Friday, January 21, 2011

TX photo ID legislation declared emergency measure; Colorado SoS announces plans to pursue private legal practice

In Texas, the Governor has declared that photo ID legislation is an emergency measure, and the Texas Senate has made an exception to a two-thirds-majority requirement for a photo ID bill. Colorado's Secretary of State has announced that he will engage in a private law practice during his term. Photo ID legislation is being sharply debated in Iowa, Kansas, North Carolina, and Wisconsin. And the EAC calls attention to a discussion of vendors and election officials last month. The panel looked at voting system life cycles, state and local budget cuts; and other critcal voting system issues.

All this and more in today's Voting News below. Enjoy your weekend!

CA: | Gaines introduces measure to cut election costs

"My bill will help cut the costs counties incur to conduct special elections by eliminating the mandate to open polling places and hire staff for these elections," Gaines said. Read More

CO:Colorado's top elections official taking side job, says $68,500 salary too low for his family - KDVR

Colorado's newly elected secretary of state says the job doesn't pay enough and he'll take a side job with his old law firm. Scott Gessler insists the side job won't conflict with his official job overseeing state elections. Read More

CO: Secretary of State plans to moonlight with old firm - The Denver Post

Less than two weeks on the job, Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler says the $68,500 a year salary doesn't pay enough.

That's why Gessler, a Republican, says he is going to be moonlighting as a lawyer for his old law firm - a firm known for representing clients on elections and campaign law issues, the very areas Gessler is now charged with policing as secretary of state. Read More

CO: Secretary of State Gessler’s plan to moonlight as private attorney sounds ethics alarms | Colorado Independent

Attorney General John Suthers, who is tasked to work with Gessler to help him avoid Hackstaff-related conflicts of interest, said attorney-client privileges prevent him from speaking on the topic.

This legally proscribed silence is a big problem and points to the bigger problem going forward, according to Luis Toro, director of government watchdog group Colorado Ethics Watch and a man who has argued cases against Gessler in the past. The public is being forced to simply accept that the secretary of state will be acting in good faith without any way to really ask questions or get answers to confirm that’s the case, he said. Read More

IA: Bill would require photo ID to vote in Iowa

The change is necessary to protect the integrity of elections, according to House File 8 floor manager Rep. Renee Schulte, R-Cedar Rapids. Current law allows election officials to ask for a photo ID. HF 8, Schulte said, will remove that subjectivity from state law. Read More

IA: 2011 Legislature: Leaders want jobs focus, but social issues likely to pop up | The Des Moines Register |

Under this Republican proposal, photo identification would always be required to vote. Now, election officials can require photo ID only when they’re suspicious of a voter’s identity or current address or if the person is an inactive voter. Read More

IN lawmakers put vote center bill on fast track - WAVE 3 News - Louisville, Kentucky

Indiana lawmakers are moving quickly to advance an election bill that would allow any Indiana county to create centralized vote centers instead of traditional neighborhood polling precincts. Read More

KS: Sorting out the facts and myths of Kobach’s voter ID proposal -

Kris Kobach used the phony issue of “voter fraud” to get elected Kansas secretary of state. He continues to milk it.

But his critics are making Kobach look almost reasonable in their heated opposition to his proposed voter ID law. Read More

KS: Kobach overreaching | Eagle Editorials | Wichita Eagle

State lawmakers shouldn’t go along with Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s overreaching proposal to fight the negligible problem of voter fraud. But if they do, they must ensure their efforts don’t end up disenfranchising eligible Kansas voters. Read More

LA: | Latest News | Election officials propose law changes — Baton Rouge, LA

State election officials will once again seek legislative approval of legislation to make it easier for voters to understand tax and other propositions on election ballots. Read More

MD: Democrats recommend change at Montgomery Co. electoral board -

Calling it time for a “fresh face,” the Montgomery County Democratic Committee today will recommend a change in the county’s electoral board, which is vested with the authority to run elections and employ the registrar of elections. Read More

MT: Opponents denounce bill for 30-day voter registration deadline in Montana

A number of opponents denounced a bill Thursday to close voter registration 30 days before an election as interfering with Montanans' right to vote - and no one showed up to support the measure.

House Bill 180, by Rep. Champ Edmunds, R-Missoula, would return Montana's voter registration deadlines to pre-2005 dates. The 2005 Legislature changed the deadline to allow people to register to vote right up until polls close on Election Day. Read More

NC: Left Misleading Voters: Setting the Record Straight on Voter ID | The Lincoln Tribune

The new majority in the North Carolina Legislature is going to have a fight on their hands if they keep their promise to pass legislation requiring a government-issued photo ID to cast a ballot. The liberal/progressive groups who oppose a voter ID requirement are organized and ready to do what they can to defeat this measure. Read More

OH: Federal Court To Rule On Disputed Judicial Election - Cincinnati News Story - WLWT Cincinnati

A federal appeals court will make the next decision in a still-disputed juvenile court judge election. Read More

RI: One Stop Shopping: Rhode Island Initiative Registers Voters at Work « State of Elections

Rhode Island Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis launched “Voters in the Workplace” in the summer of 2008. This initiative encourages and enables companies to host voter registration drives during normal business hours between August and October every year. Read More

