As voters lined up outside the polls in Cairo Saturday, music blared and some among the crowds danced and waved Egyptian flags. Many people held flyers with a photograph of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and a green checkmark. The message? Vote “yes.” If passed, the constitutional changes proposed in the ballot could extend the president’s rule to 2030, and deepen the military’s role in communities. The Egyptian Parliament overwhelmingly supported the changes and announced the national vote on Wednesday. Results are expected by April 27. Opponents to the measure say the changes will roll back the democratic dreams of 2011, when a popular uprising lead to the ousting of 30-year dictator, Hosni Mubarak and that the referendum is marred by corruption and coercion. Supporters say a secure leadership will make Egypt safer and help the country climb out of economic crisis. “The legislative impact would be basically handing over all powers to the presidency,” explained Hisham Kassem, a veteran Egyptian publisher and analyst in an interview ahead of the vote.
North Carolina: Elections Board Declines To Certify 9th District Race After Member Cites ‘Unfortunate Activities’ | WFAE
The 9th Congressional District race between Republican Mark Harris and Democrat Dan McCready is not over. The State Board of Elections Tuesday declined to certify the results of the race, even though all counties have certified their votes and Harris is ahead by 905 votes. The vice chair of the board, Joshua Malcolm, said he would no longer “turn a blind eye” to what he called “unfortunate activities.” Malcolm, a Democrat, dropped a bombshell. “I’m very familiar with the unfortunate activities that have happened in my part of the state,” Malcolm said during the meeting. “And I am not going to turn a blind eye to what took place to the best of my understanding, which has been ongoing for a number of years, and which has been repeatedly referred to the United States attorney and the district attorneys to clean up. Those things have not taken place.”
After celebration of historic wins by diverse candidates, the other big online trend for the US mid-term election was claims of massive and deliberate vote suppression. Reddit’s top post was an unverified video of apparent errors at a ballot machine in Indiana, while reports of hours-long queues, broken ballot machines and intimidation spread on Twitter and Facebook. A Google map of live election-related searches showed spikes in interest in provisional ballots and long waiting lines across the country. And in Florida, a church that serves as a polling station was criticised after posting a sign discouraging voters to choose Democrats, reported local media. Some reported cases were simple technical errors. In Ohio, one widely-shared claim of vote rigging turned out to be caused by a temporary paper jam.
Arkansas: Ballots mixed in few state elections; some voters hit ID snags at polls | Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Phillips County voters said they cast the wrong ballots in the Marvell mayoral election Tuesday because ballots for people inside and outside the city limits were mixed up. In the highly contested race for Marvell mayor, rural voters received city ballots and city voters got county ballots. The county ballots did not include candidates for mayor. Amanda Moody, who lives in the city, said she went to vote about 8 a.m. and realized after voting that she hadn’t been able to vote for mayor. There are three candidates in this year’s election. “I just hope something gets rectified,” Moody said.
Former Madagascan president Hery Rajaonarimampianina on Thursday alleged that “many voting irregularities” pointed to fraud in this week’s election, heightening fears of protests and a disputed result. Early counting from a small number of polling stations put Rajaonarimampianina in a distant third place behind leading contenders Andry Rajoelina and Marc Ravalomanana, both also former presidents of the Indian Ocean island. “Many voting irregularities and technical anomalies have been detected including an invalid electoral register… intimidation (and) the presence of pre-ticked ballots,” said Rajaonarimampianina, who ruled from 2014 to September 2018.
National: Broken machines, rejected ballots and long lines: voting problems emerge as Americans go to the polls. | The Washington Post
Civil rights groups and election officials fielded thousands of reports of voting irregularities across the country Tuesday, with voters complaining of broken machines, long lines and untrained poll workers improperly challenging Americans’ right to vote. The loudest of those complaints came from Georgia, where issues of race, ballot access and election fairness have fueled an acrimonious governor’s contest between Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp. Abrams, a former state lawmaker, would be the nation’s first black female governor, while Kemp, the secretary of state, who oversees elections, has faced accusations of trying to suppress the minority vote. In one downtown Atlanta precinct, voters waited three hours to cast ballots after local election officials initially sent only three voting machines to serve more than 3,000 registered voters. In suburban Gwinnett County, the wait surpassed four hours as election officials opened the polls only to discover that their voting machines were not working at all, voters said.
