A special election to replace Aaron Schock in Congress will be later in the summer than expected after the federal government stepped in to ensure military voters have a chance to cast ballots. In action Tuesday, Gov. Bruce Rauner set the dates for the 18th Congressional District primary for June 8, but he acknowledged that it could be late June or early July once negotiations with the U.S. Department of Justice conclude. The Republican governor set the general election for the post for July 24 but said it could be late August before balloting actually occurs.Full Article: Special election for Schock seat could be in August.
An Alaska Superior Court judge Friday morning denied a complaint brought by a Republican Party official that could have unraveled the “unity” ticket of gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker and his running mate, Byron Mallott. Steve Strait, an Anchorage district chair of the Alaska Republican Party, said he will decide over the weekend whether to appeal the decision to the state Supreme Court. Judge John Suddock said the lieutenant governor and the Division of Elections acted appropriately when they issued an emergency regulation Sept. 2 allowing the merger of the “nonparty” ticket, though primary voters had previously chosen Mallott as the Democratic nominee for governor. In a lengthy explanation of his decision, Suddock said he was constrained by three decades of precedent, including a Supreme Court ruling, attorney general opinions, similar decisions by past lieutenant governors, and numerous Legislatures that had “OK’ed this kind of monkey business after the primary” by not creating a statute to address such situations.Full Article: Walker-Mallott Alaska governor campaign still on ballot after judge's decision | Alaska Dispatch.
Though much of the uncertainty about the U.S. Senate race stems from Democrat Chad Taylor’s last-minute decision to withdraw, Secretary of State Kris Kobach and his appointed county election commissioners must ensure there will be no doubt about the final tally in that or other contests. Confidence already is wobbly, including in Sedgwick County.
Some reasons for worry:
▪ Kobach ordered Friday that more than 500 ballots be mailed by the next day, as per federal law, to overseas civilians and military personnel. But he included a disclaimer that new ballots would be printed if the courts agreed with his position that Democrats must name a replacement for Taylor.
That scenario looked less likely Tuesday; the Kansas Supreme Court ordered that the voter’s lawsuit that could lead to such a ruling be transferred to Shawnee County District Court for what could be time-consuming fact-finding.Full Article: Room for ballot error? | The Wichita Eagle.
The number of military and overseas voters who have downloaded Federal Post Card Applications from the DoD website is down by more than half compared the 2010 midterm elections, Defense Department officials said. But that’s not necessarily an indication that voter turnout among the military and overseas absentee voter population will be low, officials said. For one thing, the number of troops deployed has decreased, which reduces the number of absentee voters. Other factors are in play as well. In the past, the rate of military voter registration and election participation has been higher than in the general population, noted Matt Boehmer, director of the Federal Voting Assistance Program.Full Article: Voting form downloads decrease from 2010 | Marine Corps Times | marinecorpstimes.com.
New Jersey: Bill could allow overseas soldiers and diplomats to vote online | Burlington County Times
New Jersey lawmakers have advanced legislation that could pave the way for soldiers and diplomats serving overseas to vote completely online. New Jerseyans serving in the military or foreign service are permitted to request and return mail-in ballots by fax or email, but the process isn’t completely private and can still be difficult because service members also must complete and mail ballots to their county boards of election. Legislation penned by Assemblyman Paul Moriarty, D-4th of Washington, seeks to move the process exclusively online to a secure and private system. Moriarty’s bill would require the New Jersey secretary of state to pursue such a system and implement it as a pilot program, if it is feasible. “For those who defend our freedoms as well as others who serve overseas, we should make it easier for them to exercise their own freedoms and have their votes counted,” he said Thursday during a hearing on the measure before the Assembly Military and Veterans Affairs Committee. “The technology is there, and it’s being used around the world. I think the time is right for a pilot program.”Full Article: NJ bill could allow overseas soldiers and diplomats to vote online - Burlington County Times: Burlington County | Local news | Breaking News.
The state Senate unanimously approved two sets of important reforms for South Dakota elections Tuesday. One would allow members of the armed forces to vote with digital technology rather than by U.S. mail. The other would establish a backup system for spring elections interrupted by bad weather or some other emergency. The two measures, SB 34 and SB 35, now go to the House of Representatives for consideration. They are proposed by the state Board of Elections, including Secretary of State Jason Gant.Full Article: Election changes win Senate’s OK - Capital Journal: News.
A Georgia House bill with the effect of moving Augusta mayor and commission elections to May 20 is the first signed by Gov. Nathan Deal this year. “The General Assembly acted swiftly on this issue, and I have as well, so that local election officials and candidates can prepare,” Deal said in a statement. House Bill 310 aligns state and local nonpartisan elections, such as the mayor and commission races and two state court judgeships, and state party primaries, with the May 20 date of the federal primary, which was set by a federal judge to accommodate military voters.Full Article: Governor Deal signs bill moving elections to May | The Augusta Chronicle.
