Thai demonstrators on Sunday protested against alleged cheating in the junta-ruled kingdom’s first election since a 2014 coup, a week after the controversial poll sowed confusion over the ballot results. A military-backed party and its main rival led by a self-exiled billionaire have both claimed the right to lead the government as inconsistent tallies released by the Election Commission have raised suspicion among voters. The junta-aligned Phalang Pracharat party clinched the popular vote but its rival Pheu Thai — linked to former premier Thaksin Shinawatra — has formed a coalition claiming a majority of seats in the lower house. Full results will be ratified by May 9 but anger has mounted as the wait continues, prompting demonstrations at two Bangkok landmarks. A small but spirited group gathered near the tourist hotspot Erawan Shrine holding a banner that read “Cheating Election” and “People Want to Vote”. It featured the face of 2014 coup leader Prayut Chan-O-Cha, who is standing as the prime ministerial candidate for Phalang Pracharat. “It is the Pheu Thai party which won the election,” organiser and activist Anurak Jeantawanich said.Full Article: Thai demonstrators protest alleged cheating in election.
A group of international observers criticized vote counting in Thailand’s first election since a 2014 military coup, saying Tuesday that the “tabulation and consolidation of ballots were deeply flawed” though it had no reason to believe the issues affected overall results. The Asian Network for Free Elections said the announcement of some preliminary results that were “wildly inaccurate” damaged the “perceived integrity of the general election.” The group, also known by its acronym Anfrel, is one of several observer groups that have raised concerns about Sunday’s vote, which in part pitted a party allied with the ruling junta against the party that led the government it ousted. Thailand’s Election Commission, appointed by the junta’s hand-picked legislature, has already defended its count, which is still in its preliminary stages. It blamed any issues on the failure of the media to keep up with the raw data. After delaying the release of the full vote count on election night and then again on Monday, the commission has now said it will release its final preliminary results on Friday. Official results are not expected until May.Full Article: Election Observers Call Still-Partial Thai Vote Count Flawed | World News | US News.
A reconstituted North Carolina elections board received a private preview Thursday of what investigators uncovered in their probe of absentee ballot irregularities in the country’s last unresolved congressional race. Chairman Bob Cordle said the new five-member State Board of Elections received a “full briefing” on findings in the 9th Congressional District race. The members met behind closed doors with attorneys and investigators for nearly four hours. Cordle said the findings will be released publicly at a hearing Feb. 18. He said the board will vote at the hearing’s close on whether to certify the 9th District results, order a new election or take some other step.Full Article: New board gets private preview of Congressional race probe.
North Carolina: Opponent says Mark Harris knew about fraud in 9th District election and turned blind eye to it | WRAL
Republican Mark Harris needs to testify under oath as to what he knows about alleged absentee ballot fraud in the 9th Congressional District election, his opponent said Tuesday. Harris leads Democrat Dan McCready by about 900 votes in the race, but the State Board of Elections has refused to certify the results because of suspected voting irregularities in Bladen and Robeson counties. Harris has acknowledged hiring Bladen County political operative McCrae Dowless to oversee absentee ballot operations in the county. Several people have told reporters that Dowless paid them to pick up mail-in ballots, a felony under North Carolina law due to tampering concerns. Dowless has, through his attorney, denied any wrongdoing, but he hasn’t yet sat down with elections board investigators looking at the 9th District.Full Article: Democrat Dan McCready Mark Harris knew about 9th District election fraud or turned blind eye to it :: WRAL.com.
North Carolina: Decision on new election expected this month in 9th district fraud investigatio | Raleigh News & Observer
The newly appointed state board of elections plans to vote on whether to certify the election — or call for a new one — in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District after a hearing on Feb. 18 and 19 in Raleigh, the board’s chairman said Monday. The five-member board, appointed by Gov. Roy Cooper on Jan. 31, will begin its evidentiary hearing at 10 a.m. at the North Carolina State Bar in Raleigh. The hearing is expected to last for two days, but the site has been reserved for three. Republican Mark Harris leads Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes in the unofficial results from the 9th district. But the previous nine-member state board twice declined to certify the results, citing irregularities among mail-in absentee ballots in Bladen and Robeson counties.Full Article: When is the hearing in 9th district election investigation? | Raleigh News & Observer.
