Colorado: Guest Commentary: Wild West elections in one Colorado county | The Denver Post

The 2012 elections are big news, but the media are not reporting Colorado’s potential role in a national election fiasco.

Those who understand election equipment and procedures warn that Colorado elections cannot withstand close scrutiny. We call for changes to prevent humiliation if the national press attempts to verify Colorado’s election returns.

If Colorado were an “emerging democracy,” the Carter Center would reject calls to monitor our elections because we fail to meet their minimum transparency standards. If a national contest is decided by Colorado’s vote, as Bush/Gore was by Florida, press everywhere will severely criticize the “Wild West” elections in some Colorado counties.

Editorials: Election chance to restore faith – Cherokee election process under review |

The Cherokee Nation Supreme Court’s order for a new election gives the candidates for principal chief a second chance to declare a definitive win. It also gives the tribe’s embattled election commission a chance to restore faith in the system.

The contest between Principal Chief Chad Smith and challenger Bill John Baker became a back-and-forth tug-of-war during the days immediately following the June 25 general election.

After both candidates were declared winners — then losers — allegations of fraud and deception surfaced. The integrity of the tribe’s election process suffered, and at least one commissioner targeted for criticism became a casualty of the bitter contest.

Editorials: Governor Rick Scott wants his name off bad election law | St. Petersburg Times

So the governor wants his name off a lawsuit filed over Florida’s cynical new elections law. Can you blame him?

Gov. Rick Scott — already sued more times than your average crooked contractor — is named in a suit contesting a new law that brings controversial changes in how we vote. How controversial? His office got thousands of e-mails while the bill awaited his signature, most urging him to reject something so fundamentally wrong.

The bill’s supporters kept saying, honest, it’s all about stopping our terrible problem of voter fraud. Except we don’t have a terrible problem of voter fraud. And their specifics were beyond scarce. What the new law will do is make it harder for some citizens — minorities in particular — to vote. How many years would that set Florida back?

Editorials: States Dispute Criticism of New Voter Laws, Move to Offer Photo ID Free of Charge |

Election officers in states with newly approved voter ID laws are trying to make sure voters can meet the new requirements without much hassle, pushing back on complaints that the laws are tantamount to a “poll tax.”

Seven states this year have approved new laws requiring or urging voters to show photo ID before casting their ballots. Critics have assailed these measures as a partisan Republican scheme to skew elections by disenfranchising voters who might be inclined to vote for Democrats but lack the proper identification.

But officials in those states say the criticism is unfair. All seven states are moving to offer residents at least one version of a photo ID card free of charge. Local agencies are planning various outreach efforts to get the word out about the new requirements, and the new laws generally allow voters without photo ID to fill out a provisional ballot under certain circumstances.

Editorials: Angering their own party, Rhode Island Democrats approve voter ID |

Should voters be required to show photo identification at the polls? For years, the question has amounted to a demarcation line between Republicans and Democrats.

The 2011 legislative year was shaping up to be no different. Republicans seized on their sweeping electoral victories last November by enacting photo ID laws in Alabama, Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin, arguing that tougher rules are necessary to fight election fraud. Democratic governors in five other states — Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire and North Carolina — vetoed similar bills that their Republican legislatures passed, calling them an unfair burden on disadvantaged voters, chiefly minorities and senior citizens, who may not have driver’s licenses or other forms of government-issued ID. Behind the policy dispute are important political calculations, since Democrats claim that their supporters would be most of the people turned aside at the polls and that whole elections could hang in the balance.

California: Internet Voting In California? | California Progress Report

Election integrity advocates recently launched a campaign to block a bill, SB908, that would have introduced email voting for Californians living overseas. We fought it for several reasons.

First, paperless voting itself is dangerous because there is no independent way to check the results claimed by the machines, and no way to recover when something goes wrong, and it will. Voting across the Internet is worse, because it opens up the voting system to several more types of attack, from anywhere in the world, all of them dangerous. Voting by email attachment is even worse, because no attempt is made to encrypt the ballot as it travels from computer to computer across the globe on the way to its destination.

Any of these computers is quite capable of “photoshopping” or simply blocking any ballot that passes through. A ballot sent from Afghanistan could pass through computers in China, Iran, Russia, or any other country interested in “fixing” ballots headed for California. This is only one of several severe vulnerabilities in Internet voting.

