Tuesday, April 5, 2011

DoJ Clears GA Voter ID Law, Egypt Looks to India for Voting Machines

CO: Voting bill targeting alleged illegal immigrant votes faces outcry in Colorado - The American Independent

A bill designed by Secretary of State Scott Gessler and sponsored by Rep. Chris Holbert, R-Parker, to ensure the integrity of the Colorado voting system is being called a means to reduce voter participation by voters’ rights advocates. Gessler said his bill fixes what he sees as a serious problem of ineligible voters on the voter rolls. The bill would give the secretary of state the authority to check names on voter registration lists against state and federal records that provide information on immigration status. In those cases where the secretary of state’s office determines that there is enough information to believe a person is not eligible to vote, the person would be given 90 days to provide evidence they are eligible. Individuals could prove their citizenship by showing photocopies of a passport, birth certificate, naturalization papers or through other methods. For those who could not afford a birth certificate the secretary of state’s office would provide the necessary funds. “This should have been done four years ago during the special session,” Holbert told the committee. However, Rep. Lois Court, D-Denver, said she would like to see evidence that non-citizens have participated in voter fraud and said she did not see a reason to tackle a problem that had not been proven to exist. Jenny Flanagan, executive director for Colorado Common Cause, told the Colorado Independent the bill went one step too far. “This is just another attempt to limit people’s participation in the vote,” Flanagan said. ”It is in the guise of an integrity measure, but it is really anything but.” She said the bill likely violated constitutional voting rights. Read More

GA: Secretary of State Georgia's voter ID requirement cleared by DoJ - Rome News-Tribune

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp announced today that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) precleared Georgia’s law and related regulations which require new voter registration applicants to provide evidence of United States citizenship with their voter registration applications. The law is Act 143 of the 2009 Georgia General Assembly, also known as Senate Bill 86. “This law is a common sense enhancement to our voter registration process that will prevent non-citizens from voting in Georgia’s elections," Kemp said. "Every ballot cast by a non-citizen erases a ballot cast by an eligible Georgia voter. The voter roll protections in Act 143, our photo ID requirement for in-person voting, and our triple-signature verification procedure for mail-in ballots make Georgia a national model for election security and integrity.” Act 143 was signed into law by Governor Sonny Perdue on May 5, 2009 and requires those registering to vote to submit evidence of United States citizenship with their applications. There are many forms of acceptable identification, including a Georgia driver’s license number or identification card number, birth certificate, U.S. passport, U.S. naturalization documents or alien registration number, and a copy of a driver’s license or identification card from any state whose cards comply with the requirements of the federal REAL ID Act of 2005. Read More

IL: Quinn remakes state election board - nwi.com

More than two years into his tenure as chief executive, Gov. Pat Quinn has unveiled his picks for the commission that oversees Illinois elections. The remaking of the panel ends a period in which all members of the Illinois State Board of Elections were serving in the paid positions even though their terms had expired -- some for as long as four years. Quinn replaced five members, ousting a number of longtime members including Wanda Rednour, a Democratic member from Du Quoin, while keeping Republican Jesse Smart of Bloomington. New board members include Harold Byers, of Highland; Betty Coffrin, of Charleston; Ernest Gowen, of Olympia Fields; Judith Rice, of Chicago; and Charles Scholz of Quincy. Holdover members include Smart, William McGuffage, of Chicago; and Bryan Schneider, of Chicago. Read More

MD: Voter registration measure advances - Cumberland Times-News

A bill to provide online voter registration along with the ability to update voter registration information online has passed the House and advanced to the Senate, with the support of two local delegates. Wendell Beitzel and Kevin Kelly both voted with the House majority to pass the measure. The bill passed the House 104-33 and is currently in the Senate Education Health and Environmental Affairs committee. Delegate LeRoy Myers was excused from the vote. “Utilizing the latest technology to help people become eligible to vote is a good idea,” Beitzel said. “As long as safeguards are in place, it opens up the system to any citizen wishing to participate,” he said. “It provides a safe and secure way of offering people an opportunity to participate in the political process,” said Kelly. House Bill 740 is sponsored by Delegates Jon Cardin and Samuel Rosenberg. Cardin represents Baltimore County and Rosenberg represents Baltimore City. Read More

MN: St. Louis County Board to debate need for voter ID cards | Duluth News Tribune

St. Louis County commissioners will weigh in on the national battle of voter identification cards today when they consider a resolution opposing a proposed state law requiring photo voter ID cards. Legislation has advanced in St. Paul this session that would require anyone voting in Minnesota to have a special voter ID card if they don’t have a valid driver’s license with their current address. County auditors would be required to provide the cards free of charge. HF89 and SF479, sponsored by Republican lawmakers, have passed government operations committees and await action by additional committees any day. The bill has strong support from the Tea Party and other groups, such as the Minnesota Majority and Minnesota Voters Alliance, which have alleged widespread voter fraud in Minnesota. The issue hits home for the County Board because counties, towns and cities could have to foot the bill under the state proposal, board chairman Steve O’Neil said. The Duluth City Council last month passed a similar resolution opposing the voter card legislation. O’Neil, who introduced the resolution, said the card requirement will disenfranchise poor voters and cost county property taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars “to solve an imaginary problem.” “They keep talking about all this voter fraud. But if you talk to the people who run our elections,” O’Neil said, “we just don’t see it.” Read More

