Rio Arriba County is sort of a miniature Chicago when it comes to elections. The year began with the indictments of two of its residents for voter fraud. One of them is the wife of an Española city councilor. Then, in last month’s primary election, 55 paper ballots that had been cast by Democratic voters were slashed to indecipherable ribbons by poll workers. This was no small blunder. The case of the butchered ballots cast doubt on the outcome of a close race for a seat on the Rio Arriba County Board of Commissioners.
Maryland: Elections board and MVA reach agreement on number of voters whose information wasn’t transferred on time: 83,493 | Baltimore Sun
The State Board of Elections and the Motor Vehicle Administration appear to have reached agreement on the number of voters whose changes of address or party registration weren’t properly recorded in time for the June 26 primary elections. The number is 83,493, according to deputy elections administrator Nikki Charlson. The MVA put out a statement agreeing with the number. That’s fewer than had been reported by the elections board as of June 28, but more than the number used by the MVA. The elections board at one time reported that the information of almost 87,000 voters had been collected by the MVA but not passed on to the elections board. The cause, both agreed, was a computer glitch.
Editorials: Elections in North Carolina: We must keep high standards | Chris Telesca/News & Observer
North Carolina has consistently ranked high in election integrity since we passed a tough verified voting law in 2005. But – in the name of “competition” – some folks want to take us back to the bad old days before the law was passed, when our standards were low to non-existent. We can’t let that happen. Prior to 2005 our counties used 18 different types of voting machines, vendor support was infrequent, maintenance was limited, training was sparse, and security was a joke. Each county did their own thing with ballot printing, and few complied with federal laws and standards. In 2004, we saw many election problems that came largely from decades of not having or complying with election integrity standards. We had a Florida-style meltdown in Carteret County when 5,000 votes were lost at one early voting location, which almost forced a $7.5 million statewide redo election. After the meltdown, the General Assembly in August 2005 passed the Public Confidence in Elections Act with unanimous bipartisan support. The law created statewide standards administered by the State Board of Elections.
On June 26, Maryland officials counted votes and released results on primary election winners, but the election is far from over: just over 1 percent of all votes cast have yet to be counted. Due to a glitch in the state’s Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) online and kiosk systems, more than 80,000 Marylanders had to cast provisional ballots because the system didn’t update their voter information changes in time for the primary on June 26. One of those voters was Erin Bowman. A Baltimore resident, Erin went to the First English Lutheran Church in Guilford, Maryland, (which was in her congressional district) to vote in the primary. Since first registering to vote over a decade ago, Erin has never missed an election, and has always done her research on ballot questions and candidates, so she went to her polling station well-prepared. Upon arriving, Erin was told by a polling staffer that because of her recent move to the area, she had to vote on a provisional ballot.
Election organizers in Mali have ended a two-week strike over working conditions, a union said on Wednesday, lifting a threat to a looming vote. Malians are due to vote on July 29 in a presidential election that many hope will chart a way out of six years of political unrest and jihadist violence. But attacks by militants had cast doubt on the government’s ability to hold the poll on time even before the strike, which disrupted the distribution of voting cards. Last week, militants raided the headquarters of a regional military base in central Mali, leaving at least six people dead. Four civilians were also killed on Sunday by a car bomb that targeted French troops in the north.
Georgia: Election officials admit misplacing voters in Georgia House race | Atlanta Journal Constitution
Something went very wrong when dozens, maybe even hundreds, of voters received the wrong ballots in a tight primary election in North Georgia. They lived in one state House district but voted in another. Now, the election that seemed to unseat an incumbent representative might be thrown out. State Rep. Dan Gasaway, who lost the May 22 primary by just 67 votes to Chris Erwin, is asking a judge to order a new election. Election officials in Habersham County have acknowledged the errors, sending letters to voters saying “your address was found to have been placed in the wrong House district.”
Illinois: County GOP joins effort to end Bloomington Election Commission | Government and Politics | pantagraph.com
Voters may finally have their say on the Bloomington Election Commission. Months after the McLean County Libertarian Party started circulating petitions for a ballot question that would dissolve the BEC, the McLean County Republican Party is throwing its weight behind the proposal as well. “It was unanimous: We think this is an issue that should go before the public,” said party Chair Connie Beard of a vote among precinct committeemen last week. “We think eliminating the BEC would increase efficiency, save taxpayer dollars and make the process more directly connected to voter control.”
Republican state lawmakers are moving ahead on a sixth proposed constitutional amendment that would once again restructure the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement. It would also, sponsors say, put an end to long-running litigation over the boundaries of executive and legislative power in the state constitution. Critics of the proposal, unveiled late Friday, say it’s setting the scene for legislators to take away the governor’s traditional appointments to many of the state’s quasi-judicial oversight boards and commissions. Supporters counter that the legislature already has ultimate delegating power over all appointments to all state boards and commissions that set policy. However, courts have not always agreed.
North Carolina: Republicans want lawmakers, not governor, to decide who oversees elections | News & Observer
Republicans want legislative leaders to appoint all members of the state elections board, a power now held by the governor. State House GOP leaders on Friday afternoon introduced a proposal to change the North Carolina Constitution to create an eight-member State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement with all members chosen by the House speaker and the Senate leader. Voters would have to agree in November to change the constitution if the proposal wins approval in the House and Senate. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and Republican legislators have been fighting over the makeup of the board since Cooper’s election in November 2016. In the waning weeks of the administration of Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, the Republican-led General Assembly put forward their first proposal to change the makeup of the elections and ethics boards.
Virginia: More misassigned voters found in Virginia, Board of Elections separately to correct November results | WTOP
Virginia’s Department of Elections has found even more voters likely assigned to the wrong districts across the state following tight House of Delegates races last fall, including one tie determined by a random drawing, where the problem could have determined control of the chamber. The department has helped several local registrars and electoral boards identify misassigned voters since the significant issues were revealed following November’s election, according to a presentation set to be given Tuesday to the State Board of Elections. Northern Virginia registrars had already confirmed hundreds misassigned to the wrong state, federal or local districts just in this area. The House of Delegates ended up split 51-49 in favor of Republicans.