After more than a month without a State Board of Elections, Gov. Roy Cooper on Thursday named five people to the reconstituted board. Cooper named Democrats Stella Anderson of Boone, Jeff Carmon III of Durham and Bob Cordle of Charlotte and Republicans David C. Black of Concord and Ken Raymond of Winston-Salem to the five-member board. “North Carolinians deserve fair and honest elections, and I am confident this board will work to protect our electoral process,” Cooper said in a statement. The board via conference call Thursday afternoon and elected Cordle chairman and Anderson secretary. Another meeting will be held next week, at which time members will set a date for a hearing into the ongoing investigation of alleged absentee ballot fraud in the 9th Congressional District race.Full Article: New NC elections board named, allowing 9th District investigation to proceed :: WRAL.com.
The unfounded rumors of electoral fraud launched by the right-wing Great Alliance for National Unity (GANA) embody Tuesday what in El Salvador they call ‘killing the pooch in time.’ In El Salvador, this expression means ‘to prepare a good excuse to defend yourself from a problem,’ and describes precisely the tactic of the party that mutated from orange to blue while remaining a right-wing party. With more paranoia than certainties, the party separated from the far-right Nationalist Republican Alliance (Arena) speaks in networks of collusion between its rivals, without presenting evidence to support its fear. For the deputy Nidia Diaz, head of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), everything responds to a strategy of candidate Nayib Bukele to justify an eventual setback. ‘It is part of his victimization, he wants to be president at any cost and he will disqualify any result that does not favor him and call it a fraud,’ said the parliamentarian at the close of the Front’s campaign.Full Article: Fraud, the Justification of the Bad Loser Wanders Around El Salvador.
North Carolina: New election board could steer the 9th District to resolution – or stalemate | Charlotte Observer
A new state elections board expected to be named this week could finally resolve North Carolina’s disputed 9th District congressional election — or push it even deeper into uncharted territory. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper is scheduled to appoint the new, 5-member State Board of Elections by Thursday. It’s expected to schedule a hearing into allegations of election fraud in the 9th District. But from there the bipartisan board could deadlock, refusing to either certify the election of Republican Mark Harris or order a new election. That would further delay resolution of a situation that already has left 733,000 North Carolinians without representation in Congress. “This situation is unprecedented,” Democratic U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, who chairs of the House Administration Committee, told Politico this month. Harris leads Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes in unofficial returns. But in late November the previous state board twice declined to certify the election, citing reports of absentee ballot irregularities centered in Bladen County. The board launched an investigation, which has continued even after a court dissolved the board on Dec. 28 over a separate dispute.Full Article: What if a new NC election board stalemates on District 9? | Charlotte Observer.
North Carolina: Do state investigators really have evidence to call 9th District margin into question? | WRAL
The new State Board of Elections, which won’t be named for another week, is probably the most awaited appointed board in North Carolina in recent memory – all because a congressional seat hangs in the balance. The 9th Congressional District seat is the only vacant seat in Congress because of allegations of absentee ballot fraud in Bladen and Robeson counties that has prompted a state investigation. Republican Mark Harris held a 905-vote lead over Democrat Dan McCready after the November election, but the former state board, which was dissolved in December after a court ruled its makeup unconstitutional following a separate legal battle, has refused to certify the results and declare a winner.Full Article: Do state investigators really have evidence to call 9th District margin into question? :: WRAL.com.
The dust was about to settle with the election fever dissipating in Bangladesh. The political scene was slowly returning to an atmosphere of relative calm. Then came a damning report from the Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) that uncovered “serious wrongdoings” during the December 30 election. The list of irregularities in 47 out of 50 constituencies surveyed by the TIB includes ballot stuffing in the hours to the election day, fake votes and obstruction of voters. The TIB also said security forces on the scene silently stood by when these irregularities took place. “Law-enforcement agencies, a section of administrative officials and election authorities were seen playing biased roles in the election,” Iftekharuzzaman, executive director of TIB, who uses one name, said in a statement on January 15.Full Article: Bangladesh election under new scrutiny - The Hindu.
