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flashl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 06:58 PM
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AL: ACLU lawsuit challenges Alabama voting practice

News staff writer

MONTGOMERY - A lawsuit claims the state of Alabama is violating the constitutional rights of thousands of convicted felons by denying them the right to vote.

The suit, filed Monday by the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Alabama, contends that Alabama Secretary of State Beth Chapman and county registrars are wrongly requiring thousands of felons to apply to the Board of Pardons and Paroles to have voting rights restored.

"Alabama's disenfranchisement laws do not pass constitutional muster," said Laughlin McDonald, director of the ACLU Voting Rights Project.

The Alabama Constitution says people convicted of crimes of "moral turpitude" cannot vote until they get their rights restored. However, the state constitution does not define a crime of moral turpitude.

Everything Alabama

AR: Family Council petitions insufficent


LITTLE ROCK, ARSecretary Daniels today notified the Family Council Action Committee that their submitted ballot initiative petitions have an insufficient number of valid signatures.

On July 7, the group submitted to the Secretary of State petitions with 65,952 signatures for an initiated act to provide that an individual who is cohabiting outside of a valid marriage may not adopt or be a foster parent of a child less than eighteen years old.

The verification process began Monday following the certification of a proposed constitutional amendment to authorize the General Assembly to establish, operate, and regulate state lotteries to fund scholarships and grants for Arkansas citizens enrolled in certified two-year and four-year colleges and universities in Arkansas.

2,533 signatures were culled, leaving 63,419 to verify. 57,888 were determined to belong to Arkansas registered voters. 61,794 valid signatures, or eight percent of the number of votes cast for Governor in 2006, are required for initiated acts to get on the ballot this year.

Under Arkansas law, the sponsor has 30 days from the date of notification of insufficiency to collect additional signatures or submit proof that rejected signatures should be counted.

Arkansas Times

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July 20 - No ballots for Democrats.

HART InterCivic printed the ballots for Summit County's upcoming Democratic and Republican Primary elections. Problem is, they did not print any Democratic ballots. Democratic absentee voters were mailed the Republican ballots and risk losing their vote if they do not return the Republican ballot to officials. Does HART practice any quality control?

Citizens for Accurate Mail Ballot Election Results


July 20 - Logic and Accuracy Test reveals major problems

Canvass Board member, Al Kolwicz, reports the answers to public questions during the Logic & Accuracy Test. Click to read the revealing and disturbing 2006 Primary LAT Report.

Citizens for Accurate Mail Ballot Election Results

========== D ==========

District of Columbia

DE: Sussex County Council's 3 Dems won't seek re-election

GEORGETOWN -- The three Democrats controlling Sussex County Council dropped a political bombshell today, announcing their joint retirements in a move that could dramatically change the face of Sussex County politics.

Councilmen Dale Dukes of Laurel, Lynn Rogers of Milton and Finley Jones of Greenwood said they would not run for re-election in November a mere four days ahead of the filing deadline.

Their decision opens the door wide for Republicans to take hold of the five-member council for the first time in two decades. The GOP now holds two seats.

They basically handed us the reins, said Republican Judson Bennett, a candidate for Rogers seat. Unless we self-destruct from within, I think well have a good opportunity.

Delaware Online

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FL: Voter-sign-up drive targets 16-year-olds


Voter registration for next month's primary election will end Monday, and the push now is aimed at teens who are too young to cast a ballot.

Under a relatively new law, passed after the 2006 campaign season had ended, 16-year-olds can ''preregister'' now to receive a voting card as soon as they turn 18.

Election leaders hope the change will boost enrollment of young voters. Partnerships with the school district already have a huge impact.

''In May, we get 10,000 to 13,000 high school seniors registered,'' said Miami-Dade Elections Supervisor Lester Sola. ``That's a huge number to be receiving every year.''

Registration is open until the end of business on July 28 at sites that include public libraries and most city, town and village halls. Registration forms are also available online at or via mail by calling 311.

