The Voting News Daily: Holder vows to protect voting rights at MLK event in South Carolina, Santorum defends support for restoring felons’ voting rights

National: Holder vows to protect voting rights at MLK event in South Carolina | Attorney General Eric Holder joined NAACP leaders on the steps of the South Carolina Statehouse in Columbia on Monday, with the Confederate flag fluttering overhead, to promise he will aggressively protect federal voting rights for minorities. NAACP National President Ben Jealous…

National: Holder vows to protect voting rights at MLK event in South Carolina |

Attorney General Eric Holder joined NAACP leaders on the steps of the South Carolina Statehouse in Columbia on Monday, with the Confederate flag fluttering overhead, to promise he will aggressively protect federal voting rights for minorities. NAACP National President Ben Jealous said he had chosen to be at the Columbia ceremonies honoring the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., declaring South Carolina is “ground zero” in the battle for African-American voting rights.

National: Santorum defends support for restoring felons’ voting rights | Washington Times

Rick Santorum pushed back Monday morning against a series of ads being run against him on his record on earmarks, labor issues and a vote he took in 2002 that would have forced states to let felons’ voting rights be restored when they completed their sentences. Mr. Santorum, a former senator from Pennsylvania, is demanding the felon charge be stricken from an ad being run by a political group backing former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, one of his opponents in the Republican presidential primary. The ad says Mr. Santorum voted to “let convicted felons vote” — something the senator says is “explicitly false” because it implies, though it never says, that he wanted felons to be able to vote from jail.

National: King Day at the Dome: Voter ID on minds at rally |

South Carolina’s controversial voter ID law will be in the spotlight today as U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder addresses a crowd of marchers honoring the life and work of the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. at the State House.
The state, since 2000, has commemorated the life of the civil rights leader with an NAACP-led march to the State House. This year’s King Day at the Dome, beginning with an 8:30 a.m. prayer service at Zion Baptist Church, also will feature NAACP president Benjamin Todd Jealous. South Carolina’s passage, and the U.S. Justice Department’s subsequent rejection of, a controversial voter ID law last year has sparked a rancorous political fight and put the state on a collision course with Washington over state and federal powers.The courts may ultimately resolve the standoff.

National: Santorum hits Romney over voting rights attack ads | The Hill

Rick Santorum engaged Mitt Romney in a testy exchange over what the former Pennsylvania senator believed was an unfair attack on his record towards felon voting rights, providing early fireworks at Monday’s GOP debate. Santorum cited an ad by a pro-Romney Super-PAC that criticized him for voting in favor of a federal law that would reinstate voting records for felons who had completed their sentences and any required probation or parole. Citing that criticism, Santorum asked Romney if he believed “people who are felons who have served their time who’ve extended and exhausted their parole and probation, should they be given their right to vote?”

Illinois: Perry, Santorum could be knocked off Illinois ballot | Chicago Sun-Times

White House hopeful Rick Perry did not file correctly for the March 20 Illinois primary “beauty contest,” and some of rival Rick Santorum’s delegate slates are short of signatures, leaving them open to challenges that could knock them off the ballot. Illinois law requires candidates to file using their home addresses. Perry, the Texas governor whose candidacy may not survive through Illinois, used a post office box in Austin, Texas, for an address.

Massachusetts: More than 82K residents may lack representation for second leg of two-year session |

Taxation without representation? That might be the case for about 82,000 residents in Worcester, Belmont, Arlington and Cambridge if leaders on Beacon Hill opt against scheduling special elections to fill the seats being vacated by Rep. Vincent Pedone and Rep. William Brownsberger, who both could be gone from the House before the end of the week. House Speaker Robert DeLeo on Monday told the News Service he was leaning against holding special elections in both districts.

Voting Blogs: Montana rebels against Citizens United | State of Elections

It may be surprising that the biggest blow to corporations in 2011 didn’t come from Wall Street protestors. Late last month Montana’s Supreme Court took a swing at corporate spending in elections holding, in spite of the decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Committee, that a 100-year-old law banning corporate spending was valid. In doing so, the court held that the lower court’s reading of Citizens United was erroneous. The Court in Citizens United said, “Laws burdening such speech are subject to strict scrutiny, which requires the Government to prove that the restriction ‘furthers a compelling interest and is narrowly tailored to achieve that interest.’”

Pennsylvania: Voter ID Legislation Could Come Up Next Week | PhillyNow

In 1965, with the help and oversight of Martin Luther King, Jr., congress passed, and President Lyndon B. Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act. It was put into place to stop states from imposing “voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure…to deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color.” And now there’s a series of bills all over the country—including Pennsylvania—that would require ID at voting booths, which many say hurts the legacy of the VRA and King. They say it unfairly targets poor and minority voters who, more often than others, don’t have photo ID. There have been almost no instances of voter fraud in Pennsylvania.

