Bringing an end to a decade-long saga, Ireland sold it’s fleet of NEDEP voting machines to a recycling company for a mere €9.30 each. In a momentous week of decision for the Affordable Care Act, the Supreme Court also decided two significant election-related case, blocking Arizona’s requirement for voters to show proof of citizenship beyond what is required on the Federal voter registration card, and strengthening their 2010 Citizens United decision by reversing a decision of the Montana Supreme Court. Both decisions were by 5-4 votes. Colorado election activist Marilyn Marks prevailed in her three-year quest to establish that ballots are open to public inspection. Stating that Federal laws that prohibit systematic removal of voters from voter rolls within 90 days of an election do not refer to non-citizens, a U.S. District Court justice halted a Justice Department attempt to block Florida’s controversial voter purge. Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turzai asserted that the State’s new Voter ID law will help his party’s nominee to win the State’s electoral votes. The Mitchell South Dakota Daily Republic looked into the checkered history of the ES&S Model 650 central count scanner after a programming error caused problems in the State’s June 5 primary and, after a week-long delay, Egypt’s election commission announced the the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate Mohammed Morsi had won the nation’s first presidential election in over 40 years.
- Ireland: E-voting machines scrapped for €70,000 | The Irish Times
- Blogs: Arizona Proof of Citizenship Requirement Struck Down | Brennan Center for Justice
- Colorado: Marks prevails in lawsuit over Aspen election ballots | AspenTimes.com
- Florida: Judge halts federal attempt to block voter purge | MiamiHerald.com
- Pennsylvania: State GOP Leader: Voter ID Will Help Romney Win State | TPM
- South Dakota: The ES&S M650 – A ballot machine noted for problems | The Daily Republic
- National: Tens of thousands of service members’ votes not counted | TheState.com
- National: Supreme Court’s Montana decision strengthens Citizens United | The Washington Post
- Egypt: Morsi wins Egypt’s presidential election | Al Jazeera
In a final vote of no confidence, Ireland’s ill-fated e-voting machines are finally headed to the scrap heap. An Offaly-based firm, KMK Metals Recycling, was declared the Government’s preferred bidder out of seven tenders. The company paid a mere €70,267 for the machines – a steal when one considers the €55 million they have cost the State to date. The price paid also works out at just half the annual €140,000 cost of storing them. Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan said he was “glad to bring this sorry episode to a conclusion on behalf of the taxpayer”. “From the outset, this project was ill-conceived and poorly delivered by my political predecessors and as a result it has cost the taxpayer €55 million. “While this is a scandalous waste of public money, I am happy to say that we will not incur any further costs in the disposal of the machines,” he said.
The managing director of KMK, Kurt Kyck, said the price the company paid for the machines was based on what it expected to make from the recovery of their metal components and associated equipment. “All the components – aluminium, electrical circuitry, copper cabling and plastic, will be removed and dismantled, shredded and organised for recycling,” he said. The equipment includes 7,500 e-voting machines; 1,232 transport/storage trolleys; 2,142 hand trolleys and 4,787 metal tilt tables on which the machines were to be placed in polling stations.
- The Celtic Tiger’s white elephant | Enniscourthyguardian.ie
- Disposal plan sought for e-voting machines | The Irish Times
- €55m e-vote machines may be too old to sell | Independent.ie
- Pubs ‘could use e-voting machines’ | Belfasttelegraph.co.uk
- Noonan’s e-voting offer shot down in pub polls | Independent.ie
Yesterday was a big news day. We learned of the long-awaited health care decision and the historic contempt finding of Attorney General Eric Holder by the House of Representatives. But less attention was paid to the Supreme Court’s decision to vacate Justice Kennedy’s temporary stay of a 9th Circuit decision overturning Arizona’s law requiring proof of citizenship to register to vote. This means that for the November 2012 election voters in the Grand Canyon State will be able to register without first having to produce additional documentary proof of their citizenship beyond what is currently required on the federal voter registration card.
In the case of Gonzalez v. Arizona, the 9th Circuit found that Arizona’s law requiring proof of citizenship violated the National Voter Registration Act. The dispute over the citizenship requirement in Arizona has been in the federal courts since it was imposed by the state’s voters in 2004 under “Proposition 200.” This is the second trip to the Supreme Court for this law. The first was in 2006 when the Court, without deciding the legality of the proof of citizenship mandate, unanimously overturned a prior 9th Circuit order against enforcement of that provision (Purcell v. Gonzalez, et al.). Following that decision, the Arizona law was challenged again and this time the 9th Circuit invalidated (first as a panel and then en banc) the requirement because it conflicted with federal voter registration mandates.
