Thursday, March 17, 2011

State fights over CO ballots, Debate over Photo ID in NC

AZ Senate Eliminates Spanish Election Material - Texas Observer

So this really isn’t about immigrants, undocumented or not. The folks in power in Arizona don’t want anything in their state that doesn’t look or sound like they do. This recent vote in the Arizona state senate proves the point. The bill, SB1490 proposed by Maricopa County Senator Steve Smith, bars the production of all government material in languages other than English. The Arizona Senate has approved it. The Bill, according to some observers, targets election material; specifically, according to the Yuma Sun, it is "aimed at the brochures mailed out before every general election by the Secretary of State’s Office detailing all the measures on the ballot as well as the recommendations of a commission on whether judges should be retained in office." And apparently that’s the technicality on which Sen. Smith hangs his bill. He says his bill is legal because it only bars material mailed prior to an election. Opponents say that the Voting Rights Act of 1968 is clear on the matter. Read More

CA: Court hears appeal of San Francisco’s ranked-choice voting system - San Francisco Examiner

A lawyer for six San Franciscans who oppose The City’s ranked-choice voting system argued before a federal appeals court Tuesday that the procedure deprives them of their constitutional voting rights. “This case presents the issue of whether voters have the right to have their vote counted in the most important part of an election — that is when the winner is decided,” attorney James Parrinello told a panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. The six voters, led by former Board of Supervisors candidate Ron Dudum, want the appeals court to overturn a federal trial judge’s ruling dismissing their lawsuit. Read More

CO: State to fight over Saguache ballots - The Pueblo Chieftain

Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler will conduct a review of the Saguache County election that includes a hand count of the ballots — if he can get his hands on them. While that issue will be a matter for the courts to decide, Gessler came to town Wednesday night to explain the scope of a proposed review to roughly 60 county residents. Controversy over the Saguache election has persisted since Nov. 5 when County Clerk and Recorder Melinda Myers, with the blessing of the state, conducted a second count of the ballots to correct a computer error that counted mail-in ballots from a precinct twice, while excluding the precinct's polling place tallies. Read More

CO: Common Cause throws weight behind Fort Collins' ranked-voting campaign - The Denver Post

The Fort Collins ranked voting campaign today said Colorado Common Cause is backing the April 5 measure that would make ranked voting the norm in city elections. Ranked voting — also called instant runoff voting — allows voters to rank their candidates from their top to last choices. If a candidate with an absolute majority of votes, 50 percent plus one, isn't determined in the first round of voting, the lowest ranked candidate is dropped from the ballot and those who picked that candidate as No. 1 would have their second choice count. Ranked voting would replace the current plurality system, which only requires a candidate to receive a relative majority — receiving the most votes relative to other candidates. Elena Nunez — program director for Colorado Common Cause — said her group supports ranked-choice voting because it "will increase voter choice and ensure that winning candidates have the support of a majority of voters." Read More

CT: Online Voting for the Military? - News - The Litchfield County Times

Sen. Rob Kane (R-Watertown) recently testified in favor of a bill that would allow access to online voting for Connecticut’s military personnel stationed out of state. Currently, members of Connecticut’s military can submit applications for absentee voting online, but cannot cast their ballot over a secure Web site. The federal Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act (MOVE Act), amended in 2009, made sweeping changes in support of military and overseas voters, but did not include online voting. “A secure online system would help to solve the problem of military absentee ballots, which sometimes arrive too late to be counted in elections,” Senator Kane said. “Providing online voting for military personnel could help prevent the disfranchisement of those serving abroad and ensure that votes are properly counted.” Read More

FL: Officials Scrutinize Duval County Absentee Votes - WJXT Jacksonville

Elections officials said more than 800 absentee votes in Duval County may not be counted in Tuesday's city election. That estimate is based on the rejection rate in past elections.While no ballots will be counted until the polls close next Tuesday, the Duval County supervisor of elections and the canvasing board are reviewing questionable ballots and signatures that have already been cast.The board will review the absentee ballots received this week so they will be ready to feed into the counting machines. Officials are looking to see if the signatures on the ballots match those on file with the elections office. Read More

NY: Ball's Senate bill would count votes of soldiers who die | The Journal News

Every vote counts in New York, except yours if you vote by absentee ballot and die before Election Day.Such a law, though, shouldn't apply to ballots cast by active-duty military personnel, according to a bill that passed the state Senate this week. If the measure passes the Assembly and Gov. Andrew Cuomo signs it, those votes would be counted "even if the service member dies before the date of the scheduled election for which it was cast." Read More

NC: Editorial - Proposed voter ID law is both unnecessary and expensive -

A push by House Republicans to make it harder for North Carolinians to vote is a solution in search of a problem. Make that an expensive solution in search of a problem.
But as they look to squeeze more money out of education and other public services, some members of the General Assembly seem content to commit at least $600,000 dollars to an unnecessary and cynical Voter ID law. Based on experiences with Voter ID in other states, the cost likely would be far greater, with questionable results. We already have voting laws in North Carolina, and they work well – both to verify eligibility and to ensure that any registered voter who wishes to cast a ballot is allowed to do so. Rather than preventing some imagined vast conspiracy to tip the outcome of elections, the more likely effect would be to shut out potentially thousands of eligible voters who don't have the proper photo identification. At best, it adds one extra step for people who don't possess up-to-date driver's licenses, or ones that match exactly their name on the voter registration rolls. Read More

TX: Local Dallas County state rep wants to toughen voter fraud laws in Texas -

Freshman Rep. Cindy Burkett, R-Mesquite, has a bill making its way through the Legislature that would crack down on vote harvesting practices and increase penalties against such people who illegally help voters with their mail-in ballots. This comes as a Rockwall County grand jury is helping the Texas attorney general investigate voter fraud in Dallas County during last March's Democratic primary. It's a Class A misdemeanor to assist a voter with their mail-in ballot under certain circumstances. For example, a political worker who mails an absentee ballot for a voter must sign their name and print their name and address on the envelope. Read More


Efforts to make Internet secure are ineffective | Government Security News

While some progress has been made by some federal agencies in making cyberspace secure, overall efforts have been ineffective, according to a well-known security expert. "What we are doing now to secure cyberspace is not working," a House subcommittee was told March 16 by James Lewis, director and a senior fellow in the Technology and Public Policy program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC. "There's been real progress at some agencies like DHS, but we need to rethink our approach," he told the Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Security Technologies panel. Military establishments in some countries have the capability to launch a cyber attack on the United States, he maintained. "They're not going to launch a cyber attack because they're not going to start a war for no reason with the U.S., they're deterred by our military," he explained, "but if they ever did attack us, we are unprepared to defend ourselves." Read More

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