A solid majority of Australians voted in favor of same-sex marriage in a historic survey that, while not binding, paves the way for Parliament to legally recognize the unions of gay and lesbian couples. Of 12.7 million Australians who took part in the government survey, 61.6 percent voted yes and 38.4 percent voted no, officials announced on Wednesday morning. Participation was high, with 79.5 percent of voting-age Australians sending back their postal ballots. “The Australian people have spoken, and they have voted overwhelmingly ‘yes’ for marriage equality,” said Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who called the survey in a move described by advocates as a delay tactic devised to appease his party’s far-right faction. “They voted ‘yes’ for fairness, they voted ‘yes’ for commitment, they voted ‘yes’ for love.”
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Colorado voters who failed to sign the outside of the return envelope they were supplied with their 2017 ballots have until the close of business on Wednesday to “cure” that problem in order to have their votes counted in the final official election tallies. County clerks have mailed notifications of the issue to voters that turned in ballots without the required signature — as well as notifying voters in cases where election judges could not verify that the signatures on the envelopes matched signatures on the voters’ registration records. Mircalla Wozniak, a spokeswoman for the Boulder County Clerk and Recorder’s Office, said that as of Monday afternoon, there still were 562 county voters’ ballots that needed to be “cured.”
Australia won’t know the results of the same-sex marriage survey until 10am on Wednesday morning. But there has been a growing assumption over the course of the campaign that the “yes” camp will win. Senior ministers such as Peter Dutton and Julie Bishop have said they think the “yes” vote will win. “Yes” campaigner Sarah Hanson-Young has said she’s “very, very confident”. And as voting closed last week, “no” spokesman Lyle Shelton conceded, “we’re chasing down a big lead”. Poll after poll has also found support for same-sex marriage is at about two to one. Just before the survey closed last week, a Guardian Essential Poll found 64 per cent of people who voted say they ticked “yes”.
It’s no secret that Utah County faced some issues during its first foray into an all vote-by-mail election during the August primary, but the county is taking steps to make sure the general election goes more smoothly. The issues started when 60,000 ballots were sent to unaffiliated voters in the county, mistakenly containing the option to vote in the Republican primary for the 3rd Congressional District Race. Then final results were drawn out, with the fourth and final batch of election results being released more than a week after the primary election on Aug. 15.
A lawsuit filed by members of the Navajo Nation who say mail-in voting in southern Utah disenfranchises tribal voters is headed for trial. U.S. District Judge Jill Parrish set a March 16 trial date Thursday in the case filed by the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission and the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah. Mail-in ballots are harder for Navajo voters to receive because many don’t have mailboxes and can be difficult to use for people who speak Navajo, said John Mejia with the ACLU.
Sacramento County Registrar of Voters Jill LaVine on Oct. 10 presented details about how county voters will vote next year. She gave the details to the Elk Grove-South County Democratic Club. LaVine’s speech was an educational presentation related to Senate Bill 450 – aka the California Voters Choice Act – which was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown on Sept. 28. Through that bill, beginning in 2018, ballots will be sent to every registered voter. LaVine noted that voter registration will automatically occur through any interaction one has with the Department of Motor Vehicles. But she added that those who do not specify a political party preference will be defaulted to the category of “no party preference.” Voters will also be introduced to vote centers, LaVine said.
Oregon City’s Roxane Riseling said it was “very weird” to get a letter from the elections office for her daughter Megan saying that signatures didn’t match after the September police-bond measure; the same thing happened to both the mother and daughter in two different recent elections, and they say that their signatures “haven’t changed.” Clackamas County has some of the highest proportions of ballots being rejected because county elections officials determine that the voter’s signature on the ballot doesn’t match their registration card.
Citing concerns about election cyber security, San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder Tommy Gong has decided to keep neighborhood polling places with an option to vote by mail in 2018, opting out of a state test of an all-vote-by-mail system. Gong said the new model that also would have included a handful of voting centers to be open for multiple days — and expected to increase voter participation and save money — may be implemented for the presidential primaries in March 2020. Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill to modernize California elections a year ago. Fourteen counties, including San Luis Obispo, were offered a chance to participate in 2018. So far, Sacramento, Nevada, Napa and San Mateo counties decided to make the switch, according to the State Secretary of State Office.
Think back a decade: what did your cell phone look like? Now imagine carrying out your normal routine today with that old phone. That scenario sums up the problem facing California’s aging voting system. Around the state, the machines that handle ballots have grown old as technology has advanced. There are also increasing concerns about security threats and how to get more voters to participate in elections. And the pending rollout of a new law could do away with most neighborhood polling locations and nudge more voters to vote by mail. In short, many California voters are facing a major shakeup in how they will be casting ballots. “There is a lot of change going on at once and I do think it’s tricky,” said Kim Alexander, president and founder of the nonprofit California Voter Foundation.
As California moves closer to the rollout of a major voting overhaul law, new research from UC Davis suggests that some racial and ethnic groups could be left behind under the new system. The research, released Thursday by the university’s California Civic Engagement Project, shows large disparities among racial and ethnic groups regarding mail voting and the degree to which they trust the U.S. Postal Service, which is a key component to voting by mail. The new law, which was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last fall, is expected to shutter many neighborhood polling places. Instead, counties will have the option to switch to “vote centers,” where voters can cast ballots over a period of up to 10 days. The new system will also rely heavily on an increased use of voting by mail. In most parts of the state, all registered voters will automatically receive a vote-by-mail ballot.