Colombians have failed to elect a president outright, setting the stage for a bitter runoff between two frontrunners from opposite ends of the political spectrum, while a peace process with leftist rebels hangs in the balance. Iván Duque, a hardline conservative who viscerally opposes the peace accord, took the largest share of the vote on Sunday with 39%, though fell short of the 50% required to win at the first round. Instead, he will face Gustavo Petro – a leftwinger and former mayor of Bogotá, who came second with 25% – in the second round on 17 June. Petro, himself once a guerrilla, was Colombia’s first progressive candidate in generations and had been expected to gain a larger share. But a third candidate, the more moderate Sergio Fajardo, appeared to siphon off Petro’s support, receiving 23%. It remains to be seen if Fajardo, a reformer and former mayor of Medellín, will back Petro in the second round.
The national Chairman of the governing Unity Party (UP), Mr. Wilmot J.M. Paye, has expressed dismay over the credibility of the head of the National Elections Commission (NEC), Chairman Jerome George Korkoya, to conduct a free, fair and transparent runoff election on December 26. He made the statement over the weekend in an interview with a team of reporters at his Unity Party headquarters in Congo Town during a one-day mini youth retreat organized by the UP National Youth Congress. Chairman Paye said even though UP does not have the appointing and dismissal power to remove the NEC Chairman, but as a political party, it is deeply concerned over the poor performance and inability of Cllr. Korkoya to lead the affairs of the Presidential runoff election.
Mauricio Macri’s surprisingly strong showing against Daniel Scioli in the Oct. 25 presidential election shook up Argentina’s political landscape. The main question before the election was whether Scioli, the candidate of president Cristina Fernández’s Front for Victory (FPV) alliance, could gain enough votes to avoid a runoff election. Since Scioli led many of the polls by more than 10 points over Macri, the front-runner and mayor of Buenos Aires, the concern was whether he could get either 45 percent of the vote or 40 percent and a 10-point advantage over the second place candidate — the conditions necessary to win in the first round without a runoff. Indeed, many pundits speculated that Macri would go the way of Mexico’s Andres Manuel López Obrador, claiming the election was stolen from him. None of this happened.
A banned singer whose government bashing lyrics have became part of the political discourse is among Haiti’s newest senators, while an indicted former coup leader is headed into a runoff, according to preliminary election results issued Sunday by the Provisional Electoral Council. Antonio Cheramy, known as “Don Kato,” was elected with 297,260 votes in the Oct. 25 legislative runoff elections to represent the country’s most populous region, the West Department that includes metropolitan Port-au-Prince. The vote total, posted on the council’s website after midnight Sunday, is more than what 52 of the 54 presidential candidates received during balloting held on the same day, according to preliminary presidential results issued Thursday. “The battle I was carrying out reached the population,” said Cheramy, 40. “These results are incontestable and show that the population voted me.”
A runoff next month will decide who will become Guatemala’s next president, with comedian-turned-politician Jimmy Morales as the race’s front-runner in the Central American nation battling a political crisis. Guatemala, a country of 15 million, is reeling from a corruption scandal that has prompted the resignation of its president, vice president and more than a dozen Cabinet members, ministers and government officials. No candidate came close to the 50% plus one needed to lock up the vote in Sunday’s election. Morales, 46, had 1.14 million votes, or more than 24%. Businessman Manuel Baldizón, 45, was running neck and neck with former first lady Sandra Torres, 59, with 19.41% and 19.25% of the vote, respectively, according to Guatemala’s electoral tribunal. Most votes have been counted and final results of the first round are expected soon.
Alaska: Anchorage Assembly votes to recertify runoff election after ballots found | Alaska Dispatch News
The Anchorage Assembly on Tuesday recertified the mayoral runoff election, taking into account 58 ballots not previously tallied that altered the result by 0.01 percent but did not change the outcome. Municipal Clerk Barbara Jones, who oversees municipal elections, said the bulk of the uncounted ballots were found inside a silver ballot box in a conference room in City Hall. Absentee ballots sent by mail are moved between three rooms — including the conference room — and two floors during the counting process. The day after the Assembly certified the runoff election on May 19, staffers discovered the silver box with the ballots still in their envelopes, she said.
