An estimated 800,000 people have dropped off the electoral register since the government introduced changes to the system, with students in university towns at highest risk of being disenfranchised, the Guardian has learned. Labour says it fears that the missing sections of the electorate are predominantly its supporters after the government moved from registration of electors by household to asking individuals to sign up, citing fears of fraud and error. The estimated number of voters registered in December – the first figure under the new individual electoral registration system – is lower than in the previous year, with just months to go before May’s local, assembly and mayoral elections.
Following the decision of the ruling parties to push on with elections in April 24, and amid concern that the opposition may boycott the polls, three separate teams comprised of IT experts are to cross-check the data to determine who is alive and in the country and so eligible to vote. “Two teams are to be engaged of competent local IT companies, and one of international companies,” the head of the election commission, the DIK, Aleksandar Cicakovski, said. The data on voters will be taken from various institutional registers, starting from the Central Bank, the Health Fund, the Employment Agency, the Cadastre Agency, the Public Revenue office and others.
Voters in Vanuatu go to the polls on Friday for a snap general election called after 14 government MPs were jailed for corruption. A total of 264 candidates, standing in 52 seats, have had little more than seven weeks to campaign. Most are members of 36 political parties, many of which have formed in the lead-up to the election. There are still more than 50 independents in the mix. Observers have said one of the issues with the snap poll was that there were thousands of dead people still eligible to vote — some reports claiming as many as 55,000 registered voters were no longer alive.
Niger has completed changes to its electoral register recommended by the International Organization of the Francophonie (OIF), the body said on Thursday, removing a major source of tension ahead of elections next month. President Mahamadou Issoufou is seeking another mandate as head of the historically turbulent, uranium-producing West African country on Feb. 21. He is the favorite to win but critics say he has become increasingly authoritarian and repressive ahead of the polls. The OIF, an organization representing French-speaking nations tasked with overseeing the voter list, had previously recommended the removal of around 300 ‘ghost’ polling stations and 25,000 voters counted twice.
Niger’s electoral register is good enough to enable the country to go ahead with an election on Feb. 21 as long as certain changes are made, the International Organization of the Francophonie (OIF) said in a report on Monday. The changes include getting rid of around 300 ‘ghost’ polling stations and 25,000 voters who have been counted twice, said the organization. President Mahamadou Issoufou is running for a second term and is favorite to win but critics say he has become increasingly authoritarian and has unleashed a campaign of repression before the p
The electoral commission of Ghana will not be compiling a new voter list to be used for the November 7 general election, despite calls by the main opposition, New Patriotic Party (NPP) to do so. Backed by other opposition and some civil society groups, the NPP petitioned the electoral commission, saying it has evidence that the current voter list is bloated with minors and non-citizens. The opposition party maintains the credibility of presidential, parliamentary and local elections will be undermined if the current voter list is not discarded and a new one compiled. The electoral commission had appointed an independent panel to look into the NPP’s concerns.
The electoral commission of Uganda has issued the final voters list for next year’s general election to all participating presidential candidates and their parties. The country’s electoral law demands the electoral commission present an electronic copy of the voters list to the parties and their candidates after the nomination process. Two weeks before the presidential, parliamentary and local elections, the law requires the electoral commission to issue a paper copy, also called a hard copy, to the candidates.
Georgia: Improper release of voter data prompts outside audit of state agency | Atlanta Journal Constitution
Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp plans to hire top auditing agency Ernst & Young to review his technology department in the wake of a data breach that exposed private information of more than 6 million voters. In a statement sent out after 6 p.m. Friday, Kemp also acknowledged a “similar but more limited” incident occurred in October 2012. According to emails obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution through an open records request about that incident, 12 voter registration lists containing sensitive personal data were sent out to people in 15 counties. But Kemp’s statement said “all of the information was recovered at the time.” News of the most recent incident became widely known Wednesday, when the AJC wrote about a class-action lawsuit alleging a massive data breach in the Secretary of State’s Office.
Election officials in Myanmar are still struggling to finalize the nationwide voter list as the nation heads to the polls on Sunday. The Union Election Commission (UEC) had initially announced it intended to release the final list on November 2. But the head of the Yangon Region Election Commission, Ko Ko, told VOA Burmese Tuesday the plan was delayed due to technical difficulties. He said hundreds of thousands of eligible voters have been added for the nation’s largest city. He added that the final list for the Yangon Region is expected to be posted later this week. “The total number in the previous list was 4,180,705 and the final voter list now tallies some 4,960,000, meaning that [the number of] eligible voters in the Yangon Region increased by about 800,000,” he said.
