A week after the US House voted to eliminate the Election Assistance Commissioners the remaining two Commissioners resigned and the acting Executive Director and Counsel were reassigned leaving what Rep. Gregg Harper calls a “Zombie Agency.” The Supreme Court agreed to hear a case related to Texas redistricting. Widespread accounts of election fraud led to protests and violonce in the Congo and in Russia. The Colorado Secretary of State wants to weaken voting system security. Errors on Sequoia Edge electronic voting machines have forced a recount in New Jersey. A aide to former MAryland Governor Robert Ehrlich was convicted of election fraud and a community leader in Wisconsin won’t be able to vote for the first time in 60 years because of the state’s new id requirements.
- National: EAC: Zombie Agency — Two Remaining Commissioners Resign One Year After Agency Loses Quorum | Rep. Gregg Harper Press Release
- Texas: High Court Halts New Texas Electoral Maps | NYTimes.com
- Congo: Election sparks violent protests | The Guardian
- Russia: Will Charges Of Election Fraud Prompt A ‘Russian Spring’? | Forbes
- Colorado: Voting machine security questioned | The Durango Herald
- New Jersey: Machine glitch on Sequoia Advantage leads to election recount in Wallington | NorthJersey.com
- Maryland: Robocall: Schurick guilty of election fraud | baltimoresun.com
- Wisconsin: Voter ID becomes law of unintended consequences — Local leader faces first election in 60 years without a right to vote | Wausau Daily Herald
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.
“The EAC, an obsolete agency that has long outlived its purpose, now has no commissioners, no executive director, and no general counsel. It is a zombie agency, lumbering forward lifelessly devouring taxpayer dollars.
“For months we have said the EAC is obsolete and unnecessary, which is why last week House Republicans voted to eliminate it and save taxpayers $33 million over five years. With every EAC position created by law now vacant, there is no justification to keep spending borrowed money on a hollow bureaucracy.”
Full Article: (10) EAC: ZOMBIE AGENCY.
- Republicans vote to end Election Assistance Commission, set up after Bush v. Gore – TheHill.com…
- House votes to end election commission | The Hill
- The GOP’s War on Voting Comes to Washington | Mother Jones
- House Votes to End Presidential Campaign Fund and Election Assistance Commission | Roll Call News
- Election Assistance Commission Releases Survey of Internet Voting | EAC
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.
The maps issued by the judges appeared to give Democrats a greater chance of winning seats in the state House and Senate than did the plans approved by those bodies and signed into law by Gov. Rick Perry.
In addition, the court-drawn congressional map ensured minorities made up the majority in three additional Texas congressional districts, an outcome the judges said better reflected the growth in the state’s Hispanic population.
Full Article: High Court Halts New Texas Electoral Maps — NYTimes.com….
- John Tanner: Why voter ID won’t fly in Texas | statesman.com…
- Supreme Court Will Hear Texas Redistricting Cases | Election Law Blog
- Supreme Court weighs GOP appeal over Texas election map | latimes.com…
- Voting Rights and Texas | NYTimes.com…
- Texas Voter ID law approval hits new snag | Postcards
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.
Kabila, 40, came to power in 2001 when his father, Laurent, who had ousted dictator Mobutu Sese Seko, was shot dead by a bodyguard. Friday’s result means the canny political strategist will extend his reign to at least 15 years.
“The electoral commission notes that the candidate Joseph Kabila has achieved a majority with, 8,880,944 votes, or 48.97% of votes cast,” said commission head Daniel Ngoy Mulunda. A total of 18.14 million ballots were cast.
In a tightly controlled pro-Kabila downtown district of Kinshasa near the election commission, people hung out of balconies cheering at the results. A woman danced in the street. Police in riot gear stood to attention in their trucks. In the Limite neighbourhood, where Tshisekedi lives, the mood was dark. “This is a total disaster,” Fabien Bukasa, a Tshisekedi supporter, told the Associated Press. “We are thinking about what to do. We do not know what will happen.”
- DRC on a knife edge as vote result looms | Times LIVE
- Election results to be announced | AlJazeera
- Election Results Delayed Again | VoA News
- President Nears Election Victory | WSJ.com…
- Opposition rejects early presidential vote results | Reuters
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?