Miami Herald

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GA: Complaints of voting misconduct being investigated in Dodge
By Rodney Manley -

EASTMAN -- State and federal officials are probing complaints of voting irregularities in Dodge County.

The Georgia Secretary of State's Office requested the GBI investigate complaints of "fraudulent voting practices" in the July 15 primary, Greg Harvey, agent in charge of the GBI's Eastman office, said Monday. The FBI also is involved in the investigation, he said.

"Some of the complaints have to do with absentees. Some of them have to do with assisting voters," Harvey said.

In the mid-1990s, Dodge County was the scene of one of the state's largest voting scandals. More than two dozen people -including several county officials - either were convicted or pleaded guilty to charges that included vote buying. Election observers have frequented Dodge County on election days since, and Harvey said monitors were at the county courthouse July 15.

"Prior to the election day, they had complaints about improprieties."

Matt Carrothers, the Secretary of State's director of media relations, confirmed the probe but declined to comment further.

"We can't discuss the nature of an ongoing investigation," he said. Attempts to reach the Southern District U.S. Attorney's Office, which handles cases in Dodge County, for comment Monday were unsuccessful. Harvey said he is not sure how long the investigation will take.


========== H ==========


HI: Hawaii Activists Sue to Protect the Vote

Lawsuit to stop the transmission of votes over telephone lines
and/or the Internet.

by Bob Babson

We filed a lawsuit on July 14, 2008, asking the Court to order the Hawaii Chief Elections Officer to stop using telephone lines or the internet for transmitting ballot counts and election results for final tabulation until such time as administrative rules can be legally promulgated in accordance with Hawaii Administrative Law, Chapter 91, HRS, and all other laws can also be legally followed.

Hart InterCivic (Hart) of Austin, Texas, has the contract to conduct elections for the State of Hawaii. They write the software and design the hardware and it is top secret. No one can inspect it because it is "proprietary property." They claim the version they are using has been inspected by an independent testing agency (ITA) on the mainland. But we don't know if what they inspected is the same as what is
actually used here in Hawaii. We must blindly trust them to be honest.

Each voting machine at the precincts has a memory card with votes on it. After the polls close on election day, the current procedure is to forward all memory cards to the county count center (8th floor of the Maui County Building for Maui) and hand them to the Hart technician who then "reads" them into the Hart tabulator (a laptop in 2006). The laptop is connected to a telephone line and the vote count files are then supposedly transmitted directly to the State count center using a wide area network (WAN). WAN's use the internet. We believe the transmission method is either by email with files attached or file transfer protocol (FTP).

Not only can outsiders hack into anything on the internet but we believe Hart itself, our election vendor, could actually transmit the files to a bogus remote email address or a remote website where the files could be flipped and immediately transmitted directly onto the State count center. Flipping votes means taking votes from one candidate and giving them to another. Since the total vote count
remains the same, no one would know the difference. On top of all of this, the Office of Elections never manually counts the absentee ballots precinct (aka AB-Mail) because it is "too big." So there you have it. Hart could easily flip votes in the AB-Mail precinct and no one would ever know. AB-Mail is the biggest precinct in all four counties.


========== I ==========


IL: (Centre) County will buy voting machines

When Centre County voters elect a new president in November, they will do so using new voting machines -- at a cost of more than $900,000.

Centre County Commissioners voted 2-1 yesterday to purchase optical scan voting machines, which provide a paper record of votes, replacing the current touch-screen voting machines, which provide no paper record. One hundred optical scans and 100 AutoMark machines will be purchased at an estimated total cost of $924,500, Commissioner Rich Rogers said.

Discounts owed to the county of up to $250,000, including $140,000 in federal grant money will offset the cost, Rogers said.

The commissioners last week recommended replacing the current machines but still needed to decide whether to purchase or lease the machines.

The Daily Collegian

========== K ==========


KY: Many may grumble, but few are running

By Ryan Alessi
Herald-Leader Political writer

When Kentucky's founding fathers put together this democracy, they gave voters the chance to fire their state legislators every every two or four years.

