California: It only took a month to count California’s votes. Here’s why, and why it may get better | Los Angeles Times

Well, that’s a relief. For the last four weeks, Californians have ceased to be those goofy people on the left coast. For the last four weeks, we have been the people who can’t count. And now the votes from the June 7 primary, more than 8.5 million of them, have been counted; they are due to be certified by Secretary of State Alex Padilla on Friday. The lingering question isn’t who won the presidential primaries or the Senate race; the margins in those races, and most other regional and local contests across the state, were big enough that the winners have been known almost since primary day. No, this was the question: What took you so long? The answer: It’s complicated. More than voters know. But it may be about to get faster. For voters, the most time-intensive part of balloting is deciding which candidate to like. The act of filling in the answers at a polling place or mailing it in from home doesn’t take long. But this year, several factors combined to give elections officials a giant counting headache.

Peru: Patience wears thin as Peru vote count drags on | Associated Press

Patience was wearing thin as ballots in Peru’s presidential election continued to trickle in on Wednesday, three days after a contest whose results remained too close to call. Front-runner Pedro Pablo Kuczynski’s running mate met Wednesday with electoral authorities to request they speed up the counting. Meanwhile, dozens of supporters of his rival Keiko Fujimori held a demonstration Tuesday night outside the electoral board to denounce what they said is fraud, even though neither the candidate nor her campaign have presented any evidence to back up their supporters’ claims. Electoral officials said they hope to wrap up their work on Thursday when the last ballots cast at embassies abroad arrive in Lima. But most experts said it’s already mathematically impossible for Fujimori to make up the 42,000 vote difference separating her from Kuczynski.

Puerto Rico: Vote count stalls in Puerto Rico as officials take day off | Associated Press

It will be a little while longer before final vote totals are known in Puerto Rico’s Democratic presidential primary, because the U.S. territory’s election commission workers took the day off on Monday. Officials will resume manually counting votes on Tuesday and expect to issue a final certification later that day, Roberto Prats, the island’s Democratic Party chairman, told The Associated Press. He said officials worked until nearly dawn counting results of both the presidential primary and a local primary in which voters narrowed their choice for the island’s next governor, legislators and mayors. “We will resume tomorrow morning and try to close the local and presidential primaries at 100 percent,” Prats said, adding that election workers received compensation time on Monday. Griselle Lopez, the elections commission spokeswoman, did not return messages for comment.

Hawaii: Supreme Court Blocks Native American Election Vote Count | Associated Press

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday blocked votes from being counted in a unique election that’s considered a major step toward self-governance for Native Hawaiians. The high court granted an injunction requested by a group of Native Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians challenging the election. They argue Hawaii residents who don’t have Native Hawaiian ancestry are being excluded from the vote, in violation of their constitutional rights. The order blocks the counting of votes until at least the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issues its ruling. The group suing to stop the election appealed a district court’s ruling allowing voting to proceed. University of California Irvine election law expert Rick Hasen said it’s “very unusual” for the high court to enjoin the counting of votes during an ongoing election. “I can’t think of another instance where the Supreme Court has done that,” Hasen said. “The court has stopped … the recounting of votes, for example most famously in Bush vs. Gore” in the 2000 presidential election.

Ohio: New Evidence Emerges of Vote Counting Chicanery in Ohio Pot Ballot Initiative | Alternet

More evidence is emerging calling into question the officially reported results of Tuesday’s marijuana legalization vote in Ohio, where Issue 3 was defeated by a two-to-one margin. On Friday, the Columbus Free Press published a series of screenshots of live televised election returns from Dayton’s WHIO-TV provided by Ohio’s Secretary of State. The sequence showed hundreds of thousands of votes flipped within minutes from the “yes” to “no” column of Issue 3. The controversial measure would have established a state-licensed cartel of 10 licensed growers operating regulated indoor grow sites of up to 300,000 square feet each. The pro-marijuana activist community was divided on the measure. The screenshots, posted below, show hundreds of thousands of votes flipping from the “yes” to the “no” column in 11 minutes, even though the number of precincts reporting only increased by 6 percent. In the first screenshot, with 39 percent of precincts reporting, the pot measure is winning 65-to-35 percent. In the second screenshot those percentages are reversed, even though the number of precincts reporting results has only increased by 6 percent. Look at the number of votes in each column and you will see that hundreds of thousands have been jumped from supporting to opposing the measure.

