After the violent overthrow of Muammar Quaddafi last year, Libya holds it’s first elections in over 40 years this weekend. In a decision praised by advocates for American voters abroad, the Federal Voting Assistance Program has agreed not to enforce a requirement for voters requesting absentee ballots to state categorically that they either intend to stay abroad indefinitely or not. Michaigan’s Republican Governor Rick Snyder vetoes three bills that would have placed restrictions on voters and voter registration drives. Rep. Charlie Rangel survived a recount in his New York primary, but his opponent has threatened legal action alleging irregularities. Returning to their previous policy, the Oklahoma Election Board has decided to do all programming in house after a software error marred a special election this Spring. The chief Pennsylvania election administrator says a comparison of registration lists and state Transportation Department records showed 758,939 people don’t have either a driver’s license or an alternative state ID. The Wisconsin recall elections came to a close with the completion of a recount that confirmed the shift in control of the State Senate and Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party was returned to power amid allegations of vote buying, election tampering and calls for a recount.
- Libya: After 40 years of Qaddafi, Libya holds elections | CBS News
- National: Pentagon Reverses Course on American Voters Living Abroad | NYTimes.com
- Michigan: Snyder vetoes controversial voter ID, registration bills | The Detroit News
- New York: Rangel opponent files for re-vote in increasingly tight primary | The Washington Post
- Oklahoma: Election Board says software to blame for errors in primary | Tulsa World
- Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania Voter ID Law May Bar 9% – Over 750,000 – From Presidential Election | Businessweek
- Wisconsin: Recount confirms Democrat wins Senate recall election | Leader-Telegram
- Mexico: Peña Nieto claims victory in Mexico elections | guardian.co.uk
Abdel-Hakim Belhaj is a former rebel commander and a jihadist who once fought the Russians in Afghanistan. More recently, he has replaced his camouflaged fatigues with a business suit and founded an Islamist political party that is among the front-runners ahead of Saturday’s parliamentary election. It is the first significant step in Libya’s tumultuous transition toward democracy after more than 40 years under Muammar Qaddafi’s repressive rule. The campaign posters plastering the capital Tripoli are in sharp contrast to the decades in which Qaddafi banned political parties and considered democracy a form of tyranny. He governed with his political manifesto the “Green Book,” which laid out his vision for rule by the people but ultimately bestowed power in his hands alone. But Saturday’s election, in which 2.8 million Libyans are eligible to vote, follows a ruinous civil war that laid bare regional, tribal and ethnic conflicts and left the country divided nine months after Qaddafi was captured and killed by rebel forces in his home city of Sirte.
While many Libyans hoped the oil-rich North African nation of 6 million would thrive and become a magnet for investment, a virtual collapse in authority has left formidable challenges. Unruly militias operate independently and deepening regional and tribal divisions erupt into violence with alarming frequency. Human rights groups have documented reports of widespread torture and killings of detainees.
The vote also will be a test of the strength of Islamist parties, which have gained influence in Libya and other nations following the ouster of secular regimes run by strongmen like Qaddafi and Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak. Groups vying for power range from the politically savvy Muslim Brotherhood to the ultraconservative Salafis and former jihadists. Flush with money, the Brotherhood’s Justice and Construction party has led one of the best organized and most visible election campaigns. Young men and women in white shirts bearing the party’s name and symbol — the horse — go door-to-door introducing candidates and canvassing votes across Tripoli.
Full Article: After 40 years of Qaddafi, Libya holds elections – CBS News.
