A report compiled on the Zimbabwean Electoral Commission (ZEC) voters’ roll for 2018 exposes major flaws in the current voters’ roll. This comes only weeks before Zimbabweans head to the polls for its national elections on July 30, 2018. The report, compiled by a group of experts called Team Pachudu, cites Zimbabwe’s history of shaky election results as the main reason for its analysis of the voters’ roll. The report highlights more than 250 000 records on the voters’ roll that are either duplicated, invalid, statistically improbable or incorrect. This includes more than 8 000 men registered as women, scores of voters registered to an empty field in Harare and at least two Zimbabwean voters who would qualify as the two oldest living people on earth. The discrepancies bring into question the integrity of the voters’ roll for the upcoming elections later this month. The elections are the first after former president Robert Mugabe’s controversial “step down” in November 2017.
It is widely believed that the pending judgment by the Supreme Court could likely demand the National Elections Commission (NEC) to clean up the Final Registration Roll (FRR). This is important because instead of a re-run of the October 10 presidential and legislative elections that have been challenged on grounds that the entire voters’ roll was marred with fraud and irregularities, their clean up could restore confidence in the electoral system. The court is expected to rule in the matter on Thursday, December 7. Both Liberty Party (LP) and the ruling Unity Party (UP) have repeatedly accused the Commission of tampering with the FRR on the basis that people whose names were not found on it the FRR were recorded on sheets across and allowed to vote during the October 10 representative and presidential elections.
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich says county election officials can maintain separate voter databases but are legally required to send voter information to the secretary of state’s office. Brnovich also said in an opinion released Monday that Secretary of State Michele Reagan can’t refer public records requests or legal subpoenas to counties since she also maintains the voter rolls. The opinion also clarified what voter registration information county recorders are required to provide to Reagan’s office. Solicitor General Dominic Draye wrote that includes everything, and immediately.
Large-scale goof-ups in electoral rolls and voter applications denied several hundreds an opportunity to cast their vote in the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) elections on Tuesday. At many centres, presiding officers informed that 10-20% people who turned up to vote returned disappointed. While names of many voters were missing on the electoral rolls, many others got confused with the different information provided by voter applications and websites. Many became victims of the new ward system and could not find their polling booths. Unlike previous elections, most of them didn’t receive the voting slips. After struggling for hours to find his booth, Prakash Khandelwal gave up. “First, I went to a school in Ramdaspeth where I had voted during the last Vidhan Sabha elections. The officials couldn’t find my name and gave me a handwritten chit, asking me to go to Gandhi Nagar Hindi Prathmik Shala where too my name was still missing,” he said.
The election monitoring coalition We Decide! (Nie Odlucuvame!), which is running an SOS hotline for reporting electoral irregularities and offers legal help to voters, warned at a press conference on Tuesday that the authorities have failed to fully clean up the electoral roll. We Decide! said it had received repeated reports from voters about bogus names being listed as residents at their addresses. The initiative, launched by over 20 NGOs including the Macedonian Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, the Foundation Open Society – Macedonia and the Macedonian Centre for European Training, said it had received some 30 reports of election irregularities, most of which were about non-existent voters, and all the problems it has encountered remain unaddressed. “We are five days ahead of the early general elections. Our conclusion is that the electoral roll has not been cleared of non-existent voters, also known as phantom voters,” Maja Velickova, a legal expert from the initiative, told Tuesday’s press conference.
Flawed data flagged 7,730 people in Arkansas to be removed from voter rolls, a spokesman for the secretary of state said Friday. That data have caused headaches for county clerks, who have been left to work out what’s accurate. Some on the list are felons who have not yet taken the steps to regain their right to vote and must be kept off voter rolls, but others on the list have not committed a felony or have already had their rights restored. Interviews with a handful of county clerks show that they are removing only a fraction of those people. In Pulaski County — where nearly 2,000 of those named on the state’s list reside — about 20 percent will be removed after staff members investigated each person, said Jason Kennedy, assistant chief deputy of the clerk’s office.
