Monday, March 28, 2011

CO Secretary of State sues Sagiuache County Clerk, Voter ID bills across the nation

CA: Election schedule hostage to budget | The Desert Sun

With the idea of a June 7 special election increasingly less likely, state officials are starting to consider additional dates for Gov. Jerry Brown to put a proposed five-year tax extension before voters. At least one of those plans could cost Riverside County taxpayers as much as $3 million. Brown needs two-thirds support in the Legislature to put his controversial tax proposal before voters. But the idea has been on hold as he tries to secure four elusive Republican votes. Read More

CO: Gessler sues Myers - Center Post Dispatch

Secretary of State Scott Gessler answered citizens’ questions and objections, interjected jokes and qualified election perceptions at length during a two-hour town hall meeting in Saguache Wednesday. A good-sized crowd listened intently as Gessler explained the role his office played in the election, separated his approach to the election problems the county has experienced from that of predecessor Bernie Buescher, and outlined how he plans to move forward. During the meeting, Gessler cleared up some misconceptions about election-related issues, left some questions pending and gave a frank “I don’t know” when he was not sure where answers were concerned. But the hand count most of his audience hoped to hear him announce will be delayed indefinitely. Read More

CO: Ranked voting gets mixed reviews throughout country - The Coloradoan

The election process known as ranked voting, or instant runoff voting, has received mixed reviews across the country in communities that have used it. From coast to coast — spe-cifically from Cary, N.C., to San Leandro, Calif., — offi-cials with mid-sized municipalities that have used a ranked-choice voting system similar to what is proposed for Fort Collins on the April 5 ballot disagree on whether the process is fair, accurate and cost effective. Ranked voting "worked as advertised" in San Leandro, which used the process for the first time in November, said Mayor Stephen Cassidy in an email to the Coloradoan. Read More

CT: Connecticut elections chief named to national committee on voter participation -

Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill has been named to a national panel that's looking for ways to increase voter participation nationwide. Merrill, a Democrat, was appointed by the National Association of Secretaries of State as co-chair of the group's Voter Participation Committee. She will lead the committee with Republican Jason Gant, South Dakota's secretary of state. The 19-member panel will provide a forum for the secretaries to share their best ideas for voter education and outreach. It will also serve as a clearinghouse for information on voter participation. Read More

MN: Photo ID backers get an e-mail scare -

Backers of the "photo ID" voter legislation got a bit of a scare last week. The bill, which would require voters to show photo identification when they vote, was pronounced nearly dead by a group that had championed it. "Internal Republican politics may ultimately kill 21st Century Voter ID," screamed an e-mail alert from Minnesota Majority. The photo ID proposals originally were projected to cost $60 million because of weighty mandates that would require precincts to have electronic verification systems, making the bills a hard sell. Supporters say photo ID is needed to prevent fraud at the polls. Opponents argue that it would disenfranchise some voters. Bill sponsor Sen. Warren Limmer, R-Maple Grove, said the proposal still is on track, largely because of changes that strip the cost to under $5 million -- though the new analysis has not been released. The computerized verification systems would be optional. Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake, plans to make similar changes in the House. Read More

OH: Review casts doubt on outcome of race - Toledo Blade

Lucas County Commissioner George Sarantou? That was the wish of some 69,580 Lucas County residents who voted for the Toledo Republican in the Nov. 2 election. But Carol Contrada, the Democrat, was declared the winner after the Lucas County Board of Elections said she received 193 more votes than Mr. Sarantou. But did she? A review by The Blade over the last six weeks of the 4,157 validated provisional ballots cast in the Nov. 2 election suggests at least 527 votes were erroneously included in the total vote count. And hundreds more that were counted are suspect based on Ohio law and regulations. Read More

RI: Rhode Island voter-ID bill has support on both sides of the aisle | Rhode Island news | | The Providence Journal

It’s not every day that House Speaker Gordon D. Fox adds his name to a bill with Republican Joseph A. Trillo or even fellow Democrat Jon D. Brien. But Fox and House Majority Whip J. Patrick O’Neill, along with Brien, Trillo and Republican Tea Party member Doreen Costa, have joined together to support a bill that would require voters to show photo identification at the polls. The unlikely tandem of state lawmakers is sponsoring House bill H-5680 at the request of Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis, who argues that the “belief that voter fraud exists undermines the public’s faith in the fairness of our elections.” “Voting should be at least as secure as renting a car, getting a library card or any of the other tasks that routinely require an ID,” Mollis said. “Some people look at this as a Republican or a conservative issue. I look it as an electoral issue,” said Brien, the bill’s prime sponsor, noting its support from leading Democrats. Read More

