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The Voting News for 22 August 2011

The Voting News for 22 August 2011

Wisconsin: Photo ID law for voters to face lawsuit | JSOnline

In approving one of the strongest photo ID requirements in the country for voters, GOP lawmakers and Gov. Scott Walker violated a few little-noted paragraphs of the state constitution - so say opponents of the law who are preparing a legal challenge to it.

But Republicans dismissed that claim, saying that in writing the legislation earlier this year they took care not to violate the federal or state constitution. They said the current objections over the state's charter show photo ID opponents are recognizing the difficulties of a federal lawsuit over the law.

A lawsuit being prepared by the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin will allege that the law violates right to vote provisions of the state constitution not present in the U.S. Constitution. The group plans to file its lawsuit in Dane County Circuit Court, its attorney Lester Pines said.

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Michigan: Rock the Vote urges Michigan to allow online registration — Secretary of State expresses concerns about security | Detroit News

Michigan is failing to engage young voters because it lacks online registration and some of its laws are too restrictive, according to a group whose aim is to get more youths to vote. Rock the Vote said the younger generation is comfortable with online access for everyday tasks and the current voting laws are outdated. Its study called for the state to update its laws.

"Today's generation uses technology to register for classes and pay for taxes," said Heather Smith, president of Rock the Vote. "It would seem quite normal that we'd also be able to fill out a voter registration form with technology."

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Texas: Confusion reigns over 2012 election calendar | Star-Telegram

Despite efforts by state lawmakers to avoid a confusing election schedule in 2012, that may be exactly what many Texas voters face next year anyway. Gov. Rick Perry signed a bill this summer tweaking the election laws to comply with new federal rules designed to make it easier for members of the military to vote.

A key side effect is that the measure pushes back runoffs from next year's March 6 primaries into May, when cities, school districts and other local entities hold elections. Early voting for primary runoffs would begin just days after the May 12 local elections. Supporters of the legislative action predicted that the new rules would lead local entities to move their elections to next November or to the following May.

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New Mexico: Fewer voting sites, shorter lines? | KRQE

The City of Albuquerque is cutting a lot of its polling locations to help alleviate the long lines and confusion for voters. The county could soon be following suit. City Clerk Amy Bailey said for the October municipal elections the word precinct is out. Recently, city councilors approved the plan to move away from precinct polling locations to voting convenience centers. “We have decided to do Election Day a little bit differently than how it's been done in the past,” Bailey said.

Bailey said that plan would consolidate the city’s 168 voting sites to 49. The convenience is that voters can vote at any location. “The most important thing for people to know is you're not assigned to you're not assigned to one particular place to vote on Election Day,” Bailey said.

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Idaho: Vote here, only — cities question county clerk’s decision to consolidate absentee voting | Coeur d’Alene Press

City halls might not be secure enough to house absentee ballot polling locations for November's election, the Kootenai County Clerk's Office decided. It's too expensive to provide staff to work at the absentee polling sites too, the office said, so for the first time in decades, several Kootenai County municipalities won't have their city halls available for voters to cast an early ballot.

So anyone - from Rathdrum to Hayden - who wants to cast an absentee ballot early and in person will have to do so at the Kootenai County Elections Office, 1808 N. 3rd Street, in Coeur d'Alene. It's the latest change Kootenai County Clerk Cliff Hayes has implemented since his election to office in 2010, having run his campaign on fixing the issues that arose in the heavily litigated 2009 Coeur d'Alene general election.

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Oklahoma: Voter ID requirement will be new to most at polls Sept. 13 | Tulsa World

For most of those voting in the Sept. 13 city primary, this election will be the first requiring voters to present identification at polling places. The new law, approved in a statewide referendum last November, was actually in place for an Aug. 9 franchise vote. Only 3,410 voters turned out for that election, so the city primary will be the city's first widespread experience with voter ID.

The law requires voters to present identification containing a name, photograph and expiration date that is after the date of the election.

Exceptions, however, are allowed for those carrying only a voter identification card, which does not have a photo, and for those older than 65 with a state identification card. Those cards do not have an expiration date.

