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Entries in Voting (23)

Tuesday
Nov062012

Joe Biden Votes; Is He Running in 2016?

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WILMINGTON, Del.) -- The polls haven’t even closed yet on election 2012, but let 2016 begin.  After casting his ballot Tuesday morning, Vice President Joe Biden was asked whether Tuesday would be the last time the 69-year-old politician votes for himself.  He answered frankly.

“No, I don’t think so,” Biden said outside Alexis I. duPont High School in Wilmington, Del., where he voted with his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, son Beau, daughter-in-law Hallie and granddaughter Natalie.

Should he decide to run in 2016, Biden, who ran for president in 1988 and 2008, would be 73 years old with nearly 44 years of politicking under his belt.  And he could find himself in a 2016 matchup with another politician currently serving in President Obama’s administration -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Biden has changed his tune over the past week about whether he would seek the presidency in 2016.  During a stop in Sarasota, Fla., last Wednesday, he told a voter, “You can vote for me in 2016″ after his health insurance premiums have decreased in cost.

But when a voter in Beloit, Wis., asked the vice president last Friday whether he’ll be running for president, Biden said, “Oh no, I’m going to stick as vice president.”

Biden arrived at his polling location early Tuesday morning and waited in line for approximately 13 minutes before casting his vote.  He greeted voters who were waiting in line with him and even turned to the press to make sure they voted.

“Hope you guys voted at home,” he said to the traveling press assembled inside the site.

Briefly speaking to reporters after his vote, Biden said he’s “feeling pretty good” about Tuesday night and "it’s always a kick” to vote, urging people across the country to head to the polling booths on Tuesday.

“I hope everyone exercises their right to vote,” he said.  “Stand in line as long as you have to.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov022012

President Obama Tells Voters to Vote Across Party Lines — As Long As Candidates Want to Break DC Gridlock

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(HILLIARD, Ohio) -- “I’ve said I will work with anybody of any party to move this country forward,” President Obama told a crowd of 2,800 Friday morning in Hilliard, Ohio. “If you want to break the gridlock in Congress, you’ll vote for leaders who feel the same way whether they’re Democrat, Republican or independent.”

The notion of a Democratic president telling crowds in a crucial swing state that they should feel free to vote for a Republican congressional candidate – as long as he or she wants to break the gridlock – is an interesting one, but it highlights one of the key messages of the president’s closing argument to undecided voters, who purport to loathe how dysfunctional Washington, D.C. has become.

Vote for me, he says, and other likeminded politicians so we can all work together and get something done.

It was one of then-Sen. Obama’s selling points four years ago, and as he hits the homestretch in this tight election, the president is trying to re-ignite that bipartisan flame after four often bitterly partisan years. The campaign hopes that endorsements from former Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Colin Powell (ret.) and New York City Mike Bloomberg, an independent, augments that argument.

In Springfield, Ohio, Friday afternoon the president painted his opponents in the nation’s capital not as Republican – but as agents of, and lobbyists for, the status quo.

“When the other party has been with me” to work on issues such as middle class tax cuts, he has worked with them, the president said, praising “some courageous Republican senators.”

Vice President Biden in Beloit, Wis. sounded a similar note, talking about the Democratic Governor of Delaware “who’s gotten hurt” by offering more assets to New Jersey GOP Governor Chris Christie.

“I mean, that’s how it used to work,” Biden recalled. “You remember…we used to work together when I started in public life. This is how it worked. There’s a crisis, and everybody worked together and — you know, like we did most of my career with guys like Colin Powell and Dick Lugar and (GOP Senators) Chuck Hagel, Bob Dole, Alan Simpson. ... This is not a political slogan. We actually worked together where there was a crisis. And when this election is over, we need to get back to that. We got to get back to working together.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct302012

Could Election Day Be Postponed After Superstorm?

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Superstorm Sandy has given rise to suspensions in campaigning by both President Obama and GOP contender Mitt Romney, but could it actually delay Election Day?

In theory, yes, but in all likelihood, no.

The Constitution leaves the "times, places and manner" of holding a federal election up to each state, but says that Congress may at any time make or alter such regulations. Election Day, which is set by Congress for all federal offices, is the Tuesday following the first Monday in November.

