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The newly released annual report of the Australian Research Council-funded Electoral Integrity Project ranks the United States a pitiful 26th of 73 nations the organization has evaluated under its Perceptions of Electoral Integrity scale. Another example of how USA! USA! No. 1! so often turns to ashes when the details are looked at. It was the lowest score among the Western nations. Harvard Prof. Pippa Norris, director of the EIP, recently wrote:
Overall, not surprisingly, electoral integrity is strengthened by democracy and development. Longer experience over successive contests consolidates democratic institutions, deepens civic cultures, and builds the capacity of electoral management bodies. Nevertheless as Figure 2 shows, electoral integrity was particularly strong in several third wave democracies and emerging economies, including the Republic of Korea, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Lithuania, Argentina, and Mongolia.

Worldwide, South East Asia was the weakest region. This includes Malaysia, due to its district boundaries and electoral laws, and Cambodia, with concerns about voter registration, the compilation of results and the independence of electoral authorities. Recent electoral protests and instability in Thailand, Cambodia, and Malaysia vividly illustrate these challenges. Eurasian elections also raise concern, such as those in Belarus, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan. Finally, several African states with restricted human rights and political freedoms were at risk of failed elections, including Equatorial Guinea, Djibouti, the Republic of Congo, Angola, and Zimbabwe.

She noted that while critics worldwide tend to focus on election day problems in the voting process and ballot count, "campaign finance and campaign media coverage are the weakest links in the electoral cycle."

You can find the report, which includes maps and charts, with an explanation of methodology at the EIP's website.

Please continue reading below the fold.

• The Harvard University campus will host a panel on "Voter Suppression, Equal Rights, and the Promise of Democracy next Thursday, March 6, from 4-5:45 PM in Tsai Auditorium (S-010), CGIS South Building, 1730 Cambridge Street. The panel comprises:
Keith Bentele, Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Massachusetts, Boston
Lorraine Minnite, Associate Professor of Public Policy, Rutgers University, Camden
Michael J. Moran, Massachusetts House of Representatives, D-Brighton
Erin O'Brien, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Massachusetts, Boston
Elizabeth Rigby, Assistant Professor in the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration, George Washington University

The discussion will be moderated by Karen Holmes Ward, Director of Public Affairs and Host of "CityLine," WCVB-TV, Channel 5 (ABC)

Wisconsin Supreme Court justices cast a jaundiced eye at voter I.D.: The wouldn't just be liberal justices on the Court, which is reviewing two challenges to the Republican-enacted 2011 law that would require Wisconsin citizens to show a photo I.D. before voting. The law has been held in abeyance since those challenges were filed:

Justice Patience Roggensack, widely viewed as a leader of the conservative bloc that makes up a majority of the court. She said she was bothered that to get state ID cards for voting, people would have to provide a birth certificate or pay $20 to get one.

"I'm troubled by having to pay the state to vote," she said during three hours of arguments.

Wisconsin provides state IDs free to whomever asks for one, but first they must provide a birth certificate. To vote under the law, Wisconsinites would also be allowed to show their driver's licenses, passports, certain types of student IDs, military IDs, naturalization certificates or IDs issued by a tribe based in Wisconsin.

Ohio Democrats unhappy with elimination of early voting on Sunday: Voters in Ohio will be able to cast ballots early by mail on weekdays and two Saturdays this year in the four weeks before elections, but not on Sundays. That has stirred opposition from some Democratic officials, including Democratic state Sen. Nina Turner of Cleveland, who is running against Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted and opposes the change.

“On the Sunday before the 2012 election, our board of elections was virtually surrounded by people waiting for three and more hours to vote,” he said. “It was a clear demonstration of why preserving Sunday hours, especially in our large urban counties, is critical.”

Board of elections records show 24,151 people voted early and in-person in the 2012 general election. Of those, 1,142 cast ballots on the Sunday before early voting—or 4.7 percent of all early votes that year.

Many African Americans follow a tradition of casting their ballots on the Sunday before elections. On the final Sunday before the 2008 election, 90,000 Ohioans voted.

In addition to the elimination of Sundays, Republican legislators passed bills this session increasing the amount of information voters casting provisional ballots must provide. And it shortened from ten to seven the number of days a voter who casts a provisional ballot has to make it good by proving eligibility or providing missing information.

