On Monday, the Supreme Court declined to step in and potentially overturn a lower court ruling that North Carolina’s restrictive voter-identification law is unconstitutional, specifically for how it targets black Americans. While this decision counts as a win for voting rights, it comes on the heels of last week’s announcement that Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach will lead President Trump’s new Advisory Commission on Voter Integrity. Trump, of course, claims that millions of people voted illegally in the last election; Kobach supports that claim.
Thanks to the embarrassing incompetence of Humpty Trumpty and his virulent assault on America’s political institutions, many people are already looking forward to the 2018 elections as a way of throwing the Trump supporters out of Congress and putting America back on the path of being a true world leader and not a pale imitation of a banana republic. Much of the public anger focuses on deep cuts to programs like the Affordable Care Act, Medicare, and Social Security, but others are equally motivated by Trump’s obdurate ignorance about climate change. … J. Alex Halderman, a computer science professor at the University of Michigan, and Ph.D. student Matt Bernhard have assembled a number of reasons that they say render US voting machines susceptible to outside interference that could affect the accuracy of their tallies. In 2002, after the chaotic presidential election two years before, Congress passed the Help America Vote Act. The legislation provided funding for several private electronic voting machine manufacturers, including Diebold.
The Supreme Court’s refusal to breathe new life into North Carolina’s sweeping voter identification law might be just a temporary victory for civil rights groups. Republican-led states are continuing to enact new voter ID measures and other voting restrictions, and the Supreme Court’s newly reconstituted conservative majority, with the addition of Justice Neil Gorsuch, could make the court less likely to invalidate the laws based on claims under the federal Voting Rights Act or the Constitution. The justices on Monday left in place last summer’s ruling by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals striking down the law’s photo ID requirement to vote in person and other provisions, which the lower court said targeted African-Americans “with almost surgical precision.”
California: A letter sent to some L.A. voters sought to shame them for their voting records — and no one knows who sent it | Los Angeles Times
Offended, harassed, violated. Those are some of the words voters used to describe their reactions to a letter they received this week from a group calling itself the California Voter Awareness Project. Several people who spoke to The Times said the letter arrived just hours before polls opened in Tuesday’s citywide election in Los Angeles, and included each recipient’s voting history in the last three elections, along with names and addresses of neighbors and acquaintances and whether or not they’d voted. An updated chart would be mailed out after Tuesday’s election, the letter warned, and “other people you know will all know who voted and who did not vote.”
District of Columbia: D.C. to spend $3 million to get names of dead people, other errors off voter rolls | The Washington Post
D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) plans to spend $3 million to overhaul the city’s voter registration database, a file that is riddled with errors, including the names of deceased residents and thousands of voters whose births erroneously date to the 1800s, according to a recent audit. The move comes as President Trump launches a commission on “election integrity” to cut down on voter fraud, but city officials say that is a coincidence. “There is no connection. This decision was made well before President Trump’s election integrity commission,” Bowser spokesman Kevin Harris said Tuesday.
In a partisan vote, the House election law committee endorsed a bill on Tuesday that stiffens the requirements for people who register to vote within 30 days of an election. Senate Bill 3 now will go to the full House for a vote. The bill applies to people who register to vote within 30 days of an election and requires them to provide proof they live in New Hampshire and intend to stay. People who show up to the polls to register and don’t have a utility bill, a lease, a car registration or other documentation could still vote. But they have to sign a paper pledging to come back later with a required form of proof. Should a voter not return within 30 days, the bill gives local election officials authority to investigate suspected fraud.
Pennsylvania: Some Wilkinsburg voters use emergency ballots because election judge was in jail | TribLIVE
A judge of elections at one of Wilkinsburg’s precincts didn’t report for duty Tuesday morning because he was in jail, said Amie Downs, an Allegheny County spokeswoman. Voters in Wilkinsburg’s 1st Ward, 6th District used emergency ballots while sheriff’s deputies went to the man’s house to retrieve the voting materials and supplies and set up the machines. Loren Johnson, 55, was jailed on two counts of assault and two counts of making terroristic threats after he threatened his sister and nephew with a shotgun on Monday, said sheriff’s Commander Charles Rodriguez.
Voter identification laws are a hot issue in Virginia and across the country. Republicans say such laws combat voter fraud, which they insist is widespread. Democrats say the laws discourage voting by minority and elderly citizens who may be less likely to have a photo ID. The debate has played out in Virginia, where Republicans control the General Assembly and a Democrat is governor, with few signs of a compromise. In 2013, the General Assembly passed Senate Bill 1256, which required Virginia voters to present a driver’s license, passport or other photo ID in order to cast a ballot. The bill — which was signed into law by then-Gov. Bob McDonnell, a Republican — also provided free photo IDs to citizens who needed one.
Austria’s main parties agreed to hold an early parliamentary election on October 15, Chancellor Christian Kern said on Tuesday, in a vote that might bring the far-right Freedom Party into government. In the autumn of a year that will have seen Dutch, French, British and German general elections, the Alpine republic will decide its future course on immigration, labor and social policy and its position within the European Union. “We have agreed on Oct. 15 (for parliamentary elections),” Kern said after meeting leaders of all parliamentary parties. The next election was originally due to be held in autumn 2018.
Once again a major election is approaching in Iran – a presidential election at yet another crucial turning point in the history of the beleaguered theocracy ruling over a restless and ambitious nation, trying by hook or by crook to curtail a rich and powerful political culture far beyond its limited imagination. Once again, nagging questions are paramount among Iranians in and out of their homeland: Are such elections an exercise in futility? Will they make any difference? Do they have any tangible result in the life of the nation?
Lesotho has experienced political instability for the past four decades and the country has pinned its hope on this year’s election to end the turmoil. In March this year, the country was plunged into a fresh political crisis after Parliament passed a vote of no-confidence on Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili and later dissolved. Two years ago, the Kingdom of Lesotho was again in crisis following the ouster of former Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s All Basotho Congress.
The delay in vote counting has disappointed the voters who are desperate to see their new representatives assume their offices. The painstakingly slow counting of ballot papers has signaled that the people might have to wait for days to see their new representatives. The excitement was comparatively very high among the locals this time around for the elections which were conducted after a gap of two decades. Before the elections, the voters were counting days to drop their votes and elect capable candidates to shoulder the responsibility of developing their villages.