Felix Tshisekedi, an opposition leader whose victory in presidential elections last month is widely considered to be illegitimate, took the oath of office on Thursday vowing to tackle the country’s endemic corruption. Shortly after assuming power, Mr. Tshisekedi announced that he would free all the country’s political prisoners. Despite lingering accusations of vote fraud, neighboring countries, the United States and other foreign powers, eager to promote stability over potential chaos, hailed the first peaceful transfer of power since Congo’s independence, in 1960. On Wednesday, the United States’ State Department, having at first warned about sanctions for individuals accused of impeding the democratic process, struck a conciliatory tone and said it was “committed to working with the new government.”Full Article: After Tarnished Election, Opposition Figure Becomes Congo’s President - The New York Times.
North Carolina: Judge rules against Mark Harris in North Carolina 9th election fraud case | News & Observer
The state’s investigation into alleged election fraud by the Mark Harris campaign will continue, a judge ruled Tuesday morning. Harris is the Republican candidate who appeared to narrowly win an election for North Carolina’s 9th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2018 elections. But the state has not certified his victory, due to an ongoing investigation into alleged fraud related to mail-in absentee ballots. Harris and his legal team had asked Wake County Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway to order the state to certify the results of the election despite the investigation, which could then send Harris to Congress. Following two hours of arguments from Harris’ lawyers Tuesday morning, as well as lawyers for the state and Harris’ 2018 Democratic opponent Dan McCready, Ridgeway said he would deny Harris’ request. “This is an extremely unusual situation, with no board in place, and asking this court to step in and exert extraordinary power in declaring the winner of an election, when that is clearly the purview of another branch of government,” he said during the hearing.Full Article: Judge rules against Mark Harris in NC 9 election fraud case | News & Observer.
North Carolina: GOP, Democrats make closing arguments before 9th District dispute heads to court | WRAL
Republican and Democratic officials held dueling news conferences in Raleigh on Monday regarding the disputed 9th Congressional District election, one day before a court hearing that could decide the winner in the race. Republican candidate Mark Harris is asking a judge to issue a writ of mandamus, which would essentially order the State Board of Elections to certify the results of the 9th District election and declare him the winner. He is recovering from an infection and said Monday he won’t be able to attend Tuesday morning’s court hearing. Harris led Democrat Dan McCready by about 900 votes following the election, but the state board has refused to certify the results because of suspicious absentee voting results in Bladen and Robeson counties. Harris has acknowledged hiring Bladen County political operative McCrae Dowless to oversee absentee ballot operations in the county. Several people have told reporters that Dowless paid them to pick up mail-in ballots, a felony under North Carolina law due to tampering concerns.Full Article: GOP, Democrats make closing arguments before 9th District dispute heads to court :: WRAL.com.
The Constitutional Court of the Democratic Republic of Congo ruled early Sunday on the results of the country’s highly contested election, determining that the opposition candidate Félix Tshisekedi was in fact the winner and rejecting a challenge from another opposition figure who was the runner-up. The court’s decision affirmed the results announced by the country’s electoral commission, which appointed Mr. Tshisekedi as the president-elect. He is set to be inaugurated on Tuesday. Martin Fayulu, the runner-up, was contesting the results and demanding a manual recount. The judges of the constitutional court said they had determined that the request for a recount was “absurd” and that Mr. Fayulu had not provided any proof of fraud. Mr. Fayulu said early Sunday that the court has “falsified and countered the truth of the polls to serve an unjust cause and perpetuate a regime that our people hate.” “I now consider myself the only legitimate president,” he added.Full Article: Congo Court Affirms Results of Contested Presidential Election - The New York Times.
The African Union on Thursday called on Democratic Republic of Congo to suspend the release of the final results of its disputed presidential election due to its doubts over the provisional results. The rare move from the group injects fresh uncertainty into the post-election process, which was meant to usher in the country’s first democratic transfer of power in 59 years of independence, but has been mired in controversy since the Dec. 30 vote. The final tally is scheduled to be released by the election commission once the constitutional court has ruled on challenges to the provisional results on Friday, but the union called for this to be postponed following a meeting in Addis Ababa.Full Article: African Union cites 'serious doubts', urges delay to final Congo election result | Reuters.
