United Kingdom: Why the Electoral Commission disagrees with Harman on voter registration | politics.co.uk

Harriet Harman wrapped up today’s Labour conference with a speech attacking the coalition’s planned voter registration changes. What she didn’t mention is that the independent Electoral Commission is broadly in favour of the idea.

I’ve been going through its submission to the Commons’ political and constitutional reform committee, in which it states, in no uncertain terms:

“The Electoral Commission is clear that introducing IER is the right thing to do, because of the need:
• to improve the security of the system, making it less vulnerable to fraud
• to recognise people’s personal responsibility for this important stake in our democracy
• for a system that people recognise as up-to-date, not rooted in Victorian ideas about households and ‘heads of household'”

Maine: GOP leaders used same-day voting | The Morning Sentinel

A coalition that is campaigning to preserve same-day voter registration in Maine said Tuesday that many conservative leaders have done just what they support abolishing. Voting records reveal that Gov. Paul LePage, at least two state senators and eight state representatives have in the past registered to vote on election day or during the two business days preceding it. A new law that they all support would ban voter registration within two business days of an election.

The law, passed with Republican support, is now the subject of a people’s veto referendum on the Nov. 8 ballot, led by Protect Maine Votes.

Cited in a press release issued by the coalition Tuesday were Senate President Kevin Raye, R-Perry; Lance Dutson, chief executive officer of the conservative Maine Heritage Policy Center; former Republican gubernatorial candidate Peter Cianchette; and former Republican congressional candidate Dean Scontras.

Editorials: Democracy Under Attack | Judith Browne Dianis/Huffington Post

Today, we are witnessing the greatest assault on democracy in over a century.

Through a spate of state laws that restrict the type of identification a voter may use, limit early voting, place strict requirements on voter registration, and deny voting rights to Americans with criminal records, many voters will be cast out of the democratic process before they even make it to the polls. Those who do make it will face additional challenges. To complement legislative efforts to suppress the vote, the Tea Party and its allies have vowed to place millions of challengers at polls in 2012 to dispute voters’ eligibility in ways that may intimidate eligible voters and disrupt polling place operations. This two-prong strategy will impede American voters at every step of the voting process.

Not since the days of poll taxes and literacy tests has our country seen such blatant attempts to suppress the vote. Model legislative proposals crafted and strategically disseminated by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative legislative advocacy group that receives funding from the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation prompted some 34 states to introduce repressive photo identification legislation this year. While the bills vary slightly from state to state, they share one common thread. All of them require that voters must show non-expired, photo ID issued by that particular state or the federal government in order to cast a ballot. And all of them do so under the guise of preventing rampant voter fraud.

Ghana: The Electoral Process – Issue of Biometric Registration and Voting | tmcnet

After persistent calls for Biometric voting by a section of Ghanaians, the Electoral Commission finally announced that it is going to employ a Biometric Register for the 2012 General Elections. Ama Achiaa A. Baafi, our staff writer, examines the process, bringing to light matters which should engage the attention of all stakeholders.

Many a sound voter registration process is said to be crucial to any credible and successful election. Yet, voter registration is also often the most expensive part of conducting elections.

Election experts have said that there is no best way to conduct elections, and for that matter, voter registration. They argue that what works in one country does not necessarily work in another and that each country has its own political and socioeconomic contexts, its own resource limitations and its own needs to take into consideration when designing a voter registration system.

Maine: Advocates: People with Disabilities Hampered by Maine Voter Rules | Public News Service

Eliminating same-day voter registration in Maine may not sound like a big deal, but for people with disabilities it can be a real roadblock to participation in elections. Disability advocates say many have been negatively affected, including those with mobility issues.

In November, voters will face a ballot question that would repeal the law that requires new voters to register at least two business days prior to an election. David Farmer, organizer of the Protect Maine Votes Coalition, says for people with disabilities, the question is critical.

“This is particularly important for people in Maine who have limited access to transportation or limitations on their mobility.” Farmer says asking someone with mobility issues to make multiple trips to register is a barrier.

Pakistan: Election Commission of Pakistan excludes 37.1 million suspected votes from electoral rolls | South Asian News Agency

Election Commission of Pakistan excluded 37.1 million suspected voters from the electoral rolls and the new electoral roll is composed of more than 87.2 million voters. The Secretary ECP Ishtiak Ahmad Khan issued details from headquarter of Election Commission of Pakistan on Saturday.

