The Sequoia AVC Advantage is an old-technology direct-recording electronic voting machine. It doesn’t have a video display; the candidate names are printed on a large sheet of paper, and voters indicate their choices by pressing buttons that are underneath the paper. A “ballot definition” file in an electronic cartridge associates candidate names with the button positions.
Clearly, it had better be the case that the candidate names on the printed paper match the candidate names in the ballot-definition file in the cartridge! Otherwise, voters will press the button for (e.g.,) Cynthia Zirkle, but the computer will record a vote for Vivian Henry,as happened in a recent election in New Jersey.
How do we know that this is what happened? As I reported to the Court in Zirkle v. Henry, the AVC Advantage prints the names of candidates, and how many votes each received, on a Results Report printout on a roll of cash-register tape. Read More
California Assemblyman Mike Gato (D-Los Angeles) had heard enough from his constituents to know that something needed to be done. So earlier this year, he introduced AB547, a measure that would protect the state’s senior citizens from voter fraud and abuse.
“I authored AB 547 after hearing stories from my constituents about their parents and grandparents having their right to vote stolen by caretakers.,” Gato said in a release. “This legislation will help preserve the voting rights of some of our most vulnerable citizens- senior citizens under the care of others.”
The law makes it a misdemeanor for anyone providing care or direct supervision to a person who is at least 65 years old to coerce or deceive that senior into voting for or against a candidate or measure contrary to the senior’s intent.
Senior citizens are the fastest growing population in the U.S., especially as the baby-boom generation continues to age. Currently there are more than 35 million people aged 65 and over in the U.S. Of that population, more than a million are currently housed in one of the at least 19,000 assisted living facilities throughout the country. Read More
More than 40 percent of registered Pitkin County voters are not yet eligible to receive a mail ballot in this fall’s all mail-in election. The county clerk can legally only send ballots to registered voters who cast ballots in last year’s mid-term election, and are therefore considered “active” voters.
Nearly 6,000 locals are currently registered but not “active.” Hundreds more are active but have registered undeliverable mailing addresses.The clerk’s office sent post cards to inactive voters asking if they wanted to become active and receive ballots this fall. Read More
Congressman Mike Coffman has backed off a controversial plan to squelch voting ballots in languages other than English. The Aurora Republican announced plans last month to introduce legislation that would repeal a provision of the 1973 Voting Rights Act mandating ballots in two languages in places where a substantial number of voting-age residents struggle with English.
“Since proficiency in English is already a requirement for U.S. citizenship, forcing cash-strapped local governments to provide ballots in a language other than English makes no sense whatsoever,” Coffman said in a statement announcing his plan.
But this week, Coffman issued a statement saying he abandoned the plan due to its bleak political future. Read More
Secretary of the State Denise Merrill on Wednesday detailed her ideas for election changes that would include greater use of technology and support for a constitutional amendment allowing early voting. Speaking during a Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments meeting in Norwich, Merrill said she wants a more “centralized” system that would cut costs and encourage greater participation by young people.
“I’m worried about where we’re going to get our next generation of voters,” she said. “We need new technology to communicate with people where they are.” Read More
At a Wednesday press conference, Maine’s secretary of state said an investigation turned up no cases of voter fraud from a list of out-of-state students created by the chairman of the Maine Republican Party. A July list presented to the Maine Office of the Secretary of State by Maine Republican Party chairman Charlie Webster gave the names of 206 students at four state university campuses — including some from the University of Maine — he said were registered to vote in Maine and out of state.
But Wednesday, Secretary of State Charlie Summers said most of the students on Webster’s list were, contrary to the chairman’s claim, registered to vote only in one state: Maine. And none of them voted in the same election twice. “I’m not surprised he didn’t find students voting twice, because I didn’t find any of those,” Webster said after the conference, saying he merely pointed out possibilities.
“What Charlie Summers’ press conference really showed today is that Charlie Webster was on a witch hunt,” said Rep. Emily Cain, D-Orono, the House minority leader. “Students of Maine were vindicated today.” Read More
Republican State Representative Robin Vos wants to change the state constitution so that a summer of political turmoil like the one we just had could never happen again.