Ghana’s electoral commission will reopen the nation’s voter registration list Friday so that tens of thousands of people whose names were deleted because of a problem with their identification documents can re-register in time to take part in December’s general election. The country’s Supreme Court had ordered the electoral commission to delete from the registry anyone who applied to vote using a National Health Insurance Scheme card. The court said the health card was not a valid proof of identity for voting purposes. So the electoral commission, which compiles the voter list, said anyone previously struck from the registry would have a week to re-register, beginning Friday. A separate period later this month has been set aside for registering those who have never voted before.
County clerks around Arkansas are working to determine exactly how many registered voters may have been incorrectly flagged as felons after the state Secretary of State’s office updated a computerized record-keeping system. Pulaski County Clerk Larry Crane says about half of nearly 2,000 registered voters in the county who were recently flagged under the new system either should be allowed to vote or have an indeterminate status. The number will vary by county, he says, and each county may have to take a different approach to correct the problem. “Some [county clerks] will be more effective than others. Some will have better records than others on what has been done with the people in their county before. Some will choose simply to send a letter to everyone on their list and say you’ve been identified as a felon and if you’re not, you’ve got to find the information to prove that you’re not,” he says.
Some Hoosier voters may receive postcards beginning this week from the Secretary of State Election Division asking them to confirm their current address or update their voter registration information. According to a press release from Secretary of State Connie Lawson, voters who receive this postcard must respond to ensure their voter registration information is accurate. “Every year, I get calls from Hoosiers wanting to know why a neighbor or child who moved years ago is still listed on a poll book,” Lawson said in the press release. “People not only find this upsetting, it undermines their faith in our elections. The voter list refresh we are doing this summer, will ensure Indiana’s list is accurate and give voters confidence in the integrity of our elections.”
Part of running a fair election is knowing who the voters are. That means keeping an accurate list of who is eligible to vote. That has proved to be a difficult task in many states – including New York, where a spectacular meltdown angered thousands of voters and inflamed partisan passions during the state’s April presidential primary. The problems in New York City are part of a much larger issue. A 2012 study by the Pew Center on the States found that 24 million voter registrations were wrong or invalid. That’s one in every eight voters across the country, which translates to a lot of voting roll problems. In the run up to the election, the New York City Board of Elections mistakenly purged more than 120,000 voters from its rolls in Brooklyn, ten percent of the active registered voters.
Australia: Electoral Commission sends electoral roll data of Victorian voters to the wrong people | ABC
The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has mailed private information of Victorian residents to the wrong postal addresses, in a series of privacy breaches that raises questions about the security of voter details on the electoral roll. The privacy breaches exposed the date of birth, email address, driver’s licence number, gender, previous home addresses, country of birth and mobile numbers for electorates, including those held by Environment Minister Greg Hunt and Infrastructure and Transport Minister Darren Chester. ABC’s 7.30 understands the privacy of at least seven residents has been breached by the AEC.
Australia: Voters urged to update enrolment details as 950,000 missing from electoral roll, AEC says | ABC
The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has urged voters to check their enrolment details as the federal election campaign gets underway. The electoral rolls will close on May 23, ahead of a July 2 poll. About 15.5 million people are eligible to vote in the upcoming election, but 950,000 people are missing from the electoral roll. AEC spokesman Phil Diak said the number of young people who were yet to register was a concern. “In round terms, about one in two 18-year-olds and one in four 19-year-olds are not on the roll, so it’s very important that they take action now, and you can do this by going to the AEC’s website and you can enrol conveniently on a PC, smartphone or tablet,” he said.
Following widespread irregularities at polls in Brooklyn Tuesday, New York City officials are calling for major reforms at the Board of Elections. The problem was first identified in a an analysis of state voter enrollment statistics by WNYC’s Brigid Bergin. The Board of Elections then confirmed that more than 120,000 voters have been dropped from the rolls in Brooklyn alone since November. “No other borough in New York City nor county in the rest of the state saw such a significant decline in active registered Democrats. In fact, only 7 of the state’s 62 counties saw a drop in the number of Democrats. Everywhere else saw the numbers increase,” WNYC found. The more than 120,000 dropped includes 12,000 people who moved out of the borough, 44,000 people who were moved from active to inactive voter status, and 70,000 voters removed from the inactive voter list, according to the station.
