Delaware: Proposed Overhaul Of Connecticut Registrar System Criticized | WAMC

Following issues at polling places in Hartford this past Election Day, Secretary of the State Denise Merrill is proposing to scrap Connecticut’s partisan registrar system. But, the ideas are being met with opposition. Secretary Merrill is calling for Connecticut to do away with the current election oversight system where two people, typically one Republican and one Democrat, are elected as registrars in each town. The Democrat says problems exist across Connecticut although issues in Hartford and Bridgeport – where dysfunctional working relationships and an inadequate supply of ballots have gotten the most attention in recent years. “Right now we have towns where they sort of don’t fulfill the reporting requirements,” Merrill said. “They will fail to report their election results in a timely way. We have more like workplace situations where one will be able to do the job very well and the other just never comes in the office. At this point, because they’re both elected, there’s no one that can resolve those issues because they’re not directly responsible to the town management and they’re not directly responsible to my office.”

Tennessee: Senate Wants to Ban the U.N. From Monitoring Its Elections | National Journa

When you think of the type of countries the United Nations might want to keep an eye on, you probably think of, say, Libya, whose citizens voted for the first time in over 40 years in 2012. But newly democratized countries aren’t the only subjects of U.N. election oversight. In 2012, civil-rights groups voiced their concern to the U.N. that state voter-ID laws would lead to voter suppression. The U.N. sent 44 of its election monitors to states—including Tennessee—and drew much ire from conservative groups in the process. Now, the Republican-controlled Legislature in Tennessee is fighting back against the international governing body. On Tuesday, the state Senate passed a bill banning U.N. elections monitors from overseeing state elections—unless they have express permission from the U.S. Senate to be there. The legislation now sits on Republican Gov. Bill Haslam’s desk, waiting to be signed.

South Carolina: State lawmakers eye changes to election oversight | Rock Hill Herald

Richland County’s state lawmakers have pre-filed legislation to shift oversight of elections to the counties that pay for them. The bills come as Richland County’s lawmakers work to address problems that led to the 2012 election debacle, where mismanagement and long lines at the polls produced one of the biggest voting disasters in state history. Now, Richland County’s legislative delegation names the board members who oversee elections and voter registration, said state Rep. James Smith, D-Richland, a sponsor of the legislation in the House. The counties that pay for elections should have that authority if they want it, he said. “The people of Richland County would be best served by a level of government that regularly meets and provides oversight and funding (of elections),” Smith said. “It’s a solid stab at good government, better government, to devolve these responsibilities to County Council,” he said.

Arkansas: Beebe vetoes partisan election oversight bills | Arkansas Times

Gov. Mike Beebe cleared his desk of pending legislation today, signing all but three bills by Sen. Bryan King to put more power over election oversight in the office of secretary of state, now held by Republican Mark Martin. Beebe vetoed these bills:

* SB 719, to create an investigative unit in Martin’s office to investigate election complaints, a power already given to the state Board of Election Commissioners. Beebe said the bill “transfers virtually unfettered investigative power and authority to a partisan-elected official over complaints against persons accused, sometimes by political rivals, of violating election laws. However, while the bill makes it clear that the unit “shall” investigate “any” such complaint, the bill makes no provision for those cases in which a complaint might relate to the activities of the secretary of state or his/her office, or persons running for that office. Placing such unfettered authority in a partisan-elected office is a profoundly bad idea.

Arizona: Bill would bar State secretary from serving on candidate committee | AZ Central

In the last two presidential elections, Arizona’s chief elections officer doubled as the head of one of the presidential nominees’ state campaign committees, raising eyebrows that the dual role could be a conflict of interest. A bill has been introduced in the state Senate that would bar that from happening again. Under the terms of Senate Bill 1335, the Arizona secretary of state could not serve as an officer of any candidate’s campaign committee if that candidate is running in an election the secretary of state would oversee. Sen. Robert Meza, D-Phoenix, the bill’s sponsor, said it’s a way to ensure that election oversight is not biased. It would bring the elections office in line with the same prohibitions that apply to the judiciary: judges can’t serve on a candidate’s committee, he said.

Editorials: Toothless election oversight | The Washington Post

It is to identify a federal agency in Washington more dysfunctional than the Federal Election Commission. Terms have expired for five of the six commissioners, and by next spring, the entire commission will be a lame duck if nothing is done. The number of enforcement actions — at the core of the FEC’s mission — has fallen to an all-time low. Created in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal, the commission now behaves as an immobilized observer while campaigns are swamped with a tidal wave of hidden cash. At the heart of the trouble is the way the commission was structured when it was established in 1974, with three members from each party. To approve any action requires four votes. Political deadlock has paralyzed the commission in the past few years, leading to split votes, three-to-three, that result in no action on enforcement, auditing or advisory matters. The commission’s three Republicans have repeatedly used this tactic to undermine election laws that they oppose on ideological grounds. According to a Dec. 12 letter sent to President Obama by nine groups advocating campaign finance reform, official actions by the FEC in 2012 amount to only one-tenth the number pursued annually before 2008.

Alaska: Report: Anchorage Election Botched by Mismanagement, Cost-Cutting | Alaska Dispatch

Hands-off management, cost cutting and inexperienced staff — not politics or intentional efforts to influence outcome — were primarily responsible for Anchorage’s embarrassing April municipal election. That’s according to a nine-page report by a former Alaska Superior Court judge hired by Anchorage Assembly Chairman Ernie Hall to investigate what led to ballot shortages at nearly half the city’s polling places, with some residents turned away, unable to cast a vote. The April election, which included votes for mayor and a contentious initiative to add sexual orientation to the city’s equal-rights protections, turned out to be one with higher turnout than expected or planned for by the Municipal Clerk’s office. Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan handily won re-election in the vote. Sullivan took his second oath of of office Monday via Skype from Hawaii, where he was vacationing with his family, according to a statement from his office. Proposition 5, which would have made it illegal to discriminate against Anchorage residents because of sexual preference or gender identity, failed.

India: Getting ready for the big day | Hindustan Times

Elections are foundation stones of any democratic country. India is the largest democracy in the world and conducting general elections in India is probably the largest event management its of kind.

The Election Commission of India is a permanent independent constitutional body vested with the powers and responsibility for superintendence, direction and control of the preparation of electoral rolls for and conduct of all elections to Parliament and to Legislatures of the States and Union Territories and of elections to the offices of President and Vice-President held under article 324 of the Constitution.

Virginia: City of Bedford Virginia, Justice Department reach consent decree on section of Voting Rights Act | The Republic

The Justice Department and the city of Bedford have reached agreement on a vestige of the segregated South — federal oversight of its local elections.

Justice officials announced Thursday they have filed a consent decree in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia that would free the city of 6,222 from government approval of any election changes.

The election oversight is part of the Voting Rights Act, which was enacted in 1965 to address widespread election abuses intended to deny African-Americans the vote.