- Algeria’s election: Still waiting for real democracy | The Economist
- Election Commission Allows Ahmed Shafiq, Mubarak’s PM, Back In Race | Huffington Post
- Morsi wins Egypt’s presidential election | Al Jazeera
- Brotherhood candidate registers for presidency | BBC News
- Pentagon Reverses Course on American Voters Living Abroad | NYTimes.com…
Responding to the vocal concerns of American expatriates, the Pentagon agency responsible for overseas voting has agreed not to enforce a requirement for voters requesting absentee ballots to state categorically that they either intend to stay abroad indefinitely or not. In a separate development, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service said that it would make it easier for American citizens abroad who have not been filing tax returns — some from ignorance of new requirements — to meet their legal obligations if they owe little or no taxes. Expatriate groups applauded both developments. They had been fighting the ballot requirement, saying its black-or-white language could put overseas Americans in an untenable position and might dissuade some from voting. The groups have also complained about tough — and they say sometimes unfair — new I.R.S. enforcement of tax laws for those living abroad. Susan Dzieduszycka-Suinat, who heads the nonpartisan Overseas Vote Foundation, called the Pentagon’s decision “a huge win for overseas citizens” and praised the agency for responding to voters’ concerns.
The Pentagon unit, the Federal Voter Assistance Program, serves both military voters and overseas civilians. It had said that its new Federal Post Card Application form — which is used to register to vote and request an absentee ballot — would require civilians abroad to stipulate either that “I intend to return” to the United States or “I do not intend to return.” Many expatriates expressed consternation. Some said they had no idea whether they would ever return. Still others complained that declaring an intent to return might subject them wrongly to state taxes. Expatriates said they faced an uneasy choice of answering untruthfully or simply not voting. The Pentagon agency had said that the change could not be revoked.
But in an e-mail Friday to expatriate groups, the agency’s acting director, Pam Mitchell, said she had received clearance to offer both the old and newer versions of the voting form. It came after five members of Congress, including Representative Carolyn Maloney, the New York Democrat who heads the Americans Abroad Caucus, wrote the defense secretary, Leon E. Panetta, asking for the old form to remain available. “No eligible voter should be faced with the unjust, unnecessary and improper choice between misleading their government and participating in our democratic system,” the June 21 letter said.
- New Pew Report Details Progress on Military, Overseas Voting | Doug Chapin/PEEA
- Tens of thousands of service members’ votes not counted | TheState.com…
- Federal bill would simplify absentee voting for troops | Army Times
- Election clerks once again miss federal absentee ballot deadline | Wisconsin Reporter
- Rangel opponent files for re-vote in increasingly tight primary | The Washington Post
Gov. Rick Snyder on Tuesday vetoed three election law bills pushed by Republican legislators seeking to require a ballot box affirmation of citizenship, restrict voter registration drives and require photo ID for obtaining an absentee ballot. Snyder said he vetoed the absentee ballot bill, House Bill 5061, because it would not let an absentee ballot count if the person did not affirm their citizenship by the close of the polls on an Election Day. ”I am concerned (the bill) could create voter confusion among absentee voters,” Snyder wrote in a veto letter to legislators. The Republican governor’s use of his veto pen won rare praise from Democrats, labor unions and other liberal special interest groups.
The Rev. Charles Williams II, who led a raucous protest against the bills during a House committee meeting in May, predicted more civility would come from Snyder’s veto of the bills. ”I think it’s a step toward removing the divisive nature of partisan politics in the state of Michigan,” said Williams, pastor of King Solomon Baptist Church in Detroit and president of National Action Network. Under Senate Bill 754, lawmakers wanted to require third-party groups like the League of Women Voters who have been registering people to vote for decades to get mandatory training by the Secretary of State’s office or county election clerks. But Snyder said the bill “may cause confusion with regard to voter registration efforts” and he vetoed the bill.
Susan Smith, president League of Women Voters of Michigan, said her group was “thrilled” by the governor’s decision. ”The league is very pleased that the governor has listened to the League and other third-party organizations who register voters in understanding that it’s extremely important that we offer opportunities for all citizens in our state to register to vote,” Smith told The Detroit News.
