Arkansas: County election officials raise concerns about 3 state bills | Nortwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette

A handful of bills working through General Assembly committees could change how and when voters participate in primary, special and general elections, officials said last week. One bill would lump all special and school district elections to either May or November instead of throughout the year. Another would push the presidential candidate primaries back two months into March. A third bill would cut down early voting from two weeks before an election to just one. Benton and Washington county election officials said the proposals could make elections more difficult to hold and could confuse voters. “We want to do the best job that we possibly can,” said Russell Anzalone, chairman of the Benton County Election Commission. “To us, the commissioners, it’s all about the voter.”

Botswana: Parties gear up for tough election | AFP

Two major parties contesting Botswana’s upcoming general elections held their final rallies Saturday ahead of what is expected to be the most competitive election since independence from Britain in 1966. The ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), led by President Ian Khama, faces its first test with voters after a split in 2010 led to the formation of the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD). Khama, a former army commander and the son of the country’s first president, Seretse Khama, has been in power since 2008 and made it clear at a rally in the capital Gaborone that he would run on his record in the October 24 poll. “If you want to move forward, vote for the BDP and if you want to move backwards vote for the opposition parties,” Khama said to thunderous applause from several thousand supporters.

Bosnia: The world’s most complicated system of government? | The Guardian

Bosnia and Herzegovina holds its seventh general elections on 12 October. Since the end of the war, political allegiance has been usually based on ethnic identity. Ethnic politics will play its role in Sunday’s elections too, but there are other issues too. The debate, following protests earlier this year, has centred most on economic and social issues, allegedly corrupt politicians, stagnation and jobs – at 27.5%, the unemployment rate in Bosnia is consistently among the highest in the Balkans. The employment rate remains below 40%, and two-thirds of young people are jobless. Meanwhile, the salary of lawmakers is six times the country’s average wage – a rarely lopsided difference, making Bosnia’s MPs, relatively speaking, among the richest in Europe. An additional blow to the economy were the devastating floods in May, which inflicted damages of €2bn (about 15% of the country’s GDP). … Bosnia and Herzegovina comprises two entities: the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Republika Srpska. The main cities in the Federation are the capital Sarajevo, and the cities of Mostar, Tuzla, Bihac and Zenica, while in the Republika Srpska entity the main cities are Banja Luka, Bijeljina, Prijedor and Trebinje. Formally part of both entities is theBrčko District, a multi-ethnic self-governing administrative unit.

India: Advani favours voting rights to Indians settled abroad | ibnlive

Senior BJP leader LK Advani on Tuesday said he is in favour of granting voting rights to Indians and people of Indian-origin settled abroad. Advani, who is leading a group of visiting Indian Parliamentarians here to attend sessions of the UN General Assembly, addressed a large gathering of Indian-Americans and community leaders at an event organised over the weekend by the Overseas Friend of BJP in Edison, New Jersey. He said Indians living abroad have been making efforts to get voting rights and wish to participate in the electoral process of their country. “I want that all Indians and people of Indian origin living abroad should get voting rights. It will be a very good step,” Advani said, adding that this can be made possible only when there are changes in India and the country’s laws.

Angola: Over 70,000 police to Guard Elections in Angola | Prensa Latina

The Angolan government announced the mobilization of more than 70,000 police, in order to ensure public peace in the upcoming general elections on the 31. The second general commander of public order, Paulo de Almeida, confirmed in statements to the press that all the members of that body have already been trained and informed about their duties in the upcoming election. In addition he noted that if necessary, the police will be assisted by Angolan Armed Forces.

Paraguay: After Lugo ouster Paraguay sets April 2013 polls | Radio Netherlands

Paraguay, rocked two months ago by the ouster of its president Fernando Lugo, will hold general elections in April 2013, the country’s superior court of electoral justice said. “Some 3.5 million people are registered to vote,” in the April 21, 2013 polls, court head Alberto Ramirez said during a ceremony attended by President Federico Franco, who came to power in June after Congress sent Lugo packing. “It has been rumored that this government would not organize elections, or that it intended to delay them to stay in power for a longer time,” Franco said. “The process will be completed when the new president takes office on August 15,” 2013, said Franco, pledging to step down on that date.

