The Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk (RR/CC) has embarked on the most significant overhaul of the voting system since 1968. Although the system has been upgraded and adapted to keep up with changes in technology and in the regulatory environment, this project has a much larger scope.
“What we’re embarked on now through the Voting Systems Assessment Project (VSAP) is a full scale effort to actually completely replace our voting system,” said Efrain Escobedo, Executive Liaison for the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk.
In September of 2009 the RR/CC through VSAP began to engage a number of community organizations, and election and civil rights advocates to find out what they thought about the current voting system, and what a future voting system should be able to do and to provide to voters. Read More
In a somewhat expected move, the city of Aspen has decided to appeal last week’s state appellate court judgment that said local political activist Marilyn Marks has a right to inspect ballot images from the 2009 mayoral election. “The Aspen City Council has directed staff to appeal the Marks v. Koch case to the Colorado Supreme Court,” says a statement released Tuesday from the City Attorney’s Office. “At issue in the lawsuit, which was originally filed in 2009, is the right of citizens to expect that their cast ballots will remain secret.”
The city maintains that it is residents’ constitutional right to vote their consciences knowing that their ballots will remain “forever secret,” the prepared statement says. The lawsuit against City Clerk Kathryn Koch, who declined Marks’ request to view ballot images from the spring election that Marks lost, states that the Colorado Open Records Act and other state laws allow public ballot inspection as long as it is not possible to discern a voter’s identity. “This case is not about election transparency,” the city’s statement reads. “The 2009 municipal election was one of the most transparent elections in city and state history. This case involves the sanctity of the secret ballot.” Read More
Vowing to protect the right to vote for military personnel overseas, Pueblo County Clerk and Recorder Gilbert Ortiz announced Wednesday that he is joining the lawsuit between Secretary of State Scott Gessler and Denver Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson.
Last week, Gessler, a Republican, sent a letter warning Ortiz that if he mailed ballots to inactive voters who are eligible to vote, he would be named in the lawsuit by Gessler’s office. Ortiz and Johnson are Democrats.
At the time, Ortiz said he would “reluctantly” comply with Gessler’s order not to mail ballots to 64 inactive military voters but indicated that the dispute of whether inactive voters should receive mail ballots was not over. Read More
The charge being weighed by a Manhattan jury in the case of the Republican campaign consultant John Haggerty Jr. is whether he took $1.1 million of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s money to guard against election fraud, and then spent most of it on a house instead.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg leaving the voting booth in November 2005. Both Bloomberg and Rudolph W. Giuliani faced criticism over their stationing of off-duty law enforcement officers at polling sites. But another question, unlikely to be resolved at Mr. Haggerty’s criminal trial, is why the mayor felt compelled to spend what most people consider a sweet fortune on campaign surveillance in the first place.
On the witness stand Monday, Mr. Bloomberg defended such operations as standard practice. “It’s traditional, I’m told, to provide ballot security,” he testified. “The security is a process to make sure that people that want to vote have the right to vote and don’t get pushed aside or denied the access to vote.” Read More
The South Carolina attorney general’s office has told the state Election Commission to provide details on voters excluded from an analysis of people lacking state issued identification required by the state’s controversial voter I.D. law.
The law passed this year requires voters to show photo identification such as a South Carolina driver’s license in order to cast regular ballots at polling places. The law still needs approval from the U.S. Justice Department.
The federal agency wanted details on registered voters that don’t have state-issued ID’s. Commission officials provided information about nearly 217,000 voters who have voted in the past two general elections. However, up to 74,000 voters were deemed inactive in 2009 because they hadn’t voted in 2006 or 2008. This week, the attorney general’s office told the commission to get data on those voters. Read More
The Texas Secretary of State submitted additional information to the Department of Justice on Tuesday in an effort to ensure the state’s controversial voter ID law is implemented on time. It’s unclear, though, whether the data Texas provided will allow federal voting officials to determine whether the law would disenfranchise minority voters.
