News

SALON: Provisional ballots still being counted in Arizona and reports of suppressed Latino votes could affect outcome of close races

November 17, 2012
Alex Seitz-Wald
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The election may have ended almost two weeks ago, but in Arizona, it goes on. Perhaps it’s fitting for a state with its own time zone, but as of last night, there remained over 100,000 uncounted votes in the state’s two largest counties, leaving election officials unable to officially certify the results of a number of the state’s high profile races, including the Senate race, several House contests, and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s reelection bid. Friday was the deadline for counties to finish counting ballots, but the state blew past it yesterday when Maricopa, which contains Phoenix, and Pima County, which contains Tucson, said they needed more time.

NYT: Americans in non-swing states less likely to vote and millions of ballots are still being counted

November 12, 2012
Nate Silver
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Initial accounts of last Tuesday’s presidential election contemplated what seemed to be a significant decline in turnout from 2008. Those reports may have been premature, at least in part. Some states, particularly those where much balloting is conducted by mail, have yet to finish counting their returns. It is likely that there are several million votes left to be counted in California, for example. Nonetheless, it seems probable that we will see something of a split in the number of people who turned out to vote in 2012.

In many of the states where the campaigns focused most of their attention, more people voted than in 2008. Turnout is likely to have declined in many non-battleground states, however.

CAP TIMES: Supreme Court case could eliminate the Voting Rights Act

November 10, 2012
Associated Press
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The Supreme Court will consider eliminating the government's most potent weapon against racial discrimination at polling places since the 1960s. The court acted three days after a diverse coalition of voters propelled President Barack Obama to a second term in the White House.

With a look at affirmative action in higher education already on the agenda, the court is putting a spotlight on race by re-examining the ongoing necessity of laws and programs aimed at giving racial minorities access to major areas of American life from which they once were systematically excluded.

CAP TIMES: Journalists face restrictions as they cover Election Night events

November 9, 2012
Jessica Vanegeren
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Phil Ejercito, a Madison-based freelance photographer, took the usual steps prior to showing up Tuesday to photograph what turned into the election night victory party for Wisconsin’s new senator, Tammy Baldwin.

After showing identification, he was handed press credentials and then guided to the press area that included nearly 100 other journalists.

But as 8 p.m. approached and the ballroom at Monona Terrace began to fill with roughly 1,000 members of the public, a velvet red rope similar to what you’d find in a movie theater started to be drawn tight to cordon off the media area.

AP: South Carolina GOP wants to stop recount, but Election Day problems show importance of completing recount

November 9, 2012
Associated Press

South Carolina Republicans on Friday asked the state's highest court to stop a recount of votes in Richland County, arguing that a GOP candidate fairly won a disputed legislative race.

The state party made the request to the Supreme Court a day after a circuit judge ordered that ballots and voting machines in Richland County be guarded by state police while state election officials reviewed them. County election officials had planned to certify election results Friday, but that process is on hold.

State election officials said they planned to begin their count Friday afternoon.

ALTERNET: Latino organizers call attention to thousands of uncounted votes in Arizona county sheriff's race

November 8, 2012
Steve Rosenfeld
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Did Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio—the face of Arizona’s anti-immigrant movement—really win a sixth term of office on Tuesday?

That is one question that Latino organizers are asking Wednesday after receiving reports that perhaps as many as 300,000 ballots remain uncounted in Maricopa County, with what they say are a sizeable proportion coming from non-white voters who unexpectedly were given provisional ballots after their names were not on polling place voter lists.

We CAN do better

November 7, 2012
No More Stolen Elections
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From an election protection stand point, what did we witness yesterday? 
  • We saw the culmination of the most expensive campaign season in U.S. history, with over $5.8 billion spent to influence the electoral process
     

How to Organize a Voter Assembly Manual

November 7, 2012

I want to organize a Voter Assembly in my community, where do I start?

Choose a Good Location and Time

Accessible, public spaces outside (parks, prominent intersections, or in front of civic buildings) are usually a good bet. If you need to use an indoor space then an accessible, public space such as a community center would be ideal.

BRADBLOG: Voter films touch-screen voting machine that flips the vote from Obama to Romney

November 6, 2012
Brad Friedman

This seems to be the first official video of touch-screen vote-flipping 2012, reportedly captured today in Pennsylvania, where elected officials so disrespect their own voters that they still force almost all of them to vote on these 100% unverifiable systems...

