The state’s investigation into vote irregularities in Waukesha County will stretch back at least five years, the head of the Government Accountability Board said Thursday. Questions over vote totals in Waukesha have lingered over the past week after County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus announced she failed to report more than 14,000 votes from the city of Brookfield in initial vote totals. The new total gave incumbent Supreme Court Justice David Prosser a lead of about 7,000 votes over challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg in the hotly contested state Supreme Court race. Official results in that race have not yet been announced. Now questions have emerged over Nickolaus’ published vote counts from as far back as the fall of 2006, when there were key statewide elections including races for governor and attorney general. “This is part of what we’re looking into. We have a lot of complaints,” said Kevin Kennedy, the director and general counsel for GAB. “It’s part of our investigation.” Kennedy said the board’s current priority is determining the integrity of numbers reported in this spring’s election but added investigators are reviewing broader questions about Nickolaus and vote counting. Full Article
An Election Commission committee on Friday asked Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) manufacturers the time-frame within which the machines can be upgraded as per its suggestions. The high level technical committee has suggested some up-gradations including installing a small printer in EVMs as reported by HT on Friday, to give out receipts for every vote cast. The idea is to have a record of all the votes that can be verified. The voter, however, will not get the receipt as the commission believes it could be traded. The concept is called paper trail of votes cast. The committee asked the two EVM manufacturing companies, Bharat Electronics Limited and Electronics Corporation of India Limited, to come out with a roadmap to introduce paper trail in 14 lakh EVMs. Read More
A measure that makes it clear a voter’s intent takes precedence when casting a write-in vote has passed the Legislature and now goes to the governor for signature. Senate Bill 31, sponsored by Sen. Joe Thomas of Fairbanks, grew out of the 2010 U.S. Senate race. Fairbanks attorney Joe Miller beat incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski in the August primary so Murkowski launched a write-in campaign and came back to defeat Miller in the November general election. But Miller challenged thousands of write-in ballots on the grounds that the voter didn’t write her name exactly as it appeared in election paperwork. Miller tried to invalidate ballots with minor misspellings and even those where the voter had dotted an i with a smiley face or a heart. Read More
For more than a decade, lawmakers have been tweaking election rules to improve on Florida’s ham-fisted history of counting ballots. This year, an election law rewrite is moving through the state House that voter-rights activists have assailed as “good old-fashioned voter suppression” and “Jim Crow tactics.” The legislation was described as a cleanup bill in advance of the 2012 elections that is “important to ensure the integrity of the political process and our elections in Florida,” said sponsor Dennis Baxley, a Republican from Ocala. House Bill 1355 is a sweeping, 151-page election rewrite, and on Thursday, the House State Affairs Committee tossed in a provision creating a committee to hash out Florida’s presidential primary election date. But it was the dozens of changes to election law in the meat of the bill that outraged a slew of voter rights activists who unsuccessfully urged the committee to reject the bill. A key provision would prohibit voters from updating their name and address at their polling place on Election Day, which is allowed under current law. Such voters would have to cast a provisional ballot, which is singled out for review of a voter’s eligibility. Typically, half of such ballots are rejected. Opponents said the new strategy would place a burden on those who move during the year — especially students — and on women who marry or divorce and change their names. Read More
A House committee approved a bill Thursday that would require people to show a photo ID before they can vote, and with Republicans in control in the Legislature, the bill has a stronger chance of passing than in years past. Despite Republicans in the Minnesota House and Senate looking at significant spending cuts to erase the state’s $5 billion projected budget deficit, the voter ID bill appears to be one area where they’re willing to spend more money. A fiscal analysis says it will cost the state roughly $5 million over the next two years. Democrats say that’s too expensive as lawmakers grapple with a $5 billion projected budget deficit. They also say local elections officials would be forced to spend millions more to implement the new system. The bill has been debated at the State Capitol for years, but Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake, former Secretary of State, said the bill is needed to ensure the integrity of the voting system. Read More
