A judge on Friday ordered a rare second do-over election for a northeast Georgia House seat, finding that four voters didn’t live in the district, throwing its outcome into doubt. The new election means that voters will return to the polls for a third time to decide between Republicans Dan Gasaway and Chris Erwin. Erwin appeared to win the first redo of the election in December by just two votes, but Senior Superior Court Judge David Sweat decided Friday that four voters had moved out of House District 28 more than 30 days before the election. Because the contest was so close, the judge found that the four improper votes justified a new election. “If you’re in an election, you should want to win it legally. We all should,” Gasaway said. “I don’t know that I’ll win, but if I win I want it to be a legal election, and if I lose I want it to be a legal election.”
The Hawaii Supreme Court this afternoon invalidated Trevor Ozawa’s 22-vote victory over Tommy Waters for the City Council District 4 seat. “Because the correct results of the November, 6, 2018 special election for the city councilmember seat for District IV cannot be determined, the special election must be invalidated” the court said in a 55-page opinion signed by all five justices. “The second special election for councilmember for District IV, City and County of Honolulu, is invalidated.” City Clerk Glen Takahashi, in an email to Council members, said “while we are still reviewing, we will be required to re-run the election for Council district IV.” The re-vote will likely need to occur within 120 days.
Moldovan President Igor Dodon said on Wednesday he was prepared to call another election within three or four months for the sake of stability if February’s poll produces a hung parliament. Surveys suggest that the Socialists, who favor friendlier ties with Russia, will emerge with most seats on Feb. 24 vote, but may not secure a majority or be able to form a coalition. The current pro-Western governing coalition may not be resurrected as its leader, the Democratic Party, is tainted by corruption scandals. “In the event that the parties fail to agree on the establishment of a ruling coalition and the formation of a new government, I, as president will … call for early elections to be held as soon as possible,” Dodon told Reuters in an interview.
North Carolina: As Election Fraud Probe Centers On North Caroilina’s 9th District, A Cynical Cloud Settles In | WGBH
Inside his barber shop in Bladenboro, N.C., Rodney Baxley is giving Bobby Simmons a haircut. The two men are talking about what everyone in this part of the state has been talking about for the better part of the past month: McCrae Dowless, and the operation he was running to get out the vote for Republican Mark Harris in the congressional race in North Carolina’s 9th District. “I don’t think [Dowless] cares about who wins, as long as he gets paid,” Baxley says, as he trims just above Simmons’ right ear. “He’s in it for the cash,” Simmons chimes in. Bladen County, where Baxley’s barber shop is located, is rural, about 150 miles east of Charlotte, and home to the country’s largest pork processing plant, Smithfield Foods. The North Carolina Board of Election’s investigation into possible election fraud has cast a dark, cynical cloud over the community here. “It just shows you how sleazy politics are,” Baxley says.
Democrats have been quick to argue that their losing candidate for Congress in North Carolina’s Ninth District may have been a victim of election fraud. But there might be a Republican victim as well. He is outgoing Representative Robert M. Pittenger, whose narrow loss to Mark Harris in the Republican primary in May is just about as studded with red flags suggesting absentee ballot fraud as the general election now under scrutiny. As with the November general election, most of the concerns about the primary center on Mr. Harris’s extraordinary success with absentee voters in Bladen County, a rural swath of southeastern North Carolina where L. McCrae Dowless Jr., a shadowy contractor with a history of suspect voter turnout efforts, worked for Mr. Harris’s campaign. In that primary against Mr. Pittenger, Mr. Harris won 437 of the 456 ballots cast through the mail in Bladen County; his overall margin of victory was only 828 votes. By contrast, in an earlier run against Mr. Pittinger in 2016, Mr. Harris won only four of 226 such ballots in the county. Mr. Dowless did not work for Mr. Harris in that campaign.
A proposal that would require another primary in the 9th Congressional District if suspected absentee ballot fraud results in a new election won legislative approval Wednesday. The requirement for a complete do-over in the 9th District is part of wide-ranging legislation that restructures the State Board of Elections and keeps information about campaign finance investigations secret. The State Board of Elections is investigating potential absentee ballot fraud in Bladen and Robeson counties. Leslie McCrae Dowless, who worked as a contractor for Republican Mark Harris’ congressional campaign, is at the center of an investigation over mishandling of absentee ballots. Harris defeated Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes in November, but the state board has twice declined to certify the results.
Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin is asking a federal judge to order a new election if he declines to invalidate Maine’s new voting system and declare Poliquin the winner. Judge Lance Walker declined to stop the ballot-counting process in which Democrat Jared Golden was declared the winner in the nation’s first ranked-balloting in a congressional election. But Poliquin’s lawsuit is still alive. Poliquin wants the Trump-appointed judge to declare the system unconstitutional. Poliquin’s request for the judge to either declare him the winner or order a second election was made late Tuesday, a day after Poliquin formally requested a recount that’s expected to take a month. The updated filing provides a new remedy for the judge, who expressed concern about the fairness of changing the election outcome after voters cast their ballots a certain way relying on the new voting system, said Dmitry Bam, a specialist in constitutional law at the University of Maine Law School. But Poliquin still faces an uphill battle because the judge appears to be unmoved by the constitutional arguments and because time is running out. “Any judge would be very hesitant to undo an election,” he said.
Georgia: Nonprofit group, 3 voters file suit seeking new election for Georgia l The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Fewer votes were tallied for the Georgia lieutenant governor’s race than other statewide elections Nov. 6 due to problems with voting machines, according to a lawsuit filed Friday in Fulton County Superior Court. A second election is needed because of the voting flaws, the suit states. The declared winner for lieutenant governor was Republican Geoff Duncan, who had 1,951,738 votes to Sarah Riggs Amico’s 1,828,566. The lieutenant governor’s race reported 3,780,034 votes, while all other statewide races exceeded 3.843 million votes, the lawsuit states. The governor’s race tallied 3.939 million votes and the remaining eight statewide races averaged 3.86 million votes. The nonprofit, Colorado-based group called Coalition for Good Governance and three Georgia voters filed the suit, which names Secretary of State Robyn Crittenden, election officials in Fulton, DeKalb and Gwinnett counties, and Lt. Gov.-elect Geoff Duncan. The defendants were not available Saturday for comment on the suit.
For some reason, there were tens of thousands fewer votes cast in the Georgia lieutenant governor’s election than any other statewide race. A lawsuit alleges that the drop-off in votes indicates the election between Republican Geoff Duncan and Democrat Sarah Riggs Amico was flawed and should be redone. Duncan won by more than 123,000 votes. The lawsuit, filed Friday by an election integrity advocacy group and three voters, blames the state’s 16-year-old direct-recording electronic voting system. About 80,000 fewer votes were counted in the lieutenant governor’s race than the average of ballots recorded in 10 statewide contests in the Nov. 6 election. “The only reasonable explanation for such an anomalous vote discrepancy … is that malfunctioning, erroneous programming or malicious manipulation of the DRE machines caused a material number of votes in the lieutenant governor’s race to not be recorded,” the lawsuit states.
A judge said he will order a Georgia Legislature district to redo a primary election between two Republicans because errors in voter data called the results into question. The announcement came in response to a lawsuit filed by state Rep. Dan Gasaway that challenged the legitimacy of the election he lost by 67 votes to businessman Chris Erwin in May. Following his loss, Gasaway personally examined voter rolls and determined that “cross-contamination” in his district’s voter information had led to at least 67 people voting in the wrong district, according to his lawsuit.
A regional election in Russia’s Far East will be re-run, the local election commission said on Thursday, dealing a rare blow to the Kremlin after allegations the vote had been rigged in its candidate’s favor. The ruling, in Russia’s Primorsky Region which includes the Pacific port of Vladivostok, 6,400 km (4,000 miles) east of Moscow, came a day after Russia’s top election official recommended that the election be re-run. Ella Pamfilova, head of the Central Election Commission, had not accused the Kremlin-backed candidate, Andrei Tarasenko, of orchestrating the vote-rigging, but had said that a raft of irregularities had been identified, including ballot stuffing and vote buying.