Poland’s presidential election was supposed to be a cakewalk for popular incumbent Bronisław Komorowski. But instead of coasting to an easy victory, the president finds himself in danger of a stunning defeat in Sunday’s runoff election. Surprising pollsters and his own campaign team, Komorowski lost in the May 10 first round to Andrzej Duda, the candidate of the nationalist Law and Justice party (PiS), who took 33.8 percent of the vote, a percentage point ahead of the incumbent.
At In These Times, author and journalist Rick Perlstein covers reports from some Chicago voters claiming that they received paper ballots today that were pre-marked for Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) in his runoff election against the more progressive Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D). … Perlstein details a few other similar reported incidents of pre-marked ballots from around the city in the election which the local CBS affiliate is now calling for Emanuel. The Chicago Board of Elections website currently shows Emanuel leading Garcia 56% to 44% with over 79% of precincts reporting at this moment.
The D.C. Council will consider changing the way the District of Columbia conducts its elections. Independent Councilmember David Grosso introduced a bill on Tuesday calling for instant-runoff voting in elections for mayor, the council and attorney general.
Election Day was a month ago, but the winners of many races are still being decided, and not just by recounts or runoff elections such as Saturday’s Senate runoff in Louisiana. There are a handful of elections across the country that ended in a tie, in which the winner has been decided by drawing lots, flipping coins or other games of chance. With hundreds of seats in Congress, thousands of seats in state legislatures, and tens of thousands of mayor, city council, county judge and local dog catcher elections being regularly held, it’s almost certain that each year some will end up tied. But because tied elections are so rare for any given office, most state and local election boards do not lay out guidelines for resolving them. In many states, the law indicates that ties should be broken by a “game of chance,” but details are rarely specified. This can create interesting tiebreakers.
Tabare Vazquez won back his old job as president of Uruguay in a runoff election on Sunday, extending the decade-long rule of a leftist coalition and allowing it to roll out a groundbreaking law that legalizes the production and sale of marijuana. Vazquez won comfortably with 52.8 percent support while his center-right challenger, Luis Lacalle Pou, trailed on 40.5 percent, official results showed late on Sunday night. Lacalle Pou earlier conceded defeat after quick counts showed an easy victory for Vazquez, and thousands of ruling Broad Front supporters streamed through the rain-soaked streets of Montevideo, waving party banners in celebration.
California: Los Angeles voters won’t be offered cash prizes in March city election | Los Angeles Times
A controversial proposal to offer cash prizes to Los Angeles voters is dead — at least for next year’s city elections. Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson said this week that he wanted more time to consider the idea of using money or other gifts to lure voters to the polls. For now, he is looking to persuade voters on March 3 to move city elections from odd- to even-numbered years — when state and federal contests are held — beginning in 2020. “I don’t want to overload the public,” Wesson said. “So I think we’re just going to focus on” the change in election dates. Wesson and his colleagues have spent much of this year looking at different proposals for improving L.A.’s dismal voter turnout, which fell to 23% in last year’s mayoral runoff election. Three months ago, the Ethics Commission caused a small uproar by recommending that Wesson’s Rules, Elections and Intergovernmental Relations Committee look at a lottery — one with prizes of $25,000 or $50,000 — as a tool for enticing Angelenos to cast ballots.
Instead of spending county-appropriated money on the required number of ballots for Hinds County residents to vote in multiple elections, the Hinds County Election Commission purchased a new absentee vote counting machine. While county officials said Tuesday the purchase of the machine was approved by both the county budget office and the board of supervisors, many residents were unable to vote Nov. 4 because of a shortage in ballots. The Hinds County Board of Supervisors asked county attorneys Monday to investigate the actions of Hinds County Election Commission Chairwoman Connie Cochran after she admitted to not ordering the number of ballots required by state law for any of the past four county-wide elections. In defense, Cochran said she was “just trying to save the county money.”
With the certification of the 2014 General Election accomplished in both districts on Saturday, the V.I. Elections System received the final numbers in each of last week’s races, which will require a runoff election in the gubernatorial race that has been scheduled for Tuesday. Voters across the territory went to the polls Nov. 4 and cast votes for senators, delegate to Congress and members of their district boards of elections, and they also were tasked with selecting from among five candidate teams who they wanted as the next governor and lieutenant governor of the territory. By the end of the tabulations Saturday, the ticket of Kenneth Mapp and Osbert Potter had garnered more of the popular votes. However, they still had not received the 50 percent of the votes plus one that would make them an outright winner under local law.