The bill, SB 14 by state Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, is scheduled to go take effect January 1. But the timeline appeared in jeopardy last month after the DOJ said it needed additional information to ensure the law would not infringe on the voting rights of certain minority groups. The law, which Gov. Rick Perry deemed an emergency item during the legislative session this year, would require voters to furnish a state-issued photo ID before casting a ballot. Read More
Republicans in Pennsylvania and Nebraska want to change the way their states award Electoral College votes, moves that could hinder President Barack Obama’s re-election chances. Lawmakers in the Democratic-leaning battleground of Pennsylvania are weighing whether to give the presidential nominees one electoral vote for each congressional district they win, rather than giving all its votes to the candidate who wins the state’s popular vote, like Obama did in 2008. In GOP-tilting Nebraska, lawmakers want to go to a winner-take-all system four years after Obama won the 2nd Congressional District and its single electoral college vote.
It takes 270 Electoral College votes to win the presidency out of 538 up for grabs. Every vote matters in a close election and every sign points to a competitive 2012 race as an incumbent Democratic president who most people still personally like tries to win a second term in tough economic times.
“Any electoral vote is important in these elections,” said Michael Mezey, a professor of political science at DePaul University in Chicago. “When you start dealing with large states, it can make a difference. And also you’re not just dealing with Pennsylvania; other states may follow suit.” Read More
Seduced by technology’s ability to facilitate the mundane tasks of daily life, many Canadians are finding the act of going out and voting too disruptive. With the exception of a slight uptick of around three per cent in the most recent federal election, voter turnout continues to decline.
What can be done to compel more people to take part in this fundamental function of a healthy democracy? Elections Canada is now exploring the possibility of “e-services” such as internet voting. Yet, as we wade into considerations of altering our voting practices, we must ask ourselves an important question: In addressing the participatory deficit plaguing our democracy, should our primary focus be on making voting more convenient?
In its report on the 41st general election, Elections Canada is careful to identify its core mandate: to ensure that Canadians can exercise their democratic right to vote or to run as a candidate. Note that its mandate is not to increase voter turnout. Nevertheless, the federal agency wants to meet Canadians’ expectations of convenience by exploring new options such as internet voting, and it is seeking approval to experiment with this method in a 2013 by-election. Read More
Sixty political parties assembled on Sunday at the headquarters of the liberal Wafd party to discuss the meeting which took place between 13 parties and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) over the weekend. At the end, the majority of the parties declared their insistence on abiding by a much criticised agreement they reached with the military council.
While the liberal Egyptian Social Democratic Party did not sign the agreement on Saturday for technical reasons, its representative Mohamed Abou El-Ghar confirmed Monday the party’s agreement with the deal, assuring others that his signature will follow shortly. The signed agreement between some political parties and SCAF created an internal upheaval within almost every single party that signed on. Read More
Fiji is expected to get electronic voting machines from India by next year.
The Indian High Commissioner to Fiji, Vinod Kumar said that as discussed previously, the first set of machines will be given as a gift to Fiji from the Indian government. Read More
From text messages to Facebook and Twitter, new resources are available to Moroccans to exercise their civil rights. To take advantage of the interactivity and ubiquity of information technology, the Moroccan Human Rights Association (OMDH) recently created a website to serve as an online monitoring centre for the kingdom’s November 25th legislative elections.
Launched September 26th in a trial version,Marsad.ma is a platform that enables people to find information on the elections. In addition, it allows citizens and observers to monitor the vote by reporting and learning about incidents, failures or irregularities associated with the election process. The full site is set to go live a month before the poll.
“This year, given the changes occurring across the region and the importance of the internet as a citizenship tool, we decided to explore digital technology and new media,” said Mounir Bensalah, an observer and member of the Marsad team. Read More
The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) has no universal method for evaluating elections, believes the president of the All-Russia Public Institute for Election Law,Igor Borisov.
The ODIHR wants to send to Russia 60 observers for the pre-election period and 200 observers on a short-term mission to monitor the course of the election on December 4. The Central Election Commission says the figures are excessive. Read More