Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Recount Likely in Razor-Thin Wisconsin Supreme Court Election

IL: Voting machine screens missing Hammond city council candidate’s name - Post-Tribune

A glitch inadvertently left a Hammond City Council candidate’s name from showing on the screen of a Lake County voting machine on Monday. Another candidate running against Matthew Kolanowski in the Democratic Primary for the 1st District notified election staff around 11:30 a.m. of the problem. Monday was the first day of early voting for the May 3 primary. Election Board Attorney Jim Wieser said the glitch occurred when staff members adjusted the machine to leave a space in case Hammond Republican mayoral hopeful George Janiec makes it back on the ballot. Janiec, a School City of Hammond board member, is appealing Lake Superior Court Judge Jesse Villalpando’s decision to keep him off the ballot. Election staff didn’t know of the glitch because it only impacted what showed on the screen. When staff ran a test on the machine, Kolanowski’s name correctly appeared on the ballot, Wieser said. “If you ran a tape, and you always test the machine before you start it, when they did, and the printout was received that person’s name was on it,” Wieser said. “So everybody thought it was fine.” Read More

KS: Voter ID requirement keeps Baxter Springs man from voting - KOAM TV 7

Voters in Cherokee County, Kansas are looking at the long term impact of Secretary of State Kobach's voter ID requirement. One voter is crying foul on the state mandate. This morning Jeffrey Williams of Baxter Springs went to vote but the system said he was not registered. After his drivers license was scanned the screen was blank. He first thought it might be a computer error but because his name was misspelled, it looked like he was not registered. Williams says this still does not ease his concern for the long-term potential of a computer becoming contaminated with a virus or the computer system crashing. "As an attorney at law I've read the state constitution and it says specifically no property requirement to vote but if you think about it that card is a piece of property," Williams says. Read More

MI: Legislation introduced to allow Michigan residents to vote absentee for any reason -

In a move aimed at increasing voter participation, state Rep. Jeff Irwin has announced a plan to allow any Michigan resident to vote by absentee ballot without giving a reason. "Increasing voter turnout is crucial to maintaining a healthy democracy," Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, said in a statement. "We should do everything we can to ensure that every voter who wants to vote has that opportunity to exercise their rights and hold lawmakers accountable. This plan has strong bipartisan support and will simply make it easier for people to vote." Read More

MS: Harrison County Voter rolls soon will be electronic -

Circuit Clerk Gayle Parker plans to replace the large, bulky, polling books at each voting precinct with machines that resemble laptop computers. Parker is getting estimates from two companies. She plans to use the electronic poll books in the November elections. “It will make the voter lines move faster, and we won’t need as many poll workers,” Parker said. “All the information will be in the poll book. It’s like a laptop.” Right now, when voters go to a precinct and give their names, a poll worker has to look up the name and address in a large book. There usually are two or more lines, divided based on voters’ last names. The electronic books will have all the information, and workers will be able to find it faster, making lines move more quickly. The county also will save money because it won’t have to print the books for each precinct that it has been using for years. Read More

MT: New Montana bill ending Election Day voter registration might hurt state GOP -

The state legislature has passed a bill ending Election Day voter registration. The last day voters could now register is the Friday before an election. The Republican sponsored House Bill 180 passed largely on party lines Monday. Long held political thought says blocking same day registration benefits the G.O.P. But new research calls that into question. The general argument put forth around the issue goes like this: Republicans say allowing voters to register on Election Day can lead to fraud; Democrats argue we should be trying to get as many citizens as possible to vote--and same day voter registration helps. This issue, though, is often seen as having a deeper partisan motive. "Anything you do to try to make it easier for people to turn out, theoretically the conventional wisdom states it should help Democrats," said MSU Political Science Professor, Dr. David Parker. Conversely anything making the process more difficult should help Republicans. But Parker said a study released last year by the University of Wisconsin found a different conclusion. Read More
Read the University of Wisconsin Report (pdf)

TN: House panel passes mandate for photo ID for voters - Knoxville News Sentinel

Democratic legislators argued Tuesday that if Republicans are going to mandate a photo identification for voting, the state should provide free identification cards to those who cannot afford them. The argument did not work - at least for now -with the GOP majority on the House State and Local Government Committee, which proceeded to approve the "voter ID" bill, HB007, on a voice vote. The bill has already passed the Senate on a 21-11 party-line vote. Tuesday's action effectively clears the measure for a House floor vote. In the House committee, Rep. Harry Tindell, D-Knoxville, told House Republican Caucus Chairman Debra Maggart, "I beg you and I implore you" to delay a committee vote to await favorable action on a separate bill on free ID cards before voting on her bill. Maggart, who is sponsor of the bill, declined. She also declined to directly answer Tindell's repeated questions on whether she supported the other bill, saying only that "I'm working with the Senate on it." Tindell sought a "yes or no" answer. Read More