If things weren't going well in state government, the people could install better leaders, or so the theory went.

Well, the 2008 General Assembly is coming off a spring of gridlock and acrimony that left the legislature's approval rate hovering around 22 percent down there with the same percentage of Americans who claim they've seen ghosts.

Yet there will be little that Kentucky voters can do to exorcise that frustration with state lawmakers at the ballot box this fall.

Just 37 of the 119 House and Senate seats up in the November election have competitive races. Five of those races are for open seats, meaning that just 32 of the 114 incumbents seeking re-election have competition. That's an anemic 28 percent.

The math also shows that it's impossible for the Democratic-controlled House to change hands, and it's unlikely the Senate Republicans will relinquish their hold on that chamber.


========== L ==========


========== M ==========


MN: Instant Runoff voting reform can empower communities of color

By Isaac Peterson III , Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder
July 21, 2008

Guess who doesnt want it to happen

There is widespread agreement among analysts that Instant Runoff Voting, or ranked voting, has the potential to significantly empower communities of color by increasing the number of candidates of color who appear on ballots and, presumably, get elected to public office. Minneapolis has approved IRV, but a lawsuit has been filed challenging it, and the St. Paul City Council has balked at putting the measure on the ballot in November. We asked Isaac Peterson III to find out why.

Instant runoff voting (IRV) is not a new idea, but it is one that is gaining traction in many areas nationwide. It is a form of ranked voting or single transferable voting that allows a voter to rank candidates on a ballot in order of preference.

Cambridge, Massachusetts, has used IRV since 1941. Burlington, Vermont; both Cary and Hendersonville, North Carolina; Takoma Park, Maryland; and San Francisco, California, have since adopted IRV.

Arkansas, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Springfield, Illinois, use a ranked voting procedure for overseas military voters.

In 2006, voters in Minneapolis passed a measure to implement IRV; it is currently the subject of a lawsuit challenging its constitutionality.
Earlier this year, St. Paul voters supplied enough petition signatures to qualify IRV for placement on the November ballot. Late last month, St. Pauls City Council said no by blocking the measure.

Twin Cities Daily Planet

MS: State keeps watch on election

By Vershal Hogan (Contact) | The Natchez Democrat
Published Wednesday, July 23, 2008

WOODVILLE Vote counting in Wilkinson County continued into the night, and at 11 p.m. there were no results.

Only two candidates, Sheriff Reginald Jackson and challenger Calvin Gaines were on Tuesdays ballot.

Keeping watchful eyes over the vote counting were staff members from the Mississippi Secretary of States Office, Mississippi Bureau of Investigation agents, a U.S. Marshal, a state policeman and a representative of the Mississippi Attorney Generals Office.

The election came under scrutiny even before Tuesday when Jackson filed a motion to move the election to a later day because early voting did not begin when it was supposed to and because the election was not properly advertised.

During early voting, two different ballots were used, one which listed Jacksons name first and the other, which listed Gaines, name first. Jacksons attorney, Everett Sanders, called the use of two ballots during voting election officials said the switch was made during a correction to a filing mistake a built-in election contest.

All of the paper ballots absentee, affidavit and curbside ballots had to be hand counted by members of the Wilkinson County election commission because of the ballot change.

Natchez Democrat

========== N ==========

New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota

NC: NC voting group says expanded early voting needed

Associated Press Writer
Jul. 21, 2008

RALEIGH, N.C. Voter registration has increased by more than a quarter-million people in North Carolina in 2008, an election reform group said Monday as it warned of long lines come Election Day unless early voting is expanded.

Democracy North Carolina estimated that between 700,000 and 1 million more people could cast ballots this Nov. 4 than the 3.5 million who voted in 2004.

Local boards of elections should add more early-voting sites and extend hours during the 2 1/2-week early-voting period that begins Oct. 16, even to include Sunday afternoon, said Bob Hall, the group's executive director.

