Today, Subcommittee on Elections Chairman Gregg Harper, R-Miss., issued the following statement after the resignation of the two remaining commissioners at the Election Assistance Commission (EAC):
“Exactly one year ago today, EAC Commissioner Hillman resigned from the agency leaving it without a quorum and unable to make policy decisions. In the last week, the two remaining commissioners announced their resignations, and the President nominated the general counsel and acting executive director for a position at another agency. Read More
“The Supreme Court, working late on a Friday, agreed to rule on the constitutionality of three redistricting plans for the two houses of the Texas legislature and its U.S. House of Representatives delegation, and put on hold temporarily a U.S. District Court’s interim maps.”
Given what the Court did, with no stated dissents, it is not clear why this had to wait until Friday at 7 pm eastern to issue. More importantly, it is also not clear what is supposed to happen now in Texas. What districts can be used, if the districts crafted by the three-judge court are now “stayed pending further order of this Court?”
The case will be argued on January 9. It is possible the Court will grant an interim order before then addressing which districts should be used. (Perhaps that was the reason for the delay, and it did not come together. Were they cobbling together a plan and/or an order? Were there dissents?) Or the Court may try to rush an opinion soon after argument. Read More
Voters will decide whether to approve another key piece of legislation passed by Republican lawmakers, this time an election reform bill that Democrats have called a “voter suppression” bill. A referendum on House Bill 194, a sweeping reform of election laws, will appear on the November 2012 ballot, Secretary of State Jon Husted’s office announced Friday.
Opponents of the bill, largely Democrats and voting rights activists, collected 307,358 valid signatures, according to the secretary of state’s office. Petitioners needed 231,150 signatures to put the law on the ballot.
The successful petition drive comes on the heels of Democrats’ victory in overturning Senate Bill 5, a controversial collective bargaining law. That law, supported by Republican Gov. John Kasich and GOP legislative leaders, was overwhelmingly rejected in the November election. Read More
The Supreme Court has blocked the use of Texas state legislative and congressional district maps that were drawn by federal judges to boost minorities’ voting power. The court issued a brief order Friday that applies to electoral maps drawn by federal judges in San Antonio for the Texas Legislature and Congress. The justices said they will hear arguments in the case on Jan. 9.
Texas says the federal judges overstepped their authority and should have taken into account the electoral maps that were drawn by the Republican-dominated Texas Legislature. The order brings to a halt filing for legislative and congressional primary elections that began Nov. 28. The primaries had been scheduled to take place in March but with the Supreme Court’s intervention, those elections almost certainly will be delayed. Read More
A second lawsuit challenging Wisconsin’s new voter I.D. law is expected to be filed next week. The Milwaukee branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People will be the lead plaintiff in the suit, which will also include Wisconsin immigrant rights group Voces de la Frontera and several individuals, said Milwaukee attorney Richard Saks.
“We’re arguing that the photo I.D. requirement is an unreasonable and onerous burden on the state constitutional right to vote for Wisconsin citizens,” said Saks, who is representing the plaintiffs. Saks said the law is tantamount to a denial of the right to vote for “scores of thousands of voters, if not hundreds of thousands of voters, throughout the state of Wisconsin who don’t have the types of I.D.” now needed at the polls. Read More
The election commission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is set to announce the winner of the country’s presidential election. An electoral commission official told Al Jazeera that results would be made public on Friday, a day after the announcement was postponed for a second time.
“There is a lot of confusion regarding why results were delayed on Thursday,” Al Jazeera’s Azad Essa, reporting from Kinshasha, said. “Official reasons are seen as a glaze over the real internal wrangling over results reportedly taking place within the commission itself.”
The commission has said the delay was due to double-checking of figures against tally sheets from polling stations to avoid mistakes. Kinshasa remained quiet on Friday morning. Roads were relatively empty with most people still at home or in their townships. “People are frustrated but say they are prepared to wait for the correct results,” Essa said. Read More
President Joseph Kabila was declared the winner of elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on Friday, triggering violent protests and a rival claim to power by his main challenger. Kabila gained 49% of the vote against 32% for veteran opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi, the election commission announced.
