Kenya: Police arrest IEBC staff over illegal possession of ballot boxes | Daily Nation

The announcement of results for various elective seats in Kilgoris constituency, Narok County, was marred by delays and arrests, which almost crippled the process. Tallying was temporarily halted after a presiding officer, his deputy and a police officer were arrested with ballot papers in a house. Mr George Akumu, the presiding officer for Endoinyo Nkopit polling station and his deputy, Ms Sarah Yiamat Leperon, were seized in Milimani estate in Kilgoris town. Trans Mara West director of criminal investigations David Njogu said the two were in the company of Mr Pius Otieno, an Administration police officer. Mr Njogu said they suspected that the materials were intended to be used to stuff ballot boxes before sending them for tallying.

Haiti: U.S. observers: Haiti’s presidential elections deeply flawed | Miami Herald

A team of U.S.-based lawyers who witnessed last month’s Haitian elections say there is mounting evidence showing a clear pattern of systemic fraud, voter confusion and intimidation, and in some areas disenfranchisement. The report paints a grim picture of a flawed, chaotic electoral process on Oct. 25. Not only were voting procedures inconsistently applied at poorly designed polling stations, the report notes, but the widespread use of observer and political party accreditation led to people voting multiple times and potentially accounts for as much as 60 percent of the 1.5 million votes cast. “Without major corrective measures, these elections will represent a significant setback in Haiti’s long-struggle to consolidate democracy,” said the report based on the observations of a delegation of election monitors from the National Lawyers Guild and International Association of Democratic Lawyers Delegation.

Nigeria: Elections will not be delay: commission | Reuters

The head of Nigeria’s electoral commission said on Tuesday the country will hold a presidential election as scheduled on Feb. 14, rejecting a call from one of the president’s advisors to delay them. “We remain committed to implementing the timetable,” commission head Attahiru Jega told a news conference. President Goodluck Jonathan’s National Security Advisor Sambo Dasuki said last week that Nigeria should delay the election to allow more time for permanent voter cards (PVCs) to be distributed. Some 30 million have yet to be handed out. “We do not believe that the challenges of PVC distribution are such that it warrants rescheduling the election,” Jega said.

Nigeria: Electoral commission re-registers millions of voters wrongly struck off list | SWI

Nigeria has re-registered around 10 million voters wrongly struck off the roll a year ago due to technical glitches, leaving Africa’s most populous nation with an electorate of 68.8 million, the electoral commission said on Wednesday. The opposition cried foul when millions of voters were struck out because of biodata collection failures, taking the registered number down from 70.4 million to just 58.9 million. But the commission announced the final tally of permanent voter ID cards during a press conference on Tuesday evening. “Even though their finger prints were not captured the first time, they had an opportunity to come out and re-register,” commission spokesman Kayode Idowu said by telephone. “The final list has captured everyone.”

Maine: Mystery ballots in state Senate race bring call for investigation | The Portland Press Herald

The Maine Democratic Party is calling for an investigation into ballot count discrepancies on Long Island that tipped the scales in favor of the Republican candidate in the Senate District 25 race in Portland’s northern suburbs. The party’s claim involves 21 ballots from the island town that appeared on Nov. 18, when the Secretary of State’s Office conducted a recount in the race between Republican Cathy Manchester of Gray and Democrat Cathy Breen of Falmouth. The ballots were not tabulated by Long Island officials on election night Nov. 4, and all 21 of them were cast for Manchester, according to a written statement Tuesday from Secretary of State Matt Dunlap. The 21 ballots, combined with ballots from other towns that had been missing or were changed in the recount, were enough to reverse the results of the election and give Manchester an 11-vote victory over Breen, 10,927 to 10,916. The unofficial election night results, before the recount, showed Breen beating Manchester by 32 votes, 10,930 to 10,898. The Maine Democratic Party did not accept the results of the recount, which means the Maine Senate will create a special committee to review the recount and recommend a winner to the full Senate. Republicans will control the Senate when it is sworn in Dec. 3 and will hold four of the seven seats on the committee, which has broad discretion to make a recommendation as it evaluates the recount results.

Maine: Discovery Of ‘Phantom Ballots’ Has Maine Democrats Questioning State Senate Race Results | NHPR

The discovery of 21 so-called “phantom ballots” in Maine’s state Senate District 25 has Democrats crying foul. All 21 ballots were cast in Long Island for Republican Cathleen Manchester. Some Democratic officials are calling on Maine’s Secretary of State Matt Dunlap to intervene. But Dunlap says the outcome of the disputed election is up to the Maine Senate. Last week the voters of Senate District 21 were trying to figure out who they had elected as their new state senator. Comprised of so-called Gold Coast communities, such as Falmouth, Cumberland and Yarmouth, voters in those towns thought they had elected Democrat Catherine Breen, of Falmouth, who unofficially defeated Republican Cathleen Manchester of Gray by just 32 votes. The close election triggered a recount request that resulted in a reversal of fortune for Manchester, who now finds herself winning the race by 11 votes. But Kate Knox, an attorney for the Maine Democratic Party, had a chance to inspect the ballots from the District 25 town of Long Island. She says something doesn’t add up. “Then we went through and counted the number – the physical number of ballots,” she says. “That’s when we came up with,’Huh, this count appears to be 21 off.'”

