The Voting News Daily: The winner of South Carolina’s primary: Super PACs, Constitutional Showdown over the Voting Rights Act: D.C. Circuit Hears Shelby County v. Holder

National: The winner of South Carolina’s primary: Super PACs | It has been two years since the Supreme Court issued its decision in the case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, and we are only now just beginning to see how its overturning of a century of campaign finance law is distorting the electoral…

National: The winner of South Carolina’s primary: Super PACs |

It has been two years since the Supreme Court issued its decision in the case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, and we are only now just beginning to see how its overturning of a century of campaign finance law is distorting the electoral process. Rather than acting truly independently of campaigns, as the majority of justices envisioned, these entities exclusively act on behalf of individual candidates — and are typically run by former aides. Rather than encouraging the universal right of free speech, the ruling has had the effect of providing a megaphone for the rich to drown out all other voices.

Voting Blogs: Constitutional Showdown over the Voting Rights Act: D.C. Circuit Hears Shelby County v. Holder | Test & History

On January 19, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit debated the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act’s preclearance requirement, one of Act’s most important and successful provisions, which was renewed by a near unanimous Congress in 2006 and signed into law by President George W. Bush.  In 2009, in NAMUDNO v. Holder, the Supreme Court came dangerously close to striking down that 2006 renewal, raising a host of constitutional concerns about the requirement that jurisdictions that have a history of engaging in racial discrimination in voting obtain federal permission before altering their voting laws and regulations, but ultimately avoiding the constitutional question.  During yesterday’s argument, the panel — Judges David S. Tatel, Thomas B. Griffith and Senior Judge Stephen F. Williams — grappled with the constitutional questions raised by Chief Justice Roberts in NAMUDNO.  All three members of the panel were very active during the argument, posing numerous questions to the parties, often in rapid-fire succession.

National: Growing backlash against ‘Citizens United’ | National Law Journal

Two years ago this month, the U.S. Supreme Court held that corporations have a First Amendment right to spend unlimited funds on campaign advertisements, provided that such spending is not formally “coordinated” with any candidate. Central to this conclusion was the majority’s broad finding — unsupported by any evidence — that so-called “independent expenditures” pose no risk of political corruption. At the time, some lawyers and academics voiced their alarm. Now, the disastrous effects of this assumption are public knowledge, and — from Helena, Mont., to New York City — even unusual suspects are starting to rebel.

National: Kucinich Announces ‘Game Changing’ Constitutional Amendment to Publicly Finance Federal Elections | NationofChange

On the eve of the sec­ond an­niver­sary of the Supreme Court rul­ing known as Cit­i­zens United, which opened the flood­gate of un­lim­ited, shad­owy cor­po­rate spend­ing in pub­lic elec­tions, Con­gress­man Den­nis Kucinich (D-OH) has in­tro­duced H. J. Res. 100, a con­sti­tu­tional amend­ment to res­cue Amer­i­can democ­racy from cor­po­rate money’s cor­rupt­ing in­flu­ence.

Editorials: The electoral train wreck scenario | Martin Frost/

Train wrecks don’t happen often in American politics. But there could be one in this presidential election. And if it occurs, it will be big. Consider. The Constitution has a specific provision regarding an Electoral College deadlock. The bottom line is that if no candidate receives a majority — 270 — of the 538 electoral votes, then the next president will be chosen by the House of Representatives, with each state having one vote. It has happened twice in our history — the election of 1800 and then 1824. But given Congress’s current low repute — 9 percent approval rating in one poll — all hell would break loose if the House wound up selecting the next president. This scenario can happen only if there is a viable third-party candidate who wins at least some electoral votes. Most states still decide their electoral votes on a winner-take-all basis, so the third-party candidate would need to win a state or two, and the election would otherwise need to be close.

Indiana: Bopp’s office site of Occupy protest on campaign funds case |

Members of Occupy Terre Haute and Occupy Nomads stood in front of the Terre Haute offices of attorney James Bopp Jr. on Friday to call for a constitutional amendment on the second anniversary of a U.S. Supreme Court decision on political campaign funding. In Citizens United versus Federal Election Commission, the high court stated that corporations have the same First Amendment rights as people and can spend unlimited amounts to influence elections, said Leigh Chapman, a Terre Haute resident and member of Occupy Terre Haute. Bopp took the case to the Supreme Court, while another attorney presented the issue before the court.

Iowa: Rick Santorum declared Iowa winner |

On the eve of the South Carolina primary, ­ Iowa Republicans dealt Mitt Romney’s campaign a blow by formally declaring Rick Santorum the winner of their Jan. 3 caucuses. At 18 minutes before midnight Friday, South Carolina time, the Republican Party of Iowa released a statement revising its Thursday announcement that reported Santorum ahead of Romney but also saying the two-week-old race had no clear winner.

North Carolina: Court Denies Motion to Delay Primary : Roll Call Politics

North Carolina Democrats looking for a court to overturn a Republican-drawn Congressional map took a hit today when a three-judge panel denied their motion to delay the primary, scheduled for May 8. “The court is not persuaded that a delay of the primaries … will have any meaningful, practical value or materially aid in protecting the rights asserted by the plaintiffs,” the chief judge of the panel said, according to WRAL.

