Many instances of voter fraud alleged in recent years have “morphed from facts and allegations to urban legend” and the biggest instances of the problem locally happened 20-plus years ago, according to a Kern County grand jury report released Thursday. Jurors investigated the local voting system, according to the report, after receiving a letter last year detailing a public presentation made by a 2002 30th Assembly District candidate alleging there were “huge discrepancies in voter registrations” before his loss. The report doesn’t name names but it’s obviously referring to Bakersfield businessman and Republican Dean Gardner, who lost the race to Democrat Nicole Parra by a razor-thin margin and alleged voter fraud at the time. Read Article
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During the legislative luncheon at the Colorado Press Association convention Friday, Secretary of State Scott Gessler told the Center Post-Dispatch that he will be weighing in soon on the problems with the Nov. 2 Saguache election. The SOS oversight of the election began under previous Secretary of State Bernie Buescher, now counsel for the State Attorney General’s Office. Gessler said he is currently wading through a voluminous stack of documentation on the election and will carefully evaluate the information before responding. Many of the problems the SOS encountered in dealing with the outcome of the election may be explained by the fact that Gessler did not officially come on board until Jan. 11. By then, Saguache County Clerk Melinda Myers had allegedly certified the election and citizen complaints were on file with the Attorney General’s Office. The canvass board had already issued their non-certification of the recount, and legal deadlines appeared to have passed for challenging the election. Read More
Colorado Elections Director Judd Choate has proclaimed “great faith” in the results of two dubious political races in south-central Colorado and says two of his staffers were on hand to help with its “retabulation.” “On the fifth of November, we sent down a couple of people to work on their retabulation, and we had two of our people … help [Saguache] County reassess their numbers,” Choate told the state’s Best Practices and Vision Commission, which he chairs, in a January meeting. “They saw no problems.” The explanation was intended to quiet an escalating controversy in Saguache County, where County Clerk Melinda Myers reversed the results of the Nov. 2 election and three days later declared herself the winner. The outcome of the county commissioner’s race also flipped in favor of the incumbent in Myers’ party. The problem with Choate’s account is that it isn’t true. Amy Wilson, the secretary of state’s elections trainer, was not present for the retabulation. Neither was a state lawyer Choate said was there. Read More
Proposals requiring Kansas and Missouri residents to show picture IDs when they vote gained steam in both states’ legislatures Thursday. One plan cruised through the Kansas House on a 78-36 vote, setting it up for final approval today. The measure also would require every person to show proof of citizenship when registering to vote. Meanwhile, the Missouri Senate approved a constitutional amendment requiring voters to show photo identification. If approved by the full General Assembly, it would go before voters in 2012. Read More
A bill that would require Missouri to show a state, federal, or military picture ID when voting moved to the house Friday after passage in the state senate the day before. The bill would amend the state’s constitution to change those requirements. Republican Senator Bill Stouffer of Marshall sponsored Senate Joint Resolution 2. “Our right to vote is probably one of the most important privileges we have and to ensure the integrity of the voting is extremely important,” Stouffer said. Versions of this bill have come up before, most notably in 2008, but Stouffer said this one lacks the flaws of previous versions. Read More
A bill to strip college students of the right to vote conforms with the Founding Fathers’ view of domicile, its lone sponsor argued Thursday. Rep. Gregory Sorg, R-Easton, said he merely wants to return residency for voting to where you came from and not where you’re attending school. “This doesn’t take away the right to vote for anyone,” Sorg insisted. “This says you vote where you reside, and you don’t vote where you happen to spend a few years of your time but have a domicile somewhere else.” But more than 100 students from across the state overwhelmed the few supporters of this bill (HB 176) to contend this would be a strike against representative democracy. Many mocked House Speaker William O’Brien, R-Mont Vernon, who recently told a conservative group in Rochester that out-of-state students attending school here should be unable to vote as they lack enough life experience and “think liberally.” Read More
A state representative wants to make some big changes to the Pennsylvania voting system, and he’s pursuing his plans by introducing a bundle of reform bills. Eugene DePasquale (D-York) wants to increase the rights of Independent-registered voters, change how companies contribute to political campaigns, create early voting options for elections, and make it easier for Independents to run for office. DePasquale’s first bill would allow Independent-registered voters to participate in primary elections, giving them the option to choose which party’s primary they would like to attend each year. Read More
There were no comments while Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett presented a brief overview of his job — until he began talking about elections. After his speech Thursday in front of the Kiwanis Club of Cleveland, a member said the voting machines used in Tennessee do not have a recorded paper trail and could be hacked in five minutes. “I don’t think they can be hacked in five minutes, but there is no perfect machine,” he said. “As long as we have people who want to commit fraud, they are going to find a way to commit it regardless of what kind of machine we have. Machines are not the culprit. People are the culprit” Hargett said he is not convinced the machines can be hacked in five minutes and the state is moving toward paper receipts that won’t tell how a person voted, only that they voted. It is his job to ensure all 95 counties have the tools necessary to run controversy-fee elections in which the public can have confidence. Read More
More than 20,000 people have already given their votes electronically in e-voting that started on Independence Day and continues until March 2 at 20:00. The electronic votes are not necessarily the “final answer” – the voter can change the vote simply by re-voting, with the last recorded vote being the one of record. Those who also vote in person at a polling precinct have their electronic votes cancelled and only the paper vote is counted. There is no electronic voting on Election Day, March 6. A total of 104,413 people voted online at the 2009 local elections. E-voting was first introduced in 2005 local elections, when fewer than 10,000 people used the new system.
The visually impaired in Assam will literally feel their right to franchise with their fingers, with the Election Commission arranging for Braille-inscribed electronic voting machines for this year’s Assembly elections. Earlier, the visually challenged voters used to cast their votes guided by an escort to the press the right button on the EVM. But this time, the voter can directly press the button of his choice on the EVM by identifying the serial number that will be inscribed beside each button. A Braille voter can walk to the machine by himself, unaccompanied by any escort to cast his vote. A source said the new batch of EVMs manufactured last year, have a number of features that have made them tamperproof and also have Braille inscriptions. The visually impaired voter, however, will have to be told the serial number of the political parties or candidates by the person accompanying him or by the poll personnel at the booth. Despite this little aid, the new system will make the challenged voters feel more self-sufficient and reduce his dependence on a companion to exercise their franchise. Read More
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