Myanmar: Voter list issues continue for at least another day | Myanmar Times

Myanmar’s first final, nationwide voter list was slated to go on public display yesterday, but after months of outraged political parties and voters calling election officials to task, most will have to wait at least another day to see the final roll. The Union Election Commission had initially planned on publicly posting the final list on November 2. The schedule was revised and extended to a last-minute, staggered release that would start at the local election office and progress to the township, state and Union level, where it would be combined and cross-checked. The relevant lists were also supposed to be posted at each polling station on November 6 and 7. Widespread voter list omissions, redundancies and inaccurate data plaguing the last two lists have proven a contentious and central obstacle in the coming election. While the final, corrected renditions were supposed to start rolling out yesterday, Myanmar Times reporters posted around the country found varying degrees to which local offices succeeded in meeting the deadline.

Myanmar: Expatriates among 32 million eligible voters | The Nation

There are over 32 million names of eligible voters on Myanmar’s preliminary voter list as of July 22, including citizens who have left the country, according to the Union Election Commission (UEC). “I’ve found over 32 million names on the list,” UEC Chairman Tin Aye said at a press conference in Yangon. “There are [Myanmar] expatriates among the 32 million names. Wherever they are, they will be in the voter list. Therefore, they can vote in the upcoming election. For those who go abroad with the permission of the government, they can submit Form No 15, and we will send ballots to them. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will assist in this,” he said.

Editorials: What if congressional districts were drawn based on voters, not total population? | Philip Bump/The Washington Post

A case before the Supreme Court raises an esoteric but important question: Who do politicians represent? Our Amber Phillips has a thorough explanation of the ins-and-outs of the case. But the essential question is whether political districts should be drawn based on the number of people that live in the district, or based on the number of people in that district that can vote. The idea is that in districts where there are a lot of people but not a lot of eligible voters, those voters are more powerful given that they can have a larger effect on the outcome of any given election. It doesn’t take long to see all sorts of questions that the distinction draws. Should we count people who can vote or people who do vote? How does that shift the priorities of the official who wins the right to represent the district?

Hawaii: Military Carve Out May Play Role in Voting District Case | Wall Street Journal

Hawaii may figure prominently when the Supreme Court this fall considers a case where plaintiffs are seeking to have legislative districts drawn based on a count of eligible voters rather than the total number of residents. That’s because for nearly half a century, the Aloha State has had the high court’s permission to ignore transients when drawing its political maps. While the Constitution requires equal population among legislative districts, a principle known as one-person, one-vote, a 1966 opinion said that Hawaii’s “special population problems” justified using registered voters as the baseline. The problem, as Hawaii saw it, was the large concentration of military facilities on Oahu. Counting tens of thousands of service members would distort the electoral maps by awarding legislative seats to military bases.

Arizona: Thousands of Arizona Voting Ballots Going Uncounted Every Election, Report Says | Phoenix New Times

Thousands upon thousands of votes aren’t counted every election year in Arizona, according to a new report. The Arizona Advocacy Network, which is run by a onetime Democratic politician, released a report detailing how Arizona’s election laws affect voter turnout, and it doesn’t look good — through public records and voter data, the organization found that more than 100,000 votes haven’t been counted over the last 10 years. “When it comes to disenfranchising eligible voters, Arizona is, unfortunately, a national leader,” the report states. “These discarded votes were not the result of fraud, which is so extremely rare it borders on nonexistent. These were eligible voters – sometimes confused, sometimes misinformed or merely forgetful, sometimes willfully targeted because they share a common last name.” For example, there were more than 121,000 provisional ballots rejected from 2006 to 2014.

Nigeria: After fleeing Boko Haram, many in Nigeria without documents to vote | The Globe and Mail

When the Boko Haram fighters swept into her town, Salamatu Billi fled for her life, running so fast that she didn’t even think about her identification documents. Today, after five months of homelessness, she has learned that she cannot cast a ballot in Nigeria’s crucial election next month, the most closely contested in the country’s history. Having already lost her life’s possessions when Boko Haram captured her town in northeastern Nigeria, she has now also lost the right to vote. … Many displaced people, such as Ms. Billi, cannot get voting cards because they lack documents, missed the chance to be registered when they fled, or are too frightened to return to their home state, where they must vote under election rules. As much as 20 per cent of Nigerian territory is under Boko Haram’s control, and voting will be virtually impossible there.

