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. Read More
In the current issue of Rolling Stone, I examine how Republican officials in a dozen states have passed new laws this year designed to impede voters at every step of the electoral process. It’s a widespread, deliberate effort that could prevent millions of mostly Democratic voters, including students, minorities, immigrants, ex-convicts and the elderly, from casting ballots in 2012. Congress is, belatedly, starting to pay attention, and yesterday afternoon Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, held a hearing on “New State Voting Laws: Barriers to the Ballot?”
“I am deeply concerned by this coordinated, well-funded effort to pass laws that could have the impact of suppressing votes in some states,” said Durbin, the number two Democrat in the Senate.
“Rather than protecting right to vote,” said Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, a witness at the hearing, “we’re seeing a brazen attempt around the country to undermine it.” He pointed to legislation that would make it more difficult for citizens to register to vote or for groups like the League of Women Voters to register new voters, cut back on early voting, require government-issued IDs that specifically target young and minority voters, and disenfranchise ex-felons. Read More
As reported previously, AB 1413 had been set for a hearing in the California Senate Elections Committee on September 7. That hearing was never held, but in preparation for the hearing, legislative employees had prepared an analysis of the bill, which was introduced to make alterations in the “top-two” Proposition 14 procedure. Proposition 14 passed in June 2010 and says all candidates for Congress and partisan state office run on a single primary ballot in June. Then, only the two top vote-getters may run in November.
The analysis says, “In 2009, as part of a state budget agreement, a measure was placed on the ballot for the voters to consider authorizing a ‘top-two’ primary election system. At the same time that measure was approved, the Legislature also approved a series of changes to the Election Code to implement a top two primary election system. Unfortunately, due to the nature in which those statutory changes were adopted, they created a number of problems for the effective and efficient operation of elections. Last year, the Assembly Elections and Redistricting Committee held an oversight hearing to hear from elections officials about some of the problems with those statutory changes. Among other problems, county elections officials testified that certain ballot printing requirements created an unnecessary burden, and could significantly increase election costs. Read More
The majority of those participating in the hand count of the Saguache 2010 election Aug. 29-31are in agreement that key materials they needed to review in order to determine the cause of election irregularities were withheld from the public.
The count varied little from the initial totals released by the county following the SOS review of the retabulation and the subsequent recount. Most importantly, judges were not allowed to break mail-in ballots into precincts for a close examination or to count Precinct 5 votes as a separate group. Read More
Lost in the national news about Congressional hearings and high-profile fights in Maine, Ohio and South Carolina is a running controversy in one Colorado county that raises fascinating questions about our system of elections and who’s ultimately in charge. Saguache County, located southwest of Denver, is huge in size (Rhode Island and Delaware could fit inside) but tiny in population (6,108 in the latest Census).
In November 2010, the County’s general election featured, in addition to federal and statewide races, a re-election contest for the County Clerk and Recorder position held by Melinda Myers. On Election Night, results appeared to show that Myers, a Democrat, had had lost to her GOP challenger Carla Gomez. A few days later, though, Myers’ office announced that her office had discovered an error and conducted a retabulation that resulted in her winning re-election. Read More
Wayne Superior Court No. 2 Judge Gregory Horn will decide by Monday whether to order the Wayne County clerk to put the names of those running unopposed in Richmond’s Nov. 8 general election back on the ballot.
Horn presided over a preliminary hearing Friday in the lawsuit filed last week by Wayne County’s two political parties, two candidates in that election and two voters in districts where candidates are unopposed.
They filed an injunction asking for a prompt ruling opposing an interpretation of a new Indiana law that requires county clerks statewide not to list names of unopposed candidates on ballots in municipal elections. The Indiana Legislature this year created the law in the hope of helping counties save on election costs. Read More
The upcoming Nov. 8 election could be the last one where no photo identification will be needed to vote if the state’s new voter I.D. law is given the needed pre-clearance by the U.S. Department of Justice. Jacque Callanen, Bexar County elections administrator, said normally the review takes 60 days.
“The Texas Secretary of State’s office says that could be by the end of next week,” Callanen said. According to the Voting Rights Act, any possible changes to the state’s election laws require pre-clearance because of the state’s history of discriminatory voting practices. Read More
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. Read More
New York State’s minor parties scored a major victory Thursday when the state’s Board of Elections agreed to alter a vote-counting anomaly that the parties argued was a threat to their very survival.
In a rare alliance motivated by self-preservation, the Conservative Party, the Working Families Party and the Taxpayers Party sued the board because of a problem involving new electronic voting machines. Computer software allows voters to fill in ovals on electronically scanned paper ballots for the same candidate on more than one party line, although the vote is counted only for the major party that is listed first on the ballot.
While the system did not affect the outcome for any individual candidate, it could have dealt a fatal blow to any minor party, which needs a minimum of 50,000 votes statewide in an election for governor to remain legally recognized for the ensuing four years without having to collect petition signatures each time it fields a candidate. The number of votes also determines the order in which parties appear on the ballot. Read More
Liberia’s final list of candidates for the West African nation’s October elections has been published with 16 candidates vying for the presidential seat. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who took power nearly six years ago, is among the three female presidential candidates.
Sirleaf’s main contender is fellow Harvard University graduate Winston Tubman from the Congress for Democratic Change and ex-soccer star George Weah. Read More