Officials in at least nine counties plan to mail ballots to inactive voters for the Nov. 1 election — a decision some believe could give a boost to a statewide ballot measure to raise taxes for education. The counties — all but two of which lean or are heavily Democratic — are home to about 107,000 voters considered “inactive/failed to vote.”
Victor Mitchell, a former state representative from Douglas County who is leading the opposition to Proposition 103, said Tuesday the fact that some counties are mailing to inactive voters while others are not is “a form of gerrymandering and voter manipulation” that creates an unlevel playing field.
“It will clearly have an effect,” Mitchell said. “Will it be enough to put (Proposition 103) over the top? I certainly hope not.” Proposition 103, the only statewide measure on next month’s ballot, would raise taxes for five years to generate $3 billion for education. Read More
When Charles Webster was a member of the Maine House during the 1980s and 1990s, he and his Republican colleagues routinely proposed bills that would create restrictive voting laws—or, as Webster sees it, legislation to tamp down on the rampant threat of voter fraud. “Every year we tried to solve this problem,” he says, “and it was always a partisan vote,” with Democrats supporting laws intended to increase turnout. As a result, Webster says, “We have one of the most loosey-goosey, lax election laws in the country.”
Others would call Maine’s voting laws a striking success. Most states struggle to get citizens to the polls; national turnout for a presidential election hasn’t topped 60 percent since 1968, and turnout for midterm elections hovers in the 30s. That puts the United States far below the participation level in other Western democracies. Yet for the past four decades, Maine has stood apart. With an array of regulations that encourage voting—the state has allowed voters to register on Election Day since 1973—Maine consistently places among the top five states for turnout. Seventy-two percent of the eligible population voted in 2008 when Barack Obama carried the state.
Republicans like Webster, who now chairs the state GOP, argue that too many people are voting in the state—at least, too many illegal immigrants, out-of-state college students, and people who live in hotels. “What I don’t want is somebody coming in stealing elections who doesn’t live in the town,” Webster says. Read More
Boulder and Pitkin counties have reversed course and will send election ballots to inactive voters this month, the Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler’s office confirmed Monday. That turnaround comes only two days after a Denver district judge refused to block Denver and Pueblo counties from doing so.
Boulder will send ballots to about 24,000 inactive voters, while Pitkin will send out about 2,500 ballots. Mesa County officials also notified Gessler on Monday that they will send ballots to their inactive military and overseas voters only, but not to inactive voters within their county. El Paso County, which has a heavy registration of overseas military voters, was the target of protests Friday from one veterans group objecting to Clerk Wayne Williams’ decision not to send ballots to about 800 inactive military voters. Williams reaffirmed after the court ruling that his county does not intend to send ballots to any of its 63,000 inactive voters, regardless of Friday’s court ruling. Read More
The state of Florida is gearing up for a battle with the U.S. government over states having to get federal approval on voting rights changes in areas with a history of discrimination, according to the News Service of Florida. Florida Secretary of State Kurt Browning said the rule is outdated and unconstitutional in a court filing Tuesday.
… Ironically, Browning is currently seeking the required preclearance for a new Florida voting law before it can go into effectin five Florida counties. The new law changes certain requirements including early voting and change of address issues. Read More
Beleaguered Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White requested an independent prosecutor Tuesday to look into his allegations of vote fraud and homestead fraud against former Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh and his wife, Susan. White, a Republican who is facing charges of vote fraud himself, filed documents with Democratic Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry requesting an independent prosecutor to investigate whether the Bayhs voted fraudulently in Indiana’s May Democratic primary. He’s also challenging the Bayhs’ Indiana homestead tax exemption when both resided primarily in Washington, D.C.
The Bayhs claim the property tax exemption on an Indianapolis condominium valued at $58,200 but also own a $2.2 million home in Washington, White said in a complaint filed with Curry. “Everybody knows he (Bayh) doesn’t live here,” White said in a telephone interview. He said Bayh should have done what Dan Coats did when he left the Senate and re-registered to vote at his Washington-area address. Coats has since been re-elected to the Senate from Indiana. White said he didn’t expect much to come of his request because the Bayhs are granted more leeway than most political couples. Read More
Bill John Baker has been declared the unofficial winner in the election for principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, election commission officials announced Tuesday evening. Preliminary numbers show Baker received 54% of the vote with 10,633 ballots cast. Incumbent Chad Smith received 46% of the vote with 9,099 ballots cast.
The election has been embroiled in controversy since June. Both Baker and Smith were at one time declared the winner, prompting the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court to order a new election. Then in August, the court stripped the Freedmen, descendants of slaves once owned by tribal members, of their citizenship and right to vote in the special election.
An agreement to maintain the citizenship and suffrage of the Freedmen was ordered in two separate cases in federal court in September. Tuesday morning, the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court struck down the agreement in one of those cases a federal judge had recently dismissed. Read More
Reporting from Tahlequah, Okla.— More than 170 years ago the proud Cherokee people in the South were brutally driven into exile in Oklahoma along what became known as the Trail of Tears. Now, an unlikely group of descendants is battling the tribe for its rights. They are the so-called black Cherokees, some of whose ancestors were held as slaves by members of the tribe.
Their quest came to a head in recent days as Cherokees went to the polls in northeastern Oklahoma’s Indian country to select a new chief. Of the more than 300,000 Cherokees in America, about 2,800 are black, and many say their fate could ride on the outcome. Tribes across the nation are wrestling with questions of identity, especially since tribal casinos began generating huge revenue. But the Cherokee Nation, unlike some tribes that allow gaming, does not divide casino profits among its citizens.