Myanmar’s first final, nationwide voter list was slated to go on public display yesterday, but after months of outraged political parties and voters calling election officials to task, most will have to wait at least another day to see the final roll. The Union Election Commission had initially planned on publicly posting the final list on November 2. The schedule was revised and extended to a last-minute, staggered release that would start at the local election office and progress to the township, state and Union level, where it would be combined and cross-checked. The relevant lists were also supposed to be posted at each polling station on November 6 and 7. Widespread voter list omissions, redundancies and inaccurate data plaguing the last two lists have proven a contentious and central obstacle in the coming election. While the final, corrected renditions were supposed to start rolling out yesterday, Myanmar Times reporters posted around the country found varying degrees to which local offices succeeded in meeting the deadline.
Ghana’s main opposition New Patriotic Party has petitioned the Electoral Commission to compile a new voter list for next year’s presidential and parliamentary elections. Some other opposition parties have backed the call for a new voter register, but some civil society groups and the ruling National Democratic Congress say the current voter register compiled in 2012 is credible. Christian Owusu-Parry, the Electoral Commission’s Acting Director of Public Affairs says the electoral body plans to organize a September 22 stakeholder’s workshop. He says parties will be able to present their views before a decision is made about a new voter list.
China: Electoral Affairs Commission admits to some unusual addresses in voter registrations | EJInsight
The Electoral Affairs Commission (EAC) has rejected reports of irregularities in the voter lists that were released at end-July, but admitted that some people had been registered with unconventional addresses. Barnabas Fung, the commission’s chairman, said some voters needed to be registered with unusual addresses because of housing issues, RTHK reported. Fung cited a UN Human Rights Convention which says that no person should be stripped of his voting rights because of his address, or lack of one, the report said.
The November 8 election will not be postponed despite a provision in the Constitution to delay a poll in the event of a disaster, according to the Ministry of Information. In its announcement, the ministry said Union Election Commission (UEC) chairperson Tin Aye met UN Special Rapporteur on Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, in Nay Pyi Taw on Thursday. Yanghee Lee asked about errors in the voter lists and the difficulties faced when correcting them in flood-affected areas and the possibility of postponing the election in those areas until a process to vote in refugee camps could be established.
There are over 32 million names of eligible voters on Myanmar’s preliminary voter list as of July 22, including citizens who have left the country, according to the Union Election Commission (UEC). “I’ve found over 32 million names on the list,” UEC Chairman Tin Aye said at a press conference in Yangon. “There are [Myanmar] expatriates among the 32 million names. Wherever they are, they will be in the voter list. Therefore, they can vote in the upcoming election. For those who go abroad with the permission of the government, they can submit Form No 15, and we will send ballots to them. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will assist in this,” he said.
Yangon Region electoral officials are scrambling to correct voters’ lists that contain some surprising omissions. U Kyaw, Yangon Region MP for Thingangyun township, says his name is not on the list. Another missing name is reportedly that of Daw Khin Aye, the wife of U Thein Nyunt, a Pyithu Hluttaw MP. Both MPs are members of the New National Democratic Party, and U Thein Nyunt is the party chair. Daw Khin Aye yesterday declined to comment on the reported omission. Electoral officials confessed that even a member of the electoral commission had been left off the list. None of this was deliberate, said one.
One-third of the people on Delhi’s voter list had moved house, were dead or could not be found, a sample survey has revealed. The findings raise serious questions about the accuracy of the information in Delhi’s voter lists and put in doubt official voter turnout numbers, the researchers said, but were refuted by the Election Commission. Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy, a Bangalore-based citizen engagement group, identified a representative sample of 3,210 Delhi voters spread across eight assembly constituencies. They then went to the addresses listed for these voters and attempted to find them. 21 per cent had moved house, the current occupant of the house informed the surveyors. Another one per cent was either dead, a repeated name or as in the case of two voters, in prison. Another 11 per cent could simply not be located despite three attempts. In all, 33 per cent of the sampled voters surveyed was not at the listed location and could potentially need to be deleted, the researchers found.