DAILY BEAST: Longer lines and 3 page ballots plague Florida's 2012 elections

November 6, 2012
Winston Ross
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ORLANDO, Fla.—It's getting ugly in Florida, already.

Early voting here was supposed to keep the lines at polling places sane on Tuesday, distributing turnout over weeks, not crammed into the same day. But at precincts across the Sunshine State, not only has early voting been chaotic, but so has absentee voting, and so has Election Day voting.

No More Stolen Election's Sarah Manski and other election integrity activists speak about the risks of a stolen election

November 6, 2012
Free Press

At a Washington Press Club news conference, Nov. 5, 2012, FreePress.org Senior Editor Harvey Wasserman, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, NoMoreStolenElections.org Communication Director Sarah Manski, election fraud whistleblower Clint Curtis, and Lori Grace, founder of the Grace Institute for Democracy and Election Integrity, lay out the risks of a 2012 stolen election and what is being done to keep it from happening.

IPS: Abolishing the Electoral College will solve the problem of having "swing" states

November 5, 2012
Becky Bergdahl
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UNITED NATIONS, Nov 5 2012 (IPS) - A small number of states in the United States have a peculiar power. As swing states, they are extremely influential in the outcome of the presidential election. As presidential candidates focus intensely on these states, some argue that this imbalance and several other factors threaten to undermine the country’s democracy.

RAW STORY: Robo-calls to Arizona Democrats tell voters the wrong polling place

November 5, 2012
David Edwards
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More than a half dozen Democrats in Scottsdale, Arizona have come forward to say that they received automated telephone calls — or robocalls — from Rep. Jeff Flake’s (R-AZ) Senate campaign that told them to vote in the wrong place.

“It was totally wrong,” lifelong Democrat Mary Crecco told KPNX. “And I feel like it was done purposely.”

The robocall, which said it was sponsored by Flake’s campaign, told Crecco to vote at Immanuel Bible Church, but her actual polling place is three miles away at Copper Canyon Elementary.

SALON: Is the GOP Stealing Ohio?

November 5, 2012
Brad Friedman
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Last week, Bob Fitrakis and Gerry Bello at FreePress.org reported an important story concerning what they described as “uncertified ‘experimental’ software patches” being installed at the last minute on electronic vote tabulation systems in 39 Ohio counties.

FREE PRESS: Why we must fight to prevent elections from being stolen through disenfranchisement and machine fraud

November 3, 2012
Joan Brunwasser, Sally Castleman, Victoria Collier, Bob Fitrakis, Lori Grace, Emily Levy, Mark Crispin Miller, Greg Palast, Jonathan Simon and Harvey Wasserman
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Originally published October 31, 2012

With election day less than a week away, the spectre of another stolen election is upon us. The airwaves and internet are at last filling with discussion of this possibility.

When the first stories were broken by a handful of us after the fiascos of Florida 2000 and Ohio 2004, there was a stunning silence, followed by a wide range of attacks. Today the warnings about the possibility of another election theft are taken with increasing gravity.

The question is deep and profound, with a huge body of research and writing surrounding it.

But among the many concerns, two are key: massive disenfranchisement, and manipulation of the electronic vote count.

DISENFRANCHISEMENT:

FREE PRESS: Ohio's voting machines have "experimental patch" installed week before election

October 31, 2012
Bob Fitrakis and Gerry Bello
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Why did the Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted's office, in an end run around Ohio election law, have "experimental" software patches installed on vote couhttp://www.freepress.org/departments/display/19/2012/4766nting tabulators in up to 39 Ohio counties? Voting rights activists are concerned that these uncertified and untested software patches may alter the election results.

MOTHER JONES: Texas and Iowa threaten to arrest foreign election observers here to assess the integrity of American elections

October 31, 2012
Gavin Aronsen
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When news broke last week that the United Nations-affiliated Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe was dispatching election observers from 23 nations to the United States, conservative groups went up in arms, claiming that liberal activists had sought international assistance to fight Republican-led voting reform efforts.

WASHINGTON POST: Wisconsin Republicans give inaccurate information to poll watchers

October 30, 2012
Bill Turque
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Democrats and Republicans are training legions of poll watchers to scrutinize voting next week for signs of fraud. But some information trainees are getting is not quite on target.

The liberal blog ThinkProgress opened a window onto the process Tuesday when it reported on material distributed to aspiring poll watchers by the Romney campaign and the Republican Party of Wisconsin in Racine Oct. 25, at one of a series of training sessions held across the state this fall.

