A wave of state election laws poses the single greatest threat to democracy and civil rights in generations, a number of House Democratic leaders charged Monday. The lawmakers said the reform laws — including new voter ID and registration requirements — are politically motivated efforts from Republicans to suppress voter turnout, particularly in minority communities that tend to vote Democratic. They compare the new mandates to the poll taxes adopted by Southern states to discourage African-Americans from voting after the Civil War.
“We know that voter suppression has been taking place, is [taking] place and is planned [to affect the next election],” Rep. Steny Hoyer (Md.), the Democratic whip, said Monday during a Capitol Hill hearing on the new laws. “We are witnessing a concerted effort to place new obstacles in front of minorities, low-income families and young people who seek to exercise their right to vote. Read More
Last Tuesday, Mainers went to the polls and successfully defended Same-Day Registration in their state. Earlier this year, the Maine legislature had repealed the decades-old practice based on baseless claims of rampant voter fraud — fraud that Charlie Webster, Chair of Maine’s Republican Party, and Charlie Summers, Maine’s Secretary of State, failed to prove, try as they did, after dramatically launching an investigation of 206 University of Maine students originally from out of state.
Young would-be voters are being picked on all over the country — from the photo ID laws that don’t allow student IDs (as opposed to concealed handgun licenses) to changing domicile requirements so that out-of-state students are prevented from voting — because students are “foolish” and “vote with their feelings.” Plus, now they are also poor, so they really shouldn’t vote. Read More
It’s not a state secret that Democrats want desperately to regain control of the House in 2012, or that both they and President Obama will need every single vote they can get. But Republicans controlling several state legislatures are doing all they can to make the Democrats’ mission as difficult as possible by implementing strict new voter laws that opponents predict coulddisenfranchise millions of voters.
Rep. John Conyers, ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, held a hearing on voting rights and new laws Monday during which civil rights advocates testified about their impact on African-Americans and other voters. Read More
DuPage County is one of dozens of jurisdictions across the country ordered by the U.S. Department of Justice to make their elections more accessible to people who lack English proficiency, officials said.
In DuPage, that means the election commission will print election materials in both English and Spanish for the first time. In addition, supplementary election materials will be printed in both languages, Spanish-speaking election judges will be hired in some precincts and the election commission will hire a full-time translator and liaison to Hispanic communities. Read More
Earlier this year, Maine’s governor, Paul LePage, a Tea Party favorite, helped Republican legislators enact a law eliminating Maine’s 38-year-old same-day voter registration policy. They offered the standard excuse Republicans have been using around the country to hinder turnout by Democratic-leaning groups – it was necessary to prevent voter fraud.
Never mind that voter fraud – people trying to vote when they are not entitled to – is no bigger a problem in Maine than in the rest of the country, which is to say it’s not much of a problem at all. Maine has reported two cases in 38 years. Read More
Former Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) and first lady Kendal Ehrlich have been added to the state’s witness list in a trial expected to begin today in Baltimore. The case is the first of two to settle whether members of Ehrlich’s campaign team sought to suppress black voter turnout last fall to help Ehrlich at the polls.
One of Ehrlich’s most trusted aides and a campaign consultant areaccused of orchestrating tens of thousands of anonymous election-night robo-calls last year that state prosecutors charge were part of a larger attempt to suppress the black vote. Read More
Opponents of Ohio’s new election law have fallen short in their effort to get a ballot repeal question before voters next fall, but they have another 10 days to submit more signatures, the state’s top election official said Monday. Among other changes, the election overhaul shortens the swing state’s early voting period.
Secretary of State Jon Husted’s ruling on Monday comes after election officials reviewed the more than 333,000 signatures that opponents submitted in late September to put the law on hold. They need 231,150 valid signatures to get the referendum before voters in 2012. Husted’s office said they had 221,572 — 9,578 signatures shy of that necessary amount. Read More
Four South Carolina counties presented their arguments about the 2012 first-in-the-South primary to the South Carolina Supreme Court on Monday, stating that they had no obligation to cover the costs or to conduct the election.
The four counties — Beaufort, Chester, Greenville and Spartanburg — filed suit despite a promise that the Republican Party would pay “all legitimate expenses,” associated with the primary. Some county leaders said they were unsure about the commitment and wanted to be more involved in the decision-making process. Read More
A legislative committee asked state election officials to turn their motions on electoral issues into formalized rules to be approved by the governor Tuesday, a move critics say takes away the group’s independence from the Legislature. In a 6-4 vote split down party lines, the Joint Committee for Review on Administrative Rules voted to change a motion made by the Government Accountability Board into a finalized rule requiring Gov. Scott Walker’s approval.
Jason Rostan, spokesperson for JCRAR Chair Sen. Leah Vukmir, R-Wauwatosa, said the motions on voter ID stickers, technical college IDs and who can pre-fill petitions must go through a fairly lengthy process to become formalized. Rostan said a majority of the committee believed the GAB’s motion allowing the voter ID law to accept the use of technical college IDs is essentially new law created without legislative oversight. Read More
Antigua St John’s – Two bills are down for debate when the House of Representatives convenes on Wednesday November 16 for the final sitting in the second session of Parliament of the United Progressive Party’s second term.
Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer will move the second and third readings of the Representation of the People (Amendment) Act, 2011, while Finance, Economy and Public Administration Minister Harold Lovell will move the first, second, and third readings of the Social Security (Amendment) Act, 2011. Read More
Even as the ambitious plan of introducing e-voting in the upcoming civic elections failed to take off, the BMC along with the State Election Commission now want to upload GIS maps on its election website to facilitate voting.
The plan is to acquire detailed GIS (geographic information system) maps of the 227 corporator wards, mark it with minute details on major and minor roads and mark every polling booth to help citizens. Read More
Kazakhstan’s president issued a decree Wednesday to dissolve parliament and call a snap election that will end the governing party’s monopolistic grip over the legislature. Under a new election law, a minimum of two parties will enter parliament after the Jan. 15 polls, although no robust anti-government forces are believed to stand any real prospect of winning seats.
President Nursultan Nazarbayev said at a government meeting Tuesday that the election should be brought forward — it was originally scheduled for August 2012 — to avoid the campaigning season coinciding with an anticipated global economic downturn. Read More