Less than two months after his stunning primary upset and just hours after stepping down as House majority leader, Rep. Eric Cantor said Thursday that he will resign his seat in the House of Representatives effective Aug. 18. “I want to make sure that the constituents in the 7th District will have a voice in what will be a very consequential lame-duck session,” Cantor said in an exclusive interview with the Richmond Times-Dispatch on Thursday afternoon. Cantor said he has asked Gov. Terry McAuliffe to call a special election for his district that coincides with the general election on Nov. 4. By having a special election in November, the winner would take office immediately, rather than in January with the next Congress.
The Voting News
National: Justice Department backs challenges to voting laws in Ohio and Wisconsin | The Washington Post
The Justice Department on Wednesday supported legal challenges to voting laws in Ohio and Wisconsin as part of the Obama administration’s ongoing effort to challenge state legislation it believes unfairly affects the ability of minority voters to cast ballots. In Wisconsin, the department filed an amicus brief supporting a ruling by a federal judge that struck down a law that requires voters to show photo identification at the polls. In Ohio, Justice officials filed a “statement of interest” in a challenge by a civil rights group to a state law curtailing early voting and same-day registration. “These filings are necessary to confront the pernicious measures in Wisconsin and Ohio that would impose significant barriers to the most basic right of our democracy,” Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said in a statement. “These two states’ voting laws represent the latest, misguided attempts to fix a system that isn’t broken. These restrictive state laws threaten access to the ballot box.”
A Missouri proposal to create one of the most expansive early voting periods in the nation appears to have fallen short of reaching the November ballot, according to an Associated Press analysis of initiative petition signatures. The AP review of signature counts conducted by Missouri’s local election authorities found that the proposed constitutional amendment on early voting lacks enough valid signatures of registered voters in all but two of the state’s eight congressional districts. To qualify for the ballot, initiatives must get signatures equal 8 percent of the votes cast in the last gubernatorial election in at least six of the congressional districts. Missouri currently allows absentee voting only in limited circumstances when people attest that they won’t be able to vote in person on Election Day. The initiative proposed a 42-day, no-excuse-needed early voting period that would have been one of the longest in the nation and also would have allowed votes to be cast on weekends.
Far from Istanbul, voters at cardboard polling booths set up in a Berlin sporting arena are helping to decide whether Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s becomes Turkey’s next president. The large Turkish diaspora in Germany and other countries around the world is for the first time getting its say in a Turkish election, with presidential voting kicking off in a change that offers new clout to the community here. The recent change in Turkish law allowing Turks abroad to vote has been heralded as a sign of political empowerment. It is a move that comes as Turks in Germany are also being courted by German politicians after years of being ignored—amid new laws that make it easier for Germany-born Turks to gain dual citizenship and the appointment of the country’s first minister of Turkish descent. The community may not be large enough to make much difference for Mr. Erdogan, who is widely expected to win Turkey’s first direct presidential elections handily. But the prime minister has made visits to Germany this year, packing stadiums in Cologne and Berlin.
Australians are unlikely to be able to cast their votes electronically in a federal election any time soon. Acting Australian Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers today poured cold water on the push to introduce a trial of e-voting at the next federal poll, conceding his comments risked caricaturing him as a cautious bureaucrat. Mr Rogers voiced concerns about whether the AEC could implement e-voting safely. … “I would have to be honest with you and say I’m concerned about our ability to introduce some form of electronic voting safely.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said in a radio interview Wednesday that he will continue to move forward with voter identification requirements and questioned the religiousness of church leaders who have opposed the law. While a guest on Topeka radio station WIBW 580, Kobach was asked to respond to religious leaders and other critics of the voter ID requirement. “We’re absolutely going to keep fighting back, and Kansans overwhelmingly approve it,” Kobach said. “I don’t know what churches — and I would put churches in quotation marks — because the vast majority of church leaders I’ve spoken to are fully in favor of our photo ID law.”
Next to a host of constitutional amendments and advisory questions, Peoria County voters may face at least two more referendum questions in the Nov. 4 election. The County Board’s executive committee agreed Thursday to ask the full board to approve on Aug. 14 letting citizens decide whether to consolidate the City Election Commission and the county election operations now under the county clerk into a new countywide election commission. The full board also will weigh consolidating the offices of clerk and recorder of deeds. Bringing together the two election entities has long been a priority for the county, and board members have asked legislators for a measure making it easier to do — requiring just one referendum with easy wording rather than two votes with more complex ballot language — since at least 2009, board member Allen Mayer said. “We’ve voted on this again and again and again,” he said of the board’s repeated efforts to get lawmakers to advance a bill, something that was finally done in 2013.
The mammoth task of auditing eight million votes cast in the second round of Afghanistan’s presidential election will restart on Saturday, the electoral commission said today, but disputes still hang over the process. A US-brokered agreement to audit all ballots defused a crisis this month, but the process has stalled three times since and the candidates have yet to agree on how to disqualify votes.
Minnesota: Election officials go after voters listing mail centers as addresses | Minneapolis Star Tribune
County election officials across the metro area are scrutinizing dozens of voter registrations tied to commercial mail centers after a probe in Minneapolis revealed a loophole in the state’s election system. A new Star Tribune comparison of voter records and data from the U.S. Postal Service found that 95 voters were registered at the addresses of mail centers — such as UPS Stores — despite requirements that voters list their physical residence.
California: State doesn’t allow write-in candidates in its general election, so a write-in candidate is suing | The Washington Post
An independent candidate who received a single vote for a U.S. House seat in California is suing the state over it’s top-two primary system, which allows write-in candidates in the primary but not the general election. Theo Milonopoulos, a PhD student at Columbia University, filed to run as a write-in candidate in the crowded primary race to replace the retiring Rep. Henry Waxman (D), after missing the deadline to appear on the ballot. Under California’s election law, the top two candidates with the highest number of votes in a primary election move onto the general election, regardless of party, and any write-in votes in the general election are not counted.