Monday, February 14, 2011

IA election officials oppose photo ID bill; US House lawmakers eye EAC termination; India on the path to VVPAT

Iowa's professional association of county election officials (according to the Des Moines Register, its membership is about 60% Republican and 40% Democratic) has voted to register in opposition to photo ID legislation. In Texas, a state legislative race in which the vast majority of ballots were cast on unrecountable machines nears resolution; an official recount changed the margin from 16 to 12 votes, and a legislative investigation of absentee and voter-eligibility issues changed that margin again to 4 votes. We cannot know what an effective recount of all ballots would have shown. India's Election Commission appears committed to implementing voter-verifiable paper audit trails, though it is uncertain if implementation will occur before May elections in the state of Tamil Nadu.

All this and more in today's Voting News below.

AL: Election Center director Granger resigns, will take federal court job | | Montgomery Advertiser

A Montgomery official who has headed the county's emerging election center since its inception has accepted a job with the federal court system, but his absence is not expected to affect the two upcoming city elections. Read More

AK: Write-in bill passes state Senate

The Senate has unanimously passed a bill that would give voters the benefit of the doubt when they write in a candidate's name on a ballot. Read More

CA: League of Women Voters marks 91st anniversary - Times-Standard Online

The League of Women Voters will celebrate its 91st birthday on Monday. Founded in 1920 by leaders in the women's suffrage movement, the organization has become synonymous with elections and voting, citizen engagement and civility. Read More

CA: SAN DIEGO: State senator pushes for all-mail elections

Sen. Christine Kehoe, D-San Diego, introduced legislation in the state Senate on Tuesday to allow San Diego County to hold all-mail elections.

The bill, if passed, would create a five-year pilot program for all-mail voting that applies to local, state and federal races. Local jurisdictions would have the option to use the all-mail system. Read More

CA: Fresno County clerk says votes in danger - Top Stories -

There are 300 things that need to be done to run an election, from printing ballots and staffing polls to verifying mail ballots and tallying votes -- and more.

But because of budget cuts, Fresno County's elections chief Victor Salazar warns, not all of these tasks will get done. As a result, he says, one or more of five upcoming elections will fail. Read More

CA: Record Gazette > Archives > News > Ex-elections official returns as registrar

A former chief deputy registrar in Riverside County who now holds the top elections post in San Bernardino County has been named registrar in Riverside County. Read More

CA: Ranked Choice Voting - The Oakland Community Speaks - City Council Meeting

Oakland, CA used Ranked Choice Voting for the very first time in Nov. 2010.
In a meeting to discuss RCV, members of the community shared their experiences with members of the City Council on how confusing it was for voters. View Video

CT: News - Merrill unveils election reform agenda

Under the proposed legislation, every municipality in the state would be required to report to the Secretary of the State’s office how many ballots they purchase for upcoming elections, and certify that they have taken into account factors such as tight races that may augment voter turnout. In rare cases the Secretary would be authorized to direct a municipality to order more ballots if an insufficient number was purchased. Every town would also be required to have an emergency plan to address issues such as power outages and ballot shortages on Election Day. Secretary Merrill is also proposing lawmakers pass an amendment to the Connecticut Constitution that would open the door to early voting options such as “no-excuse” absentee ballots or regional early voting centers. Read More

IL: Disabled can request help with voter registration » Local News » The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Vermilion County residents who, due to a disability, are unable to appear in person to register to vote should contact the county clerk’s voter registration hotline at 554-1915 for assistance. The department can arrange for in-home registration services, Vermilion County Clerk Lynn Foster said. Read MoreLink
IA: Iowa county elections officials oppose bill to require photo ID to vote | Des Moines Register Staff Blogs

The Des Moines Register learned Monday that the state association of auditors, which is comprised of 60 percent Republican election chiefs and 40 percent Democrats, has decided to register in opposition to the bill the Republican-controlled Iowa House passed late last month.

That’s a blow to a proposal favored by the state’s newly-elected elections chief, Republican Matt Schultz, and the new governor, Republican Terry Branstad. Read More

IN: Bennett calls for voting changes |

Terre Haute mayor Duke Bennett called on Vigo County to adopt a new election procedure some hope would cut the costs of voting. Read More

KS: Area election officers favor Kobach bill - Dodge City, KS - Dodge City Daily Globe

Ford County voters are prepared to show a photo ID when they go to the polls, and they are shocked to learn they don’t have to, said Ford County Clerk Sharon Seibel. Read More

KS: Voter ID bill on hold in committee - KSN TV, Kansas News and Weather

The committee on elections was scheduled to vote on the bill Friday, but postponed it after some members wanted to add amendments. Rep. Miller sits on the committee. She hopes amendments will loosen the bill up. Read More

MD: Requiring photo identification at the polls serves only to disenfranchise legitimate voters -

No act of government is more essential to a democracy than the running of clean and honest elections. Voters have a right to expect their ballots to be counted accurately and for officials to take all reasonable and necessary steps to prevent fraud. Read More

MN: Editorial: Use tech tools to improve elections |

Recent years have seen a few dozen prosecutions of felons who voted before they achieved restoration of their civil rights.

But detecting that misdeed with the swipe of a "smart" driver's license would require attaching corrections and election data to that license in a way that does not happen today, and would be costly and complicated to achieve. Read More

MN: Your turn: Voter ID bill would deny many a vote | | St Cloud Times

Researchers there concluded that a photo ID requirement would negatively affect the voting rights of fully one-quarter of all state seniors. Read More

NY: Lever machines may return for village elections

You may have not seen the last of those old, lever-style voting machines.

