The Voting News for 29 July 2011
The Voting News for 29 July 2011
Did you know that your constitutional right to vote actually hinges on how often you swipe your debit card at Starbucks? No? Neither did a Wisconsin voter who went to the DMV to get his “free” voter ID card.
Since you will need to show a government-issued photo ID to vote in Wisconsin in 2012, the requirements for actually getting an ID at the DMV are pretty important. This video showcases the apparently new requirement that a bank account has to show a certain amount of “activity” to be used to prove your residency. I don’t remember seeing that in the Constitution.
A plan to require Ohioans to show a photo ID before voting is dead. "I think we'll probably not see it again," said House Speaker William G. Batchelder after a brief legislative session today. "There's a limit to the amount of times you want to run your head into a wall, and it makes your ears ring."
Although the Medina Republican strongly supports the photo-ID requirement, the bill passed by the House is opposed by Secretary of State Jon Husted, a fellow Republican, and the GOP-controlled Senate.
Rev. Jesse Jackson Jr. and leaders in Florida have embarked on a two-day campaign to build awareness among African-American voters and local lawmakers in the state about the impact that the proposed new voting regulations would have on minorities and low-income people.
“The irony is we fight wars for democracy abroad and declare war on democracy at home,” Jackson said during a news conference before a rally at the New Covenant Baptist Church of Orlando Monday night. “All we really want is an even playing field.”
Rev. Randolph Bracy, whose church hosted the Monday night rally, said that Jackson will be a key catalyst in getting people to think about this issue and recognize what’s at risk. The rally sought to “wake up the community” and was the first of what Bracy hopes will be several more voter awareness events and activities. Similar rallies took place Monday morning in Eatonville and in Tampa Tuesday afternoon.
While NAACP President Benjamin Jealous lashed out at new state laws requiring photo ID for voting, an NAACP executive sits in prison, sentenced for carrying out a massive voter fraud scheme.
In a story ignored by the national media, in April a Tunica County, Miss., jury convicted NAACP official Lessadolla Sowers on 10 counts of fraudulently casting absentee ballots. Sowers is identified on an NAACP website as a member of the Tunica County NAACP Executive Committee.
Sowers received a five-year prison term for each of the 10 counts, but Circuit Court Judge Charles Webster permitted Sowers to serve those terms concurrently, according to the Tunica Times, the only media outlet to cover the sentencing. “This crime cuts against the fabric of our free society,” Judge Webster said.
Indiana Democrats on Thursday appealed a decision allowing embattled Republican Secretary of State Charlie White to stay in office while he fights voter fraud charges. The Indiana Democratic Party appealed the Indiana Recount Commission vote allowing White to stay in office. State Democratic Chairman Dan Parker said he wants a Marion County judge to review the decision.
The two Republicans and one Democrat on the Recount Commission voted unanimously last month to let White to keep his job. But comments from the commission's chairman that White's actions brushed up against the line of being illegal merited a court review, Parker said.
Recently, you ran articles of an interview with the Shelby County Election Commission’s Chairman and Secretary in the Tri State Defender’s July 14, 2011 and July 21, 2011 editions. During those interviews, Chairman Robert Meyers, while admitting the voting machines are hackable, indicated that he did not believe that hacking or other manipulation was the case with the August 2010 elections. He stated that he believed that “demographics” explained the losses by those who were claiming something improper happened. The inference was that those nine Democrats who lost did so because the traditional Democratic voters did not turn out.
Further in the article, Secretary Norma Lester states that in essence since everything is politically balanced that it is very unlikely that any improper action would take place. As a former Election Commissioner (2 ½ years) and a plaintiff in both the 2006 and 2010 election contest challenges, I feel compelled to challenge these perspectives.
When the state's top election official makes a public allegation of criminal behavior during prior elections, it is something that should be taken seriously and looked at closely. Secretary of State Dianna Duran made just such an allegation in March during a legislative committee hearing. Duran told lawmakers she had uncovered evidence that 37 people who are not U.S. citizens had voted in New Mexico elections.
But, when the ACLU filed an open records request the next day to examine the registration records of the 37 voters highlighted by Duran during the public meeting of the Legislature, she refused to turn them over, hiding behind the weak and inappropriate excuse of "executive privilege."
Executive privilege allows a president, governor or other member of the executive branch to confer with advisors in private, without divulging the nature of those discussions or the participants. For example, when Democrats wanted to know who had served on an energy task force several years ago, Vice President Dick Cheney claimed executive privilege in denying that request. It does not allow a member of the executive branch to conceal evidence of an alleged crime.
The Solomon Islands Electoral Commission through RAMSI's and Solomon Islands Government's legal framework on reform and capacity building has received new advisors to help on electoral reform.
The Electoral Commission this week received one operations advisor, two new graduates and a program manager to the Electoral System Strengthening Program (ESSP) to be based at the Electoral Commission Office. A legal advisor is expected to join the office in mid August. Chief Electoral Officer, Mr. Polycarp Haununu, welcomed the advisors into the office on Tuesday.
The Electoral Commission is looking for fluent Maori speakers to make sure Maori communities are informed about this year's referendum on the electoral system.
Maori Media co-ordinator Mabel Wharekawa-Burt says the referendum gives people a chance to say how they think MPs should be elected.
The Philippine government said Thursday it would investigate fresh allegations that former leader Gloria Arroyo used the police to steal the 2004 presidential election. The inquiry will look into claims by a senior police officer that he broke into parliament in 2005 to switch election documents stored there so that Arroyo's victory would survive a recount, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said.
"We've always known that in each election there's cheating, but the scale of it in 2004, based on the various bits and pieces that we've been getting from our sources... it's really mind-boggling," de Lima told reporters. She said Arroyo's win could not be overturned by a finding of fraud, but the evidence could be used to file criminal charges against those involved.
In an interim report on the July 11, 2011 Nevis Island Elections, the local Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) Observer Group stated that despite the generally peaceful nature of the campaign and the electoral process, a number of irregularities were observed. The first noticeable irregularity noted was that voters had difficulty finding their polling stations or their names on the partial Electoral List inside the polling stations, and this caused several of them to be disenfranchised.
“We welcome the generally peaceful nature of the campaign and the electoral process. At the same time, we were saddened by the fact that a number of Nevisians were disenfranchised, and persons known to be permanent residents in St. Kitts were able to participate in the elections are voters.
“There remain shortcomings with the voters’ registration, based on the number of people with voter cards but missing from the voters’ register. This needs to be urgently addressed,” the report states.
The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) says it is ready to host the elections and is today set to announce the date for presidential and parliamentary candidates to file their nomination papers. ECZ chairperson Ireen Mambilima said in Lusaka yesterday that the electoral body has set the timetable for the commencement of campaigns.
Justice Mambilima told journalists that the ECZ will be objective and professional in conducting the elections as it has done in the past. “We have set the timetable for the nominations of presidential and parliamentary candidates which will kick-start the campaigns,” Justice Mambilima said.