Election Protection's Voting Rights Guide

October 30, 2012
Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

Fair Elections Legal Network's 2012 student voting guide

October 30, 2012
Fair Elections Legal Network

Check out Fair Election Legal Network's student voting guide for information about voter registration deadlines, how to find your polling location, and other common questions about voting.

CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR: Electronic voting machines to be used in the 2012 elections can be hacked

October 26, 2012
Mark Clayton
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Rapid advances in the development of cyberweapons and malicious software mean that electronic-voting machines used in the 2012 election could be hacked, potentially tipping the presidential election or a number of other races.

Since the machines are not connected to the Internet, any hack would not be a matter of someone sneaking through cyberspace to change ballots. Rather, the concern is that an individual hacker, a partisan group, or even a nation state could infect voting machines by gaining physical access to them or by targeting the companies that service them.

AMERICAN PROSPECT: Study shows that votes cast by mail are more likely to be uncounted

October 26, 2012
Abby Rapoport
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Ohio's Republican secretary of state, Jon Husted, has been under fire now for months from Democrats. They’re angry, particularly, about his moves to limit early voting hours across the state—especially those on the weekend before the election. Poor and minority voters rely on the expanded hours. Black churches have used the last Sunday before election day to bring voters to the polls; low-income voters often have inflexible work schedules and childcare demands at home. After a lengthy court battle, Husted has now authorized county election boards to offer hours in the three days before election day. But he did limit early voting hours in the weeks before, with fewer evening hours and no weekend hours.

NYT: Ohio Secretary of State discovers that all of Ohio's voting systems are easily corrupted

October 26, 2012
Bob Driehaus
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Originally published on December 15, 2007

 

CINCINNATI — All five voting systems used in Ohio, a state whose electoral votes narrowly swung two elections toward President Bush, have critical flaws that could undermine the integrity of the 2008 general election, a report commissioned by the state’s top elections official has found.

WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL: Wisconsin's ban on vouching for unregistered voters will disenfranchise eligible voters

October 22, 2012
Steven Verburg
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Wisconsin residents may know that the photo ID provision of the 2011 election reform law has been struck down, but flying under the radar are other parts of the law that remain in force.

Thousands of new voters and others who vote only in presidential elections may be surprised to find out that the pre-Election Day voting period has been shortened, that they are required to sign a poll book and they must live in a ward 28 days to vote there.

But the lesser-known change that could have the greatest effect voters is a ban on "corroboration" — the practice of allowing new or recently relocated voters to establish residency in a ward and register to vote by having someone vouch for them if they lack an acceptable document that shows their address.

Democracy Now talks to civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis about the ongoing struggle for voting rights

October 19, 2012

Originally published on July 10, 2012

Democracy Now and Rep. John Lewis discuss the movemement to pass the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and his experiences as a leader in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Lewis reflects on the restrictive voting laws that target people of color. "It is so important for people to understand, to know that people suffered, struggled," Lewis says. "Some people bled, and some died, for the right to participate. The vote is the most powerful nonviolent tool that we have in a democratic society. It’s precious. It’s almost sacred. We have to use it. If not, we will lose it."

Democracy Now interviews Greg Palast about voter disenfranchisement in the 2012 elections

October 18, 2012

Democracy Now discusses how voter suppression in the 2012 elections will prevent millions of eligible voters from being able to cast a ballot or have their ballot counted. Greg Palast is the author of the recently released New York Times bestseller, "Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps."

 

COLORLINES: Black citizens confused if Florida has restored their voting rights after felony convictions

October 18, 2012
Brentin Mock
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Originally published on September 27, 2012

Despite the heat and threat of thunderstorms, about 500 African-Americans are gathered in Rowlett Park for an end-of-summer day of barbecuing, dancing and playing cards. It’s the fifth annual Old School Picnic, a community park jam that brings together two black neighborhoods that were torn apart when the College Hill and Ponce de Leon public housing projects were razed in 2000. Earlier that morning, President Barack Obama held a massive campaign rally in nearby St. Petersburg, trying to turn out every last vote in this key swing state. The week before, Republicans had made their big bid for Florida at their national convention.

THINK PROGRESS: Ohio Secretary of State determined to limit early voting despite federal court order

October 18, 2012
Ian Millhiser
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Two federal courts said that the Ohio Republican Party’s effort to reduce opportunities to vote early must not go into effect. And the Supreme Court rejected an attempt by Ohio Republican officials to reinstate a GOP-backed law taking away three days of early voting just this week.

