Republican lawmakers failed Tuesday to override a veto by Gov. Beverly Perdue that would have required voters to show photo identification before casting an in-person ballot. The House voted 67-52 in favor of the override, five votes short of what’s needed to move it to the Senate.
Republicans argued the photo ID mandate would discourage voter fraud. Democrats said the requirement is unnecessary because reports of fraud are few and that it would only lead to voter suppression, particularly older people, minorities and women.
The override question spurred passionate debate about voting in an era in which citizens show identification to enter government buildings or get on an airplane but only a half-century since blacks in the Jim Crow-era South were discouraged from voting because of the color of their skin. Read More
With only a week left before the United States of America could default on its debt, it’s easy to look at the federal government and wonder how we ever made it this far. Who would have guessed that a committed gang of extremists could bring down the economy? And yet, that’s where we find ourselves today, cornered by a manufactured crisis and running out of time. As Larry Sabato rightly tweeted over the weekend, “For anybody who teaches the American system and believes in it, this has been an extremely discouraging week.”
Unfortunately, the assault on our democracy is not confined to Congress or the standoff over the debt ceiling. It is also seeping into the states, where voting rights — the fundamental underpinning of any democracy — are being curbed and crippled.
In states across the country, Republican legislatures are pushing through laws that make it more difficult for Americans to vote. The most popular include new laws requiring voters to bring official identification to the polls. Estimates suggest that more than 1 in 10 Americans lack an eligible form of ID, and thus would be turned away at their polling location. Most are minorities and young people, the most loyal constituencies of the Democratic Party. Read More
If there has been any doubt regarding the intent behind this year’s upsurge in voter ID legislation, Governor Scott Walker’s latest move leaves little room to question the conservative disenfranchisement agenda, at least in the state of Wisconsin. In what seems like a blatant attempt to lessen the accessibility of photo identification, Governor Walker’s administration has announced the closure of sixteen DMV centers throughout the state – for “economic” purposes.
“What the heck is going on here? Is politics at play here?” asked Rep. Andy Jorgenson (D-Fort Atkinson). The Department of Transportation plans to close the DMV center in Jorgenson’s county of Fort Atkinson, with the next nearest station more than thirty minutes away by car.
An official from the Department of Transportation, however, insists that there is no correlation between the state’s recent passage of legislation requiring photo ID to vote and the planned closing of sixteen centers that provide the required identification. Read More
Maine Republican Party Chairman Charlie Webster is claiming that college students who pay out-of-state tuition rates and vote in state are committing voter fraud. At a press conference at the Maine State House, Webster gave the media a list of over 200 students — their names redacted — who paid out-of-state tuition rates but were registered to vote in the state.
Webster said he came up with the list because of opposition from voter rights groups to a law passed by the Republican-led legislature in June which banned voter registration on Election Day. A coalition of groups have launched a petition drive to overturn the law.
One problem. The University of Maine only allows individuals who previously lived in Maine — those who aren’t just living into the state to attend school — to pay a discounted in-state tuition rate. Read More
Secretary of State Elaine Walker and Boone County Clerk Kenny Brown will address state legislators Tuesday afternoon on the issues surrounding homeless voter registration. They will speak before the Interim Task Force on Elections, Constitutional Amendments and Intergovernmental Affairs to talk about the concerns raised over a memo last month from the Kentucky Board of Elections on the process for homeless voter registration.
Committee co-chairman Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, said he called the meeting with Walker and Brown to help lawmakers decide whether legislation will be necessary to allay concerns. “I want to have a committee hearing about it so we can look at potentially addressing it in the next session,” Thayer said.
The June 30 homeless voter registration memo from Board of Elections Executive Director Sarah Ball Johnson to all county clerks drew the objection of Boone County Clerk Kenny Brown. Read More
Cherokee Nation officials delayed decisions Tuesday regarding a special election to choose the tribe’s next principal chief. Election commissioners said they are awaiting a response from the tribe’s attorney general regarding three inquiries submitted Friday.