Clark County Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria is calling for a redo of a primary election decided by a razor-thin margin because 43 voters may have cast ballots twice as a result of an “unacceptable” failure in procedure by poll workers. Aaron Manfredi won the Republican primary for county administrator on June 12 by only four votes. A total of 59,032 votes were cast in that race. “Because the number of discrepancies is higher than the difference in the candidates’ totals, (the registrar) is unable to certify the results of this race and is calling for a special election to resolve the contest,” county spokesman Dan Kulin wrote in a statement.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi said on Tuesday he opposed any repeat of the May 12 parliamentary election, and warned that anyone who tried to sabotage the political process would be punished, after allegations of electoral fraud raised tensions. Parliament has demanded a nationwide recount of votes, drawing calls for the election to be re-run. Abadi said only the Supreme Federal Court could decide whether to re-run the vote, which was won by Shiite cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr’s bloc.
Public concern on whether the Supreme Court will allow either a runoff or rerun of the October 10 presidential and legislative elections, is expected to be settled today in a judgment by the Full Bench of the Supreme Court. If the justices’ decision goes the way of a runoff, it means President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf will have the opportunity to transfer power to either her Vice President, Joseph Boakai of the ruling Unity Party (UP), or Senator George Weah of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) by January 2018. If the decision goes to the contrary, that is a rerun, it will mean that President Sirleaf will find it difficult to transition, and maybe the Supreme Court will come up with an alternative.
Kenya’s supreme court has upheld the victory of President Uhuru Kenyatta in last month’s controversial re-run of presidential elections, clearing the way for the 55-year-old leader to be sworn in for a second and final term next week. After hearing two days of arguments, a six-judge bench said two petitions demanding the cancellation of the polls were “without merit”. The ruling is unlikely to end the worst political crisis in a decade in east Africa’s richest and most developed economy, which has seen more than 60 people killed in political violence in three months. Opposition leaders immediately rejected the decision, while government supporters celebrated outside the court in central Nairobi.
Kenya’s Supreme Court is in its last day of hearing arguments on two petitions contesting results of the October 26 presidential election. Incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta was declared winner by a landslide after challenger Raila Odinga urged his supporters to boycott the poll, which was a re-run of the August election the court declared invalid. The two petitions were filed by a former lawmaker, Harun Mwau, and two human rights defenders, Njonjo Mue and Khalef Khalifa. The petitioners argued the electoral commission committed illegalities by going ahead with the election in spite of opposition leader Raila Odinga pulling out of the race.
Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga told an audience in Washington Thursday that Kenyans are so upset over the presidential election that they are considering secession. Odinga, whose speech was broadcast on Kenyan television, told his audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies that exclusion is the biggest problem in Kenyan politics today. He said unless that problem is addressed, it could tear the country apart. Odinga said all four of Kenya’s presidents since independence in 1963 have been from the Kikuyu or Kalenjin communities, despite the fact that the country is home to 44 recognized ethnic groups. President Uhuru Kenyatta is Kikuyu, and his deputy, who is expected to run in the next election, is Kalenjin. Odinga refused to compete in the recent presidential election, calling it a sham. Kenyatta won with 98 percent of the vote.
Kenya’s key western trading partners and political allies urged talks to resolve a deadlock over the country’s presidential elections, as the nation’s top court began considering petitions challenging the outcome of last month’s vote rerun. The Oct. 26 rerun of an annulled vote two months earlier has polarized the East African nation and exposed “deep tribal and ethnic rifts” that have characterized Kenyan politics in the past, the Atlanta-based Carter Center said Wednesday in an emailed statement. Its appeal for negotiations echoed similar calls by the European Union and the U.S. last week. “Kenya is in dire need of dialogue and reconciliation,” the Carter Center said. “Though both President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga have made calls for peaceful co-existence, it is also important for the politicians to engage in dialogue to resolve this protracted political standoff.”