This week, after people around the world witnessed what seems to be evidence of massive electoral fraud that helped Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party win 49% of the seats in Duma, Russia’s lower house of Parliament, The head of Central Election Committee, Vladimir Churov, publicly accused Russia’s citizens of faking electoral fraud videos and flooding the internet with innuendo in order to sabotage an honest Parliamentary elections.
While it’s possible that one of the opposition parties — such as LDPR, Yabloko, or the Communist Party — has fabricated some videos of stuffed ballot boxes and produced them at home studios, it is also possible that all of the pictures, videos, blogposts that expressing great frustration, are authentic, and Russians have documented real electoral fraud.
As a result, the conversation has begun and the international community, long skeptical of Russia’s para-democracy, including an alleged Kremlin-controlled media, is now talking. Mikhail Gorbachev, a former Soviet General Secretary, lately very critical of Putin’s government, called for new elections. This outburst of citizen journalism, has brought out the people’s anger and unhappiness, suppressed over the past twelve years of Putin’s government. It seems like Russia doesn’t desire Putin as much as he would like it to appear.
- Tens of Thousands Protest in Moscow, Russia, in Defiance of Putin | NYTimes.com…
- Russian election: Biggest protests since fall of USSR | BBC News
- Crowds gather for Moscow protests | BBC News
- Protests continue in Moscow, as Gorbachev calls for nullifying elections | The Washington Post
- Social media makes anti-Putin protests snowball | Reuters
Secretary of State Scott Gessler wants to make it easier for counties to comply with rules for electronic voting machines, but watchdogs say the changes increase the risk of hackers stealing an election. Gessler will hold a meeting today to discuss the changes, but plaintiffs in a 2006 lawsuit that led to the decertification of several voting machines did not wait to let loose with criticism.
Jeff Sherman, an Iraq veteran who worked on democracy-building in that country, said he is dismayed U.S. elections are vulnerable to fraud through voting machines. “We have a system that is a light to the world. I think it does all of us a disservice when there are questions about elections,” Sherman said.
Colorado has not had any known instance of election-hacking, but Sherman’s lawyer, Paul Hultin, cited an exercise by Argonne National Laboratory in which scientists hacked into a voting machine from half a mile away using cheap, off-the-shelf equipment.
Gessler’s spokesman, Rich Coolidge, said Gessler hopes critics attend today’s meeting, which is just a first step to discuss rule changes.
“We hope these individuals plan to attend and share their input. The purpose of this effort is to provide clarity for the counties to promote a uniform application of the laws, while preserving the security measures already in place,” Coolidge said in an email.
Proposed changes include different requirements for tamper-proof seals on the machines and optional inspections by the secretary of state of county maintenance logs instead of mandatory inspections. Currently, election judges who notice a broken seal on a machine must report it to the secretary of state. Gessler would allow county clerks to handle the investigation.
And the 10-page instruction manual the county clerks must follow to use the machines would be condensed to three to five pages.
- Researchers hack e-voting system for US presidential elections | Macworld UK
- Machine glitch on Sequoia Advantage leads to election recount in Wallington | NorthJersey.com…
- Secretary of State proposing changes to voting machine security making the already-vulnerable equipment more susceptible to hacking | The Denver Post
- Some challenge Colorado voting machine rule proposal | The Pueblo Chieftain
- Microsoft Research Proposes E-Voting Attack Mitigation | threatpost
There will be a recount in the Wallington Council election. Wallington council candidate Kevin O’Reilly petitioned the Superio Court of Bergen County for a recount after he ran for a seat on the council and lost by a margin of 21 votes to Councilman-Elect Roman Kruk. Kruk received 1,017 votes to O’Reilly’s 996.
O’Reilly petitioned the court on Nov. 28 for a recount due to a machine glitch that occurred in Wallington District Number Three. On the night of the election, one of the voting machines located at the Park Row Firehouse didn’t print out the voting results due to the machine breaking down. To make up for the broken machine, the votes were counted by hand and verbal consent. After hearing his case for the recount, the court ruled due to the mistake in the voting machine, a recount is in order that will take place on Dec. 8.
“I petitioned the court for a recount because I figured with the machine breakdown a recount is in order,” said O’Reilly. “Truth be told I don’t know if it is going to change anything but I think due to the close nature of the race, a recount seems in order.” Kruk does not mind the recount taking place.