- Citizenship mandate challenged | SCOTUSblog
- Delay in Arizona election case | SCOTUSblog
- National Voter Registration Act vs. Voter ID and Other Voter Access Challenges | Concurring Opinions
- Supreme Court declines to let Arizona require citizenship proof from voters | Tucson Sentinel
- Supreme Court refuses to block ban on Arizona requirement for proof of citizenship for voter registration | Cronkite News
Election activist Marilyn Marks has prevailed in her quest to inspect ballots cast in the 2009 city of Aspen election. The Colorado Supreme Court has reversed its decision to hear the case, the city learned Thursday morning. That means a Court of Appeals ruling that supports Marks’ position will stand. The state’s high court had agreed in April to hear the city of Aspen’s motion to appeal the Court of Appeals decision. There was no explanation from the Supreme Court regarding its change of direction, but it means the Court of Appeals ruling in Marks’ lawsuit against City Clerk Kathryn Koch, custodian of the ballots, has been upheld. “Marks v. Koch is now clearly the law of the land,” Marks said. “I love closure,” was all Koch had to say about the latest development.
Both Marks and city attorney Jim True expressed surprise Thursday at the turn of events and the city, in a prepared statement, said it was “disappointed” but will comply with the Court of Appeals decision and make the 2009 ballots available to Marks for inspection. The city’s Election Commission will set up a procedure to comply with Marks’ request, True confirmed, but Marks said she’s not in a rush to inspect the digital images and paper ballots that were generated in 2009 — the first and only election in which the city used instant runoff voting. “I don’t think I’ll be running down to City Hall next week,” said Marks, who said deadlines and hearings in her other legal battles around the state, also related to ballot issues, are keeping her busy. Still, she said she’d like to make arrangements within the next couple of weeks to view the city ballots.
Marks was a candidate for mayor in the 2009 election, losing to Mick Ireland. The city denied her request to view the ballots, citing citizens’ constitutional right to a secret ballot, but Marks asserted that citizens have a right to view ballots and verify the results of an election. She also said, however, that she had no interest in overturning the results generated by the city’s only stab at instant runoff voting.
- Hickenlooper signs bill creating rules for public access to ballots | The Denver Post
- Ballot review open only to select parties? – Hickenlooper must decide whether to veto HB 1036 | Colorado Statesman
- State high court to review Aspen ballot-images case | AspenTimes.com…
- Voting rights and wrongs | Colorado Springs Independent
- Voters file suit against Gessler, six county clerks over ballots | The Denver Post
A judge on Wednesday rejected the federal government’s attempt to block Florida’s voter purge of non-U.S. citizens, partly because the purge has been suspended. U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle said federal laws that prohibit the systematic removal of voters close to an election do not refer to noncitizens. He also accepted the state’s claim that its purging efforts are over for now. The ruling came as part of a request by the U.S. Department of Justice, which sought a retraining order stopping the purge efforts. The agency argued that the purge violates a federal law, the 1993 National Voter Registration Act, which outlaws systematic removals of voters less than 90 days before a federal election. Florida’s primary is Aug. 14. Hinkle interpreted the law to refer to people who were lawfully registered to vote before being removed, such as felons or the deceased. He said the law is silent as to noncitizens.
Justice Department lawyer John Bert Russ deplored the Florida “dragnet” that he said has unfairly forced U.S. citizens to prove their legitimacy. But he could not cite any instances of a legitimate voter being removed from the rolls. At one point, Russ asked the judge to restore the voting rights of everyone who has been purged from the rolls, an idea Hinkle flatly rejected. “Leaving ineligible voters on the list is not a solution. Noncitizens should not be voting,” the judge said. “People need to know we are running an honest election.”
Attorney Michael Carvin, representing Secretary of State Ken Detzner, said the state is suing to seek access to a Department of Homeland Security database to better ascertain the citizenship status of voters. The federal agency has so far refused the state’s request, claiming it has not received necessary information from the state. “If we get the (federal) data, I do expect the state to proceed and protect the integrity of the voter rolls,” Carvin said.
- Voter purge explained | The Washington Post
- Florida county elections supervisors won’t resume voter purge | MiamiHerald.com…
- Voter Purge Adds to Debate Over Voting Rights Act | Article 3
- Voter Purge In Limbo As County Officials Await State Response To DOJ | TPM
- Voter purge gets pushback from elections supervisors, U.S. Justice | Palm Beach Post
Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R) said that the voter ID law passed by the legislature would help deliver the state for Mitt Romney in November.