Tennessee: Lawmakers rush to fix Voter ID law before March primary |

Lawmakers in Nashville are in a rush to fix the Voter ID law before the March primary election.  According to WSMV in Nashville, there is apparently a glitch in the bill. Last season state lawmakers passed one of the toughest Voter ID laws in the country.  Tennessee allows those who are 60 and up to have driver’s licenses without a photo, however you have to be 65 to get an absentee ballot without stringent rules. Now, people from Tennessee citizens action have started a petition to repeal the law.

Virginia: Rick Perry Appeals Ruling Leaving Him Off Of Virginia 2012 GOP Primary Ballot | Huffington Post

Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Sunday appealed a federal judge’s refusal to add him and three other candidates to Virginia’s Republican presidential primary ballot. In a filing with the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Perry’s attorneys requested that the court order his name be placed on the ballot, or order that ballots not be printed or mailed before his appeal is considered. Perry sued last month after failing to submit enough signatures to get on the Mach 6 ballot. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman joined Perry’s lawsuit after also failing to qualify.

China: Taiwan Vote Stirs Chinese Hopes for Democracy –

There was another winner in the election this weekend that handed President Ma Ying-jeou of Taiwan a second term in office — the faint but unmistakable clamor for democracy in China. Thanks in large part to an uncharacteristically hands-off approach by Chinese Internet censors, the campaign between Mr. Ma and his main challenger was avidly followed by millions of mainland Chinese, who consumed online tidbits of election news and biting commentary that they then spit out far and wide through social media outlets.

Guyana: No massive tampering of votes – APNU’s Granger | Demerara Waves

The main opposition A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) on Sunday for the first time openly conceded that verification of the results would not change the outcome of the general and regional elections held almost two months ago.
“We do not expect that the verification will reverse the major outcomes of the 2011 elections but we still need to get the elections right,” APNU Chairman, David Granger said on Christopher Ram’s weekly interview programme, Plain Talk. He, however, said his opposition coalition would still be pushing for the Statements of Poll for the November 28 polls to be reconciled as part of a process to clean up the operations of the Guyana Elections Commission.
“Regardless of what the examination or the verification comes up with, we should move beyond running some sloppy elections. The results are too slow, the logistical arrangements are too backward and people need to know within a matter of hours what the outcome is,” Granger said.

India: Mayawati slams Election Commission as casteist, anti-Dalit | India Today

BSP supremo Mayawati on Sunday described the Election Commission’s order to cover her statues and those of her party’s election symbol, the elephant, as “casteist and anti-Dalit”. Accusing the EC of buckling under pressure from the Congress, she said following its constitutional responsibility with honesty, the EC should have issued directives to get Congress’ poll symbol and RLD’s symbol ‘handpump’ covered like the statues of elephant.

Kazakhstan: Crushing election victory forecast for Kazakhstan’s ruling party | Deutsche Welle

Exit polls have predicted that Kazakhstan’s ruling party is headed for a crushing election victory. With three parties possibly entering parliament, democratic representation looks set to broaden slightly. Kazakhstan’s ruling party looked set to celebrate a crushing election victory on Sunday after exit polls gave President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s Nur Otan party 81 percent of the vote. The poll of some 50,000 voters nationwide, conducted by Kazakh think tank Institute of Democracy, showed two other parties possibly entering parliament in the wake of Sunday’s vote.

Kazakhstan: Nazarbayev Party Keeps Kazakh Dominance | Bloomberg

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s ruling party maintained its dominant role in parliament even as two other parties unexpectedly won seats following the worst violence in the oil-rich nation in 20 years.
Nur Otan garnered 80.74 percent of the vote in yesterday’s election, Kuandik Turgankulov, the head of the Central Electoral Commission, told reporters today in the capital, Astana, after 100 percent of votes were counted. The pro-business Akzhol party and the Communists scored above the 7 percent threshold to win seats in the Majilis, the lower house of parliament, he said. Turnout was 75.07 percent.

Kazakhstan: At least one new party in Kazakh assembly after riots | Reuters

At least one new party will enter Kazakhstan’s parliament after an election that offered a small concession to democracy following deadly riots by oil workers which shook the country’s stable image built up by President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Exit polls after Sunday’s election in the vast Central Asian state put the long-serving leader’s Nur Otan party on course to win by a landslide. But they also suggested two other parties broadly sympathetic to the government, the pro-business Ak Zhol and the Communist People’s Party, could enter the lower house.

Russia: OSCE Raps State Duma Elections in Report | Moscow Times

State Duma elections failed to meet democratic standards and were fraught with violations, Europe’s main elections watchdog said in a final assessment published Thursday. The report by the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe, or OSCE, mentions violations like “serious indications of ballot box-stuffing”, so-called group-voting and obstructions for observers. It also reiterates criticism of United Russia from the organization’s mission chief, Swiss diplomat Heidi Tagliavini, that the electoral “contest was slanted in favor of the ruling party.” “The distinction between the state and the governing party was frequently blurred by state and local officials,” said the report’s executive summary.