At 4 a.m. on Election Day, a bleary-eyed group of poll workers walked into the Hartford town and city clerk’s office to check the last of more than 1,200 absentee voters off the voter registration lists. The task was routine; the time and day troublesome. The job, crucial to ensuring that absentee voters couldn’t show up Tuesday at city polling places and vote again, should have been mostly finished days earlier, city and state officials said. The last-minute scramble, completed less than an hour before polls were to open, was one in a series of lapses that led to some polling places not having registration lists when voting was scheduled to begin at 6 a.m. As a result of the failure, voters were turned away, a judge ordered the extension of hours at two polling places and the state’s chief election official filed a complaint with the State Elections Enforcement Commission. Interviews show that the problems were widespread.
War may have ended the era when Ukrainians traded their votes for some cooking oil and flour. “I took the buckwheat but voted my heart,” reads an Internet meme of an elderly lady displaying a rude gesture on Twitter and Facebook from an Internet group called Our Guard. It’s urging voters not to exchange ballots for food before tomorrow’s general election. Parties have abandoned the pop concerts and pomp that accompanied past campaigns after more than 3,800 deaths in Ukraine’s battle against pro-Russian separatists and earlier protests in Kiev. President Petro Poroshenko, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and other contenders have instead signed military heroes and anti-graft activists to their voter lists. They’re trying to counter the electorate’s increasing frustration with the conflict, an outlook for a 10 percent economic contraction this year and corruption that’s worse than Russia’s and tied with Nigeria’s, according to Transparency International’s corruption perception index.
Candidates do not have a right to see who’s applied for absentee ballots before the election, a federal judge in Covington ruled this week. Republican Kentucky Senate candidate Deb Sheldon sued the county clerks of Campbell and Bracken counties, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes and Attorney General Jack Conway, challenging a state law passed in 2013 that shields the names and addresses of those who applied for absentee ballots until after the election. Sheldon is running against two other Republicans for the open Senate seat in Campbell, Pendleton and Bracken counties. She sought a list of those who filed for absentee ballots and argued that keeping the names private violated her First Amendment rights.
The Malawi Civil Society Grand Coalition has warned that the electoral commission’s failure to address concerns expressed by political parties about the preparations leading up to the May 20 general election, saying they could undermine the entire tripartite vote. The grand coalition, which comprises faith-based groups, civil society organizations, NGOs and Trade Union organizations, also expressed worry that the continued use of state resources by President Joyce Banda’s ruling People’s Party during the campaign period could potentially lead to disputes during the election process.
More than five months after the Cambodian People’s Party and the Cambodia National Rescue Party first announced a joint commitment to electoral reform following a September 16 meeting, specific measures have finally been agreed upon. The first official meeting yesterday of a bipartisan committee tasked with discussing election reforms agreed on “the organisation of voter registration and a voter list to guarantee and defend the voting rights of all people”, and that a law on political party finance be created, a joint statement says. While the two sides have agreed in principle on the need for a revamped voter list, details of how that could be practically implemented will only be decided after a yet-to-be-scheduled national workshop with relevant stakeholders, opposition spokesman and committee member Yim Sovann said last night.
In the future, you may have the option to make certain your voter information is not accessible by the general public. Utah’s House of Representatives approved legislation on Tuesday, on a vote of 71-2, that will allow the public to request that their voter information be kept private. The bill, H.B. 302, also calls for birth dates to be unavailable when someone purchases Utah’s voter rolls, but the records would still list a voter’s age. “I believe strongly an individual should not have to trade their constitutional right to vote in order to ensure their privacy,” said Rep. Becky Edwards, R-North Salt Lake. Edwards explained that the legislation comes as a direct result to a website that surfaced earlier this year that contains the whole Utah voter roll on it.
Political parties in the autonomous Kurdistan Region are concerned that new electronic cards that voters will use in Iraq’s parliamentary elections in April can encourage irregularities, because the system is not fully computerized. Kurdish officials worry that the new cards contain several flaws. They note that because polling stations are not connected by computer, any card holder can vote more than once at different election booths. Another concern has been that cards are issued on the basis of old voter lists, containing names of people who are long dead, or common names appearing more than once as different individuals. “The fear is what happens to the additional cards that are not received by people; how about the duplicate cards and the dead people?” wondered Aram Sheikh Muhammad, an elections official of the Change Movement (Gorran).
Officials in the Queen City could remove up to 8,200 people from its voter rolls in the coming months as part of a citywide “checklist verification” process. Starting on Thursday, the Office of the City Clerk will send postcards to 8,200 residents who have not voted according to its records since the 2008 election. City Clerk Matt Normand said the goal was to keep the voter list as up to date as possible to avoid a large and complicated state-mandated purge in 2020. “Periodic verification avoids a major purge of tens of thousands of voters during the state-mandated 10-year checklist purge, which stresses the office and ward officials for those looking to re-register once in any of the subsequent eight citywide elections held at Manchester polls,” Normand said in a statement announcing the move.