Ishtiak Ahmad Khan said the ECP handed over its database of Electoral Rolls-2007 to NADRA on 11th February 2011 for verification of voters against their database. NADRA reported back on 05/03/2011 that out of 81 Million voters registered in Final Electoral Rolls 2007, 44 Million voters were verified against CNIC database whereas approximately 37 Million voters were not verified which was made public by the ECP through a press release dated 8th March 2011.

After deletion of these 37 million unverified voters from the Draft Electoral Rolls, 2011, NADRA added 36 million who had obtained CNIC after preparation of Electoral Rolls-2007. NADRA can provide evidence from its database with regard to 37 Million unverified voters as well as 36 Million voters who have been added into the Draft Electoral Rolls, 2011.

National: Officials warn of fraudulent voter registration website | The News Star

A fraudulent registration website, www.registertovote.org, offers a false voter registration form which claims to register citizens to vote in any state.

Secretary of State Tom Schedler and the staff of the Elections Compliance Unit are warning citizens who want to register to vote to do so by visiting www.GeauxVote.com.

The Louisiana voter registration form provided on the website is not the approved Louisiana registration form and requests information from the citizen that the official form does not such as height, weight and employment information. The official online registration system at www.GeauxVote.com is secure and protects the personal information for all citizens who register to vote.

Colorado: In all-mail election, thousands of locals won’t get mail ballots | Aspen Daily News

More than 40 percent of registered Pitkin County voters are not yet eligible to receive a mail ballot in this fall’s all mail-in election. The county clerk can legally only send ballots to registered voters who cast ballots in last year’s mid-term election, and are therefore considered “active” voters.

Nearly 6,000 locals are currently registered but not “active.” Hundreds more are active but have registered undeliverable mailing addresses.The clerk’s office sent post cards to inactive voters asking if they wanted to become active and receive ballots this fall.

Maine: Voter Fraud Investigation Turns Up Barely A Trace Of Wrongdoing | WABI TV5

Maine’s Secretary of State released his findings Wednesday from an investigation into potential voter fraud and that report shows barely any evidence of wrongdoing. Secretary of State Charles Summers says his investigation of possible voter fraud didn’t turn up much. But he says it points to Maine’s election system need for an overhaul. “We have a situation in the state of Maine that if we don’t try to modernize our election practices and procedures, it will eventually lead us down the road where something breaks down,” Summers told reporters in his office Wednesday.

Summers report shows 77 students were found to have simultaneously registered in Maine and another state but that’s not necessarily illegal. “What I said was there were 77 students in both Maine and another state. It is fraud if they intentionally did that. It’s very difficult to prove it,” Summers said adding it most likely would not be prudent to even try prove that intent.

Republican Party Chairman Charlie Webster claimed to have uncovered more than 200 cases of potential voter fraud committed by college students in Maine. Summers says five were found to have voted in Maine and another state the same year – but not in the same election. A driver’s license fraud investigation found one non-citizen, who’s left the United States.

Kentucky: Ethics panel declines to act on complaint about registering homeless voters | Kentucky.com

The Executive Branch Ethics Commission has decided not to take action on a complaint filed by Bill Johnson, Republican candidate for secretary of state, over voter registration of homeless people.

Johnson said Tuesday that John Steffen, executive director of the ethics commission, told him the panel lacked jurisdiction to consider his complaint against Secretary of State Elaine Walker and the State Board of Elections. After the commission’s regular meeting Monday, Steffen declined to comment.

Johnson contended in his complaint, filed in August, that Walker and the elections board were violating the Kentucky Constitution by allowing people who don’t have addresses to register to vote.

Voting Blogs: Merge Ahead? New Approach to Voter Registration Could Help Send Election Debates in a New Direction | Doug Chapin/PEEA

As partisan conflict over jobs, taxes and a host of other issues has intensified in the last several months, so too has the conflict over election policy – in particular, voter ID.

I’ve already made it pretty clear that I don’t buy the dominant narrative – namely, that election policy debates are purely partisan fights aimed at creating favorable conditions for the 2012 Presidential election. I believe that those debates are more about the different policy views held by the parties and that by recognizing this we can identify and seize opportunities to make changes to our election system that serve voters while at the same time respecting the deeply-held views of both major parties.

If that’s the least bit intriguing to you, then today is your lucky day.

At 10am this morning (Monday, September 19), the American Enterprise Institute will co-host an eventwith my former colleagues at the Pew Center on the States entitled “Bringing Voter Registration into the 21st Century.”

