Friday, January 28, 2011

CO voter-registration bill falls, Passes IA House, Vote by Mail debates in MT

CA: Court says Legislature can't write own ballot language - Capitol Alert

A state appeals court today ruled that the state Legislature did not have authority to draft its own ballot language for the successful high-speed rail bond measure lawmakers placed on the 2008 ballot. State law tasks the state attorney general with writing an impartial ballot title, label and official summary for "measures to be voted on throughout the State," though the Legislature has in the past drafted language for measures it places on the ballot with a two-thirds vote. Read More

CO: Dems quash Colorado voter-registration bill, call it costly and unconstitutional | Colorado Independent

State Democratic lawmakers killed a bill (pdf) yesterday that would have required Coloradans to provide proof of citizenship before registering to vote, saying it was a solution in search of a problem and eschewing vehement testimony from its supporters and new data introduced by new GOP Secretary of State Scott Gessler. Bill sponsor Ted Harvey, R-Highlands Ranch, said lawmakers should expect the legislation to be reintroduced in the House. The bill would have required residents to provide either a passport, birth certificate or naturalization papers, among others forms of identification, in order to vote. Currently, the state asks Coloradans only to sign a form attesting that they are citizens and eligible to vote in the country and state. Swearing falsely to citizenship and voter eligibility is a crime. Read More

CO: Hickenlooper urges secretary of state to release department's surplus funds - The Denver Post

Gov. John Hickenlooper said Thursday that Secretary of State Scott Gessler should "do (his) part" and release surplus funds he had planned to keep in his office so the money can be used to help balance the state budget. "I would certainly encourage him to — in this kind of a budget situation — that everybody has to do their part in every way they can," he said. "Our goal to every agency, every arm of government, is that we're all in this together and that everybody's going to have to be trying to cut their costs and find cheaper ways of doing things wherever possible." Read More

CT: UConn VoTeR center audits Nov. elections - The Daily Campus - News

The reliability of voting technology may be improved in future years because of a group of professors, students and engineers at the UConn Voting Technology Research Center. The VoTeR Center, which receives funding from the Secretary of State's Office, opened in 2006 – the same year that Connecticut switched from using polling machines with levers to electronic ballot-counting systems, according to UConn Today. Headed by Alexander Shvartsman, professor of computer science and engineering, the VoTeR Center conducts audits on past elections to find numeric differences between electronically counted ballots and hand-counted ballots. Read More

GA: Secretary of State Kemp Launches Elections Advisory Council Website - The Weekly Online

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp today launched the Elections Advisory Council website, which provides citizens an e-government tool to share their ideas to strengthen Georgia’s elections. The Elections Advisory Council website can be found at Citizens can use the website to obtain information on upcoming meetings and provide the Council their suggestions to improve election laws and procedures. “The Elections Advisory Council gives all Georgians the opportunity to share their ideas to strengthen Georgia’s election processes, create cost savings and increase efficiencies at the state, county and local government levels,” said Secretary Kemp. Read More

IA: Iowa House approves photo ID requirement to vote - Quad City Times

The Iowa House approved a measure Thursday that would require voters to show government-issued photo identification before they could cast a ballot. The measure cleared the House on a party-line vote, with Democrats arguing that Republicans supported the measure because they wanted to reduce voter participation. "This bill is designed to keep people away from the polls," said Rep. Bruce Hunter, D-Des Moines. Read More

MN: GOP offers major overhaul to Minnesota’s voting system, democrats criticize bill as expensive, a "partisan ploy" | Twin Cities Daily Planet

Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer of Big Lake and Sen. Warren Limmer of Maple Grove unveiled the Republican plan to overhaul the state's voting system at a press conference on Wednesday. Among the proposed changes are the elimination of vouching, implementation of a photo identification system, a ban on health care workers assisting voters in the booth, and massive changes to the recount process. Most of the changes reflect complaints by the conservative group Minnesota Majority, which Kiffmeyer ran several years ago. Read More

MT: House OKs legislation hold all Montana elections by mail - Billings Gazette

After an emotional closing speech by the bill's sponsor, the House on Thursday endorsed a proposal that would set up vote-by-mail for all Montana elections, except those run by schools, starting in 2012. House Bill 130, sponsored by Rep. Pat Ingraham, R-Thompson Falls, was endorsed on a 57-43 vote after a lengthy debate. All 32 House Democrats, joined by 25 House Republicans, supported the bill, while 43 House Republicans opposed it. The measure is expected to face a final House vote Friday and will go to the Senate if it passes. Read More