TN: Boards urge voting act repeal - Herald Citizen

Two separate Putnam County boards made formal requests this week that the Tennessee Legislature repeal a 2008 act that would require new voting machines and paper ballots in next year's election cycle. The Putnam County Election Commission joined the Putnam County Commission on Monday in supporting a resolution asking the General Assembly repeal the Tennessee Voter Confidence Act. Both bodies are concerned that the optical scan voting machines and paper ballots required under the rule could pose additional financial burdens. Officials have said that the equipment and ballots could cost the county $78,000 more per election, on top of the average $48,000-50,000 it takes right now. And those are conservative estimates, Putnam County Election Administrator Debbie Steidl said. Read More

TX: New bill may affect voter turnout - SMU Daily Campus

After more than 11 hours of debate, the Texas House passed a bill that would require voters to show photo identification at polls. While the bill is aimed at addressing voter fraud, many say that it will negatively affect students' ability to vote. "The thing that is usually disruptive for students is that they are not at home," political science professor Cal Jilson said. "So if you are not at home and do not have local ID, you won't be able to register to vote and vote at your university home." John Carona, the Republican senator that represents the SMU area, said that the Senate considered this particular problem. He said that a student who is a resident of Texas may register to vote at a temporary address, and "if there is a conflict of address on a voter registration card and a driver's license, it would not prohibit that person from voting." The language of the bill, SB-14, does not specifically address this problem, although Carona said the office of the secretary of state is currently developing rules that will "equip election workers to handle these situations." Carona said that if there were to be an issue, "students will have the opportunity to cast a provisional ballot." Read More


Across country, GOP pushes photo ID at the polls - The Associated Press

Empowered by last year's elections, Republican leaders in about half the states are pushing to require voters to show photo ID at the polls despite little evidence of fraud and already-substantial punishments for those who vote illegally. Democrats claim the moves will disenfranchise poor and minority voters — many of whom traditionally vote for their candidates. The measures will also increase spending and oversight in some states even as Republicans are focused on cutting budgets and decreasing regulations. Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett, a Republican, said he believes his state's proposed photo ID law will increase citizen confidence in the process and combat fraud that could be going undetected. "I can't figure out who it would disenfranchise," Hargett said. "The only people I can think it disenfranchises is those people who might be voting illegally." Hargett said the measure currently moving through Tennessee's legislature — now controlled by Republicans — would accommodate people who don't have IDs by having them sign oaths of identity, which provide more prominent warning to potential fakers than the standard name-signing. Party leaders advanced several ID proposals this week with successful votes in Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Ohio and Texas. Read More


Australia: Use of e-voting in NSW election triples expectations - Computerworld

The NSW Electoral Commission’s (NSWEC) e-voting system, iVote, has far exceeded initial expectations of 15,000 users, with more than 46,800 NSW citizens using the technology in the recent state election on 26 March 2011. NSWEC CIO, Ian Brightwell, told CIO Australia the original suggestions of between 5000 and 15,000 users had far been superseded, with some 95 per cent of those voters being in the interstate and overseas group. The project, first slated in June last year, initially focused on enabling blind, vision-impaired and disabled voters, as well as those living in remote areas, to cast a secret and unassisted vote from home or in other locations using an interactive voice response by phone or the internet. The world-class technology was later extended to include other groups. Read More

India: Shiv Sena opposes EVMs and e-voting system - Mumbai DNA Media

Shiv Sena would oppose the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) and e-voting system during upcoming polls in 10 municipal corporations and 167 municipal councils in Maharashtra. A delegation of Sena leaders today met state election commissioner Neela Satyanarayan submitting a memorandum opposing use of EVMs and e-voting in the polls. The commission had earlier said that it will set up a committee before introducing the e-voting system. "The EVMs create confusion in the whole voting process and among voters. It becomes difficult for the voters to know whom they have cast votes. Instead, the old ballet papers should be used for better understanding of the voters," Sena secretary, Anil Desai said. Read More

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