Lawyers for an Alabama county that is challenging a controversial section of the Voting Rights Act have asked a federal appeals court in Washington to strike down a judge’s ruling that upheld the constitutionality of the law. Judge John Bates of U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in September ruled for the Justice Department in its defense of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The section requires some states and localities to get permission before implementing election-related changes.
Section 5, according to the Justice Department, was set up to ensure that changes do not harm minority voting rights. Congress extended the Voting Rights Act in 2006 another 25 years. Shelby County, Ala., sued the Justice Department last year. Read More
Pueblo County Clerk Gilbert “Bo” Ortiz defended his right to send ballots to “inactive voters” this year over the objections of Secretary of State Scott Gessler. Ortiz told the Colorado Independent he believes his main objective as clerk is to facilitate participation in elections and, on that score, he has succeeded. As of Monday night, 16 percent of the county’s roughly 17,000 inactive voters had cast ballots. That’s 2,700 votes, nearly 9 percent of all votes cast in the county, which is a lot of votes.
“This means that Pueblo[‘s] [inactive] voters responded and will have a significant impact on this year’s election,” Ortiz said. “The bottom line is that all registered voters had the opportunity to cast a vote. And the more people who participate, the stronger our community.” Read More
With free admission and discounts to local attractions and restaurants, most students are quick to wield the power of their student identification, but a new law requiring photo identification at the polls next year cuts that power short.
Effective Jan. 1, 2012, all Tennessee voters are required to have a photo ID if they expect to cast a ballot. The current law requires voters only to show proof of signature.
Acceptable forms of photo ID include a Tennessee driver’s license, a valid photo ID issued by the state of Tennessee or any other state in the United States, a valid United States passport, an employee photo ID card issued by Tennessee or any state in the United States or a military photo ID card. However, student identification is not included in the list, despite the required photo of the student on an ID card by most colleges. Read More
Elderly people without driver’s licenses could face difficulty complying with a new state voter identification law that goes into effect on Jan. 12. Under the law, a voter will be required to produce a federal or state government-issued photo ID before being allowed to vote. Although free photo IDs can obtained from any Department of Safety driver’s license testing station, those without a license must present additional documentation — proof of citizenship (such as a birth certificate) and two proofs of Tennessee residency (such as a copy of a utility bill, vehicle registration/title, or bank statement) — to receive one.
During a Blount County Election Commission town meeting Tuesday, Administrator of Elections Abby Breeding told the handful of attendees that this can prove difficult for some older voters. “It’s a lot of paperwork for some of the elderly to do.”
Drivers in Tennessee age 60 and older may opt to carry a non-photo driver license. It is much easier for those people to receive the free ID, Breeding said. “It’s not that difficult for them to get their picture added to it,” she said. “The difficult one is if they don’t have a driver’s license.” Read More
Pew’s latest Election Data Dispatch looks at the steep upward trend in the numbers of voters who are casting ballots outside the traditional neighborhood polling place. Using data from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey, the Pew team found that 26.6% of voters in 2010 cast ballots by absentee, vote-by-mail or in-person early voting – up from 19.6% in the 2006 midterm elections.
I recently had the opportunity to contribute a piece to the Election Law Journal discussing the impact of this growing shift by voters to non-precinct place voting (NPPV). In doing so, I made the following observations about the nature of the changes that accompany a growth in NPPV: Read More
Egyptians have finally begun to learn the rules that will govern their first post-revolutionary parliamentary elections, scheduled to begin on November 28. The election law announced by the Supreme Council for the Armed Forces (SCAF) is remarkably complicated, generating great confusion both inside and outside of Egypt. Those poorly understood rules will play an important role in shaping the results — and are already pushing the Egyptian party scene into a polarized competition between Islamist and secular blocs, with independents somewhere in the middle with no clear political or economic agenda.
The electoral system that the SCAF has chosen for the forthcoming election is a departure from Egypt’s historical practice. Egyptian elections have typically been governed by a majoritarian system in smaller constituencies (222 in total). Such a system traditionally made voting a choice between individual candidates rather than parties’ programs, which put a premium on coming from a strong local tribe or from a wealthy background. The small size of constituencies made this possible because it increased the electoral weight of extended families and tribes, especially in rural constituencies. Read More
Barely three weeks to the the November 24th Presidential Election, the chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has embarked on a countrywide tour, meant to sensitise the people about the mandate of his Commission and also stress the importance of peace during the elections.
Mustapha Carayol’s move is indeed worthy of commendation, as it is only an independent and transparent electoral commission that engages the electorate and stakeholders in election at such a degree. The chairman’s additional advice to village heads to allow all political parties campaign in their respective villages is a testimony to this fact. The electorate should pay heed to the IEC chairman’s message, because it is peace that can guarantee us a free and fair election, which is fundamental since one of the most fundamental pillars of democracy is the conduct of periodic free and fair elections. Read More
Members of the House of Representatives Committee on Electoral Matters and Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Professor Attahiru Jega yesterday pondered over the possibility of conducting electronic voting system in Nigeria in the 2015 general elections.
Briefing members of the committee led by Rep Jerry Manwe (PDP, Tara), Jega said INEC was being proactive on the possibility of electronic voting in 2015. Read More
An election tribunal on Tuesday dismissed the main opposition party’s challenge over fraud claims in the April presidential election, revalidating the ruling party’s win in Africa’s most populous nation. The Congress for Progressive Change’s election lawsuit failed to cast reasonable doubt on the results that handed victory to President Goodluck Jonathan about six months ago, said Judge Kumai Akaas, who led a panel of four judges that reached an unanimous decision.
“The petitioner did not discharge the burden of proof, even on the balance of probability,” Akaas said. Opposition candidate Muhammadu Buhari’s party challenged the results of the April 16 vote soon after the nation’s election body announced that Jonathan had won 22.4 million votes. The election body said Buhari had come in second place with 12.2 million votes, with the results giving Jonathan enough votes in at least 24 of Nigeria’s 36 states to avoid a runoff. Read More
The Commission on Elections is planning to seek amendments to the 26-year-old Omnibus Election Code to attune it with election automation laws, the latest of which was first implemented nationwide last year. Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said recently that most of the provisions of the OEC had become obsolete after the country adopted its first election automation law, Republic Act No. 8046, which provided for the pilot-testing of a computerized voting system for the 1996 polls in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
“The voting scheme nowadays is really different. The provisions under the OEC no longer apply. Many [situations governed by the provisions] can no longer happen,” he said. Asked how much of the OEC was no longer applicable or could no longer be enforced, he replied, “At least half.” The Comelec chief said this was the reason the commission would be undertaking an extensive study on how to amend the OEC, officially known as Batas Pambasa 881. Read More