Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 12, 2016

Posts by Amanda Becker

6 Posts

February 12, 2013

Obama to Create Bipartisan Commission on Voting Problems

President Barack Obama announced his intention to create a nonpartisan commission to “improve the voting experience in America” during his State of the Union address Tuesday night.

“I’m asking two longtime experts in the field, who, by the way, recently served as the top attorneys for my campaign and for Gov. [Mitt] Romney’s campaign, to lead it,” Obama told lawmakers gathered in the House chamber.

Bob Bauer, a lawyer at Perkins Coie who served as Obama’s White House counsel, also chaired his re-election committee and counsels the Democratic National Committee.

Benjamin Ginsberg, a lawyer at Patton Boggs, advised the Romney campaign and was also national counsel to the Bush/Cheney campaign in 2000 and 2004.

The commission would focus on specific Election Day issues and not delve into more comprehensive voting overhaul efforts, according to media reports.

Obama referenced the need to overhaul voting procedures in both his November victory speech and his inaugural address, saying on Election Day of the long lines: “We need to fix that.” He echoed that sentiment Tuesday evening. Full story

November 6, 2012

‘Massive Confusion’ in Pennsylvania, New Jersey a ‘Hot Bed’ of Problems

A representative from the nonpartisan Election Protection Coalition told Roll Call this afternoon that there were reports of “massive confusion” in Pennsylvania, voting-machine problems in Ohio, long lines in southern Virginia, technical problems in Texas and difficulties in New Jersey.

Tanya House, one of the attorneys working with the group, said there are reports that voters in Pennsylvania are showing up at the polls and being told they need photo identification, even though a recent court ruling delayed implementation of the commonwealth’s new voter ID law until after Election Day. Voters there were also receiving mailings as late as Friday that referenced the need for a photo ID.

“Massive confusion in Pennsylvania,” House said. “The state did not do a good job about informing people that they do not have to show photo ID in order to vote. Poll workers are telling them they do and people are being turned away.”

The coalition has received multiple reports of issues with voting machines in Ohio. Voters at multiple precincts there are being directed to cast emergency ballots because of technical problems. The coalition is concerned that these ballots are being placed in the same boxes as provisional ballots, which won’t be counted until 10 days after Election Day.

Though lines in the Virginia suburbs around Washington, D.C., had subsided by midday, House said there were reports of long lines in the southern part of the state.

And near Galveston, Texas, House said there were multiple reports that polling places did not open on time because workers had improperly booted up machines. “Clearly that’s not a voter error, that’s an administrative error” that needs to be remedied, House said.

She also said New Jersey, where voters are struggling in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, is a “hot bed” of reported problems.

The coalition is “trying to get someone on the ground there to assist” voters who are having trouble sending ballots by email and who are being evacuated from their towns on the day they are supposed to vote, House said.

New Jersey announced earlier today that as long as voters requested an application for a mail-in ballot by email or fax by 5 p.m. today, county clerks will continue processing those requests until Friday at noon. The voter must return the special ballot by fax, email or to the appropriate county board of elections by 8 p.m. Friday.

Lines, Provisional Ballots Greet Voters on Election Day

Crowds line up around the block for a long wait to vote at the Noyes Elementary School in Northeast Washington, D.C. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

The lines that greeted early morning voters in Virginia, Ohio and Washington, D.C., today seem to have, by many accounts, subsided until people leave work and there’s another influx at the polls.

Some of the longest lines were reported by District voters at the Columbia Heights Educational Campus on 16th & Irving streets Northwest, where multiple people told Roll Call they waited two or more hours to cast a vote this morning.

Full story

October 9, 2012

New Mexico: Internal Poll Shows Martin Heinrich Widening Lead

New poll numbers show Rep. Martin Heinrich leading former Rep. Heather Wilson by at least 12 points. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A new poll conducted for Rep. Martin Heinrich showed the Democrat’s lead over former Rep. Heather Wilson (R) has widened to at least 12 points in their battle for New Mexico’s open Senate seat.

The latest figures show Heinrich leading Wilson 55 percent to 42 percent in a two-way contest. The poll also accounted for Independent American Party candidate Jon Barrie. In a three-way contest, it showed Heinrich leading Wilson 51 percent to 39 percent, with Barrie receiving 8 percent of the vote.

The poll was conducted Oct. 4-7 by GBA Strategies. It included 600 likely voters, reached on landlines and cellphones, whose party affiliations reflected the likely electorate in New Mexico. There was a 4-point margin of error.

Roll Call now rates New Mexico’s open-seat Senate race as Likely Democratic.

May 21, 2012

Ohio: Donations to Jim Renacci, Josh Mandel Part of Federal Probe

The campaigns of Rep. Jim Renacci and state Treasurer Josh Mandel, the GOP nominee for Senate, confirmed today that they are aware the government is investigating contributions they accepted from employees at a direct marketing firm.

Spokesmen for the two Ohio Republicans told the Cleveland Plain Dealer on Monday that the U.S. Attorney’s Office was looking at money received from employees at a company called Suarez Corporation Industries.

“To our knowledge no donations made to our campaign were contributed improperly. If we find out otherwise, those donations will be returned. Our campaign is not now nor has ever been the subject of this investigation,” Renacci spokesman James Slepian wrote in an email response. He added that the campaign has not heard anything about the matter in several months and is not aware of whether the inquiry is still active.

“The campaign is aware of the investigation and is fully cooperating. Neither the campaign or anyone associated with it is a target of the investigation,” Mandel spokesman Travis Considine told Roll Call. He also pointed out that the campaign had set aside $100,000 in donations from Suarez employees pending the outcome of the investigation. Full story

March 7, 2012

Florida: Local Official Says Stearns Tried to Buy Him Out of Race

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated: 7:40 p.m. | A clerk of courts running for Congress in Florida has accused GOP Rep. Cliff Stearns of offering him incentives to drop out of the race.

Clay County Clerk of Courts James Jett’s accusations were first reported by the political blog of Jacksonville’s Florida Times-Union after Jett told a South Clay Republicans meeting this afternoon that he had been offered perks to drop his Congressional bid.

Stearns’ office vigorously denied Jett’s allegations.

“Mr. Jett’s claim is totally unfounded — no one is authorized to make any claims or concessions on behalf of Rep. Stearns. He has not communicated with Mr. Jett at any time to get out of the race.  This is a pure and simple political maneuver by Mr. Jett to illegally entrap former friends for vindictive reasons,” Press Secretary Paul Flusche said in a statement. Full story

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