Provisional ballots of Ohioans who show up at the right polling place but go to the wrong precinct table will not be counted even if a pollworker is at fault for misdirecting them.

Arizona Republicans make end run around referendum on election laws: After thousands of Arizona voters who received early ballots showed up in 2012 and had to cast provisional ballots, the legislature moved to correct problems. By the time the bill was done, however, Republicans had crafted laws making it tougher for voter registration groups, more difficult to get citizen initiatives on the ballot and harder for third-party candidates to get on the ballot. A Democratic Party-funded referendum put the changes on ice until voters can decide on these laws in November.

But Republican Rep. Eddie Farnsworth introduced a bill  overturn the election laws, which would make the referendum moot. Gov. Jan Brewer signed the bill this week. But it doesn't bow to the voters' will. After dumping the old changes, Republicans plan pass six new laws enacting all the same changes and requiring anyone objecting to gather signatures for six individual repeals. Quite amazing the machinations these guys will go to when trying to make it tougher for citizens to vote.

Hawai'i legislation would allow same-day registration in 2018: The bill allows late voter registration at absentee polling places beginning in 2016 and late voter registration on election day at both absentee polling and precinct polling places beginning in 2018.

Georgia Republicans seek to cut early voting:

Georgia Republicans are pushing a bill that would dramatically shorten early voting for city elections. The effort is the latest to take advantage of the Supreme Court’s ruling last year on the Voting Rights Act (VRA), which made it easier for certain areas to change election rules in ways that hurt racial minorities.

The measure, introduced this week by State Rep. Brian Fleming, would cut early voting days from a minimum of 16 (some counties currently choose to offer more) down to six.

Nebraska legislators move to make on-line voter registration a reality:
The bill combines the concept of online voter registration with the electronic transmission of DMV applications. Nebraska Senator Bob Krist says there are three main advantages by allowing these electronic transmissions.

"First- one of the data entry levels is eliminated, which reduces the number of typos. Second, the delivery time to the county election office is reduced. Instead the transmission will be almost instantaneous. Lastly, the changes proposed will eliminate the last paper based record that's still created through the DMV licensing process."

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Comment Preferences

  •  Surprise, surprise (22+ / 0-)

    We have to fix our broken system and it has to start with getting corporate money out of our elections. No real change is possible otherwise.

    A little blue dot in a vast sea of red.

    by deha on Sat Mar 01, 2014 at 09:09:50 AM PST

  •  thanks mb (4+ / 0-)
    Quite amazing the machinations these guys will go to when trying to make it tougher for citizens to vote.
    even when people wake up and start voting their interests they have to deal with this crap
  •  Sounds off topic, but (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    davidincleveland, Eric Nelson

    allegedly Tilden stole more votes than Hayes. Just illustrates the age of the problem.
    I also think that electoral integrity includes the extent that those elected betray their constituencies. Really (statistically) our elections are pretty clean; it just doesn't matter.

    •  What do you mean by "(statistically) our (0+ / 0-)

      elections are pretty clean"? What statistics are you referring to?

      "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

      by Alice in Florida on Sat Mar 01, 2014 at 01:14:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  If all the laws had been enforced, (0+ / 0-)

      Hayes would have won outright. Klan terrorism kept more Blacks from voting in Mississippi, and that would have given him more electoral votes than he had been awarded for Florida and Oregon back then.

      Freedom's just another word for not enough to eat. --Paul Krugman's characterization of conservative attitudes.

      by Judge Moonbox on Sat Mar 01, 2014 at 05:53:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Rec'ed, I don't care if Rs vote as long as they (0+ / 0-)

    Don't get in my way.

    Evil monsters = all elected & wanna be elected Rs. They & their voters can go to hell.

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Sat Mar 01, 2014 at 09:34:50 AM PST

  •  Another fine example of "American Exceptionalism" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    davidincleveland, FogCityJohn

    I, for one; Can hardly wait for the next example. But it won't take too long..

    Dear future generations: Please accept our apologies, We were roaring drunk on petroleum -Kurt Vonnegut

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Sat Mar 01, 2014 at 09:37:45 AM PST

  •  Great, if depressing compilation, MB (4+ / 0-)

    Good news at least from Hawaii and Nebraska.

    Would love to see Nina Turner beat Husted in Ohio.
    I'd become a "nun on the bus" for that. I think solidly blue states should have busloads of volunteers head out to states like Ohio to register voters, etc. I know this has been done in the past to some extent, but the thought of 2014 and a still Republican House and possibly Senate is dismaying to say the least.