California: Bill could speed up Inland vote count | Press Enterprise

Election Day results in Riverside and San Bernardino counties could come a little faster if Gov. Jerry Brown signs a bill intended to speed up vote-counting and save costs. AB 363, sponsored by Assemblyman Marc Steinorth, R-Rancho Cucamonga, passed the Legislature last week without opposition. The bill is now awaiting the governor’s signature. AB 363 allows officials to start securely transporting ballots from polling places to the central counting location midday, rather than when polls close. Doing so will save on elections cost and allow results to be released more quickly, Steinorth said in a news release.

Burundi: Vote Count Underway in Burundi | VoA News

Votes were being counted Wednesday in Burundi, a day after a controversial presidential election was marred by pre-election violence that has led thousands of people to flee the country over the past few months. Results from the polls, which were condemned as illegitimate by the international community, are expected Thursday. The presidential election Tuesday is believed to have had low turnout, as President Pierre Nkurunziza ran without significant opposition for a third term. But electoral commission head Pierre-Claver Ndayicariye told The Associated Press Wednesday that between 72 and 80 percent of Burundi’s 3.8 million voters cast their ballots.

Nigeria: Fears of Meddling Raised in Nigerian Election Vote Count | Associated Press

Election officials worked into the night Monday counting the results from Nigeria’s tight presidential vote, while the U.S. and Britain warned of “disturbing indications” the tally could be subject to political interference. Early returns gave former military dictator Muhammadu Buhari seven states while incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan had five, including the Federal Capital Territory. But results from another 25 states were still to be tallied, and 22 states had not yet delivered their results to the counting center in Abuja, indicating a winner could not be announced before Tuesday. As expected, Buhari swept two major northern states of Kano and Kaduna, delivering crushing defeats to Jonathan there. In Kano, the state with the second-largest number of voters, Buhari had 1.9 million votes to Jonathan’s 216,000.

El Salvador: Still Counting Votes One Month after Polls | PanAm Post

One month after polls took place, El Salvador’s rival parties are still disputing the results of the Central American country’s national elections. On Wednesday, March 25, the Supreme Electoral Court (TSE) began opening more than 200 ballot boxes in the San Salvador department to determine which party obtained the final seat. The Democratic Change (CD) party challenged an initial vote count after the results in the race for congress in the department were published on Sunday, March 22, almost one month after the election date. “The review in San Salvador could impact” the results, TSE Judge Fernando Argüello Téllez told press.

Sri Lanka: Election chief agrees new measures for vote counting | Lanka Business Online

Sri Lanka’s election commissioner has agreed to a set of proposals aimed at holding a transparent vote counting process, the bar association of Sri Lanka said. The proposals for the upcoming presidential election include, polls monitors to be informed of the results of the counting centers before making it officially announced. “All the proposals forwarded by us on vote counting have already been accepted”, the association president Attorney-at-Law Upul Jayasuriya told LBO. The proposals had been made in consultation with the election watchdogs including PAFFREL and CaFFE.

New York: Election Boards Look to Modernize Vote Counting, Finance Filing Systems | Gotham Gazette

In the next two years, the New York City and State election boards may finally arrive in the 21st Century. The New York City and New York State Boards of Election are planning major technological upgrades to their vote counting and finance disclosure systems, staff told State Assembly members at a hearing Friday morning in Manhattan. By late 2015, voters in the city may know the results of most elections by 10 p.m. on election nights, thanks to tablets at every polling site that can upload vote counts just minutes after polls close. And in late 2016 or early 2017, the state board plans to launch a new campaign finance filing system, replacing a two-decade-old network that candidates say is difficult to use. On election night in New York City, poll workers and police officers usually transport memory sticks filled with vote count data to police precincts, where they are counted.

Moldova: Three main pro-Europe parties likely to form coalition government in Moldova | Reuters

Moldova’s three main pro-Europe parties appeared yesterday to be able to form a new coalition government, despite the pro-Moscow Socialist Party taking first place in Sunday’s election. With 87 per cent of the vote counted, according to the election authorities, the three parties – the Liberal Democrats, the Liberals and the Democrats – had a combined vote of 44 per cent – enough to win a majority in the 101-seat parliament. This was in spite of the pro-Russia Socialist Party taking a surprise lead with 21.5 per cent of the vote and the communists, who wish to revise part of a trade deal with the EU, taking third place with 17.8 per cent. The three-party coalition, led by Prime Minister Iurie Leanca’s Liberal Democrats, has piloted one of Europe’s smallest and poorest countries along a course of integration with mainstream Europe since 2009, culminating in the ratification of a landmark association agreement with the EU this year.