They also are waiting for the tribal council’s appointment of a commissioner to replace Roger Johnson, who resigned after the June 25 election. Officials said the special election issues pending before the attorney general primarily involve three questions of law. Read More
Security consulting company NetraGard has demonstrated that something as seemingly innocuous as a USB mouse, along with tidbits of information freely available on the Internet, can provide a hacker quick and easy access to a seemingly secure IT environment.
In a blog post on the company’s website, NetraGard founder Adriel Desautels explained that his company was hired to test the security of a client’s network while adhering to some very stringent restrictions: The NetraGard team could target only one IP address, offering no services, bound to a firewall. Further, the team couldn’t even use social engineering tactics, such as duping an employee to reveal information over the phone or via email. They couldn’t even physically access the client’s campus.
NetraGard’s solution: Transform a Logitech USB mouse into an HID (hacker interface device) by installing on it a mini-controller and a micro Flash drive loaded with custom malware. The blog post goes into explicit detail of the painstaking process of operating on the mouse. Read More
Speaking before a joint session of Congress on March 15, 1965, LBJ urged support for the Voting Rights Act (VRA). He implored all members to get behind it or risk being on the wrong side of history. He asserted that “Experience has clearly shown that the existing process of law cannot overcome systematic and ingenious discrimination. No law…can ensure the right to vote when local officials are determined to deny it.”
That was then, and Justice Clarence Thomas (among others) and his assertion that the time for the Voting Rights Act has indeed come and gone, is now. But before we throw dirt on the VRA once and for all, a bit of context is in order.
With the current redistricting cycle full steam ahead, the VRA becomes controlling when plaintiffs seek to challenge newly drawn maps of legislative districts with sections (2) and (5) being invoked. Section 2 prohibits any “voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice or procedure” being imposed or applied to any State or political subdivision” that would “deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color” while Section (5) requires a DOJ or US District Court of DC “pre-clearance” when seeking to administer any voting qualification, procedure, standard, practice or procedure “different from that in force or effect November 1, 1964.” Read More
The Election Commission has ordered a ballot recount in Yala province. The EC agreed in a three-to-two vote yesterday to order the recount in Yala’s constituency 2 following a complaint filed by Pheu Thai MP candidate, Sugarno Matha, EC deputy secretary-general Somchart Jesrichai said.
Mr Sugarno told the EC earlier that the total number of ballots cast did not match the voter turnout in the constituency. Mr Sugarno received 33 votes less than Abdulkarim Dengrakeena, the winner from the Democrat Party. There were more than 9,000 dud ballots in the constituency. Read More
The much-anticipated discourse between the Election Commission and Bersih 2.0 organisers was marred by booing from the emotionally-strung crowd. Election Commission (EC) deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar was interrupted so many times that he could not fully explain his answers to the questions posed during the dialogue Tuesday.
At one point, the crowd chanted that the “EC has no power” as Wan Ahmad explained that the commission had no power to amend the election laws because this was under the purview of the Attorney-General’s Chambers.
“The commission is just an election management body and not an enforcement agency. We don’t have investigators. We don’t have the power of arrest as the police do,” said Wan Ahmad during his opening remarks. Read More
The Electoral Commission of Zambia ECZ has completed the correction of anomalies on the voter’s register. And the commission is finalizing the voter’s register in readiness for this year’s tripartite elections.
ECZ Chairperson Irene Mambilima says the voters’ register is now in its final stages. She was speaking in an interview with ZNBC News in Lusaka on today. Justice Mambilima says preparations for the elections are on course. Read More
Braving the rain, people Tuesday participated in a mock poll in Cherrapunjee, one of the wettest places on earth, using a new electronic voting machine that gives out a paper trail as proof of the voting. The simulated polling was held on the Voter Verifiable Paper Trial (VVPT) system. It was conducted by the Election Commission in 36 polling stations under Sohra assembly constituency.
‘I found the new voting machine much more transparent compared to the electronic voting machines,’ said Mary Queen Nongbri after exercising her vote in a VVPT system, developed by the Electronic Corporation of India Limited (ECIL).
Similarly, Wanropbor Umdor, who also tested the new VVPT system, said, ‘The new voting machine should replace the electronic voting machines to ensure free and fair voting.’ Read More