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.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."
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.
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.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.
"I'm troubled by having to pay the state to vote," she said during three hours of arguments.
• 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.”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.
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.
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 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.• Nebraska legislators move to make on-line voter registration a reality:
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.
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."