Iran’s state television broadcast a live program on Tuesday in which passers-by were placed in a chair and asked what they would do if they were president. One man said he would “work for the people.” A second jumped up when he heard the question. “I don’t want this chair!” he said. Suddenly, a young woman grabbed the microphone. “This program is nonsense,” she said. “Those who really sit on this chair are only there to fill their own pockets.” The program rapidly broke for a commercial, but it was a rare and revealing unscripted moment in the strictly controlled run-up to the presidential election on June 14.
The Kremlin said on March 13 that the author of a report that claims the ruling United Russia party actually lost the 2011 elections to the Communist Party of the Russian Federation thanks to fraud needs “psychiatric help.” The report is surprising and extremely embarrassing, as its conclusions are not in dispute: it is widely accepted that the Duma elections were fixed, which engendered the widely publicized protests in December that year. And it is surprising because the institute, the Governance and Problem Analysis Center (GPAC), is a state-run body that is chaired by state-owned Russian Railways (RZhD) and by its CEO Vladimir Yakunin. While it is highly unlikely that this is a political play by Yakunin to embarrass his masters in the Kremlin — Yakhnin is a consummate politician and former ambassador to the EU — it is interesting that a prestigious state controlled institution has had the shariki to come out with this sort of claim in public. The deputy head of United Russia’s executive committee, Konstantin Mazurevsky, said in a statement on his party’s website that Sulakshin’s report was based on data “snatched out of thin air.” And a senior Russian Railways representative told Interfax that Yakunin, a Putin loyalist, had nothing to do with the report and said his boss could give up his role at the think tank in light of its conclusions.
The call for employment of technology in Zimbabwe for both voter registration and facilitation of the electoral process is not entirely new. Masvingo MP Tongai Matutu called for the introduction of biometrics, lodging a motion in parliament to this effect in 2010. The issue was raised again in March last year by Pishai Muchauraya who said though it had been discussed with Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa, nothing concrete had materialised. In April last year, Information Communication Technology minister Nelson Chamisa also called for the adoption of a digital biometric voters’ roll. I also brought up this issue in July last year in which I explored the basics behind biometrics technology. Most recently, calls led by Regional Integration minister Priscillah Misihairabwi-Mushonga to have online voters’ registration were rejected by the Registrar-General (RG) who contends that this does not provide adequate checks as required in Section 24 of the Electoral Act.
About 5,000 flag-waving protesters rallied on Wednesday against Armenian President Serzh Sarksyan’s re-election, saying his victory was tainted by fraud.
Supporters of Sarksyan’s second-placed rival Raffi Hovannisian filled Freedom Square in the centre of the capital Yerevan to condemn what they said were uncounted ballots and other violations. “Are you ready to stay here long?” Hovannisian asked the crowd. “Are you ready to stay here until victory? I’m ready. The constitution should win over fraud,” he said, raising a first above his head after kneeling to kiss the national flag.
A new type of ink will be used in the February 18 presidential election, as announced Tuesday by the Central Election Commission — one that is hoped to perform better than the type that was used in last May’s parliamentary elections that resulted in charges of fraud, as the ink evaporated long before its intended duration. The ink, applied into passports of participating voters, is meant to prevent repeated voting. While it is hoped that the new ink will fulfill its aim, at least one member of the ICES monitoring mission has urged Armenia to abandon the practice in favor of more modern methodology.
Election officials in Jordan voiced concern about the attempts made by a number of candidates to buy people’s votes to win the parliamentary elections on January 23. The London-based al-Hayat daily quoted a Jordanian official as saying that his department has received reports about the illegal activities made by certain candidates who have embarked on buying people’s votes. The official underlined that the move is an instance of fraud and runs counter to the government promises about campaign against corruption and implementing reforms in the country, cautioning that the move threatens arrangement of healthy parliamentary elections in Jordan.
A state lawmaker who agreed to plead guilty to casting invalid absentee ballots in elections in 2009 and 2010 has submitted his resignation letter. State Rep. Stephen Smith submitted the letter, dated Monday, to the state’s top election official, Secretary William Galvin. “I respectfully decline to accept this office,” Smith’s signed letter states, Galvin said Tuesday. A calendar has been prepared for a special election to fill the vacancy, with a primary in March and the election in April, Galvin said. Members of the state House will discuss the issue Wednesday, he said.