To push that back, Congress would have to act, which at this late date seems highly unlikely. States could implement emergency procedures that could postpone Election Day, but that could be challenged by Congress or face federal Equal Protection challenges in the courts.

This is uncharted territory, so experts aren't sure how it would be handled.

"For those states that don't already have an election emergency process in place, any departure from the established election process could easily give rise to court challenges about the legitimacy of the election," said Steven Huefner, professor at Ohio State's Moritz College of Law. "Even states with an emergency plan might find themselves facing litigation over specific ways in which they've implemented their emergency plan."

Huefner believes that most likely the storm-related election problems will be resolved by next Tuesday but that the severity of the storm ought to serve as a warning that "Congress and those States that haven't made contingency plans should do so."

Nevertheless, experts told ABC News that even minor contingency arrangements, like keeping polls open longer in some precincts or moving polling locations, will probably lead to legal challenges and more provisional voting, which can delay election results.

In Pennsylvania, a spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Secretary of the Commonwealth said Tuesday morning, "We do not anticipate any postponement happening. The general election date is set by federal law." But he acknowledged that state law allows county boards of elections to move some polling places in cases of emergency. And that Pennsylvania has a provision that has been read to allow court of common pleas judges to suspend voting if there is a "natural disaster or emergency on the date of election."

In Ohio, there is no statewide contingency planning, but each of its 88 county boards have their own emergency procedures, such as providing paper ballots should machines malfunction or plans for the relocation of polling places. Except for a power outage in one county (Erie), there have been no reported problems so far, according to Ohio's secretary of state.

In North Carolina, the executive director of the State Board of Elections has emergency power to hold elections in a district where the originally scheduled election was disrupted by natural disaster, extremely inclement weather or armed conflict.

Under Virginia law, there is no delay or postponement of a presidential election under any circumstances. Currently, nine out of Virginia's 134 early voting locations are closed due to Sandy, but those locations will be given up to eight more hours of operating time once they reopen. Most are in Northern Virginia. Also, Virginia has prioritized power restoration to polling locations, made sure voting equipment is battery-operated and that batteries are charged, and the state may set up contingency polling sites.

Battleground states New Hampshire and Florida don't expect any storm impact.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct152012

Ryan Tells Ohio Voters They Have a ‘Responsibility’ to Talk to '08 Obama Voters

J.D. Pooley/Getty Image(CINCINNATI) -- Paul Ryan made a quick stop Monday in the crucial state of Ohio to remind supporters of their “responsibility” to talk to friends who voted for Barack Obama in 2008, but now “just aren’t as impressed,” and get them to turn out for Mitt Romney.

“You know, you have a big say-so,” Ryan told the crowd of several hundred at a Cincinnati air field. “You know, you’re the battleground state of battleground states. You understand your responsibility, right? You understand your opportunity, right? That means you have within your control, your ability to go find those people who voted for Barack Obama in 2008 … who heard the hope and the change and loved the promises, all these great speeches, but see that this is nothing but a failed agenda of broken promises, of hollow rhetoric.”

Ryan acknowledged the massive air war going on from both sides, but said that the debates have let him and Romney “cut through the clutter.” Romney and Obama face off again Tuesday night.

“People will see through it,” Ryan said. “Look, I know what your TV screens look like these days. These debates are giving us the ability to cut through the clutter and give people a very clear choice. That’s what we are offering. And the choice is really clear.”

Ohio is seen as crucial, because no Republican has ever gotten to the White House without winning the state. The most recent poll out of Ohio, an NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll from last week, found President Obama with 51 percent support to Romney’s 45 percent.

As he did in Wisconsin Monday morning, Ryan urged the audience to “vote early so that on Election Day you can help get people to the polls, you can help make the phone calls, you can help give people rides.”

“This election is so important, we even need you to talk to your relatives to get them out. That’s so important,” Ryan joked.

The Obama campaign responded that the Romney campaign may be “offering new rhetoric,” but the underlying message is still the same.

“Congressman Ryan’s claim that Mitt Romney is offering actual solutions is totally disconnected from reality,” Obama campaign spokesman Danny Kanner said in a statement. “While Romney and Ryan are certainly offering new rhetoric in the campaign’s final weeks, they can’t hide their plan to bring back the same failed policies that punished middle class families and crashed our economy in the first place.”

