Thursday, July 30, 2009

7/30 Voting News. Must Tennessee Election Officials pass political or religious test? US Voter Registration lags, Hawaii Vote By Mail?

A Tennessee Supreme Court may decide if election officials must pass a religious or political test. This comes after the May firing of 28 election directors Hawaii considering Vote by Mail as a way to increase voter turnout. Maybe because Honolulu's recent internet election was quite a dud with 6.5% turnout. Meanwhile, Michael Hamner (University of Maryland) says election reforms have little if any effect on turnout.
India is seeing a movement against paperless electronic voting. Happy Birthday to voting integrity group CTVotersCount, your work on behalf of election transparency is appreciated! A bill for public financing of US Congressional elections was heard in the House Administration Committee today. The US, with only 68% of eligible population registered, falls way behind countries such as Argentina and Belize, who register more than 95% of their eligible population - according to a report by the Brennan Ctr for Justice.

*Note we do not necessarily agree with the ideas put forth in various news articles.

CT. CTVotersCount is Two Years Old
July 29, 2009 Thursday marks the 2nd anniversary of CTVotesCount. is dedicated to fairness and confidence in democracy, that election results must accurately reflect the intentions of the voters.

HI. Voting by mail gets another look
Jul 26, 2009 Hawaii's consistently dismal voter turnout and a state election system in jeopardy because of a lack of funds has renewed interest in a vote-by-mail balloting..."The vote by mail as a cost saving (step) is not a panacea," Takahashi said. "You shouldn't look at it by saying you are going to save money."

IA. Iowa caucuses move to Saturday in '10
The Iowa Republican and Democratic parties together announced Tuesday that they will hold the state’s 2010 primary caucuses on a Saturday, a move that party leaders say is designed to increase turnout in a nonpresidential year.

NC. Wake County has 1 new member on their Board of Elections.
Congratulations to Aida Doss Havel.

TN. Supreme Court may hear election queries in October
July 29, 2009 Supreme Court justices could consider two questions about election administrators during their October or February sessions, the clerk said Wednesday.
...• Does the position of administrator of elections qualify as an “office of public trust” where no political or religious test shall be used as a qualification?
• Is the administrator of elections a county employee or a state employee?
The main issue is a Tennessee Attorney General opinion issued earlier this year, which said it is against state and federal law to fire an employee based on political affiliation, unless they are in a policy-making position and elections administrators are not policy-making posts.

RI. Change on voting rights for ex-convicts wins praise July 30, 2009

WI. **Note from Voting News reader: "The head of Wisconsin's GAB has not endorsed online voting. It is simply one of many possibilities being explored in the board's five-year election administration plan. Please see:

WI. Proceed cautiously with early voting
July 30, 2009 a far loftier and commendable goal for the Board would be to endorse and then work with the Legislature to enact a photo ID requirement for voting.

WI. Wisconsin works to verify voter information
More than 100,000 Wisconsin residents will be getting letters from the Government Accountability Board asking them to verify their voter information.
The letters are required by state and federal law under the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002. The law requires the state to compare voter information in the Statewide Voter Registration System with driver license data as a way to find and correct errors, improving the quality of voter lists.

US. Hearing on Congressional Fair Elections Now Act in House Committee on Administration Today – 07/30/09 Introduced by Rep. Larson and Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), the Fair Elections Now Act (FENA) would allow congressional candidates to run for office with a mixture of small donations and public financing.

US. Sotomayor Closer To Sitting On Campaign Finance Case
The case, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, deals with how a political documentary on Hillary Clinton was funded and whether the film qualifies as campaign advertising that is restricted by federal law.

US. New York Times Highlights Failures in Voter Registration System
Election Protection Coalition partner The Brennan Center for Justice has released a study examining voter registration systems in sixteen different countries and four Canadian provinces. With only 68 percent, the United States fell far behind countries such as Argentina and Belize, which both register more than 95% of their eligible population. According to the Brennan Center's report, the major reason for the failure of the United States' registration system is that it places the full burden of registering on the individual.

US. Michael Hamner (University of Maryland) on EDR and Turnout
..."most election reforms, even election day registration, have relatively modest effects on turnout."

India. Experts also doubt integrity of EVM: RSS
"The recent spate of articles published in reputed computer engineering magazines and international press have raised doubts about the integrity of EVMs," Organiser, the mouthpiece of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has said in its latest issue.

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