Voting Blogs: Merge Ahead? New Approach to Voter Registration Could Help Send Election Debates in a New Direction | Doug Chapin/PEEA

As partisan conflict over jobs, taxes and a host of other issues has intensified in the last several months, so too has the conflict over election policy – in particular, voter ID.

I’ve already made it pretty clear that I don’t buy the dominant narrative – namely, that election policy debates are purely partisan fights aimed at creating favorable conditions for the 2012 Presidential election. I believe that those debates are more about the different policy views held by the parties and that by recognizing this we can identify and seize opportunities to make changes to our election system that serve voters while at the same time respecting the deeply-held views of both major parties.

If that’s the least bit intriguing to you, then today is your lucky day.

At 10am this morning (Monday, September 19), the American Enterprise Institute will co-host an eventwith my former colleagues at the Pew Center on the States entitled “Bringing Voter Registration into the 21st Century.”

Ohio: Husted: Political fights make running election more difficult | The Chillicothe Gazette

Partisan sparring by state lawmakers about proposed congressional district changes and moving the state’s 2012 primary from March to May is making it difficult to administer an effective election, Ohio’s secretary of state said Thursday.

“The political infighting that’s going on right now between the two parties is beginning to affect the effective administration of elections,” Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted said during an interview with CentralOhio.com on Thursday. “This is a major concern to me.”

House legislators passed a bill Thursday to move the 2012 primary election from March to May, although it wouldn’t take effect immediately. The redistricting map cleared the Ohio House on Thursday by a 56-36 vote that included several “yes” votes from Democrats.

Florida: State allows civil rights groups to intervene in federal voting lawsuit | Miami Herald

Florida Secretary of State Kurt Browning on Friday agreed with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to allow civil rights groups and individual legislators to intervene in a lawsuit over whether the state’s recent voter laws suppress minority voting.

Browning has asked the court to take over for the U.S. attorney general’s office and “pre-clear” the law to determine if it is in line with the minority voting protections of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The new law shortens the number of days available for early voting from 14 to eight days, (although it leaves open the opportunity to extend the number of total hours available for voting.) It also imposes tight limits on third-party voter registration groups and requires an out-of-county voter — such as a student — who tries to change her voting precinct on Election Day to cast a provisional ballot, which can be more easily challenged.

Saudi Arabia: Municipal Elections: Tough Lessons Learned from Islamic Conservatives | Eurasia Review

The Sept. 29 municipal elections in Saudi Arabia mark the second round of polling in six years and the third in almost 50 years. The latest scheduled elections ostensibly will bring Saudis closer to developing democratic ideals espoused in the West. However, the elections also have prompted criticism from Saudi activists who assert that the electoral system prevents half the population from representation by denying women the right to vote and that it gives an edge to religious conservatives.

The September elections followed a voter registration drive in May and a short period through early June that permitted candidates to register their campaigns. Ultimately, voters will go to the polls in September to elect men to 1,632 seats in 258 municipal elections. Half the municipal council seats throughout the Kingdom are appointed by royal decree. In 2005, 1,212 seats were open on 179 councils. Saudi authorities have banned women from voting or registering as candidates.

Egypt: Parties want Mubarak allies barred from vote | Reuters

Political parties have called on Egypt’s military rulers to ensure that figures associated with the government of ousted President Hosni Mubarak cannot run in parliamentary elections expected this year.

The military council that took over from Mubarak after street protests forced him to stand down in February has said it will hold a parliamentary vote this year, although a statement earlier this week announcing plans for voter registration did not mention any dates.

“The members of the coalition insist on changes to the parliamentary elections law and a law that would prevent the return of remnants of the former regime,” a coalition of 17 groups, including the leading Islamist Muslim Brotherhood group, said in a statement late on Tuesday.

Arizona: State Supreme Court to consider appeal on challenge to recall election for legislative leader | The Republic

The Arizona Supreme Court on Tuesday is scheduled to consider whether to allow a Nov. 8 recall election to be held for state Senate President Russell Pearce, a Republican known nationally for championing legislation against illegal immigration.

A Pearce supporter appealed a trial judge’s Aug. 12 ruling that denied the supporter’s request to call off the election in Pearce’s legislative district in Mesa, a Phoenix suburb.

Maine: GOP chair questions 19 voter registrations in 2004; probe reveals displaced medical students voted legally | Sun Journal

In the latest twist in the debate over same-day voter registration, the chairman of the Maine Republican Party on Friday questioned why 19 individuals staying in a South Portland hotel were allowed to register to vote on Election Day in 2004. As it turns it out, the individuals were American college students, who appear to have registered and voted legally.