When Rebekah Burgess Abromovich got in line to vote at the North Henry Street polling center in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn, at 9:15 a.m. Tuesday morning, only two electronic voting scanners were working. After an hour of voting, the working machines were down to one. When she finally submitted her ballot more than three hours after arriving, volunteers had begun handing out emergency ballot boxes, which few understood how to use. “I was lucky because I was given the day off to vote,” she said. But other people were bailing. “I was standing next to a teacher who waited for two and a half hours, and then had to leave to teach a class. She said she had to come back.” In polling places in New York City’s five boroughs, similar stories of out-of-commission voting machines echoed: At different points on Tuesday, only one scanner worked at Harry S. Truman High School in the Bronx, Erasmus High School in Brooklyn, and the Brooklyn Public Library polling station, according to NBC New York. At PS 22 in Prospect Heights, all four scanners broke for much of the morning, before getting fixed at 10 am. Elsewhere, ballot sleeves were missing. Lines stretched blocks and hours long.
David Weiner counts himself lucky. Sure, he waited an hour to vote at the Brooklyn Public Library along with, he estimates, several hundred other New Yorkers Tuesday afternoon. But, hey, at least he arrived when the last ballot scanner officially broke. That meant he could just fill out his ballot and shove it in a box. The people in line in front of him, the ones who’d been waiting to use that last ballot scanner, said they’d been in line for twice as long. “The line snaked all the way around the lobby of the public library, which is extremely unusual,” says Weiner, a Brooklyn resident who runs a cannabis media company and has been voting at the same location for three years. “I took that as enthusiasm for voting, but I was sorely mistaken.” Instead, Weiner was just one of a still-unknown number of Americans who watched their country’s voting technology break down right in front of their eyes on Tuesday. Machine malfunctions caused hours-long lines and reports of voters giving up and going home at polling stations across the country. On an already tense Election Day, these technical issues exacerbated voters’ anxieties and concerns about voter suppression. And it’s true that in past election cycles, long lines have disproportionately impacted communities of color.
From closed polling sites to malfunctioning machines, Election Day brought frustration for some voters in contests shadowed by questions about the security and fairness of the electoral system. In Gwinnett County, Ga., four precincts — out of 156 — suffered prolonged technical delays, while some voting machines in South Carolina lacked power or the devices needed to activate them. There was also some confusion in Allegheny County, Pa., which includes Pittsburgh, where at least four polling places were changed in the last two days. Voters who went to a polling place in Chandler, Ariz., a Phoenix suburb, found the doors locked and a legal notice announcing that the building had been closed overnight for failure to pay rent. (Officials later reopened the location.) In Houston, a worker was removed from a polling site and faced an assault charge amid a racially charged dispute with a voter, The Houston Chronicle reported.
Texas resident Brianna Smith, who lives in Katy, a Houston suburb, turned up 15 minutes before the polls opened at 7 am to vote this morning (Nov. 6). She wasn’t able to do so for nearly two hours, because of problems with the machine that gives voters their tickets. The lines were “wrapped around the block,” she told Quartz, with some voters forced to leave to go to work or school. Across the country, ballot scanners on the blink and broken voting machines are contributing to massive lines. Experts say that these errors are normal, but the long waits might ultimately prevent some from casting their votes. The problems are being reported across the country, with many tips sent through to the ElectionLand project and verified by Quartz and other news outlets. In New York City, high voter turn-out combined with broken scanners caused mayhem throughout the city at dozens of polling places. At one station in Flatbush, Brooklyn, two of the four voting machines were broken, resulting in a backlog of well over 100 people. A mechanic was later dispatched to repair them, according to a Quartz reporter there.
