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The Voting News for September 5, 2011

The Voting News for September 5, 2011

Editorials: The sky didn’t fall after all | The Denver Post

There, that wasn't so terrible, was it? Democracy didn't sputter out when citizen volunteers were allowed to inspect — and yes, handle — ballots cast by residents of Saguache County in a recent recount of last fall's contested results.

Unwashed barbarians did not desecrate the sanctuary of our election priesthood, as Colorado's county clerks all but predicted earlier this year when they were denouncing the proposal. "We believe ballots are sacred," the president of the Colorado County Clerks Association declared in commentary published in The Post, adding that "the integrity of our elections is worth fighting for."

Yes, the integrity of our elections is worth fighting for. And that's why the precedent in Saguache County is so important.

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National: Legal Battles Loom In Fight Over Voter ID Laws | TPM

Conservative "investigative reporter" Matthew Vadum caused a real stir last week. As one of the many individuals who proselytizes about the threat of voter fraud and the need for restrictive measures to protect the ballot box, he's generally expected to stick to a predictable script.

The argument usually goes like this: everyone should be able to vote and that voter ID isn't supposed to make it harder for anyone to vote. Also, voter ID efforts aren't partisan, but rather about good government, and that if you have to show your ID to buy liquor or rent a movie from Blockbuster you should have to show it to vote.

But Vadum -- who wrote column upon column and even a book about the community organizing group ACORN -- published a piece last week that really gave away the game, writing that groups that want to register poor people are un-American and are essentially "handing out burglary tools to criminals."

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South Carolina: Disabled say South Carolina plan for voter ID discriminates |

Advocates for people with disabilities say a plan to give free rides to South Carolina residents who need state-approved photo identification at the state Department of Motor Vehicles is discriminatory.

The (Columbia) State reported ( that Gov. Nikki Haley backs the plan to provide free rides Sept. 28. A state law would require all voters to present a state-approved photo ID at the polls. The U.S. Justice Department must sign off on the law.

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New Mexico: State Cops Skip Voter File Probe | Albuquerque Journal

The State Police are not conducting a proposed criminal investigation into 64,000 irregularities in the state’s voter file, although Secretary of State Dianna Duran sent the files to the agency months ago for an inquiry.

Gorden Eden, secretary of the state Department of Public Safety, which oversees the State Police, said Friday that his agency has been acting in an “advisory” role with Duran’s office but does not have the resources to look at all 64,000 cases. He also said it is more appropriate for Duran’s office to conduct the inquiry.

“This is truly an issue, a case, that needed to be looked at by the SOS’s office,” Eden said. But Eden did not rule out a future criminal investigation, if evidence is presented that one is needed.

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New Hampshire: Clerks association calls on Senate to sustain veto of ‘Voter ID’ bill |

A bill that would require people to produce government-issued photo ID to vote in the state of New Hampshire is close to dead and several groups spent the last week lobbying state lawmakers to ensure it remains that way. The state Senate is expected to vote Wednesday on whether to override Gov. John Lynch's veto of Senate Bill 129, the so-called Voter ID Bill.

The League of Women Voters, American Association of Retired Persons and New Hampshire City and Town Clerks Association joined forces to voice objections to the bill calling on senators to sustain the veto. All three groups held a press conference on Wednesday.

Lynch vetoed the bill in June, saying it creates a real risk that voters would be denied their right to vote, adding the state has consistently high voter turnout, no voter fraud problem and strong election laws in place.

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Pennsylvania: Voter ID: Is fraud really a concern at the ballot box? |

Forget life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. There is no more fundamental right in the United States than the right to vote. That is because our representative government — of the people, by the people and for the people — is the foundation of every other basic right. And that is why the voter identification proposal about to come before the Pennsylvania Senate is a bad idea in its current form.

The nationwide push for voter identification over the past decade has been led almost entirely by Republicans. Since 2003, 15 states have passed voter ID laws. Five more states have strengthened existing laws to require a photo ID. The goal, of course, is unarguable: that only duly registered U.S. citizens vote in each election.

But while the goal sounds lofty and nonpartisan, the reality is not. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, some 12 percent of Americans do not have a government-issued photo ID. However, that’s not the real story. The percentage is higher for seniors, people of color, people with disabilities and low-income voters because they are most likely to lack the underlying documentation — the ID you need to get an ID. The voters most likely to lack those IDs tend to vote Democratic.

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Azerbaijan: Official says election system needs constant improvements | News.Az

It is possible to hold free, open and democratic elections in Azerbaijan. The statement came from Zeynal Nagdaliyev, head of the department for regional management and local authorities at the Azerbaijani Presidential Administration at opening of training for chairmen of district election commissions and polling stations conducted by the Central Election Commission (CEC). He emphasized the importance of the training.

'Unlike previous years, today we can say with confidence that highly skilled professionals who each year continue to improve their sills conduct elections in the country. All this proves that it is possible to hold free, open democratic elections,' Nagdaliyev noted.

'The voting process in previous parliamentary elections was recognized as legal in all 125 constituencies “which is due to expertise of members of our district election commissions.

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Democratic Republic of Congo: The Electoral Process Seen from the East | International Crisis Group

The technical preparations for the presidential and legislative elections scheduled on 28 November and the beginning of the electoral campaign in the East of Congo have generated suspicion that risks developing into a crisis of confidence in the whole electoral process.

Congo: The Electoral Process Seen from the East , the latest briefing from the International Crisis Group, examines voter registration and the beginning of the campaign on the ground in the Kivu provinces and the Ituri district and highlights the electoral stakes in a region that remains fundamental for durable stability in the country.

“The militiamen of the armed groups have not disturbed the voter registration process because they also need the voters’ card which serves as an ID document in the Democratic Republic of Congo”, says Marc-André Lagrange, Crisis Group’s Senior Congo Analyst. “However, the surprisingly sharp increase in the electorate the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced, lack of dialogue with the political parties and lack of verification by the voters themselves feed latent but widespread suspicions in the opposition and civil society”.

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Switzerland: Vaud voters refuse to extend foreigner voting rights | swissinfo

A test case initiative in canton Vaud giving foreign residents the right to vote on cantonal issues and be elected to political office has been turned down.
Cantonal voters rejected the “Live and vote here” initiative by 68.9 per cent on Sunday. In most Swiss cantons foreign residents cannot vote at either communal or cantonal level, but a patchwork of exceptions exists.

If it had passed, the western canton would have become the first in Switzerland to give foreign residents full cantonal voting rights as well as the chance to stand for local parliament, government and cantonal Senate seats.

The initiative applied to foreigners who had lived in Switzerland for more than ten years and three years in canton Vaud. Since 2003 around 85,000 people fulfilling these requirements have been able to vote on commune level issues and to be elected to commune positions.

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