A proposal to require Iowa voters to produce identification at polling places appears unlikely to become law this year. House File 95 went to the Senate State Government Committee after being passed by the House in January. Because it failed to win the panel’s approval by Friday’s deadline for committee action, it’s unlikely the bill will advance any further this year. “It’s dead,” said Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz, who made voter identification a cornerstone of his 2010 election campaign. “Unfortunately, something that is a commonsense issue has somehow become partisan,” the Council Bluffs Republican told The World-Herald. Schultz and other bill supporters have said that requiring voters to show identification is a way to prevent voter fraud. Others said such efforts are a way to reduce voter turnout. County auditors run elections in Iowa, and the Iowa State Association of County Auditors opposed the bill. Read More
With voter ID laws popping up in Republican-controlled statehouses across the country, could a federal bill be far off? According to data from the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, at least 27 state-level voter ID bills — fromAlaska and Arizona to Wisconsin and West Virginia — have been proposed in recent months. “It’s unbelievable, probably half the states in the country have bills in play and more than a dozen are seriously in the pipeline,” Tova Wang of the left-leaning think tank Demos told TPM in an interview. “It’s really unprecedented in terms of geographic scope. I’ve never seen anything like it certainly since I’ve been working on voting rights issues that voter suppression bills would be introduced in so many places at the same time.” “Definitely students are a target here. It’s totally clear to me that you saw in 2008 this unprecedented historic turnout among African-Americans, Latinos and young people — and those happen to be the exact groups of people that are being targeted by these laws to disenfranchise them, and that’s really sad,” Wang said. Wang said the most restrictive bills are in Ohio and Wisconsin, which Wang said require identification issued by the DMV. “Perhaps most interestingly, it doesn’t even include student ID even from schools that are public universities,” she said. Full Article
It’s hard for overseas servicemen and -women to vote back home in Alabama, but bills in the House and Senate will change that, the sponsor of a Senate bill said. The Senate by a 30-1 margin on Thursday approved a bill by Sen. Gerald Dial, R-Lineville, to create a 13-member Alabama Electronic Overseas Voting AdvisoryCommittee. The committee would determine whether secure electronic absentee voting can be developed for Alabamians living and working overseas on election days. The secretary of state would have to establish, test and implement absentee overseas balloting by secure electronic means. Dial, a retired officer in the Alabama National Guard, said his bill expands how members of the armed forces and citizens temporarily living overseas would be able to vote in local, state and national elections. “While Alabama’s men and women in uniform are protecting our freedom across the world, it’s important that we defend their right to vote here at home,” Dial said in a statement. Read More
A bill designed by Secretary of State Scott Gessler and sponsored by Rep. Chris Holbert, R-Parker, to ensure the integrity of the Colorado voting system is being called a means to reduce voter participation by voters’ rights advocates. Gessler said his bill fixes what he sees as a serious problem of ineligible voters on the voter rolls. The bill would give the secretary of state the authority to check names on voter registration lists against state and federal records that provide information on immigration status. In those cases where the secretary of state’s office determines that there is enough information to believe a person is not eligible to vote, the person would be given 90 days to provide evidence they are eligible. Individuals could prove their citizenship by showing photocopies of a passport, birth certificate, naturalization papers or through other methods. For those who could not afford a birth certificate the secretary of state’s office would provide the necessary funds. “This should have been done four years ago during the special session,” Holbert told the committee. However, Rep. Lois Court, D-Denver, said she would like to see evidence that non-citizens have participated in voter fraud and said she did not see a reason to tackle a problem that had not been proven to exist. Jenny Flanagan, executive director for Colorado Common Cause, told the Colorado Independent the bill went one step too far. “This is just another attempt to limit people’s participation in the vote,” Flanagan said. ”It is in the guise of an integrity measure, but it is really anything but.” She said the bill likely violated constitutional voting rights. Read More
Republican state lawmakers say they have removed the photo requirement from a bill that would make voters show ID in order to cast a ballot. The latest draft eliminates language that would require a photo ID. Instead, individuals would now be allowed to use a county-issued voter registration card or documents such as a utility bill or bank statement. Bill co-sponsor Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett, said lawmakers have made great progress in working with all of the interested parties. “We’ve tried to address those concerns to make sure that we can increase the amount of progress voters have in the elections process while at the same time making sure that everyone entitled to vote gets to vote.” Still, many opponents said removing photo requirement didn’t change their view on the overall bill. Members of the North Carolina Legislative Black Caucus held a press conference to highlight the group’s concerns that the legislation will disenfranchise seniors, students and minorities. Read More