Editorials: South Carolina’s gift to the Voting Rights Act | William Yeomans/

When the Justice Department recently blocked implementation of South Carolina’s photo ID law, analysts were quick to suggest that the action was risky and could be the death of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. They were wrong to sound the alarm. Recent discriminatory actions by South Carolina and other covered states give Attorney General Eric Holder no choice but to block their implementation. In fact, the very actions that forced Holder’s hand may ultimately save the act from the daggers of Chief Justice John Roberts and his band of conservative justices, who seem ready to strike it down as unconstitutional.

South Carolina: South Carolina votes without new voter ID law | CBS

Dr. Brenda Williams, who grew up in the segregated South, has spent 30 years helping patients register to vote. She considers the state’s new voter ID law a reminder of when blacks were forced to sit in the back of the bus. “It is a way of disenfranchisement of certain segments of our society, primarily African-Americans, the elderly, and the indigent,” Williams said in an interview in her office in Sumter, halfway between Columbia and Charleston. “It is very sad to see our legislators try to turn the clock back,” she said. In all, 85,000 registered voters in South Carolina are without the kind of ID that would be required under the new law, according a vetting of the voter rolls by the state’s department of motor vehicles.

South Carolina: Stephen Colbert, Herman Cain turn spotlight on super PACs in South Carolina | The Washington Post

Not everyone hooting Herman Cain at the Stephen Colbert rally here Friday was laughing with him. But he didn’t mind being the butt of jokes, he said, if only Americans could learn how to take one. His message? “As I said in one of the debates, America needs to lighten up.” Colbert’s message, on the other hand, was as serious as its delivery was lighthearted. Politicians in both parties promise to bring Americans together, but Colbert actually does, through comedy. And this rally on the campus of the College of Charleston, the day before the state’s presidential primary, was an extended riff on the serious subject of money in politics.

Wisconsin: Recall Elections a Sure Thing, but New ID Law May Block Anti-Walker Vote | Truthout

Wisconsinites’ efforts to protect democracy—in the workplace and through the ballot—are rapidly escalating on two key fronts. The state will soon witness major election and legal battles to combat Walker-supported laws limiting the rights of public workers and restricting voting booth access. Laws passed in 2011 virtually eliminate public-employee bargaining rights and restrict voting to those with approved IDs, which could potentially disenfranchise tens of thousands of state residents. “First you take away workers’ rights, then you change the laws so that it’s hard for them to vote you out of office,” said Scot Ross, director of One Wisconsin Now, a progressive media-focused group.

Croatia: Croats say ‘yes’ to EU membership |

Croatia’s state referendum commission says a majority of Croats have voted in favor of joining the debt-stricken European Union. Officials say that with about 30 percent of the ballot calculated, about 67 percent of those who took part in the referendum Sunday answered “yes” to the question: “Do you support the membership of the Republic of Croatia in the European Union?”

Croatia: Referendum Held on EU Membership | VoA News

Croats are voting Sunday on whether to join the European Union. If they approve the measure, as many expect, Croatia will become the 28th EU member – a symbolic victory for both the Balkan nation and for Brussels. Croatia’s referendum on joining the European Union comes as the block faces one of its biggest crises ever – the sovereign debt and banking problems that have migrated from one eurozone country to another. There is a sizable chunk of Croats opposed to joining the EU. On Saturday police clashed with protesters in Zagreb at an anti-EU rally that gathered hundreds of people.

Finland: Presidential election headed for runoff | San Francisco Chronicle

Finns trudged through thick snow and braved blizzards to vote for a new president on Sunday as polls indicated declining support for the front-runner, making a second round next month increasingly likely. Ex-finance minister Sauli Niinisto holds a clear lead in a field of eight candidates but surveys indicate he will not capture the required majority to win the first round. The vote comes as the Nordic country braces for cutbacks amid a European financial crisis that threatens the economy and the top credit rating of the eurozone member.

Finland: Finland votes for president, race between ‘eurosceptics’ and pro-Europeans –

After 12 years at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, the first female president in Finland’s history is starting to pack up her things. Social Democrat Tarja Halonen has served the maximum two terms in office, and on Sunday the nation votes for a new president. On Saturday, the last day of campaigning, the candidates defied freezing temperatures and heaps of snow try to to win over the last few voters, CNN’s Finnish affiliate MTV3 reported. “I really liked Halonen. That is why it is so difficult to make up my mind. I liked her style, she was good” resident Merja Lindell told Swedish daily Expressen which is reporting on the Finnish election.

Ireland: €55m e-vote machines may be too old to sell |

The €55m e-voting fiasco could become even more expensive because the machines may now be too old to sell. The Government last night admitted it might be forced to pay someone to dispose of 7,500 machines languishing in storage for the past decade. The reason is because the machines are so out of date that finding a buyer may be impossible and they would have to be disposed of at great expense. The Department of the Environment yesterday sought expressions of interest for the ‘sale or recovery’ of 7,500 machines and associated equipment including cases, storage trolleys and tables.

Philippines: Commission on Elections junks online voting for 2013 polls | The Philippine Star

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has junked its plan to use the Internet for the 2013 midterm elections, Comelec Commissioner Armando Velasco said yesterday. Velasco, chairman of the Committee on Overseas Absentee Voting (COAV), said, “2013 is near; it’s not feasible. The Internet registration and voting will not be available.” The Overseas Absentee Voting law provides that only ballots cast and mailed ballots received by the Philippine embassies, consulates and other Foreign Service establishments shall be counted.