Americans voting in this year’s midterm elections face a range of obstacles, from long lines to concerns over voter suppression. Some US citizens are also dealing with more unexpected challenges around exercising their right to vote—for instance, the weather. Across Georgia, heavy rain is an added hurdle for voters, though it’s not altogether deterring them. And humidity—a far less visible weather issue—is having an even larger impact. North Carolina’s State Board of Election (SBOE) reports that some precincts in Wake County are having trouble feeding ballots through the voting machines. “Initial reports from county elections offices indicate this issue is caused by high humidity levels,” North Carolina’s SBOE said in a release. Why is a little extra water vapor in the air making such a big difference? Joseph Lorenzo Hall, chief technologist with the Washington, DC-based nonprofit Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) and an election technology and cybersecurity expert, explains that ballots are made of a thick stock paper, the specifics of which are determined by voting machine vendors. There are three main makers of voting machines in the US. Local election officials have to work with paper vendors to get paper supplies that will function correctly with the machines and have safety requirements such as watermarks.
Voting rights activists successfully sued Georgia and Texas asking them to extend voting hours in some counties after problems with voting machines led to delays and long lines thanks to a big turnout in U.S. elections on Tuesday. A suit by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in Arizona failed, the group said. But it won an extension in Fulton County, Georgia, one county in about a dozen U.S. states that experienced delays, largely in sites still using aging voting machines overwhelmed by the volume of voters, according to officials and rights groups. Other Georgia polling places extended hours without facing lawsuits. Two Texas civil rights groups won a lawsuit to secure longer voting hours in Harris County, Texas, after polling locations in the Houston area opened late due to equipment glitches and other issues. In Ohio, a court ordered the state to provide ballots to voters who were being held in pretrial detention in county jails, following a lawsuit filed the same day by two public interest groups.
A state district judge has ordered Harris County to extend voting hours at nine polling locations that failed to open on time this morning. The order to keep nine voting locations open an extra hour until 8 p.m. came soon after the Texas Civil Rights Project and the Texas Organizing Project sued the county over delays at those polling places. The groups alleged that the county was violating the Texas Election Code because polling locations that opened after 7 a.m. would not remain open to voters for 12 hours on Election Day as required by state law. In a lawsuit filed Tuesday afternoon, the two groups noted that the nine polling locations across the state’s biggest county “not only failed to open at 7 a.m., but remained closed until well after 7 a.m.,” the plaintiffs wrote. Voting was further delayed at some polling locations because of equipment issues, including sign-in and voting machines that weren’t working.
While some voting stations ran out of ballots, social media users also posted numerous videos showing alleged irregularities including vote buying. Colombia’s legislative elections and interparty primaries have created a stir in the South American nation, after major irregularities were reported by NGOs, candidates and social media users. The Electoral Observer Mission (OEM) – which had warned of the risk of fraud in hundreds of municipalities in the run-up to the elections –reported numerous inconsistencies as videos surfaced on social media appearing to show vote-buying and other fraudulent activities. “Unauthorized information desks” had been set up in front of polling stations in various towns “with lists of voters and transportation ready to receive them,” the OEM said.
Virginia: State Board of Elections certifies disputed Fredericksburg-area results despite 147 people voting in the wrong House race | Richmond Post-Dispatch
Virginia’s State Board of Elections on Monday certified the results of two Fredericksburg-area House of Delegates elections, despite Democrats asking the board to delay the process because 147 people voted in the wrong House district. The elections board’s 3-0 vote to certify the results showing Republicans winning the 28th and 88th District races does not finalize the outcome. But it closes an initial, chaotic chapter in the legal battle over a close 28th District race that could decide which party controls the House after Democrats picked up at least 15 seats in a wave election on Nov. 7.
Virginia: State elections board certifies two contested legislative races in Virginia despite election irregularities | The Washington Post
Virginia’s Board of Elections on Monday unanimously certified two state legislative races — in which 147 voters cast ballots in the wrong district — in favor of the Republicans in both contests. The decision means that Republicans control 51 seats in the House of Delegates while Democrats control 49. The action shuts down one potential route, but it does not end Democrats’ hopes to win control of the chamber. In letters sent over the weekend, Democrats had urged the Democratic-controlled board to hold off on certification because of the irregularities, particularly since one of the two races — in District 28 — was a squeaker that could determine which party takes charge of the House.