Australia: Victorian state election: 200,000 eligible voters missing in action | The Age

On the last day that Victorians could enrol to vote, staff from the Victorian Electoral Commission were desperately trying to make voting seem fun to persuade holdouts to register. More than 200,000 citizens were not yet registered to vote in the final hours: numbers that could have been seriously influential. Free frisbees, stress balls and water bottles were used all day to lure passing potential voters into an inflatable marquee at City Square that had a passing resemblance to a bouncy castle. “The Victorian election is looking like it’s going to be a close one and the message of our campaign this year is that every vote does count and some elections are won on a very small number of votes,” said VEC representative Lawson Fletcher.

Editorials: A case for compulsory voting | Ruth Marcus/The Washington Post

A thought experiment in the election’s aftermath: What if, instead of focusing on making it harder for people to vote, we made voting mandatory? Indulge me in a rant against the phantom menace of voter fraud. The efforts to suppress it are barely disguised Republican moves to hold down minority votes that would, presumably, go to Democrats. This year, the Supreme Court allowed a new Texas voter-ID law to proceed despite a lower court judge’s finding that it amounted to an unconstitutional poll tax that could disenfranchise 600,000 registered voters, about 4.5 percent of the total. This in low-turnout Texas, with voting participation rates near the bottom of a country with overall anemic turnout. Pivot to Australia, one of 11 countries that have, and enforce, mandatory voting, according to the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, and the nation most culturally similar to the United States.

North Carolina: Early voting starts today, eligibility for 10,000 not verified | Winston-Salem Journal

The State Board of Elections will not be able to verify before the early-voting period begins today whether all of the nearly 10,000 names that it has flagged as belonging to possible ineligible voters are in fact ineligible, according to interviews with elections and transportation officials. Elections officials estimate that most are likely eligible to vote, but the uncertainty has led some state lawmakers to question why the verification process is happening now. The Winston-Salem Journal reported Wednesday that, according to the SBOE, a specific search of those 10,000 names on the state’s voter rolls turned up 145 that belong to immigrants in the U.S. under the federal program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, which provides qualified applicants with a two-year reprieve from deportation. The number has been pared down to 119 after more research, said Josh Lawson, a spokesman for the SBOE. “Zero” DACA license holders have cast a ballot, he said. Mike Charbonneau, the deputy secretary of communications at the N.C. Department of Transportation, provided information on where some of the DACA license holders registered to vote.

National: Here’s How Much It Costs to Vote in States With Voter ID Laws | National Journal

For some voters, it costs $58.50 to vote in an election. That’s more than enough to keep voters away from polls, according to a new report. Thirty-three states require all eligible voters to show ID at the polling station and, in doing so, add a hidden cost to voting: While casting a ballot is technically free, getting proper identification is not. Many voter-ID laws came about after Congress passed the Help America Vote Act in 2002, which was intended to address concerns of voter fraud and irregularity in the 2000 presidential election. While concerns about fraud are widespread, research shows that it occurs very rarely. The cost of obtaining an ID affects voter participation, and can disproportionately drive down turnout among African-American voters and 18-to-23-year-olds.

Colorado: Prosecutors drop more voter fraud charges after massive state roundup | Aurora Sentinel

Arapahoe County prosecutors have dropped charges against another person charged in a controversial voter fraud case last fall, leaving just two people facing charges following the lengthy investigation. Tadesse Degefa, 73, of Aurora, was scheduled to go on trial Sept. 3 on a misdemeanor charge of procuring false registration. But prosecutors a week before the trial asked a judge to drop the charge and the judge dismissed the case the day it was supposed to start, said Michelle Yi, a spokeswoman for the Arapahoe County district attorney’s office. In a statement, prosecutors said Degefa asked for a ballot in the mail for the 2012 election even though he wasn’t a citizen and couldn’t legally vote. But, prosecutors said, because the law makes it easy for a third party to ask for a ballot for someone else, they couldn’t prove it was actually Degefa who asked for the ballot. “The existing safeguards are insufficient to prevent this from happening again, and are inadequate for us to prosecute cases with these facts. We honor the law and our elections processes in this State and in this specific case. Here, justice was best served by dismissing the charge,” District Attorney George Brauchler said in a statement. Prosecutors said Degefa illegally voted in 2008 and 2009, but the statute of limitations in those cases had expired.

Guinea-Bissau: Presidential runoff vote held | Mail Online

Long lines formed outside polling stations in Guinea-Bissau on Sunday for a presidential runoff vote intended to restore constitutional order in a country known for coups and unrest. The vote pits Jose Mario Vaz, whose party won a parliamentary majority in April’s first round, against Nuno Gomes Nabiam, who is known for having close ties to military leaders. More than 80 percent of eligible voters took part in the first round, a statistic observers say indicates the country is eager to move past its instability and begin rebuilding the economy with the help of international donors.  The large crowds on Sunday at polling stations in the capital, Bissau, suggested a similarly healthy turnout for the second round.

