Maine: GOP chairman’s charge that Democrats ‘steal’ election causes stir | Bangor Daily News

Tempers flared in the state Senate on Friday after the chairman of the Maine Republican Party suggested Democrats “steal elections” by taking advantage of Maine’s policy allowing voters to register at the polls on Election Day.

A proposal to end Maine’s 38-year-old policy of same-day voter registration was already one of the most contentious of the legislative session. Lawmakers have spent hours debating whether the bill would improve the integrity of Maine’s election system — as Republicans insist — or disenfranchise tens of thousands of voters — as Democrats suggest.

On Friday, the partisan tensions boiled over in the Senate thanks to comments from Maine GOP Chairman Charlie Webster.

National: Outdated and Failing: Modernizing Our Voting System for the Rising Electorate | Rock the Vote Blog

Day after day, from college campuses to high school classrooms, we hear stories about needless bureaucratic barriers that prevent young people from voting. For young Americans, the greatest barrier to participation is the out-dated process itself. Our complicated registration process varies state-by-state, and our country’s antiquated, paper-based electoral system is riddled with restrictive rules and red tape that don’t reflect advances in technology or meet the needs of modern life.

You’d think that the most basic element of our democracy – the very right to participate in our government that is guaranteed to all of us – would be something we would constantly work to improve. Yet somehow voting is an archaic ordeal, inconsistently implemented from place to place, and disturbingly, manipulated by whether people in power want someone like you to show up at the polls.

It doesn’t need to be this hard to vote.

Arizona: Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne angry at feds’ brief in support of 9th Circuit decision | Arizona Republic

Arizona State Attorney General Tom Horne is blasting President Barack Obama for getting involved in another Arizona lawsuit. The federal government has filed court documents supporting a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit to strike down Arizona’s voter-approved requirement that residents provide proof of citizenship when they register to vote.

The court ruled that the National Voter Registration Act pre-empts Arizona’s Proposition 200, which was passed by voters in 2004. The state successfully asked the court to reconsider the decision and an 11-member judge panel of the Appeals Court will rehear it June 21 in Pasadena, Calif. Among its provisions, the National Voter Registration Act creates a standard federal registration form that all states must accept. It requires applicants to sign a statement that they are citizens, but does not require them to show any proof.

Editorials: Voters need to be able to register at polls |

Gabriela G., Annalee S. and Ed V. are Rutgers University students who eagerly went to the polls to vote in the November 2008 general election. All three had registered to vote, prior to the 21-day deadline, from their college addresses.

However, when they went to cast their ballots, they were surprised to find that their names were not on the voting lists. They were directed to either leave the polling place or to vote by paper provisional ballots, which are checked post-election against the voting rolls. However, they were not informed of the strong likelihood that their provisional ballots would be thrown out, since their names were not in the system.


Editorials: A vote here and a vote there | Idaho Mountain Express

It’s not news that the people with political power do their best to maintain it. Making sure people vote is democracy at work. Erecting barriers to keep others from voting is called voter suppression, and that’s exactly what the Republican right is up to in 2011.

To date, 23 states—including Idaho—have passed or are considering new requirements that voters produce picture identification when they come to the polls. Without such proof, a voter in Idaho must sign a document swearing to his or her identity. The penalty for swearing falsely is perjury, a felony.

US Virgin Islands: Elections Officials Plan US Virgin Islands Voter Outreach | St. Croix Source

Election officials will hold a series of outreach events throughout St. Croix in the coming months, targeting schools, post offices, shopping areas and other places in an effort to get as many residents as possible registered to vote. And one of the first events on the schedule will be a voter registration event at the ceremonies marking Emancipation Day, July 3, in Frederiksted.

Board member Dodson James told fellow members about the outreach committee’s plans during the board’s regular meeting Wednesday morning. While James said a schedule has not been completed, board member Adelbert Bryan suggested adding the Emancipation Day drive. His motion passed unanimously.

Editorials: Big voter turnouts and perceptions of fraud |

Since North Carolina Republicans introduced a Voter ID bill in February that would require all citizens to show a photo ID before voting, one thing has become crystal clear. State efforts are part of a nationwide drive to tighten rules on voting. In the past two months no less than 13 state legislatures, all of them controlled by Republicans, have advanced Voter ID legislation.