As the St. Thomas-St. John Board of Elections on Tuesday resumed counting paper ballots from the week-old General Election, tension is showing between some board members and the V.I. attorney general, who announced late last week that his office will investigate the territory’s election. Allegations of improprieties on and surrounding Election Day have been widespread. The St. Thomas-St. John Board, for instance, did not certify its voting machines until about 12 hours before the polls opened and failed to conduct a public test of the machines working properly prior to certification.
Oregon: Ballot fraud allegations in Clackamas County could lead to changes in election procedures | OregonLive.com
Allegations of ballot fraud by a Clackamas County election worker may lead to some immediate steps to make Oregon’s voting system more secure — as well as pressure for additional legislative changes. But, so far at least, the allegations don’t appear to cast a shadow over Oregon’s pioneering system of voting by mail. Local and national experts say this kind of fraud could occur in any state. Doug Lewis, executive director of the National Association of Election Officials, said that a rogue election worker could attempt the same kind of fraud in any jurisdiction that uses paper ballots – which at a minimum are used by absentee voters everywhere.
Authorities said Friday they were investigating suspected ballot tampering by an election worker in one of Oregon’s most populous counties. Clackamas County Clerk Sherry Hall said a criminal violation of election law was uncovered by her office Wednesday and reported to the secretary of state’s Elections Division. Hall declined to identify the worker or describe the specific nature of the violation.
A Pennsylvania man employed by a company working for the Republican Party of Virginia was arrested by investigators from the Rockingham County Sheriff’s office on Thursday and charged with destroying voter registration forms. Colin Small, a 31-year-old resident of Phoenixville, Pa., worked for Pinpoint, a company hired to register voters on behalf of the Republican Party of Virginia. Prosecutors charged him with four counts of destruction of voter registration applications, eight counts of failing to disclose voter registration applications and one count of obstruction of justice. Rockingham County Sheriff Bryan Hutcheson’s office said there was no indication that the activity was widespread in their jurisdiction and said the conduct “appears to be limited in nature.” His office said there is a possibility that additional charges may be filed.
Russian regional elections have tightened Vladimir Putin’s grip on power and underlined opposition failure to build street protest into an effective challenge at the start of the president’s six-year term. Ten months ago, suspicions that fraud propelled Putin’s ruling United Russia party to victory in a parliamentary election brought tens of thousands of people into the streets of Moscow for the biggest protests of his 12 years in power. As United Russia celebrated victory on Monday in local and regional elections that its foes alleged were just as dirty as the December vote, one opposition leader tweeted that nationwide protests were imminent. “The authorities leave the people no choice!” opposition lawmaker and protest leader Dmitry Gudkov wrote on Twitter. The tweet sounded more like a plea than a prediction.
In local and regional elections marked by low voter turnout and fresh allegations of polling fraud, Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party claimed a landslide victory on Sunday. Putin’s allies preserved their seats in all five of the regional governor’s jobs up for a vote. And United Russia won most of the 4,848 local legislative seats and referendums up for a vote in 77 regions, according to preliminary returns. Some observers called the results a political comeback for the Kremlin party after a poor showing in the national parliamentary election held last December, when it won less than 50% of the vote amid widespread accusations of massive electoral manipulation. Putin thanked voters on Monday. “For me, the results of the vote are not unexpected,” he said in televised remarks. “I think it one more step confirming the voters’ intent to support the current authorities and the development of the Russian statehood.”
A group of Canadians challenging the election wins of seven Conservative MPs has scored a victory along the road to getting the main case heard in Federal Court. The court has ruled in favour of the challengers denying a motion by the Conservative Party to force them to put down hundreds of thousands of dollars as a security deposit. Nine people, backed by the Council of Canadians, are challenging the election wins of seven Conservative MPs. They argue fraudulent or abusive phone calls targeted those seven ridings in an attempt to discourage voters from casting ballots on May 2, 2011, and that the election results should be nullified.