"You can look ahead and see this horrible traffic jam, but it can be prevented if election officials take steps to add more opportunities for voting before the Election Day crush," Hall said in a prepared statement.


NJ: States Legal Opinion Strikes Blow to "Clean Elections"

Published on July 23, 2008 11:15 AM

New Jersey Office of Legislative Services: "Rescue Funds" Unconstitutional

The New Jersey Office of Legislative Services (OLS) issued an opinion Tuesday that strikes a blow to efforts to expand the state's system of publicly-financed elections, the Gannett State Bureau reported this morning.

The OLS opinion found that so-called "rescue funds" are unconstitutional in the wake of a recent Supreme Court ruling that said "leveling electoral opportunities" is an insufficient justification with which to impose campaign finance laws.

"Rescue funds" are supplemental money given to candidates who are participating in the government-financing program, if they are faced with non-participating opponents or spending by outside groups that exceed the initial government grant.

"Taxpayer-financed political campaigns become much less attractive if the rescue fund provisions are removed," said Mike Schrimpf, communications director at the non-partisan Center for Competitive Politics. "The OLS opinion recognizes that certain provisions in taxpayer-financed campaign programs undermine and penalize core political speech."

Campaing Freedom

NM:New Mexico: Voter Group Urges Investigation of Missing Ballots

By Verified Voting New Mexico and United Voters of New Mexico

July 21, 2008

A coalition of election reform organizations has called for a thorough investigation of the Cibola County incident in which two ballot boxes and 182 paper ballots went mysteriously missing at two precincts following the June 3 primary. Verified Voting New Mexico and United Voters of New Mexico insist that the in-depth probe is necessary in order to strengthen voter confidence in the fairness of election outcomes, especially in the run-up to the critical general election in November.

Clemente Sanchez, candidate in the state Senate race, lost by five votes to incumbent David Ulibarri, who is Cibola County Manager. Sanchez has protested the lack of investigation into the election circumstances, and also the subsequent recount and July 11 certification of results by the State Canvassing Board. The state Attorney General has said the incident is under review but has not said that an investigation is underway.

We want the appropriate county and state authorities to take full formal action on this under the law, said Robert Stearns, steering committee member of Verified Voting New Mexico. The election officials in the two precincts told the County Clerk that they dont remember what happened to the missing ballot boxes and ballots. The inquiry should not be left there. This involves New Mexico voters and the integrity of their vote the very foundation of American democracy.

Vote Trust USA

NY: Weekend voting
Changing Election Day faces many obstacles
SUNDAY, JULY 20, 2008

America votes on Tuesdays. By law and by habit, we go to the polls to choose our village officials, decide the fate of school budgets, vote for state leaders and elect a president on Tuesdays. But some in Congress want to break the habit.

Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., has submitted legislation that would change the day historically set aside to hold federal elections. With little thought of why, Americans have been going to the polls on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November since Congress decided in 1845 that that would be Election Day for the nation.

The choice was a pragmatic one for an agrarian nation in which the horse and buggy was the primary mode of transportation. Voters needed time to travel sometimes great distances to the polls to cast their ballots.


Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., is among the co-sponsors of a companion bill in the Senate.

The notion of a nation voting on a single day has been slowly eroding in recent years. Dozens of states allow residents to cast ballots ahead of the established Election Day, and not just for absentees. In many states, voters can pick up their ballot and fill it in at home at their leisure days or weeks ahead of the traditional Election Day.

Watertown Daily

NY: New York faces voting challenge

ALBANY Bugs in new voting machines, difficulties getting storage-space funding and general anxiety about changing a system that's been around more than a century are problems counties face as the state continues its long march toward compliance with a federal voting-rights law.

With about seven weeks to go until the Sept. 9 primary and 14 months until decades-old mechanical lever voting machines become history, there are some nervous county election commissioners in New York, according to state officials. Others, however, are not concerned they will fall behind schedule.

