Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Waukesha gets an extension, The cost of Voter ID proposals

WI: Waukesha County Gets May 26 Recount Extension - Menomonee Falls, WI Patch

Waukesha County will have until May 26 to finish its hand recount of the state Supreme Court race that sharply divided the state's electorate, a judge has ruled. Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess agreed this morning to extend today's deadline for completion of the historic recount of the race between incumbent Justice David Prosser and challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg. Waukesha County Corporation Counsel Tom Farley participated in the hearing via telephone conference. The county will check in with the judge at 11:30 a.m. Friday to report its progress. "Hopefully we will be done sooner" than May 26, said Ellen Nowak, chief of staff for Waukesha County Executive Dan Vrakas. All counties except Waukesha were expected to finish their recounts by today. Prosser has a margin of victory of about 7,000 votes in his bid to serve another 10-year term on the state's high court. Read More

CA: Local voting change could be costly - Chico Enterprise Record

A June 2012 ballot could cost Chico $130,000 versus a November election price tag of $57,000, according to a Butte County Registrar of Voters estimate. The city could pay about $73,000 more per council election, which occur every two years. Because the city would be sharing the June election with just the county rather than about 17 jurisdictions who appeared in the November 2010 ballot, the election would likely cost more, said Laurie Cassady, assistant county registrar of voters. Measure A supporters had enough signatures to put the initiative on the June 7 special municipal election ballot. During a debate last week, proponents said the election month change would not cost more money. "There is no extra cost to taxpayers by combining city elections with the existing county elections," proponent Stephanie Taber said in the voter's booklet. "Our current taxes cover the costs of every scheduled election." Chico city manager Dave Burkland said election money comes from the general fund, which can be spent on almost anything including public safety and roads. Sales taxes and property taxes, among others, feed into the general fund. "I'm concerned about paying more for something that, frankly, has been in place for many years," Burkland said. Read MoreThough Measure A proponents claim moving the Chico City Council elections from November to June would not cost taxpayers more money, the Registrar of Voters Office says different.

CO: Moffat County tweaking election format to vote by mail | Craig Daily Press

Moffat County Elections Supervisor Stephanie Beckett said Moffat County has been behind the curve by not conducting coordinated elections by mail-in ballot only. “Most of the state already does that,” Beckett said. “We were one of four counties last year in the election that did not have an all-mail ballot election, and it just seems like voters are leaning that way, to have their ballots mailed to them.” At Tuesday’s regular Moffat County Commission meeting, commissioners Tom Gray and Tom Mathers approved a resolution to have this year’s November coordinated election done by mail ballot only. Commissioner Audrey Danner was absent. Beckett said a coordinated election happens every two years and deals with non-partisan matters such as tax questions and when applicable, electing school board officials. In even-numbered general election years, voting will continue to be done by both mail and polling place because of state law, she said. Read More

CT: Merrill selects precincts for audit -

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill today joined Connecticut voting rights advocates for a public drawing to randomly select three precincts that will have election results audited following the May 2, 2011 municipal elections that took place in 14 Connecticut communities. The three precincts selected are West Side Middle School District 2 and William Seely School district 4 in Groton and the Stonington Fire House in Stonington. Two alternate precincts were also chosen to be ready to audit results if necessary: Center School district 3 in Woodbridge and Griswold Town Hall in Griswold. “On May 2nd voters went to the polls across Connecticut to choose public servants to fill very important roles in local government,” said Secretary Merrill. “No matter how big or small the election, our audit law exists to hold our election process accountable and reassure the public to have continued confidence that all votes were recorded accurately.” As required by Public Act 07-194, An Act Concerning the Integrity and Security of the Voting Process, 10% percent of the polling precincts used in the election are subject to an audit. Secretary Merrill directed that a pool of 24 precincts from the towns and boroughs that held municipal elections May 2nd, not counting precincts that required a recount or counted ballots by hand instead of using the optical scan voting machines in the selection. To comply with the law, three precincts were chosen to have their election results audited. The alternate precinct will only face an audit if one of the selected precincts cannot perform an audit. All audits may not begin before May 17, 2011 and must be completed no later than May 31, 2011. Read More

MO: Missouri lawmakers approve ballot measure on voter ID -

If Missouri voters say “yes” at the polls in 2012, they will have to show a photo ID when they cast ballots in 2014. But they also will have the option to vote during an 11-day period before Election Day. Lawmakers on Tuesday approved enabling legislation that will put voter-identification requirements and early-voting procedures into effect — if voters approve the proposed constitutional amendment lawmakers passed on Monday. The proposed amendment gives lawmakers the authority to pass laws requiring voters to show a photo ID and allowing early voting. The measure must be approved by voters before any such laws can go into effect. It will appear on the ballot in 2012. The bill passed Tuesday actually contains those laws. The Senate approved it on a 25-9 vote, after the House signed off on it last week. If signed by Gov. Jay Nixon it will become law, but would not become effective unless voters approved the accompanying amendment. Read More