Italy: Venice votes for independence in unofficial poll | EUobserver

A self-organised “referendum” over the independence of one of Italy’s wealthiest regions has resulted in an overwhelming victory for the separatist camp, but authorities in Rome have largely ignored the result, amid scepticism over the regularity of the informal, non-binding poll. Nevertheless, events in Veneto, the north-eastern region around Venice that is home to almost 5 million people, have attracted international attention, particularly from government-sponsored Russian media, keen to draw comparisons with the military-backed vote that sanctioned Moscow’s annexation of Crimea. Out of 3.8 million eligible voters, 2.3 million took part in Veneto’s independence “plebiscite,” organisers said Friday, after six days of voting through makeshift polling booths, via phone or the internet. The pro-secession camp was declared the winner with over 89 percent, against just under 11 percent for the unionists.

Afghanistan: Afghanistan’s Upcoming Presidential Elections |

On April 5, the Afghan people will vote in the country’s third presidential elections in history. In addition to the important questions of who is likely to win the race and what various outcomes will mean for the future of the county, these elections represent something else—another attempt at organizing free and fair elections in a weak, war-torn state. Difficulties abound, but based on the experience with the 2004 and 2009 presidential elections in Afghanistan, the challenges that the country has to face for these elections to succeed lie in three intimately intertwined and basic issues: voting management, country-wide participation and the perception of elections. When the international community and the post-Taliban interim Afghan government first took up the task of holding general elections in Afghanistan in 2004-2005, one major problem was apparent, namely that in this (post-)conflict state, which has no effective civil registry, the task of organizing and monitoring voting would be extremely difficult.

Florida: State takes its time with lists of suspected ineligible voters | The News-Press

Seven months after Gov. Rick Scott announced a new purge of Florida’s voting rolls, county supervisors of elections are still waiting for the state to provide them with lists of suspected ineligible voters. The purge isn’t on hold, the state just isn’t in a hurry. “We do not have a set timeline to start the proposed process,” Florida Department of State spokeswoman Brittany Lesser said Friday. Meanwhile, midterm elections and Scott’s bid for a second term approach. It’s too late for such a purge to affect Southwest Florida’s special election to fill Trey Radel’s congressional seat. Radel resigned Jan. 27 after pleading guilty to cocaine possession and serving a stint in rehab. Ineligible voters would have to be removed by 90 days before a federal election, according to federal law.

Iowa: Poll: Access to voting trumps voter fraud concerns | The Des Moines Register

A wide majority of Iowans believe it’s more important to ensure ballot access for eligible voters than to guard against voting by those who are ineligible. That result, captured in The Des Moines Register’s latest Iowa Poll, casts new light on a debate that has been raging in the state and across the nation for years over the appropriate balance between ballot access and security. Seventy-one percent of poll respondents say it’s more important that every eligible, registered voter is able to vote, compared with 25 percent who say it’s more important that no ineligible person “slips through the cracks” to cast a vote. “Americans care about preventing voter fraud, but they care more about making voting free, fair and accessible,” said Myrna Perez, an expert on voting rights and elections at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University.

Fiji: 85% eligible voters are registered: Fiji Electoral Commission chairman | Islands Business

Approximately 85% of eligible voters are registered, which is an extremely impressive figure and represents the largest number of registered voters in Fiji’s history, says Electoral Commission chairman Chen Bunn Young. And the Elections Office is focusing on providing as many locations as possible around the country where Fijians can register to vote. Young said the Commission is determined to pick up the pace of opening registration centres in convenient locations across Fiji.

Thailand: Election Commission consults experts over second poll | Bangkok Post

The Election Commission will invite legal experts and key representatives of the government to discuss how to improve the turnout for the rescheduled polls, EC member Somchai Srisuthiyakorn says. He was responding to caretaker Deputy Prime Minister Phongthep Thepkanchana’s comment that the EC should put more effort into managing the new round of elections. Ninety-five percent of the total 500 MP seats must be filled so the House of Representatives can be convened and a new prime minister selected, as required by the constitution. “I will invite Mr Pongthep and legal experts, and ask for their advice on how to set up the next round of elections. I can say that we might not have the full number of representatives in the next two months or even 180 days [as stipulated by the charter],” he said. Mr Somchai said the EC will today decide whether the new round of polls could be held on Feb 23 as planned.

