Activists from Communities United have been signing up hundreds of voters like Burns in West Baltimore neighborhoods and housing projects since March 10, the day a new state law went into effect that allows people with felony convictions to register to vote as soon as they are released from prison. Before that, they had to finish probation or parole.
Missouri: More stalling in Missouri Senate, this time on contentious Voter ID measure | St. Louis Post-Dispatch
A voter photo ID bill that has become one of the most contentious issues of the 2016 Missouri legislative session finally made its way to the Senate floor on Tuesday. The bill passed out of the House early in the session, but the Senate Republican majority had held off on bringing the bill up before the body. Democrats used stall tactics to hold the floor from roughly 4 to 7:15 p.m., halting further action on the bill. They say requiring photo ID at the polls would make it harder for an estimated 220,000 Missouri registered voters without IDs to cast ballots. “This is about voter suppression, not voter fraud,” said state Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, at about 5 p.m. She read county-by-county voting results from as far back as 2006, making the point that in-person voter impersonation fraud is rare.
With a long-running legal struggle raging over one of the nation’s strictest voter identification laws, Texas was already a prime battleground in a war between conservatives and liberals over voting rights. And on Monday, experts here and elsewhere say, the Supreme Court may have opened a second front. The court said unanimously that the state could take into account all of its 27 million residents when it carves its territory into voting districts for the State Senate, regardless of whether they can vote in elections. It was a setback for conservatives who want to limit that redistricting population to eligible voters, and a resounding affirmation of the one-person-one-vote principle that has governed most redistricting nationwide for decades. But it was probably not the final word because the court was silent on whether any other population formula could be used to draw new voting districts. And within hours, advocates on both sides of the issue indicated that Texas or another conservative-dominated state was bound to do just that, probably after the 2020 census triggers a new round of redistricting nationwide.
Two weeks have passed since Utah Republicans got to vote online for the first time. Was it a success? Computer experts would say it’s impossible to know. The key to hacking an election is making sure no one knows what you’ve done. Utah GOP Chairman James Evans, however, says yes. “I think we had tremendous success,” he told me Tuesday by phone. About 27,000 people cast ballots that way. People, mostly LDS missionaries, voted from 45 countries. He is planning to recommend to the Republican Central Committee that online voting happen again in 2020, if there is a presidential caucus.
Utah Supreme Court justices poked at the Utah Republican Party’s interpretation of a controversial new state election law in a hearing Monday as hundreds of candidates work to get on the primary ballot. Though lawyers for the GOP, Utah Democratic Party or the state didn’t want to read the tea leaves afterward, questions from Justices Deno Himonas and Christine Durham might signal where the court is headed. Republican Party attorney Marcus Mumford argued that the state can’t tell political parties how to select their nominees for public office. “This statute doesn’t do that,” Durham said. Under the law, organizations that register with the state as a “qualified political party” — which the Utah Republican Party did — must allow candidates to gather petition signatures, go through the party’s convention or both to secure a place on the primary election ballot.
The Yakima City Council unanimously ended a four-year fight Tuesday over how the city elects its representatives by ending its appeal of a voting rights lawsuit with the American Civil Liberties Union. In a 6-0 vote, with Councilwoman Maureen Adkison absent, the council withdrew its appeal to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, ending a case it had spent more than $1.1 million defending and will now pay the ACLU $1.8 million as part of a federal court order. “This is a $3 million reminder” that all residents should have a say in who represents them,” Mayor Avina Gutierrez said.
Presidential candidates are forming alliances ahead of the presidential runoff in the Comoros Island scheduled for April 10. A camp of the Juwa main opposition party has announced that it will support Azali Assoumani – a colonel who came third during the first round. The Juwa party did not make it to the second round and the controversial agreement is creating divisions within the opposition party. What we have just done today, is just the beginning, it shows that a single party cannot govern this country, We must unite to bring our country out of the abyss.
Weeks before the U.K. decides whether to leave the European Union, the Netherlands will hold a referendum that could deliver a blow to the bloc. On Wednesday, the Netherlands will vote to support or reject the EU’s association agreement with Ukraine, a pact that deepens economic and political ties with the former Soviet republic and is already ratified by the EU’s 27 other member states. Although the referendum is nonbinding, EU officials fear that a rejection by Dutch voters could send ripples through the continent and represent a victory for Russia, which has long tried to scuttle the agreement.
Tens of thousands of Peruvians marched against presidential front-runner Keiko Fujimori Tuesday on the anniversary of her authoritarian father’s most infamous power grab – forcing her to suspend campaign events ahead of Sunday’s elections. Protesters chanted “Never again!” and said a vote for center-right Fujimori would be a vote for ex-president Alberto Fujimori, who is now serving a 25-year sentence for human rights abuses and corruption committed during his 1990-2000 government. At least 30,000 took part in the protest in Lima – a sign of the stiff opposition to Fujimori that could make her vulnerable to defeat in a run-off. Fujimori is expected to win the biggest share of votes on April 10 but not the simple majority needed to win outright.
Singapore: Voting at polling stations still ‘most transparent’ method: Chan Chun Sing | Channel NewsAsia
Voting using paper ballots at polling stations is still the “simplest and most transparent method”, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Chan Chun Sing in Parliament on Wednesday (Apr 6). He said this in response to queries on whether online voting for overseas Singaporeans using SingPass was feasible amid security and secrecy concerns of postal voting. “The Elections Department has studied the feasibility of Internet voting for overseas Singaporeans,” he said. “While Internet voting may appeal to some, it has various challenges, like difficulties in authenticating voters, preventing impersonation and ensuring voter secrecy. In addition, there are system reliability issues and security risks such as vulnerability to hacking and cyberattacks.”