But Tshisekedi, 78, immediately disputed the result and declared himself president. “I consider these results a real provocation of the Congolese people,” he said on RFI Radio. “As a consequence, I consider myself, from today, the elected president of the Democratic Republic of Congo.”
Observers fear such statements could throw a match to the tinderbox of Kinshasa, where there were reports of unrest and gunfire soon after the results were announced. Police fired teargas to break up angry demonstrations, according to witnesses, and plumes of smoke smudged the skyline as tyres were burned outside counting centres. A huge security operation put opposition strongholds in the city under lockdown. Read More
Thousands of protesters have gathered in Moscow in a show of anger over disputed parliamentary polls. The opposition says the protest – on an island just south of the Kremlin – could become the largest the country has seen in two decades. Smaller rallies have taken place in cities across the country.
Protesters allege there was widespread fraud in Sunday’s polls – though the ruling United Russia party saw its share of the vote fall sharply. Hundreds of people have been arrested during anti-Putin protests over the past week, mainly in Moscow and St Petersburg. At least 50,000 police and riot troops were deployed in Moscow ahead of Saturday’s protests.
Authorities have permitted up to 30,000 to attend the demonstration dubbed “For Fair Elections”. Thousands have turned out for rallies in cities across the Urals and Siberia and as far east as Vladivostok. The protesters have got one demand – for the elections to be held again. Nobody believes they were free and fair. Many are also asking that the head of the election commission stands down, and some are going even further and demanding that Vladimir Putin himself resigns.
There’s a real sense of anger – and although the numbers are not that big in global terms, in Moscow terms this is a very, very significant demonstration. This number simply haven’t come out onto the streets of Moscow since 1990s. It should not be underestimated what a significant moment this is. It may not deal a fatal blow to Mr Putin’s government, but it is certainly the most severe wake-up call he has received during 12 years in power. Read More
A series of alleged hack attacks have struck political sites in Russia during the country’s parliamentary elections. Radio stations, election monitors and newspapers said they came under sustained attack.
The sites’ owners said they were bombarded with data in an attempt to overwhelm their computers and knock them offline. Some of the organisations involved have blamed the assault on state-sponsored “criminals”.
Over the weekend Russians voted in elections that determined the make-up of its lower house, or Duma, for the next five years. In the run-up to voting and on the day itself, many organisations critical of the policies of the ruling party said they had suffered attack by hackers. Read More
This YouTube video, according to a Russian blogger who shot it and posted it online, shows a deputy chairman of one of the polling places in Moscow, a member of United Russia party, stealing the ballots at the end of the voting day without following the procedure for the vote count and registering the official results.
Shot during Russian elections last Sunday, this video is one of many examples of alleged election fraud that went viral, and started anti-government protests in Russia. All week crowd-sourced internet television, bloggers, Twitterers, youtubers and facebookers share information about upcoming protests, photos, videos, capturing mass arrests during the two-day rally in Moscow that followed the election results, showing to the world heavily armed riot police with water cannons. More Russian mass protests against the election results are scheduled for this Saturday: up to 30,000 people are allowed to gather in Moscow’s Bolotnaya Square, and 11 other cities in Russia also received official permits. The internet seems to be exploding from the information exchange and attempts to organize demonstrations and to warn about possible provocations.
The wave of twitter revolutions last year swept over Egypt, Tunis, and Iran, and now has finally reached Russia. Fighting against oppressive regime of Putin’s “managed democracy” with twitter and social networking sites seems like an appropriate thing to do in today’s technological world, where citizen journalism flourishes. In the Middle East social media was a big part of the revolutionary awakening during the so-called “Arab Spring”. Could that be the same thing is happening in Russia? Read More