    •  Not to mention our GOP-majority bicameral (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      northerntier, Eric Nelson, kfunk937

      legislature. Our Republican governor has made himself toxic enough to possibly lose to a young Cuyahoga County Democrat, and we Ohioans are conscious of that near-miraculous conjunction of events. Please, come by greyhound, Amtrak, air, car, boat or shanks-mare. We can always use and welcome Democratic activists.

      Enough fossil fuel remains on Earth to warm it 6 degrees C by 2100 AD if it is all used. A +6 C planet will only sustain half a billion humans. Human population will rise to 9 billion by 2050. Any questions?

      by davidincleveland on Sat Mar 01, 2014 at 11:49:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You never know. I usually prod our (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        davidincleveland, kfunk937

        county and state dem. committees here in VT to see if anything like this can happen. We talked about Ohio, but couldn't get it together for 2012.  OFA and Move-on sometimes have buses leaving from Burlington for registration drives in other states. Ohio is front of mind for a lot of reasons, of course.


  •  I wonder if "Republican" voters realize... (5+ / 0-)

    that the dishonesty of the vote-suppressing, power hungry politicians is a slippery slope. I suppose they support it assuming that anything that helps "their" party will be a good thing. My feeling is, when the corporatist/Republican party has stacked the deck sufficiently, the gloves will come off, and even the illusion of democracy will be gone.

    I've said this before. They do not believe in democracy, they believe in power. They will keep trying to get more until they have it all, or until they are stopped.

  •  The GOP only survives, (5+ / 0-)

    By the policy of suppressing the vote.

    Only in the USA, do we claim to be a democracy, but we have one major party, dedicated to the proposition, that the vote of the opposition should not count!

    My wife, daughter and granddaughters should have more privacy in their doctor's office than I have buying another rifle or shotgun.

    by NM Ray on Sat Mar 01, 2014 at 09:56:02 AM PST

    •  It's not just the Republicans, though (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      alice kleeman, Eric Nelson, kfunk937

      Their strategy would not be so successful if most Americans at least tried to vote--Republican voter suppression works because they can count on around half of voters staying home, so they only have to turn out a bit over 25% to win. If 80% of Americans routinely went to the polls, Republicans would be swamped, ID laws wouldn't save them.

      "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

      by Alice in Florida on Sat Mar 01, 2014 at 01:23:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  What the GOP is actually trying to do is to (6+ / 0-)

    erase your citizenship if you don't vote their way.  If people fully understood this they might actually turn out for off-year elections.  If the rightwing succeeds in this disenfranchisement, it's just a matter of time before they start peeling away our other rights.

    Building a better America with activism, cooperation, ingenuity and snacks.

    by judyms9 on Sat Mar 01, 2014 at 10:04:15 AM PST

  •  Only in America, it seems, where the max (3+ / 0-)

    Turnout of people for elections reaches 60%, oftentimes far less, could a party convince a large swarth of th electorate that there are too many people voting...It is not like the numbers don't prove out how few people are voting, or anything.

  •  We desperately need entirely new electoral system. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alice kleeman, Eric Nelson

    Our crooked electoral system that overwhelmingly favors the wealthy lies at the heart of our crooked government and the American plutocracy. It’s very frustrating to watch the huge Kos effort to achieve meaningful progressive results within an entirely dishonest system. I’ve long felt that Kos should add to its current effort a new permanent Home page feature not involving trying to win in our current crooked system but dedicated to creating a new honest electoral system to replace our current mess.

    You’re dreaming if you think “reforms” applied to our current electoral system will ever be able to repair it sufficiently to achieve anything resembling honest elections and true democracy. What our nation needs more than any other political or economic reform is to entirely scrap our current electoral system and replace it with an entirely new entirely honest system.

    For much of my life I’ve been thinking about the problem of achieving honest elections. (It is much more difficult to achieve than most people understand.) I even wrote a book about it: Beyond Plutocracy - True Democracy for America. The book is available free in HTML and various eBook formats at its own web site

    Among other repairs of our government, the book includes a description of an electoral system that empowers all members of the electorate to run for office for free and to reach out to each other across their states and the entire nation in support of their champions, those that resemble them in body, mind, interests and pocketbook. The resulting congress automatically demographically resembles the entire electorate and honestly serves the entire electorate as it creates laws and rules that govern our market economy and the rest of society.

