The Voting News

Kenya: Court overturns ruling on presidential ballot contract | AFP

Kenya’s appeals court on Thursday quashed a ruling cancelling a contract to print presidential ballot papers, a victory for the electoral commission less than three weeks before general elections. The decision comes two weeks after the high court ordered the electoral commission to start a tender process from scratch, arguing a lack of transparency in the awarding of the printing contract to a Dubai-based firm. The pending court case raised tensions in the lead-up to what is set to be a close battle between incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga on August 8, with observers on high alert for possible violence. However, the five-judge bench at the appeals court quashed the ruling. Read More

Nepal: Stakeholders demand voting rights for migrant workers | Republica

Speakers at a programme here stressed for a provision wherein the Nepali migrant workers abroad could cast their ballots back home by any means. At an interaction programme themed on the voting rights of the migrant workers and organized by People Forum in the capital city, they also suggested the concerned authorities to consider the ways for the Nepali migrant workers off-shore to help them exercise their franchise in the next local level election to be held after five years. There are a total of 115 countries in the world having provisions for their fellow citizens in the foreign soil to vote, they shared recommending a system wherein the Nepali migrant workers could cast vote at Nepali diplomatic missions from the respective countries they work in.  Read More

Pakistan: Electoral reforms committee approves ‘Election Bill 2017’ with dissenting notes | Daily Pakistan

The parliamentary committee on electoral reforms finalised ‘The Election Bill, 2017’ on Wednesday with dissenting notes by five political parties. Talking to newsmen after the approval Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, who is the chairperson of the committee expressed that the bill will formally be signed on July 21 (Friday) by the committee for its onward submission to parliament for approval. “Nine major election laws have been merged in The Election Bill, 2017 as per best international practices, with the input of all political parties having representation in parliament,” Dar said. Read More

National: Kris Kobach: ‘We may never know’ who won 2016 popular vote | USA Today

On the day of the first meeting of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, its vice chairman suggested Wednesday “we may never know” if Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in the 2016 election. During an interview with MSNBC, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach was asked if he believed that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. Kobach’s reply: “You know, we may never know the answer to that question.” Later in the interview, he repeated himself and emphasized that the commission would not be able to tell which way an ineligible vote was cast. “It’s impossible to know exactly, if you take out all the ineligible votes, what the final tally would be in that election,” he said. “You could obviously, based on the data, you could make some very educated guesses.” When asked if the votes that won Trump the election are also in doubt, Kobach replied, “Absolutely.” Read More

National: Trump’s election integrity panel won’t probe Russian infiltration of state election systems | Portland Press Herald

President Trump’s controversial Election Integrity Commission won’t be probing Russian infiltration of state election systems after all. At the commission’s inaugural meeting Wednesday in Washington – which the president briefly attended to push his evidence-free theory that the 2016 election was tainted widespread voter fraud – Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap raised the subject, but agreed with his colleagues to instead rely on any information a Senate probe into Russian interference in the election might provide. “The Senate Intelligence Committee will keep us apprised on what they find and we can work it into our report,” Dunlap told the Press Herald shortly after the meeting concluded. “We don’t have to do our separate investigations. I don’t think we are equipped to do that.” The substantive part of the meeting focused on what actions the commission should take now that most states have rejected its request for voter registration information, with commissioners brainstorming on what data the federal government already had in its possession and how it might be used to explore voter fraud concerns. Read More

National: Trump stokes voter fraud fears as commission convenes | Politico

President Donald Trump put the power of the presidency behind one of his favorite theories on Wednesday, convening a panel to investigate voter fraud even though experts have largely dismissed his evidence-free claim that “millions” of illegal votes last year cost him the popular vote. Vice President Mike Pence, who leads the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity created by executive order in May, said at the group’s first meeting that its findings were not predetermined. But Trump himself has repeatedly declared, without evidence, that mass voter fraud took place during the 2016 election. And by Wednesday afternoon, the fraud theories became even more muddled when Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, Trump’s hand-picked vice chair of the commission, indicated he had no way of knowing who actually won the 2016 election. Read More

National: Shrugging off controversy, Trump’s voter-fraud panel seeks more personal data | The Boston Globe

Shrugging off complaints about whether it is even necessary, President Trump’s commission on voter fraud doubled down when it met for the first time on Wednesday and asked its staff to look into assembling vast new caches of information on individuals. The commission indicated it wants to collect information already held by the federal government and tasked the staff with getting the Department of Homeland Security to turn over data on people applying for citizenship, since they must check off a box indicating whether they have registered to vote. The panel also discussed seeking information on people who have attempted to get out of jury duty by claiming to be noncitizens. The reason: Jury lists come from voter rolls, so noncitizens shouldn’t be on the list to begin with. Most experts say voter fraud is extremely rare in the United States, and the commission has already come under heavy criticism for trying to scoop up personal data on voters in every state. Read More

National: Despite criticism, 30 states intend to give voter information to Trump fraud commission | The Sacramento Bee

Despite criticism from most states about the Trump administration’s request for voters’ personal information, half have said they will deliver some or all of that data to the White House election commission. And that number could grow, President Donald Trump said on Wednesday, with more than 30 states turning over some information, including names, addresses and birth dates, to the group being run by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. “If any state does not want to share this information, one has to wonder what they’re worried about,” Trump said, questioning the motives of states that have not complied with requests for information. “ What are they worried about? There’s something. There always is.” Trump created the elections commission after claiming — without evidence — that millions of people had voted illegally and deprived him of a popular-vote victory. He has argued specifically that fraud denied him a win in three states: California, New Hampshire and Virginia. Independent groups and election officials said there was no evidence of either charge, but Kobach said Wednesday that the public would never know the true results of the election. Read More

National: Activists urge voters to stay registered after fraud commission’s data request | Politico

Liberal activists are urging people to stay registered to vote after President Donald Trump’s new election integrity commission’s request for voter data spooked some Americans and caused them to cancel their registrations. Colorado got a burst of publicity after more than 3,700 residents canceled voter registrations, according to media reports. And while that’s a tiny percentage of total voters in the state, activists said it’s the wrong response to the federal government’s request for state voter information. “We don’t want people to be afraid of registering — not to do so is to play into the hands of the voter suppressors,” said Nathan Woodliff-Stanley, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Colorado. “To the thousands of people who have deregistered: go reregister and bring two others.” Read More

National: What could Trump’s fraud commission do with voter data? | PBS NewsHour

The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity met for the first time Wednesday, as President Donald Trump again pushed his unfounded claim that widespread voter fraud took place in the 2016 election. The voter fraud commission’s first formal meeting came three weeks after Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach — one of the panel’s vice chairmen, along with Vice President Mike Pence — penned a letter to all 50 states requesting that they turn over key voter information. So far, at least 24 states have said they’ll comply with the request, though there is no evidence of Mr. Trump’s claims that “millions” of people voted illegally last year and cost him the popular vote. Seventeen states and the District of Columbia have refused to comply with the request, which sparked a flurry of lawsuits from groups like the American Civil Liberties Union. At the meeting Wednesday, Trump suggested that the states that haven’t complied have something to hide. “What are they worried about? There’s something. There always is,” Trump said. As more states and advocacy groups wade into the debate, here is a closer look at the commission, how voter records are collected and stored across the country, and how the White House could potentially use the data to its advantage. Read More