Secretary of the State Denise Merrill today released a report submitted to the Connecticut General Assembly detailing ways to improve voting for military voters stationed overseas. In the report, Secretary Merrill noted a dramatic improvement in the voter participation by absentee ballot of men and women in uniform serving abroad during the 2012 presidential election, the latest year for which statistics are available. During the 2012 Presidential election, some 94% of absentee ballots requested by Connecticut military personnel serving overseas were returned in time to be counted by election day, a nearly 30% improvement over the same numbers for the 2010 state and federal election. The statistics are contained in the report submitted January 1, 2014 to members of the Connecticut General Assembly committees on Government Administration and Elections, and Veterans’ Affairs. Secretary Merrill was required to submit the report and select a method for more timely return of military ballots by Public Act No. 13-185 “An Act Concerning Voting by Members of the Military Serving Overseas,” enacted in 2013 by the General Assembly and Governor Dannel P. Malloy.Full Article: StamfordPlus.com News - Merrill Sees Dramatic Improvement in CT Military Voter Participation.
Americans in uniform who are putting the most at risk to defend the country might have the least say in how the home front is governed under current election law. Two bills, SB 486 filed Monday by Florida state Sen. Greg Evers, R-Baker, and HB 215 filed earlier by state Rep. Doug Broxson, R-Midway, are aiming to change that. The bills would enable Florida election supervisors to count the absentee votes of members of the military on non-candidate elections, such as ballot initiatives, constitutional amendment proposals and judicial retention. The bills are part of a natural evolution to “fully enfranchise” members of the military who are serving away from home, said Okaloosa County Elections Supervisor Paul Lux. Before 2010, members of the military using federal absentee ballots were restricted to voting in federal elections: president, Senate, and House of Representatives.Full Article: Florida bills aim to expand voting rights of military members away from home - BizPac Review.
U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) joined with Senate colleagues today to introduce The Safeguarding Elections for our Nation’s Troops through Reforms and Improvements (SENTRI) Act, S.1728. The bill will expand access to voting for military voters and improve voting assistance opportunities. “It is unacceptable that our service members and their families are facing hurdles when attempting to exercise one of the most fundamental rights they fight and sacrifice to protect—the right to vote.Full Article: Cornyn introduces bill to end disenfranchisement of military voters | KETK | East Texas News, Weather and Sports | Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville.
Voting Blogs: The Impact of the Electronic Transmission of Blank Ballots in 2012 | Overseas Vote Foundation
Approximately 10 years ago, states began to explore using electronic transmission methods, such as fax and email, to transmit blank ballots to military and overseas voters. At that time, 24 states allowed a blank ballot to be sent to voters via fax only and three states, Florida, Wisconsin, and Virginia, also permitted email transmission in limited cases. Gradually, additional states continued to implement electronic transmission methods in 2006 and in 2008. In 2009, the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act formalized the use of electronic technology in the military and overseas voting process by mandating the use of electronic transmission of election materials to UOCAVA voters with options for the electronic delivery of blank ballots. As states became compliant with MOVE, the use of electronic transmission methods for the delivery of blank ballots increased sharply. For example, in 2010, 47 states and the District of Columbia provided for the transmission of a blank ballot via email or Internet download, up from 20 states in 2008. Only two states, Alaska and Rhode Island, offered blank ballots via fax as their method of electronic delivery in 2010. Several states, however, placed restrictions on the use of email for delivery of blank ballots. For example, Colorado only allowed military voters to receive ballots via email and not overseas civilians.Full Article: The Impact of the Electronic Transmission of Blank Ballots in 2012 | Overseas Vote Foundation (PDF)
A bi-partisan bill to streamline voting and voter registration for service members and their families has been announced by U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer. The legislation, to be introduced by Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), would also address delays in ballot distribution for military voters and civilians living aboard. The Safeguarding Elections for our Nation’s Troops through Reforms and Improvements Act — “SENTRI Act” — aims to enhance the senators’ MOVE Act of 2010 that improved access to voting for military personnel.Full Article: New Schumer bill would improve military access to voting | SILive.com.
Oklahoma: Hurry up and wait: Tulsa’s new election process frustrates candidates, voters | Tulsa World
After a frantic eight weeks of campaigning leading up to the June 11 nonpartisan mayoral election, now comes the dead of summer and the long, seemingly endless march to the Nov. 12 general election between former Mayor Kathy Taylor and incumbent Dewey Bartlett. Why, one might wonder, is there five months between the primary and the general election? Or, worse yet, seven months between the April filing period and the November general election. And then there is this possibility: If one mayoral candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote in the June primary, that candidate becomes mayor but doesn’t take office until the first week of December. How did this happen?Full Article: Hurry up and wait: Tulsa's new election process frustrates candidates, voters | Tulsa World.
