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The Voting News for August 5, 2011

The Voting News for August 5, 2011

Mississippi: Vote tally on Hinds sheriff race may be finished today | The Clarion-Ledger

Hinds County Democratic Party officials say they'll do their best to wrap up absentee and affidavit ballot counts today, giving answers to several candidates whose races are up in the air. "We are trying to conclude this. I'm hoping we can conclude a lot of things Friday," Hinds County Democratic Executive Committee Chairman Claude McInnis said Thursday night.

Meanwhile, in Madison County, Republicans continued to count ballots into the night Thursday. The results could determine the outcome of at least three GOP primary races. In one of the pending Hinds County races, a final count and certification of votes will show whether incumbent Sheriff Malcolm McMillin makes it into a runoff with Democrat Tyrone Lewis, former Jackson Police deputy chief.

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Kenya: IBM completes e-services master plan for Kenya including e-voting system | Daily Nation

Kenya’s masterplan on how to utilize technology to become a middle income country by 2030 is ready. An international team from IBM's Corporate Services Corps program has completed a month-long term in Kenya to prepare the plan that would also see Kenya fully digitize its voting system.

This comes days after the government launched an open data portal providing crucial information on government services, income and expenditure to the public. The masterplan complements government’s efforts to digitize records to enhance e-services delivery.

The IBM team also laid out a framework on how citizens can access government services via mobile phones through data digitization. The digitization of records means citizens can track public expenditure to the last shilling. You will for example know what I have been paid and for what purpose. Of course I also talked about e-procurement and judiciary.

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From the Verified Voting Blog: Voting machine problems in 2011 Mississippi primary highlight national concern

In the August 3 primary in Mississippi voters experienced voting machine problems: candidates’ names and entire contests missing from the voting machine screens and equipment failing to booting up properly. Problems were reported in Hinds County, which uses the Advanced Voting Systems Winvote and in several counties that use the Premier (Diebold) TSx equipped with a voter-verifiable paper audit trail printer. Advanced Voting Systems has been out of business for several years…

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Blogs: How easy is it to rig the outcome of a New South Wales Australia Electronic Election? | Poll Blogger

Question need to be asked "Just how easy is it to rig the NSW Legislative Council election? The reality is its quite easy if you have access to the data file and no one else has copies of the data so a comparison cannot be made.

The NSW "Below-the-line" preference data fiels that habve just been released exclude preferences recorded as being informal. Votes where a preference has been omitted or duplicated. This could be as a result of a data-entry or voter error. Without access to the missing data it is impossible to verify the quality of the data recorded.

What’s even more scary is that if a person had access to the original data file they could easily run a simple query against the data set, removing preferences for a given candidate where that candidate has a higher preference than another candidate. The number of primary votes would still be the same but the ballot paper would exhaust during the count if the preference order had been altered in any way.

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Wisconsin: Voter Suppression Complaint Filed Against Americans For Prosperity | Hudson, WI Patch

When Charles Shultz received an absentee ballot application form in the mail on Thursday, July 28, it didn't take long before he found something fishy with it. The mailer, sent by conservative advocacy group Americans For Prosperity (AFP) to his North Hudson home, included directions to mail the application to Madison instead of his village clerk.

"It seems to me like it was an effort by this organization to delay the process or make the process more complicated," Shultz said. "And, of course the date of when it should be returned was wrong." That set off red flags for Shultz.

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Editorials: Identity Crisis: New voter ID laws subvert democracy and Catholic teaching | America Magazine

Photo ID, please.” An increasing number of Americans will be hearing these words when they show up to vote on election day. In a trend that has gained strength over the last several years and received a boost after the 2010 midterm elections, a growing number of states are passing laws requiring specific forms of photo identification for citizens to cast ballots at their local polling places. While this may strike some as a relatively minor technical adjustment in voting security, what is really going on is far more significant and deeply at odds with Catholic social teaching.

Over the past half-century the Catholic Church has emerged as one of the strongest voices on behalf of democracy in the political realm. Its core social teaching documents, from “Pacem in Terris” to “Centesimus Annus” to “Caritas in Veritate,” strongly endorse fundamental political and civil rights, the rule of law, regular elections and an open political system. The tradition points especially to a need for broad participation in the democratic process on an equal basis for all citizens and warns against the political exclusion of the socially marginalized, especially the poor and racial, ethnic or religious minorities.