“Pro-Second Amendment? The Castle Doctrine, it’s done. First pro-life legislation – abortion facility regulations – in 22 years, done. Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done,” Turzai said at this weekend’s Republican State Committee meeting , according toPoliticsPA.com….
A spokesman for Turzai confirmed the accuracy of the quote for TPM but argued that people were reading too much into it. “The fact is that while Pennsylvania Democrats don’t like it to be talked about, there is election fraud,” Turzai spokesman Stephen Miskin told TPM. “Protecting the integrity of an individual vote is the purpose of any election reform. So was Turzai suggesting that Democrats had won previous elections through voter fraud?
“Rep. Turzai was speaking at a partisan, political event, a Republican state committee,” Miskin said. “He was simply referencing that for the first time in a long while, the Republican presidential candidate will be on a more even keel thanks to voter ID. The reference is nothing more than that to a statewide Republican crowd.”
Unprompted, Miskin brought up a 2008 event in which members of the New Black Panther Party stood outside a polling place in Philadelphia. TPM asked what that had to do with voter ID. “It goes to the whole thing! You’ve got various instances of voter fraud, voter intimidation, the idea is to protect the integrity of the vote,” Miskin said. “We’re saying we think it will be a more fair election, you’re putting the word Democrat in there.” “It will be more fair, period,” Miskin said.
- Some truth about voter ID rules | Philadelphia Inquirer
- Wisconsin’s Walker echoes Colorado’s Gessler on voter fraud | The Colorado Independent
- Texas voter ID law may be headed to the Supreme Court | Rick Hasen/Star Telegram
- Democrats ask all 50 states to oppose new voter identification laws | The Washington Post
- Two-timers in North Carolina | NewsObserver.com…
It’s unknown at this time if human or computer error caused the June 5 ballot counting problems at the Davison County Courthouse, but it’s not the first time an Election Systems & Software M650 ballot scanner has been involved in election irregularities. The group VotersUnite.org… has posted lists of nationwide ballot system problems on its website. The group alleges that miscounts and errors have become commonplace with ballot scanners including the M650. Its site lists numerous instances of voting system problems going back nearly a decade. In Mitchell, a June 7 recount prior to the official canvass of ballots showed that ballot totals from the M650 were higher on June 5 than they should have been. The recount did not change the election, but it created questions about the reliability of the M650 system. Mitchell school board candidate Craig Guymon, who ran a distant third in the race for two available seats on the board, filed a complaint with the First Judicial Circuit Court in Mitchell on June 15, contesting the results of the school board election. Guymon said he doesn’t trust the inconsistent ballot counts generated by the M650 and asked the court for a hand count of ballots or a new election. Davison County Auditor Susan Kiepke said Tuesday that ES&S will not examine the county’s M650 computer logs for problems until the lawsuit is settled.
On June 5, while Davison County was having its vote-counting problems, M650 ballot counters were also causing headaches for Lincoln, Powell and Sanders counties in Montana, according to The Missoulian newspaper of Missoula, Mont. The most serious problem was in Lincoln County, Mont., where an M650 counter failed to correctly read one marked column of a ballot, resulting in incorrect counts. In Powell County, voters incorrectly marked their ballots with X’s, causing a machine miscount, and in Sanders County, misaligned sensors initially misread ballots, but technicians corrected the problem.
- St. Louis County voting snafu on ES&S iVotronics led to uncounted ballots | ksdk.com…
- GOP runoff in state Senate race headed for recount | The Republic
- Election recount under way in Davison County after voting machine glitch | The Republic
- Unscanned ballots tallied as problems investigated in Anchorage | Anchorage Daily News
- Anchorage Assembly Votes Against Independent Council To Investigate Election | alaskapublic.org…
Tens of thousands of military service members attempting to vote by absentee ballot in recent years haven’t had their votes counted because of various problems with the system, according to authorities that track voter participation. The Military Voter Protection Project, an organization founded by a Navy Reserve member who previously was a Justice Department lawyer, is promoting efforts to ensure that the votes of all military members are counted. “The problem has always existed, given the high degree of mobility of our fighting forces,” said Eric Eversole, founder and executive director of the Military Voter Protection Project, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. But the issue is a bigger concern during a presidential election year with a military force totaling more than 3 million, including active-duty and reserve forces.
In 2010, of the approximately 2 million military and overseas voters accounted for in data reported by the states to the Election Assistance Commission, only 4.6 percent of those voters were able to cast an absentee ballot that counted, according to the Military Voter Protection Project’s analysis of that data from the federal Election Assistance Commission, which tracks participation in voting. That compared with 5.5 percent in 2006, which was also a midterm election, the organization concluded. The overall national voter participation rate for the 2010 election was 41.6 percent, authorities said.