We’ve learned the girl filmed in a viral YouTube video while registering voters at a local grocery store was employed by a company just dumped by the Republican National Committee over allegations of voter fraud. The video got a half-million views in just a few days, becoming an overnight Internet sensation with national attention. The girl gathering voter registrations claimed she was working for the El Paso County Clerk & Recorder’s Office, and said at one point she preferred to register only Mitt Romney supporters. After speaking with local party heads and campaign officials, it was determined the girl was not working for the county clerk, but for a consulting firm hired by the state GOP. Eli Bremer, chairman of the El Paso County Republicans, explained to News 5 that it was the girl’s first day on the job, and said she misspoke when asked who was “paying her”. Wayne Williams, the El Paso County Clerk & Recorder, also confirmed that what she was doing– prescreening voters with preference questions before offering a voter registration form– was not illegal.
Florida: “Questionable” Palm Beach County voter registration forms forwarded to state attorney for review | Palm Beach Post
The Republican Party of Florida is dumping a firm it paid more than $1.3 million to register new voters, after Palm Beach County Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher flagged 106 “questionable” registration applications turned in by the contractor this month. Bucher asked the state attorney’s office to review the applications “in an abundance of caution” because she said her staff had questions about similar-looking signatures, missing information and wrong addresses on the forms. The state GOP hired Strategic Allied Consultants of Glen Allen, Va., for “voter registration services” and get-out-the-vote activities. The firm got identical payments of $667,598 in July and August. “When we learned today about the instances of potential voter registration fraud that occurred in Palm Beach County, we immediately informed the Republican National Committee that we were terminating the contract with the voter registration vendor we hired at their request because there is no place for voter registration fraud in Florida,” said RPOF Executive Director Mike Grissom late Tuesday. An employee of the company said no one was available to comment Tuesday evening.
Florida: Florida GOP fires Romney consultant’s voter registration firm after fraudulent forms reported in Palm Beach County | Brad Blog
The Republican Party of Florida’s top recipient of 2012 expenditures, a firm by the name of Strategic Allied Consulting, was just fired on Tuesday night, after more than 100 apparently fraudulent voter registration forms were discovered to have been turned in by the group to the Palm Beach County, FL Supervisor of Elections. The firm appears to be another shell company of Nathan Sproul, a longtime, notorious Republican operative, hired year after year by GOP Presidential campaigns, despite being accused of shredding Democratic voter registration forms in a number of states over several past elections. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Strategic Allied Consulting has been paid some $667,000 this year by the FL GOP, presumably to run its voter registration campaigns in the state. That number, however, does not account for another identical payment made in August. The Palm Beach Post is reporting tonight that the firm received “more than $1.3 million” from the Republican Party of Florida “to register new voters.”
Florida: Lawmaker’s suit alleges absentee-ballot fraud at North Miami assisted living facilities, nursing homes | MiamiHerald.com
Charges of absentee-ballot fraud at assisted-living facilities and nursing homes are at the center of Rep. John Patrick Julien’s legal challenge to the results of the District 107 primary race for the Florida House. Julien, D-North Miami, who lost a razor-thin Democratic primary to Miami Gardens Rep. Barbara Watson last month, filed a court complaint Tuesday challenging the results of the race. After a recount, Watson won with 50.06 percent of the vote — a 13-vote edge. The court complaint, filed in Leon County, alleges that several absentee ballots tied to a North Miami nursing home may have been cast fraudulently. It highlights a political consultant who advertised herself as “The Queen of Absentee Ballots” and a woman who appeared on Haitian Creole radio, warning absentee voters to consult with “teacher Carline” before filling out their ballots. “We have meticulously researched the facts in this case and have very good evidence that the fraud in the District 107 is concentrated in ALFs and nursing homes,” said Juan-Carlos Planas, an attorney for Julien and a former Republican legislator.
The party of President Denis Sassou Nguesso dominated as expected a first-round parliamentary election in the oil-exporting Central African state of Congo Republic, results showed on Friday, although the vote was widely shunned. Opposition parties complained ahead of the elections that Nguesso’s Congolese Workers’ Party (PCT) had privileged access to state media in a country where past votes have been tainted with accusations of fraud. Interior Minister Zephirin Mboulou acknowledged turnout had been weak but gave no official figure. The Congolese Observatory for Human Rights (OCDH) estimated that only 15 percent of the some two million eligible voters turned out.
