It wasn’t long after the Justice Department blocked South Carolina’s voter ID law on Friday that Republicans accused the Obama administration of putting the President’s reelection ahead of preventing voter fraud. “Obama’s S.C. voter ID decision shows he’s putting the 2012 election above policy by opposing efforts to protect against cheating and fraud,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus wrote on Twitter, indirectly acknowledging that voter ID laws suppress Democratic voter turnout. “Moreover, from S.C. decision looks like they just want to benefit from cheating and fraud.”
“It is outrageous, and we plan to look at every possible option to get this terrible, clearly political decision overturned so we can protect the integrity of our electoral process and our 10th Amendment rights,” Gov. Nikki Haley said in a statement.
Here’s the problem, though: In-person voter impersonation fraud is an extremely risky and ineffective way to try to steal an election and there’s been no evidence of in-person voter impersonation fraud — the only type of voter fraud that strict voter ID laws could potentially prevent — taking place in South Carolina. But Republicans have taken the position that the laws are necessary. They also strongly reject the suggestion that the laws are racially discriminatory, though South Carolina’s own data showed that non-white voters were 20 percent more likely than white voters to lack the specific type of photo voter ID required under South Carolina’s statute. Read More
Threats to disrupt the Iowa Republican caucuses next week have prompted state GOP officials to move the vote tabulation to an “undisclosed location,” POLITICO has learned. The state party has not yet told the campaigns exactly where the returns will be added up, only that it will be off-site from the Iowa GOP’s Des Moines headquarters. The 2008 caucus results were tabulated at the state party offices, which sit just a few blocks from the state capitol.
Activist groups including the Occupy movement have indicated that they’ll attempt to interrupt rallies in the closing days before next Tuesday’s caucuses. The AP reported today that Occupy is making plans to even attend some caucuses and vote “no preference,” but not disturb the voting process. Read More
The Justice Department’s decision last week to block a new South Carolina law requiring voters to present photo identification is only the first of what will be a year-long battle between advocates and opponents of stricter voting laws. And the results of those fights could determine the winner of the 2012 presidential election.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, a Republican, said her state will appeal DOJ’s decision in court, casting it as “bullying” by the federal government. At the same time, civil right groups are promising to fight similar provisions in states such as Wisconsin and Texas, arguing these laws unfairly target minorities, who are less likely to hold photo identification. Read More
Let’s start here: If I’m Charlie White, I’m fighting like crazy for my job. If I’m Charlie White, one controversial year into my first term as Indiana’s secretary of state, I’m fighting like mad for my political career. If I’m Charlie White, I don’t want it to end like this.
But I’m not Charlie White. The real Charlie White is fighting like crazy, but he doesn’t seem to know that it’s all crashing down in ways that a political career can barely survive and in ways that expose Hoosier voters at a time when they need strong character leading the elections division at the Statehouse.
If I’m the Indiana voter — hey, that is me — I’m asking: Why is Charlie White still running this particular show? Read More
Next fall, thousands of students on college campuses will attempt to register to vote and be turned away. Sorry, they will hear, you have an out-of-state driver’s license. Sorry, your college ID is not valid here. Sorry, we found out that you paid out-of-state tuition, so even though you do have a state driver’s license, you still can’t vote. Political leaders should be encouraging young adults to participate in civic life, but many Republican state lawmakers are doing everything they can instead to prevent students from voting in the 2012 presidential election. Some have openly acknowledged doing so because students tend to be liberal.
Seven states have already passed strict laws requiring a government-issued ID (like a driver’s license or a passport) to vote, which many students don’t have, and 27 others are considering such measures. Many of those laws have been interpreted as prohibiting out-of-state driver’s licenses from being used for voting.
