Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Vote Center Bill Passes IN Senate, Voter ID debated in MN, MO andTN , Internet Voting in Canada?

GA: Saturday requirement removed from early-voting bill for local elections |

A revised early-voting bill would shorten the voting period to 21 days, but it would not require polls to be open on Saturdays if no state or federal candidates are on the ballot. The bill's sponsor, Rep. Mark Hamilton, R-Cumming, removed the Saturday requirement to save municipalities money. Municipal elections are already 21 days, and adding the Saturday requirement could require adding an additional day to the schedule. Local governments still have the option of adding Saturday voting. Read More

HI: Supreme Court Looking Into Hawaii Election Law - Honolulu Civil Beat

After years of legal wrangling in lower courts, a case challenging Hawaii's ballot access rules could end up in front of the United States Supreme Court. In 2004, longtime consumer advocate and occasional independent presidential hopeful Ralph Nader sued the state when he was told he wouldn't be on the ballot because he didn't have enough signatures. Under Hawaii law, non-party presidential candidates need to submit a petition with enough signatures to represent 1 percent of the votes cast in the previous presidential election. In 2000, more than 360,000 votes were cast for president in Hawaii, so Nader needed more than 3,600 names. In rejecting Nader's lawsuit in September 2010, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said Hawaii's burden for ballot access is low. They did acknowledge, though, that the threshold is high when compared with the other way for presidential candidates to get on the ballot. Read More

IN: State Senate OKs vote center option | Palladium-Item

Legislation that would allow all Indiana counties the option of using vote centers was approved 49-0 by the Indiana Senate on Tuesday. The bill moves to the Indiana House of Representatives for consideration.Senate Bill 32 would allow county election boards to designate their county as a vote center county. Vote centers consolidate multiple precinct voting locations into several centralized vote centers and voters may choose the center most convenient for them. Read More

KS: Critics say Kansas election fraud bill too drastic - KHGI-TV

Critics of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach's (KOH'-bahk's) election fraud bill are criticizing him for not seeking less drastic administrative changes first. They told the House Elections Committee on Wednesday that the measure would end door-to-door and other community voter registration drives and likely disenfranchise poor and minority voters. The bill would require voters to show photo identification at the polls and people to provide proof of citizenship when they register for the first time in Kansas. Read More

MN: GOP voter ID measure passes first Capitol hurdle |

A controversial voter photo ID bill cleared its first hurdle at the State Capitol Tuesday, when it passed the House Government Operations Committee on a straight party-line vote. It marked the first time ever a voter ID bill has ever made it through a legislative committee in Minnesota. The sponsor, Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake, said she was confident the measure will eventually pass the full House and Senate now that they are controlled by her fellow Republicans. "We know from polls that 80 percent of Minnesotans support this," Rep. Kiffmeyer told KARE, "What we're going at here in the voter ID requirement is uniform treatment of all voters before Election Day." Read More

MO: Opponents rail against Voter ID proposal in House

A House hearing on Republican-sponsored voter identification legislation this morning had a deja vu feeling to it. Just as in a couple of weeks ago in the Senate, not a single person spoke in favor of the proposal to require voters to show a photo ID at polls. But a plethora of groups opposed the legislation, arguing that requiring photo identification is an unconstitutional infringement of Missourians' fundamental right to vote. The legislation, which already passed a Senate committee, is a priority of Republicans this year, and so the lack of testimony in favor of it won't get in the way of it moving quickly through the legislative session. But opponents were quick to point to the lack of voices clamoring for the bill in criticizing it. "Just what is it we are trying to achieve?" asked AARP's Ron Sergent, who testified against the bill. "We cannot risk disenfranchisement of the most vulnerable among us to provide comfort to the most powerful." Read More

NM: Proposed measure would allow use of voting centers - Las Cruces Sun-News

A proposal in the state Legislature would make voting easier for Do-a Ana County residents and save the county money, County Clerk Lynn Ellins said. Ellins, a Democrat, said he's backing the measure, which would allow counties to use so-called voting centers on election day. The idea, Ellins said, is that a voter could visit any of the designated polling places on election day and cast a ballot for all the races specific to his or her own precinct. For instance, someone could live in Hatch and cast a viable vote in Sunland Park. "Under this consolidated precinct concept, you can go to any location," he said. Now, for primary and general elections, Ellins said, the county does consolidate its 115 geographic precincts into 67 polling places. On election day, it's possible for someone to vote at a polling place that doesn't match their home precinct. But to do that, the person must use a provisional ballot - a type of ballot that's counted and verified after the election. Read More

TN: Voter centers face costs | | The Daily News Journal

Rutherford County election officials are trying to remove an impediment in their effort to use voter centers for Murfreesboro's 2012 city election. Election Commissioner Johnny Taylor notified the commission Monday that state law requiring voter notification about voter center locations could cost the city $20,000 in letters and postage. State law reads: "The county election commission shall mail to each voter whose polling place is changed a notice of the voter's new convenient voter center location." Taylor said the Election Office is working with the State Election Commission and Sen. Bill Ketron to change the statute so the notification provision won't be so expensive. Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, is sponsoring legislation to conduct the pilot voting project. Read More

TN: Require photo ID for voting? Why? - The Paris Post-Intelligencer

A proposal to require Tennessee citizens to show photo identification in order to vote is a solution in search of a problem. A state Senate committee on Tuesday approved a bill to do just that by a party-line 6-3 vote. Similar bills in the past, when Democrats held a majority in the House, have failed in House committee votes. But with Republicans holding majorities in both houses, the measure is expected to win approval this year.
The idea, said Senate sponsor Bill Ketron of Murfreesboro, is to “protect the purity of the ballot box.” That’s a worthy aim, but we’re not aware of any significant instances of voting fraud being alleged in recent years. Why tighten the protection when there’s nothing to protect against? Read More


Canada: Coquitlam wants online voting by 2014

Despite lingering concerns around privacy, Coquitlam council is asking the provincial government to make online voting a reality by 2014. Council's vote came three weeks after similar calls from the cities of Vancouver and Surrey, and it's hoped the move to an online model will serve two purposes: to engage more people in the political process while alleviating time constraints that prevent some from voting. "I'm not suggesting we go ahead with this without full security in place," said Coun. Linda Reimer, who first introduced the motion in mid-January. "I do have some reassurance, however, knowing that it has been taking place in Ontario for quite some time, that there are people out there who know how to perfect this. We have such low voter turnout that it's really more of a threat to our democracy than a more minor security issue might be with online voting." Read More

Canada: Online voting has theoretical benefits but also drawbacks - The Globe and Mail

Online voting is something that can really increase participation, Christy Clark, Liberal leadership candidate, in a YouTube video on her website. The Internet has the answer for just about every question. But early reports from the field indicate the Internet is not the panacea for the problem of B.C.’s rapidly dropping turnout rate in provincial elections. It’s not a matter of intentions. A survey for Elections BC after the 2009 provincial election found that 94 per cent of British Columbians said they intend to vote, 89 per cent said voting was easy and they knew what they need to know in order to vote in a provincial election. Read More

Nigeria: Rebranding And Credible Elections -

It is trite that free and fair election is a basic tenet of democracy. Since democracy is a government that lies on the consent of the people, elections has therefore become the most acceptable means of choosing those that will occupy political positions in a democracy. There is no gainsaying that there can never be a complete fool-proof election even in the advanced democracies like the United States and Britain. Even the United States (US) election that led to the victory of President Bush was alleged to be marred with irregularities in the State of Florida. Read More

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