We've used one kind of voting machine for over 100 years. There's bound to be a little concern when you're changing that, said Robert Brehm, a state Board of Elections spokesman, adding that the state and manufacturers are addressing a wide range of questions or problems with new machines.

The two vendors that are supplying the equipment are both a little behind schedule, Brehm said, although he couldn't immediately quantify how much. The planned deadline for delivery of machines was July 31, but it's unclear if they can meet that, he said.

The Ithaca Journal.

NY: New York comes in last again

July 22

States around the country had spent 67 percent by the end of 2007 of the nearly $3 billion the federal government handed out to update voting systems, New York had only used up 7.43 of the $220 million it received. Thats a lower percentage than any other state. New Hampshire is No. 49, at 9.74 percent, although that state did not submit the required annual report to the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission.

New York is the last state in the nation to comply with the Help America Vote Act, which Congress passed to avoid a repeat of the vote-counting debacle in the 2000 presidential elections. The state is under federal court order to replace its 20,000 mechanical lever voting machines by fall 2009.

These are the financial details for New York:

$219.5 million received in HAVA funds;

$16.3 million spent;

$27.3 million earned in interest;

$230.5 million left in account.

Politics on the Hudson

========== O ==========


OH: Ohio Secretary of State to work closely with Lucas County Board of Elections
Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner said the Lucas County Board of Elections will have "transitional support" from her office until it no longer needs close monitoring and assistance.

In a letter Tuesday to newly appointed elections office director Linda R. Howe and board chairman Patrick Kriner, Ms. Brunner said she would personally participate in weekly conference calls.

Ms. Brunner requested the director, deputy director, and two board members of opposite parties participate with the weekly call.

The elections office emerged from state oversight in 2006, under then Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell.

"Since ending administrative oversight, the board appeared to be functioning adequately under the leadership of Jill Kelly and Dan Pilrose ," Ms. Brunner wrote. "However, with less than four months before a presidential election with predicted record turnout, neither Mr. Pilrose nor Ms. Kelly is available to the board for day-to-day leadership and direction."

Toledo Blade

========== P ==========


PA: The process to choose a replacement for Rep. Mackereth should be more open.
Election by decree
Daily Record
Article Last Updated: 07/22/2008 06:24:46 AM EDT

On Wednesday, 28 Republican committee members will, in effect, select the next state representative in the 196th state House District.

They will meet with the candidates -- five of them at last count -- and then vote to pick who will most likely be the successor to state Rep. Bev Mackereth, a Spring Grove Republican, who is resigning from the House to take over York County's human services.

The meeting will be closed to the public.

The vote will be closed to the public.

The public -- well, Republican voters -- will have no say in who their candidate is for Ms. Mackereth's seat.

And the result will be that voters will have no say in who will represent the 196th District in the state House. The 28 GOP committee members from the 196th, for all intents and purposes, will be appointing the next state representative for that district.

York Daily

========== R ==========

Rhode Island

========== S ==========

South Carolina
South Dakota

========== T ==========


========== U ==========


========== V ==========


VA: 4 indicted on election-fraud charges in Wise County

Tuesday, Jul 22, 2008 - 05:28 PM Updated: 05:43 PM

WISE -- Four people have been indicted on felony charges of election fraud stemming from a town council election in the southwest Virginia town of St. Paul.

The indictments returned by a Wise County grand jury yesterday accuse the four of falsely claiming residence at a St. Paul apartment in an effort to influence the election.

The panel indicted Bill Joe Steffey Sr. on one count each of election fraud and conspiracy. Both Donna Lee Greear and Roger Melvin Tackett were indicted on conspiracy charges, one count each. Amanda Leann Honaker faces one count of election fraud.

The former mayor of another Wise county town, Appalachia, is serving a two-year sentence for masterminding a vote-rigging scheme in 2004. Charges also were brought against 13 others in the conspiracy.


========== W ==========

West Virginia
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