Editorials: False charges delay Election Commission work | Bangkok Post

The Election Commission is to endorse the election of more MPs today. The work of the EC has been slowed down by numerous objections lodged after the July 3 election. By this point after the 2007 general election, the EC had completed its inspection of party-list candidates. This year, the number of protests, complaints and objections means that as of this morning, 142 seats have yet to be filled out of the 500 MP seats. There is strong evidence, including statements from the EC, that many of the complaints are frivolous.

Kudos, then, to the sometimes controversial Commissioner Sodsri Satayathum for speaking out against trivial complaints lodged against the winning candidates. There seems little doubt that a small number of hardline political followers hopes to sideline candidates from other parties by launching official complaints of cheating during the campaign or at the polls. The EC should deal with such tactics with its own harsh response.

Editorials: Should Wyoming voters be able to register online? Wyoming Tribune Eagle Online

It is unclear if Wyoming will join the growing number of states that are adding the ability of residents to register to vote online, state officials say. Recently passed legislation in Maryland makes it the 10th state to implement online voter registration. Advocates of abandoning the paper-only policy say it can save money and make voting more accessible to the public.

Jennie Bowser, a senior fellow with the National Conference of State Legislatures, said many states have considered adding the online option since Arizona became the first in 2002.

Editorials: Wisconsin voter ID law: Hurdles for voters, little to curb voter fraud & $7 million tab | Madison Independent

Governor Walker recently signed a bill that requires voters to show IDs at the polls. The new bill will cost Wisconsin taxpayers nearly $7 million in new spending and lost revenue, according to the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau. Many claim that the measure will do little to prevent voter fraud and will disenfranchise thousands of minority, elderly and rural voters.

According to PolitiFact, Wisconsin’s law is one of the most restrictive, based on research on acceptable IDs and voting procedures for those without IDs from state election offices, and the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Under the new law, citizens would be allowed to vote only after showing a photo ID such as a Wisconsin driver’s license, state-issued ID card, certain very limited student IDs, military IDs, passports, naturalization certificates or IDs issued by a tribe based in Wisconsin. The new law will be partially implemented in the upcoming recall elections this year, with full implementation beginning with the presidential election in 2012.

Editorials: Carded at the Polls – Will the Justice Department stop the assault on voting rights for minorities, the elderly, and the poor? |

One consequence of Republican victories last November has been an onslaught of state legislation to require voters to show photo identification at polling places. This push builds on GOP efforts over the past decade to tighten ID requirements; at least 18 states have enacted more stringent rules since 2003, including, most recently, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.

Last week, 16 U.S. senators signed a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder calling on the Justice Department to investigate whether the new ID requirements comply with federal law. Representative Marcia Fudge of Ohio, a Democrat, is gathering signatures on a similar letter from House members and held a press conference Wednesday on Capitol Hill with civil-rights leaders, including the Reverend Jesse Jackson, to draw attention to her effort.

Editorials: Justice Rears Her Head in Wisconsin As Kathy Nickolaus is Investigated by GAB | PoliticusUSA

In case you were wondering where justice was hiding in Wisconsin, she’s reared her head in Waukesha County. County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus will be investigated by the Government Accountability Board, which certified the Wisconsin Supreme Court election in question.

A former Dane country prosecutor will finally be looking into Nickolaus’ conduct. And by conduct, I mean misconduct, including open ballot bags with no secure chain of custody, voter rolls with tags that don’t match ballot bags, a canvas called a day early which took place with Nickolaus never telling the other canvassers about the “lost” votes for two days during the canvas and much more.

Editorials: Will long lines sink new voter ID law? | Tri-State Defender

‘Not familiar with Voting Rights Act,’ says Tennessee official

Getting a driver’s license in Tennessee is a test of skill and endurance, but I’m not talking about the road test or written exam, I’m talking about the crazy long lines.

On Friday, I joined 40 people in an outdoor line at 6340 Summer Ave about 12:30 p.m. We huddled together outside of the service center for nearly two hours, standing one-behind the other in 90-plus degree temperatures and punishing humidity. There were no chairs, no water and no restroom breaks. As I steamed, my hair gallantly fought off frizz.

The security guard called four to five customers at a time inside, where we then stood in a second line for 45 additional minutes. It was then we received a customer number and the official wait began. (The Tennessee Department of Public Safety does not officially begin tracking its customer wait time until patrons receive this service ticket. Up to that point, we were just there visiting and hanging out.)