Mississippi garnered unexpected national attention this summer as its system of open primary voting became a contributor to the wider debate of how best to fairly and legitimately select candidates and representatives. If you haven’t been paying attention, Mississippi’s long running Republican Senator, Thad Cochran, came very close to losing his seat to Tea Party Conservative Chris McDaniel in a rather ugly, tight primary race. In an effort to overcome his challenger in a runoff election, Cochran strategically capitalized on Mississippi’s use of open primary voting by asking traditionally Democratic voters to support him in the primary runoff against his far more conservative opponent. In a state where Democrats’ primary voters turned out in less than half the number of participants as the Republican primary, Cochran’s gambit to garner those as-yet uncast primary votes could be considered borderline tactical genius. McDaniel and his supporters are pretty sure, however, that it should be considered less than legal.
Uruguay, a country whose name has often been synonymous with obscurity, will host its runoff presidential election on November 30, with incumbent President José Mujica vacating his seat to one of two candidates: Tabaré Vázquez or Luis Lacalle Pou. Voting in one of its closest elections since the establishment of its current regime, Uruguay is facing a fork in the road: the Broad Front Party’s Vázquez and the continuation of a state-guided economy, or the National Party’s Lacalle Pou and the adoption of a more conservative, smaller government that will further open the country up to international free trade. Preliminary polling data has the two rivals locked in a dead heat for the runoff election. Lacalle Pou is expected to gain the support of the right-wing Colorado Party, which had backed Pedro Bordaberry in the first round of presidential voting. To further complicate political predictions, this election includes approximately 250,000 new, highly unpredictable young voters who do not depend on print media or the radio, the dominant news mediums in Uruguay, instead relying on the Internet as their main source of news. As a result, gauging their political preferences is proving difficult in the weeks leading up to the runoff.
Extending an expensive and largely negative campaign for one more month, voters in Louisiana sent Mary Landrieu, a Democrat and three-term United States senator, and her Republican challenger, United States Representative Bill Cassidy, into a runoff election set for Dec. 6. Given Louisiana’s nonpartisan primary system — in which all candidates run in a primary and, if no one wins a majority, the top two vote-getters compete in an election a few weeks later — runoffs are fairly routine here and one had long been expected in this race. While the state Republican Party formally backed Mr. Cassidy this summer, another Republican, Rob Maness, a retired Air Force colonel with a strong Tea Party following, stayed in the race and drew about 14 percent of the vote on Tuesday. Mr, Cassidy received 42 percent of the vote and Ms. Landreau 41 percent. Numerous polls suggest that much of Mr. Maness’s support will move to Mr. Cassidy in the runoff, putting him in a strong position to win.
Ahead of this Sunday’s General Election, the latest public opinion polls in Uruguay indicate that the election race is likely to go to a runoff at the end of November. As millions of Uruguayan prepare to hit the polls, Broad Front leader and former president Tabare Vasquez has a strong lead, but not enough to reach the 50 percent mark to win in the first round. According to pollster Factum, the Broad Front coalition will garner 44 percent of ballots this October 26, with the National Party candidate Luis Lacalle taking 32 percent. The right-wing Colorado party is currently polling at 15 percent.
For about five short minutes in June, everyone sitting around my lunch table in Kabul thought the Afghan government had shut down Facebook. Attempts to load news feeds were met with an abrupt, uninformative “network error” message, so, naturally, two of us jumped on Twitter to break the news. The others, also expatriates, but less swept up in the politics of the moment, continued eating, though no doubt they were somewhat dismayed at the prospect of their window to life back home being shuttered. It was less than a week after millions of Afghans had commuted to polls around the country to vote in a runoff election, the second round in 2014’s historic, if protracted, presidential race. Heralded as the country’s first democratic transition of power, the election process had taken an ugly turn. And social media followed suit. When former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah accused election officials and then-President Hamid Karzai of coordinating ballot stuffing in favor of his opponent, former economic minister Ashraf Ghani, Facebook and Twitter feeds were filled with progressively violent and inciteful rhetoric from both sides. Unsurprisingly, the factions largely split along ethnic lines — Pashtuns versus Tajiks — the same antagonists of Afghanistan’s four-year civil war in the 1990s.
