The House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday approved a bill to mandate a runoff for state Supreme Court elections where no candidate earns a clear majority vote. It also OK’d a bill to ensure people unable to leave their homes to vote can receive an emergency absentee ballot. The Supreme Court bill is HB 2008. It says that if no candidate in a Supreme Court election receives more than 40 percent of the vote in the May election, the two highest vote-getters will face off in a runoff in November. If passed by both chambers, it would take effect in time for the 2020 election. It would also apply to special elections occurring after that date.Full Article: WV MetroNews – House committee passes Supreme Court election runoff bill.
Madagascans head to the ballot box on Wednesday in a run-off election between two rivals who have waited years to come face-to-face in a fiercely personal battle for power in the Indian Ocean island. The clash between Marc Ravalomanana and Andry Rajoelina could revive instability in the impoverished country if the result is rejected by the losing candidate or fraud allegations are widespread, analysts warn. The two contenders came a close first and second, far ahead of their competitors, in the preliminary vote in November. Ravalomanana and Rajoelina were both banned from running in the 2013 vote as part of an agreement to end recurring crises that have rocked Madagascar since independence from France in 1960. In the first round, Rajoelina won 39 percent compared with 35 percent for Ravalomanana. Both camps alleged they were victims of fraud and cheating.Full Article: Madagascar votes in showdown between two ex-presidents.
Madagascar heads to the polls on Wednesday in a crunch head-to-head election between two arch-rivals who have dominated political life on poverty-stricken Indian Ocean island for years. The showdown between Marc Ravalomanana and Andry Rajoelina could revive instability in the country if a close result is rejected by the losing candidate, according to analysts. The two contenders will compete in the run-off election after coming first and second, far ahead of their competitors, in the preliminary vote in November. Ravalomanana and Rajoelina were both banned from running in the 2013 election as part of an agreement to end recurring crises that have rocked Madagascar since independence from France in 1960.Full Article: Madagascan ex-presidents face off in election clash | News24.
Georgia voters return to the polls on Tuesday to elect a new elections chief in a state where critics accused Republicans this autumn of exploiting the position to suppress minority voting rights. Republican Brad Raffensperger and Democrat John Barrow were forced into a runoff in the secretary of state race after neither candidate secured a majority of the vote in the Nov. 6 general election as required by state law. The contest has showcased the partisan divisions still rankling the state after its hard-fought governor’s contest, which saw widespread reports of voting problems during an election overseen by the Republican candidate, Brian Kemp, then secretary of state.Full Article: Georgia to pick new elections chief amid voting rights debate | Reuters.
Thousands of Georgians have staged a mass protest over the results of the country’s presidential runoff vote, alleging widespread electoral fraud and demanding snap parliamentary elections. About 25,000 opposition supporters demonstrated in the capital, Tbilisi, on Sunday, days after the former Soviet nation elected its first woman president, Salome Zurabishvili. An independent candidate backed by the ruling Georgian Dream party, Zurabishvili claimed almost 60 percent of the vote to beat the opposition candidate Grigol Vashadze on Wednesday. But opposition leaders including Vashadze have refused to accept the result, pointing to instances of alleged vote-buying, voter intimidation and ballot-stuffing in the election’s second round.Full Article: Georgians demand new polls after 'bought' election | News | Al Jazeera.
As a battle over the fairness of Georgia’s recent election for governor moves from the political arena to the courtroom, two men are locked in a runoff race, with far less fanfare, to oversee the future of the state’s election apparatus. Republican state Rep. Brad Raffensperger faces former Democratic congressman John Barrow in a Dec. 4 runoff for Georgia secretary of state after neither garnered the more than 50 percent of votes required to win outright on Nov. 6. Official results show Raffensperger led by about 16,000 votes out of over 3.8 million cast. Raffensperger has support from President Donald Trump, who earlier this week endorsed him via Twitter. Barrow, meanwhile, has the endorsement of some top state Democrats, including former gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams. At stake in their runoff is the ability to reshape the state’s election system, which came under a national microscope during the recent race for governor between Abrams and Republican Secretary of State — now governor-elect — Brian Kemp.Full Article: Voting access takes center stage in Georgia runoff | Myrtle Beach Sun News.