A source inside Macedonia’s State Electoral Commission, DIK told BIRN that the process of weeding out alleged fake voters from the electoral roll is being undermined by the pressure from the ruling parties. “The work of the DIK is marked by constant confrontations [between its members]. The majority of the members are clearly biased towards the [ruling] political parties,” the well-informed DIK source told BIRN on condition of anonymity. Amid official silence from the commission about the progress of the clean-up, the source said that “the [nine] members of DIK do not work together to resolve the problems and that is why they are silent and their report is overdue”. “I wonder how they will restore confidence in the electoral rolls this way,” the source added.
The Electoral Commission of South Africa has postponed all by-elections in the light of continued uncertainty regarding the validity of the voters’ roll where voters’ addresses are not in the possession of the Electoral Commission. The Commission on Monday said this also includes by-elections scheduled for 6 April 2016. “The Electoral Commission made the decision in the interest of free and fair elections following the recent order by the Electoral Court to postpone by-elections in Tlokwe scheduled for 24 February 2016,” the Commission said. The Electoral Commission on 23 February 2016 postponed all 12 by-elections scheduled for the following day in KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, North West and the Western Cape.
A State Electoral Commission report intended to identify fake voters, which was leaked to media on Thursday, said that around 500,000 names on the country’s electoral roll may be fictional and need to be additionally verified. After a computer cross-referencing of voters’ data from 10 different state institutions, the report said that there are more than 495,000 names that need to be checked, as their data does not appear to match. The report noted that 192,000 of the people listed on the electoral roll do not appear in any other database. Fake voters are a key concern raised by the country’s opposition, which accuses the ruling party of tampering with the electoral roll in order to rig polls in its favour.
A group with ties to the tea party and a Koch brothers-founded organization is helping election officials in North Carolina to remove thousands of duplicate registrations from the voter rolls ahead of next year’s elections. And it says it wants to do the same thing nationally. The effort, announced early Monday by Houston-based True the Vote, is aimed at removing duplicates—when a voter’s name mistakenly appears twice. True the Vote has been accused by critics in the past of using intimidating tactics and stoking unwarranted fear about voter fraud. True the Vote said it sent each of North Carolina’s 10 largest counties lists of potential duplicate registrations, based on similarities in the names, ages or addresses listed. It said five of the counties have told them they’re processing the data, and one, Guilford, has already removed 655 names from its rolls. True the Vote said it’s currently compiling similar data for the 10 largest counties in two other 2016 swing states, Ohio and Colorado.
Nebraska: Seven Nebraska counties, one Iowa county accused of violating voter registration law | Omaha World-Herald
Seven counties in Nebraska and one in Iowa are being threatened with lawsuits over having more registered voters than voting-age residents. Two national groups say the numbers are evidence that county officials are not cleaning up voter registration rolls, as federal law requires. The Public Interest Legal Foundation, based in Plainfield, Indiana, and True the Vote, based in Houston, have both sent letters alerting county officials to the alleged violations. The letters said that poorly maintained voter rolls threaten the integrity of elections. “Corrupted voter rolls provide the perfect environment for voter fraud,” said J. Christian Adams, the legal foundation’s president and general counsel. But state and county officials said data quirks and requirements of federal election laws, not mismanagement or incompetence, account for the apparent discrepancies. They also say that they are complying with requirements concerning removing voters who have moved or died. Loup County Clerk Debbie Postany, one of the officials who received letters, emphatically denied any laxity in maintaining voter lists. “Before you send letters accusing hard-working, dedicated and often underpaid public officials of not doing their jobs, perhaps you should be aware of ALL the facts,” she wrote in a reply letter.
Gov. Rick Scott’s chief elections official is in big trouble with two key groups: state legislators who write the voting laws and county supervisors who run elections. Secretary of State Ken Detzner can’t afford to alienate either constituency as Florida heads toward a presidential election in 2016, when the eyes of the nation will again be on the biggest battleground state. Lawmakers blasted Detzner Wednesday for fighting their plan to let people register to vote online by October 2017. Elections officials, meanwhile, were livid to learn that Detzner released private data on more than 45,000 voters — including judges and police officers — and didn’t alert them immediately.