MT: Mail-in ballots could be difficult for Indian population - Billings Gazette

Not everyone is convinced that a mail-in ballot for all of Montana's major elections is an idea whose time has come. Janet Robideau, of Indian People's Action in Montana, said Thursday that she would like to see more work done on the concept before the Legislature passes a bill to implement it. The House voted in favor of House Bill 130 on a preliminary vote Thursday. But Robideau said her previous experience in voter identification, registration and mobilization among the state's Indians showed her how difficult it can be to contact those voters in an election. “We found extreme difficulty in maintaining a good address list, primarily among Indian folks,” said Robideau, a Northern Cheyenne who lives in Missoula. “A lot of us move back and forth from reservation to town.” Read More

NC: AARP expresses concerns over voter ID impact - NC Policy Watch

Photo ID Requirement May Impact Older Voters
Legislation requiring photo identification in order to vote is expected to be introduced in the General Assembly in the first week of the session. Election officials state that voter fraud occurs with less than five votes out of every million cast. AARP is concerned that this requirement may establish barriers for older adults and people with disabilities who may not have a driver’s license or other photo identification. Many residents of assisted living facilities or nursing homes do not have photo IDs. If legislation is established requiring photo identification, the State of North Carolina should be responsible for paying for any costs associated with obtaining an ID. A greater opportunity for voter fraud is with absentee voting, since these voters do not have to show any ID, or appear before an election official. Voting illegally in North Carolina is a felony under the current law, and voters are required to provide identification to register to vote.” Read More

OH: Appeals court: Ballots cast aside because of poll-worker error should be counted | Cincinnati.Com

A federal appeals court cleared the way Thursday for more ballots to be counted in the razor-close race for Hamilton County Juvenile Court judge. The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the county's board of elections to count any ballot that was set aside because poll workers sent voters to the wrong precinct table on Election Day in November. The ruling is a victory for Democrat Tracie Hunter, who trails Republican John Williams by 23 votes and has argued that more of the disputed provisional ballots should be counted. Read More

VA: Virginia Governor appoints ex-Florida elections chief to head SBE -

Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell has consolidated his party's grip on Virginia's State Board of Elections with the appointment of the former chief of Florida's election system and a former executive director of the state GOP. Donald Palmer succeeds Nancy Rodrigues as secretary of the SBE. The four-year term to which Democratic former Gov. Timothy M. Kaine appointed her ended Friday. As director of elections for Florida's Department of State, Palmer oversaw that state's 2008 presidential primaries, general election and last year's midterm congressional election. Read More

WV: Lawmakers Debate Costs, Benefits of Primary Election -

While there is little doubt a special election will be held Oct. 4 to choose a new governor, state lawmakers still are grappling with the question of whether to hold a primary election before then to give voters the chance to pick the candidates. A bill setting the primary election for June 20 made its debut before the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday, but not before county clerks across the state asked for the primary instead to be held in May. At the same time, two Democrats in the state House of Delegates said they favored political party conventions as the means to nominate candidates. Read More


Commentary: A Major Ruling on the Meaning of Bush v. Gore - ElectionLaw @ Moritz

The majority opinion of the Sixth Circuit panel in this Ohio provisional ballot case is, in my judgment, the most significant application of Bush v. Gore in the decade since that precedent was decided. The reason is that this new decision contains an extensive analysis of what Bush v. Gore requires with respect to the category of cases for which that precedent is most germane: disputes about how local election officials treated particular ballots as they decided whether or not to count them. Read More


Japan: Courts question constitutionality of vote disparity in 2010 election › Japan Today

The Fukuoka and Osaka High Courts, in rulings handed down Friday, questioned the constitutionality of the disparity of up to five times in the weight of votes cast in different constituencies in last July’s upper house election. In Fukuoka, Presiding Judge Tamio Hirota of the Fukuoka High Court ruled that the fivefold disparity in the weight of votes in the House of Councillors election last year represents ‘‘a violation of the Constitution.’‘ Hirota blamed the current system of dividing up the nation into electoral districts by the nation’s 47 prefectures, not by population, and said that the disparities in the weight of votes under such electoral zoning system ‘‘are currently in an intolerable situation.’‘ The ruling is on one of the series of lawsuits contesting the voting power disparity in the upper house election filed at all of the eight high courts and six branches nationwide. Read More

Pakistan seeks India's help on use of EVMs - The Times of India

Questions may have been raised by some sections about the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) but Pakistan and other neighbouring countries are keen to have them. Pakistan, which is "actively considering" introduction of EVMs for elections, has requested India to send a team of technical hands to demonstrate how these machines function, the Election Commission said in a release. Accordingly, a team from Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) and Electronics Corporation of India Ltd (ECIL), which manufacture EVMs, will go to Pakistan next month to give a demonstration. Read More

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