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The Voting News for September 2, 2011

The Voting News for September 2, 2011

New Jersey: Electronic voting case prompts new election, investigation in Fairfield New Jersey | NJ.com

A new election for county Democratic Committee in Fairfield Township in Cumberland County will be held on Sept. 27, Superior Court Judge David Krell ordered Thursday. Further, Krell asked the state Attorney General’s office to turn the case over to their criminal justice division to consider pursuing a full investigation.

“I have my suspicions that something that happened here was improper,” Krell said during the second hearing of a case that involves the reliability of the Sequoia AVC Advantage voting machine. Krell does not, “and may never” know, what exactly took place regarding preparations of the ballot definitions used on Primary Election day here back in June.

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Editorials: I don’t want to card my neighbors | Pittsburgh Post Gazette

If I need a cup of sugar, I just ask Marsha next door. She'll even bring it into my kitchen if my hands are covered in flour. When we need an extra set of hands to move a heavy object, we know we can ask Joseph, who will help with a smile. If I need someone to listen, Janet lends me her ear.

What other relationship do my husband and I have with these and another 450 of my neighbors? I'm the election inspector at our polling place, and he is the judge of elections. Twice a year, five of your neighbors become public servants for the day.

… Poll workers serve for different reasons. Many, maybe the majority, are retired on limited incomes and want a little spending money. Some are students who want to earn a few extra dollars, but they also receive a valuable lesson in democracy. Others, like my husband and myself, don't work for the money, but who couldn't use a few more dollars these days? We want to serve the public and enjoy catching up with our neighbors and their families.

We also would like a little respect from Harrisburg. Under legislation which passed the state House, is pending in the Senate and is backed by the secretary of the commonwealth, we could be fined $300, jailed for one year or both if we allow someone to vote without a photo ID.

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Editorials: Allure of online voting may outweigh the risks? | Vancouver Sun

If you can trust your life savings to an online bank and pay your taxes over the Internet, why can’t you vote that way? The answer, according to a discussion paper on Internet voting released this week by Elections B.C., is that it’s harder to guarantee a fair election online than it is to safeguard your savings.

Banks anticipate some level of fraud and while that is a cost borne collectively by all of their customers, individuals are covered. An electoral system, on the other hand, has to be able to demonstrate that every vote cast is counted exactly as intended.

It also has to accomplish a couple of other, inherently contradictory tasks. It has to identify the person voting to ensure they are eligible and that they are only voting once. At the same time, it has to register the vote in a way that doesn’t connect the choice it expresses to the person casting the ballot. It also has to be transparent enough so that the public it serves can have faith that the outcome will reflect the will of the people, while remaining secure from hackers.

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South Carolina: DOJ Has More Questions About South Carolina’s Voter ID Law | TPM

The Justice Department wants more information about South Carolina's new voter ID law, which was signed by Gov. Nikki Haley (R) in May. Under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, South Carolina is required to have changes to the state's voting laws precleared by federal authorities or by a federal court to insure they're not discriminatory.

A letter from the Voting Section of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division asks South Carolina for more information about their voter ID law and lays out eight questions about how it will be implemented.

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Ohio: Cuyahoga County: By-mail ballot battle still brewing | wkyc.com

The war of words over the future of mass-mailed ballot applications in Cuyahoga County continues. On his personal blog, State Auditor Dave Yost has a post called "The Wreck of the Edward FitzGerald." He is saber-rattling over Cuyahoga County Executive Ed Fitzgerld's plan to continue mass mailing ballot applications to all registered voters in Cuyahoga County.

Secretary of State Jon Husted banned such mailing by boards of elections because most could not afford them and he insisted on uniformity of election procedures. FitzGerald countered with a plan to have the county, not the election board, pay for and handle the mailings. That cost is likely to be about $330,000. After lots of angry words, Husted said he would not block FitzGerald's plan.

But now Auditor Yost says he told FitzGerald, "if (you) spend money without any authority to do so, next years' (audit) finding could include a large finding for recovery."

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Arizona: Russell Pearce recall: State’s high court to consider appeal | Arizona Republic

The Arizona Supreme Court will decide whether the Nov. 8 recall election for Senate President Russell Pearce will go forward. The high court on Wednesday agreed to consider the appeal in the case challenging the recall signatures.

Both sides had requested the hearing in hopes of speeding up the process instead of allowing the Arizona Court of Appeals to consider it first. Time is of the essence. A decision needs to be made by Sept. 23, when the state has to begin printing ballots.

The Supreme Court said that it will not hear oral arguments and that the justices will make a decision behind closed doors on Sept. 13. They will base their decision on written arguments.

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Blogs: Unconventional Wisdom: A Different View of the “War on Voting” | Doug Chapin

The September 15, 2011 issue of Rolling Stone features an article by Ari Berman that takes a look at recent election legislation in the states and concludes that the Republican Party is engaged in a "war on voting."

Here's how it begins:

As the nation gears up for the 2012 presidential election, Republican officials have launched an unprecedented, centrally coordinated campaign to suppress the elements of the Democratic vote that elected Barack Obama in 2008. Just as Dixiecrats once used poll taxes and literacy tests to bar black Southerners from voting, a new crop of GOP governors and state legislators has passed a series of seemingly disconnected measures that could prevent millions of students, minorities, immigrants, ex-convicts and the elderly from casting ballots.

I beg to differ.

Quite simply, the current state of play in election policy can be explained by three factors that don't require belief in some nefarious partisan conspiracy to alter the outcome of the next election.

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Democratic Republic of Congo: Police fire tear gas at opposition protesters | BBC News

Police in the Democratic Republic of Congo have fired tear gas at opposition protesters accusing the electoral commission of fraud. Hundreds of protesters were stopped as they approached the commission's headquarters in the capital, Kinshasa.

Opposition candidate Jacquemain Shabani is due to stand against President Joseph Kabila in November polls. His Union for Democracy and Social Progress claims some voter registration has been fraudulent. Mr Shabani has called for an audit of the electoral register.

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Libya: New rulers set out steps to elections | Reuters

Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC) has set out steps leading to democratic elections monitored by the United Nations within 18 months.

The plan goes into effect with a "declaration of liberation" which the NTC has not defined precisely, though NTC chairman Abdel Mustafa Jalil told reporters the conditions for such a declaration included the capture or death of Muammar Gaddafi.

The NTC's Constitution Declaration for governing during the transitional period sets out the main guidelines for the way the country is to be overseen as it emerges from six months of war.

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Guyana: OAS, Guyana sign election observer agreement | Demerara Waves

The Organization of American States (OAS) and the Guyana government on Thursday signed an Agreement on the Privileges and Immunities of the Electoral Observation Mission (EOM) for the general and regional elections in Guyana to be held at the end of 2011.

In a ceremony held at OAS headquarters in Washington, DC, Secretary General José Miguel Insulza and the Permanent Representative of Guyana to the OAS, Ambassador Bayney R. Karran, signed the document, while at the same time expressing their wishes for the elections in the Caribbean nation to take place in an environment of normalcy and transparency.

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