Georgia: Lasting Rancor Over Voting Issues Puts a Spotlight on a Georgia Runoff | The New York Times
Election Day was three weeks in the past, and Kenneth Royal, a 37-year-old salesman who supported Stacey Abrams for governor, could have spent the chilly Wednesday evening at home, putting politics out of his mind. Instead, Mr. Royal, stung by Ms. Abrams’s narrow defeat, was manning a phone bank, trying to persuade fellow Democrats that the runoff election next week for Georgia secretary of state was not some obscure postscript, but a crucial battle over minority voting rights. The issue of whether the state’s elections are managed fairly grabbed hold of Georgia in the midterms, and has not let go. Brian Kemp, the Republican who ran for governor while still serving as secretary of state, oversaw voting roll purges, registration suspensions, and an Election Day rife with problems — all of which, critics said, were meant to suppress minority voting. Like many Democrats around the country, Mr. Royal believes that those tactics worked, and essentially cheated Ms. Abrams out of victory in an excruciatingly close race. And he sees the coming race for secretary of state as a way to set some things right.Full Article: Lasting Rancor Over Voting Issues Puts a Spotlight on a Georgia Runoff - The New York Times.
Bahraini authorities announced the results of last week’s parliamentary and local council elections, despite calls by the opposition to boycott and government insistence there was high voter turnout.
Minister of Justice, Islamic Affairs, Religious Endowments and Chairman of the National Elections Committee (NEC) Khaled bin Ali Al-Khalifa announced the election results on Monday, the fifth round of elections since constitutional reform in 2002. Al-Khalifa told a news conference that voter turnout reached 70 per cent, which is close to local and international media reports quoting Bahraini officials indicating 67 per cent turnout.
A former president of Madagascar and the man who overthrew him in a coup will compete to become the island state’s next leader in December after the two came top in a first-round vote that knocked out the incumbent. Former President Marc Ravalomanana received 35.35 percent of the vote in the November first round, behind his successor, Andry Rajoelina, who got 39.23 percent, the High Constitutional Court said on Wednesday. Current President Hery Rajaonarimampianina received just 8.82 percent, the court said, and will not take part in the second round. The court rejected his request to have the election cancelled. The runoff vote is set for December 19.Full Article: Madagascar ex-presidents to compete in runoff election | News | Al Jazeera.
Mississippi: Civil rights lawsuit claims Mississippi made it nearly impossible to vote by absentee ballot | Salon
A civil rights group is suing top officials in Mississippi for giving voters very little time to cast absentee ballots in Tuesday’s special runoff Senate election, making it nearly impossible for some votes to be counted. Democrat Mike Espy faces appointed Republican incumbent Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith Tuesday after neither received a majority of the vote in the November 6 election. According to a federal lawsuit filed by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, election officials did not send absentee ballots for the run-off until Nov. 17. Many out-of-state voters did not receive the ballots until Thanksgiving time. Under state law, absentee ballots must have been submitted by Monday, Nov. 26 at 5 p.m. Absentee ballots in the state must also be notarized, which means many voters had just one business day to get the ballot stamped and delivered to their county elections office, Mississippi Today reported. “Mississippi’s absentee ballot procedures stand out as some of the most burdensome in this country,” the lawsuit says, accusing the state of violating the Constitution.Full Article: Civil rights lawsuit claims Mississippi made it nearly impossible to vote by absentee ballot | Salon.com.