District of Columbia: Election Over, Workers Keep Counting Ballots — Thousands Of Them | WAMU

“It’s exhausting.” That’s how Clifford Tatum, the executive director of the D.C. Board of Elections, describes the work that has taken place after the Nov. 4 general election. Though the campaign signs are coming down, public attention has shifted away and most of the top-ticket races — mayor, attorney general, D.C. Council seats, the marijuana legalization initiative — were settled after votes were tallied on election night, work has since continued for Tatum and his staff. That’s because as with every election, the elections board is charged with counting every ballot that’s properly cast. The bulk of those come during early voting or on Election Day — 25,750 residents voted early, while 125,606 voted on Nov. 4. But for those residents living outside the city, or those who fall into a number of categories that may require that they vote using a special — or provisional — ballot, their votes are counted in the two weeks following the election. For the general election, that adds up to a lot of ballots — close to 6,000 absentee ballots and over 20,000 special ballots.

Brazil: President Rousseff is re-elected | The Washington Post

Brazil’s left-leaning President Dilma Rousseff was re-elected Sunday in the tightest race the nation has seen since its return to democracy three decades ago, after a bitter campaign that divided Brazilians like no other before it. With 99 percent of the vote counted, Rousseff had 51.5 percent of the ballots, topping center-right challenger Aecio Neves with 48.5 percent. Rousseff’s victory extends the rule of the Workers’ Party, which has held the presidency since 2003. During that time, they’ve enacted expansive social programs that have helped pull millions of Brazilians out of poverty and into the middle class.

Mozambique: US, EU concerned over delayed Mozambique vote count | AFP

Foreign observers on Tuesday voiced concern over alleged irregularities in the counting of votes from Mozambique’s presidential and legislative polls held last week. Both the European Union and the United States government issued statements on Tuesday pointing at problems in the tallying process after last Wednesday’s polls. “Despite an orderly election day, these processes have encountered many difficulties and adversities,” the EU observer mission said. These included “faulty” handling of final result sheets from polling stations and lengthy tabulation procedures. The EU “considers that such mishaps in the tabulation process, added to the absence of official public explanations about these difficulties, hinders what has been an orderly start on election day.”

Bosnia: Nationalists Lead in Bosnian Vote Count | teleSUR

With over 90 percent of ballots counted, Bosnia’s government appears likely to remain in the hands of Serb, Bosniak and Croat nationalists. Serb, Bosniak and Croat nationalists look to have held on to Bosnia’s three-person presidency, according to partial results released on Monday. Under Bosnia’s complex electoral system, the country as a whole has three presidents – one from each of the country’s major ethnic groups. Over 90 percent of votes from Sunday’s elections are now counted. The country is also divided between two semi-autonomous entities, Republika Srpska and the Muslim-Croat Federation.

Alaska: Why Vote Counting in Alaska Takes a Long Time | Roll Call

An Alaska Senate race has the potential to once again remain undecided well after the election, and this time the wait could keep control of the Senate up in the air until at least mid-November. December and January runoffs are possible in two other states with Senate races, so it could be even longer before either party can claim a majority of seats in the chamber in the next Congress. Senate Republicans need a net gain of six seats to take control. But the reason for the holdup in Alaska is, like the state itself, unique. In the Last Frontier State, the regular delay in races being called is largely a product of two confluent circumstances: close contests and an increased emphasis by campaigns on absentee voting, a get-out-the-vote method pushed to help compensate for the state’s travel and voting complications. The need to encourage absentees is a reality in one of the most topographically challenging states for campaigns in the country. Prop planes are often required for candidates to reach the state’s vast rural areas and even for timely travel between cities close in proximity but separated by mountains or water. And state officials running the election face similar logistical hurdles: All ballots are eventually transported by air to Juneau, a capital only accessible by boat or plane.

United Kingdom: Electoral Commission criticises European election count delay | BBC

A watchdog has criticised the length of time it took to count votes in Northern Ireland during May’s European election. The Electoral Commission has also criticised the way the count was organised and how staff were deployed. The commission said significant work needed to be done to consider the benefits of electronic counting. Electoral commissioner Anna Carragher said lessons need to be learned ahead of next year’s General Election and the next NI Assembly elections in 2016. She leads the independent watchdog that monitors how Northern Ireland’s elections are run.

