While the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has announced determination to deliver a credible election and that they remain on course and faithful to their calendar, extra-mural events pose a serious threat to a free and fairly run electoral process. The electoral body has voiced concern over forecast weather patterns in the country, with citizens put on high alert for the week preceding, during and after elections, due to extreme weather conditions predicted over polling day.
The results of a special Johns Creek City Council election held April 18 may not be legitimate, according to a report by the nonprofit group VoterGA. The report focuses its critique on alleged security flaws in voting machines and says the election was improperly scheduled. Three separate elections were held that night: the Johns Creek City Council election, the Roswell City Council run-off and the Sixth District Congressional race. … But there were problems in the Johns Creek election, according to VoterGA.
The Legislature’s budget committee on Tuesday approved state funding for five of six Elections Commission staff positions that have been supported by federal grant that’s set to run out, dismissing Gov. Scott Walker’s recommendation to cut all six of them. The governor argued that the commission can handle its workload without the positions that had been supported by the federal Help America Vote Act passed in 2002. But state and local elections officials disagreed, arguing that the jobs were critically important to ensuring that Wisconsin’s elections are properly run.
The U.S. is in the midst of a historic moment of civic participation. And while protesters march in the streets and politicians wrangle with each other over the aftermath of an election, the people who actually run elections are quietly working on making their systems better. And those systems are, by all accounts, in need of updating. At the first-ever Global Election Technology Summit on May 17 in San Francisco, hosted by the Startup Policy Lab, a diverse group of people involved in elections and the technology used to run them gathered to talk about how they can improve the process for everyone involved. Here are three things they said the government could use right now to make elections better.
Pennsylvania: Some Wilkinsburg voters use emergency ballots because election judge was in jail | TribLIVE
A judge of elections at one of Wilkinsburg’s precincts didn’t report for duty Tuesday morning because he was in jail, said Amie Downs, an Allegheny County spokeswoman. Voters in Wilkinsburg’s 1st Ward, 6th District used emergency ballots while sheriff’s deputies went to the man’s house to retrieve the voting materials and supplies and set up the machines. Loren Johnson, 55, was jailed on two counts of assault and two counts of making terroristic threats after he threatened his sister and nephew with a shotgun on Monday, said sheriff’s Commander Charles Rodriguez.
The delay in vote counting has disappointed the voters who are desperate to see their new representatives assume their offices. The painstakingly slow counting of ballot papers has signaled that the people might have to wait for days to see their new representatives. The excitement was comparatively very high among the locals this time around for the elections which were conducted after a gap of two decades. Before the elections, the voters were counting days to drop their votes and elect capable candidates to shoulder the responsibility of developing their villages.
Georgia: Voter registration backlog ahead of Georgia’s 6th District runoff | Atlanta Journal Constitution
Local counties under order to reopen voter registration in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District face a backlog of tens of thousands of applications and have already begun working overtime to process them all in time for the June 20 runoff election. Still, despite concerns that a federal judge’s order would back them into a corner, no problems have been reported so far as the counties themselves appear to have hit the ground running. “Everything has been going very smoothly,” said Candice Broce, a spokeswoman for Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, the state’s top elections official. All three counties that have areas in the 6th District — Cobb, DeKalb and Fulton — had contingency plans in place in anticipation of Thursday’s ruling. The first of tens of thousands of backlogged registration applications have already begun to be processed, although officials said it is impossible to know how many of them involve residents in each county who actually reside in the district itself. That’s because it’s not readily apparent on the applications themselves.
A report released by legislative auditors Friday says the State Board of Elections needlessly exposed the full Social Security numbers of almost 600,000 voters to potential hacking, risking theft of those voters’ identities. The determination that election officials did not fully protect voters’ personal information was one of several highly critical findings in the report. The audit also faulted state election officials’ handling of issues including ballot security, disaster preparedness, contracting and balancing its books. State lawmakers called for a hearing in response to the Office of Legislative Audits report, which prompted strong reaction from critics of the board and its longtime administrator, Linda H. Lamone.
Arizona: New Maricopa County registrar wants to change Arizona’s reputation for voter suppression | Los Angeles Times
To hear Adrian Fontes tell it, the hopes of thousands of would-be voters are trapped in dust-covered boxes at the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office. The boxes are filled with forms reflecting failed attempts to register to vote. Fontes, the new Maricopa County recorder, says those failures are the result of a strict interpretation of registration rules, and he intends to do something about it. Since 2004, Arizonans attempting to register to vote without showing proof of citizenship are put in a kind of voter purgatory, denied the right to vote as their county sends them reminders to confirm their citizenship.
Kenya’s electoral commission is appealing a court ruling that poll results announced at the constituency level are final. The electoral body says that opens the way to manipulation. The bad blood between the Kenya’s political opposition and its electoral commission has been taken to the corridors of justice three months before the August poll. The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission is appealing a high court ruling that bans the commission chairman from making the official announcement of presidential vote totals from each constituency. The court ruled that vote totals announced at polling stations and the constituency level are final.