Questioned by the Sun Journal, Jason Bartlett, general manager of the Holiday Inn Express on Sable Oaks Drive, said the students had been “permanent guests” at the hotel because their medical school on Grand Cayman Island in the Caribbean had been destroyed by Hurricane Ivan.

The 19 students, who came from states across the country, were among 383 students enrolled at St. Matthew’s University School of Medicine. All were displaced by the storm. According to Bartlett, the students were sent to Maine to continue their studies while their school was repaired. St. Joseph’s College in Standish assisted in the relocation program, according to a college spokesperson. The relocation was the subject of a Press Herald story published in September 2004.

Maine: Latest GOP Voter Fraud Allegations Questioned | MPBN

The Maine Republican Party says 19 people who registered to vote on Election Day 2004 used a Holiday Inn Express in South Portland as their home address.

But the Sun Journal in Lewiston is reporting the 19 were American medical students who were “permanent guests” because their school on Grand Cayman Island was destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in 2004. The hotel manager told the paper that the students were sent to Maine to continue their studies while their school was under repair.

New Mexico: Watchdog: Probe of voter registrations detrimental | The Santa Fe New Mexican

A national elections watchdog group has told Secretary of State Dianna Duran that her referral of 64,000 voter registrations to the state Department of Public Safety for investigation might undermine confidence in the system and violate state law.

In a letter to Duran dated Thursday, Ben Hovland, senior counsel for the Washington, D.C.-based Fair Elections Legal Network, wrote, “We fear that your attempt to ensure ‘accuracy and integrity’ in the system has had the opposite effect as unsubstantiated claims of large numbers of irregularities on voter registration records do not lead to greater accuracy of records and may, indeed, serve to undermine confidence in the system.”

Hovland asked for additional details as to the nature of this investigation, including the methodology used to select and examine the 64,000 registration records, when the investigation might be finished, and information about the steps taken to protect the private data in the registration records being investigated.

Congo: The Electoral Process Seen from the East | International Crisis Group

The technical preparations for the presidential and legislative elections scheduled on 28 November and the beginning of the electoral campaign in the East of Congo have generated suspicion that risks developing into a crisis of confidence in the whole electoral process.

Congo: The Electoral Process Seen from the East , the latest briefing from the International Crisis Group, examines voter registration and the beginning of the campaign on the ground in the Kivu provinces and the Ituri district and highlights the electoral stakes in a region that remains fundamental for durable stability in the country.

“The militiamen of the armed groups have not disturbed the voter registration process because they also need the voters’ card which serves as an ID document in the Democratic Republic of Congo”, says Marc-André Lagrange, Crisis Group’s Senior Congo Analyst. “However, the surprisingly sharp increase in the electorate the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced, lack of dialogue with the political parties and lack of verification by the voters themselves feed latent but widespread suspicions in the opposition and civil society”.

South Carolina: Haley on getting a photo ID: We’ll pick you up | Houston Chronicle

Gov. Nikki Haley’s invitation Wednesday to voters who lack the photo ID necessary to vote under South Carolina’s new law echoed a rental car slogan. “We’re picking you up,” she said.

The Department of Motor Vehicles has set aside Wednesday, Sept. 28, for anyone who needs a ride. Voters who lack transportation can call a toll-free number to arrange a pickup from a DMV employee, Haley said.

… Democratic Party Chairman Dick Harpootlian called it a lame attempt to quiet critics. “This is ridiculous. One day to get this done for 178,000 people is dishonest and cruel. This is a useless gesture,” he said. “This is not even a good PR stunt.”

Editorials: Is the Ghana Electoral Commission prepared for the 2012 Election with Biometric Voter Registration | myjoyonline

Ghana’s 2012 General Election is just around the corner barely Fifteen months from now. Electronic Registration is fast becoming a preferred method of voter registration in many countries. The multi-million questions that many Ghanaians are contemplating about the Electronic Voter Registration day-in, day-out, among others are;

-Is the Electoral Commission facing serious set-backs with regards to the Electronic /Biometric Voter Registration, if no, what is preventing them from starting the exercise now.

-Is the Electoral Commission’s Budget for the 2012 General Elections being met by the Government?

Editorials: Vote efforts seen as not enough | San Antonio Express-News

When Victoria Faz registered to vote, no political party operative ushered her there. No governmental public service announcement prodded her, and neither a candidate nor a campaign signed her up on her 18th birthday.