The United States prides itself for its egalitarian democracy, a democracy inwhich the weight of one’s vote is the same whether you’re young or old, rich or poor, and regardless of race. No right is more fundamental to American citizenship than the right to vote. Yet if voting is a right for all eligible citizens, then it should not have to be earned, and re-earned, over and over again. This is exactly what Florida risks, however, with Gov. Rick Scott’s renewed call for categorically removing alleged noncitizens from its voter rolls. Secretary of State Ken Detzner is creating a new list of suspected noncitizen voters by cross-checking the Department of Homeland Security System Alien Verification for Entitlements Program (SAVE) database with the state voter data. Given the long lines of citizens waiting to vote, Florida officials should know by now that voting is taken very seriously here. Yet this renewed call for another purge of alleged noncitizens shows the rest of the country that Florida is where rights become privileges.
Guinea’s main opposition leader on Thursday threatened to call supporters onto the streets if authorities push ahead with a parliamentary election due on Tuesday without fully addressing complaints over preparations. Cellou Dalein Diallo, leader of the largest opposition party and arch rival of President Alpha Conde, said it would be impossible to fix problems linked to voter lists and polling stations on time so a delay of a few weeks was needed. The poll, meant to cap Guinea’s transition back to civilian rule, has been repeatedly delayed since Conde was elected three years ago, sowing doubts amongst Guineans, investors and donors over political progress in the world’s top bauxite exporter. Dozens of people were killed in protests during months of wrangling over the election earlier this year.
The Supreme Court has ordered the Elections Commission (EC) to hand over the original voter lists of all ballot boxes placed during the recent first round of Presidential Elections held on September 7. A Supreme Court battle between the EC and Jumhooree Party (JP) ensued this week after the latter announced its decision to dismiss the outcome of the presidential poll after narrowly missing out a place in the run-off election with 24.07 percent of the vote. The party accused the EC of electoral discrepancies and irregularities that altered the results of the poll to the JP’s disadvantage.
Guinea’s opposition leader Cellou Dalein Diallo said on Tuesday that he doesn’t believe the country’s legislative election can be held next week, citing flaws in the voter roll which he says will take too much time to fix. His critical assessment contrasts sharply with that of the United Nations special envoy to the region, who mediated a six-hour-long session Monday between the country’s warring opposition and ruling party, and who told reporters upon returning to Senegal that he remains confident the election will go ahead on Sept. 24. “The date of the election is still Sept. 24,” Said Djinnit said at his residence in the Senegalese capital. “As of today we are a few steps away from the election. Nothing permits me to say otherwise.” The U.N. has so far mediated 13 meetings between the two sides in an attempt to return the West African nation to constitutional rule. The country’s last parliamentary elections were held in 2002, and were first rescheduled in 2007. The repeated delays have spanned three presidents and have left the nation without a functioning legislature.
Oumou Sangare is used to getting what she wants. Unlike most of the people lined up outside the election office here, the wife of Mali’s former ambassador to the United Nations is not accustomed to hearing the word ‘no.’ Yet that’s exactly what the elegant, middle-aged woman heard earlier this week after making her way to the front of the line of would-be voters who, due to a technical glitch, don’t appear on the voter list for the upcoming presidential election. Clutching her designer handbag, she stood on tiptoes in her petite heels, straining to peer through the open window of the election headquarters, where a clerk typed her name into a database. “I’m the wife of the ambassador,” she pleaded after the screen came back blank. “I’ve been voting for years,” she said. “Am I not going to be able to vote?”
With the help of Michigan Elections Director Chris Thomas, U.S. Rep. Candice Miller on Tuesday made the case on Capitol Hill that Congress must act to end millions of duplicate voter registrations nationwide from state to state. In testimony, Thomas told the Committee on House Administration, chaired by Miller, that federal legislation is needed to clear up the confusion caused when voters maintain an old driver license in one state but declare their voter registration in another state. A pending bill co-sponsored by Miller, former Michigan Secretary of State, and Rep. Todd Rokita, former Indiana Secretary of State, would require new state residents applying for a driver license to notify the state if they intend to use their new residency for the purpose of voting. If so, the legislation would mandate that the new state to notify the applicant’s previous state of residence so its chief election official can update voter lists accordingly.