ust over a fifth of registered voters cast their ballots in the Los Angeles primary and runoff elections that ushered in Mayor Eric Garcetti last year. The elections continued a persistent downward trend in voter participation that’s not limited to Los Angeles. In New York, Bill de Blasio won a landslide election that similarly saw the lowest voter turnout since at least the 1950s. More recently, just over a quarter of voters showed up for the District of Columbia’s hotly-contested mayoral primary – the lowest turnout in more than 30 years. Voter turnout for local elections, typically held in off-cycle years, has historically lagged behind state and federal races set to take place in November, but recent results suggest it’s slowly becoming even worse. University of Wisconsin researchers provided Governing with elections data covering 144 larger U.S. cities, depicting a decline in voter turnout in odd-numbered years over the previous decade. In 2001, an average of 26.6 percent of cities’ voting-age population cast ballots, while less than 21 percent did so in 2011. Turnout for primary and general local elections fluctuate from year to year, but long-term trends in many larger cities suggest voter interest has waned.
The presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah once more brought Afghanistan’s troubled electoral process to the brink on Monday, insisting that he had won the disputed vote and vowing to reject any government formed on the basis of it. An audit of 100 percent of the ballots cast in the June runoff election is expected to conclude this week, and nearly all observers expect Mr. Abdullah’s opponent, Ashraf Ghani, to be declared the winner. Mr. Abdullah’s supporters have been suggesting that he form a parallel government, which Western diplomats have worried could lead to disorder or even civil war. But Mr. Abdullah made no mention of a parallel government in a speech to his top officials, running mates and supporters, or at a brief news conference afterward, and did not ask his supporters to take to the streets to protest the results.
Mississippi: McDaniel’s camp files notice to appeal dimissal of lawsuit | Mississippi Business Journal
A tea party-supported candidate is taking the first step to try to revive his lawsuit that challenges his Republican primary loss to Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran. Attorneys for state Sen. Chris McDaniel filed a notice of appeal Friday, saying they intend to ask the Mississippi Supreme Court to overturn a judge’s dismissal of the lawsuit. Judge Hollis McGehee ruled Aug. 29 that McDaniel missed a 20-day deadline to challenge results of the June 24 Republican primary runoff. A written order of dismissal was filed Thursday, starting a 30-day period for McDaniel to appeal to the state Supreme Court. The document filed Friday contained no legal arguments.
A coterie of powerful Afghan government ministers and officials with strong ties to the security forces are threatening to seize power if an election impasse that has paralyzed the country is not resolved soon. Though it is unusual to telegraph plans for what could amount to a coup — though no one is calling it that — the officials all stressed that they hoped the mere threat of forming an interim government would persuade the country’s rival presidential candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani, to make the compromises needed to end the crisis. After weeks of quietly discussing the prospect of imposing a temporary government, officials within the Karzai government said the best way out of a crisis that had emboldened the Taliban, weakened an already struggling economy and left many here deeply pessimistic about the country’s democratic future, might well be some form of interim government, most likely run by a committee.
A hearing was to get underway this morning at the courthouse in a suit filed by Sen. Chris McDaniel against Neshoba County Circuit Clerk Patti Duncan Lee, alleging she “withheld voter records” while his representative canvased ballots from the June 24 Republican runoff election in the race for U. S. Senate. In the suit, McDaniel claimed that Lee allegedly withheld voting records when two people representing his campaign went to canvass the ballots in the Neshoba County courthouse in early July. In response to the suit, Lee said she “properly followed the law” and gave McDaniel’s representatives more than what they wanted. Circuit Court Judge, Place 1 Marcus Gordon was to preside over the hearing beginning at 9 a.m. In the midst of McDaniel’s quest for voting irregularities, the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled Thursday that circuit clerks must redact voters’ birth dates before poll books are open for public inspection.