Indonesia: Not as Easy as One, Two, Three, Indonesians Join the Vote Count | Wall Street Journal

This year’s election in Indonesia has charted a lot of firsts for the world’s third-largest democracy. It was the first race between just two candidates, the first to end with quick counts from pollsters showing different winners and the first to use crowdsourcing to involve volunteers with the vote tabulation. The candidates, Joko Widodo and Prabowo Subianto, are both waiting for official results to be released by the Indonesian Elections Commission early next week and current President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has called for their supporters to hold off celebrating. In the meantime, several neutral groups have set up websites asking for volunteers to keep track of the vote count by submitting scanned copies of their voting papers. They’re also asking people to post evidence of irregularities on Twitter. Meanwhile, the General Elections Commission (KPU), which is charged with counting and confirming the votes, has started uploading PDF forms from each polling station to its website. Known as C1, these forms document the number of votes cast at each polling station and show how many went to each candidate.

Indonesia: Presidential candidate declares victory, opponent says not so fast | CNN

Hours after voting ended in Indonesia’s presidential race, candidate Joko “Jokowi” Widodo proclaimed victory while his rival Prabowo Subianto urged patience as the official vote count proceeded. Results of an unofficial quick count on Wednesday indicated a slight edge for Widodo, a former furniture exporter who rose to become Jakarta governor, ahead of Prabowo, a former military man. “Today, Indonesia’s new son has been chosen by the people,” Widodo declared. “We begin a new phase in our history and we start a new beginning of Indonesia.” Widodo’s leap from relative obscurity to potential leader of the world’s most populous Muslim nation has drawn comparisons to U.S. President Barack Obama’s meteoric rise in 2008. For his supporters, the “Jokowi effect” heralds a new breed of political leaders — a break from Indonesia’s tradition of leaders with military, bureaucratic or elite backgrounds.

Indonesia: Most Election Violations During Counting, Constitutional Court Says | The Jakarta Globe

The Constitutional Court has warned that based on recent legislative election cases it has handled, most election violations were committed during the vote counting process. “Our evaluation shows that violations mostly occurred during vote counting, or the recapitulation process at the village, ward and subdistrict level. That’s where opportunities for violations are high. The MK [Constitutional Court] trial did not find many violations committed at the district level,” Chief Justice Hamdan Zoelva said in Jakarta on Tuesday. Although he did not provide statistics, Hamdan maintained that few violations were committed during the voting process as opposed to the vote counting process. Hamdan expressed his hope that the General Elections Commission (KPU) and Elections Supervisory Body (Bawaslu) would take note of the problems especially now that the presidential election is near. “Surely the polling committees need to take note of this,” Hamdan said.

Malawi: Vote counting systems collapse, official resort to fax, e-mails | Business Standard

Malawi election officials have had to resort to fax and email to tally votes from this week’s election after the electronic system broke down, the chief elections officer said today, delaying the release of results. The system “is refusing to take the information from the ground where our data clerks are stationed to send the results,” chief elections officer Willie Kalonga told AFP two days after the vote. As a “back-up solution,” officials in the southern African country’s 28 districts were sending the results manually via fax and email to the national elections centre in Blantyre. The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has yet to release preliminary results after Tuesday’s tight-run polls, which pit incumbent Joyce Banda against her rival and predecessor’s brother Peter Mutharika.

Indiana: Missed votes prompt new tallying system in Warrick County | Associated Press

A southwest Indiana county is developing a new accountability system using “archaic” methods after a discovery that thousands of votes weren’t counted in the 2012 general election. Nearly 3,800 early votes cast in Warrick County during the 2012 general election went uncounted because of an error by an electronic voting machine technician. The lost ballots included that of county Clerk Sarah Redman, who said her top priority this year is having every vote count – even if it means using an old-fashioned system of checks and balances. “When I say archaic, I mean old pen and paper that I want (them) to jot down. I don’t want to go by any reports that shoot out of a computer,” Redman told the Evansville Courier & Press.

India: Citizen surge: Election Commission ensures that low voting percentages are a thing of the past | The Week

Even before the results are announced, the latest Assembly elections have thrown up a pleasant surprise. The voting percentages in all the states have been extraordinary. Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, notorious for low turnouts, recorded 74.5 per cent and 71 per cent, respectively. Chhattisgarh defied threats from Maoists to register an impressive 77 per cent, the highest ever for the state. Delhi, too, registered its best-ever voting performance at 66 per cent. Suddenly, low voting percentages are becoming a thing of the past and the Indian voters appear to be more involved and informed. The most important reason behind this surge is the Election Commission’s aggressive campaign to enrol new voters, especially women and the youth. The systematic voters’ education and electoral participation (SVEEP) wing of the commission, opened in 2009, has been tasked with expanding the registration of eligible voters, addressing gender gaps and ensuring more participation of the youth. “The programme has been undertaken across the country and the increase in turnout has varied from around 10 per cent in lower turnout states to 2-3 per cent in traditionally high turnout states,” said Chief Election Commissioner V.S. Sampath. For the first time, the commission deployed ‘awareness observers’ in these elections. In all, 47 of them were put on the job in the five states for two weeks before the elections to motivate voters.

