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The Voting News for August 2, 2011

The Voting News for August 2, 2011

Wisconsin: Americans for Prosperity ballot applications have late return date |

Americans for Prosperity is sending absentee ballots to Democrats in at least two Wisconsin state Senate recall districts with instructions to return the paperwork after the election date.

The fliers, obtained by POLITICO, ask solidly Democratic voters to return ballots for the Aug. 9 election to the city clerk "before Aug. 11." A Democrat on the ground in Wisconsin said the fliers were discovered to be hitting doors in District 2 and District 10 over the weekend.

"These are people who are our 1's in the voterfile who we already knew. They ain't AFP members, that's for damn sure," the source said.

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Maine: Former secretary of state says fraud allegations dealt with years ago | Bangor Daily News

Former Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap asserted Monday that allegations of possible voter and identity fraud made last week by current Secretary of State Charlie Summers were resolved several years ago, shortly after they first surfaced. Dunlap said Summers would have learned that fact had he simply called him before gathering reporters and television cameras last Thursday to announce a broad investigation.

“I wish he had talked to me first,” Dunlap said in an interview Monday. “A little bit of homework prior to the press conference might have canceled the press conference.”

During that event, Summers referenced as the basis for his investigation a July 1 conversation with a Bureau of Motor Vehicles employee who expressed concerns about “noncitizens” trying to register to vote. The employee told Summers that she had brought her concerns to the Secretary of State’s Office under previous administrations and was told to disregard the activity. She also said she was advised to destroy evidence she had collected to support those claims.

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Wisconsin: Proposal would mean more communication from state about free voter IDs | Superior Telegram

The Department of Transportation (DOT) would be required to be more upfront that ID's required for voting are free, under a bill being circulated by a Democratic state lawmaker.

Normally, an ID would cost $28 dollars. But for those people who just need an ID for voting purposes, it's free under the new voter ID law. But Democratic Sen. Lena Taylor of Milwaukee says the law is still causing confusion for voters.

"You can do this, but you can't do that. You’ve got to jump through this hoop and not that hoop,” says Taylor. “I just want to make sure that the DOT is doing the piece that complements so that the concept of whether or not you need to have an ID and whether or not you need to pay for it, that there is no confusion."

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Ohio: Election law foes fail hurdle in repeal effort | AP/21 News

Ohio's attorney general has rejected language that opponents of the state's new election law had wanted to use in their effort to have parts of the measure overturned.

The decision is a setback for opponents. They need Attorney General Mike DeWine's approval before they can begin gathering the roughly 231,000 valid signatures needed by Sept. 29 to suspend the parts of the law until voters can decide in 2012 whether to keep or repeal them. DeWine said Monday the summary from the group Fair Elections Ohio did not describe the legislation accurately or fairly.

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Oklahoma: Cherokee Nation special chief’s election set Sept. 24 | Tahlequah Daily Press

The Cherokee Nation’s special election for principal chief has been set for Saturday, Sept. 24. The date, set by Principal Chief Chad Smith according to tribal law, should allow ample time for tribal citizens to participate. Candidates for the special election are incumbent Smith, a three-term principal chief; and challenger Bill John Baker, a three-term tribal councilor.

The special election is the result of the CN Supreme Court’s ruling that vacated the results of the June 25 election, in which both Smith and Baker filed lawsuits. The court vacated the results of the election on Thursday, June 21, stating it was impossible to determine the results with any mathematical certainty. Cherokee Nation law indicates, in such cases, a special election must be called by the principal chief “as soon as practical.”

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Mississippi: Election Officials Prepare for Primaries |

In many Mississippi counties, including Lauderdale, several races will be decided in the primaries Tuesday. So Aug. 2 could be even busier than the Nov. 8 general election. It's all up to party officials and volunteers to make sure everything is ready for voters from the poll boxes to the paperwork. The hours before election day are always full of last minute details.

"We are packing the boxes that will go out to each of the polling places for Republicans," said David Stevens, Lauderdale County GOP chairman. "Trying to make sure we have poll workers. Someone always gets sick or falls down, so we are just making sure those gaps are filled so we will be able to take care of the voters when they show up at the polls."

