An Arizona lawmaker best known as the author of a controversial law that cracks down on illegal immigrants will face a recall election Nov. 8. In a ruling Tuesday, the Arizona Supreme Court gave the go-ahead for the recall election of Russell Pearce, the president of the state Senate and arguably the most powerful politician in the Arizona.
Supporters describe Pearce, a former sheriff’s deputy, as a principled lawmaker trying to protect his state; critics say he panders to racism and demonizes immigrants, legal and illegal.
The justices held a closed-door conference on an appeal from a Pearce supporter who alleged that because of flawed paperwork, the recall drive did not amass enough valid voter signatures to force the recall election in the lawmaker’s district in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa. Read More
An issue of voter secrecy or government transparency in elections? That’s the question at the center of one woman’s lawsuit against Mesa County elections officials. Following the 2010 elections, leaders in Saguache County came under heavy scrutiny when it was discovered there were several problems with the counting of ballots there. Their county uses the same voting system used in both Mesa County and Jefferson County.
“As we have uncovered a number of problems with the ES&S product in Saguache County, I became curious about how it operated in Mesa and Jefferson,” said Marilyn Marks, an elections activist who lives in Aspen.
When it comes to ensuring fair and accurate elections, Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Sheila Reiner says her elections department is among the best. “Here in Mesa County we pride ourselves on being leaders in security, accuracy, and transparency,” said Reiner. But it’s the transparency piece where Marks says Mesa County is among the worst. Read More
Today, the League of Women Voters of Florida and Democracia USA, represented by the Brennan Center for Justice, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and pro bono attorneys from the law firm of Bryan Cave, filed a motion to intervene in the State of Florida’s lawsuit against the Department of Justice over the state’s new elections law. Since the state withdrew the four most contentious sections of the law from DOJ review last month, a federal court must now decide whether or not to “preclear” the law under the National Voting Rights Act of 1965.
The League has advocated against preclearance, arguing that Florida’s new law will reduce opportunities for voting and unlawfully restrict voter registration, disproportionately affecting Florida’s minority population. Read More
The Indiana Supreme Court has refused to take over jurisdiction in the election challenge against Secretary of State Charlie White. Democrats have sued to overturn a Recount Commission ruling that White’s voter registration was proper. White had asked the Supreme Court to take over the case from Marion Circuit Judge Louis Rosenberg.
The justices say a case can skip the Court of Appeals, but not the trial court. “All I was trying to do is just expedite the process,” White says. “You know, I tried, and I guess we’ll just move forward.” Read More
Tribal citizens looking for official results in the upcoming special election for principal chief may be disappointed when balloting ends Saturday, Sept. 24.
The Cherokee Nation Election Commission approved amending its regulations to allow a 48-hour certification period after each election. While unofficial results will be announced before commissioners leave on election night – or the following morning, as was the case in the recent election – final canvassing and official results will not be determined until two days later.
Newly appointed Election Commissioner Susan Plumb proposed the amendment. “I don’t know of any other entity, whether it’s state, municipal or otherwise, that certifies election results immediately,” said Plumb. Read More
Early last week, the US Department of Justice put a hold on South Carolina’s Voter ID law, instead requesting more information about the enforcement of the law. The DOJ responded Monday evening with a four-page letter consisting of questions and information that needed to be provided before approval of the law. South Carolina now has until Sept. 12 to respond. Then, the DOJ will once again have 60 days to respond. Given its terrible past dealing with the disenfranchisement of minorities, the Voter Rights Act requires states like South Carolina to have all voting law changes approved by either the US Department of Justice or a federal district court.
South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley signed the South Carolina voter ID law on May 18 of this year. The law requires that all of South Carolina’s registered voters present some form of a photo ID at the voting polls. The forms of photo ID that are accepted include a driver’s license or DMV-provided ID, a passport, a military ID, or a special voter ID card. Student ID’s or any other photo ID will not be accepted. Read More
Nanaimo council members will push for online voting when representatives from B.C. communities meet later this month to discuss provincial policy issues.
Three communities have aggressively lobbied for online voting. Coquitlam, North Vancouver City and Fort St. John have all urged the Union of B.C. Municipalities to take the issue to the provincial government. Minister of Communities Ida Chong said the B.C. Elections Act has to change to allow Internet voting. Read More
Larvia’s elections on September 17 were called as a result of the political upsets in the summer when President Valdis Zatlers tried to confront the grip that he said the country’s three “oligarchs” had on its parliament, the Saeima. Bloomberg has a useful summary of the state of play. It looks as though the parties affiliated with the tycoons may win only 14 of 100 seats, down from 51 five years ago and 30 in 2010.
Aivars Lembergs, mayor of the big port of Ventspils, will probably do best. A poll gives his Greens and Farmers Union 8.5% which will at least get it into parliament. He faces a long-running investigation for bribery, money laundering and abuse of office since 2008 (he vehemently denies all wrongdoing). Ainārs Šlesers, who was at the centre of a controversy that prompted this summer’s crisis, is unlikely to return to parliament. His “For a Better Latvia” is polling less than the 5% threshold. The third “oligarch” Andris Šķēle has dissolved his party. Read More
Poland’s parliamentary election campaign has so far offered little beyond PR stunts, which haven’t visibly impacted voters’ preferences five weeks ahead of election day. The ruling party continues to have a commanding lead over rival conservatives.
The Civic Platform party, which has governed Poland since 2007 in a stable coalition with the Peasants’ Party, would get 32% of the vote, while the conservative Law and Justice party would get 24%, according to a poll by Homo Homini for daily Super Express. The Democratic Left Alliance would get 12%, and the ruling party’s agrarian coalition partner would get 7%. Read More
Zambia’s electoral commission is scheduled to begin a nationwide distribution of ballots Wednesday, ahead of the September 20 general elections. Director of elections Priscilla Isaacs says representatives of participating political parties will inspect the voting materials before they are distributed.
The ballot papers, which were printed in South Africa, arrived in the capital, Lusaka Tuesday. “The distribution will be done by road to the country’s 74 districts. It will start after we have verified that we have received all the ballot papers for the three elections for all the 6,456 polling stations,” said Isaacs. She adds that security officers will be aboard the trucks as voting materials are distributed. Read More