California: Recount possibility looms in California controller’s race after canvass | The Sacramento Bee

They’ve been counting votes for three weeks in the race for California controller, and Democrat Betty Yee has gone from second place to third place, to fourth place and back to third. As of Tuesday afternoon, she was again clinging to second place, ahead of former Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez by a mere 865 votes. Whoever survives gets a spot in the Nov. 4 runoff against Republican Ashley Swearengin. “I get text messages from people who’ve been following this much more closely than I am,” said Yee, a member of the state Board of Equalization, downplaying any anxiety as officials finish processing more than a million vote-by-mail, provisional and damaged ballots by next Tuesday’s canvassing deadline.

Editorials: Can National Popular Vote end the voting wars? | Rob Richie/Reuters

One of the most pernicious outcomes of the intense political struggle between Democrats and Republicans is the parties’ breathtaking capacity to game our voting rules. Nothing makes voters more cynical than seeing political leaders seemingly supporting or opposing election laws based solely on their partisan impact — from redistricting reform to fights over whether to allow early voting. ­But a reform win in New York could foreshadow a cease-fire in the voting wars. On April 15, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation making New York the 10th state to pass the National Popular Vote (NPV) interstate compact for president. Overwhelming majorities of both Republicans and Democrats approved the bill, which seeks to guarantee election of the presidential candidate who wins the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. We don’t need a constitutional amendment to achieve this goal. The Constitution gives each state power over how to allocate its electoral votes and the ability to enter into binding interstate compacts. The Founding Fathers gave states freedom to structure how to select the president — and national popular vote embodies that tradition.

Editorials: Voter ID Proponents Muddy the Waters With Misleading Georgia and North Carolina Turnout Numbers | Rob Richie/Huffington Post

The Justice Department announced this week that it will sue North Carolina over its new restrictive voting law. Although the law wiped out a range of pro-democracy measures, including FairVote priorities like instant runoff voting for judicial vacancies and voter pre-registration for young people, the lawsuit will focus specifically on the shortening of early voting periods and the requiring of government-issued photo identification in order to vote, policies the Justice Department claims illegally discriminate against racial minorities. The Civitas Institute, a North Carolina group founded by the controversial Art Pope, which had great influence in designing the law and has long pushed for strict voter ID requirements, has been highly critical of the prospective lawsuit. In a blog post this week, the organization’s election policy analyst Susan Myrick (not to be confused with former North Carolina Congresswoman Sue Myrick) claimed that the effects of restrictive voting laws on racial minorities are overblown. Unfortunately Myrick used a misleading statistic in her blog post and ignored many others that contradict her argument, just as Civitas president Francis De Luca did when he testified last spring before the North Carolina state legislature in favor of voter ID.

Virginia: Group Working To End Electoral College Condemns GOP’s ‘Indefensible’ Virginia Scheme | TPM

FairVote, a non-partisan advocacy group, wants to radically transform the Electoral College through state legislation. So do Virginia Republicans pushing a scheme to reapportion their electoral votes by Congressional district. But the similarities end there as FairVote is condemning the Virginia bill as a partisan perversion of their own mission. FairVote executive director Rob Richie described the Virginia plan as “an incredibly unfair and indefensible proposal” to TPM and said he was drafting a message to supporters rallying against its passage. He testified against a similar proposal in Pennsylvania, whose lawmakers briefly considered splitting its electoral votes for the 2012 election before backing down amid a public outcry against the maneuver.

Montana: Welch seeks recount in Montana, but faces long odds | Helenair

Alleging widespread voting machine errors and other Election Day problems, Republican Sandy Welch requested a manual vote recount Monday in the race she narrowly lost for Montana schools superintendent. Official results had Democrat Denise Juneau leading Welch by 2,231 votes out of more than 468,000 cast in the Nov. 6 election. An elections expert said Monday that slim margin is likely too large for Welch to overcome. But Welch, a Martin City education consultant, said voting glitches in Lewis and Clark, Yellowstone, Beaverhead, Missoula and other counties were widespread enough that she can make up the difference and prevail on a recount.

Maryland: Takoma Park utilizes instant runoff voting for the first time | Gazette.Net

Takoma Park’s instant runoff voting system was put to the test for the first time July 17 for the Ward 5 special election. The city instituted the system in 2006, but this year marks the first election where three or more candidates did not earn a majority of the vote. Of the 189 votes cast in the election, winner Jarrett Smith received 97 votes and runner-up Eric Hensal garnered 80 votes. Third-place finisher Melinda Ulloa received 33 votes, 13 of which went to Smith in the second round and nine to Hensal. In the instant runoff voting system, voters have the option to rank their first, second and third choice candidates. When no candidate receives at least 50 percent of the votes, second-choice votes for backers of the third-place finisher are added to the first- and second-place finishers.

Alaska: Voting Rights Group Weighs In on Anchorage Poll Problems | KTVA CBS 11

As Assembly members sort through what happened at the polls April 3, national voting groups say the municipality isn’t the only jurisdiction facing electoral troubles. According to the organization Fair Vote, which pushes for election reform across the country, election difficulties are very common these days. The organization points to places like Connecticut, Miami, and now Anchorage. Fair Vote’s spokesperson says the biggest problem is how ill prepared cities officials are: In Anchorage, the most recent election has been called the city’s most chaotic. Critics say what happened on April 3 undermines the democratic process, and they’ve been complaining. “I’m as concerned about the ones I’m not hearing from,” said Assembly Chairman Ernie Hall.