Mozambique: Polls close with opposition crying foul | AFP

Mozambicans voted Wednesday in a closely-fought test for the ruling Frelimo party, which has run the southern African country since independence from Portugal in 1975, with opposition parties crying foul. Frelimo is facing growing discontent over a wealth gap that persists despite huge mineral resources, with fast economic growth sidestepping the bulk of a population that is among the world’s poorest. But members of the two opposition parties later claimed they had discovered attempts to stuff ballots by the ruling party. “A young man was shot (in the feet). He tried to stop the Frelimo (local) secretary from stuffing boxes,” in central Sofala province, said Sandes Carmona, spokesman for the fledgling MDM opposition party.  In northern Nampula province, riot police used teargas to disperse a crowd that had gathered at a polling station to watch the counting, claimed the MDM representative in the area, Elias Nquiri. Main opposition Renamo spokesman, Adriano Muchunga, claimed police opened fire in Nampula, the largest electoral province.

Editorials: After Afghanistan’s questionable election, a real chance for peace | The Washington Post

A week ago the political system fostered by the United States in Afghanistan was on the brink of collapse, with a new civil war being the likely result. After Afghan election authorities announced the preliminary results of a presidential election runoff, the apparent loser, Abdullah Abdullah, readied what looked to some like a coup, dispatching forces to Kabul police stations and lining up provincial governors to endorse his announcement of a government. Timely phone calls to Mr. Abdullah and rival Ashraf Ghani, first by Secretary of State John F. Kerry and then by President Obama, temporarily defused the crisis. Now Mr. Kerry has brokered an accord that appears to establish a clear plan for arbitrating the dispute over the election and establishing a stable government — a turnaround so remarkable that the U.N. representative in Kabul is calling it “not just a top-notch diplomatic achievement [but] close to a miracle.”

Afghanistan: Election officials admit voter fraud, delay results in presidential vote | Associated Press

Former finance minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai has the lead in Afghanistan’s disputed presidential election, according to a preliminary tally released Monday despite allegations of massive fraud. The announcement came as Ahmadzai is locked in a standoff with his rival Abdullah Abdullah, who has refused to accept any results until all fraudulent ballots are invalidated. The Independent Election Commission acknowledged that vote rigging had occurred and promised to launch a more extensive investigation before final results are released. “We cannot ignore that there were technical problems and fraud that took place during the election process,” the commission’s chairman Ahmad Yousuf Nouristani said. “We are not denying fraud in the election, some governors and Afghan government officials were involved in fraud.”

Azerbaijan: President’s re-election declared a day before the vote; opposition cries foul | The Washington Post

Something funny happened the day before Azerbaijan’s presidential election: The election commission announced the winner. On Tuesday, the smartphone app of the Central Election Commission released the results of Wednesday’s vote, showing President Ilham Aliyev, whose family has been at the helm of this oil-rich Caspian Sea nation for four decades, winning 73 percent of the vote. The commission explained the gaffe by saying that a software developer had released the figures as a “test” at one polling station. It apologized for the “misunderstanding.” Official results on Thursday showed Aliyev winning nearly 85 percent of the vote. His closest challenger, main opposition candidate Jamil Hasanli, trailed with less than 6 percent, followed by eight fringe candidates, according to the commission.

Editorials: Reflections From Egypt: What is “True” Democracy? | Paul S. Ryan/CLC Blog

My participation in Legacy International’s Legislative Fellows delegation to Egypt this week has included a great deal of discussion regarding what constitutes “true” democracy.  The Egyptians we’ve met have used words including “true” and “pure” to describe the democracy we have in the U.S., contrasting our system with the political system that’s been built in Egypt since the 2011 revolution, which is widely perceived by Egyptians to fall short of “true” democracy. Yes, Egypt has held parliamentary, presidential and constitutional referendum elections over the past two years, but the legitimacy of the government remains in question.  Egypt’s first post-revolution parliamentary and presidential elections were held before a new constitution was drafted, under election laws that were issued by the interim “caretaker” Egyptian Military-based government but later declared unconstitutional by Egypt’s High Constitutional Court.  Egypt’s new constitution was written by a government elected under the unconstitutional election laws, a government dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood.  In addition to the laws under which the elections were conducted being declared unconstitutional, many believe fraud was committed during the elections, including ballot box stuffing and fraudulent counting and reporting of votes cast. In short, the government of President Morsi, the new constitution and the election process itself have been heavily criticized not only by non-Islamist parties and their supporters, but also by many who actually voted for President Morsi and other Muslim Brotherhood candidates.

Russia: Presidential elections: How easy is it to commit electoral fraud? |

Two questions were asked after the recent Russian elections. Firstly, were Vladimir Putin’s tears real? And secondly, was the election rigged? According to the  experts, there are several ways of cheating to win an election. ‘It all depends on how you define electoral fraud,’ said Dr Sarah Birch, reader in politics at Essex University. ‘There are so many rules and regulations that to violate one of those is fairly easy, whether it’s a candidate in a local election overspending on their campaign by £5, or someone going to the polling station and saying they’re someone else. ‘It can also be the manipulation of voters – such as media campaigns that are overtly biased in favour of one contestant, as we found in Russia, where the media gave much more attention to Putin than to the other candidates. Alternatively, there’s manipulation of the vote, such as vote buying or intimidation.’

Russia: Report on Russian Duma elections says contest ‘slanted in favour of the ruling party’ | OSCE/ODIHR

A report released by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) on 12 January 2012 said that, although December’s Russian State Duma elections were technically well-administered, the contest was marked by the convergence of the state and the governing party. Citing concerns over the roles played by state authorities and the media, as well as the narrowing of political competition resulting from the denial of registration to certain political parties, the final report of the ODIHR Election Observation Mission describes the contest as “slanted in favour of the ruling party.”