WI: Opinion: Wis. court election courts disaster - Richard L. Hasen -

With a razor-thin 204-vote lead, Democratic state assistant attorney general JoAnne Kloppenburg has declared victory over Republican incumbent David Prosser in the race for Wisconsin state Supreme Court justice. A recount in this race, which some view as a referendum on Gov. Scott Walker's anti-union policies, seems inevitable, and it is not clear who will ultimately take the seat on the Wisconsin bench. But if this expensive and nasty race ends up in protracted litigation, it could undermine public confidence in both the judiciary and Wisconsin’s electoral process, especially if, as I expect, supporters of Prosser raise ugly allegations of voter fraud. To begin with, these days any statewide election within a few hundred votes will likely be within the margin of litigation. Since the 2000 election and dispute over the razor-thin margin separating George W. Bush and Al Gore for the Florida vote, and therefore the U.S. presidency, litigating the outcome of close elections has become a regular feature of U.S. political life. Whether the 2004 governor’s race in Washington State between Dino Rossi and Christine Gregoire, the 2008 Senate race in Minnesota pitching Al Franken against Norm Coleman or the 2010 Senate race in Alaska between Lisa Murkowski and Joe Miller, close elections bring out intense partisan fighting and, often from the Republican side, allegations of fraud or voting irregularities. While the fraud allegations remain stuck in the public’s mind, no proof of any systemic fraud has been unearthed. Instead, close examination of elections show, time and again, that our election systems are not perfect – but this is due to human error and not fraud. Read More

WI: The BRAD BLOG : WI Supreme Court Election Virtually Deadlocked, According to the Machines Anyway [UPDATED]

With 100% of the precincts now reporting unofficial results, Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg leads Justice David Prosser by a remarkably thin 204 votes out of some 1.5 million ballots cast in the Wisconsin Supreme Court race --- according to the computers that count votes in the state. Read More

WI: Wisconsin Supreme Court Race May Hinge On ‘Undervotes’ - Shorewood, WI Patch

Hundreds, if not thousands, of Milwaukee-area voters went to the polls Tuesday but did not vote in the hotly contested state Supreme Court race, according to local voting results. And the issue of whether those people actually intended to vote for the high court could be a key factor in a looming recount that one expert says could bring back memories of Florida in the 2000 presidential election. More than 900 people in 16 southeastern Wisconsin communities cast ballots in Tuesday’s election between Justice David Prosser and Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg, but did not register a vote in the final tally. With Kloppenburg leading Prosser by 204 votes, these “undervotes” and hundreds more in communities around the state will be an important part of the likely recount of the race’s more than 1.4 million votes. Reviewing Tuesday’s results from Milwaukee-area communities, Patch found at least 985 incidents of ballots cast without a vote in the Supreme Court race. Observers said any number of reasons could explain why some ballots were cast, but do not have votes in the Supreme Court race. Most obvious, voters may have simply skipped voting in the race. But they may also have made a mark that wasn’t recognized by the counting machine. Part of the recount will include reviewing ballots to ensure all votes are recognized. Read More

WI: Only a few provisional ballots out there - JSOnline

Some voters have questioned whether provisional ballots could change the thin lead Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg holds over Justice David Prosser in the Wisconsin Supreme Court race. Calls to a few of the state's more populous voting jurisdictions indicate that's unlikely. Three provisional ballots were cast in the City of Milwaukee, according to an employee with the city's election commission. So far, one of the three voters have provided the information needed to count the ballot. In Dane County, two voters cast provisional ballots, according to an employee in the county clerk's office. In Madison, only four provisional ballots were cast and only one of the four had brought in information that would allow their ballot to be counted, according to the clerk's office. Rumors have spread on social media sites of a large number of provisional ballots cast by University of Wisconsin-Madison students, but none of the Madison provisional ballots cast were from student wards, according to the clerk's office. Voters in those jurisdictions gave a majority of their votes to Kloppenburg, but officials in two counties Prosser won had similar experiences. Waukesha County didn't have any provisional ballots, according to the clerk's office there. Washington County's clerk said she had not received any provisional ballots either. Kloppenburg has a 204-vote lead with 100% of precincts counted, according to the Associated Press' tally. A switch from provisional ballots would be unusual. Voters have the right under federal law to cast a provisional ballot in cases in which their eligibility is at question. If the voter provides proof that they're eligible to vote by 4 p.m. the day after an election, the provisional ballot would be counted. Read More


India: Security cameras to man counting centres post-voting - The Times of India

With the counting of votes slated for May 13, a month after the state goes to poll, the district election office has decided to install web cameras in the counting centres. The 234 strong rooms, where electronic voting machines (EVMs) are stored, will be monitored live for a month via camera till counting of votes starts. In Chennai, the strong rooms at Loyola College in Nungambakkam, Queen Mary's College for Women off Marina and Anna University will be under video surveillance. "All strong rooms in the constituencies will have web cameras to monitor the movement of outsiders for one month, till the machines are taken out for counting," said Praveen Kumar, chief electoral officer, Tamil Nadu. Adequate security personnel from central reserve police forces will be deployed and control rooms will be set up. Read More

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