Kenya’s main opposition alliance said it won’t challenge the results that gave President Uhuru Kenyatta a landslide victory in last week’s disputed election rerun in court and instead vowed to mobilize its supporters to press for a another vote. “This election must not stand,” opposition leader Raila Odinga told reporters in Nairobi, the capital. “If allowed to stand, it will make a complete mockery of elections and might well be the end of the ballot as a means of instituting government in Kenya.” Musalia Mudavadi, a senior leader of Odinga’s four-party National Super Alliance, said that while private citizens may challenge the election in court, the coalition won’t take legal action against the vote. Kenyatta, 56, secured 98.3 percent of the vote in an Oct. 26 election that the Independent Electoral & Boundaries Commission said was free and fair, but was boycotted by Odinga, who described it as a sham. The electoral agency said the turnout dropped to 38.8 percent from 79 percent in the Aug. 8 contest, which the Supreme Court nullified after the electoral agency failed to disprove opposition claims of rigging.
Kenya’s incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta won 98 percent of the vote in a repeated election in which an opposition boycott helped lower turnout to 39 percent, the electoral commission said on Monday. The announcement touched off small protests in a few opposition strongholds but also celebrations in pro-Kenyatta areas. Veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga said the Oct. 26 election was a farce. Civil society groups also cited problems with the vote. The violence has for the most part seen protesters clash with police but some Kenyans fear it is starting to take on ethnic overtones after two deaths in clashes between rival groups at the weekend. At least 66 people have died in overall election violence. On Monday, the U.S. ambassador said Washington was “profoundly concerned” by the outbreaks of violence since the re-run. Kenya is east Africa’s richest economy and a key security ally of the West against militant Islam. It also a key regional trade, logistics and trade hub.
It took the police the better part of two hours to haul away the bricks that had been stacked, at some point in the night, in front of the polling station at the Olympic Primary School. But few people in the sprawling Nairobi neighborhood of Kibera — as in many other places across Kenya — wanted anything to do with Thursday’s historic vote for president. Some Kibera residents spent the day lobbing stones at the police, while the police spent the day firing tear gas back. “This vote is a massive flop, whichever way you cut it,” said Maina Kiai, a leader of a Kenyan civil society coalition and a former United Nations special rapporteur. For decades, Kenya has been struggling to move from the shadow of dictatorship to a truly inclusive democracy, and the country has sacrificed much on that journey. Ten years ago, more than 1,100 people died and hundreds of thousands were displaced after an election many thought was stolen.
Kenya’s presidential election rerun is set to go ahead on Thursday after the country’s supreme court failed to consider a petition to postpone the highly contentious vote. Amid high tension and fears of violence, only two supreme court judges attended a hearing on Wednesday morning – three short of the five judges needed for a quorum. “This matter cannot be heard this morning,” David Maraga, the chief justice, told reporters in Nairobi, the capital. Elections will now proceed, an election board lawyer said afterwards. Thursday’s disputed election was called after the supreme court annulled an election held in August due to procedural irregularities. The August presidential election was won by the incumbent, Uhuru Kenyatta, by a margin of nine percentage points. Opposition leaders have said they do not believe the rerun will be fair and have called on supporters to stay at home, while Kenyatta has repeatedly said voting should go ahead.
Ballot papers for Kenya’s presidential election next week have begun arriving in the country, in a sign that the troubled poll will probably go ahead. The final batch of papers is scheduled to arrive from Dubai on Tuesday, less than 48 hours before Kenyans vote for a second time in less than three months to elect a president. There have been widespread doubts that the Kenyan election officials could overcome huge logistical obstacles to organise the election, taking place after the supreme court annulled the result of an election in August won by the incumbent president, Uhuru Kenyatta. That the ballot papers have had to be printed overseas – candidates and parties were unwilling to trust local firms – is evidence of the acrimony and mutual suspicion that characterises politics in Kenya.
Editorials: Kenya’s election rerun could be a major setback for African democracy | The Washington Post
Kenya’s fragile political system has veered between breakthrough and breakdown over the past two months amid a hotly contested presidential election. Now the country itself appears in danger of a violent implosion. The government of Uhuru Kenyatta insists it will go ahead with a rerun of the presidential vote on Thursday even though the incumbent’s principal challenger has withdrawn and senior election officials have warned that the outcome will not be credible. That could lead to mass protests and bloodshed — not to mention a major setback for African democracy.