Three weeks after Election Day, Virginia Republicans hold on to the narrowest of margins for control of the state House of Delegates. But no one can predict for sure whether they can hang on to it. That’s because a surprisingly strong turnout by Democratic voters in elections earlier this month has produced tight races in three House districts. The tightest race, in the 28th House district, is snarled in controversy over the legitimacy of 147 votes. The Republicans won a victory Monday when the State Board of Elections certified that two GOP candidates won elections in two adjoining districts — one of them the 28th — in the Fredericksburg area, about 50 miles south of Washington D.C. However, state election officials say that 147 people in those contests voted in the wrong district. No one knows how that happened and the person who might best have a clue to the mystery, the registrar, passed away in April of this year.
European observers said on Monday vote-buying and significant procedural problems marred Kyrgyzstan’s presidential vote, though they praised the move towards an orderly transfer of power in the volatile ex-Soviet state. Sooronbai Jeenbekov, a protege of the outgoing president, won on Sunday with 55 percent – a stronger result than the near tie polls had predicted. Opposition leader Omurbek Babanov conceded defeat but said he would investigate irregularities. The election is seen as a test of stability in the central Asian country where Russia still holds considerable sway and two previous leaders were ousted in violent riots. Kyrgyz news website Turmush.kg published a video showing hundreds of Babanov supporters rallying outside a local government building in his home Talas region. But there were no reports of violence.
Four opposition parties in Angola on Sunday called for a recount in last month’s general election, alleging “irregularities” during the vote that kept the ruling party in power. The MPLA party of outgoing President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos won just over 61 percent of the votes cast on 23 August and an absolute majority with 150 of the 220 seats in parliament, according to a provisional vote count. The commission is due to release the official results on Wednesday. Isaias Samakuva, head of the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), read a statement to reporters saying the process to determine definitive election results “was not conducted, in a large number of cases, in accordance with the law”. The statement was signed by three other leaders of Angola’s main opposition parties.
The Angolan National Electoral Commission (CNE) announced yesterday that it has already processed the tallying of the final results of the August 23 elections in 11 of the 18 provinces, according to its spokesperson, Júlia Ferreira. These are the provinces of Bengo, Benguela, Cabinda, Cuando-Cubango, Cunene, Huíla, Kwanza-Norte, Kwanza-Sul, Luanda, Moxico and Zaire. However, the Angolan opposition parties claim that 11 of the country’s 18 provinces – Bengo, Bié, Cuando-Cubango, Cunene, Huambo, Kwanza-Sul, Luanda, Lunda-Norte, Lunda-Sul, Malanje, Moxico – have still not verified their results as the law requires. This list includes five of the provinces in which the CNE declares the counting is complete: Bengo, Cuando-Cubango, Kwanza-Sul, Luanda, and Moxico. The various provincial electoral commissions have declared that they have completed their task, but the commissioners appointed by opposition parties are refusing to approve the vote tallies from these provinces.
At least hundreds of Senegalese voters were prevented from casting their ballots in parliamentary elections on Sunday because of delays in issuing identity cards, voters and officials said. In an embarrassing turn for one of West Africa’s most stable democracies, voters were left off voting lists at polling stations or told they did not have the right documents to vote. Opposition leaders have criticized President Macky Sall for trying to stamp out political opposition in a contentious campaign.
In election in Mexico widely seen a test of political sentiment for next year’s presidential run-off will likely head to the court. The race for governor in the State of Mexico was largely a contest between the leftist National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) and the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which has held on to its seat for about 90 years. While a count of nearly all the votes gives the PRI candidate a narrow three-point lead, widespread accusations of voter fraud and intimidation have called the results into question. For now, both candidates are claiming victory.
Independent election observers praised Sunday’s running of the nationwide commune elections as largely smooth and peaceful, even while noting a raft of problems, including unauthorized officials at polling sites, intimidated observers and soldiers being brought to vote at some polling stations by the truckload. Dubbed the “Situation Room,” the coalition of NGOs that teamed up to send some 14,000 observers across the country described the voting as “smooth, safe and peaceful” but marred by “some minor irregularities.” Recounting one of the day’s most flagrant breaches, Koul Panha, director of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia, said 12 observers across two communes in Kandal province’s Loeuk Dek district were pressured into abandoning their duties by local authorities.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Turkey on Thursday to answer questions raised by European observers over a referendum that expanded President Tayyip Erdogan’s powers and also said the EU must reflect on what future ties it wants with Ankara. A report by observers from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe found that up to 2.5 million votes could have been manipulated in Turkey’s April 16 referendum, which ended in a narrow victory for Erdogan’s push for greater powers. “The Turkish government must measure itself based on this report and answer the questions raised in it,” Merkel told the Bundestag lower house of parliament. “We will very carefully follow how Turkey deals with reports of possible irregularities.”