NM: Legislation allows voting centers in New Mexico | Quay County Sun

Quay County Clerk Ellen White expressed excitement Monday over new state legislation that allows the county to consolidate voting precincts. “In November we have to establish our polling places and precincts for the next general election and primary election cycle, so what this enables us to do is to locate a facility that is centrally located and that has a good broadband Internet connection, and by doing that we'll eliminate all the voting precincts within the City of Tucumcari and everybody will vote in one location. I’m really excited about being able to do that,” White said. White said she plans on keeping voting centers in Logan and San Jon, while House, Nara Visa and Forest precincts will not have voting centers. Residents of these smaller precincts will be able to submit their ballots by mail or cast their ballots at one of the county voting centers. Read More

NY: New software to help avoid ballot-printing errors in Jefferson County New York | Watertown Daily Times

A new software system will help the Jefferson County Board of Elections avoid costly errors in printing ballots. The E-Suite Election Management Software will enable the board to link incoming election candidate petitions to the voter-registrant database. That ensures the candidate's name and address will be spelled correctly and limits human error. A misspelled name that forces a ballot reprinting could cost the county thousands of dollars, Republican Elections Commissioner Jerry O. Eaton said. "It could be one letter out of thousands, but it would need to be changed," he said. Read More

PA: Taxpayers will cover costs of IDs under proposed voting law -

An effort to fight voting fraud could cost state taxpayers millions, though it's a price some lawmakers are willing to pay. New requirements intended to cut down on fraudulent voters were passed by the House State Government Committee on Monday morning and will head to the House for a final vote. The bill would require voters to show official photo identification each time they go to their polling place to cast a ballot. Voters now have to provide identification only the first time they vote at a specific polling place. The new requirement would not take effect until the primary elections in the spring of 2012, unless there is a special election scheduled for earlier in 2012. An amendment added to the bill Monday would allow any voter who did not have a valid photo ID to get one from the state Department of Transportation at no charge. Instead, the state would pick up the tab on the identification cards to allow all voters to comply with the new law. Absentee ballots would be counted without the identification requirement, as long as the signature on the ballot's envelop matches the signature on the voter rolls and the county board of election certifies that the voter did not cast more than one ballot. Based on a preliminary fiscal evaluation, Democrats said the provision would cost more than $10 million, not including the expenses incurred by the state to advertise the new rules so all voters are aware of the requirements. Read More

TN: Tennessee considers proof of citizenship for voter registration |

It's a big deal in town, signs scattered all over Pigeon Forge as voters take up the issue of liquor by the drink and a few city commission spots. "I think we may get 1,000 people to vote today, total," Tony Rast, whose son is running for one of those commission seats said. Even with all the hype, Rast's guess of 1,000 would be just slightly better than one in seven Pigeon Forge residents who have actually gone through the process of registering and then actually showing up to vote on election day. "Oh, just walk in. Real easy," Rast said. Now, a bill up for a full house and senate vote Wednesday could change the way we register in Tennessee. It requires some form of legal proof, like a birth certificate, that the voter is a United States citizen. "I think you need to have some sort of verifiable proof that you are a citizen of the United States" Deborah Rast of Pigeon Forge said. Read More


U.S. Supreme Court Advances one Election Law Case that has Long been Stalled - Ballot Access News

On May 11, the U.S. Supreme Court revealed that it has placed Dallas County v Texas Democratic Party, 10-755, on its May 26 conference. The conference will probably decide whether to hear the case. The issue is whether Dallas County’s new rules concerning its vote-counting machines should have been submitted to the Voting Rights Section of the Justice Department. The Texas Democratic Party doesn’t like the Dallas County vote-counting machines, because the machines have a tendency to trick some voters into voting just for a single candidate, even though the voter believes he or she has activated the straight-ticket device and has voted for all partisan office. The case had also been on the March 18 conference, but the Court had not then decided whether to hear the case, nor had it rescheduled it immediately for another conference, as is customary. Read More


India: Tamil Nadu : Each reading on EVMs will be videographed | The Hindu

Each reading on electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the 91 counting centres will be captured on video and votes polled entered both manually and using computers, to avoid discrepancies in the counting of votes for the 234 assembly constituencies on May 13, said Chief Electoral Officer Praveen Kumar on Wednesday. After All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) general secretary Jayalalithaa wrote to the Chief Election Commissioner on the need to allow counting agents to monitor data entries in Form 20, the CEO, at a press conference, said that data entry operators were directly being monitored by the returning officers as they usually sat near them in counting halls. Even if they were sitting across the hall, the tally of votes would have to match the data entered manually and using computers. In her letter, Ms. Jayalalithaa had stated that the votes polled in favour of AIADMK candidate R.S. Raja Kannappan were entered in favour of Congress candidate P. Chidambaram during the counting of Alangudi Assembly segment that helped the latter win Sivaganga Parliamentary constituency in the last Lok Sabha elections. Her ally, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) had also sought the presence of the chief agent or one of the counting agents to sit with the data entry operators. Mr. Kumar said that the results of each round of counting would be displayed on the board in the counting hall and announced over mike. The candidates as well as media would be given prints of each round of result. Read More

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