It’s all part of a widespread Republican effort to restrict the voting rights of demographic groups that tend to vote Democratic. Blacks, Hispanics, the poor and the young, who are more likely to support President Obama, are disproportionately represented in the 21 million people without government IDs. On Friday, the Justice Department, finally taking action against these abuses, blocked the new voter ID law in South Carolina. Read More
For the majority of Republicans it is an article of faith that their electoral fortunes would best be served by rain on election day — that, despite evidence to the contrary, the lower the turnout the better their chances of winning, or so they believe.
So, it is not surprising that it is Republican legislators, largely in Republican-controlled legislatures, that have proposed and, in some states, enacted laws that would require photo identification at polling places in order for citizens to cast their ballots. But one should take with a grain of salt the GOP claims that these laws are primarily enacted to prevent fraud when the demography of the 20 million citizens who don’t have photo identification is largely composed of people who are poorer, more minority and the more immobile elderly than the rest of the population, a group whose voting history is strongly Democratic but which would have the greatest difficulty in obtaining proper identification.
It does not, however, follow as the night the day that the way for Attorney General Eric Holder, Democrats, minorities, self-named good government promoters, liberals, editorialists and others to deal with the ID issue is to mount, as they now are doing, coordinated frontal opposition to them and assert that fraud in the voting process does not exist. Why? Read More
The battle over Texas’s controversial new voter identification bill should be over. Instead, it appears to be heating up. Senate Bill 14 amends the Texas Election Code, requiring voters to present an approved form of photo identification to cast a ballot in state elections. Voters may rely on most forms of commonly-used government-issued photo identification, such as a driver’s license or passport. Voters who are unwilling, or unable, to pay for identification are also covered; the bill creates a new form of identification called an “election identification certificate” which can be obtained at no cost from the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Both the Texas House and Senate approved the bill and its photo identification requirements, following months of heated debate across the state. And, on May 27, Governor Rick Perry signed the bill into law. Notwithstanding any post-enactment court challenges, gubernatorial endorsement is the final step in the legislative process—or at least that’s how things usually work in Texas. Read More
The Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ) is warning that there will be strong action against people who seek to commit breaches on Election Day.
Just hours before Jamaicans go to the polls, in a national broadcast last night, ECJ chairman professor Errol Miller also sought to clarify aspects of the electoral process. Professor Miller sought to assure that the integrity of the country’s electoral system will be maintained. Read More
Experts have blamed political immaturity and a flawed electoral system for rampant poll violations in local elections throughout the country. “The country’s poor electoral justice system has allowed opportunists to commit violations. This trend has persisted since the first direct local election in 2005. I have seen no significant efforts either by the government or the House of Representatives to fix the problem,” Hadar Nafiz Gumay of the Center for Electoral Reform (Cetro) said.
The General Elections Monitoring Body (Bawaslu) announced last week that it received 1,718 reports of poll violations in 92 local elections in 2011. The majority of the reports concerned finances related to politics. Hadar said that direct local elections were not problems in themselves. Read More
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani called for a meeting of all political parties after a group of legislators asked for the dissolution of parliament and new elections amid escalating sectarian tensions. Talabani and parliament speaker Osama Nujaifi “agreed to hold a national conference for all political powers in order to resolve all pending issues,” according to a statement posted yesterday on the website of Talabani’s party, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. The statement set no date. Talabani will contact parties for final approval of the gathering, according to the statement.
Legislators from the al-Ahrar bloc loyal to anti-American Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr said political groups were not able to reach solutions and called for the new elections. The bloc has 39 seats in the 325-member parliament. Tensions between Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s Shiite-led allies and Sunni politicians have intensified since a warrant was issued last week for the arrest of Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, a Sunni, on terrorism charges. Read More
About 60,000 fully transparent ballot boxes will be bought by the Russian electoral authorities for the presidential elections on March 4, a top Russian election official said on Wednesday.
Last week, Russia’s chief election official Vladimir Churov proposed making ballot boxes fully transparent to prevent ballot-stuffing. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, a frontrunner in the 2012 elections, expressed his support for the move. Read More