- Fight back against restrictive voting laws | Lawrence Norden/CNN.com
- A Case Study in How Kris Kobach’s Cabal Aims to Remake Election Law | The Nation
- Vetoing Voter ID Is the (Historically) Republican Thing to Do | The Nation
- Michigan Governor Snyder vetoes election bills | Michigan Radio
- Voter Suppression Returns: Voting rights and partisan practices | Alexandar Keyssar/Harvard Magazine
What at one point looked like a big primary night victory for Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) has gradually become a close race — enough so that Rangel’s opponent is now filing for a possible do-over election. State Sen. Adriano Espaillat this week filed with the state Supreme Court seeking either a recount or a highly unusual redo of his June 26 primary with Rangel. Espaillat has lodged accusations of voter suppression and has pointed to faulty administration and vote-counting by New York City elections officials. The race appeared over and done last Tuesday night, with Rangel holding a double-digit lead in early returns. He delivered a victory speech, and Espaillat conceded. As the night wore on, though, Espaillat closed the gap significantly, and a continuing manual counting of the ballots now has Rangel up just 802 votes out of nearly 40,000 cast. A couple thousand absentee ballots still have yet to be counted.
At this point, Espaillat is fighting what is very much an uphill battle, and it’s unlikely he’ll overtake the 42-year incumbent, who has suffered from ethics charges and a redistricting process that made his district majority-Hispanic (Espaillat is Dominican-American). But emerging questions about the vote-counting process are keeping the state senator in the game.
Barring the uncovering of some previously uncounted or miscounted votes, Espaillat is not going to creep much closer than the 2 percent margin he currently trails by. While 800 votes doesn’t sound like much, it’s a lot in a low-turnout primary, and in basically every state, it’s well outside the margin under which a candidate can even ask for a recount, much less a re-vote. A re-vote is much rarer and would require two things, according to a Wall Street Journal report: 1) That there is significant evidence of some kind of irregularity, and 2) That the irregularity could be enough to swing the result of the election.
- Inside a Possible Rangel-Espaillat Rematch | WSJ
- Latino Groups Call for Probe of Rangel Race | Fox News
- Troubling actions by New York City Board of Elections members | NY Daily News
- Rangel Primary Lead Grows During First Day Of Paper Ballot Count | NY1.com…
- Voter Suppression Returns: Voting rights and partisan practices | Alexandar Keyssar/Harvard Magazine
After a glitch in reporting the June 26 primary election results, the Oklahoma State Election Board has decided to no longer use a subcontractor to report election results on its website, board Secretary Paul Ziriax said Tuesday. The June 26 primary election results initially were incorrectly reported on the agency’s website, causing about a two-hour delay in getting the right numbers posted. The software initially was indicating that some precincts had fully reported, when in fact they had not been fully reported, Ziriax said. He called the errors an “isolated vendor software glitch at the website.” The actual vote totals reported were correct, Ziriax said. “I am 100 percent confident the tabulation occurred correctly,” he said.
The agency will no longer use the subcontractor and will perform the website reporting function inhouse — something it did between 1996 and 2011, Ziriax said. “We are going to get it fixed and make sure it doesn’t happen again,” he said. The June 26 primary election was the fourth election conducted with the state’s new voting machines, Ziriax said. The State Election Board certified the results of the election on Tuesday.
- Investigation finds missing ballots accounted for in HD 71 race | NewsOK.com…
- Software glitch blamed for delays in reporting election results | NewsOK.com…
- Paper ballots return to Alexandria | The Washington Post
- Mock elections prepare voters for new machines, laws – counties test-run in anticipation of big election year | electionlineWeekly
- New voting machines are coming, but Oklahoma voters may not notice a difference | Tulsa World
Three-quarters of a million Pennsylvanians may be denied a chance to vote in November unless they can come up with an acceptable form of identification, a tally released by the state suggests. In a move lawmakers said would deter fraud at the polls, the Republican-led Legislature passed a law in March requiring voters to have a photo ID to obtain a ballot. A comparison of registration lists and state Transportation Department records showed 758,939 people don’t have either a driver’s license or an alternative state ID, the secretary of the commonwealth said.