North Carolina Republicans ratcheted up their drive to put Mark Harris in Congress on Tuesday, questioning “the entire legitimacy” of a state investigation into allegations of election fraud in the 9th Congressional District. North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Robin Hayes accused elections officials of “one stalling pattern after another” in a meeting with reporters in Charlotte. “When there (isn’t) evidence that irregularities would change the outcome of the election, Mark Harris should be certified,” Hayes said. “If they had discovered a shred of evidence, they would have made it public.” State law, however, allows for the board to call for a new election if “Irregularities or improprieties occurred to such an extent that they taint the results of the entire election and cast doubt on its fairness.” The McCready campaign, in a legal brief filed Monday in Wake County Superior Court, called that finding “an inevitable conclusion” to the case.Full Article: Why does NC GOP believe Mark Harris should take office? | Charlotte Observer.
Anti-corruption group Transparency International said on Tuesday it found “irregularities” in 47 of 50 constituencies it surveyed during last month’s general election in Bangladesh, which was marred by allegations of vote rigging. The poll that gave Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina a third straight term was undermined by ballot stuffing, voter intimidation and the occupation of polling booths among other malpractices, the group’s Bangladesh chapter said. The government rejected the report, saying the group had “lost its neutrality” and should be investigated for any “secret link” to the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). In its report, Transparency International said the BNP-led opposition could not effectively campaign for votes, opposition workers were threatened by government agencies, and the Election Commission could not ensure a level-playing field for all parties.Full Article: Bangladesh Government Rejects Report Claiming "Irregularities" In Polls.
Martin Fayulu was the clear winner of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s presidential elections last month, a Financial Times analysis of two separate collections of voting data shows, contradicting claims from authorities that rival contender Felix Tshisekedi had won the historic vote. The analysis points to huge fraud in the first change of power since Joseph Kabila took over the presidency of the mineral-rich central African nation almost 18 years ago. It is likely to embolden critics of Mr Kabila who suspect the Congolese leader is seeking to cling on to power through a deal with Mr Tshisekedi. According to a trove of election data seen by the FT and representing 86 per cent of total votes cast across the country, Mr Fayulu won 59.4 per cent of the vote. Rival opposition candidate Mr Tshisekedi, who was declared the surprise winner last week, finished second with 19 per cent, according to this set of data.Full Article: Congo voting data reveal huge fraud in poll to replace Kabila | Financial Times.
North Carolina: House Administration Democrats keeping close eye on North Carolina election | Politico
The top Democrat on the House Administration Committee is closely monitoring the ongoing investigation in North Carolina’s contested 9th Congressional District, advising the state elections board to “preserve and protect” all of the evidence it has gathered. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), chair of the Administration Committee, raised the possibility that her panel could intervene to determine “the rightful claimant to the seat” in North Carolina. After election night, Republican Mark Harris held a 905-vote lead over Democrat Dan McCready in the vote count — but the election board subsequently refused to certify the results, citing election fraud allegations against a contractor for Harris’ campaign and questions of ballot irregularities. In a letter to the state election board sent Friday evening, Lofgren also pointed out that a “certificate is not ultimately determinative of the House’s course of action.”Full Article: House Administration Democrats keeping close eye on North Carolina election - POLITICO.
A Superior Court judge in North Carolina has set a hearing in a lawsuit filed by Republican candidate Mark Harris asking the court to force the State Board of Elections to certify the results of the state’s 9th Congressional District election — before the board completes its investigation into potential fraud in the race. The hearing is set for January 22. There is still no clear resolution to the controversy over the results in North Carolina’s 9th District more than two months after Election Day. Harris leads the race by 905 votes over Democrat Dan McCready, but there are serious questions surrounding an absentee ballot operation led by a political consultant he hired.Full Article: NC 9th District election dispute grinds through courts - CNNPolitics.