Sponsors in North Carolina and elsewhere claim showing driver’s licenses or a similar card will eliminate voter fraud and, as the North Carolina bill is named, “Restore Confidence in Government.” Democrats have countered that there has been no wave of election fraud that needs fixing. Instead, they insist, Republicans are trying to make it harder for the elderly, the poor and the transient – those who often lack driver’s licenses – to vote. They compare the measure to historic poll taxes that once disfranchised thousands of North Carolinians.

Editorials: Maine Voices: Legislature should not revoke Mainers’ voting rights | The Portland Press Herald

The Maine House and Senate are poised to limit the most fundamental democratic process — voting. L.D. 1376, “An Act To Preserve the Integrity of the Voter Registration and Election Process,” will eliminate Maine’s nearly 40-year tradition of Election Day registration. It is a very bad deal for Maine voters. Election Day registration means that voters can register and vote on the same day. It works well.

Eliminating Election Day registration will disenfranchise the thousands of Maine citizens who rely on it. And to what end? There have been only two cases of voter fraud prosecuted in Maine in 30 years. In addition to Maine’s tradition of election integrity, we have a tradition of vibrant civic engagement. In fact, Maine has one of the highest rates of voter participation in the country.

This move will turn back the clock on our democracy. It will turn back the clock on voting rights.

Florida: Florida seeks Justice Department preclearance for new elections law | Post on Politics

The U.S. Justice Department was asked by Florida officials Wednesday to approve the state’s sweeping new elections law for five counties that need such preclearance under the federal Voting Rights Act.

Secretary of State Kurt Browning submitted documents detailing law changes under CS/HB 1355, which Gov. Rick Scott signed into law May 18 over opposition from legislative Democrats, the League of Women Voters, NAACP and other organizations.

Critics of the law said it is designed to blunt Democratic turnout and weaken voter registration efforts in advance of the 2012 elections.

North Carolina: Latest version of proposed North Carolina voter ID bill restricts forms of ID | Sun Journal

House Republicans have thrown another twist in a proposal to require North Carolina voters to provide a photo ID when they go to the polls.

They abandoned an earlier version that would have allowed citizens to show a voter registration card or other approved documents, such as a utility bill or a paycheck, in favor of a strict government issued photo identification card.

“The bill we discussed earlier today was an attempt at a compromise that might have garnered some support from the other side of the aisle,” said Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett, a primary sponsor of the bill. “Unfortunately that did not work.”

Guyana: Cabinet expresses concern over the large number of Guyana identification cards yet to be picked up |

Government remains concern at the large number of uncollected national identification cards from Guyana Elections Commissions. This was revealed by cabinet secretary Dr. Roger Luncheon at his post cabinet media briefing today.

Dr. Luncheon highlighted the issue of uncollected identification cards continues to plague the Guyana Elections Commission and remains an issue for the government.

He expressed the view that in some cases persons may have difficulty in collecting their ID cards while on the other hand some persons are unwilling to do so.

North Carolina: Republican lawmakers roll out new voter ID bill in North Carolina | San Antonio Express-News

Republicans in the North Carolina General Assembly have rolled out a new version of a bill that would require voters to show identification before they cast a ballot — a proposal they hope will attract support from some Democrats and Gov. Beverly Perdue.

A measure unveiled Tuesday in the House budget-writing committee would still require potential voters to show one of eight forms of photo ID. They could also offer their voter registration card, utility bill, pay stub or bank statement, but precinct officials would match a person’s signature against voter rolls before a ballot is accepted immediately.

Georgia: NAACP and Coalition for the Peoples’ Agenda File Voting Rights Lawsuit in Georgia | AM Law Daily

Representing a coalition of voting rights, civil liberties, and minority rights groups, Dechert filed suit in an Atlanta federal district court on Monday accusing Georgia state officials of neglecting their obligations under federal law to provide voter registration services to low income residents at public aid offices.

Under the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA), states are required to distribute registration forms every time an individual fills out an application for public assistance (such as food stamps or Medicaid). The law, known as the “motor voter” law, was passed during the Clinton Administration and also required state motor vehicles departments to provide voter registration applications. Dechert, which is working pro bono, filed the complaint on behalf of the Georgia State Conference of the NAACP and the Coalition for the Peoples’ Agenda.

Pakistan: Drive to get votes registered through June 10th | The Nation/Pakistan

The AJK election commission enlisted the names of those unregistered but eligible for voting to ensure that they get the right to vote in the upcoming general elections to be held on June 26.

