If the average citizen is looking forward to the day when ballots can be cast on the Internet in the same manner in which people buy groceries and pay bills, they’ll have to be patient — it’ll be a while. While online voting has been deployed in small and specific cases (largely for absentee or military voters), serious security concerns exist about the integrity of online voting. “We believe that online voting, especially online voting in large scale, introduces great risk into the election system by threatening voters’ expectations of confidentiality, accountability and security of their votes and provides an avenue for malicious actors to manipulate the voting results,” said Neil Jenkins, an official in the Office of Cybersecurity and Communications at the Department of Homeland Security, according to an article in The Washington Post.
The state has awarded Washington County about $1.2 million of election equipment, said Jennifer Price, election commission coordinator. “We are getting the new voting equipment,” Price said. “We’re excited.” The Quorum Court accepted the equipment during its meeting Thursday. The county put aside $420,000 for the equipment. Election commissioners have said they were worried the state wouldn’t provide equipment in time for the general election Nov. 8, which is expected to have a large voter turnout. The county’s equipment is from 2006 and was starting to break down, Price said.
California: Tens of thousands have left California’s American Independent Party in the last month | Los Angeles Times
A new analysis finds nearly 32,000 voters in California’s American Independent Party changed their official registration and left the party in the two weeks after a Los Angeles Times investigation identified widespread confusion among the party’s members. The change comes after a series of stories last month about voters who had intended to be politically independent, what’s known in California as having “no party preference.” A poll conducted for The Times found 73% of American Independent Party members did not know they had registered with an actual political party. Paul Mitchell, a political data specialist whose firm sells exclusive analyses of voter data to California political campaigns, worked with The Times on the stories. He conducted the new analysis for The Times on a pro-bono basis.
California: Activist lawyers sue California on voter rules, possibly boosting Bernie Sanders support | The Sacramento Bee
As Bernie Sanders supporters fear their candidate will miss out on crucial votes from independent and crossover voters in California’s June primary, civil rights lawyers filed suit Friday seeking more time for those voters to request a Democratic presidential ballot. The lawyers sued in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of an organization trying to boost turnout for Sanders in his bid against Hillary Clinton. Additional plaintiffs include two individual voters and the American Independent Party, a conservative organization on the opposite end of the political spectrum from Sanders. In the suit against Secretary of State Alex Padilla and Alameda County and San Francisco election officials, the plaintiffs contend that nonpartisan voters have received inconsistent and confusing instructions on how to vote in the June 7 presidential primary. They say thousands of voters will be disenfranchised.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has told a federal court that he is changing interagency policies to improve the state’s ability to verify proof of citizenship for people who register to vote at motor vehicle offices. The notice, filed shortly before midnight Wednesday, comes a day after a federal court ruled thousands of Kansas residents who did not provide such documents must be added to voter rolls for federal elections. The judge stayed her ruling until May 31 so the state could appeal, which Kobach has said he plans to do. In his court filing, Kobach contends that the new policies were being implemented prior to Tuesday’s ruling. One policy says motor vehicle offices accept and scan documents proving U.S. citizenship. Another change gives the secretary of state’s office and election officials in all 105 counties Internet access to check whether motor vehicle offices possess such documents.
The State Board of Elections continues to update its investigation into voter irregularities and fraud in the Baltimore City primary election. All the concerns forced the board to refuse to accept the results of the election. Political reporter Pat Warren has more on what they found, and what’s next. The “who” and the “how” are becoming pretty clear. “The pattern that we saw clearly was that the provisional ballots were scanned in the polling place instead of being held with the applications,” said Linda Lamone, state elections administrator. In some cases, every single provisional ballot that should have been set aside was scanned.
Maryland: 800 improperly counted votes in Baltimore cannot be removed from results | The Washington Post
Maryland elections officials have uncovered nearly 800 improperly counted ballots from Baltimore residents who may not have been eligible to vote, calling into question how poll workers were trained for a new voting system in the April 26 primary. The discovery of hundreds more ballots cast than voters who checked into Baltimore polling sites led to the decertification of that city’s election results. On Thursday, the State Board of Elections discussed the ongoing investigation into the irregularities and how things went wrong. Election judges had apparently scanned ballots cast by people who did not appear on voter rolls, Elections Administrator Linda Lamone told the five-member board. Those ballots were not supposed to be counted until officials verified that the voter was authorized to vote. “This was a training issue introducing a brand-new voting system in Maryland,” Lamone said. “There is no evidence of voter fraud.” Some discrepancies in voters and votes in Baltimore could not be explained, she said. “The numbers simply don’t match,” Lamone said.
A federal judge delivered a legal victory Friday to Ohio’s elections chief and a voter sued by Libertarians for their roles in disqualifying the party’s gubernatorial candidate from 2014 fall ballots. A lawyer for the Libertarian Party of Ohio said the party plans to appeal. The party sued Secretary of State Jon Husted and voter Greg Felsoci, alleging they were part of a scheme to selectively enforce Ohio election law to help Republican Gov. John Kasich’s re-election bid. At the time, the third-party gubernatorial candidacy of Libertarian Charlie Earl was seen as potentially drawing votes from Kasich, who later easily won re-election. The lawsuit alleged that improperly singling out the party’s candidates violates the First Amendment and Equal Protection Clause.