Nevada: Bill calls for check of noncitizen driver cards against voter rolls | Las Vegas Review-Journal
An Assembly committee Tuesday considered a bill setting up procedures to check whether noncitizens who obtain Nevada driver authorization cards show up on voter registration rolls. Assembly Bill 459 as originally proposed would require the Department of Motor Vehicles to forward information on driver authorization card holders who did not provide proof of citizenship to the secretary of state and county election officials, who would then determine if the person is registered to vote. “We’re just trying to make sure that those who do vote are citizens of the United States,” said Assemblyman Lynn Stewart, who presented the bill.
All of Togo’s presidential candidates have agreed on an updated but still “imperfect” voter roll, removing an obstacle that had forced a delay in the election that will now take place on April 25, election officials said on Wednesday. “The current state of the election list is good enough for the 2015 vote,” said Siaka Sangare, a Malian former general working for the International Organization of la Francophonie (OIF). The French-speaking nations group has worked with election organizers to address opposition complaints that election lists included numerous duplicates, potentially favoring President Faure Gnassingbe.
In Africa’s year of elections, with democracy in retreat in many parts of the continent, Lesotho is a pygmy beside giants like Nigeria and other larger nations facing votes. But many observers are watching the small mountain nation as it heads to the polls Saturday, one of just a handful of African countries that in the past has seen a peaceful democratic handover of power from one party to another. Lesotho’s democratic credentials are in question after an attempted coup in August forced Prime Minister Tom Thabane to flee the country. Saturday’s balloting is supposed to resolve the crisis, if friction between political opponents and rival branches of the security forces doesn’t derail the process. Among the other countries facing elections this year are Sudan, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Tanzania, Mali, Burkino Faso, Burundi, Chad, Niger, Mauritania, Guinea, Central African Republic, Togo and Mauritius.
Over the past 10 years since it faced two federal lawsuits, the St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners has quietly cut 75,000 people off of its voter rolls. That represents more than a quarter of the 281, 316 voters on the city’s rolls in 2004. St. Louis’ voter list now totals 206,349, according to state election records. The city’s Republican elections director, Gary Stoff, says none of the excised voters appears to have been an active voter. He suspects most were people who had moved or died and whose names had simply been languishing on the city’s voter rolls for years. But the reduction in St. Louis’ voter rolls appears to be by far the most dramatic action taken by the 29 Missouri counties – the city of St. Louis is its own county – that were sued 10 years ago by the federal government because they had more people on their voter rolls than their entire voting-age population.
North Carolina: Details on stopping non-US citizens from North Carolina voting released | Greensboro News-Record
A concerted effort by North Carolina officials to prevent non-U.S. citizens from voting in last fall’s elections led to 11 people having their ballots rejected. The State Board of Elections released results of an audit of voter rolls in October that flagged 1,454 registered voters in 81 of the state’s 100 counties as potential non-citizens. Information on the rolls was matched up against data from the state Division of Motor Vehicles and the federal Department of Homeland Security. It’s illegal for a non-citizen to vote or register in North Carolina. More than 2.9 million registered voters voted last fall, or 44 percent of the 6.6 million registered.
Fingerprints can now be used to unlock smart phones, car engines, even guns. Why not ballots, too? A New Mexico legislator has just proposed that his state’s election officials study the feasibility of a biometric voter identification system. The idea is simple enough: Rather than require voters to show a particular type of document that not everyone possesses, the law could require election officials to collect a piece of information — a finger image or an eye scan — from all voters, which would confirm their identity at the polls. The political appeal of the idea is clear: Republicans would have the ID laws they claim are needed to protect against voter fraud. And Democrats would have a system that doesn’t disproportionately hurt minorities and the poor. Both parties could declare victory in the war over voter ID and move on.