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Colorado: Recall petition submitted for Saguache clerk | The Pueblo Chieftain

A group seeking the ouster of Saguache County Clerk & Recorder Melinda Myers submitted its recall petition to the county Monday. While the group must still gather approximately 600 signatures from registered voters, the submission was the first step for a recall election that could take place in December or early next year.

The petition lists eight points as grounds for a recall of Myers, who was sworn in to a second term in January. It said she had demonstrated gross negligence in her sworn duties and notes that both a November review by the Colorado Secretary of State and a June report from a statewide grand jury documented failings by her office. It also claims Myers has obstructed a second review proposed by the secretary of state's office and that the secretary of state has received "numerous unresolved complaints" regarding the 2010 election.

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West Virginia: Counties will have to pay for voting machine maintenance | Charleston Daily Mail

Kanawha County commissioners will have to come up with $60,000 to $70,000 to pay for maintenance of electronic voting machines. Secretary of State Natalie Tennant's office was in the process of negotiating a statewide maintenance contract with Electronic Systems and Software that could have reduced the cost for counties, Commission President Kent Carper said.

But, Carper believes the negotiations must have stalled and the counties around the state were left holding the bag. "And we have an election coming up," he said. Warranties for the machines expire at the end of September.

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Liberia: Preparing for Voting Amid Security Concerns, Refugee Crisis | VoA News

Liberia's electoral commission is working to safeguard voting along the border with Ivory Coast, where hundreds of mercenaries from the recent Ivorian political crisis are under arrest and thousands of Ivorian refugees are stretching Liberian social services. Liberia has two big votes in the next few months, a constitutional referendum and a presidential election. With campaigning for both contests well under way, Liberia's electoral commission is working to ensure that voting in areas near the Ivorian border will not be disrupted by instability stemming from the Ivorian political crisis.

"Firstly, when we look at the Ivorian refugees, our primary concern will be one of security concern in terms of mercenaries coming over with the hopes of threatening the process," said James Fromayan who chairs Liberia's electoral commission.

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Philippines: Members of election fraud probe team named | The Philippine Star

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima confirmed yesterday that the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) have already designated the members of the five-man panel that will investigate alleged cheating in the 2004 and 2007 elections.

Prosecutor General Claro Arellano, chief of the National Prosecution Service, was appointed chairman of the committee, with Comelec law department head Ferdinand Rafanan, poll body lawyer Michael Villaret, Laguna Provincial Prosecutor George Dy and Pasig City Prosecutor Jacinto Ang as members.

De Lima said the joint panel, whose members were chosen for their wide experience in election-related cases and as former boards of canvassers during elections, will start performing their duties that would be spelled out in a joint order of the DOJ and Comelec.

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Indonesia: Constituency debate appears likely to stall Indonesian election bill | The Jakarta Post

Major political parties have proposed an increase in the number of electoral districts or constituencies, in a move aimed at simplifying the electoral system, but analysts have warned the policy could encourage gerrymandering.

The polarizing proposal, which has been opposed by smaller parties, will likely further stall the ongoing deliberation on a revision of the general election law, as legislators were still bogged down in a debate about increasing the parliamentary threshold from the current 2.5 percent.

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Singapore: 2.27 Million qualify to vote for new President | Channel NewsAsia

Slightly more than 2.27 million Singaporeans are eligible to vote in the forthcoming Presidential Election if there is a contest. The Elections Department said the 2,274,773 eligible voters are fewer than the 2.35 million eligible voters in the May 2011 General Election.

That's because of the nearly 140,000 voters who did not cast their votes in May, just over half have had their names restored on the Register of Electors. Another 5,500 overseas Singaporeans will also be eligible to vote at the nine overseas polling centres.

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Thailand: Parliament Prepares to Elect First Woman Prime Minister | VoA News

Thailand's parliament is meeting this week for the first time since the July 3 general elections that resulted in a clear majority for the Pheu Thai Party and its leader, Yingluck Shinawatra. But Ms. Yingluck faces considerable challenges ranging from selection of her Cabinet to implementing the party's populist election promises.

The 44-year-old’s Pheu Thai Party won 265 seats in the house and joined minor parties to hold a ruling majority of 300 seats in the 500 member House of Representatives.

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