Thursday, February 17, 2011

Online Registration Bill in CA, Voter ID Tabled in NM, Advances in MO

CA: Bill would let Californians register online to vote - San Jose Mercury News

Californians would be able to register online to vote under a bill introduced Wednesday by state Sen. Leland Yee. Some states already offer online registration but California has put it off, awaiting implementation of a "VoteCal" statewide online database system now delayed at least until 2015. Yee, D-San Francisco, instead wants to allow online registration through county registrars' offices: Citizens would input their voter information online and the registrar's office would use the voter's signature from the Department of Motor Vehicles to verify authenticity. Yee says county elections officers believe this would save money and eliminate administrative errors from mistyping the data entry from a paper registration; after Arizona implemented online voter registration, he said, some counties saw their costs decrease from 83 cents per registration to 3 cents per registration. Read More

HI: Instant Runoff Voting in Hawaii Gains Traction - Honolulu Civil Beat

A measure that would bring instant runoff voting to Hawaii and prevent a candidate from winning a state or local election with less than a majority of votes is making progress in the Legislature. The House Judiciary Committee unanimously passed House Bill 638 on Tuesday. It now heads to the House Finance Committee. Read More

ME: Bill would require voters to show ID at polls | The Morning Sentinel

Republicans are lining up to support a bill that would require voters to show photo identification at the polls. With the support of GOP Gov. Paul LePage, and more than 120 Republican lawmakers listed as co-sponsors, the legislation is poised to become one of the big partisan fights of the session. Supporters say Maine needs to take action to prevent voter fraud and assure the legitimacy of those who are elected. Opponents -- including the League of Women Voters of Maine, the Maine chapter of the AARP, the Maine Civil Liberties Union and the Disabilities Rights Center -- say the bill provides a costly solution to a problem that doesn't exist in Maine and would disenfranchise many people. Read More

MO: Senate approves photo ID requirement for voting - St. Louis Today

Senate approved a measure today that would require photo identification to vote, in a move supporters lauded as a step toward addressing problems of voter fraud in the state. Meanwhile, opponents of the legislation worried that the measure would create unfair obstacles to voting for those without photo identification. The final vote of 26-7 was cast along party lines, with Republicans favoring the bill. The measure will now move to the House, where a sizable Republican majority could bode well for the legislation. If the legislation passes both houses, it will go into effect only if a constitutional amendment is approved by state voters. Opposition to the bill stemmed from concerns that it could limit voting rights among eligible voters. Democrats said that senior citizens or people with disabilities, among others, could be aversely affected. Read More

NM: Voter ID bill unlikely to pass - Las Cruces Sun-News

A bill requiring most voters to show photo identification appears doomed, the sponsor said Tuesday. "I am afraid it is," state Rep. Dianne Hamilton, R-Silver City, said after an emotion-charged committee hearing on her proposal. Dozens of ordinary people from around the state drove to the Capitol to commend Hamilton's bill. They say they need photo identification to check out a library book, rent a movie or cash a check, so a voter should be held to that same standard. But county clerks, members of the League of Women Voters, and Democrats on the House Voters and Elections Committee opposed Hamilton's bill. They called it unfair, saying it would create two different "classes" of voters. Hamilton's bill would require those who vote in person to show photo identification. But absentee voters and tribal members would be exempted from the photo ID law. Read More

NY: State legislature says equal rights too expensive - New York Disability |

The New York State legislature has essentially said equal rights for people with disabilities is too expensive, at least when it comes to protecting their right to vote. On February 14 the state assembly and senate approved a bill allowing inaccessible lever-machines for voting in village elections, doing so with no public input and no input from the disability community, the very community that will find its ability to vote badly wounded as a result. The hope is newly elected Governor Andrew Cuomo will veto the bill. If it is signed into law, the Center for Independence for the Disabled (CIDNY) in NYC paints a chilling and accurate picture: “The current legislation does not address the need to notify the public and most particularly voters who cannot use the lever machines that the accessible machines will not be available to them during local elections. Given that some voters with disabilities will be forced to use an absentee ballot that they must register for ahead of time, there is the potential that those not aware of the change will be disenfranchised on election days.” Read More