Japan: Denying voting rights to prisoners constitutional: Tokyo High Court | The Japan Times

The Tokyo High Court ruled Monday that denying prisoners the right to vote is constitutional, rejecting a plaintiff’s demand that the proportional representation segment of last July’s Upper House election be invalidated. The ruling conflicts with a decision handed down in September by the Osaka High Court, which ruled that denying prisoners the right to vote is unconstitutional. It was the first judgment on the public offices election law provision restricting voting rights for convicts.

Honduras: Leftist disputes Sunday vote count, vows legal challenge | Reuters

Leftist Honduran presidential candidate Xiomara Castro refuses to accept partial official results that show her conservative rival on course to win Sunday’s election, setting the stage on Monday for a drawn-out conflict. Castro, the wife of deposed leader Manuel Zelaya, and her team said early Monday that an exit poll drawn up for her party showed she was winning. They claimed fraud and accused the electoral authority of manipulating the result. A partial count issued by the electoral authority on Sunday gave National Party candidate Juan Hernandez some 34.3 percent support while Xiomara Castro had nearly 28.7 percent. The preliminary tally was based on a count from 54.5 percent of polling booths. The next update is due after midday Monday.

Mali: Election marred by low turnout and voting abuses | Reuters

Low turnout and vote abuses marred Sunday elections meant to complete democratic transition in Mali, after a coup last year led to an Islamist takeover of the north that was crushed by French military intervention. Officials said armed men carried off ballot boxes from some bureaux in the Timbuktu region of northern Mali, preventing some people from casting their votes in the legislative poll. It was not immediately clear who was responsible. The West African country has suffered a surge in Islamist violence since President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita was elected in August in a vote that marked a return to democracy after the March 2012 coup. The military putsch plunged Mali into chaos and allowed al Qaeda-linked fighters to seize the northern two-thirds of the country. France launched a massive military operation in January that drove the Islamists from northern towns, but isolated cells have remained active.

Honduras: Competing presidential claim victory | The Washington Post

After a day of relatively trouble-free voting in a tight race, Honduras appeared headed for a new political showdown late Sunday, as competing presidential candidates began claiming victory with less than half of the ballots counted. Leftist Xiomara Castro de ­­Ze­laya, the wife of deposed former president Manuel “Mel” Zelaya, declared herself the “new president of Honduras” even as preliminary tallies showed her conservative rival, Juan Orlando Hernán­dez, with a lead of at least five percentage points over Castro, followed by six other candidates. Hernán­dez told his supporters that he was the country’s new leader and that he was already receiving calls from several Latin American heads of state to congratulate him. The vote count was expected to stretch late into the night, with many here anxious that a close, contested election could toss the troubled country askew once more.

Nepal: Vote Count Begins | Wall Street Journal

Officials began counting votes on Wednesday that were cast during election for a new constituent assembly to draw up a long-delayed constitution and pick a new Nepal government. Election Commission official Bir Bahadur Rai said the counting started in several districts and that boxes filled with ballot papers had reached counting centers in at least 20 districts. In the capital, Katmandu, election officials opened ballot boxes collected from all 10 constituencies at the International Convention Center and began counting the thousands of ballot papers. Mr. Rai said arrangements were being made to fly ballot boxes from some mountain areas by helicopter because snow had blocked roads. Nepal has 75 districts of which most of them are mountainous. More than 70% of the 12 million eligible voters cast their votes during Tuesday’s election in Nepal to choose the 601-member Constituent Assembly that would double as the parliament. First results are expected by late Wednesday and final results are going to take at least a week.

Nepal: Maoist party demands stop in vote counting after trailing behind rival parties | The Washington Post

The leader of Nepal’s Maoist party, who appears to have lost in this week’s national election, demanded Thursday that the vote counting be stopped because of what he called massive irregularities. The irregularities occurred during transporting of ballot boxes and also during the counting, said Pushpa Kamal Dahal, leader of the United Communist Party of Nepal Maoists. “We are demanding an immediate stop to the vote counting and an independent probe into the allegations,” Dahal said, adding his party could boycott the Constituent Assembly if its demands are not addressed. He said the party has reports of ballots boxes being hidden for hours, and of ballot boxes being switched while being transported to counting centers, and that several boxes had gone missing.