The epic showdowns over collective bargaining, and the budget spurred a series of summer recall elections. State Democrats picked up two senate seats, but failed to change the balance of power. Under Rep. Vos’s proposal, a recall could only happen if a lawmaker were to commit a felony or an ethics violation. He says, “All we’re saying is you have to have committed a breach of trust, not a difference of opinion.” Read More
This morning, Judge John D. Bates of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a welcome and thoroughgoing rebuke of a challenge to the Voting Rights Act brought by Shelby County, Alabama. Judge Bates’ comprehensive 151-page opinion rejected Shelby County’s challenge to Congress’ 2006 near-unanimous renewal of the Act’s preclearance requirement, and is the first decision to consider the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act since the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2009 opinion in NAMUDNO v. Holder, which left that question open.
Today, Judge Bates echoed arguments made by Constitutional Accountability Center in its “friend of the court” brief, recognizing “the preeminent constitutional role of Congress under the Fifteenth Amendment to determine the legislation needed to enforce it.” (For more on Congress’ power to enforce the Civil War Amendments, see CAC’s Text and History Narrative, The Shield of National Protection). Judge Bates respectfully considered the arguments for striking down the Act’s requirements raised in NAMUDNO, but concluded that they were inconsistent with the deference due to Congress’s express constitutional powers to prohibit racial discrimination in voting. Read More
Interim Independent Electoral Commission chair Isaack Hassan has cautioned Kenyans against rushing to embrace the electronic voting system without prior a feasibility study on it. Hassan says the system requires time and pumping of resources before it is implemented.
Speaking Thursday during the IIEC election technology exhibition in Nairobi, Hassan cited various countries that have banned the e-voting system. He noted that India succeeded to implement the system after 30 years while German and Nigeria banned it. Read More
More than 5,000 men will compete in Saudi Arabia’s upcoming municipal elections: but no women, and nor will women be allowed to vote. The election commission announced the massive interest yesterday as candidates began campaigning for votes.
The elections, only the second in Saudi Arabia’s history, are scheduled for September 29 and are for half the seats in the kingdom’s 285 municipal councils. The other half are appointed by the government. Like the landmark elections for municipal council seats held in 2005, this year’s poll bans women from participating. As a result, more than 60 Saudi intellectuals and activists have called for a boycott of the ballot. Read More
In 2006, one woman was elected to the UAE’s Federal National Council (FNC) and eight others were appointed. Even before then, women had served as ministers and ambassadors of the UAE. And yet the entry of women into the UAE’s political arena has had its difficulties, just as in other Arab states.
A common mindset in this country remains fixed on certain unchanging notions of a “woman’s place”. Many of the existing political institutions reflect a male-dominated, male-orientated culture. The media seems to play a role in promoting female politicians, but some see that as a problem.
The FNC is not like a parliament where issues that affect the lives of ordinary people are debated and laws are passed; the FNC’s role at present is only advisory. Still, the effect of women on the full spectrum of political debate and development in the UAE must not be underestimated. Read More
The Electoral Commission of Zambia Chairperson Justice Irene Mambilima has cautioned the media to desist from publishing falsehoods and alarming statements related to this year’s tripartite election. Justice Mambilima says it is an offence for any media house to take such as path.
The ECZ Chairperson was referring to a story published in the press alleging that former commission Director Dan Kalale was seen at the Nakatindi hall at the Lusaka civic centre. Justice Mambilima has dispelled the article as a total fabrication and cautioned the media against dwelling on un substantiated statements. Read More
Zambia’s Chief Justice is scheduled to swear-in veteran opposition leader Michael Sata as the country’s new president Friday. The electoral commission declared Mr. Sata, leader of the Patriotic Front (PF), winner of Tuesday’s presidential vote. He defeated incumbent President Rupiah Banda of the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD).
Director of Elections Priscilla Isaacs said the electoral commission met its target of releasing the final results of the vote within the 48-hour deadline it set for itself. Read More