Transparency News 11/6/13

Wednesday, November 6, 2013
State and Local Stories


In an attorney general race that political analysts considered a toss-up until the end, the contest between Democrat Mark R. Herring and Republican Mark D. Obenshain and was too close to call early today and appears headed for a recount. With all but three precincts reporting, the Associated Press this morning showed Herring ahead by 616 votes. Herring's total of 1,098,388 votes compared to Obenshain's 1,097,772. In Virginia elections, if the margin of victory is less than 1 percent, the candidate that appears to have lost may request a recount. A request for a recount must be filed within 10 days of the State Board of Elections certifying the result.

Early turnout on Election Day was brisk, with elections officials reporting few issues Tuesday amid signs that as voter participation could eclipse 2009 rates despite a governor’s race that’s become infamous for its negativity. State Board of Elections Secretary Donald Palmer told reporters that aside from some small issues with electronic poll books in Loudoun County that are being dealt with, things were proceeding smoothly throughout the state Tuesday morning.
Washington Times

People who want to visit the Blue Ridge Parkway in the winter will be able to check weather forecasts made specifically for the road. The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation worked with the parkway and two other groups to set up and They hope visitors will use the sites so they avoid being stopped by gates and signs reading “parkway closed for winter weather.”

Culpeper County's longest-serving elected official has filed a $1.75 million libel suit against the county's top prosecutor.  Culpeper County Supervisor William C. Chase, Jr. filed the lawsuit Monday against Culpeper County Commonwealth's Attorney Megan R. Frederick because she called the board of supervisors "corrupt" in an email to her supporters last month.  Chase's lawsuit also took exception with Frederick's assertion in the email that the county board of supervisors was "incompetent" with the exception of supervisors Larry Aylor and Brad Rosenberger.

National Stories

Two Pennsylvania newspapers, The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Patriot News, won the fight to havegreater access to prisoner executions, successfully arguing that the restrictions put in place by the state's Department of Corrections infringed on their First Amendment right to report. In the settlement, the parties agreed to allow witnesses to see and hear inside of the execution chamber from the time the inmate enters until he or she is declared dead. The agreement, though, lets the state turn off the audio system should the inmate make any “threatening and/or malicious statements directed toward the witnesses.” -
Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

Apple says that the “vast majority” of the requests for information that it gets from law enforcement are queries related to lost or stolen devices. Apple released a “Report on Government Information Request” (PDF) to inform its customers about how their personal information is handled and to provide assurances that it does as much as it can to protect their privacy.


Los Angeles Times: Five months after Americans learned that information about their telephone calls was being indiscriminately scooped up by the National Security Agency, Congress seems poised to place limits on the bulk collection of telephone "metadata" — information about the source, destination and duration of telephone calls but not their contents. That's a positive development. But there is a world of difference between the legislation approved by the Senate Intelligence Committee, which would make only minor improvements in the program, and a superior proposal by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.) that would bring the collection of phone records into compliance with the letter and the spirit of the 4th Amendment's ban on unreasonable searches and seizures.