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Louisiana: Secretary of state’s office unveils 110 new absentee vote counters |

Secretary of State Tom Schedler's office began training parish election officials Monday on how to use new digitized absentee vote-counting machines that will be used for the first time in the Oct. 22 statewide elections. The state will be using new equipment to record absentee ballots in the Oct. 22 elections.

Commissioner of Elections Angie Rogers said the new machines will speed the process of counting absentee ballots by local officials on election night and will feed into the secretary of state's system which also includes early voting and election day totals. Rogers said that the state bought 110 new scanners and updated its laptop computers with $2.5 million in federal Help America Vote Act dollars. She said no state money was used in the purchase.

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Arizona: Voter registration website back online | Tucson Sentinel

Arizona's voter registration website is back online, an evening release from the Department of Transportation said. The website had been down throughout business hours on the last day to register before the state's Aug. 30 primary elections. Voter have until midnight Monday to register using the online system, including changing addresses.

If you're not registered to vote for this month's primary election, you'll have to sign up in person. The state's EZ Voter website was down Monday, the deadline to register, a spokesman for the Secretary of State's office said. Due to storms in Phoenix on Sunday night, the state's online voter registration system will be unavailable for a undetermined period, said Matthew Roberts, a spokesman for Secretary of State Ken Bennett. Monday is the last day to register for the Aug. 30 primary.

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Colorado: Saguache residents gear up to recall Myers | Center Post Dispatch

The Committee to Recall Melinda Myers as Saguache County Clerk and Recorder intended to file petitions Aug. 1 with the clerk’s office for approval. The committee is also seeking to ensure that the Board of County Commissioners follows the requirements of the statutes and hires another county clerk in order to guarantee the election is conducted in compliance with the state election code.

In their statement of grounds for recall, the group cites gross negligence on the part of Myers in fulfilling her sworn duties as Clerk and Recorder. It has been documented by the Secretary of State’s 2010 report and the statewide grand jury’s report that Myers admitted under oath that she failed in her responsibilities to the citizens of Saguache County, responsibilities that she also acknowledged under oath were hers. The conclusion of the grand jury report includes the statement: “Clerk Myers and her staff committed the violations in this report.”

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Liberia: Opposition Party Challenges Electoral Commission’s Neutrality | VoA News

In Liberia, the main opposition Congress for Democratic Change party is boycotting this month's constitutional referendum, in part, because it questions the neutrality of Electoral Commission chairman James Fromayan, a long-time supporter of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

Fromayan says he set aside party affiliation on taking charge of the electoral commission and could not influence the outcome of a vote even if he wanted to, because results are read out at each polling station. “I can't add one or subtract one from whatever result that comes because people will notice it," Fromayan said. "They already know, have the results, sometimes they have the results before we can come to announce it.”

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Malaysia: Government, Election Commission To Discuss Need For Constitution Amendment To Enable Students Abroad To Vote — Najib | Bernama

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the government will discuss with the Election Commission on whether there is a need to amend the Federal Constitution to allow Malaysian students abroad to vote.

"If there is a need to allow students studying abroad to vote, we will look into it and discuss with the Election Commission," he said in response to a question raised by a student during a dialogue at the 5th Annual Malaysian Student Leaders Summit here today, after delivering his closing speech.

"We have to get a two-thirds majority before such an amendment can take place. We will look into it and maybe get the support from the opposition for the two-third majority," he said. He said the government was committed to electoral reforms and addressing the issue of phantom voters, and that one of the steps taken was to introduce the biometric system.

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Burkina Faso: New vote body set up amid tensions | AFP

Burkina Faso installed Monday a new election commission after the previous one was dismissed amid criticism over November elections that handed President Blaise Compaore a large victory. The newly composed Independent National Electoral Commission will have to organise next year's municipal and legislative elections amid unprecedented tensions which have seen military mutinies and other unrest this year.

"We are a bit late as regards the elections so we are going to immediately ... get to work," the new head of the 15-member commission, Barthelemy Kere, told reporters. This would start with proposing a timetable for the elections due next year.

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Mississippi: Federal observers to monitor primaries in 11 Mississippi counties |

Federal election monitors have been sent to 11 counties in Mississippi to ensure the voting rights of African-American primary voters, the Justice Department said Monday.

The department would not comment on the reason for these monitors. Usually monitors are sent to places where there have been allegations of discrimination in the past.

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