Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Nickolaus Rebuffs Calls for Resignation, India goes to the polls

GA: Secretary of State Kemp Applauds Passage of Bipartisan Early Voting Reform - The Weekly Online

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp applauded the Georgia General Assembly for its bipartisan support and passage of HB 92 to enact reforms to the state’s early voting period and process. HB 92 now goes to Governor Nathan Deal for his signature. Secretary Kemp said, “Georgia citizens enjoy the greatest election access in the nation with our early voting period for casting ballots in-person and by mail, and increased access to mail-in ballots for military and overseas voters through our MVP voter education website. HB 92 improves early voting by making the voting period consistent throughout the state and reducing costs for county election offices, while protecting the voter’s ability to cast their ballot 45 days prior to Election Day. I also would like to thank State Representative Mark Hamilton for introducing this common sense legislation.” Read More

IN: White recuses himself in Recount Commission case - The Indianapolis Star

Secretary of State Charlie White has partially stepped down from the Indiana Recount Commission, the group that has been charged with determining whether he's eligible to stay in office. White is removing himself only from matters related to that case. Last week, a judge ordered the Indiana Recount Commission to hear Democrats' challenge that White was not legally registered to vote at the time he filed his candidacy and is therefore ineligible to remain secretary of state. The commission had dismissed the complaint last December. On Monday, White announced in a letter to Republican chairman Eric Holcomb that he would not participate in discussions pertaining to this case, including whether an appeal should be filed. Holcomb will have to select a Republican replacement for White, who became chairman of the three-member commission when he was elected secretary of state. Read More

MT: Secretary of state expresses worry on effect of postal closure on mail ballots -

Montana Secretary of State Linda McCulloch has weighed in on a proposal to move Helena’s mail-sorting operations to Great Falls, expressing concerns about what it could mean for local elections. In a letter addressed to Montana’s congressional delegation, McCulloch noted that an increasing number of Montanans are choosing to vote using absentee mail ballots, with the number of votes cast that way jumping from 15 percent of the total to 47 percent in the past decade. The shift to mail ballots is expected to continue, meaning the U.S. Postal Service will play a role in elections, McCulloch wrote in the letter. “Moving Helena’s mail processing operation to Great Falls could delay the delivery of absentee ballots to Helena and Helena-area voters, and delay the return of a voted ballot to the county election office,” she wrote. “Either scenario would diminish voters’ confidence in Montana’s reliable absentee and vote-by-mail process.” Montana law requires all ballots to be returned to the local election administrator’s office by the end of Election Day, meaning postmark dates are not relevant if the mail doesn’t get there in time, the letter stated. Read More

NM: Voter fraud probe grinds in secrecy - Alamogordo Daily News

One month after Secretary of State Dianna Duran told legislators she had evidence of voter fraud, the cases remain under investigation and covered in secrecy. Duran, a Republican who took office this year, said New Mexico elections may have been compromised, based on comparisons of voter rolls and New Mexico driver's licenses issued to foreign nationals. An unspecified number of foreign nationals who were in the country illegally have received New Mexico driver's licenses since 2003. The Legislature that year gave illegal immigrants driving privileges. Duran said cross-checking voters lists with the 83,000 foreign nationals who have been licensed to drive led to her suspicions about voter fraud. She said Tuesday she had turned over cases of possible fraud to state police to investigate. Duran could not specify the number of cases. New Mexico has about 1.1 million registered voters. In March, Duran said her staff had flagged a few dozen people who could have committed voter fraud. Read More

WI: Nickolaus fends off calls for resignation - JSOnline

Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus, under blistering attack by critics since an election night reporting error that temporarily reversed results of the Supreme Court race, on Tuesday rejected calls that she resign. "I will serve the remainder of my term," Nickolaus said in a written statement. "I understand why people are upset and I am taking this matter seriously. Again, I am sorry for my mistake." Earlier Tuesday, Waukesha County Democratic Party Chairman Victor Weers said in a news release that not only has the clerk's vote-counting and reporting process produced problems, but "Ms. Nicholaus (sic) has willfully ignored pleas to repair her broken reporting process in an open and technologically reliable way." "We must have a county clerk that we can trust to do this important work of the people with competence, security and openness. Waukesha must have a new county clerk now."

In her written response, Nickolaus said: "I have immediately begun the process of reviewing my procedures. I have also asked the Government Accountability Board and the Waukesha County auditor to assist my office in a review and implementation of improved practices and procedures to make sure the process is more transparent and this mistake does not happen again. I will use the remainder of my term to restore the voter's (sic) confidence in me." Nickolaus was first elected county clerk in November 2002 after winning a Republican primary race against former deputy county clerk Kathy Karalewitz. She was re-elected in 2004, 2006 and 2008 without opposition, when state law was changed and made the term four years. Her current term expires at the end of 2012. Nickolaus earns $67,787 a year. Read More

WI: Wisconsin Awaits Outcome of Supreme Court Vote -

A full week after voters in Wisconsin cast ballots for the State Supreme Court in a volatile, topsy-turvy contest that had become a referendum on the state’s new Republican leadership, the state was still waiting for the final outcome. By Tuesday, Wisconsin’s top election monitors were investigating how more than 14,000 votes had been overlooked for a time in one Republican-leaning county. Democratic leaders in that county, Waukesha, were calling for the resignation of the clerk who had made the error, and she was refusing to go. And though one candidate, David T. Prosser Jr., the incumbent justice and a conservative, appeared to hold a solid lead (due, in part, to the Waukesha County votes), the checking and rechecking of vote counts dragged on in a few counties. A final count was not expected until at least Wednesday. Read More

