The recently enacted Voter ID law is coming under fire as one group questions whether it is constitutional.
Beginning next year, voters will have to show identification before voting. But the League of Women Voters wants to put an end to the law now. The group plans to file a lawsuit questioning whether the law is legal. The group says about 30 percent of Wisconsin voters don’t have a proper ID and can’t afford to get one. Read More
Foot traffic on the Hinds County Courthouse’s basement level went from casual to concentrated as the clock ticked Monday afternoon. Hallways began to get congested as Republican and Democratic managers at the county’s 119 precincts each picked up their box of supplies for today’s primary runoff – red for Republican and blue for Democrat.
A couple of hours earlier, employees in the circuit clerk’s office began placing completed absentee ballots in the numbered precinct boxes. Preparations were quiet and deliberate, in sharp contrast to the constant buzz and raised voices in the days following the Aug. 2 primary. Primary-day snafus with ballots, voting machines and poll workers to post-election arguments about absentee ballots and vote-counting security, increased tensions in the Democratic primary.
“I hope it will be a different day tomorrow,” Hinds County Democratic Executive Committee chairman Claude McInnis said Monday. “The lack of information on how elections work contributed to it more than anything.” Read More
The Democratic primary runoff is set for Tuesday. There were some issues reported during the primary election earlier this month. Hinds County Election Commissioner Connie Cochran said the only voting machine problems were at the Wynndale precinct and that was because they weren’t programmed correctly. But Cochran’s fellow commissioner, Jermal Clark, said he thinks the machines need to be replaced.
The machines were bought in 2002. The commission has $1.3 million set aside to buy new machines or upgrade them. It would cost more than that to replace them, Cochran said. Each voting machine has its own red bar code, which is the number they were programmed at the warehouse with and then sealed. During the primary election there were complaints about wrong ballots or not enough paper ballots at several precinct sites in the city. Read More
The partisan battle over a voter ID bill didn’t end when Republican legislators failed to override a veto by Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue. The bill is still alive in a House committee, thanks to a deft and perfectly legitimate parliamentary maneuver by the majority leader, Rep. Paul Stam. It can be brought up for another override attempt anytime before the 2011-12 General Assembly session adjourns next year. It could happen when legislators return to Raleigh for a few days next month.
An override requires a three-fifths vote of members present, so the time to return a measure to the floor is when several opponents are absent. Democrats should take that as a warning against letting down their guard. News & Record Raleigh reporter Mark Binker also noted rumors that Republicans might try to pass voter ID requirements through a series of local bills, each one applying to a specific jurisdiction. The governor can’t veto local bills. Read More
Local election commissions and advocacy groups are rolling out campaigns to educate people about a new Tennessee law that requires registered voters to present photo identification at the polls. Election commissioners say they worry that people don’t know or understand the new requirements. Senior and minority groups are concerned that the law, which will go into effect Jan. 1, creates voting “hurdles” for groups less likely to have photo IDs, including seniors, minorities and young voters.
The law, which lawmakers say was passed to reduce voter fraud, provides a mechanism for free photo IDs for people who do not have them. Qualified photo IDs include Tennessee driver’s licenses, gun permits with photos, any other state-issued ID except for student IDs issued by state universities, and federal government-issued IDs such as passports and military IDs.
“People don’t realize this is a law; people are angry,” said Hamilton County Election Administrator Charlotte Mullis-Morgan. “Nobody can tell me there was voter fraud in Hamilton County.” Read More
Texas officials are citing the Justice Department’s controversial approval of Georgia’s voter ID law during the Bush administration as a reason for the Obama administration to clear their new law.
… Secretary of State Hope Andrade wrote a letter to the chief of the Civil Rights Division’s voting section defending the measure and seeking preclearance under the Voting Rights Act. Andrade called the Texas law “remarkably similar” to Georgia’s precleared voter ID law. “In fact, DOJ precleared Georgia’s original photo-identification law even before Georgia enacted its free ID provision and its most recent extensive voter education mandate, which Georgia added in a subsequent legislative session.”