“I have heard about the recount and I have nothing against it,” he said. “It is Mr. O’Reilly’s right to have a recount take place. I would have probably done the same thing.”
The election also saw residents re-elect Mayor Walter Wargacki to his sixth term over Councilman Ken Kanter by a count of 1,132 to 990. The office of mayor carries a four-year term. In addition, residents elected Republican Izabela Bacza (1,074 votes) to the council.
- Indian Voting Machines With Paper Trails to Be Field-tested | PCWorld
- Voting machine security questioned | The Durango Herald
- How A Recount Works in Virginia Politics | fredericksburg.patch.com…
- Microsoft Research Proposes E-Voting Attack Mitigation | threatpost
- South Jersey voting-machine incident makes waves | Philadelphia Inquirer
A Baltimore jury Tuesday found Paul Schurick, former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.‘s campaign manager, guilty of election fraud and related charges for his role in an Election Day 2010 robocall. The jury found Schurick guilty on all four counts, including election fraud and failing to include an Ehrlich campaign authorization line on the calls. After the verdict was read, Schurick clutched his wife, who burst into tears.
Prosecutors said the call, which was made as Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley swept to a re-election victory, was designed to suppress black votes. Schurick maintained a solemn face after the hearing, comforted distraught family members and friends and declined to comment on the verdict. His attorney, A. Dwight Pettit, called himself “disappointed” and vowed to appeal on First Amendment grounds that the call was protected, political speech. “The attempt for the state to regulate political speech is unconstitutional,” he said.
Outside Clarence M. Mitchell Jr. Courthouse in Baltimore, State Prosecutor Emmet C. Davitt said he hopes the jury’s decision “sends a message” to political campaigns to clean up their acts.
“This type of behavior has always existed, but it seems like it’s … becoming more of a problem,” Davitt said. “We certainly respect the First Amendment, but the courts have made clear … that the First Amendment does not protect fraudulent speech. Clearly that was the case here. It wasn’t just political speech. It was fraudulent speech.”
Schurick and his defense team had portrayed the robocall as a mistake — a hastily designed plan to bolster “crossover” black votes for Ehrlich — and used prominent politicians from both parties to vouch for his character.
“We made a faux pas,” defense attorney A. Dwight Pettit said in his closing statement Monday. “That’s not criminal. That’s evidence of somebody who made a political misjudgment, a political faux pas, a political mistake.”
- Ex-Ehrlich campaign manager Schurick convicted in robocall case | The Washington Post
- Prosecutors: GOP ‘robocall’ plan to suppress black votes hatched on hectic Election Day | baltimoresun.com…
- Robocall Trial Gives Rare Glimpse Behind Slimy, Election-Day Tactic | NPR
- Will Charges Of Election Fraud Prompt A ‘Russian Spring’? | Forbes
- Case May Discourage Political Dirty Tricks | NPR
Ruthelle Frank was born on Aug. 21, 1927, in her home in Brokaw. It was a hard birth; there were complications. A doctor had to come up from Wausau to see that she and her mother made it through. Frank ended up paralyzed on the left side of her body. To this day, she walks with a shuffle and doesn’t have much use of one arm.
Her mother recorded her birth in the family Bible. Frank still has it. A few months later, when Ruthelle was baptized, her mother got a notarized certificate of baptism. She still has that document, too. What she never had — and in 84 years, never needed — was a birth certificate.
But without a birth certificate, Frank cannot get a state ID card. And without a state ID card, according to Wisconsin’s new voter ID law, she won’t be able to vote next year. A diminutive, fiery woman who has voted in every election since 1948 and is an elected official herself, Frank finds the prospect of being turned away from the polls infuriating.
“It’s really crazy,” she said this week, sitting at her kitchen table with evidence of her identity spread out before her — the baptism certificate, a Social Security card, a Medicare statement, a checkbook. “I’ve got all this proof. You mean to tell me that I’m not a U.S. citizen? That I don’t live at 123 First St. in Brokaw? “It’s just stupid.”
- Voter ID Catch-22: Need photo ID to get birth certificate to get photo ID? | Dane101
- New voter ID requirements anger voter without birth certificate | Green Bay Press Gazette
- Attorney General: Local Voter ID laws unconstitutional | NC Policy Watch
- Disenfranchise No More | NYTimes.com…
- Texas Voter ID law approval hits new snag | Postcards