    No quota systems, complex electoral schemes or political parties are necessary. Unlike our current system in which we select what we guess to be “a lesser evil” from a small list of candidates financed and therefore preselected by the wealthy, people just get to vote directly for whom they really want to represent them.

    I’m sorry that I cannot describe the electoral system (and what I consider to be the correct repair of our government) to you in a sound bite. Correct and adequate solutions to problems generally take more thought and more words.

  •  Not ashes and not earth for this one. Ashes can (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson

    fertilize things grown in earth. 26th out of 73 in this category is pure dust, the kind Gollum turned into ('duusst!') just before it all "burned down."

    Enough fossil fuel remains on Earth to warm it 6 degrees C by 2100 AD if it is all used. A +6 C planet will only sustain half a billion humans. Human population will rise to 9 billion by 2050. Any questions?

    by davidincleveland on Sat Mar 01, 2014 at 11:36:25 AM PST

  •  Yes the republican ethical collapse & fear.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alice kleeman

    ..of losing elections and their willingness to violate the civil rights of non-republican voters, every persons civil rights and women's reproductive rights (even with violence) is on full display now

    State senator Nina Turner (D) of Ohio (video @ kink) is running for SoS against Ohio's current SoS John Husted who tried to restrict Dem voters by cutting of early voting and other tricks but was closed down/beaten (video @ link) in a SCOTUS lawsuit in brought by the Obama campaign in 2012.

    Rachel Maddow covers some of the History when after Ohio's long voting lines and the controversy caused by republicans in 2004 was exposed.

     Kerry lost by a smaller amount of votes than people who walked away, after many hours standing in long lines, without voting as reported at the time; Bush "won" (?) Ohio.

    Ohio made several corrections for the 2008 elections and increased access to the voting booth; Obama won the state.

    So republicans who cannot/and or won't risk winning fairly; SoS John Husted attempt to cut out early voting in 2012 failed in the SCOTUS and once again Obama took Ohio.

    Ohio voter suppression photo Capturevotersuppression_zps8dc96f22.png
    ..and as noted their back at suppressing civil voter rights on a national scale

    after reading this Diary by MB about taking matters into our own hands; not looking "upwards" to the top for solutions but keeping our sights on what we can accomplish amongst ourselves, I was so touched in my heart to see this beautiful woman's activism in Texas' Rio Grande valley;

    Paula Sandaña.

    Doing exactly what we all should be doing in our own ways - imo

    Paula Saldaña worked in a remote women's medical clinic in the Rio Grand valley until republicans systematically slashed funding - HB 2. That didn't stop her though. She now donates her time to teaching women about medical concerns and has even expanded her efforts to include teaching women about voting, community organization skills, spreading information on issues that matter to the locals.

    She is teaching women and others how to stand up and fight.

     (short ad - sorry) Paula Sandaña begins @ minute 4:25
    Transcript @ link:

    She is a hero in my eyes.

    Thx MB

  •  This week war on voting. (0+ / 0-)

    As long as we have most of the elected representatives
    beholding to the AIPAC and other war groups ,
    we will be in a continual war in the middle east.
    As long as we have corporations controlling the elected
    officials , we will continue to wage war for oil and
    other country's resources.  
    The majority of U.S. citizens no longer has a say in
    what actions and policies this government pushes.
    February 14, 2009
    Poll Shows the U.S. Wants Bush Prosecuted
    A USA Today/Gallup poll revealed that most Americans favor probing into the Bush Administration’s misdeeds. Regarding torture, 38 percent want a criminal investigation, 24 percent want an independent probe, and 34 percent want neither. Almost two-thirds want at least a formal investigation.

    Poll: Majority of Americans support efforts to legalize marijuana
    Polls Continue to Show Majority of Americans Against NSA Spying

    Update, January 2014: Polls continue to confirm the trend. In a poll conducted in December 2013 by the Washington Post, 66% of Americans were concerned "about the collection and use of [their] personal information by the National Security Agency." Americans aren't only concerned about the collection. A recent Pew poll found—yet again—that a majority of Americans oppose the government's collection of phone and Internet data as a part of anti-terrorism efforts.

    Why have  the Wall Street criminals not been prosecuted?

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