MT: Lawmakers end same-day voter registration - NewsTimes

The Montana Legislature has passed a bill that would end same-day voter registration and moving the last day voters could register to the Friday before Election Day. The Senate gave final approval to House Bill 180 with a 28-22 vote on Friday. The House had passed it 67-33 in February. Republican sponsor Rep. Champ Edmunds of Missoula argued the current system of allowing people to register on Election Day opens the system to fraud. Election officials in Gallatin County told the Bozeman Daily Chronicle same-day registration led to delays in the 8 p.m. poll closure time. Secretary of State Linda McCulloch opposed the bill, saying nearly 19,000 people have registered on Election Day since it became legal in 2006 and it has not led to voter fraud. Read More

NC: Photo requirement scrapped in voter ID bill - North Carolina News Network

Republican state lawmakers say they have removed the photo requirement from a bill that would make voters show ID in order to cast a ballot. The latest draft eliminates language that would require a photo ID. Instead, individuals would now be allowed to use a county-issued voter registration card or documents such as a utility bill or bank statement. Bill co-sponsor Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett, said lawmakers have made great progress in working with all of the interested parties. “We’ve tried to address those concerns to make sure that we can increase the amount of progress voters have in the elections process while at the same time making sure that everyone entitled to vote gets to vote.” Still, many opponents said removing photo requirement didn’t change their view on the overall bill. Members of the North Carolina Legislative Black Caucus held a press conference to highlight the group’s concerns that the legislation will disenfranchise seniors, students and minorities. “Any obstacle to access to the polls we think is unjustified when we don’t have a problem,” said Sen. Floyd McKissick, D-Durham. “You’re trying to cure a problem that doesn’t exist.” Read More

OH: Voters to test 'epollbooks' | Cincinnati.com

Voters in Norwood and Elmwood Place will get some high-tech help when they sign in to vote during the May primary. Three voting locations in those communities will take part in a pilot program to test an electronic poll book that could one day replace the paper books now used throughout the state. Hamilton County election officials said the goal is to find out if the electronic books are a less expensive and more efficient way to check voter registration records on Election Day. “We think this is probably the shape of things to come,” said Sally Krisel, director of the Hamilton County Board of Elections. “Everybody is looking at these.” Read More

SC: Voting machines to get closer probe - TheSunNews.com

A few dozen of the Lowcountry’s elected officials appear concerned enough about South Carolina’s voting machines to urge the legislature to look into them. Frank Heindel, a Charleston businessman, has spent months investigating the machines’ performance, and outlined his findings Monday to the board of the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments. Board members agreed to prepare a resolution asking the General Assembly to have the Legislative Audit Council probe the machines. Heindel talked about recent problems with voting tabulations in Colleton, Lancaster and Richmond counties. “It’s not all the same problem,” he said. “There’s a variety of different things going wrong.” Heindel pointed to a mix-up last November in Richland County, where 355 ballots were not counted in one precinct; 772 weren’t counted in another. Read More


Egypt: Envoy seeks Inia's chief election commissione's help in conducting polls - The Times of India

Egypt’s ambassador to India Khaled el Bakly met chief election commissioner (CEC) S Y Quraishi recently, seeking assistance in conducting elections after Hosni Mubarak’s ouster. Parliamentary elections will be held in Egypt in September, followed by presidential polls in November. During the meeting with Quraishi, Bakly wanted to know about various aspects of election management and electronic voting machines (EVMs). “He asked how fast we can provide EVMs in case they decide to use them,” said a senior election commission (EC) official. The EC has sent Bakly documents on skills, experience and technical know-how in conducting elections in India. Bakly also wanted to know about Indian Institute of Democrat and Election Management (IIDEM), which the Commission proposes to set up. IIDEM will offer assistance and support, training and educational materials and consultancy service in election management. “We get a lot of requests from various countries to train their poll officials,” said Quraishi. Read More

Kazakhstan: Observers slam Kazakh leader's 95% election romp - AFP

President Nursultan Nazarbayev on Monday extended his rule over Kazakhstan into a third decade with a crushing 95 percent victory in elections that observers said fell well short of democratic standards. The Central Election Commission said the first official results showed the incumbent had won 95.5 percent of the vote on mass turnout of 89.9 percent — both figures beating Nazarbayev’s performance in his last re-election in 2005. The victory gives the 70-year-old — who has ruled Kazakhstan since even before the collapse of the Soviet Union — a third decade of power and keep any uncertainty over who will one day succeed him on the backburner. But international observers from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) immediately cast a shadow over his triumph, slamming the polls as short of “genuine democratic” standards. Daan Everts, the head of the long-term election observation mission said: “Regrettably we have to conclude that this election could and should have been better. It showed the urgency of implementing the long-awaited reforms.” “Needed reforms for holding genuine democratic elections still have to materialise as this election revealed shortcomings similar to those in previous elections,” the observer mission said in a statement. The observers reported “serious irregularities, including numerous instances of seemingly identical signatures on voter lists and cases of ballot box stuffing,” the statement added. Read More

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