Burundi: EU suspends mission to Burundi elections over violence | Deutsche Welle

The Catholic Church in Burundi has criticized upcoming elections, while the European Union’s election observers are downing tools until the situation improves. Fair elections are “impossible,” the opposition claims. The European Union suspended its observer mission in Burundi on Thursday because of the crackdown on the opposition and the media, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said on Thursday. The team, which the EU sent to Burundi over a month ago, can no longer fulfill its role of helping with “peaceful, credible and fair” elections, according to the EU’s top diplomat. “The election process continues to be seriously marred by restrictions on independent media, excessive use of force against demonstrators, a climate of intimidation for opposition parties and civil society and lack of confidence in the election authorities,” Mogherini said in a statement.

Honduras: How votes are counted … counts | CSMonitor.com

For the last few weeks [leading up to] the Honduran election, no surveys of the electorate can be published. But really, the only poll that matters will take place this coming Sunday, Nov. 24. According to the Tribunal Supremo Electoral (TSE), 5.3 million Hondurans are eligible to vote. Throughout the country, people in five thousand election centers will place their ballots for president, congress, and municipal mayor in three separate ballot boxes. What happens then? What ensures that the ballot cast is counted and reported accurately? How reliable should we expect the numbers to be? In part, what you think the answer is depends on how you assess the procedures set in place by the TSE.

Minnesota: Catholics, Lutherans and voter ID | StarTribune.com

Me to editor: “Please headline this column ‘Lutherans and Catholics agree: Vote “no” on amendment.'” Editor to me: “Really?! That’s a big story!” Me to editor: “Well … it’s not that amendment. And it’s not the Lutheran and Catholic churches’ official governing bodies. But yeah, I think it’s a big deal.” When this state’s two leading faith-based social service agencies, Lutheran Social Services and Catholic Charities, speak out in opposition to a proposed constitutional change in voting requirements, this long-ago religion reporter smells a story. Many Lutheran synods and Minnesota’s Roman Catholic dioceses have staked out opposite sides of the proposed constitutional ban on same-sex marriage that’s on the Nov. 6 Minnesota ballot. Their differences have been widely trumpeted in the 15 months since that amendment went on this year’s ballot. Some Minnesotans might not appreciate the religious overtone the marriage amendment debate has acquired. But it was to be expected. Marriage is a matter about which religions claim considerable authority. What isn’t as well-known is that some prominent church folk are also talking about the “other” amendment. The governing boards of both Lutheran Social Services (LSS) and Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis (CC) think the proposed photo-ID-to-vote requirement ought to be rejected.

Congo: Congo’s presidential coalition leading parliament race; call to annul votes in 7 districts | The Washington Post

Two months after voters went to polls in a chaotic election, the electoral commission announced Friday that parties supporting Congo’s president won two-thirds of legislative seats. The commission also indefinitely postponed provincial elections that were scheduled for March. Electoral officials said they also want to annul results of the legislative elections in seven of Congo’s 169 voting districts and prosecute a dozen candidates accused of introducing irregularities and violence. Local and international observers have already said the Nov. 28 elections for the president and 500 national assembly seats were too flawed to be legitimate. It was only the second democratic election Congo has ever held, with the stability of the mineral-rich African nation at stake. Critics say any election results are unreliable because millions of voters were unable to cast ballots, hundreds of thousands of ballots have been tampered with and 1.3 million completed ballots went missing.

Editorials: Identity Crisis: New voter ID laws subvert democracy and Catholic teaching | America Magazine

Photo ID, please.” An increasing number of Americans will be hearing these words when they show up to vote on election day. In a trend that has gained strength over the last several years and received a boost after the 2010 midterm elections, a growing number of states are passing laws requiring specific forms of photo identification for citizens to cast ballots at their local polling places. While this may strike some as a relatively minor technical adjustment in voting security, what is really going on is far more significant and deeply at odds with Catholic social teaching.

Over the past half-century the Catholic Church has emerged as one of the strongest voices on behalf of democracy in the political realm. Its core social teaching documents, from “Pacem in Terris” to “Centesimus Annus” to “Caritas in Veritate,” strongly endorse fundamental political and civil rights, the rule of law, regular elections and an open political system. The tradition points especially to a need for broad participation in the democratic process on an equal basis for all citizens and warns against the political exclusion of the socially marginalized, especially the poor and racial, ethnic or religious minorities.