Canada: Tories’ bill strips Elections Canada of power to promote voter turnout | The Globe and Mail

The Conservative government is stripping Elections Canada of its authority to encourage Canadians to vote in federal ballots under changes to the agency’s mandate. Legislation tabled this week sets out restrictions on what information the chief electoral officer can provide the public, limiting it to five matter-of-fact topics related to how to vote or become a limit. The Conservative bill will remove parts of Section 18 of the Elections Act that give the chief electoral officer the authority to provide the public with information on “the democratic right to vote” and to “make the electoral process better known to the public, particularly to those persons and groups most likely to experience difficulties in exercising their democratic rights.” Voter turnout in the 2011 federal election – slightly more than 61 per cent of eligible voters – was among the lowest in this country’s history.

Thailand: Turnout in Thai election less than 50%: election commission sources | GlobalPost

Less than 50 percent of Thailand’s 45 million eligible voters turned out to vote in Sunday’s controversial general election, Election Commission sources said Monday. The low turnout was partly blamed on antigovernment protesters who urged people not cast their ballots, blocked distribution of ballot boxes and papers, and occupied district offices, preventing many polling stations from opening. Another likely reason was that the election was boycotted by the main opposition Democrat Party. Nine of 77 provinces across the country, especially the south, decided to cancel the voting due to the lack of ballot boxes and papers, depriving millions of their right to vote in the election. In total, voting in 69 of 375 constituencies around the country could not take place due to interference by protesters, according to the Election Commission.

Editorials: Schultz’s hunt for fraud disenfranchises eligible voters | Iowa City Press Citizen

Last week, Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz announced the state was filing charges in nine additional voter fraud cases — all concerning felons who voted in the 2012 general election without having had their voting rights restored. We’ve already opined repeatedly against Schultz’s instance on playing Captain Ahab to what he views as the White Whale of statewide voter fraud. And so far — despite Schultz’s having pledged to spend more than a quarter-million dollars on such investigations — that White Whale has seemed more like a minnow. And we’ve likewise opined repeatedly against Gov. Terry Branstad’s issuing an executive order to stop Iowa from automatically restoring the voting rights of felons once they have paid their debt to society. Branstad’s order nullified the one issued by his predecessor, Tom Vilsack, and created an incredibly complicated situation for determining which ex-felons have the right to vote and which ex-felons, if they cast a vote, risk committing yet another felony.

Iowa: Lawmakers to probe case of ex-felons denied vote | Associated Press

Errors in state records could be denying legitimate voters the right to cast ballots, a Republican county election official from northern Iowa said. Three voters were wrongly denied the right to vote in Cerro Gordo County in northern Iowa in the 2012 presidential election, and Auditor Ken Kline said he wants an investigation to figure out how it happened and how to prevent it from happening again. One person who was never convicted of a felony and two ex-felons whose voting rights had been restored were denied votes in the election after Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz’s office confirmed the three were on a list of ineligible voters, Kline told The Des Moines Register for a story published Thursday. Schultz’s spokesman said his office relied on information provided by Iowa court officials and concerns about the accuracy of the list of ineligible felons should be addressed to the courts.

Iowa: Flawed databases can foul voter lists | Quad City Times

The Iowa Secretary of State’s office said Thursday it is willing to work to fix a problem that led to three northern Iowa voters having their ballots tossed out of the 2012 election. Meanwhile, officials in several county auditors’ offices said that although they think the problem experienced by the three is rare — or at least that it hadn’t happened in their jurisdictions — they recognize the statewide voter database that improperly included their names has errors. “The important thing is now that we know there was this flaw that exists, we’re going to work with the Secretary of State’s office to fix it,” said Eric Van Lancker, the Clinton County auditor who is president of the state auditor association. About 46,000 people are on the database of felons who are prohibited from voting.

Thailand: Elections in Thailand: The show must go on | The Economist

In front of the Royal Thai Army Club the thuggish rump of a failed people’s revolution gathered to collect their reward. They were to hear the announcement of a temporary interruption of Thai democracy, so that an appointed council of “good men”, as dreamed up by their leader Suthep Thaugsuban, could save the country. Mr Suthep, a former deputy prime minister with the opposition Democrat party, was to be disappointed. There was already a stink of testosterone and aggression in the air. Young men, new veterans of a three-month-long protest against the government, were perched on lorries. They threatened by megaphone to storm the club and rid Thailand of the influence of the “Thaksin regime”, meaning Yingluck Shinawatra, the prime minister (pictured above); as well as her brother, the former prime minister, Thaksin, whom they see as pulling the strings from his refuge in Dubai; and everyone close to them. The protesters are calling their own movement “The People’s Committee for Absolute Democracy with the King as Head of State”. Here at the army club, miles away from the shopping malls and offices in the heart of Bangkok, Mr Suthep’s insurrection has to make do without the benefit of its more well-heeled supporters, the ones who post their revolutionary slogans on the walls of Facebook.

