South Carolina Senate Democrats said Friday they’ve asked the U.S. Justice Department to reject a new state law requiring voters to show government-issued photo identification before they vote. The protest filed by the Senate Minority Caucus comes just days before a Justice Department could release a decision on whether the agency will allow the law to go into effect.
Democrats call the new law the nation’s most restrictive and say it targets a state where blacks voted in equal percentages to whites for the first time in 2008. The new law stands to disenfranchise black and elderly voters, said State Sen. Gerald Malloy, a Hartsville Democrat. “How does our law — which would be the most restrictive in the nation — not abridge the right to vote on account of race?” Malloy said. Read More
The Republican-led General Assembly fell short in its initial attempt to override Gov. Bev Perdue’s veto of a voter ID bill. But the proposal is far from dead. House Bill 351, also known as the Restore Confidence in Government Voter ID Bill, stalled after Gov. Beverly Perdue vetoed it in July.
H.B. 351 would require voters to show a valid, government-issued identity document at the polls. House Rules Committee Co-Chairman Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, a primary sponsor of H.B. 351, said Republicans hope members of the legislature will reconsider the bill in September; it was kept alive by using a procedural maneuver when the override failed.
… Leaders have another trick up their sleeves, however. They may consider introducing several local voter ID bills that would bypass Perdue’s veto power and bring it effectively into law. Read More
AS we celebrate the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, we reflect on the life and legacy of this great man. But recent legislation on voting reminds us that there is still work to do. Since January, a majority of state legislatures have passed or considered election-law changes that, taken together, constitute the most concerted effort to restrict the right to vote since before the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Growing up as the son of an Alabama sharecropper, I experienced Jim Crow firsthand. It was enforced by the slander of “separate but equal,” willful blindness to acts of racially motivated violence and the threat of economic retaliation. The pernicious effect of those strategies was to institutionalize second-class citizenship and restrict political participation to the majority alone.
We have come a long way since the 1960s. When the Voting Rights Act was passed, there were only 300 elected African-American officials in the United States; today there are more than 9,000, including 43 members of Congress. The 1993 National Voter Registration Act — also known as the Motor Voter Act — made it easier to register to vote, while the 2002 Help America Vote Act responded to the irregularities of the 2000 presidential race with improved election standards. Read More
State election officials will hold a review next week of the Saguache County election, although specific dates remain to be finalized, a spokesman for Secretary of State Scott Gessler said Tuesday. Spokesman Andrew Cole said the review might run for part of Monday and all of Tuesday and Wednesday at the Saguache Community Building. He expected those details to be ironed out today.
The review called for by the secretary of state aims to calm controversy over the November election by putting the ballots from the election in front of at least 12 county voters who will be sworn in as election judges. “Hopefully, the idea of the review is to try to instill faith in the election that took place,” Cole said. Read More
“May I see your ID?” That questioned would be asked of Iowa voters if a bill sponsored by Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz becomes law. Schultz, a Republican, spoke at Cecil’s Cafe Friday afternoon to the Pachyderm Club a Republican social group and said he intends to push a bill requiring photo identification during next year’s legislative session.
… Marshall County Auditor Dawn Williams, a Republican, attended the meeting and said in her 22 years with the auditor’s office, many of which she oversaw elections, that she’s only seen one confirmed case of voter fraud.
“There are so many different checks and balances. Is it a perfect system? No. Is there widespread fraud? No, absolutely not,” Williams said. She was uncertain if she would support Schultz’ effort, saying she wanted to see the final bill before endorsing or rejecting. Read More
Arizona has filed another lawsuit challenging the authority of the federal government. This time, the focus of the federal challenge is the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Arizona is the first state to challenge the constitutionality of sections of the federal law that forbid states from enacting a law or process that denies or limits someone’s right to vote based on their race or color.
The sections at issue require states that failed to meet certain criteria in 1972 to get federal approval for any state legislation or procedural change that could impact voting. Nine states failed to meet that criteria, which included having low voter turnout and not offering election materials in other languages. The nine states are Arizona, Alabama, Alaska, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. Read More
When Pennsylvanians go to vote, unless it’s their first time at the polling place, all they typically need to do is tell a poll worker their name and then sign on the dotted line. They are then escorted to a machine behind a private curtain where they cast their ballot. House Republicans want the first part of that routine to change.
Rather than tell a poll worker your name, House lawmakers have passed a bill that would require voters to show a government-issued photo ID along with their name and address. The bill will be taken up as early as next month when the state senate reconvenes.
“I’m very concerned about it,” said Madeline Rawley of Doylestown, a member of the Coalition for Voting Integrity. “You’re putting up barriers that make it difficult for seniors, the disabled and young people.” Read More
A recent story from Port Orchard, WA demonstrates how important election costs are in the current tight fiscal environment. There, the City Council had voted in late May to take advantage of a state law that allows cities to modify their status to become “code” cities and thus give themselves more flexibility in their affairs.
Shortly thereafter, one member of the city’s Planning Commission who had argued that citizens be given an opportunity to weigh in on the change filed papers to put the question to a vote. But because of a misunderstanding about deadlines, the question was not certified in time for this November’s general ballot and thus would have required a special February election next year. Read More
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. Read More
The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has called on the police service to realign itself to efficiently deal with concerns raised by all political parties without any bias.
ECZ Chairperson Irene Mambilima says the commission is concerned with allegations of laxity on the part of the police suggesting that they have a soft spot for the ruling MMD. Justice Mambilima observes that the law should be left to take its course regardless of political affiliation of the offender. Read More
As many as 61.6 percent of the registered voters had cast their ballots by 14:00 GMT in Friday’s election to choose a new leader for Abkhazia, the Abkhaz central election commission said. The Apsnipress news agency quoted election commission chairman Batal Tabagua as saying that the election would be considered valid, as voter turnout had already exceeded 50 percent of the electorate.
Abkhazia declared independence after Georgia’s 1991-1995 civil war but Georgia claims sovereignty and territorial integrity over the region. The Georgian foreign ministry on Saturday appealed to the international community to condemn Abkhazia’s presidential election, which was held three months after the death of its third elected president, Sergei Bagapsh. Read More