After his brief remarks, the GOP vice presidential nominee served Montgomery Inn barbecue to supporters waiting in line, asking over and over, “Chicken or pork?”

In between barbecue, backers congratulated him on his debate performance, while others said they are “praying for you to win.” Ryan introduced himself as “Paul,” telling those with kind or supportive words, “That’s the nicest thing you could say to me.”

Ryan later headed to New York City Monday afternoon to hold a series of fundraisers, including addressing high-level donors from all over the country who are gathering in New York for a meeting on fundraising and strategy.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Aug152012

Pennsylvania Court Upholds Voter ID Law

Comstock/Thinkstock(HARRISBURG, Pa.) -- A Pennsylvania judge upheld the state’s strict voter ID law today, rejecting civil rights groups’ claims that the law will disenfranchise thousands of voters.

The ruling is a victory for Gov. Tom Corbett, who signed the voter ID law in March, and state Republicans, who pushed the law through the GOP-controlled legislature. Not one state Democrat voted for the law.

Corbett advocated for the law because he said it “protects a sacred principle, one shared by every citizen of this nation.”

Secretary of the Commonwealth Carol Aichele, whose department oversees elections in Pennsylvania, said in a statement after the ruling that the court’s decision “will reinforce the principle of one person, one vote.”

“I am pleased Judge Simpson affirmed the constitutionality of the voter ID law,” Aichele said. “By giving us a reliable way to verify the identity of each voter, the voter ID law will enhance confidence in our elections.”

The law requires Pennsylvania voters to present a valid photo ID at the polls before voting in November’s election. Valid forms of photo identification include driver’s licenses, military IDs, college IDs, local or county government employee IDs and photo IDs from state care facilities. Most Pennsylvania state college IDs will not be accepted because they do not have expiration dates.

The state’s Department of Transportation is required to provide free IDs for any prospective voters who do not have the requisite form of identification. As many as 1.3 million Pennsylvania voters lack the required form of ID, according to testimony from Matt Barreto, a Seattle political scientist from the University of Washington who was called to the stand by lawyers from The Advancement Project, a civil rights advocacy group challenging the law.

Penda Hair, co-director of the Advancement Project, told ABC News that it was “ludicrous to think that any significant percentage” of the more than 1 million Pennsylvanians who do not have a valid photo ID will be able to get one before November’s election.

“I think the intent was for it to affect the elections,” Hair said. “Elections in Pennsylvania are ordinarily decided by margins that are less than 1 million voters. That’s how many voters we are talking about being barred from voting this fall.”

Republican House Majority Leader Mike Turzai made waves in June when he said at the Republican State Committee meeting that the voter ID law “is going to allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.”

“We are focused on making sure that we meet our obligations that we’ve talked about for years,” Turzai said in a speech to committee members, Politics PA reported.

Turzai then listed a handful of accomplishments such as “Voter ID, which is going to allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done.”

The Obama campaign responded to the court’s ruling by vowing to redouble their efforts to inform voters about the ID needed to vote and how to obtain one.

“Now more than ever it is important that the Commonwealth follow through on its plan to make available free IDs to any voter who may need them,” Jennifer Austin, spokeswoman for Obama for America Pennsylvania, said in a statement. “Regardless of party affiliation, we support ensuring any voter eligible to cast a ballot has the right to do so.”

The Advancement Project was one of a handful of activist organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, that asked the court to issue an injunction preventing the voter ID law from taking effect.

Advancement Project co-director Judith Browne-Dianis said the civil rights groups will take “immediate steps” to appeal the commonwealth court’s decision to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

“Pennsylvania’s Voter ID law erects an unequal barrier to voting for hundreds of thousands of eligible voters, disproportionately blocking veterans, seniors and people of color from the polls,” Browne-Dianis said in a statement.

Pennsylvania is one of eleven states that passed strict voter ID laws in 2011 and 2012. Three of those laws, in Texas, South Carolina and Wisconsin, were struck down by the courts.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jul252012

State Voting Technology Inadequate in Several Swing States: Study

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- When it comes to elections, you don’t need to say more than three words —  Florida in 2000 — to remind people how big an issue individual states’ voting technology and practices can be in a close election.