WI: Wisconsin Election Bombshell: How Plausible? - Huffington Post

Faith in America's electoral-tabulation processes took a hit late this week when a Wisconsin county clerk who announced a bombshell correction: nearly 15,000 missed votes, which dramatically upended the state's supreme court race. The clerk described her mistake as "human error ... which is common in this process." While an ongoing review by state election officials will ultimately provide the best evidence, both turnout statistics and historical precedent generally support her claim. Unofficial tallies for Tuesday's special election gave Democratic-backed challenger JoAnne Kloppenberg an extremely slim lead over incumbent Wisconsin Justice David Prosser -- just 204 votes out of nearly 1.5 million cast. But on Thursday, Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus announced that the early counts had missed roughly 15,000 votes, mostly due to the omission of the entire city of Brookfield. Kloppenberg's revision put Prosser ahead by 6,744 votes, leaving Kloppenberg hard-pressed to catch up. Reviews of the election turnout statistics by Craig Gilbert of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and by FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver show that the revised Waukesha results appear more plausible than those initially reported. As Gilbert wrote, the addition of nearly 15,000 votes "puts that county's turnout rate more in line with the neighboring GOP strongholds of Ozaukee and Washington counties." Read More


In the Wake of Waukesha, Thursday’s Subcommittee Hearing on the Elimination of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission Could Turn Heads - We Party Patriots

As the Wisconsin Supreme Court election votes trickled in on the evening of April 5th, engaged Americans watched closely, rooting for their candidate via Twitter update and clutching the fists of their collective body politick until the partisan sweat dripped down their working class arms. The Prosser-Kloppenburg race was largely depicted as a referendum on Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and the anti-union movement he is figureheading. Alas, it came out a tie. Essentially. Kloppenburg was declared the victor by roughly 200 votes, a margin so thin you wonder how she must have felt taking the podium to announce it. Still, many of her supporters held their breath, if for no other reason than not to jinx a recount. But, when the predictably unthinkable happened a day later, the announcement that 14,000 votes had been discovered in fire engine red Waukesha county, by a county clerk with a history of vote count mishaps who used to work for the incumbent, the liberal exhale was accompanied by cries of voter fraud and election disenchantment. There is now talk of a federal probe into the election. That said, extra fanfare can be expected when the Subcommittee on Elections takes up HR 672 on Thursday, seeking to eliminate the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. Read More


India: Men, donkeys at work to carry EVMs to booths - The Times of India

Our election process has gone hitech with electronic voting machines, but some areas in Tamil Nadu are so backward that these new-age machines have to be taken on the back of donkeys or carried on head by men. In a few villages devoid of motorable roads in Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri districts, EVMs were transported on Monday and Tuesday on the back of donkeys. In several hilly hamlets in Salem, headload workers assisted polling officials by carrying EVMs and other polling materials through the tough terrain. At Kottur Hill in Dharmapuri, three donkeys Kamal, Vijay and Sarat carried EVMs and poll materials to the polling booths to hill top. Their owner C Chinnasamy, a dhobi in Dharmapuri town, guided the officials through the four-hour trek. There were two polling booths with over 600 voters over the Kottur hills. While Chinnasamy and three of the donkeys reached Kottur Hill on Tuesday noon, another donkey owned by him, named Rajani, was carrying poll materials to Emanur, another hilly hamlet with a single polling booth. Both Kottur and Emanur fall under Pennagaram assembly constituency. In Pannavady across Mettur reservoir, election material were taken to the booth in three coracles. Officials climbed the steep hills of Jurukumalai in Veerapandi constituency with the EVM to reach out to about 499 voters, who had no road connectivity. The difficult terrain was inaccessible for even donkeys. Read More

India: Man, machine gear up for polls on Wednesday | Deccan Chronicle

All safety and security arrangements are in place and booth slips will also be available at polling booths, and Chennaiites should come forward and take part in the electoral process, district election officer and corporation commissioner D. Karthikeyan urged, while monitoring the distribution of electronic voting machines to polling booths on Tuesday. Speaking to reporters, he said all necessary polling materials, including EVMs and control units, have been distributed to all the 3,236 polling booths. About 18,000 staff are ready for the polls, he said. According to corporation sources, the civic body has stocked about 7,500 EVM units and 3,700 control units for the polls. The city has about 31.5 lakh electors, including 15 lakh women voters. Men and machine are kept in reserve to meet last-minute demand and a 16-member engineering team has fanned out across all the constituencies to undertake repair and replace batteries, if required, during polling. So far, the corporation has received more than 800 complaints and a majority of them were regarding distribution of freebies and money by candidates, sources said. Read More

India: Poll panel to mix up EVMs during counting - The Times of India

For the first time, the Election Commission is considering mixing up the electronic voting machines (EVMs) during the counting so that counting agents will not be able to identify which constituency a particular EVM belongs to. The EC is trying to remove any fears people may have about voting as some political parties have allegedly threatened voters that they can find out who they have voted for during counting. "The Commission is examining a proposal to mix up the EVMs while counting so that no one can identify which constituency the machines belong to," said chief electoral officer Praveen Kumar. Kumar said that following reports regarding money distribution, the Election Commission is monitoring the situation. "If malpractices continue, the commission could even postpone or countermand the polls," he said. However, the commission had been able to stop money flow to a large extent this time.
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