SC: Voting vitriol: Machines' election performance criticized at forum | The Post and Courier, Charleston SC - News, Sports, Entertainment

Frank Heindel, a Charleston businessman who has launched his own investigation of the machines, noted there were thousands of error messages on Charleston County machines in the 2010 elections. Also, he noted that a different error led to 1,389 extra votes in statewide races in Colleton Count. Read More

TN: Herald Citizen - Election commission gets favorable ruling in lawsuit

Claims for monetary damages in a federal lawsuit filed against three Republican members of the Putnam County Election Commission have been dismissed, and this week commissioners called that decision a major victory. Read More

TX: Texas Insider » Voter I.D., Balanced Budget Amendment Added to Emergency Items for Legislative Session

“Fiscal discipline, balanced budgets and the integrity of the ballot box are critical to the people of Texas,” Gov. Perry said. “Under this emergency declaration, Texas lawmakers will be able to address these priority issues more quickly.” Read More

TX: Voter ID bills get emergency status from Texas Gov. Perry - Politics AP -

The state Senate is expected to take up controversial voter ID legislation next week after Gov. Rick Perry designated it an emergency issue that he wants lawmakers to pass within the first 60 days of the legislative session. Read More

TX: Senate minority keeps its clout – except for voter ID - San Antonio Express-News

A minority bloc of state senators will keep its voting power under rules approved Wednesday — except when it comes to voting on the controversial voter ID legislation this session. Read More

VA: Election officials accused of incompetence -

The 2010 election was to be the first year Montgomery County would use entirely electronic poll books. These simply allow workers to check whether people who show up to vote are actually registered for that precinct.

However, in the seven precincts where the electronic poll books failed, workers allowed voters to cast electronic ballots without checking whether they were actually registered for that precinct. Read More

WV: Tomblin Sets Oct. 4 as Election Date for Governor - WBOY-TV -

Acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has set Oct. 4 as the date West Virginia voters will choose their next governor. Read More

WI: The push to end election-day registration in Wisconsin: How strong is the case? - JSOnline

By having election-day registration, Wisconsin has in effect side-stepped a different source of chaos that can affect other states: those provisional ballots, which can run in the tens of thousands and can leave a close election unresolved on election night. Kennedy says provisional ballots "will skyrocket” in Wisconsin if election-day registration ends. Read More

WI: Guest column: Fast-tracking voter ID legislation not the answer | | Green Bay Press Gazette

Citizens do not have a constitutional right to cash checks, buy alcohol or drive a car, but we do have a constitutional right to vote.

The people who do not currently have an ID are the very people for whom it is most difficult and costly to obtain it. Read More

WI: Guest column: ID at polls could solve election abuses | | Green Bay Press Gazette

Voter ID is a practical and effective solution to this problem. The vast majority of Wisconsin residents will not have to take any additional steps to vote, since most people already have a state-issued ID. People routinely use their ID to cash checks, buy alcohol, drive a car and spend the night at the rescue mission. For those without an ID, the new law may provide that they may obtain one free of charge. This should effectively eliminate any claims of disenfranchisement. Read More

WI: Eric Zoberman: Wisconsin Throws Up Hurdles to Voting -- Where's the Democracy?

Bottom line: This bill will add a giant and unnecessary hurdle to the voting process and the people of Wisconsin need to call on their elected representatives to reject it. Read More

WI: Is the proof in your picture? | New Richmond News | New Richmond, Wisconsin

Proposed legislation to require citizens to show photo identification each time they vote is either a good idea or a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist, say local poll workers. Read More


EAC: Government and Industry Representatives Reflect on 2010 Election

Voting system maintenance will become a more important issue as deployed systems near the end of their lifecycles. What is a reasonable expectation of a voting system’s life cycle? Can this be tested? Read More

New Year brings lots of election administration legislation: electionlineWeekly01.20.11

In addition to numerous voter ID bills around the country, Bowser said she has been seeing a number of bills on primary elections — open vs. closed, primary dates, eliminating presidential primaries — and bills on military and overseas voting, electronic and universal voter registration and proof of citizenship. Read More

Internet Voting Watch

Estonia - Foreign Minister Paet Met With Secretary of State of the USA Hillary Clinton

Secretary of State Clinton said she is grateful that Estonia is a dependable, creative and close ally of the United States. “In the 20 years since Estonia’s independence, the country has become a successful model for others, with its internet voting, cyber innovations, commitment to good governance, the rule of law, and fiscal responsibility,” said Secretary of State Clinton. Read More

SAG's Online-Only Voting Could Disenfranchise Thousands |

The 2011 Screen Actors Guild Awards could end up looking a lot like Florida in 2000.

There might not be any hanging chads, but changes the guild has introduced as a part of its green initiative could cost a significant number of members their votes this year. Read More

Voter ID is a practical and effective solution to this problem. The vast majority of Wisconsin residents will not have to take any additional steps to vote, since most people already have a state-issued ID. People routinely use their ID to cash checks, buy alcohol, drive a car and spend the night at the rescue mission. For those without an ID, the new law may provide that they may obtain one free of charge. This should effectively eliminate any claims of disenfranchisement.

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