And though being a Cherokee in Oklahoma means having access to many services, such as a multimillion-dollar health center, the black Cherokees say the battle is really about identity. Read More
As many as a quarter of voters in some small Texas counties might not be able to cast ballots if the federal government allows the new state voter ID law to go into effect. And in some places, the potential for that decrease in the number of voters could affect the outcome of elections.
The impact of the law was gleaned from several pages of data that the Texas secretary of state’s office provided to the U.S. Department of Justice, which is reviewing the law to determine whether it illegally hurts minority voters. The data show that in 27 of Texas’ 254 counties, at least 10 percent of the registered voters might be unable to cast ballots, if Senate Bill 14 by Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, takes effect. Read More
A state senator announced Monday he will propose legislation to exempt senior citizens from the recently signed voter ID law. Sen. Tim Carpenter, D–Milwaukee, is currently looking for co-sponsors for the legislation, and expects to introduce the bill by the end of the week. The proposal would allow registered seniors who are above the age of 65 to vote without having to present any identification, according to a statement from Carpenter.
The voter ID law, signed by Gov. Scott Walker on May 25 of this year states that starting next year, all registered Wisconsin voters will be required to present a valid, state-issued identification card in order to vote in any election.
“The voter ID bill prevents election fraud by requiring that the voter prove that they actually are who they say they are. In the past if someone else next to me says, ‘yeah that’s who he is,’ [the election attendants] will believe it,” Andrew Welhouse, spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said. Read More
Dozens of community members lined up to cast fake ballots for their favorite sports teams and tailgating food Tuesday as part of a mock election conducted by the Madison City Clerk. The trial run was to prepare for the full implementation in 2012 of the Republican-backed voter ID bill.
City Clerk Maribeth Witzel-Behl said the city is making voter ID education a top priority throughout the rest of the year, with 74 educational presentations planned. The mock election was to prepare election officials as well as voters for what to expect on a future Election Day. Read More
Afghan election officials say they stand by their decision to expel nine lawmakers from parliament for voter fraud, even though one of the unseated politicians vows to continue a hunger strike until she is reinstated.
The head of Afghanistan’s election commission said Tuesday that they are ready and willing to make public how they arrived to their decision. Despite the government’s ruling, Simeen Barakzai has vowed to continue her hunger strike outside parliament in Kabul. Read More
The head of Cameroon’s election commission denied opposition candidates’ allegations of fraud in Sunday’s ballot, saying the process was “more transparent” than in the past.
“Throughout the entire process, no major incident was reported,” Fonkam Azu’u, election commission chairman, said Monday. “Nevertheless Elections Cameroon will draw the necessary lessons in order to better organize future polls.” Opposition candidate Jean de Dieu Momo told reporters he had received reports of improperly sealed ballot boxes. Read More
STL/HSB/Genkey company Limited, an information technology firm, has been awarded the contract for the procurement of Biometric Voters Registration (BVR) system for the 2012 general election. It was selected by the Electoral Commission (EC) from a list of 47 companies that responded to the proposals for the expression of interest advertised in the media. Seven out of the 47 were initially shortlisted.
A document titled “Chronology of Biometric Voter Registration Procurement Process”, which contains the road map for the procurement of the BVR, prepared by the EC and distributed to political parties, stated the contract was awarded on October 4, 2011. It said on May 23, 2011, the EC’s procurement department invited pre-qualified vendors to bid for the contract. Read More
Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk enjoyed a strong lead over his conservative rival and predecessor Jaroslaw Kaczynski in parliamentary elections, with his centrist party set to become the first ever in Poland’s post-communist era to win a second consecutive term. That feat underlines the growing political stability in Poland, a central European nation of 38 million whose economy has flourished since it joined the European Union in 2004.
Official results are expected Monday, but exit polls released after Sunday’s voting gave a comfortable lead to Tusk’s Civic Platform, a centrist and pro-European party that has presided over the four years of growth even amid decline elsewhere on the continent. Read More
“We consider the December 4 parliamentary elections illegitimate and call for a boycott of these disgraceful ‘elections’ in every reasonable way,” said a declaration signed by Kasparov and other vocal but marginalised opponents of the Kremlin. “It’s an appeal to consciously ignore cooperation with the current authorities,” Kasparov, who leads the United Civil Front movement, said at a press conference.
Last month’s announcement that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will seek to swap seats with President Dmitry Medvedev in 2012 presidential elections essentially told people “that voters no longer exist in the country,” he said. “We need to put a lot of effort into pulling the country from the claws of Putin’s dictatorship,” he said, adding that boycotting both the parliamentary and the presidential elections would be the first step. Read More
The Yemeni defected general Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar on Monday accused President Ali Abdullah Saleh of rigging in 2006 presidential elections, which was denied by government officials. “I accompanied Saleh in his electoral campaigns in 2006 until the results were ready to be announced,” defected Maj. Gen. Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar told a press conference at the headquarters of his military base, the First Armored Division.
“And before the declaration of the true final results, Saleh told me that the computer mistakenly counted the votes showing that the opposition candidate Faisal bin Shamlan won. But he ( Saleh) said the counting process was reviewed and declared his victory,” al-Ahmar, who defected from Saleh and joined the protest movement in March, told reporters. “So, Saleh lost his legitimacy because he changed the results of 2006 presidential election by force,” al-Ahmar said. Read More