Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Voter ID in NM, Military Voting Deiscussed on Capitol Hill

CA: Debra Bowen enters race to succeed congresswoman Jane Harman -

California Secretary of State Debra Bowen on Tuesday jumped into the race to succeed retiring Rep. Jane Harman of Venice, setting up what is expected to be a lively contest between two prominent Democratic women for the largely coastal congressional district. "This was not an easy decision," said Bowen, who in November was elected to a second four-year term as the state's top elections official. "I spent the past week discussing a potential run with my family and close friends, and thinking how I can best serve the public," she said in a statement announcing her candidacy. Read More

CO: IRV on the Ballot in Colorado and the UK -

Instant runoff voting (IRV, also known as "alternative vote", "ranked choice voting" and "preferential voting") is designed to accommodate increased voter choice and uphold majority rule. It simulates a "same day runoff", essentially, between the two strongest candidates, with the winner being the one who is ranked ahead of the other on more ballots. Used for decades to elect top offices in Australia (see a fun Aussie video about it here), Ireland and many private organizations, IRV has surged in use around the world in the past decade, including victories in ballot measures in the United States on every November election day since 2004. That support is grounded in voters' growing dissatisfaction with choices being limited to two and, in the words of a recent report by an influential international think tank, a plurality voting system that fails as "the worst of both possible worlds." Read More

CT: Election reforms proposed | Yale Daily News

After widespread ballot shortages in last November’s election tossed the result of the gubernatorial race up in the air for days, new Secretary of the State Denise Merrill is pushing for major reforms to the way Connecticut runs its elections. In a press conference Monday in Hartford, Merrill proposed four pieces of legislation that would help prevent another Election Day fiasco — one major proposal that would require municipalities to report to Merrill’s office the number of ballots they had ordered in advance of election day and another that would open the door for more absentee voting. The proposals received bipartisan support from legislators Monday, but met opposition from the committee responsible for enforcing elections in Connecticut towns. Read More

FL: 17,601 Jacksonville Voters Must Renew Absentee Ballot Requests - WJXT Jacksonville

A change in Florida Election Laws means thousands of absentee voters in Duval County will no longer receive their absentee ballots until they make a new request to the supervisor of elections office.According to elections officials, 17,601 voters who requested an absentee ballot after May 28 and before Nov. 3, 2010, must make a new request to receive an absentee ballot for the March 22 first election and the May 17 general election. Read More

IN: Software firm may reap vote center perks | | Journal and Courier

A company at Purdue Research Park in West Lafayette stands to benefit from recent passage of the vote center bill by the legislature. The bill gives all Indiana counties the option of moving forward on creating vote centers that could increase turnout and save money by allowing people to cast ballots at designated locations rather than a single site. "We're moving forward as well," said Mikel Berger, a software developer with DelMar Information Technologies LLC, which has developed Electronic Poll Book -- a software program that is used by Tippecanoe County vote centers. Read More

IN: Grand jury probing vote by Secretary of State White | The Indianapolis Star

Grand jury proceedings against Secretary of State Charlie White entered their second day today in a Hamilton County courtroom today. White, the top election official in the state, is accused of intentionally voting in the wrong precinct during the May 2010 primary, a potential felony. If convicted of a felony, White would have to give up the position that he won by a wide margin over Democrat Vop Osili in November's election. Read More

LA: State lawmaker announces secretary of state bid -

A state lawmaker from New Orleans says he is running for secretary of state in the fall election. Rep. Walker Hines, 27, announced his intentions Wednesday. He's the second announced candidate in the race to be Louisiana's top elections official. In office since 2008, Hines switched parties in November, becoming a Republican. He says his primary focus as secretary of state would be to improve Louisiana's business climate, and he's calling his candidacy an option for voters to move past "recycled politicians" who will only preserve the status quo. Read More

ME: Maine Secretary of State Seeks Expanded Powers

Maine's new Secretary of State, Charles Summers, is asking the Legislature to grant him new expanded powers designed to help small businesses that feel stymied by state regulations. Summers testified before the newly-formed Joint Select Committee on Regulatory Fairness and Reform yesterday, and asked the panel to grant him the power to temporarily stop enforcement actions against Maine businesses. Summers had come to testify in support of LD 1, the LePage administration's controversial plan, with the stated goal of improving Maine's business climate. Summers, a former Republican congressional candidate who served as Northeast regional administrator for the Small Business Adminstration under George W. Bush, told the commiteee that he believes the Sectretary of State's office should be included in efforts to make the regulatory process more workable for small business. Read More

MD: Some counties seek more early voting centers -

Frederick County has the eighth-most registered voters in Maryland, but in the days leading up to last year's primary and general elections, very few residents took advantage of early voting, which was being offered for the first time in the state. The problem, officials said, is that state law allows the county to have only one early voting center, which was in the city of Frederick, making it inconvenient for voters who lived in rural parts of the county to cast their ballots early. Read More

NM: Voter ID billed doomed? - Alamogordo Daily 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 emotionally 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. Read More


Absentee voting issues still irk troops - Navy Times

About one-third of overseas troops who wanted to vote in 2010 couldn’t, according to testimony at a House hearing Tuesday. For tens of thousands of other overseas service members, absentee voting improved, thanks to a 2009 law requiring that absentee ballots be mailed 45 days before an election, Thomas Perez, assistant attorney general for civil rights at the Justice Department, told the House Administration Committee. But more than a dozen states and territories had trouble mailing absentee ballots to service members after holding late primaries. Overseas troops who said they never voted in last year’s election cited difficulties receiving or returning their absentee ballots, according to a review by the Overseas Vote Foundation. The problem was worse in 2008, when about half of overseas troops reported problems, according to the panel’s chairman, Rep. Daniel Lungren, R-Calif. Read More


Ireland: Plans for voting reform on knife edge - The Irish Times

Plans to hold a May referendum on voting reform, which must get parliamentary approval this week, hang on a knife edge because of continuing disagreements between the Conservative/ Liberal Democrat coalition and Labour. Last night MPs in the House of Commons were facing the prospect of an all-night debate on the legislation, which proposes the introduction of the alternative vote system, a reduction in the number of MPs and the creation of more constituencies of equal size. During a marathon debate in the House of Lords, the government failed to block a number of amendments put down by Labour, including a demand that the referendum result would not be valid unless there was a 40 per cent voter turnout. Read More

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