Madagascar is set for a run-off on 19 December after no presidential candidate amassed enough votes to be declared outright winner following elections held in early November. The run-off will be contested by two former presidents, Andry Rajoelina and Marc Ravalomanana who led first round presidential polls. According to provisional results announced by the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI-T) on 17 November, Rajoelina and Ravalomanana emerged as the two candidates with the most votes in the first round elections, receiving 39.19 and 35.29 percent of the vote, respectively. Incumbent President, Hery Rajaonarimampianina, could only manage to secure 8.84 percent of the vote, according to CENI-T. The rest of the vote was split among 33 other presidential aspirants.Full Article: Madagascar Heads for Second Round Presidential Poll - allAfrica.com.
In Madagascar, two former heads of state qualified for the second round of the presidential election, to be held on December 19. Andry Rajoelina, president of the transitional period of 2009 to 2014, won 39% of the vote and Marc Ravalomanana, president from 2002 to 2009, received 35% of the vote. The remainder of the votes were split up between the 34 other candidates. A candidate must win more than 50% of the vote to become president. The second round will be a competition between the two main protagonists of Madagascar’s 2009 crisis, who each responded on Sunday to the results.Full Article: Madagascar heads to runoff election on December 19 | News24.
Georgia: A rush for uncounted votes scrambles unsettled Georgia governor | The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Georgia elections officials scrambled Thursday to count a cache of hundreds of ballots that were previously rejected as they raced to comply with the latest federal ruling in the too-close-to-call contest for governor. Democrat Stacey Abrams called the judge’s order a major victory to extend her quest to become the nation’s first black female governor, but Republican Brian Kemp said it would hardly dent his “insurmountable lead” in the race for Georgia’s top job. The latest tally showed Abrams is roughly 55,000 votes behind Kemp — and in need of more than 17,000 votes to force a Dec. 4 runoff. Georgia law requires a runoff if no candidate gets a majority of the vote, which is only a possibility because a third-party contender netted about 1 percent. In the tight race for the 7th Congressional District, Republican U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall appeared to defeat Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux after additional ballots were counted Thursday in Gwinnett County. Bourdeaux gained more than 100 votes but still trailed Woodall by about 400 votes.Full Article: A rush for uncounted votes scrambles unsettled Georgia governor’.
Two former presidents of Madagascar look set to compete in a hotly-contested run-off election in December after partial results on Thursday showed they were frontrunners in the first-round vote. With 80% of the ballots counted from last week’s vote, Andry Rajoelina was on 39.63% and Marc Ravalomanana was on 35.42% – pointing towards a close race for the presidency in the head-to-head second round. Outgoing president Hery Rajaonarimampianina was in third place with eight percent. “Given the results of the CENI (Independent National Electoral Commission), the second round is now inevitable,” Madagascan analyst Mahery Lanto Manandafy told AFP.Full Article: Madagascar rivals set for election run-off | News24.
A runoff presidential election in December is likely in Madagascar where two former presidents are in a tight race, according to results announced Wednesday from 70 percent of polling stations. Seven days after voting, former transitional president Andry Rajoelina is leading with 39 percent of the votes counted, followed closely by former president Marc Ravalomanana with 36 percent. The most recent president, Hery Rajaonarimampianina, is far behind with 7 percent, according to results from 17,097 of the 24,852 polling stations, according to the national electoral commission. A total of 36 candidates contested the Nov. 7 election. If no candidate wins more than 50 percent of the votes, a second round will take place on December 19th. All the leading candidates have expressed doubts about the reliability commission’s results. Madagascar has been shaken many times by post-election crises.
National: Key contests in Florida and Georgia remain mired in uncertainty amid expanding legal fights over ballot counts | The Washington Post
One week after Election Day, high-stakes contests in Florida and Georgia remained mired in uncertainty amid expanding legal fights and political wrangling that could further prolong the counting of ballots. In Florida, where elections officials are conducting machine recounts in the races for Senate, governor and agriculture commissioner, Sen. Bill Nelson (D) and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee filed a suit in federal court Tuesday evening seeking to extend the deadline to finish the count in all 67 counties.Separately, Nelson and the state party went to court to try to loosen the rules for a manual recount as both parties braced for the ultra-close Senate race to come down to a hand inspection of ballots.
