When the fleeing motorcycle hit the curb, scraped past a utility pole and hurled 20-year-old Craig Eney to his death, a bogus South Carolina driver’s license was in the hip pocket of his jeans. He spent the final hours of his life trading on that phony license to buy shots for his buddies at two downtown Annapolis bars, places so popular among underage drinkers that bouncers are stationed outside to check everyone’s ID. Yet scores of young people flash fake driver’s licenses and waltz on by to the bar.
The days when faking driver’s licenses was a cottage industry — often practiced in college dorm rooms by a computer geek with a laminating machine — have given way to far more sophisticated and prolific practitioners who operate outside the reach of U.S. law enforcement.
In an era when terrorism and illegal immigration have transformed driver’s licenses into sophisticated mini-documents festooned with holograms and bar codes, beating the system has never been easier. Just wire money to “the Chinese guy.” Read More
Secretary of State Kurt Browning has asked a federal court to approve Florida’s new election law, sidestepping the U.S. Justice Department on the most controversial portions of the voting overhaul approved by the GOP-dominated legislature in May.
Critics of the new law say it is designed to make registering to vote and casting ballots more difficult for minorities and low-income voters, who tend to vote Democratic. The ACLU and other groups are challenging the law in federal court in Miami. Jesse Jackson held rallies in Florida this week protesting the law.
On Friday, Browning withdrew four portions of the law – including those being challenged in federal court – from the application the state filed in June with the Department of Justice. Read More
Dianna Duran, New Mexico’s secretary of State who took office in January, sounded a tad pugnacious in March when she reported that 117 foreign nationals with phony Social Security numbers had registered to vote and 37 had cast ballots in elections. There was, she said, “a culture of corruption” in the state.
Duran, who had ordered her staff to check 1.16 million voter registration records against motor vehicle and Social Security databases, also raised eyebrows by referring 64,000 voter registration records to the state police, citing irregularities.
No one has been charged with a crime, and Duran, a former Republican state senator and county clerk, has since taken fire from Democratic legislators, public interest groups and news organizations that say she has overstated her case, scared voters and withheld proof of her claims. Read More
The state’s plan to cut out reimbursement to counties for vote-by-mail ballots won’t affect Mendocino County much, according to Registrar of Voters Sue Ranochak. The state Legislature passed a bill in its 2011-12 budget that aims to save $33 million by suspending state mandates that require counties to process voter registration applications received by mail and to send vote-by-mail ballots to voters who apply for them, among other mandates suspended.
Secretary of State Debra Bowen opposes the suspensions, saying they could cause confusion and disenfranchise voters, and Ranochak concurs, along with about 45 other counties represented at a recent meeting. “I’m going to follow what the secretary of state recommends,” Ranochak said. “It’s important that people vote.”
Not that the suspensions change much for Mendocino County, according to Ranochak. She explained that the county pays all costs up front for each election, then waits for reimbursement from the state, which can take anywhere from six months to two years. Read More
A round of automated phone calls urging residents of the 32nd Senate District to vote one week after the upcoming recall election has voters from both parties crying foul. Several voters reported receiving calls Saturday asking about their preference and likelihood to vote in the recall election pitting Republican Sen.
Dan Kapanke against Democratic Rep. Jennifer Shilling, both of La Crosse.
The recorded calls, recipients said, urged them to vote Aug. 16. Only one problem: The 32nd District votes on Aug. 9.
Government Account -ability Board spokesman Reid Magney said the Democratic National Committee called election officials Friday saying they initiated the calls but stopped them Saturday once the incorrect date was discovered. The DNC did not respond to requests for comment Friday.
There are two recall elections set for Aug. 16 in other districts. Read More
Supporters of a people’s veto campaign to restore Election Day voter registration were obviously concerned when Secretary of State Charlie Summers announced last Wednesday that he was holding a news conference to discuss what his office described as “preliminary findings regarding voter fraud allegations.”
The group’s anxiety was partially attributable to fears that Summers may have discovered voting impropriety within Republican Party Chairman Charlie Webster’s mysterious — some say dubious — list of 206 out-of-state college students. But more worrisome to the coalition was the scene that unfolded the next day in Summers’ office.
A throng of television cameras, radio and print reporters awaited his remarks. Supporters of same-day voter registration knew that visuals of Summers in his office would appear on that night’s newscasts, that afternoon’s newspaper websites and in print the next day. Read More
North Las Vegas Major Shari Buck is not happy with the ongoing legal battle for the Ward 4 Council seat occupied by Wade Wagner. She expressed her disappointment in how the election was handled by former councilman Richard Cherchio in a statement Friday.
“It is unfortunate that Richard Cherchio and his team have chosen to pursue phantoms and unresolved emotions by searching for nonexistent ‘problematic’ votes as they prepare to mount a feckless legal challenge. These actions have cost the taxpayers of North Las Vegas over $100,000 so far, which could have been used to mitigate layoffs. That cost continues to rise.”