Mirpur Deputy Commissioner Muhammad Tayyab Chaudhry told The Nation on Monday that the eligible voters, whom names could not yet be included, were advised to get the same in the concerned district offices of the Election Commission.

Philippines: House okays bill seeking to cleanse Philippine voters’ list | Zamboanga Today Online

Determined to eliminate flying voters, the House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading a measure cleansing the national voters’ list from multiple registrants to curb cheating and ensure the results of elections are reflective of the genuine will of the people.

Tarlac Rep. Susan Yap, one of the authors of House Bill No. 3469, said those who shall be submitted for validation are voters registered as of May 10, 2010 national elections and those who will register under Republic Act No. 8189 or “The Voter’s Registration Act of 1996” without biometrics data.

Yap said the city and municipal Election Officer, through the use of Data Capturing Machines (DCMs), shall conduct the validation process by taking the biometrics of voters.

National: Students in Crossfire in Battles Over Voting Rights | Brennan Center for Justice

Voting is a fundamental right for all American citizens over 18.  Some states — including Arizona and New York — have prioritized voting rights, with student engagement policies that should serve as models for other states.  Yet even as we should be encouraging the next generation to be civically engaged, in many states students are being targeted by bills that make it harder to register and to vote.

In the current legislative cycle, a majority of state legislatures have explored increasingly restrictive voter ID legislation.  College students are particularly impacted by many of these voter identification proposals, especially when student IDs do not qualify as photo identification for voting.  But even more disturbing is a new trend of bills that seek to explicitly make voting more difficult for college students.  The most notable recent example was New Hampshire House Bill 176, which would have created a special voter residency standard for students and members of the military who lived elsewhere—including elsewhere in the state—prior to matriculating or being stationed in New Hampshire, thereby preventing students from voting in state or local elections.  The Brennan Center forcefully opposed this bill, and argued that it would likely be unconstitutional.  Fortunately, after college students of all political stripes banded together to voice their opposition, the bill died on the House floor.

Florida: Florida State law battles could be costly |

For the second time this week, the American Civil Liberties Union announced it is hauling Gov. Rick Scott into court — this time, over a controversial makeover of Florida’s election laws — as another group prepares to sue him over a new law restricting what doctors can ask their patients.

More court challenges are expected in what appears to be a building wave of litigation over provocative bills the conservative state Legislature passed this spring. That could cost the state untold thousands, even millions, of dollars in what lawmakers have called the state’s toughest fiscal year in decades.

Congo: Electoral Chief Hails DRC Voter Registration Drive | VOAnews

The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission [CENI] in the Democratic Republic of Congo says he is pleased with his organization’s performance in the run up to the November 28 general elections.

Reverend Daniel Ngoy Mulunda hailed what he described as the “enormous enthusiasm” among Congolese citizens registering to vote, despite the security challenges in some parts of the country.

Maine: Secretary of State supports bill eliminating same-day voter registration in Maine | Bangor Daily News

Secretary of State Charlie Summers and Republican leaders are supporting a bill that would eliminate Maine’s 38-year-old same-day voting registration and ban absentee voting two business days before Election Day.

Proponents say the bill is designed to ease the workload of town clerks overwhelmed by an increasing number of voters who cast absentee ballots and who wait until the election to register.

But critics counter that those voters often are students, the elderly or disabled. Groups such as the Maine Civil Liberties Union believe LD 1376 is an attempt by Republicans to gain an electoral advantage.

Oregon: Senate OK’s Legislation To Improve Oregon Voter Registration |

The Oregon Senate approved legislation Thursday that supporters said will help the state improve voter registration. House Bill 2880 will require state agencies to evaluate their compliance with the National Voter Registration Act and make plans for improving their compliance.

“The right to vote is fundamental to our democracy and Oregonians are proud of our high rate of registration and turnout in elections,” said Senate Majority Leader Diane Rosenbaum, who carried the bill on the floor.

Maine: Coalition Battles GOP Plan to Eliminate Same-Day Voter Registration in Maine | MPBN

A bill that would eliminate same-day voter registration has some heavy-hitters behind it. Secretary of State Charles Summers says he crafted the bill as a way to lighten the workload for clerks on Election Day, and he’s gotten leaders of the Republican majority in both houses to be sponsors.

But opponents says the bill’s passage will get rid of a four-decade old tradition, and throw up a barrier to voting for people who can’t register ahead of time. A coalition representing a diverse group including single mothers, seniors and the disabled is using the Memorial Day weekend to urge House Republicans to break with their party before an expected vote Tuesday.