But the approval of the Georgia voter ID law was done by political officials in the Bush Justice Department over the objection of career employees in the voting section, who had recommended that the law not be approved. Read More
Afghanistan’s election commission on Sunday sought to bring the nation’s year-long political stalemate to an end, ordering the unseating of nine of the parliament’s 249 lawmakers for electoral fraud. The decision was meant to defuse a feud between President Hamid Karzai and the parliament stretching back to last September’s fraud-riddled legislative elections.
Mr. Karzai, who decried the parliament’s makeup as unrepresentative because of the fraud, paved the way for Sunday’s announcement earlier this month. Then, acting under strong international pressure, he dissolved a special elections court and recognized the Independent Election Commission’s authority to rule on the issue.
The special court, filled with judges appointed by Mr. Karzai, had been widely viewed as an attempt by the president to change the election results and dilute the increased power of his rivals. The court had called for the replacement of 62 of the parliament’s members. Read More
Concern mounted yesterday over the lack of funding available for the upcoming 2012 commune and district elections, as representatives from the government’s National Election Committee held a press conference to appeal for more backing. “Up until now, the Royal Government has yet to dispense any funds for the NEC, not even one hundred riel,” Committee chief Im Sousdei said during a speech in Phnom Penh.
“The NEC has budgeted US$23 million for the administration of the elections, which will be held on January 29 of next year,” he said, adding that the NEC was planning to open an additional 790 polling stations, bringing the total nationwide to 18,126.
Koul Panha, executive director of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections, yesterday echoed the NEC’s anxieties, calling an adequate budget “very important” for the process of voter registration. Read More
The St. Petersburg governor is one step closer to becoming the upper house speaker as she received over 95 per cent of the vote in municipal elections. The opposition claims the unusually high level of support could only be caused by a rigged poll.
Russian news agencies reported that Governor Valentina Matviyenko received 93.7 per cent of the vote in a municipal by-election in the Petrovsky district on Sunday.Voter turnout was at 36.54 per cent. The turnout at the Krasnenkaya Rechka district where Matviyenko was running was slightly lower – 28 per cent – where over 94.5 per cent voted in favor of the incumbent governor.
Elections monitors say that the poll was conducted without any major violations, but noted several incidents.At one polling station, the head of the elections commission tried to bar a journalist from Novaya Gazeta newspaper from observing the course of the voting, but failed. Read More
Liberia’s electoral commission admitted Tuesday to an error on the ballot papers for a constitutional referendum, in a section where voters have to decide on the retirement age of the chief justice.
Among four laws the referendum asks voters to decide on Tuesday, is whether to change the retirement age from 70 to 75 for the chief justice and all Supreme Court judges. However the ballot paper has the ‘yes’ option at 75, as well as the ‘no’ option.
“We have noticed a very serious error while casting our vote, it is about the age of the chief justice,” said 28-year old university student Bille Koffe. “Instead of two propositions, 70 and 75, we saw only 75 and 75. We find it difficult to choose so I simply put there, ‘error’, because when I asked the administrator, he answered me saying it was an error noticed a week ago but it was too late to make a change.” Read More
Thousands of European citizens who reside in the Republic of Cyprus will have the right to vote and/or to be elected in the local authorities’ elections, which will take place in December, 2011.
In statements to CNA, Head of the Election Service of the Ministry of the Interior, Demetris Demetriou, said that the number of European Union citizens who are expected to apply for registration in the special electoral list for European Community electors could surpass 6.000. Read More
By-elections in Kenya come and go, but few command attention in the form of drama or uniqueness. Among the few was the one held in Kamukunji constituency last Thursday. The turn-out was only 30 per cent of the registered voters.
Kamukunji is a special constituency that has, over time, acquired the status of a political shrine thereby giving the name Kamkunji to have extra political meanings. It is symbolic of struggles as well as a political weathervane. In colonial days, it acquired a reputation as the place where Africans could hold rallies, mostly political, because there were no other venues available for “natives”. It was an open field, surrounded by heavily crowded “African quarters” such as Shauri Moyo, Kaloleni, Muthurwa, Majengo and Gorofani. Read More