When Virginia’s Board of Elections said it would remove tens of thousands of names from its voter rolls this year, voting-rights advocates cried foul, and went to court. But while Republicans criticized Democrats for opening elections to fraud, and Democrats complained Republicans were disenfranchising thousands of voters, the spat brought up a very real concern states across the nation face: Voter rolls are messy, and someone has to clean them up. People move. People die. People get married and re-register under new names. Election administrators across the country face the tightrope of making sure their voter rolls are accurate while avoiding erasing a valid record. Seven states believe they have the answer: The Electronic Registration Information Center, or ERIC. Developed by the Pew Charitable Trusts and IBM, ERIC uses several databases to compare voters across state lines. The system compares voter list data with Department of Motor Vehicle records, Social Security Administration records, the Postal Service’s national change of address registry and other databases to match voters across state lines; if the system concludes with a high degree of confidence that a John Doe on one state’s voter roll is the same John Doe in another state, the record is flagged. “You match enough of [the data points] across records that you have a lot of confidence ,” said David Becker, Pew’s director of election initiatives. “It’s impossible for [states], based only on a name and birth date, to keep their lists up to date and identify when someone has died, for example.”
It was an Election Day scene in Connecticut that officials and voters hoped would never again happen. But four years after voting in Bridgeport was snarled by a lack of ballots, long lines and confusion, voters in Hartford were told at several polling stations early Tuesday morning that voter lists critical to Election Day procedures were not available. A judge extended voting by a half-hour in the evening to compensate for the delay. Local officials blamed budget cuts and other issues for the problems, but Secretary of the State Denise Merrill called the lack of voter lists “unconscionable” and referred the matter to the state Elections Enforcement Commission to determine if state election laws were violated. Merrill called it “apparent gross dereliction of duty by Hartford’s registrars of voters.”
According to some civil-rights groups, voting on Tuesday was a bit of a mess. Changes to voting laws in more than a dozen states caused confusion, frustration, long lines and turned-away voters. Some people arrived at the polls in Texas without a valid photo-ID, while others in North Carolina were sent packing even though the state’s voter-ID law doesn’t take effect until 2016. Thousands of voters called hotlines complaining about inaccurate voter rolls, malfunctioning machines and bewildering new rules. Some volunteers at polling stations were reportedly just as flustered as everyone else. Such complaints are unsurprising. America wins few awards for administering orderly and streamlined elections. The way citizens register and vote is “still in the dark ages in many ways,” says Wendy Weiser of the Brennan Centre for Justice, a public-policy think-tank. Most states rely on a paper-based registration system, and many close registration weeks before election day. Few allow voters to vote early, which leads to crowding and last-minute hiccups at polling stations. Polling staff tend to be untrained volunteers, and many machines are either incredibly old or new and untested. Different states also have different voter laws, with little integration of voter data, which makes it tricky when people move.
Voting rights advocates are considering legal options after a Georgia judge denied their lawsuit that would have compelled the state to add 40,000 newly registered voters to the rolls. Judge Christopher Brasher said voters whose registration applications were lost may cast provisional ballots in next week’s election. But he declined to force Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp and counties to ensure voting for the thousands of new voters. The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the New Georgia Project, and the Georgia branch of the NAACP are weighing whether to appeal to the Georgia Supreme Court. “You’ve got a situation that was designed to wreak havoc on the elections office if a large number of provisional ballots are cast,” Julie Houk, a senior special counsel with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights’ voting rights project, told The Huffington Post Wednesday. She said provisional ballots are “not an adequate remedy” because “registered voters are entitled to cast a regular ballot.”
North Carolina: Early voting starts today, eligibility for 10,000 not verified | Winston-Salem Journal
The State Board of Elections will not be able to verify before the early-voting period begins today whether all of the nearly 10,000 names that it has flagged as belonging to possible ineligible voters are in fact ineligible, according to interviews with elections and transportation officials. Elections officials estimate that most are likely eligible to vote, but the uncertainty has led some state lawmakers to question why the verification process is happening now. The Winston-Salem Journal reported Wednesday that, according to the SBOE, a specific search of those 10,000 names on the state’s voter rolls turned up 145 that belong to immigrants in the U.S. under the federal program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, which provides qualified applicants with a two-year reprieve from deportation. The number has been pared down to 119 after more research, said Josh Lawson, a spokesman for the SBOE. “Zero” DACA license holders have cast a ballot, he said. Mike Charbonneau, the deputy secretary of communications at the N.C. Department of Transportation, provided information on where some of the DACA license holders registered to vote.