Amid the allegations of fraud and the legal wranglings over the Mississippi Republican primary and runoff elections last month, one thing is clear: The lack of timely, useful election results has not helped assure citizens the election was fair. The process of publishing certified election results in Mississippi is long, sometimes complicated and filled with opportunities for delay and mistakes. The confusion and errors in the results of June’s primary and runoff elections for the United States Senate underscore the vulnerabilities of a system that is antiquated compared with most other states. Mississippi is the rare state in which the state agency in charge of elections does not offer live election night reporting. Some counties, like DeSoto in the north of the state, provide unofficial results on election nights, but not at the precinct level. Other counties have no website or no election results posted at all. Contrast that with states like West Virginia, which offers unofficial results on election nights and precinct-level results soon after, or South Dakota, which had live maps with precinct-level results for its own primary election on June 3.
The Mississippi Supreme Court on Thursday rejected state Sen. Chris McDaniel’s (R) petition filed against the Harrison County clerk in order to gain access to all election records from the U.S. Senate primary runoff. McDaniel demanded “access to and full examination of all the original election materials,” including poll books. The Mississippi Attorney General and Harrison County Circuit Clerk Gayle Parker argued that a candidate’s right to review election records does not include poll books. Judge Josiah Coleman wrote in the court’s opinion that the clerk did not need to include poll books in election boxes for candidate review.
Establishment Republicans and allies of Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) have scoffed at state Sen. Chris McDaniel’s (R) claims of rampant voter fraud in the runoff election between the two for U.S. Senate. But, ahead of a press conference on Wednesday where McDaniel plans to discuss the evidence he’s found, Cochran’s campaign and the Mississippi Republican Party have also taken steps to prepare for some kind of lawsuit. Since the runoff, McDaniel and his supporters have been poring over poll books in search of proof that Cochran only won the runoff through Democratic votes. McDaniel’s lawyers claim that if the state senator can prove that Cochran’s margin of victory was only through votes that shouldn’t have been counted in a Republican primary, a new election is automatically triggered (legal experts are skeptical of this). McDaniel, according to Mississippi College School of Law Professor Matthew Steffey, needs the state Supreme Court to order a new election so a legal challenge seems to be the next step.
Alabama taxpayers will spend $3 million on a runoff election Tuesday that most citizens will skip. Alabama’s chief election official, Secretary of State Jim Bennett, said he expects about 5 percent of Alabama’ 2.85 million active voters to participate because of a lack of races that draw voters. “You have no extremely high profile elections,” Bennett said. His forecast is less than one-fourth of the 22 percent who turned out in the primary June 3. No party has a runoff for governor or U.S. Senate. The Republican Party has runoffs for secretary of state, state auditor and Public Service Commission Place 2, the 6th Congressional District, and six legislative seats. The Democratic runoff has no statewide races, no congressional contests, and only one legislative runoff. Only 20 of Alabama’s 67 counties have a Democratic runoff Tuesday.
Mississippi: Chris McDaniel’s lawyer says a new Mississippi election could be ‘automatic.’ Is he right? | The Washington Post
Mitch Tyner is the lead counsel for failed Mississippi Republican Senate primary candidate Chris McDaniel’s effort to have the results of the state’s runoff election overturned. In a brief press conference on Monday, Tyner responded to a question about the margin between McDaniel and incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran — which was at about 6,700 at last count — with assurance.
We don’t have to have 6,700 (ineligible voters). However, I would be surprised if we don’t find 6,700. It’s very easy to see the Mississippi law holds that if there’s the difference between the Cochran camp and our camp — that vote difference — if there’s that many ineligible voters, then there’s automatically a new election.
In an e-mail to the Post, McDaniel campaign spokesman Noel Fritsch said that the number of “irregularities” found on ballots was at 6,900 as of last Thursday — a number that “will certainly grow.” Most of those irregularities are of the kind that has become central to McDaniel’s case: people who apparently voted in the Democratic primary and then the Republican runoff. (More background here.) So done deal, right?
Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R) said he hasn’t conceded to Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) yet because 35,000 Democrats crossed over to vote in the runoff election for Cochran and claimed that it is illegal for voters to back one candidate in the primary but another in the general. McDaniel’s comments, which he made in an interview on Mark Levin’s radio show Wednesday night, follow a runoff election on Tuesday in which Cochran defeated McDaniel. McDaniel and his supporters have objected to the vote outcome because of Cochran’s efforts to get African Americans and Democrats to support the incumbent senator in the the Republican runoff. It’s not clear exactly where McDaniel got the 35,000 figure.