Backed by Governor Tom Corbett, a Republican, the law was enacted as similar measures in Republican-led states drew criticism from Democrats who say they disenfranchise minority, poor and young voters. Those groups have tended to support Democrats. A voter ID law in Texas has been blocked by the U.S. Justice Department, while in Florida, which also has a photo ID requirement, federal officials have sued to halt state attempts to bar non-citizens from voting.
“There is a real risk that poor people and minority voters, among others, will be discouraged from participating,” said Daniel Tokaji, who teaches at Ohio State University’s law school in Columbus and helps direct its election-law center. “These laws are likely to have a greater impact on Democratic- leaning groups of voters. It’s pretty obvious that’s why Democrats oppose these laws, and Republicans support them.”
- How Voter ID Laws Are Being Used to Disenfranchise Minorities and the Poor | Andrew Cohen/The Atlantic
- State bracing for legal battle against feds over voter ID law | Houston Chronicle
- Texas voter ID case is in no way simple or easy | Fort Worth Star Telegram
- Voter ID bill signed, awaits feds’ scrutiny | Houston Chronicle
- Voter ID bill gets final approval in Mississippi House | SunHerald.com…
A recount has concluded Democrat John Lehman defeated incumbent Republican Van Wanggaard in last month’s state Senate recall races. An official canvas following the June 5 elections showed Lehman leading Wanggaard by 834 votes out of nearly 72,000 ballots cast in Racine County’s 21st Senate District. A Lehman victory would give Democrats a one-seat majority in the Senate. Wanggaard requested a recount, but final tallies from the Racine County clerk’s office Monday showed Lehman with 36,358 votes and Wanggaard with 35,539, a difference of 819 votes.
A Lehman win would hand Democrats a one-seat majority in the Senate. But his victory isn’t official until the state Government Accountability Board certifies the results and Wanggaard campaign officials have hinted they may challenge the final count in court.
- Democrat defeats GOP senator in recall recount | Wausau Daily Herald
- Senate recall recount nearing an end | TwinCities.com…
- Senate race tightens by handful of votes in recount | Journal Times
- Some voters didn’t sign poll books, but state officials say votes do count in Wisconsin recall recount | Journal Times
- More Election Snafus Reported in Recall Election Recount | Caledonia, WI Patch
Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary party (PRI) is poised to regain the power it lost 12 years ago after seven decades in charge of the country. The official quick count of a large sample of polling stations announced late on Sunday gave the PRI’s candidate, Enrique Peña Nieto, around 38% of the vote and a lead of around seven percentage points over his nearest rival. ”This Sunday Mexico won”, Peña Nieto said at his party’s headquarters in the capital to the strains of a popular mariachi song, accompanied by his soap opera star wife and children. “Mexico voted for change with direction,” he added. During his speech, the slick, telegenic former governor of the country’s most populous state was at pains to address fears that the return of the PRI would mean a return to the periodic authoritarianism, corruption and corporatist hubris that had characterised the party’s political hegemony for most of the last century. ”Mine will be a democratic presidency. We are a new generation and there will not be a return to the past,” he said. “In today’s plural and democratic Mexico everybody has a place.”
The candidate also had words of recognition for the students who shook up the electoral campaign with a movement that rejected his candidacy as a step back in the country’s fledgling democracy, and focused attention on alleged bias in his favour by the mass media.
Peña Nieto spoke shortly after his nearest rival in the quick count, Andrés Manuel López Obrador of the leftwing Party of Democratic Revolution (PRD), told his supporters he would wait until he had “all the information” before stating his formal position. The count gave him around 31% of the vote. ”The last word has not been spoken,” López Obrador said.
- Mexico elections: why boring is good | Financial Times
- Back to the future: Mexico’s presidential election | The Economist
- Mexican vote recount confirms Pena Nieto win | Reuters
- Inconsistencies Prompt Recount In Mexico’s Elections | International Business Times
- Lopez Obrador asking for presidential recount | Reuters