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Afghanistan: Election commission ruling may raise more problems than it solves | CSMonitor.com

Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission (IEC) has made a decision that aims to bring to a close nearly a year of drama and conflict following the country’s parliamentary election last fall. On Sunday, the IEC said it would remove nine of the 62 sitting members of parliament a special court ruled should lose their seats due to electoral fraud.

The decision is meant to be a final step in closing a dispute between President Hamid Karzai and the parliament that paralyzed the legislature and caused a constitutional crisis. Many of those losing their seats, however, say they will not accept the decision which may cause the electoral turmoil to drag on even longer. Among many Afghans, today’s attempted resolution for this standoff will do little to restore the government’s image, marred by its inability to efficiently find a solution and hold elections without widespread fraud and corruption.

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New Zealand: Porirua mayor lobbies for internet voting test | dominion-post

Porirua Mayor Nick Leggett wants his city to be a testing ground for new e-voting technology. Today he said he would lobby the Government to bring online voting to Porirua for the 2013 local body elections.

"New Zealand is long overdue for offering the option of voting online. The 2001 Local Electoral Act allows it to be used, which means Cabinet can make it happen through simple regulatory action. Officials, perhaps understandably, are exhibiting excessive caution -- but our political leaders should embrace the democratic possibilities offered by this technology," he said.

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South Korea: Children demand vote in education elections in Seoul | Asia News Network

A total of 72 school students from across the country gathered for a forum in Seoul last week and demanded the government grant students aged 13 and older voting rights in the election of educational superintendents. They also requested that relevant ministries standardize educational programs for elementary school students to learn about elections and voting rights.

The demands came at the Korea Child Conference held Wednesday through Friday in Seoul, where children held fierce, logical and reasonable discussions. "We have every right to be respected. We are not an object of ignorance or indifference. We are not to be subject to force, violence or verbal abuse," said Cho Ye-rin, a 12-year-old participant from Ansan in Gyeonggi Province, as she read the resolution adopted at the annual meeting.

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UAE: Federal National Council elections: what substance behind the gloss? | Ahram Online

In a dark auditorium, rows of men in traditional white robes and women swathed in black watch silently as computer-animated characters take their turn at electronic voting machines in a film aimed at educating them on how to vote.
On 24 September they will cast their votes for half of the United Arab Emirates' Federal National Council (FNC), a quasi-parliamentary body designed to serve as a link between the country's rulers and its people to build democratic institutions gradually in the Gulf Arab state.

But given that the 40-member council has no legislative authority, half its members are appointed, and only about 12 per cent of citizens - themselves handpicked by the UAE's rulers - can vote, critics question how much substance it has.

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Pakistan: Election Commission starts verification of voters list | Dawn.com

Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday started the door-to-door verification of over 80 million voters, DawnNews reported.

National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) was providing its services for the process and it had sent its mobile team along with the commission’s field officers.

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Pakistan: Election Commission takes steps to curb frauds in voting | International News Network

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has decided to introduce water marked ballot papers in an effort to stop fraudulent votes. Secretary Election Commission Ishtiaq Ahmed Khan has said that NADRA had provided new voter’s list consisting almost 80 million entries to the Election Commission, and process of their home to home verification would be commenced from 22nd August, which would be completed till 30 September.

He was addressing a media briefing here on Saturday. He said that it is a historical development which would ensure holding of free, fair and impartial elections in the country. He said that after completing the verification these lists would be returned to NADRA that would publish final lists in March next year.

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Latvia: 13 parties to vie for 11th Saeima | Latvians Online

A total of 13 political parties or coalitions will be on the ballot Sept. 17 when Latvian voters go to the polls in the homeland and abroad to elect a new parliament, according to the Central Election Commission in Rīga.

No. 1 in the packet of candidate lists voters will receive will be Vienotība (Unity), a center-right party that merges Jaunais laiks (New Era), Pilsoniskā savienība (Civic Union) and Sabiedrība citai politikai (Society for a Different Politics).

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Afghanistan: Election commission expels 9 lawmakers | CNN.com

The Afghan election commission on Sunday expelled nine lawmakers who faced election fraud allegations.

A special court set up by President Hamid Karzai had been prosecuting alleged electoral fraud by 62 parliament members. The nine were among them. The election commission announced the expulsions Sunday, four days after the special court was dissolved.

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