A village leader shoves four voting slips into a ballot box. An unknown arm marks three slips with a “yes” vote. An unknown hand adds five more. An election official validates a pile of voting slips — hours after they were meant to be validated. These are four of the scenes captured in unverified videos that have helped stoke accusations of voting fraud in polling stations across Turkey during Sunday’s referendum to expand the powers of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Mr. Erdogan’s “yes” campaign has claimed victory by a small margin — 51.4 percent to 48.6 — in a vote that further insulates the president from scrutiny and tightens his grip on one of the most influential countries in the region. But while Mr. Erdogan has turned his claimed victory into a political reality, the legitimacy of his win is still in question.
International election monitors have criticized a Turkish referendum that has brought sweeping new powers to the presidency, saying the campaign was conducted on an “unlevel playing field” and that the vote count was marred by late procedural changes. Observers from the OSCE and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) said in a joint statement on April 17 that the legal framework for the referendum “remained inadequate for the holding of a genuinely democratic referendum.” Turkey’s Central Election Committee (CEC) late on April 16 declared the “yes” camp as the winner with 51.3 percent of votes.
Up to 2.5 million votes could have been manipulated in Sunday’s Turkish referendum which ended in a tight ‘Yes’ vote for greater presidential powers, Alev Korun, an Austrian member of the Council of Europe observer mission, told ORF radio on Tuesday. The mission of observers from the 47-member Council of Europe, the continent’s leading human rights body, had already said the referendum was an uneven contest. Support for “Yes” dominated campaign coverage, and the arrests of journalists and closure of media outlets silenced other views, the monitors said. But Korun said there were questions about the actual voting as well.
Serbia’s electoral commission was forced to hold a televised recount of some votes after opposition challenger Sasa Jankovic disputed PM Aleksandar Vucic’s poll results in 25 constituencies. The Republic Electoral Commission recounted votes from two polling stations in front of TV cameras on Sunday after allegations of irregularities were raised by opposition presidential candidate Sasa Jankovic. The recount was urged by Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, who won last Sunday’s presidential elections and denies any electoral fraud. The recount of votes from the two polling stations showed that Vucic received four fewer votes than initially counted, but is unlikely to resolve opposition concerns about the vote.
Georgia (Sakartvelo): Many irregularities in second round of Georgia’s election for parliament | Democracy & Freedom Watch
In parts of Georgia, voters went to the polls again on Sunday in the second round of the parliamentary election. There were runoff contests in 50 single-seat districts, accounting for a third of the seats in the assembly. Voting took place against a background of some minor and a few serious irregularities. The outcome of today’s vote will decide if the election winner in the first round, Georgian Dream, will get enough seats to have what’s called a constitutional majority and usher in a ban on same-sex marriage and limit the president’s powers. The number of precincts open for voting was 2,229. Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association (GYLA), said that by 14:00 their observers had noticed different types of violations. The Tbilisi-based organization filed 33 complaints and 25 notices today. There is tension in the village Kizilajo in Marneuli, where the results of the first round were abolished due to a riot-like incident. Georgian Dream and National Movement candidate are competing in this region.
Election Systems & Software (ES&S) has released a report on its findings related to errors in the Hill County Republican Primary. The report comes amidst an ongoing investigation by Attorney General Ken Paxton into irregularities with the vote totals reported in the election. Last month, Direct Action Texas discovered that the number of reported votes in the Hill County Republican Primary exceeded by more than 1700 the number of voters the county reported had shown up at the polls. ES&S, which supplies electronic voting machines and other election services to Hill County, was asked by the county to investigate the error. ES&S found that early voting ballot cast totals were incorrect by the same amount as the number of absentee ballots cast, and Election Day ballot cast totals were incorrect by the same number of paper ballots that were voted during early voting.