NATION: Election Protection coalition helps voters navigate voter suppression laws

October 17, 2012
Ari Berman
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On Wednesday, October 10, eight lawyers from five different law firms in northern Virginia assembled in a DLA Piper conference room here for voter protection training from the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. It was the first of fifteen training sessions before election day in this crucial battleground state.

The Election Protection coalition plans to recruit 10,000 volunteers to assist at the polls during early voting and on election day in twenty states, particularly in high-turnout minority voting areas and historically disenfranchised communities. It will staff thirty-two call centers in English and Spanish through its 866-Our-Vote hotline. This conference room will be one of them.

PROPUBLICA: How super PACS came to have so much influence in our elections

October 17, 2012
Justin Elliott
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In a forthcoming law review article, Richard Briffault of Columbia Law School argues that the rise of super PACs and unfettered contributions and spending this election cycle are “effectively ending the post-Watergate era of campaign finance laws.”

To help understand what is shaping up as a watershed election cycle, I asked Briffault to explain the path that took the country from stringent post-Watergate contribution limits through Citizens United to today’s multi-billion-dollar free-for-all.

BRENNAN CENTER: The hurdles that 1 in 10 eligible voters will have to face to obtain a voter ID

October 17, 2012
Keesha Gaskins and Sundeep Iyer

Originally published on July 17, 2012

Ten states now have unprecedented restrictive voter ID laws. Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin all require citizens to produce specific types of government-issued photo identification before they can cast a vote that will count. Legal precedent requires these states to provide free photo ID to eligible voters who do not have one. Unfortunately, these free IDs are not equally accessible to all voters. This report is the first comprehensive assessment of the difficulties that eligible voters face in obtaining free photo ID.

View the PDF version here.

BRENNAN CENTER: 2012 voting laws will make it more difficult for 5 million racial minorities, students, renters, seniors, and low income citizens to vote

October 17, 2012
Wendy R. Weiser and Lawrence Norden

In the past two years, states across the country passed a wave of laws that could make it harder to vote. The Brennan Center chronicled these laws in our report, Voting Law Changes in 2012 (originally published on October 3, 2011)

UPDATED 10/16/2012: Voting Laws in effect for the 2012 election

Fourteen states have passed restrictive voting laws and executive actions that have the potential to impact the 2012 election, representing 185 electoral votes, or 68 percent of the total needed to win the presidency.

A breakdown of laws and executive actions in effect in 2012:

Voter advocacy groups look at how prepared states are to ensure that our votes are counted

October 17, 2012
Pamela Smith, Michelle Mulder, Susannah Goodman

This report reviews how prepared each state is to ensure that every eligible voter can vote, and that every
vote is counted as cast. Because we cannot predict where machines will fail during the upcoming national
election, every state should be as prepared as possible for system failures.

The Verified Voting Foundation, the Rutgers Law School Newark Constitutional Litigation Clinic and
Common Cause surveyed states’ voting equipment and ranked the states according to their preparedness.
The rankings are based on how states laws and practices compare to a set of best practices already being
used in some places.

Democracy Now discusses how the Obama and Romney campaigns control debate questions and exclude third party candidates; Chilean student movement receives award

October 16, 2012

Democracy Now interviews author George Farah and Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald about how the Commission on Presidential Debates restricts the ability of the presidential debates to be fair and open. The broadcast ends with an interview with two of the leaders in the Chilean student movement, which recieved an award for organizing Chile's largest protests for free higher education. (skip past headlines to get to interviews):

 

GUARDIAN: Corporate-sponsored Commission on Presidential Debates places undemocratic restrictions on debates

October 16, 2012
Glenn Greenwald
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The way the two major parties control the presidential debates is a perfect microcosm of how political debates are restricted in general. Though typically shrouded in secrecy, several facts about this process have recently come to light and they are quite instructive.

BRENNAN CENTER: Electronic voting machines record higher rates of residual votes among poor and racial minority populations

October 16, 2012
Lawrence Norden, Jeremy M. Creelan, David Kimball, Whitney Quesenbery

Originally published August 28, 2006

On August 28, 2006, the Brennan Center released a report and policy proposals regarding the performance of various voting systems and their ability to allow voters to cast valid ballots that reflect their intended choices without undue delay or burdens. This system quality is known as usability. Following several high-profile controversies in the last few elections including most notoriously, the 2000 controversy over the butterfly ballot in Palm Beach voting system usability is a subject of utmost concern to voters and election officials.