Twelve years later, elections practices remain inadequate in many states, including important swing states like Pennsylvania, Colorado and Virginia, according to a study produced by the Verified Voting Foundation, an education non-profit organization whose mission is to “safeguard elections in the digital age”, Rutgers Law School’s Constitutional Litigation Clinic, and Common Cause. a nonpartisan lobbying organization promoting “accountable government."

The study evaluated each of the 50 states and graded them based on an evaluation of five questions: Does the state require paper ballots or records? Does the state have adequate contingency plans at every polling place in the event of machine failure? Does the state protect overseas voters by ensuring that their ballots are not cast online? Does the state have a post-election audit to verify outcomes? Does the state use solid ballot tabulation practices?

Records, contingency plans and detailed verification processes are crucial not because there’s a chance that something could go wrong, but because history has shown that somewhere, some problem will come up.

“It’s likely that some voting systems will fail in multiple places across the country- in every national election some failures have come up,” says Pamela Smith, president of the Verified Voting Foundation on a conference call to reporters.  ”It’s Murphy’s Law even in elections that something can and will go wrong.”

Pennsylvania, Colorado and Virginia scored “inadequate” grades on the report because they use paperless machines in some or all counties, which means that no independent record is produced for the votes cast. If the vote is very close, there’s no paper trail to use in a recount, so if a voting machine malfunctions, there’s no way to find and correct the miscalculation.

Several other swing states received poor grades in other areas. Nevada was rated “needs improvement” with regard to their contingency plans in the event of equipment failures. New Hampshire received an “inadequate” rating on audits; the state does not conduct them.

With less than four months to go until Election Day, the issues cited in the report cannot be fixed in time for this election cycle. Changing a state’s voter practices is a lengthy, involved and highly bureaucratic process. Depending on the necessary changes it can involve re-allocating a state’s budget to update equipment, or it can involve passing new legislation to implement a new auditing process.

However, experts conducting the research expressed hope for changes going forward.

“There is an insufficient length of time for a jurisdiction to change to a new voting system,” said Susannah Goodman, director of the Voting Integrity Program at Common Cause. “However, many of them are moving towards that direction going forward, and I expect many of these states are going to be fully papered up and going to be able to do audits statewide and be in a much better position by the next general election.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jul192012

Ron Paul: I ‘Have Not’ Decided If I’ll Vote for Romney

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Ron Paul, who is still technically running for the Republican nomination, says he has not decided whether or not he’ll vote for Mitt Romney.

“I have not made a decision,” Paul told Fox Business Network’s Liz Claman and David Asman.

When asked what he thinks about Romney as a candidate for president, Paul responded, “Compared to whom? He certainly offers different things than the current president. But the current conditions make it rough for anyone. They are going to have a very though job.”

Paul and Romney reportedly struck up a friendly rapport on the campaign trail, The New York Times noted in February.

While Paul is still a candidate, he announced in May that he would stop campaigning in new states, and his supporters have fallen short of reaching the delegate threshold necessary to make him eligible for the GOP presidential nomination at the party’s national convention in Tampa, but Paul has not officially announced his withdrawal from the race, as other Republican candidates have done.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Apr092012

Justice Department Dismisses O’Keefe Voting Video as a Stunt

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Justice Department has brushed aside a video by conservative filmmaker James O’Keefe in which a polling station volunteer is tricked into giving the attorney general’s primary ballot to the wrong person.

In the video, a man is seen giving the attorney general’s name, Eric Holder, to a poll volunteer in Washington, D.C., along with Holder’s address. The volunteer finds Holder’s ballot and offers it to the man, who says he’d feel more comfortable if he provided his identification, which he says he left in his car.

The point of the video is to show that without voter ID laws, anyone can vote under anyone else’s name when in reality, huge numbers of people who wanted to game the voting system would have to take part in a coordinated scheme to make even a small impact.

While some have praised O’Keefe, even calling him “brilliant,” the Justice Department was less enthusiastic.