Editorials: Bill to end same-day voter registration in Maine a solution in search of a problem | Bangor Daily News

In 1973 the last Republican-controlled Legislature unanimously passed “same-day registration” allowing voters to register and cast their votes in a one-step process on Election Day. Same-day registration has been an overwhelming success.

Since it passed, Maine has risen from 21st in the country in voter participation to 3rd in the country. A higher percentage of Maine voters participate in our local and national elections than the voters of any other state except Minnesota and Wisconsin, both of which also have same-day voter registration. In fact, same-day registration is the single-most important thing states can do to improve voter participation by 5 to 15 percent.

Malaysia: Aggressive voter registration by political parties in Malaysia | My Sinchew

Political parties have been aggressively registering new voters nationwide with some 115,989 already signed up as of March. Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof said the registration was done by 5,686 Voter Assistant Registrars.

“Their appointment was to facilitate voter registration regardless of time and place. We monitor the registration monthly,” he told Bernama here today. Aziz said EC had registered 21,042 voters including 15,726 new ones while the other 5,316 applied for change of voting centres.

Bermuda: One Bermuda Alliance calls for fixed term elections | Bermuda Politics

One Bermuda Alliance Chairman Michael Fahy yesterday called for fixed term elections as speculation grows over when Premier Paula Cox will send people to the polls. The OBA has pledged in its platform to introduce fixed term elections as part of a proposal to improve democracy meaning a general election would take place on a set date instead of one the Premier selects.

After Ms Cox put the Progressive Labour Party in election mode last week, Mr Fahy told The Royal Gazette: “In the event of an election being called the OBA will be prepared to contest all constituencies.

Guyana: Elections still some time away as Guyana’s voters list not updated | Stabroek News

PNCR Leader Robert Corbin says his party has “some time” to prepare for an election, since neither national nor local government elections can be held unless the voters’ register is updated.

Asked during a press conference on Friday about the perceived lethargy within the party concerning the holding of local government elections, Corbin said his party was not being “lethargic” but rather “pragmatic”. He said that information from the Guyana Elections Commission (Gecom) indicated that the voters’ register list had to be updated.

National: Republican States Push Revisions to Voting Laws |

Less than 18 months before the next presidential election, Republican-controlled statehouses around the country are rewriting voting laws to require photo identification at the polls, reduce the number of days of early voting or tighten registration rules.

Republican legislators say the new rules, which have advanced in 13 states in the past two months, offer a practical way to weed out fraudulent votes and preserve the integrity of the ballot box. Democrats say the changes have little to do with fraud prevention and more to do with placing obstacles in the way of possible Democratic voters, including young people and minorities.

Philippines: Bill seeks to get biometric data of all Filipino voters | FutureGov

The Philippine government is seeking to institutionalize the use of biometrics in voter registration to clean the voter record in preparation for the midterm elections in 2013. House Bill 3469 which requires all voters to have their biometrics data — photographs, fingerprints and signature — taken by an election officer and prohibits those without biometric data from voting has now hurdled Third Reading at the House of Representatives.

According to the author of the bill, 2nd district Tarlac Representative Susan Yap, the move will “cure the perennial problem of multiple registrants and flying voters” since every registrant is assigned a unique key of identification.

California: Dean Logan and Michael Alvarez: Needed – a 21st century voter registration system for California | San Francisco Chronicle

The world looks to California for 21st century innovation, especially for the application of technology that makes life less costly and more efficient.

Californians are well into the 21st century, working in the cloud, using smart phones and tablet computers, and getting their entertainment on-demand by satellite. But when it comes to voter registration, California seems to be stuck in the 18th century. State law won’t allow eligible citizens in our state to register online until at least 2015 — and maybe much later.

Zimbabwe: How Zanu-PF plans to steal the Zimbabwe elections | Politicsweb

Despite clear and binding international agreements to the contrary, evidence now available shows that President Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zanu-PF is again planning to steal the next elections with the help of a grossly rigged electoral register.

After the 2008 elections, in which the opposition Movement for Democratic Change won a parliamentary majority but in which the MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, was forced to withdraw from the ensuing presidential election due to the overwhelming level of government-orchestrated violence, Zimbabwe’s neighbours in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) stitched together a deal, the Global Political Agreement, which saw Mugabe remain as President with Tsvangirai as Prime Minister and a commitment to a new constitution with free and fair elections.