Kansas: Kobach: Birth-records scan helps 7,700 Kansas voters meet citizenship requirement | Wichita Eagle

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said Wednesday that comparing voter registration applications against Kansas birth certificates will reduce the backlog of registrants whose voting rights are on hold for not providing proof-of-citizenship documents. Checking the state’s birth certificates has reduced the number of prospective registrants who can’t vote by 7,700, from slightly more than 20,000 to about 12,500, Kobach said in testimony before the House Elections Committee. The backlog of suspended registrants has been a significant concern to some legislators and voting-rights advocates who object to the Secure and Fair Elections Act, a Kobach-inspired law that requires voters to provide proof of citizenship before they can become eligible to vote.

New York: The dead can vote in New York City | New York Post

Death doesn’t necessarily disqualify you from voting in New York City. Investigators posing as dead voters were allowed to cast ballots for this year’s primary and general elections, thanks to antiquated Board of Election registration records and lax oversight by poll workers, authorities said. The election board’s susceptibility to voter fraud by people impersonating the departed was uncovered during a massive probe of the agency by the Department of Investigation. The probe uncovered 63 instances when voters’ names should have been stricken from the rolls, but weren’t — even though some of them had died years before. “The majority of those 63 individuals remained on the rolls nearly two years — and some as long as four years — since a death, felony conviction, or move outside of New York City,” said DOI Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn.

Ohio: Husted, voting rights groups settle on ‘Motor Voter’ Act case |

The state of Ohio agreed to a settlement Monday with voting awareness groups Judicial Watch and True the Vote, effectively ending a lawsuit that lasted almost a year and a half. The case dates to August 2012, when the groups claimed Secretary of State Jon Husted hadn’t taken reasonable steps to keep ineligible voters out of polling places. Monday’s settlement, which involves no money, established nine criteria for Husted’s office to follow, ensuring compliance with the National Voter Registration Act, known widely as the “Motor Voter” Act.

Editorials: Iowa ‘Voter fraud’ findings didn’t live up to billing | The Des Moines Register

The timing was perfect for Secretary of State Matt Schultz when he ran for office in 2010. The Republican was able to ride a national wave of trumped-up hysteria about hundreds of non-citizens supposedly voting illegally. Schultz made rooting out voter fraud the centerpiece of his campaign, and he won the election, unseating incumbent Michael Mauro. Schultz went on to propose rules seeking to purge ineligible voters from voter lists. This move became the subject of a lawsuit. In July 2012, he struck a deal with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation to assign a full-time agent to investigate suspected voter fraud. The state auditor’s office is now reviewing whether it’s appropriate for Schultz’s office to use federal election-improvement money to pay for fraud investigations. After 18 months of scouring the state for voting scofflaws and spending $150,000 in tax money on the effort, what serious problems have been uncovered? None — other than we now know that there isn’t a problem with voter fraud in Iowa and that some Iowans are confused about voting laws.

Colorado: Group files suit against Colorado county clerks over voter rolls | The Denver Post

A national conservative organization that aims to address voter fraud filed lawsuits Monday against two Colorado county clerks for what it says is improper maintenance of voter rolls. True the Vote alleges clerks from Gilpin and Mineral counties have voter registration rates — according to the group’s analysis — of more than 100 percent, which it says signifies a problem. As a result, the group says, the clerks haven’t complied with the Voter Registration Act of 1993 by not making “a reasonable effort to conduct voter list maintenance programs in elections for federal office.”

Liberia: Liberia’s Elections Commission Launches 2014 Voter Roll |

Liberia’s National election Commission Tuesday launched the National Voter Roll updated in preparations for the 2014 special Senatorial election. The voter roll update according to the NEC is the process of listing all those registered to vote in a Particular areas. The list will be compiled and kept by the NEC. The process is also expected to provide uniform and legitimate voter identification cards to all eligible (18 yrs) citizens of Liberia. Speaking at the official launch, NEC Chairman Cllr. Jerome Kokoya said, the process will capture Liberians who have or will be turning 18 years before the date of the Special Senatorial Election and also those who have lost their voter cards or change location. Said Kokoya: “Eligible voters who for one reason or the other could not register during last voter’s registration exercise in 2011, and those who have changed locations within the country, please visit the nearest voter roll update so that you could be included on the voter roll in order to participate in the 2014 special senatorial election.”