Minority voters represent a big share of those seeking free photo IDs under the state’s new voter ID law and may also make up the great majority of those who experience the most problems getting one, under figures that emerged in a federal trial this week. In testimony and filings in the trial before U.S. District Judge James Peterson, the plaintiffs said that blacks and Latinos make up 44% of those seeking a free ID to ensure they can vote but only 9% of the overall voting age population in Wisconsin. Minorities may also make up the lion’s share of those who struggle to get a photo ID, according to a small sample of voters who lacked the key documents needed to obtain one.
The electoral roll closes at 8pm on Monday. Potential voters who have failed to enrol by then will not be able to vote on 2 July. As of March, the Australian Electoral Commission estimated that more than 900,000 people were “missing” from the roll – 6% of the eligible voting population. There are particularly large numbers of young voters missing from the rolls. While the AEC and other groups make a big effort to encourage young people to enrol, the rolls are closing long before most voters will engage with the election. It’s not surprising that many voters, particularly those voting for the first time, do not realise they need to enrol long befor polling day. At most elections, rolls close about four weeks before election day. This year’s longer campaign has stretched this period to six weeks.
Austria’s political future is on a knife-edge, with the candidate bidding to be the European Union’s first far-right president holding a wafer-thin lead over his rival. According to the public broadcaster ORF, Norbert Hofer of the rightwing populist Freedom party (FPÖ) was neck and neck on 50% with his rival Alexander Van der Bellen, a former Green party leader who is running as an independent. Postal ballots, accounting for 14% of eligible voters and expected to favour the left-leaning candidate, are being tallied on Monday, and a full result is not expected until Monday afternoon. Fifty per cent and one vote would suffice to hand the presidency to one of the two candidates. Data from Austria’s interior ministry, which does not take into account the projected postal vote, put Hofer on 51.9% and Van der Bellen on 48.1%.
Postal ballots will decide Austria’s presidential election after polling station results from Sunday’s vote gave the far-right candidate a slender lead.
Norbert Hofer of the Freedom Party was slightly ahead of his rival, Alexander Van der Bellen, the interior ministry said on Sunday. If elected, Mr Hofer would be the first far-right head of state in the EU. A key campaign issue was Europe’s migrant crisis, which has seen asylum-seeker numbers soar. About 90,000 people claimed asylum in Austria last year, equivalent to about 1% of the Austrian population, and the Freedom Party ran an anti-immigration campaign. Some 750,000 postal votes from roughly 12% of Austria’s 6.4m voters are due to be counted on Monday.
Cyprus’s ruling conservatives took the lead in Sunday’s general election, results showed, while a far-right party won its first seats in the legislature amid voter disillusionment after a 2013 financial meltdown. With the voting tally at 100 percent, and an unprecedentedly high abstention rate, the right-wing Democratic Rally party was ahead with 30.6 percent of the vote followed by Communist AKEL with 25.6 percent. Compared to the previous elections of 2011, those two main parties on the Cypriot political scene suffered setbacks. AKEL’s Communists lost up to seven percentage points while Democratic Rally lost 3.7 percentage points.
Tajikistan held a referendum Sunday on changing the Constitution to allow its authoritarian president to run for office indefinitely, effectively allowing him to rule for life. The 63-year-old Emomali Rakhmon has ruled the former Soviet republic in Central Asia since 1992. During those 24 years, he has crushed or cowed all opposition to his rule and the referendum is expected to pass easily. One of the constitutional changes considered in the vote would lower the minimum age for presidents from 35 to 30 years. This would allow Rakhmon’s son, now 29, to run in the next presidential election in 2020. Reported turnout was high. Election officials said that 88 percent of eligible voters had cast their ballots by 6 p.m. local time ( 1300 GMT ), two hours before polls closed. The referendum has been organized and held with only cursory international scrutiny. No election in Tajikistan has ever been deemed free and fair by the most thorough monitoring organization. In the months preceding the referendum, authorities in Tajikistan have systemically dismantled the few remaining remnants of dissent to Rakhmon’s rule.
Vietnam will showcase its five-yearly day of democracy on Sunday with an election for a parliament tightly controlled by a Communist Party that is seeing unprecedented challenges to its four-decade political monopoly. Some 69 million Vietnamese are registered to vote to choose representatives for a 500-seat National Assembly, with the ballot comprised overwhelmingly of candidates representing the secretive party or nominated by state institutions. The election could turn out to be an anti-climax, after an astonishing swell of public interest in the scores of activists, celebrities and ordinary Vietnamese who tried to run as independent candidates, and it could test the sincerity of the party’s promises of inclusiveness. Almost all of the hopeful independents could not get on the ballot and were eliminated during the party’s strict vetting processes, which many of them said was rigged to shut them out.