After his fellow commissioner fled the country, citing threats to her life, Kenya’s top election official on Wednesday accused the nation’s political parties of undermining the country’s stability and warned that he was not confident that next week’s presidential election would be credible. Kenyans are scheduled to vote — again — for president on Oct. 26. The nation’s current president, Uhuru Kenyatta, handily won the first election in August, beating the veteran opposition leader, Raila Odinga, by 1.4 million votes. But Mr. Odinga turned to Kenya’s Supreme Court, arguing that the vote had been manipulated to assure the president’s victory. To the nation’s surprise, the court ruled that the vote was flawed and, in a first for Africa, annulled the results, paving the way for a new election. Still, Mr. Odinga said he would withdraw from the race anyway, insisting that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission was deeply biased against him and would not be able to fix its underlying problems by election day.
The chief executive of Kenya’s election board, who the opposition has demanded must be fired before a repeat presidential election scheduled for Oct. 26, said on Friday he was taking three weeks of leave. Ezra Chiloba said he had taken a personal decision to take leave in light of the opposition’s demands, without giving more details. He said all arrangements were in place for the election, as ordered by the Supreme Court. “This is the first time I‘m taking leave since my son was born. He turns two years (old) in two weeks’ time,” he told Reuters. The court annulled the first election, held in August and in which incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta was declared winner, over procedural irregularities.
The European Union urged Kenya’s ruling Jubilee Party and the main opposition alliance to be prepared to compromise hard-line positions to allow for a credible rerun of presidential elections. “Dialogue and cooperation are urgently needed for compromises so there can be a peaceful electoral process with integrity and transparency and Kenyans can chose their president,” the EU’s elections observer mission said on Monday in an emailed statement. Uncertainty about the Oct. 26 election is unnerving investors and clouding the outlook for an economy that’s already slowing. Kenya is a regional hub for companies including Toyota Motor Corp. and could become an oil exporter with Tullow Oil Plc among firms that are likely to start exploiting an estimated 1 billion barrels of crude resources.
Kenya’s government has banned protests in three city centres, citing lawlessness during opposition rallies against the electoral commission before a scheduled presidential vote rerun. The opposition leader, Raila Odinga, has called for daily protests next week to keep up pressure on election officials, after his refusal to take part in the 26 October poll plunged the country into uncertainty. “Due to the clear, present and imminent danger of breach of peace, the government notifies the public that, for the time being, we will not allow demonstrations within the central business districts of Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu,” said the security minister, Fred Matiangi. “The inspector general of police has been advised accordingly.” Hundreds of opposition supporters have marched in recent weeks, sometimes burning tyres and clashing with police who have used teargas to disperse crowds.
In a surprising but not unfathomable announcement this week, Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) confirmed that the IT infrastructure deployed during the country’s recently nullified presidential election will again be utilised in the approaching re-run on October 26. The Kenyan Supreme Court last month annulled the result of the August 8 election – which had appeared to have been won by incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta – after ruling that the electronic transmission of vote tallies was flawed. This came after a number of issues with the use of technology during the election itself, not least when an election official in charge of voting technology was killed, and followed a number of technological failures at the previous election. Yet, the IEBC plans to plough on with its use of the Kenya Integrated Election Management System (KIEMS) system, implemented by OT-Morpho/Safran, though it says it will also add infrastructure to ensure the integrity of the process and assimilate further experts into its IT department. An exclusive contract with mobile operator Safaricom has also been extended to support the relay of results.
Kenyan opposition supporters began protests to demand an overhaul of the electoral authority as foreign ambassadors called for a resumption of negotiations on how a rerun of the country’s annulled presidential election will be handled. Police fired teargas to disperse National Super Alliance protesters in the capital, Nairobi, and the western city of Kisumu, as dozens of people marched through the port city of Mombasa. The main business lobby group warned that uncertainty about the vote is damaging the economy. “We are deeply concerned by the deterioration in the political atmosphere and the impact this has had on preparations for the election,” U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Bob Godec said in a statement he read on behalf of 14 diplomats in the East African nation.