In view of the large amount of attention yesterday’s post on the potential for vote buying in the 2012 Mexican presidential election has received, we are very pleased to have a second follow up post-election report on this election from Marco A. Morales, a Ph.D candidate in the Department of Politics at New York University, that addresses more directly the question of the potential for and consequences of electoral fraud in this election. In addition to his graduate work in political science, Morales has also served as a public official under both PRI and PAN administrations, most recently – under the current PAN administration – as Press Counsellor and Spokesman for the Mission of Mexico to the United Nations, and Director General for Political Analysis at the Office of the Mexican Presidency. The official tally for the Mexican presidential election has now been released. After all votes have been counted (and recounted whenever there were discrepancies in the tallies) the results advanced by the PREP and the expedite count remain virtually unchanged: PRI’s Peña Nieto has38.21% of the vote, PRD’s López Obrador 31.59%, and Vázquez Mota 25.41% of the vote. This means that a difference of over 3.3 million votes between the front-runner and the second place remains virtually unchanged. (Or in other words, that there was human error on the vote counts, but no systematic error). Yet, for outside observers, this could seem like a convoluted process taking an exceptional amount of time. And that would be a correct observation. Nevertheless, that is what the electoral law dictates. So what exactly is going on, and why?
Supporters of State Senator Adriano Espaillat are calling for a federal monitor to step in and oversee the counting of votes in his congressional race against longtime Congressman Charlie Rangel after reports of uncounted votes emerged yesterday. Mr. Rangel was initially declared the victor by the Associated Press and in unofficial totals from the Board of Elections after the election on Tuesday, but the AP subsequently published a report claiming results from 33 of the 506 precincts in the Upper Manhattan district remained uncounted. Mr. Espaillat’s supporters announced their push for a federal monitor at a press conference in front of Mr. Rangel’s office in Harlem where some of the attendees also made allegations of voter fraud at the polls Tuesday. “I’m here today to call for a federal monitor on the Board of Elections. It is unacceptable that 48 hours after the elections took place….we don’t have the outcome of this election,” said Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, a close ally of Mr. Espaillat’s. “We also have a lot of concerns that still the Board of Elections has not received [results from] a number of election districts. We don’t know where they are, they don’t know where they are.” Though Mr. Rodriguez did not provide specific numbers or locations of the precincts where votes remain uncounted, he said most of these precincts are in areas favorable to Mr. Espaillat inside his State Senate district.
Papua New Guinea: Delays and allegations of fraud in Papua New Guinea elections | ABC Radio Australia
Voters in Papua New Guinea’s capital, Port Moresby, go to the polls today in the national election which began in a volatile part of the Highlands at the weekend. Two of the most recognisable names in PNG politics are not on the ballot papers in the electorates they’ve held for many years: Australian born Dame Carol Kidu and former PNG Prime Minister, Sir Mekere Morauta, who are both retiring this year. The head of the Commonwealth election observer group in Papua New Guinea says election-related problems could lead to voter frustration. There have been reports of delays in opening polling stations, ballot boxes being destroyed and others being hijacked and stuffed with completed ballot papers.
Egypt’s Presidential Election Commission said it would delay the announcement of a winner in the weekend contest as it pressed forward with an investigation into fraud claims. The commission’s decision, reported by the state news agency, didn’t say when it would announce results, which had been expected to come on Thursday. The delay and the unusually vigorous investigation deepened suspense in a country on edge as it waited to learn who will be its first freely elected president. Conflicting reports about the deteriorating health of ousted President Hosni Mubarak, who was briefly pronounced “clinically dead” by state media late on Tuesday before authorities called that an exaggeration, have heightened tensions. “The most dangerous 48 hours in the history of Egypt,” the state-run Al Ahram Newspaper blasted across its front page on Wednesday. Some 3,000 additional soldiers were deployed to protect government buildings across the country as the military braced for unrest following the announcement of results, the newspaper reported on its website.