“It’s no coincidence that these so-called examples of rampant voter fraud consistently turn out to be manufactured ones,” said a department official, who asked not to be identified.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Mar202012

Some Illinois Ballots Too Big for Their Scanners

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(NAPERSVILLE, Ill.) -- Election officials in Illinois are discovering that size does matter. In 26 jurisdictions across the state, the ballots are too big to fit into the scanners, sources at the Illinois State Board of Elections tell ABC News.

The sizing problem means the affected polling places have had to scramble to find a way to count the ballots in Tuesday night’s Republican primary.

Elections officials describe the scope of the problem as “sporadic,” and includes several districts in DuPage County, the third most populous county in the state. Across some precincts the issue is widespread, while in other precincts it’s only hitting a handful of ballots. There are even instances of properly sized ballots and improperly sized ballots popping up in the same polling place.

The cause behind the improper sizing is still unknown, but election officials have traced the affected ballots to two specific vendors.

The problem appears to be under control, or at least well on its way. Counties ordered ballots to be re-printed, and in the interim time period while waiting for the new ballots, all but one of the 26 affected jurisdictions had electronic touch screens which voters were redirected to use.

In some polling places, already-cast ballots are being re-made by hand, with representatives from both parties supervising to make sure that the re-making follows proper procedure.

Election officials confirm to ABC News that this will likely slow down the rate at which results are tabulated Tuesday evening.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Mar092012

Voting on the Weekend? Democrats Eye a New Election Day

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Americans have long voted on Tuesdays, a tradition held over from the mid-1800s, when it was more convenient for farmers. But voting on Tuesday is more difficult in the 21st century, when people have longer commutes, jobs with odd hours, and generally faster-paced, more crammed lives.

Two top Democrats suggest it would be more convenient in these times to vote on the weekend instead. They want Saturday to be the new Election Day, and ideally for them, that would start in 2014.

Congressmen Steve Israel, D-N.Y., and John Larson, D-Conn., have announced legislation that would let Americans vote on the first full weekend in November instead of the first Tuesday, a change they say would drive up voter turnout by making it more convenient for people who work during the week to cast ballots.

This isn’t the first time an effort to move Election Day has been brought up, but advocates are hopeful that they have traction. Already, behind-the-scenes talks in the halls of Congress are leading to movement on the bill that is likely to be seen in the next couple of weeks, according to a person familiar with the discussions who asked not to be named.

Tuesday was chosen as Election Day in 1845, when Congress decreed it the most convenient day for farmers -- they needed three days to travel to their voting place without interfering with three days of religious worship. Reformers say the law is outdated and now interferes with workers’ plans, particularly people working more than one job or single parents who have responsibilities that might eclipse voting.

That’s where the issue becomes partisan. The movement has been viewed as a liberal effort because it would open the polls to poorer people, who typically vote for Democrats.

Proponents of the effort are hoping that endorsements from Republicans will help their cause and get the bill passed in time to change Election Day 2014. A video on the website for “Why Tuesday?” -- the main outside group behind the effort, features support from former presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and John McCain.

Salley Wood, a spokeswoman for the Republicans on the House Administration Committee, said of the new bill in Congress, “The intent is good.” The legislation calls for opening polls from 10 a.m. Saturday to 6 p.m. Sunday, with the option of closing them overnight.

“Faced with significant budget cuts, could they afford to keep polls open for two days doubling the cost and staffing needs?” Wood said in an email.

Israel said in an interview that those concerns deserve examination.

“There are some, you know, who say the additional cost of paying inspectors for an additional day over the weekend needs to be evaluated, and I agree, we should evaluate,” he said.

Israel said he hasn’t yet run his bill by the White House but that he plans to. The White House didn’t respond to a request for the administration’s reaction.

“One of the concerns the White House has is active attempts by Republicans to deny people their right to vote in order to change the outcome of elections,” Israel said. “Anything we can do to make voting more accessible for Democrats instead of less accessible … I would hope the White House would endorse.”

Julian Zelizer, a political historian at Princeton University, said the effort clearly benefits Democrats, but that it’s “unfortunate” because making voting more possible should be an issue embraced by both parties.

“It’s at least worth a debate,” he said, “and there’s no reason that either party should be scared of debating, how do we get more Americans to participate in the democratic process?”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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