NC: Opponents speak out against voter ID bill ::

A group of Democratic lawmakers and local college students spoke out Wednesday against a bill in the General Assembly that would require photo identification at the polls. House Bill 430 was introduced in 2009 but is among the priorities in this legislative session of Republican lawmakers who argue that the requirement would help reduce the chance of fraud. It’s expected to be reintroduced next week. Opponents, however, call it an unfunded mandate for a solution to a problem that is “statistically insignificant” and a requirement that would lead to disenfranchisement of the state’s college students, senior citizens and low-income residents. Read More

SC: 1,127 votes in Richland not counted in November - Local / Metro -

An analysis of computer records showed 1,127 ballots cast by Richland County voters in November accidentally were not counted, according to the League of Women Voters of South Carolina, which is targeting the state’s electronic voting machines for the trash heap. The analysis, done with software created by a University of South Carolina computer-science professor, found errors at 11 of the county’s 126 precincts. Votes were missing at two — the Bluff precinct, south of Columbia; and Ward 21, in north Columbia. Mike Cinnamon, Richland County’s longtime director of elections, said he would not comment until after a 5:30 p.m. meeting today of the county election commission. Duncan Buell, a USC professor and member of the League of Women Voters who donated his services, said the audit uncovered mistakes by pollworkers. His work does not address the underlying debate about the reliability of the state’s iVotronic touch-screen machines, in use for six years. Read More

WV: Ireland’s Electronic Voting Machines: Bad News for Some Voters | Huntington News

GOP Governor’s candidate Betty Ireland made news repeatedly during her four years as Secretary of State for her insistence that West Virginia needed to move forward with electronic voting machines. Whether Ireland saw it as a legitimate improvement on the state’s traditional voting methods or a chance to look like a leader who kept current with the times, Ireland was determined to bring in those machines. Ireland got her way, and touch-screen electronic voting machines became her choice. Election Systems and Software started putting in machines across West Virginia. Read More


Kenya: Claims of Vote Buying As Polls Open -

Voting in the Kirinyaga Central by-election kicked off early Wednesday amid accusations of vote buying. PNU and Narc-Kenya candidates and their supporters traded accusations of paying voters to cast their ballot in their favour or boycott the exercise altogether in the hope that it will enhance their chances of winning. At one point, there were reports that one of the candidates' agents had been arrested as they bribed voters in Kaitheri, St Joseph's, Kirinyaga technical and Njegas polling centres. Read More

Uganda to Deploy Security Forces at All Polling Stations; Remains on Alert - Bloomberg

Uganda is deploying security forces across the East African nation and at each of the 23,968 voting stations for tomorrow’s presidential and parliamentary elections, the police said. “Anyone who tries to mess up around the polling stations will be arrested,” Inspector General of Police Major General Kale Kayihura told journalists today in Kampala, the capital. A terror alert remains active because of reports that al-Shabaab, the Somali militia with links to al-Qaeda, is preparing attacks during the vote, he said. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, the leader of the National Resistance Movement who has been in power for 25 years, is facing his toughest challenge from Kizza Besigye, head of Forum for Democratic Change and his former personal doctor. Six other candidates are seeking to become president. Read More

UK: Referendum on voting reform to divide coalition | Reuters

The British government will hold a referendum in May on changing the way its legislators are elected, a vote which will divide the two parties in the ruling coalition and could undermine the alliance. The Conservatives, the largest party, want to maintain the present system where members of parliament win seats in straight regional or district electoral races, and will campaign against the proposed change. They agreed to hold the referendum to lure their junior partner, the Lib Dems, into a coalition with them after last May's parliamentary election, although it falls short of Lib Dem's ultimate goal of a full proportional system that would be more favourable to smaller parties. Britons will be asked if they want to move to an Alternative Vote (AV) framework where voters choose candidates in order of preference in the referendum to be held on May 5. Read More

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