Editorials: The right to vote | The Manila Times

The right to vote is more technically called “suffrage.” It was first found in the US Constitution in 1787 ( The Philippine Constitution provides: “Suffrage may be exercised by all citizens of the Philippines, not otherwise disqualified by law, who are at least eighteen years of age, and who shall have resided in the Philippines for at least one year and in the place wherein they propose to vote, for at least six months immediately preceding the election. No literacy, property, or other substantive requirement shall be imposed on the exercise of suffrage.”

Clearly, it is not obligatory to exercise suffrage. It is due to this permissive provision of the Constitution that failure to cast one’s vote without justifiable excuse (an election offense under Section 261, sub-paragraph 1 of the Omnibus Election Code) is said to have been decriminalized. Under such 1978 penal provision, suffrage was more an obligation than a right.

Editorials: Defending direct elections | The Jakarta Post

The political reform movement that began in 1998 has significantly transformed the democratic atmosphere in Indonesia through amendments to the 1945 Constitution. One of the fundamental changes relates to the electoral mechanism for regional leaders.

We used to have indirect elections where governors, mayors and regents were chosen by members of local legislative councils. A year after the enactment of the 2004 Law on Regional Administration, regional leaders were elected directly through a “one man, one vote” mechanism.

Editorials: ‘Noodlegate’ an utter farce | Bangkok Post

On the other, the complaint that the top candidate as the next prime minister had bribed voters is actually enshrined in the election laws. The idea that Yingluck Shinawatra’s noodle cooking amounted to an election bribe is ludicrous. Unfortunately, because of a bad law that never was corrected, the EC is actually forced to consider reversing Ms Yingluck’s election and banning her from politics.

How did we get in one week from a universally praised free and fair election to the point where almost every campaign stop by every candidate is contested by hard-nosed opponents?

It is not as if this issue arose suddenly. It is almost three years since then-prime minister Samak Sundaravej was thrown out of office because he had once conducted cooking shows on television.

Editorials: Laughlin McDonald: Georgia’s photo ID law infringes on the right to vote | The Washington Post

In his June 23 letter, Georgia’s secretary of state, Brian Kemp, said his state’s photo ID law, which requires a photo ID for in-person voting, is necessary because “every year we investigate and penalize hundreds of people guilty of election and voter fraud.” He failed to note, however, that when Georgia’s photo ID law was challenged in federal court in 2005, the state was unable to point to a single instance of fraudulent in-person voting.

He also claimed that the photo ID law does not “reduce turnout among minority groups.” Again, he did not note the federal court’s finding that the photo ID law “is most likely to prevent Georgia’s elderly, poor, and African American voters from voting. For those citizens, the character and magnitude of their injury — the loss of their right to vote — is undeniably demoralizing and extreme.”

Editorials: Happy 26th Amendment Day! Enjoy It While It Lasts | Campus Progress

July 1, 1971 saw the 26th amendment, which reduced the minimum voting age from 21 to 18, and millions of college-age Americans were given the right to vote.

40 years later, lawmakers are attacking this Constitutional right by introducing so-called voter ID bills. These bills require voters to show specific types of photo identification at the polls, a requirement that 18 percent of young people in the United States currently do not meet.

Many laws also limit the use of student ID cards as acceptable forms of identification. The student activism that led to the passage of the 26th Amendment should inspire and direct student activism today to protect our rights.

Editorials: Bob Hall: Voter ID requirement a step backward |

Forty years ago this month, North Carolina played a pivotal role in expanding voting rights for American citizens. On July 1, 1971, our General Assembly became the final state legislature needed to ratify the 26th Amendment, which lowered the voting age from 21 to 18.

A few days later, at a signing ceremony for the amendment, President Richard Nixon looked around the room of assembled young people and said, “America’s new voters, America’s young generation, will provide what America needs as we approach our 200th birthday – not just strength and not just wealth, but the Spirit of ’76, a spirit of moral courage, a spirit of high idealism in which we believe … that the American dream can never be fulfilled until every American has an equal chance to fulfill it in his own life.”