- Election board looks at online ballot marking | MarylandReporter.com…
- U.S. Vote Foundation web tool makes absentee voting easier | electionlineWeekly
- Judge halts federal attempt to block voter purge | MiamiHerald.com…
- Justice Department challenges Georgia on military, overseas ballots | ajc.com…
- DOJ: Runoff election dates violate federal law on military and overseas absentee ballots | The Republic
The Supreme Court has struck down a Montana ban on corporate political money, ruling 5 to 4 that the controversial 2010 Citizens United ruling applies to state and local elections. The court broke in American Tradition Partnership v. Bullock along the same lines as in the original Citizens United case, when the court ruled that corporate money is speech and thus corporations can spend unlimited amounts on elections. “The question presented in this case is whether the holding of Citizens United applies to the Montana state law,” the majority wrote. “There can be no serious doubt that it does.” No arguments were heard; it was a summary reversal. “To the extent that there was any doubt from the original Citizens United decision broadly applies to state and local laws, that doubt is now gone,” said Marc Elias, a Democratic campaign lawyer. “To whatever extent that door was open a crack, that door is now closed.”
A 1912 Montana law barred direct corporate contributions to political parties and candidates — a response to the election interference of “copper kings.” Mark Twain wrote of one such mining giant in 1907, Sen. William Clark (D), “He is said to have bought legislatures and judges as other men buy food and raiment. By his example he has so excused and so sweetened corruption that in Montana it no longer has an offensive smell.” The state supreme court upheld that ban late last year in spite of Citizens United, saying Montana’s history of “rough contests for political and economic domination” gave the state a “unique and compelling interests” in limiting corporate influence on elections.
Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer wanted the Montana case heard, arguing that Citizens United should get new scrutiny in the light of its effect on campaign finance. In his original decision, Justice Anthony Kennedy argued that independent campaign expenditures by corporations “do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.” Ginsberg argued that the Montana case was an opportunity to reconsider “in light of the huge sums currently deployed to buy candidates’ allegiance.” But today’s ruling shows that the five justices who supported the original ruling have not budged.
- Mystery of Citizens United Sequel Is Format, Not Ending – How Justices Rule May Be an Issue Itself | NYTimes.com…
- Senate Democrats Eye DISCLOSE Act Again | Roll Call
- Judge blocks more election rules | Independent Record
- The Uphill Battle Against Citizens United: Tricky Legal Terrain and No Easy Fixes | AlterNet
- Stephen Colbert’s Super PAC: Testing the Limits of Citizens United | TIME.com…
The Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi has officially won Egypt’s presidential election and will be the country’s next president, the electoral commission has announced. Morsi picked up 13.2 million votes out of just over 26 million, giving him about 51 per cent of the vote. His competitor, Ahmed Shafiq, the final prime minister under Hosni Mubarak, received 12.3 million. More than 800,000 ballots were invalidated. Farouq Sultan, the head of the election commission, delivered a long speech before announcing the results in which he defended the body’s “independence and integrity” amidst what he called meddling by unnamed political factions. The two candidates filed 456 complaints about the electoral process, Sultan said, most of them allegations of either forgery or Christian voters being blocked from polling stations in Upper Egypt. The vast majority of those complaints were dismissed.
Tahrir Square erupted into celebration after Morsi’s victory was announced. Tens of thousands of his supporters waved Egyptian flags and chanted “God is great” and “down with military rule.” Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, Egypt’s military ruler, congratulated Morsi on his victory, state television reported. Reactions also trickled in from around the region: The governments of Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and the Palestinian Authority congratulated the winner. There was no immediate reaction from Shafiq’s campaign.
Gehad el-Haddad, Morsi’s campaign spokesman, said in an interview shortly after the results were announced that Morsi would work to be a “president for all Egyptians.” The president-elect is expected to take his oath of office later this month in front of the country’s supreme court. The Muslim Brotherhood said in a statement that Morsi had resigned his positions in both the Brotherhood and its Freedom and Justice Party, fulfilling a campaign pledge.
- Mursi declared Egypt’s first civilian president, but military remains in control | Ahram Online
- Tension soars as Egypt awaits vote results | Boston.com…
- As election results delayed until Sunday, Egypt on edge | KansasCity.com…
- Election Results Delayed | WSJ.com…
- Islamist Declares Presidential Win, Rival Disputes | VoA News