Monday, April 11, 2011

Uncertainty in Wisconsin Supreme Court Election

WI: Clarification of Election Night Reporting from the City of Brookfield

The City of Brookfield submitted the election results from the April 5th Election to the County Clerk at 10:05 p.m. on April 5th and called the County to make sure they received the results and they were in the correct format. We were informed that they were received and in the correct format. The same results were sent to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Brookfield Patch and placed on the City of Brookfield’s website. The Elmbrook and Waukesha School Districts were also called with their results. Due to an error at Waukesha County, the votes reported by the City of Brookfield were not included in the totals sent by the County to the Government Accountability Board on April 5. On Thursday April 7, as a result of its canvass of votes, Waukesha County determined that the votes for the City of Brookfield were not included in its April 5 submission. The County has included all votes cast in the City of Brookfield in its final submission of canvassed votes to the State, which submission was made on April 7. In summary, all votes cast in the April 5 election by City of Brookfield voters have been counted and submitted to the State, whether those votes were cast at the polls or by absentee ballot. The original problem was not in the transmission of the votes from the City to the County, but was rather due to a failure by the County in transmitting the vote totals from the County to the State.

IN: Democrats replacing lone party member on recount panel - The Indianapolis Star

As the Democrats’ challenge to Charlie White’s eligibility to serve as secretary of state goes back to the Indiana Recount Commission, the party is replacing its lone appointment on the commission. Indiana Democratic Party Chairman Dan Parker announced today that former Hamilton County Judge Buddy Pylitt will replace former State Rep. Bob Kuzman. The Democrats say White was ineligible to be on the ballot because he was using an old address on his voter registration at the time he declared his candidacy. The commission had voted 2-1 along party lines to dismiss the Democrats’ complaint last December. But Marion Circuit Court Judge Louis Rosenberg overturned the dismissal Thursday and ruled that state law requires candidates to be legally registered to vote. Read More

MA: Town rebuffs groups on voter ID issue -

After two organizations with tea party ties called for voters to voluntarily show identification at the polls during the special primary for the 6th Worcester District House race on Tuesday and the general election on May 10, officials said they will take steps to protect would-be voters. The district is composed of Southbridge, Charlton, East Brookfield and parts of Spencer and Oxford. Empower Massachusetts and Show ID to Vote launched an “integrity of the vote” campaign last week and said they are working with activists to observe the polls. The election is to resolve a tie in the November election between the incumbent, state Rep. Geraldo Alicea, D-Charlton, and Peter J. Durant, a Republican selectman from Spencer. Since an initial report about the groups’ campaign, Town Clerk Madaline I. Daoust said residents have come to her expressing concern that people will be intimidated by the organizations, and that they would possibly be profiling voters. Southbridge has a growing Hispanic community. “We’re not going to allow our residents to be intimidated by any groups,” Town Manager Christopher Clark said. “So we are going to take the necessary steps to make sure that voters feel comfortable — that they’re able to come in and vote.” Christen M. Varley, who started Empower Massachusetts last year and is its treasurer-director, suggested there was something amiss with the November election for the House seat, the recount in Southbridge, and the subsequent civil court case involving Mr. Alicea and Mr. Durant. Read More

MS: Counties removing voting printers - The Clarion-Ledger

A growing number of counties are removing the outside printers from touch screen voting machines because of problems that delay voting. Madison County is now seeking to join 15 other counties that have received permission from the U.S. Department of Justice to detach the plastic modules. The printers are not used by election officials when counting votes but are included as a back-up record of votes cast. "They aren't working like they should and (are) causing more problems," Madison County Election Commissioner Kakey Chaney said. Paper jams, which occur frequently, lead to machines temporarily being out of commission while poll workers fix them or call in outside technical support, Chaney said. Another problem can arise if the paper is inserted incorrectly because the printer does not register, she added.Storing the 300-foot-long rolls of paper that come from each machine also can become an issue, she said. Removing the printers will reduce the amount of time needed to set up and close voting precincts on election day, Chaney said. Read More

NM: Partisanship Voting's Biggest Threat - Albuquerque Jouranal

Of all the important election-related proposals that were considered in our latest New Mexico legislative session, one stands out. This is the issue of photo voter identification, which generated extreme partisan interest. Photo voter ID was promoted in the election campaigning by our new Republican governor and also by our new Republican secretary of state, who said in legislative hearings that it was the issue most frequently raised by her supporters. She also claimed that in the Motor Vehicle Department database she had found 117 cases of noncitizens who were registered to vote. But she did not offer evidence showing whether those people had become naturalized and therefore eligible to vote, or whether the names of those in the MVD database just happened to be the same as those of other individuals in the overall voter registration database. New Mexico is not alone in having contentious hearings on this issue. Since the successful passage of photo voter ID by Indiana in 2008, numerous states have considered it. Many with Republican-dominated legislatures have succeeded in adopting photo voter ID. Once again, New Mexico stands out for rejecting it. Simply put, proponents of photo voter ID claim that illegal voting is a significant problem. But studies show that it's a very rare phenomenon. Read More

