Togo’s election officials on Sunday added up results from a presidential vote that had the lowest turnout of any election conducted in the past decade. President Faure Gnassingbe is seeking a third term against four opposition challengers. Gnassingbe has been in power since 2005 when he succeeded his father, who died after 38 years in office. The family has ruled this West African nation for nearly 50 years. The turnout on Saturday was between 53 and 55 percent of the 3.5 million people registered to vote, Taffa Tabiou, head of the election commission, said Sunday. That turnout is lower than presidential contests in 2005 and 2010 and legislative elections in 2007 and 2013.
The Voting News
Florida: Feds charge ex-congressional chief of staff with secretly funding 2010 ringer candidate | Miami Herald
Federal prosecutors on Friday accused former Miami Democratic Rep. Joe Garcia’s ex-chief of staff of secretly financing a ringer tea-party candidate in 2010 to draw votes away from a Republican rival — an illegal scheme that appeared to inspire a more serious copycat case two years later. Jeffrey Garcia was charged with conspiracy to give a campaign contribution of less than $25,000, a misdemeanor offense. Prosecutors say Garcia, no relation to the former congressman, put up the $10,440 qualifying fee for the shadow candidate, Jose Rolando “Roly” Arrojo, to pose as another challenger to David Rivera. Arrojo was also charged Friday with the same misdemeanor.
A freshman Republican lawmaker is encountering some significant opposition – some from within his own party – over his proposal to send Maine’s taxpayer-funded campaign law back to the voters for reconsideration. Sen. Eric Brakey of Auburn wants to repeal the law and redirect the millions of tax dollars spent on legislative campaigns toward local education costs. But some critics say Brakey actually has an ulterior motive. With a title like “An Act To Repeal the Maine Clean Election Act and Direct the Savings To Be Used for the State’s Contribution toward the Costs of Education Funding,” you could say that Brakey’s bill appears pretty straightforward at first glance.
A federal appeals court will hear oral arguments on Tuesday in a case that could have national implications for states that require voters to present government-issued forms of photo identification at the polls. The issue at hand — Texas’ contentious photo ID law — is expected to ultimately make its way to the Supreme Court. But first a three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear the case. There, voting rights advocates will argue that a federal judge’s ruling from October — which called the law an unconstitutional “poll tax,” intentionally discriminatory and an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote — should be upheld. Critics of the law argued that hundreds of thousands of Texans lacked the correct form of identification, but the state’s leadership has insisted that the law is meant to protect against voter fraud and is not an effort to make it more difficult for any demographic to vote.
Voting Blogs: Wait … What? Agency Advising California Governor on Payments to Counties Proposes Moving to VBM to Save Money | Election Academy
The State of California, like some other states, has an “unfunded mandate” law that requires the state to make money available for new legislation that imposes costs on counties. In practice, those mandates can be “suspended” for budgetary reasons, leaving localities holding the bag on costs. This practice has been particularly difficult for California’s election officials, who are owed more than $100 million collectively for a variety of suspended mandates – the most significant of which involves permanent absentee balloting and vote by mail. That’s why county officials were pleased to see that last year the Legislature asked the Department of Finance (DoF) to write a report analyzing the election mandates and making recommendations to the governor about how to address them.
Campaigning for Sunday’s second wave of quadrennial unified local elections has highlighted a legal loophole that allows candidates to go to extremes — including nudity — to gain votes. In contrast with the ubiquitous portrait shots preferred by most candidates, the campaign poster for Teruki Goto, an independent running for the Chiyoda Ward Assembly in Tokyo, went viral after it showed him posing nude against a Rising Sun flag motif while raising a katana over the Imperial Seal, his genitals covered by his name.
Texas has a sordid history of gerrymandering, and the state has been called out for it over the years by the Justice Department and federal courts because of discrimination against minority voters. Constitutional amendments are being considered in the Legislature — proposed by Democratic Rep. Rafael Anchia of Dallas — that would bring more equity to the redistricting process. The need is clear. Political realities work against these measures’ approval, but the Legislature should go there as a matter of fairness and democratic principle. Redistricting maps drawn in 2011 based on the 2010 census were no exception to the Texas gerrymandering rule. After legal challenges, these were improved a bit by a San Antonio federal court in 2013. The problem: Those maps were still based on the clearly discriminatory maps drawn two years previous. They do not adequately reflect the more diverse representation that should have occurred; minorities were nearly 90 percent of the increased population that gained Texas four new congressional seats in the last census.
Nevada: Why Ron Paul’s big showing in Nevada may have made it harder for Rand Paul to do the same | The Washington Post
Republican presidential politics in Nevada — a key early-voting state — have been chaotic in recent years, thanks in large part to former congressman and two-time GOP White House contender Ron Paul. Now his son, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is running for the office — and the state GOP may be making moves to guarantee the Paul family no longer finds Nevada to be lucky terrain. Nevada Republicans long generally picked a presidential favorite via primaries. In 2008, they held caucuses instead. Many Ron Paul voters showed up that day — but even more showed up at the state party’s convention months later. Paul’s supporters who flooded the gathering, looking to elect their candidate’s followers to represent the state at the national GOP convention. The state didn’t reschedule another convention, instead opting to choose delegates via conference call.
Candidate Hillary Clinton thinks there’s too much money in politics. But President Hillary Clinton — should she win — will find it very difficult to change that. Vowing to fix the country’s campaign finance system is a perennial campaign trail promise, especially for Democrats. But finding ways to reduce the amount of money in politics has bedeviled every presidential administration since Bill Clinton’s. Mr. Clinton promised campaign finance changes early in his first term. Barack Obama ran against big money in politics in 2008, even though he became the first candidate to refuse public financing in the general election since the system was introduced in the 1970s. Mrs. Clinton advocated expanding publicly-financed campaigns during her first run for office.
This week, with the deadline to register to vote in the May Parliamentary elections looming, more than 400,000 Britons used the country’s online voter registration system to register…in one day. Britain launched their online voter registration system in June 2014 and since then, more than 7.1 million people have used it to register online or update their existing registrations. Even though the British system differs from voter registration here in the United States because it’s a national system, states throughout U.S. that provide online voter registration (OVR) can regale you with significant numbers of people using the online systems to register or update their voter registration. Currently 20 states offer online voter registration with an additional six states and the District of Columbia working to implement systems mandated by law.