California: San Mateo County elections officials switch to paper ballots after electronic voting machine glitch | San Jose Mercury News

A software glitch in 140 electronic voting machines prompted San Mateo County elections officials to dole out paper ballots while technicians scrambled to fix the error Tuesday morning. The problem was coding, said Jim Irizarry, assistant chief elections officer. The agency uses the Hart InterCivic “eSlate” machine, he said. Those machines are connected to a central system, and without the proper coding, the voting machines could not communicate to the central system. The glitch “should not have occurred,” Irizarry said. “When you’re programming the units, you should code them properly,” he said. “I believe we probably did not code those machines as well as we should have.”

Louisiana: New voting laws block little fraud — but many elders, women, and minorities | The Louisiana Weekly

Much of the reporting about the voter-ID laws many states have passed in recent years has centered on how they often block access to the polls by lower-income minority and naturalized citizens. But a subtext has been the barring of many older people from their right to vote. “Voter ID laws disadvantaging older persons place a burden on the voting rights of those most likely to participate in the electoral process,” said Daniel Kohrman, a senior attorney with the AARP Foundation Litigation office in Washington, D.C. That’s because older citizens vote at greater percentages than younger people. A total of 33 states have laws requesting or requiring voters to show some form of identification at the polls this year. (West Virginia’s new law goes into effect in 2018). Of those, 17 states will have restrictive voter-identification laws on the books for the first time in a presidential election, according to New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice.

Maryland: City Council to investigate irregularities in Baltimore election | Baltimore Sun

Members of the Baltimore City Council formally called Monday for an investigative hearing into the problems that occurred during April’s primary election. In a resolution, council members Mary Pat Clarke and Robert W. Curran said the hearing is a way for the council to “request the City and State to develop a plan of specific steps to ensure a fair and efficient Baltimore City General Election on November 8, 2016.” “We could all recite what went wrong,” Clarke said. “That’s not what I want to hear. I want to hear what they’re going to do to fix it.” A review by the Maryland State Board of Elections found that about 1,700 ballots cast in Baltimore’s primary election were handled improperly. The board concluded that 1,188 provisional ballots were inappropriately scanned into the vote tally on Election Day — without judges verifying that the voters were eligible — and 555 other provisional ballots were not considered. The review did not change the result of any race.

Michigan: Governor signs law restricting citizen petitions | WLNS

106,000: that’s how many more signatures the Michigan Bureau of Elections says a ballot drive needs to put legalizing marijuana up for a state-wide vote. This comes just six days after a pro-legalization group submitted more than 350,000 signatures to the state; but because MI Legalize collected a portion of them more than 180 days before filing the petition, the petition will likely not pass. This hadn’t been formally engrained in law—but today Governor Snyder changed that. That new law says petition signatures older than 180 days cannot be counted. “This clearly was a result of us trying to improve Michigan’s election system,” argues MI Legalize Executive Director Jeffrey Hank.

Montana: More satellite voting offices, more American Indians seeking office this election season | Billings Gazette

If American Indian candidates win all 11 of the seats in the Montana Legislature they are running for this fall, the percentage of Natives in the session would for the first time be representative of the population in the state. American Indians make up 7.4 percent of Montanans but have historically been underrepresented in the Legislature. In the 2015 session, there were eight American Indian legislators, three in the Senate and five in the House, for 5.3 percent of the 150 members. If Indians win all the seats they’re running for this year, that would come to 8 percent, including a state senator whose seat isn’t up for election this year, to make 12 total. … The geography and demographics of their campaigns creates a unique situation, they say. As candidates they talk about advocating for Native issues but also don’t want to be defined strictly by the color of their skin.

New Hampshire: Court to hear Libertarian Party appeal over New Hampshire law | Associated Press

A federal appeals court is set to hear arguments in a lawsuit by the Libertarian Party seeking to strike down a New Hampshire law that it argues could prevent third-party candidates from getting on the ballot. The Libertarian Party of New Hampshire is challenging a 2014 law that requires a third party seeking to gain access to the ballot through verified signatures to collect those signatures during the same year as the election. Judge Paul Barbadoro upheld the law last year, finding that it creates reasonable restrictions that are justified by the state’s interest in requiring parties to demonstrate a sufficient level of support. The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston is set to hear the Libertarian Party’s appeal Monday.

Wisconsin: Groups to ask judge allow some people without IDs to vote | Associated Press

Groups advocating for voting rights said they will soon ask a federal judge to allow people to vote in Wisconsin’s August primary election if they are having trouble getting a required ID. The request comes even as attorneys for the state Department of Justice are trying to put the case on hold. The American Civil Liberties Union will be filing a motion in U.S. District Court in Milwaukee soon to make sure “voters who face a reasonable impediment to getting an ID” can still vote with an affidavit, said the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project attorney Sean Young on Tuesday. A federal appeals court in April ruled that the ACLU and another group challenging the law, the National Law Center for Homelessness and Poverty, could seek such an order. Under the law, voters must show one of the following in order to vote: a Wisconsin driver’s license or state ID card, a U.S. passport, military ID card, college IDs meeting certain requirements, naturalization certificates or IDs issued by a Wisconsin-based American Indian tribe. Residents can apply for a state ID with the Department of Motor Vehicles but must prove personal details and citizenship.