OK: Provisional Vote Tally Changes Election - The Times Record

Provisional ballots the LeFlore County Election Board certified at 5 p.m. Friday shifted the count in the town of Howe's municipal election Tuesday, knocking one man out of a trustee seat. Although in the unofficial count Tuesday night Michael Brumfield had apparently placed among the top three vote getters on Howe's five-candidate slate for three trustee positions, he didn't make the final cut when the vote was certified Friday, LeFlore County Election Board clerk Nikki Kester said. With the provisional ballots counted, candidate Harvey R. Young holds the trustee position instead. According to the official count, the three winners are Matt Blake with 46 votes; Young with 39 votes; and Bobby D. Cox with 38 votes. Read More

SC: Resolve voting machine questions - The Post and Courier

There have been ongoing complaints about supposed problems with the state's electronic voting machines since last year's Democratic primary election, and now the local Council of Governments has taken up the drumbeat. It's time to resolve the matter. The Legislative Audit Council is the obvious choice to investigate performance and security questions raised about the machines, which are used statewide. Elections officials maintain that the iVotronic machines reliably tally votes and contend that reported problems were the result of human error. There's no security flaw in the system, officials says. Even if all that's true, however, the continuing criticism about the machines has had the effect of diminishing public confidence in their use. Some complaints have come from a couple of disgruntled candidates who apparently still can't believe they didn't do better in last year's elections. Nevertheless, troubling discrepancies in vote tallies have been cited in Colleton, Richland and Lancaster counties. Read More

US Virgin Islands: Bryan calls for 48 meetings of election reform committee - Virgin Islands Daily News

A proposed 48-meeting marathon schedule for the V.I. Joint Board of Elections' committee on election reform would empty the district boards' coffers in short order at a potential cost of more than $45,000, according to official figures. The schedule - suggested by St. Croix Board Member Adelbert Bryan - has not been approved by Joint Board Chairman Rupert Ross Jr., who indicated at Wednesday's St. Croix district board meeting that he was not inclined to authorize all of the dates because of financial restraints. The proposed schedule would deplete both districts' annual travel allotments within three months - notwithstanding the fact that the board is halfway through the fiscal year and already has spent money from the accounts. It would also strain both boards' annual funds - taking up the lion's share of the allotment for six members and one committee. At the district meeting Wednesday, Bryan and Ross got into a heated back-and-forth about the issue. Ross indicated that he would review the suggested meetings and approve a schedule that he determined would be "reasonable." Read More

VA: Cuccinelli will not challenge Voting Rights Act requirements - The Washington Post

As the General Assembly has been debating plans to draw new legislative lines for the state Senate and House of Delegates this week, the two political parties have traded accusations that the plans devised by their opponents do not meet legal requirements. Which raises one of the most intriguing and, as of now, unanswered questions in the process: What does Attorney Gen. Ken Cuccinelli (R) think? Once the plans are adopted and signed into law by Gov. Bob McDonnell (R), it will fall to Cuccinelli to secure approval of the plans from the U.S. Justice Department or the U.S. District Court of D.C. under the Voting Rights Act. Virginia and eight other southern states with a history of discrimination are required to get preclearance of their maps to show they do not dilute the voting strength of black voters. It would also usually fall to Cuccinelli to defend the plans in court in the case of almost inevitable lawsuits challenging their legality. That could be awkward for Cuccinelli in the case of a lawsuit against the plan adopted by Senate Democrats over Republican objections, which will likely be the subject of a GOP-funded lawsuit. So far, we have few answers. Read More

WI: Prosser open to Waukesha County recount - JSOnline

Justice David Prosser's campaign said Saturday that it was open to a recount of votes in Waukesha County as the state Supreme Court race remained without a declared winner. "If you need to do a recount in Waukesha (County) and Waukesha (County) alone to satisfy heightened interest, that's fine," said Prosser campaign manager Brian Nemoir. "We believe it will only affirm the margin of victory we now enjoy." In Waukesha County, thousands of votes from the city of Brookfield were not reported by the county clerk on election night but were discovered the day after. Prosser's margin of victory in Brookfield helped push him ahead of challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg. Kloppenburg's campaign manager, Melissa Mulliken, said of the proposed Waukesha County recount, "That is their talk. Once again, we're evaluating the data, looking at what we've got." Updated but not yet final results compiled by the Journal Sentinel on Friday showed Prosser ahead by 6,744 votes out of nearly 1.5 million cast. If either candidate requests a recount in Waukesha County, his or her campaign would have to pay for it, said a Government Accountability Board spokesman. But if Kloppenburg remains close enough to Prosser in the statewide tally - within half a percentage point - she could ask for a statewide recount and not have to pay the cost. Both campaigns have sought advice from top recount attorneys in the nation as Wisconsin remained poised for the possibility of the first statewide recount in two decades. Read More