Malawi: Electoral Commission ready for 2014 tripartite polls | Msosa

Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) authorities declared on Thursday that they have sufficient time to prepare for the presidential, parliamentary and local government elections in 2014. The message from MEC Chairperson Anastasia Msosa follows comments from the legal affairs committee of parliament that Malawi is not ready to hold the tripartite elections in 2014 due to financial and time constraints. The committee also feared that rushing the polls will not lead to free, fair and credible general elections thereby proposing for 2019. However, Msosa said the institution’s view is that two years is enough to prepare for a free, fair and credible election.

United Kingdom: Electoral Commission wants overnight general election counts to stay | BBC

The Electoral Commission has recommended general election counts should continue to be held overnight. Before the 2010 election, a number of councils made plans to count votes the day after polling day. But a campaign by MPs and others resulted in a change of the law requiring counts to start within four hours of the close of polls. The Electoral Commission said this should only be revisited if national polls were scheduled for the same day. A report by the Commission – the independent elections watchdog – makes a number of recommendations on the timing of election counts which, it says, will “make sure voters get accurate and timely results at future elections”. It follows consultation with returning officers, who are responsible for election counts, as well as politicians, broadcasters and others with an interest in the issue.

Bahamas: Grand Bahamians ready to mark their ‘X’ | The Freeport News

With 25 days left before the 2012 general elections and more than 172,000 Bahamians registered to vote, most of residents polled in Grand Bahama yesterday say they are simply marking time. Parliament was officially dissolved Tuesday, signaling the countdown to what is believed will be the hottest contested election in the history of The Bahamas. Up to this point, the three parties — the governing Free National Movement (FNM), the Progressive Liberal Party and the recently formed Democratic National Alliance (DNA) — have mounted an aggressive campaign to woo the electorate. Now that Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham has announced the long-awaited date, Grand Bahama residents who intend to vote say they are ready.

Greece: Election date to be set in Holy Week | Athens News

The precise date of the general elections will be finalised during Holy Week, which this year starts on April 9, the government spokesman said on Monday. Speaking on SKAI TV, Pantelis Kapsis said on Monday, adding that nothing has changed with regard to the proposed dates, which are April 29 or May 6. Kapsis emphasised his view that the work of government must continue before and after the elections, adding that there is no room for slackness. “The impression must not be created among the public that the difficulties have passed,” Kapsis said.

Morocco: Morocco’s New Constitution and Upcoming General Elections |

It was under the watch of the government of Abbas Fassi that a New or a completely revamped constitution emerged out of the blue precipitated by the ‘Arab Spring’ and considered revolutionary by some and more of the same by others. It was put to a referendum on 1 July 2011 and was accepted by 98% of the 74% of the people who made it to the ballot box. This kind of results might seem bizarre to us in West, but Arabs and Muslims always claim their singularity and uniqueness from the outside world as they fail to see the other.

However, this apart, the most important innovative change made is that of the role of the Prime Minister, who becomes the President of Government and is given to the party with majority votes at elections, a great improvement of the previous ones, bringing this nomination in line to what is generally recognized as one of the principles of democracy. In other words, now the king can no longer choose any prime minster as it used to be the case, but must respect the will of the people through elections and name the new president of the government from the party that received the most votes.

Egypt: Electionnaire Egypt site helps users find their political party | Bikya Masr

A new website, Electionnaire Egypt, hosted by the Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) was launched this week, serving as an interactive electoral questionnaire that will help users find the party that is best suited to their views for upcoming Egyptian parliamentary elections. The site is hosted in both Arabic in English, and was designed by ANHRI to serve as an interactive host made to stimulate public debate and enlighten citizens politically.

“Electionnaire Egypt will not constrain any of the voters’ options. In fact, it will encourage discussions on political education in Egypt and will stimulate public debates. This project will help in filling the information gap regarding the general elections, which will be free for the first time,” said ANHRI in a statement on Wednesday.