Watching the junior senator from Illinois address the Democratic National Convention in 2004 did make an impression, but the 20-year-old political science major at UTSA was motivated most by another reason. “I wanted to do it for me,” the San Antonian said.

She’s a rarity in a state with dubious voter registration and turnout rates and one that political scientists view as dependent on largely ineffective ways to get voters registered and to the polls.

Voting Blogs: Alabama anti-immigration law’s voter-registration provisions | Votelaw

In a few days, U.S. District Judge Sharon Blackburn will grant or deny a preliminary injunction against numerous provisions of the “Beason-Hammon Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act.” Three suits by a coalition of organizations and individuals, the federal government, and Bishops of the Episcopal, United Methodist, and Catholic Churches challenged numerous provisions of the Act. But I did not find a challenge to Section 29 (see page 61 of the Scribd copy of the Act) which deals with voter registration.

I only want to look at the sloppy drafting of the Act. Well, actually, Section 29 is drafted in a way superior to most Alabama legislation. Most bills seems to be drafted with extremely long sections with a variety of topics in each section. Section 29 actually has a structure that aids — rather than impedes — reading it. There are three provisions I want to point out as indicating the author(s) of the bill either did not understand Alabama governmental structure or did not understand federal law.

Nepal: ‘Election commission among best five’ | MyRepublica.com

The United Nations has highly praised the works carried out by the Election Commission of Nepal and is going to send high-ranking officials to Kathmandu to acquire information to this connection.

Nepal’s Election Commission has been selected among the best five election commissions of the world and a U.N. delegation is arriving Kathmandu for acquiring information about this, said Chief Election Commissioner Nilkantha Upreti at a program here Friday.

“This is a matter of pride for Nepal,” CEC Upreti said. He added that the international community has highly praised the election to the Constituent Assembly held on 10 April 2008.

Maine: Voter database breach came from Millinocket, Secretary of State says no information compromised | Bangor Daily News

The Secretary of State’s Office said Thursday that it appears no personal information was compromised during a potential security breach of Maine’s Central Voter Registration database.

The apparent breach was the result of malware — or malicious computer software — found on a workstation computer in the town clerk’s office in the northern Penobscot County town of Millinocket.

“I want to update the public with our initial findings and assure all Mainers that appropriate action has been, and will continue to be, taken to protect all personal information located in the Central Voter Registration,” Secretary of State Charlie Summers said in a statement.

Voting Blogs: Indiana Reaches Settlement to Offer Voter Registration to Low-Income Citizens | Project Vote Blog

Thousands of low-income Indiana residents will finally have the opportunity to register to vote at state public assistance offices, as mandated by federal law.

Today, U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt approved a settlement of a class action lawsuit brought against Indiana officials to bring the state into compliance with the National Voter Registration Act. The suit was brought by the Indiana State Conference of the NAACP on behalf of state public assistance clients injured by the state’s violation of federal law. Plaintiffs are represented by attorneys from Project Vote, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Demos, the NAACP, the Chicago law firm of Miner, Barnhill & Galland, and the ACLU of Indiana.

Oklahoma: Cherokee Nation votes to keep same laws for upcoming election | Tulsa World

The Cherokee Nation will not amend its election laws for the upcoming principal chief’s race. At its regular Rules Committee meeting Thursday, the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council voted 8-4 to table a bill by acting Council Speaker Cara Cowan Watts of Claremore that would have codified a July 12 request from the council that the tribe’s Election Commission bring in a third-party organization to observe next month’s election.

The proposal also would have required voters to show identification when arriving to vote, such as a driver’s license, citizenship card, voter registration card or other identification specified by the Election Commission. The tribe’s election law allows for poll workers to identify voters by sight, rather than photo identification, if they know the voter in question.

Michigan: Voting rights activists threaten state with lawsuit | Michigan Messenger

A coalition of groups, including Demos, Project Vote, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (LCCRUL), and the NAACP, sent a letter to Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson last week alleging that the state is in violation of federal law requiring voter registration at public assistance offices.

… Nicole Zeitler, an attorney with Project Vote, told the Michigan Messenger that the state is not following the law. “The NVRA requires the state to do more than simply make voter registration ‘available’ at public assistance agencies,” she said. “

Agencies must affirmatively offer a voter registration application form with EVERY application for benefits, recertification, and change of address form, whether or not the client asks for one. Michigan DHS policy, on the other hand—in violation of the NVRA—is to ONLY offer a form IF someone specifically requests one. Furthermore, our field investigations found that only 1 in 4 clients who did request a form received one.”