Two senators said Wednesday they want Congress to improve voting opportunities for hundreds of thousands of U.S. military personnel stationed abroad by tightening rules on states for getting absentee ballots to them. Ahead of the Fourth of July holiday, Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and John Cornyn, R-Texas, said they want to eliminate waivers for states that that fail to mail ballots overseas 45 days before an election. States that miss the deadline would be required to mail the ballots express mail, despite the much higher expense. The measure would toughen a 2010 law governing absentee voting in the military and the counting of those ballots. A congressional report estimated that 25 percent of ballots cast by military and overseas voters in the 2008 presidential election went uncounted.Full Article: Senators aim to enhance voting rights for military - News Politics - Boston.com.
The Legislative and Constitutional Affairs Committee of the Shura Council (the upper house of parliament endowed with legislative authority until the election of the House of Representatives) agreed Sunday to grant Egyptian military and police personnel the right to vote in elections by July 2020. Deputy Defence Minister Major Mamdouh Shahin asked the committee to exclude army and police personnel from the upcoming election voter lists, asserting that disclosing personal information of military personnel in voting databases would be a threat to national security. Shahin submitted an amendment to the Shura Council which proposes exempting army and police personnel from automatic updates of voting databases and establishing a different system for adding their information – to be agreed upon by the armed forces and police authorities – which takes into account the information’s confidential nature.Full Article: Egypt's military set to vote by July 2020 - Politics - Egypt - Ahram Online.
Wisconsin: Elections board agrees to ask lawmakers for absentee voting rule changes | Associated Press
Wisconsin election officials on Tuesday agreed to ask the Legislature to revamp the state’s absentee voting regulations by streamlining request deadlines, expanding electronic ballot access for overseas voters and implementing other changes. The state Government Accountability Board agreed after only brief discussion to make the recommendations at the request of a municipal clerk task force. That panel contends the state’s absentee voting requirements have grown too complicated and confusing over the years.Full Article: Wisconsin elections board agrees to ask lawmakers for absentee voting rule changes.
A special legislative election in central Kentucky could be the first test of the state’ new military voting law passed earlier this year to help ensure soldiers deployed to foreign countries get to cast ballots back home. Gov. Steve Beshear set the election for June 25 to replace former state Rep. Carl Rollins, who resigned earlier this week to become executive director of the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority. The election date, some two months off as required now, will allow more time for county clerks to send absentee ballots to military personnel and others serving overseas.Full Article: FRANKFORT, Ky.: Special election first test of military voting law | State | Kentucky.com.
The legislature is moving to make it easier for Missourians overseas to vote in state elections. The sponsoring senator is his own example. Senator Will Kraus of Lee’s Summit defended our right to vote by flying Army helicopters in Iraq and 2003 and 2004. But when he wanted to vote, he had to start applying for his absentee ballot about nine weeks before the election. He says he downloaded the application off the internet but then had to use regular mail to send it in-a process that took two to three weeks. It took about that long to get the ballot and about that long to send it in in time to be counted.
Kentucky military personnel serving overseas will be able to get ballots electronically under legislation approved late Tuesday in the Kentucky General Assembly. How they send them back is still to be determined. Working until the last minute of the 2013 session, legislators went back to the original Senate version of the military voting bill that allowed for electronic sending of ballots to overseas military, but snail mail return of the ballot. The legislation also establishes a task force to study electronic returns—the preferred method of Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes. The task force will address safety concerns with that option.Full Article: Deal Reached on Kentucky Military Voting Legislation, Passes in Final Minutes of Session | WFPL.
Editorials: Internet voting for overseas military puts election security at risk | Pamela Smith/Hartford Courant
Connecticut lawmakers are considering legislation to allow military voters to cast ballots over the Internet. The intention of this legislation is well-meaning — Connecticut does need to improve the voting process for military voters — but Internet voting is not the answer. Every day, headlines reveal just how vulnerable and insecure any online network really is, and how sophisticated, tenacious and skilled today’s attackers are. Just last week, we learned that the U.S. has already experienced our first-ever documented attack on an election system, when a grand jury report revealed that someone hacked into the Miami-Dade primary elections system in August 2012. A chilling account in The Washington Post recently reported that most government entities in Washington, including congressional offices, federal agencies, government contractors, embassies, news organizations, think tanks and law firms, have been penetrated by Chinese hackers. They join a long list that includes the CIA, FBI, Department of Defense, Bank of America, and on and on. These organizations have huge cybersecurity budgets and the most robust security tools available, and they have been unable to prevent hacking. Contrary to popular belief, online voting systems would not be any more secure.Full Article: Internet voting for overseas military puts election security at risk - Courant.com.