The Office of Security & Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has published its report on the U.S. election of November 2, 2004. The OSCE is the office that is supposed to enforce the Helsinki Accords. The report is disappointingly bland. It mentions many problems in U.S. election administration, including restrictive ballot access laws, but it does not actually criticize or condemn the U.S. for any of these problems. The only actual condemnation of the United States is its failure to let OSCE observers watch the polling process in most states.
On April 19, the Governor of Hawaii signed HB119, which eases the requirement that every signature on a petition must include the signer’s social security number. Now only the last 4 digits need be included.
On April 22, Washington’s Governor signed HB 1447, which lets certain cities use Instant-Runoff Voting for city elections if they wish. The city most likely to do this soon is Vancouver.
The Washington, D.C. city council will hold a committee meeting on April 22 to hear bill 16-236. It would provide that candidates seeking a place on either the primary ballot, or the general election ballot, could qualify by paying a fee instead of submitting a petition. The bill applies to all partisan offices in the District of Columbia except president. The bill does not eliminate provision for petitions, but provides a 2nd way to get onto the ballot. The highest fee would be $2,000 (for Mayor and Delegate to Congress).
On April 15, a unit of the Virginia Republican Party filed a federal lawsuit, to enforce a party bylaw. The bylaw says no one can vote in the Republican primary if they voted in the Democratic primary for the preceding 5 years. Current Virginia state law requires that all primaries be open to all registered voters; Virginia has no registration by party. Miller v Brown, 3:05cv-266, eastern district.
On April 15, the New Hampshire Senate Public Affairs Committee voted against HB 154, the bill that would have forced independent voters who want to vote in a primary to affiliate with that party.