Austria: Far-right party challenges presidential election reults | The Guardian

Austria’s far-right Freedom party (FPO) has challenged the results of last month’s presidential election, which its candidate narrowly lost, in a move that could tip the country into a constitutional crisis. The FPO is claiming numerous irregularities in the election on 22 May, particularly for the absentee vote count, Christian Neuwirth, a spokesman for the constitutional court, said. The FPO candidate, Norbert Hofer, lost to Alexander Van der Bellen, a retired economics professor backed by the Green party, by just 31,000 votes out of more than 4.6m ballots cast, and only after more than 700,000 postal ballots – about 10% of available votes – were taken into account.

Canada: Elections chief Marc Mayrand stepping down ahead of Liberal reforms | CBC

Canada’s chief electoral officer is stepping down from his post after nearly 10 years on the job — a tenure marked by public spats with the former Conservative government over its controversial Fair Elections Act and its attempt to block veiled Muslim women from voting. Marc Mayrand, who assumed the role in 2007, informed the Speaker of his decision Monday, citing the need for a new chief ahead of the Liberal government’s push for ambitious electoral reform. He will step down on Dec. 28, 2016. “I have concluded that it would be preferable to leave my position at the end of the year to allow my successor the necessary time to assume the responsibility and guide the future direction of Elections Canada,” Mayrand said in a statement. “Given Elections Canada’s ambitious electoral services modernization plans and the government’s consideration of fundamental reforms to our electoral system, I believe the early appointment of a successor to lead Elections Canada well ahead of the next general election is essential and should not be delayed.”

Croatia: Croatia Lurches Toward Early Elections as Government Wobbles | Bloomberg

Croatia’s ruling coalition lurched toward collapse after its biggest party initiated a no-confidence vote against technocrat Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic, threatening a drive to retool the economy and raising the prospect of early elections. Facing dismissal himself in a parliamentary no-confidence vote backed by both the opposition and his ruling partners, Deputy Premier Tomislav Karamarko mounted a counterattack Tuesday, with his Croatian Democratic Union filing for a similar vote against Oreskovic. The measure, which the opposition Social Democrats said they may help push through, can take place on June 15 at the earliest and will bring down the youngest European Union state’s four-month-old government if the premier is defeated. “Considering that the current political groups can’t seem to find a way out of the turmoil, the most efficient and most honest outcome for the country would be snap elections,” Nenad Zakosek, political science professor at the University of Zagreb, said by phone.

Kenya: Government Bans All Protests Against Electoral Body | Associated Press

Kenya’s government has banned all opposition protests against the country’s electoral body, a day after witnesses said police killed two demonstrators, the internal security minister said Tuesday. A 6-year-old boy was also hit in the back by a police bullet Monday during protests in the opposition stronghold of Kisumu, witnesses said. He was among 21 people hospitalized with bullet wounds, according to hospital sources who insisted on anonymity for fear of reprisals. The security minister, Joseph Nkaissery, said the chaos does not fall within the parameters set by the constitutional court, which had called the demonstrations a constitutionally guaranteed right and ordered the police to protect protesters.

Peru: With Election So Close, Results May Not Be Known for Days | Wall Street Journal

Peruvian presidential candidates Pedro Pablo Kuczynski and Keiko Fujimori settled in for a photo finish as election officials slowly counted the final ballots to determine the outcome of one of the tightest races ever here. When the result will be final, however, is uncertain as an electoral board will need to rule on disputed ballots that could decide the close election, and as votes trickle in from rural areas and expatriates elsewhere. “That’s the million-dollar question,” Fernando Tuesta, a political analyst and former head of Peru’s election agency, said when asked how long it would take. “There isn’t a date for that.” On Tuesday, the election agency said Mr. Kuczynski, an economist, was leading with 50.17% of the votes, compared with 49.83% for Ms. Fujimori, the daughter of jailed ex-President Alberto Fujimori. The agency said it had processed 98.7% of the votes. However, that didn’t include some votes that were disputed by the political parties and sent to the electoral board. The margin between the two candidates stood at about 47,000 votes. About 22 million Peruvians were registered to vote; the agency said 17.8 million had cast ballots.

United Kingdom: Thousands of EU referendum postal votes feared lost in Germany | The Guardian

Thousands of British citizens fear their votes in the EU referendum could have got lost in the post after Germany’s postal service said its workers were confused by the format of pre-paid envelopes sent out to Britons living abroad. A spokesperson for Germany’s postal service, Deutsche Post, said that while the pre-paid envelopes were valid under the Internal Business Reply Service (IBRS) scheme, many of its employees had rejected the envelopes and told voters to pay postage instead. More than 100,000 British citizens are registered as living in Germany. The confusion has arisen partly because the European Union has so far failed to regulate the size of standard letters across the continent.

United Kingdom: EU referendum voter registration site crashes before deadline | The Guardian

Members of the public attempting to register to vote in the EU referendum complained that the government website had crashed hours before the deadline. The development could mean that tens of thousands of potential voters may be disenfranchised and unable to cast a vote in what is expected to be closely fought contest. Voters have been encouraged to register before 11.59pm on Tuesday 7 June to be able to take part in the EU referendum. However, the Cabinet Office website would not allow voters to input their details at 10.40pm on Tuesday. A tweet from the Cabinet Office acknowledged that the site had crashed. “We’re aware of the technical issue on [the site]. We’re working to resolve it. This is due to unprecedented demand. Update soon,” it said.