Monday, May 2, 2011

Misplaced Ballots in Arizona and Wisconsin

AZ: Ballots 'misplaced,' raising concern over all-mail vote - Arizona Daily Star

The U.S. Postal Service "misplaced" about 85 mail-in ballots for an upcoming all-mail election in Sahuarita, Pima County Recorder F. Ann Rodriguez said Friday. While replacing the ballots was relatively easy for a smaller-city election, the incident is raising questions about the Tucson City Council's recent decision to switch to all-mail voting. This is the first time the Recorder's Office has heard of the Postal Service losing ballots, said Rodriguez. The disappearance of what "appears to be a single mail tray" of ballots was discovered when voters, all in the same section of the Quail Creek neighborhood, started reporting they hadn't received theirs a week after they were mailed out. Just over 12,000 ballots were mailed to Sahuarita voters on April 21. So far, 85 voters have requested replacements. Rodriguez said the problem appears to be limited to "a single tray" of ballots intended for that neighborhood. With 1.6 million mail-in ballots sent in Pima County over the last decade, "this is a very rare occurrence," she said. Postal workers "haven't found any evidence that any mail was misplaced," said Robert Soler, a spokesperson with the U.S. Postal Service in Tucson. Still, both Soler and Rodriguez urged voters to call the Recorder's Office if they hadn't received a ballot and they would be mailed before the election on May 17. "The voters have been issued second ballots and we have taken care of them," Rodriguez said, who added that measures are in place to make sure there would be only one vote per person. Read More

FL: Leon County supervisor of elections Ion Sancho: Early voting compromise wouldn’t save money - Florida Independent

The Florida Senate is working to shorten early voting periods, but lawmakers are working on a compromise. Supervisors of elections have said that early voting has allowed them to accommodate higher turnout numbers, and that the proposed changes might wind up costing taxpayers more. The Senate’s version of a sweeping and controversial elections bill would cut early voting in half, but a compromise is in the works. The deal would add a few more days to the proposed seven and allow elections officials to keep the polls open for more hours each day. A poll by the veteran GOP pollsters at Leadership Florida suggests voters support shorter early voting periods “in order to save costs on elections.” That bit about saving costs on elections was right in the question — potentially skewing the results. Leon County Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho rejects the premise that the current proposal, or the pending compromise, would save money. Read More

FL: Vote bills may hit home for students - Pensacola News Journal

Bills moving through the Legislature could make the voting process difficult for some Florida voters, including college students. Currently, many students who move to a new county for college can change their addresses at the polls if they want to vote in the county in which they live and go to school. If a version of the bills in the House and Senate is passed, voters who did not change their addresses in advance would have to cast a provisional ballot — which indicates that there are questions about the voter's eligibility. Supporters say changes will cut down on voter fraud. But opponents of the bills, including Escambia County Elections Supervisor David Stafford, say the changes will make the process inconvenient for voters. Read More

HI: State lawmakers table runoff-voting bill -

A proposal to impose "instant runoff" voting in county elections has been tabled at the state Legislature this year. House and Senate members decided late Thursday night to defer the measure. "We got some late information on the cost," said Rep. Gil Keith-Agaran, the House Judiciary Chairman and lead negotiator on the bill. "I think we'd like to take this up during the interim and consider maybe bringing it back next year." The Honolulu City Council voted unanimously last week in favor of a resolution urging the state to refrain from imposing the measure, citing cost concerns. Read More

WI: Missing Verona ballots cause glitch in Supreme Court race recount - madison.comt

Newly appointed Dane County Clerk Karen Peters initially had doubts that the county could finish hand counting some 182,000 Supreme Court ballots within a 13-day deadline. But on Thursday she expressed confidence that it could be done. But that was before the glitch. On Thursday afternoon official "tabulators" were busily counting ballots from the city of Verona when the votes came up more than 90 short of what the electronic readout from the voting machines said they should. That sent Verona officials on a hunt, and a rubber-banded stack of 97 ballots turned up in the office of Verona City Clerk Judy Masarik. "There's a table in the clerk's office, and there was a binder and some other papers on top of the ballots," said City Administrator Bill Burns, who found the stack. The statewide recount, requested by challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg after her narrow loss to incumbent David Prosser, has the potential to change the outcome, so the Verona situation caused much consternation. On election night, all the ballots were supposed to be secured in sealed bags, which were then supposed to be signed by local elections officials. The seals were supposed to remain intact. Read More

WI: After months in limbo, voter ID bill will include university cards - The Badger Herald

After many students raised concerns Wisconsin college students would be negatively affected by voter ID legislation being debated in the Legislature, a substitute amendment was released Friday containing language that would include student IDs on the list of identification accepted by election polling staff. The voter ID bill would require some form of photo identification to be shown to vote. The original bill did not include student IDs, but an amendment drafted by Rep. Jeff Stone, R-Greendale, and released the day after a public hearing on the voter ID bill, would change that. Under the amendment, students IDs would be accepted as long as they have not expired and contain the date of birth, signature and current address of the person to whom it was issued. Current UW student IDs do not provide the current address of the cardholder and would not be valid for voter registration. The change is welcomed by student representatives and advocates, who worried the voter ID bill would make it tougher for students to vote and eventually reduce the percentage of student-voter turnout. Read More

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