Thousands of miles away, 18-year-old Americans were fighting and dying in Vietnam. The cry of “old enough to fight, old enough to vote” had grown louder through the 1960s, and Congress finally proposed the 26th Amendment in March 1971. It sped through state legislatures, gaining the necessary ratification of three-fourth of the states with our General Assembly’s historic vote.

Later this month, the General Assembly will consider several bills with a far different purpose. They aim to restrict, rather than expand, opportunities for qualified voters.

Editorials: White claims vindication … but, please | Evansville Courier & Press

Despite a stern rebuke from the Indiana Recount Commission’s chairman, Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White claimed vindication after the three-member panel decided not to boot him out of office last week.

He said the secretary of state’s office, and he as its head, have lost no credibility as a result of voter fraud accusations that very well might result in White being forced out of office by a criminal trial in Hamilton County set to start in August.

His logic behind that claim? Voters knew about the accusations he faced, and still elected him. Therefore, he should be able to do the job with his name and reputation intact.


Editorials: Jennifer Wagner: Charlie White’s lonely outpost | The Indianapolis Star

If there’s one thing Indiana Republicans and Democrats can agree on, it’s that disgraced Secretary of State Charlie White should step down from the office he’s embarrassed since the day he took the oath.

On Tuesday, the Indiana Recount Commission granted White a temporary legal reprieve, ruling that the state’s election laws are sufficiently vague to prevent his removal from office. White faces criminal trial in August on seven felony counts of voter fraud, theft and perjury.

White has attempted to turn his failure to properly register to vote and his illegitimate service on the Fishers Town Council into an intricate personal tale: It wasn’t his fault he broke the law. Life just got too complicated to focus on the details.

Editorials: Voter-fraud bill misguided, wasteful |

QUESTION: What will cost New Hampshire taxpayers $108,670 during the next two years to address a problem that does not exist?

ANSWER: Senate Bill 129, the so-called Voter I.D. bill, which mandates that every voter in the state show photo identification before casting a ballot. The mandate is flawed, because some photo-IDs are deemed okay to use whereas others, such as photo IDs that are provided by town and city employers, are not necessarily okay. Also, the bill doesn’t guarantee secrecy for the provisional ballots that would be required of those voters who must scurry off to get acceptable photo IDs on election day.

However, these are piddling matters compared to the justification for the bill, and here we leave it to D.J. Bettencourt, the House Majority Leader, to argue the case. In a news release issued shortly after Governor John Lynch vetoed Senate Bill 129 this week, Bettencourt wrote: “It is mystifying to me why the governor of New Hampshire, elected to uphold our Constitution, would oppose legislation that would put an end to allegations of voter fraud that surface after every single election in our state.”

Allegations of fraud? How about actual fraud?

Editorials: Kudos to Lynch for voter ID veto |

While it came as a surprise to no one, Gov. John Lynch did the right thing Monday when he vetoed legislation that would require voters to show some form of photo identification in order to vote in New Hampshire.

The Republican-initiated bill (SB 129) seeks to solve a problem that does not exist, raises the cost of elections for cities and towns, and in close elections would delay the naming of the winner for a minimum of three days, if not longer.

But all of those reasons pale in comparison to this: In a state with no history of voter fraud, why enact a change in state election laws that would actually discourage people from voting? We always thought the goal of government and civic leaders was to encourage people to vote.

Editorials: Nathaniel R. Jones: No evidence of voter fraud | Youngstown News

The legislation (House Bill 159) that would require Ohio voters to show various forms of identification in order to cast a ballot is not needed. It reflects a stunted sense of history, or most charitably, a form of electoral amnesia.

Where is the evidence of voter impersonation that might warrant such a requirement? This bill is simply an attempt to make it harder for certain citizens to vote. And many of those citizens are African-Americans.

As I said in my testimony before the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee on June 22, “throughout history, whenever those engaging in the strategy of voter obstruction were challenged, the answer was always a denial that racial motives were involved, just as those advancing this pernicious voter ID now contend.”

Editorials: Republican Secretary Of State Criticizes Voter ID Bill Because It ‘Excludes Legally Registered Voters’ Ballots From Counting’ | ThinkProgress

Ever since Ken Blackwell’s oversight of the Buckeye State’s 2004 presidential election resulted in the disenfranchisement of thousands of voters, the Ohio secretary of state has played an outsized role in election administration.

Seven years later, with Republicans in at least 22 states across the country pushing voter ID laws, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted (R) has broken with his party and criticized the effort, which restricts voters’ access to the ballot box.