Villages across New York will be able to use the old models in next month’s elections, if a bill passed Monday by the State Legislature becomes law. Read More

NC: NHC elections director resigns |

Williams, who started with the county in Oct. 2006, declined to comment on why she resigned.

In her Feb. 11 letter of resignation to the board, she called her four and half years at the county “rewarding” and thanked the board and her staff being dedicated to “conducting quality elections.” Read More

ND: Democracy requires engaged voters

Requiring counties to set up a polling place in every community with a population of 200 or more ensures a certain convenience for North Dakota voters, especially if the state Legislature foots the bill. Read More

ND: Forum editorial: ND polling place bill oversteps | INFORUM | Fargo, ND

The bill would order 54 more polling places to be opened. That would mean relatively small places would have to find five poll workers for each site, or 270 people. Read More

TN: Senate Committee to Review Burks Election - Nashville Public Radio

Burks is a Democrat from Monterey, in Putnam County. She was elected as a write-in candidate in 1998 after her husband, Sen. Tommy Burks, was murdered by his Republican opponent.

She faced no serious Republican opposition until last year, when she defeated Gary Steakley by just 183 votes.

Shortly afterward, the Tennessee Republican Party asked the state Election Commission to investigate “several reports” of voting irregularities. Partisan poll watchers found that security seals had been broken on the back of five voting machines. The committee will look at whether any actual tampering took place. Read More

TN: Voter ID bill undercuts seniors' right to vote in particular | The Tennessean |

Sen. Bill Ketron, the sponsor of this bill, claims that requiring photo identification to vote will ensure against identity theft and voter fraud. Yet, Sen. Ketron and his colleagues fought vehemently last year to delay paper ballots and the implementation of new, already-funded voting systems that would have drastically increased vote security. Read More

TX: Election Law: More on the Texas House Election Contest

Following up on this post, see this report [corrected link] of the Special Master (more documents here). It looks like this case raises questions about whether votes should be disqualified for election worker error (like the 6th Circuit case) and reliance on the Democracy Canon. Dig in!

TX: Initial Report Gives HD 48 to Rep. Howard by 4 Votes | KUT News for Austin, Texas

A state lawmaker tasked with investigating an election challenge in a Travis County House District says Donna Howard (D-Austin) is the winner by 4 votes over her GOP challenger Dan Neil. Howard won re-election to the Texas House on Election Day by 16 votes. Read More

WI: Editorial: Give voters more options for ID proof | | Sheboygan Press

In all probability, voter ID will become law in Wisconsin. But before it does, state lawmakers should make changes in the bill they are now considering. Read More

WI: Voting a right, not a privilege - JSOnline

The bill would have a clear negative impact on Milwaukee County and the city of Milwaukee. Our large numbers of students, people without driver's licenses, seniors and low-income adults will be negatively affected by the law, essentially disenfranchising thousands of voters, suppressing the vote and lessening the overall impact and power of our vote. Read More


Justice Dept. pushes states on voting rights - Air Force News | News from Afghanistan & Iraq - Air Force Times

The 2010 elections may be over, but Justice Department officials are reviewing what needs to be done to further ensure military and overseas voters’ rights are not violated, Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez told a summit convened to address absentee voting issues. Read More

MS: Yall Politics | Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS) Introduces Bill to Terminate EAC

Today, Committee on House Administration Subcommittee on Elections Chairman Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., introduced legislation to eliminate the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) and save taxpayers approximately $14 million dollars a year. Read More

Election Law Blog: Read the Harper-Lungren-Rokita Bill to Abolish the EAC

Internet Voting Watch

WA: King Conservation District rolls out online voting for board election : The Issaquah Press – News, Sports, Classifieds in Issaquah, WA

The little-noticed election for a King Conservation District board seat kicks off Tuesday and, for the first time, district voters in Issaquah and elsewhere can cast ballots online. Read More


Brazil: Diebold 4Q Swings To 4Q Loss On Asset Write-Downs -

The company, which has a large presence with cash-strapped regional and community banks via its security and services businesses, recently received a big order from Brazil for its voting machines. Diebold was briefly in the election technology business in the U.S., but sold its money-losing Premier Election Solutions unit in 2009. Read More

India: EVM checking to be over by month-end - The Times of India

The verification of electronic voting machines (EVMs) for the forthcoming assembly elections in Tamil Nadu will be over by the month-end, said chief electoral officer Praveen Kumar on Monday. Read More

India: EC recommends increase in poll expenditure limit - The Times of India

Quraishi also said the Election Commission was planning to introduce an automatic system of providing acknowledgement to voters. A printer would be attached to the electronic voting machine (EVM) and once a person casts his vote, the printer will generate a slip, he said. However, Quraishi did not commit as to whether it would be implemented in the forthcoming assembly elections in Tamil Nadu, slated for May. Read More

India; | Need to Ban Opinion Polls: Quraishi

Speaking to reporters later, he said the Election Commission was yet to receive the report from its Technical Expert Committee on ways to improve the Electronic Voting Machines system and on provision of voter verifiable paper audit trail system in EVMs. Read More

Pakistan: Daily Times - Leading News Resource of Pakistan - ECP invites 15 political parties for demo on electronic voting machines

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has invited 15 mainstream political parties for a demonstration of electronic voting machines and giving them a briefing on different issues related to the ECP on February 22. Read More

Philippines: Will PCOS fraud evidence be destroyed? The never ending peace talks - FROM A DISTANCE By Carmen N. Pedrosa | The Philippine Star >> News >> Opinion

Those who think that the citizens’ protests of the May 10 automated elections are giving up the ship are sadly mistaken. The more officialdom and media stonewall their legitimate requests the more they are pushed to fight for it. Read More

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