Mark Gooden is the mayor-elect with a final vote tally of 759 to 746 for Mayor Pro Tem Ron Duvall. “I have to congratulate these men on how they conducted themselves,” said Circuit Judge Dennis Rolf. “This could have been a long difficult process.” Rolf said he spoke with Duvall and Gooden on Wednesday and the trio reached an agreement on how the process would be conducted. A recount of votes was conducted Thursday, April 14. With Richard Clemens and Ron Monnig representing both major parties, the county clerk, the judge and media present, a representative of the voting machine company began feeding sample ballots into the machine at 9:17 a.m. The first hitch came during the counting of the absentee ballots. One ballot was not counted due to the voter’s passing before the election. The rest of the absentee ballots returned a 49 to 44 result in favor of Gooden. The original count on election night was 45 to 45. The machine was designed to read a filled in oval, the representative said. There are some ballots that have “Xs.” Rolf suggested re-running the ballots through the counting machine and the result was five that had an “X” or a squiggle instead of a fully filled out oval. The result of the second recount on absentee ballots matched the first and the two candidates agree to accept the result. The remaining recount of the four wards matched the election night count exactly, giving a final tally of 759 to 746. Read More
The voted to non-concur on what senate leaders called a “flawed” ID bill passed by the House of Representatives. Because of the flaws in the House language and new matter inserted in the supposedly clean bill, the vote to non-concur was overwhelming. Without agreement from the house, the bill, which would require photo ID for voters in the state, is in limbo. The houses will have to reach some accommodation for the bill to move forward. Florence Republican Hugh Leatherman was among those voting for non-concurrence. In a statement released by his office, Leatherman said that, he “ voted to nonconcur in the House amendments to the Voter ID Bill because I believe that by going to a conference committee we can get a Voter ID Bill that can pass the Senate and have a better chance of becoming law. I favor Voter ID for elections in South Carolina. I am committed to getting a Bill that ensures that our elections are secure and that votes cast are cast by those who they claim to be. “However, the House Bill is flawed and would not give the people who have asked for this Bill what was promised to them. Concurring in the House Bill would be a political victory for politicians and a loss to voters at home who expected Voter ID. The Bill passed by the House was not a pure Voter ID Bill. Some examples are: unsure language on the HAVA law, no severability language, excluded police and government ID’s, deleted residency evidence for use in challenged ballots, and other language concerns. Read More
The Tennessee House of Representatives approved a bill Thursday that would require voters to show a photo ID at the polls. The passage came despite a state Attorney General’s opinion that the measure would likely be ruled a “poll tax” by a court. The state attorney general’s opinion released this week that says the courts are likely to find the bill unconstitutional if it costs something in order to qualify to vote. Such “poll taxes” were used in the Reconstruction South to deny the vote to former slaves. Republican Steve McDaniel of Parkers Crossroads says the strict requirement for a photo ID could hamper people in his rural district. “The average voter in the district that I represent in order to get a photo ID as is required in this legislation, one would have to drive an average of 30 miles.”Five Republicans joined Democrats to vote against the measure, though it passed 57 to 35. McDaniel, who abstained, says the question isn’t partisan but geographic. Read More
The House Administration Committee will step up election oversight, as it increases hearings to twice a month and sets its sights on terminating the Election Assistance Commission. “There are a number of things that need to be addressed in the coming months,” said Elections subcommittee Chairman Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.). “Oversight certainly has been lacking in a number of areas.” Among the issues the subcommittee plans to examine are the EAC, the Federal Election Commission, overseas voting and cleaning up state voter roles. This will give us an opportunity to go back and look and make sure that everybody’s doing what they’re supposed to do,” Harper said. “And if they’re not, why are they not doing it, and is there something we can do to make it easier for them to do their job.” Square in the subcommittee’s crosshairs is the EAC, an independent commission established in the wake of the contested 2000 presidential election to improve how elections are conducted nationwide. Read More
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