Editorials: Charlie White: Recount Commission decision should rest with facts and law | The Indianapolis Star

In recent months, much has been said and written about the Indiana Democratic Party’s challenge to my candidacy and election. Months to you have felt like years to me, and I welcome the end to this chapter with today’s findings of the Indiana Recount Commission — whatever they may be.

It was unnecessary and cruel to drag my family into this matter. Much of what forms the basis of the dispute in this challenge and the criminal action in Hamilton County center on my attempts to put the needs of my family first — to respect the wishes of my wife, Michelle, and her children, and my desire to be near and share custody of my son with my former wife and friend, Nicole, during my campaign. Both Michelle and Nicole have been targeted or questioned by prosecutors and the Democrats’ legal team. I’m relieved our side of the story is now public record.

Editorials: New Florida Voting Law: Voting Ban On Final Sunday |

The Legislature’s recent changes to Florida’s elections law were so massive and controversial, it would be ironic if the overhaul came tumbling down because of one slightly obscure overstep. Here’s hoping that’s the case.

The overstep, pointed out June 12 in a front-page article by The Ledger’s Lloyd Dunkelberger, was the Legislature’s decision to disallow early voting on the Sunday before an election that features state or federal races.

That tweak might not seem like much, against the backdrop of the numerous and damaging changes imposed by the new law — such as tougher restrictions on voter registration, a severe reduction of the early voting period, and limitations aimed at young and absentee voters.

Editorials: Whose voter fraud? | Toledo Blade

The General Assembly is considering several bills that, in the name of combating voter fraud, would promote vote suppression. Ohioans shouldn’t be fooled.

The legislation, promoted by the Republican majorities in the state House and Senate, would require Ohioans to show government-issued photo identification at the polls before they could exercise their right to vote. It also would prohibit counties from mailing unsolicited absentee-ballot applications to voters. Both provisions are solutions in search of problems, designed to limit the vote instead of keeping it honest.

The House approved its version of voter-ID legislation with scant public comment. The Senate was on track to do so yesterday, but separated that issue from other election changes. Sponsors argue that the identification mandate will prevent voters from trying to cast multiple ballots in the same election, but there is no evidence that has been a problem in Ohio.

Editorials: In voter fraud case, officials err on the side of secrecy |

My efforts to obtain the evidence behind Secretary of State Dianna Duran’s claim that she has found instances of foreign nationals illegally voting have been shot down again, this time by the Taxation and Revenue Department.

Two months ago I asserted that Secretary of State Dianna Duran failed the open government test because she put a number of hurdles – some of them illegal – in front of my efforts to obtain the “evidence” she claims to have found of foreign nationals illegally voting in elections.

Since then, I tried a backdoor route to obtain some of the information, filing a public records request with the state’s Taxation and Revenue Department (TRD) for e-mail correspondence between its Motor Vehicle Division and Duran’s office, and all documents attached to those e-mails.

Editorials: How states are rigging the 2012 election | The Washington Post

An attack on the right to vote is underway across the country through laws designed to make it more difficult to cast a ballot. If this were happening in an emerging democracy, we’d condemn it as election-rigging. But it’s happening here, so there’s barely a whimper.

The laws are being passed in the name of preventing “voter fraud.” But study after study has shown that fraud by voters is not a major problem — and is less of a problem than how hard many states make it for people to vote in the first place. Some of the new laws, notably those limiting the number of days for early voting, have little plausible connection to battling fraud.

These statutes are not neutral. Their greatest impact will be to reduce turnout among African Americans, Latinos and the young. It is no accident that these groups were key to Barack Obama’s victory in 2008 — or that the laws in question are being enacted in states where Republicans control state governments.

Editorials: Floor Statement on Republican Efforts to Terminate the Election Assistance Commission | Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer

House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor today in opposition to Republican efforts to terminate the Election Assistance Commission, the agency Congress created to help ensure fair elections. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:

“The right to vote is at the foundation of our democracy—and so it is extremely disappointing that this bill would undermine our nation’s ability to protect that right.

“I rise in strong opposition to this bill, which would cut funding for fair and accessible elections. Eliminating funding for the Election Assistance Commission would harm the integrity of our elections in 2012, and for years to come. Voters deserve assurance that their votes will count.