More than 60 lawmakers walked out of the inaugural session of parliament in Algeria, in protest at alleged fraud in recent elections. The MPs, mostly from a Islamist coalition, waved banners that said “Say ‘no’ to fraud”, before leaving after a roll call of new members. The party claims the polls two weeks ago were fixed in favour of the ruling FLN party and its coalition partners. Algeria was one of the few states in the region to avoid unrest last year.
When MaryAnn Nellis tried to pay for groceries on April 14, her credit card was declined. Later, she said, she found out why: Her credit card company, Capital One, had flagged an earlier purchase as potentially fraudulent. The problem? A $5 donation to Friends of Scott Walker, the Wisconsin governor’s campaign committee, Nellis said. Nellis told a Capital One representative she had not made the donation to Walker, who is fighting an effort to recall him as governor in a closely watched, expensive election set for June 5. “Over my dead body,” said Nellis, a potter and retired teacher in upstate New York who describes herself as “adamantly angry and upset” at Republicans such as Walker. Nellis disputed the charge and she was issued a new card. Though the amount of money was small, ProPublica decided Nellis’ complaint was worth following up. There have been other reports recently about insecure campaign-donation websites and the potential for fraud. Earlier this month, The Washington Times reported that Restore Our Future, the super PAC supporting Republican Mitt Romney, was using a collection system that made online donors’ credit card informationaccessible to even amateur snoopers.
California: Fraud accusations mount for voter registration company in Sacramento County | The Sacramento Bee
A woman suspected of voter registration fraud in Sacramento County has been the subject of complaints in other campaigns as well. The registrar of voters in El Dorado County sent a warning to Monica Harris last year after problems with registrations collected at Folsom Lake College. During a signature drive in Sacramento last year – which was ultimately thrown out because of an unusually high number of rejected signatures – members of the Sacramento Central Labor Council also lodged complaints against Harris. Sacramento County Registrar of Voters Jill LaVine recently announced that she had turned over thousands of suspect registration cards turned in by Harris’ company to the California secretary of state’s office. In some cases, LaVine has received complaints from people who unknowingly had their party registration switched to Republican.
Roughly 17 percent of the complaints registered with Russian election officials over the March presidential contest were confirmed, authorities said. Vladimir Putin secured a third non-consecutive term in office during March presidential elections. Sergei Danilenko, a Russian election official, said Friday 268 of the 1,564 complaints registered by the Central Election Commission “were confirmed,” reports Russia’s state-run news service RIA Novosti.
Afghanistan’s election commission has drafted proposed changes to the country’s election law in a bid to prevent fraud in future parliamentary votes, an official said Sunday. Afghanistan’s 2009 presidential election and the parliamentary election held a year later were both characterised by widespread electoral fraud. “We have used the previous election experiences to prepare the new draft to improve future elections,” Independent Election Commission spokesman Noor Mohammad Noor told AFP. “In the new draft around 50 percent of the electoral law will be changed.”
ON just two occasions have recent elections in Iran reflected the people’s will and yielded particularly surprising and disorienting outcomes for the ruling establishment, first in 1997 with the election of Mohammad Khatami, and again, three years ago. In June 2009, the democratic opposition, led by the reformist Mir Hussein Moussavi — a former prime minister with a reputation for honesty, integrity and clean politics — polled strongly, only to have the election stolen from it through fraud. Popular protests were met with widespread arrests, street assaults and assassinations, and a show of force by police commandos, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, militia members and countless paid plainclothes vigilantes. Soviet-style show trials and TV confessions followed. Since early 2010, except on one occasion, the ruling authoritarian clique has used sheer force, intimidation and fear to prevent public protests by the supporters of the opposition. Mr. Moussavi and a fellow opposition leader, Mehdi Karroubi, have been illegally under house arrest since February 2011.
With the widespread adoption of smartphones and the use of mobile tactics in U.S. presidential campaigns, could there come a day when Americans might vote wirelessly? That question was posed to a panel of mobile campaign experts at the Brookings Institution during a webcast Tuesday. The prevailing view was that wireless voting in the U.S. is a long way off. Considering that much voting in the U.S. is still done with paper ballots, electronic voting over a wireless device such as a smartphone is “a long ways away,” said Katie Harbath, associate manager of policy for Facebook. She noted that delegates to the Iowa Republican Caucus in February still voted with pen and paper.