WI: Another Upper Midwest recount? Wisconsin, though, uses very different procedures from Minnesota - MinnPost

It's déjà vu in the Upper Midwest, with the Wisconsin Supreme Court race headed for a good, old-fashioned Minnesota recount and, perhaps, with some key Minnesota recount personalities. A quick-and-dirty look at the upcoming recount between sitting Justice David Prosser and his challenger, Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg, shows some key differences between the rules in the two states. And the two sides are starting preparations. Read More


Ghana: Electoral Commission Says No Electronic Voting in 2012 -

The Electoral Commission (EC) has announced it would no introduce the electronic voting system in the 2012 elections. According to the EC, unlike the ballot paper; the processes of vote counting and tabulation in the e-voting system are often invisible which does not satisfy the curiosity of the voters as to whether their votes have been counted or not. The electronic voting system is expected to help curb cases of double registration, vote rigging, ballot box snatching as well as end the perpetual claim and counter claim of rigging by the parties who take part in elections in the country. The Danquah Institute (DI), a policy think tank, proposed a switch from the manual to the electronic voting (e-voting) system for the 2012 election because they believe it could be the best solution to end not only systemic electoral fraud, but also post election violence in the future. But speaking on Asempa FM's Ekosii Sen programme Thursday, Public Affairs Director of the EC, Christian Owusu-Pare explained that even though the e-voting system may resolve the practice of multiple registrations, ballot box theft and multiple voting, verification becomes difficult. Read More

India: 11 km trek up to Bengal`s highest polling booth -

Election officials have to trek 11 km up the Himalayan range over two days to reach West Bengal's highest polling station -- located at Sirikhola, 2,800 metres above sea level. The Sirikhola primary school polling booth, 99 km from this hill resort, has 778 voters mainly from the Gotkha community. On foot, it is 11 km trek northwest of Darjeeling town. Part of the Darjeeling assembly constituency, it goes to the polls April 18. The area has neither electricity nor piped water, officials said. Elections are the only time the residents of Sirikhola see the official machinery in strength. Apart from electronic voting machines (EVM), the officials will carry torches, battery chargers, portable generators, candles and lanterns. The Daragaon primary school is the second highest hilly polling station of Darjeeling constituency. It is located at an altitude of 2,600 meters and has 1,139 voters. There are altogether 14 polling stations categorised as remote in the Darjeeling and Kalimpong constituencies. If the polling party gets stranded because of bad weather, they will be airlifted. The administration ensures that only officials able to trek and rough it out for a few days are sent to these stations, said an official training the poll personnel. Darjeeling has six assembly constituencies. West Bengal will have six phase election starting April 18 to elect 294 legislators.

Kazakhstan: An Observer’s Reflections on the Presidential Election -

According to Kazakhstan’s Central Election Commission (CEC), incumbent Nursultan Nazarbayev received 95.5 percent of the vote in Kazakhstan’s April 3 presidential election, with almost 90 percent of the electorate casting ballots. Most observers and analysts believe Nazarbayev won the election easily, but consider the declared victory margin, and especially the turnout figure, implausibly high. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which had the largest of the international observer missions, cited several improvements in this presidential vote over previous ballots, but cautioned that “needed reforms for holding genuine democratic elections still have to materialize as this election revealed shortcomings similar to those in previous elections.” I observed the electoral process in Astana and Almaty as a member of the Independent Observer Mission, accredited to the Central Election Commission, and exchanged views with election officials, voters, media representatives, foreign diplomats, and the other observer missions. Despite noting significant irregularities, most observers believe Nazarbayev won the election by a large margin, though 95.5 percent is an atypical figure for any free election. Not only did he face three weak competitors, but Nazarbayev seems genuinely popular among voters, who frequently juxtapose their economic prosperity and political stability against the poverty, political uncertainty and other problems in neighboring Central Asian countries, Afghanistan, and even the Middle East. "Most important for us is to live in peace and stability, particularly as we are looking at the turmoil in many countries in the world including [in] our own neighborhood,” one voter explained to me. With Nazarbayev’s reelection widely anticipated, most attention centered on turnout. Several opposition groups had called for a boycott. The government and its supporters responded with efforts to boost the number of recorded votes. According to OSCE monitors and foreign diplomats, in some remote areas outside the main cities, these included clearly fraudulent practices, such as ballot stuffing and multiple, proxy, and group voting. These irregularities denigrated the good work by many officials who tried to run a smooth and clean operation on election day. At the polling stations I visited in Almaty, election commission representatives genuinely sought to do everything correctly as specified in the election-day regulations. Continue Reading

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