On Capitol Hill, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) urged Florida elections officials to take as much time as they need to tally votes, even if they blow past a key deadline. He also demanded that Gov. Rick Scott (R), who is narrowly ahead of Nelson in the Senate race, recuse himself from the recount. Scott’s campaign swiftly rejected that notion, which is the subject of a suit expected to be heard in federal court this week. In Georgia, a federal judge late Monday barred the secretary of state’s office from immediately certifying the state election results there to give voters a chance to address questions about their provisional ballots — a move that further prolongs the hard-fought Georgia governor’s race between Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp.Full Article: Key contests in Florida and Georgia remain mired in uncertainty amid expanding legal fights over ballot counts - The Washington Post.
A federal judge on Monday ordered a delay in the certification of Georgia’s election results, citing concerns about the state’s voter registration system and the handling of provisional ballots. The decision effectively deepened the turmoil in Georgia’s campaign for governor, a still unsettled contest that has been among the most acrimonious campaigns in the nation this year. Although the ruling by Judge Amy Totenberg of Federal District Court in Atlanta formally affected every election in Georgia for state and federal office, it reverberated most immediately and powerfully through the governor’s race, in which the Democratic candidate, Stacey Abrams, was within 21,000 votes of forcing a runoff election against Brian Kemp, the Republican nominee. Georgia’s secretary of state, Robyn A. Crittenden, had been preparing to certify the outcome of the election as soon as Wednesday, one day after Georgia’s 159 counties were to complete their tabulations and six days before state law mandated certification. But in a 56-page ruling on Monday night, Judge Totenberg forbade Ms. Crittenden, who assumed office only last week, from certifying the results until at least Friday evening.Full Article: Federal Judge Delays Certification of Georgia Election Results - The New York Times.
Georgia: A high-stakes December runoff even without an Abrams-Kemp matchup | Atlanta Journal Constitution
Even if the race for governor isn’t forced into a runoff, voting rights is set to dominate political debate through Dec. 4 with the runoff for Brian Kemp’s old job. The race pits Democrat John Barrow and Republican Brad Raffensperger, two candidates not necessarily beloved by their party’s bases, in a contest to turn out core supporters possibly without the luxury of a bigger-ticket contest. That’s the framework of the race if there’s no matchup between Kemp and Democrat Stacey Abrams on the ballot. And it comes against the backdrop of the same debate over ballot access and voter suppression that swirled for the last year.Full Article: A high-stakes December runoff even without an Abrams-Kemp matchup ....
Absentee voting is a difficult process in Mississippi and will be more difficult for the upcoming runoff elections with three state holidays between now and Nov. 27, state Sen. David Blount said Friday. “There is a very tight window to vote absentee,” said Blount, who spoke about the issue from the Hinds County Courthouse with Circuit Clerk Zack Wallace. Blount said state offices will be closed Monday for Veterans Day and Nov. 22 for Thanksgiving. Most will also be closed Nov. 23. “We believe the more people who vote the better the government will be,” Blount said. “We encourage everyone to go vote in these important runoff elections.” The absentee voting process can’t begin for the runoffs until results from the Nov. 6 general election are certified. The deadline to certify results is Nov. 16.Full Article: State holidays could complicate absentee voting in Mississippi.
The unsettled race for Georgia governor tightened over the weekend as Democrat Stacey Abrams prepared litigation to force the counting of more provisional ballots, while Republican Brian Kemp’s campaign said her refusal to concede was “a disgrace to democracy.” The clash heightened as a cache of 5,500 provisional and mail-in ballots were reported that showed Kemp’s lead over Abrams shrinking slightly to about 59,000 votes. Some came from counties that days earlier reported all votes had been tallied. The newly-reported votes overwhelmingly tilted to Abrams and triggered a wave of celebration for Abrams’ supporters. But she still needs to net about 22,000 votes to force a Dec. 4 runoff, and there aren’t many votes that have yet to be reported.Full Article: GEORGIA ELECTION: Kemp's lead shrinks, Abrams to file new lawsuit .