“Thirty-eight counties have spoken,” said Rep. Sam Hunt, D-Olympia. “This will bring the 39th county into line.” Hunt has been trying to bring Pierce County into line for three years. Each year, Sen. Rosa Franklin persuaded enough of her colleagues to vote no. But Franklin retired. And last week, the House decided to end poll voting in Washington – really in Pierce County. An era will pass unless Gov. Chris Gregoire vetoes the bill, an unlikely event. It’s bad enough that state lawmakers decided local choice is good for all but those who live in Pierce County. What’s more disturbing is how some Pierce County lawmakers helped it happen. Bluntly stated, without the votes of nine local legislators, the bill would have failed. SB 5124, which cleared the Senate 26-23, wouldn’t have passed if Steve Conway (Franklin’s replacement), Debbie Regala and Derek Kilmer, all Democrats, hadn’t supported it. Four other local senators – Democrat Jim Kastama and Republicans Mike Carrell, Randi Becker and Pam Roach – supported local choice. Read More
Voters in Harrison County will no longer have the option of using electronic machines as of the fall election. The Harrison County Commission approved buying the new AutoMark voting machines today. There will be one machine at each precinct and they will take the place of the current strictly electronic machines. County clerk Susan Thomas wanted these machines because people weren’t comfortable with the former strictly electronic machines. “A lot of voters look at me and say, if I have to use an electronic machine, I will not vote,” she explains. Commission Mike Romano says he has heard that too. “We have, just over the past few years since we’ve adopted electronic voting, had a tremendous number of complaints on these paperless electronic voting boxes that don’t give people a record or the ability to review who exactly they voted for,” he says. Read More
The future of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) is very much in doubt. After suffering budget cuts in a recent continuing resolution, the EAC now faces skepticism about its very existence (as my colleague Andreas Westgaard noted last week) from the new U.S. House Elections Subcommittee Chairman, Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.)
Harper has already introduced H.R.672, a bill which would terminate the EAC 60 days after enactment and transfer some of its functions to other agencies. Under the Harper bill, voting machine testing and certification would move from the EAC to the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Similarly, the EAC’s mandated reports under the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) and the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) would revert to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), as would responsibility for pilot studies of voting technology for military and overseas voters. While its prospects for enactment are uncertain given the current divided partisan control on Capitol Hill, the Harper bill presents a welcome opportunity for Congress and the larger election community to reassess the costs and benefits of the election administration infrastructure that was enacted as part of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA). In making that assessment, there will be lots of attention on EAC programs that aren’t working well – or at all – and can thus be transferred or jettisoned entirely. Yet it will also be crucial to identify those programs which are working and thus should be retained and even strengthened. Read More
“Egypt’s Ministry of Telecommunications is ready to provide electronic balloting in the forthcoming parliamentary, presidential and municipal polls to help ease the process of democratic change in the country and reduce the chances of rigging”, Minister of Telecommunications Maged Osman said in press remarks. He added that the telecommunications sector is available to all and will facilitate Egypt’s transition to democracy in the near future. He pointed out that the telecommunications sector will also lead campaigns to raise the political awareness of Egyptians during this transitional period. “This sector played a vital role in the Revolution,” he stressed. He also pointed to the important role played by information technology in political reform through electronic voting in the upcoming elections, stressing that he commissioned his aids to start broad social dialogue mulling how best to help Egyptian voters abroad and at home to vote electronically.
With just two days left for Assembly elections, 900 of the 1,161 EVM machines are not working in south Assam’s Cachar district, officials said today.The faulty electronic voting machines (EVM) were displaying ‘low battery’ as their expiry date was July 2010, they said.Though the EVM’s had July 2010 as the expiry date a label pasted on top put it as August 2012, they said.The problem was discovered when the EVMs were opened and tested before the polling agents as instructed by the Election Commission, they said.Four engineers of the company which supplied the EVMs had arrived from Kolkata and were trying since yesterday to rectify the problem, officials said.”The engineers are working. We hope to solve the problem within a short time,” Cachar district Returning officer Harendra Kumar Deb Mahanta told PTI.Meanwhile, polling personnel for the remote areas of the district had proceeded to their destinations with the remaining EVMs, they said.The remaining would go after the repair of the faulty EVMs.
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