Financially, the city is in a bind. It still has a $6.1 million gap in its 2012 budget and may have to lay off 35 to 40 non-public safety employees to save about $4.1 million. Read More
Indonesian police say 21 people have died in election-related violence in Papua. Clashes between hundreds of supporters of rival election candidates killed 17 people and injured dozens in remote Puncak district on Sunday.
Local police chief Alex Korwa Armed says they were armed with machetes, rocks and arrows and the mobs torched houses and cars. He says dozens of extra police and soldiers have been sent to secure the area and the situation is tense but under control.
The recently created district, which is only accessible by plane, is scheduled to hold its first local elections on November the 9th. Read More
Thailand’s Parliament will open today for the first time since Yingluck Shinawatra’s Pheu Thai party won a majority last month, paving the way for lawmakers to select her as the country’s first female prime minister.
The Election Commission has certified all but four of 500 winning candidates in the July 3 vote, discarding complaints aiming to thwart the sister of exiled former leader Thaksin Shinawatra from taking power. Court rulings and a coup have overturned three previous Thaksin election wins since 2005.
“They won a landslide so it will be easier to manage the country,” said Suwat Bumrungchartudom, an analyst at Bangkok- based Bualuang Securities Pcl. “The coalition is quite solid. The question now is whether they can follow through on their commitments before the election.” Read More
The State Election Commission (SEC) may have encouraged online voting during the municipal elections but it is going back to ballots and boxes for the polls to be held in more than 11,000 gram panchayats later this year.
Sources in the SEC indicated that the commission doesn’t have enough electronic voting machines (EVMs) to conduct the gram panchayat elections. “The commission is considering various options to conduct the elections and has not yet taken a final decision. There are not enough EVMs in the state to hold elections in more than 11,000 gram panchayats of Gujarat,” an official said. The official further said that there are currently around 40,000 EVMs in the state which can be used to conduct the gram panchayat elections. Read More
Fanning the flame of speculation regarding an electronic voting system for Sri Lankans, Presidential Secretary Lalith Weeratunga publicly stated last week that the Government planned to introduce such a system in a bid to promote “democratic engagement” among citizens.
Making this comment as the keynote speaker at a recent event on electronic governance, the two-day FutureGov Forum Sri Lanka 2011, which was held in Colombo; he also asserted that the “whole idea of expediting government processes is to save time of citizens.
It also saves time for the public servant. The additional time available for citizens can be therefore spent productively – to engage with family members, community and voluntary work and more importantly, to live a contented life, the dream of every human being.” Read More
The Electoral Assistance Bureau (EAB) says it has launched a programme to monitor Guyana’s general and regional elections due later this year.
A release from the EAB’s Council of Management on Friday stated that they would be testing the voters’ list and providing hotline and open house services to individuals wishing to check their names on the list or report any irregularities.
Additionally, the NGO will be conducting public awareness, training and placing observers at all polling stations to observe the polling process, and monitoring the count and award of seats to the National Assembly. Read More
Two MPs-elect who had been handed yellow cards by the Election Commission for vote-buying offences in the July 3 national poll retained their seats in a re-election yesterday, while a third victory was confirmed following a recount.
The two yellow-carded politicians were Pheu Thai’s Somkid Banthaisong of Nong Khai Constituency 2 and the Bhumjaithai Party’s Chakkrawan Chaiwiratnukul of Sukhothai’s Constituency 3. Meanwhile, Democrat Abdulkarim Dengrakina was the recipient of an even bigger victory following the recount in his Yala Constituency 2.
Mr Somkid, who was yellow-carded for buying votes in the general election, defeated his Chart Pattana Puea Pandin Party rival candidate Pitak Sitabutr again. The Nong Khai Election Commission Office announced unofficial results that Mr Somkid received 46,403 votes, while Mr Pitak won 10,726. In the previous poll, Mr Somkid won 45,927 votes. Read More
The Government is committed to electoral reforms and ensuring that parliamentary democracy is forever maintained, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
‘I am committed to electoral reform. We will undertake it. For example, there are concerns about phantom voters. We will ensure there is no chance for phantom voters,’ he said at the fifth annual Malaysian Student Leaders Summit here on Sunday. Read More
Civil organisations and pro-democracy organisations in Swaziland have resolved to form a transitional government ahead of the 2013 National Government elections. This is after a three day convention aimed at finding possible ways to engage government on political discussions, held at Ezulwini in Mababane.
Civil organisations met to discuss solutions on the political situation in Swaziland. They want the state to consider a multi-party democracy. “It has always been our desire to achieve full democracy and human rights in accordance with the United Nations declaration on human rights,” said Civil Society Organisations Bishop Meshack Mabuza. Read More