The Voting News Daily: ID bills target college-aged voters, Mutually Assured Super PAC Destruction In Massachusetts?

National: ID bills target college-aged voters | The Temple News New voting laws requiring identification and eliminating absentee ballots disenfranchise young and low-income voters in various states. Students who move out-of-state to attend college normally shrug a slew of stresses on their shoulders. From a potentially higher tuition to possible travel expenses, most college students think…

National: ID bills target college-aged voters | The Temple News

New voting laws requiring identification and eliminating absentee ballots disenfranchise young and low-income voters in various states. Students who move out-of-state to attend college normally shrug a slew of stresses on their shoulders. From a potentially higher tuition to possible travel expenses, most college students think they have enough to worry about. A new wave of laws, however, could be adding to that list. Throughout the country, voting laws are being pursued that will affect a wide range of voting issues including voter IDs, proof of citizenship, strict registration, reduction in absentee balloting and disenfranchisement of voters with a felony conviction.

Massachusetts: Mutually Assured Super PAC Destruction In Massachusetts? | National Memo

In the Massachusetts Senate campaign, where Super PACs have already spent millions blanketing the airwaves in what promises to be a spectacular slugfest, the candidates are giving peace a chance. Or so they would have us believe. Scott Brown, the Republican incumbent, and Elizabeth Warren, the progressive consumer advocate who recently left the Obama administration to launch a political career, tentatively agreed Monday to reject outside spending by third-party groups, whether traditional political action committees (PACs), party organs like the Democratic National Committee, or Super PACs like Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS. Under the terms of the deal, hashed out in both private meetings between the campaigns and publicly-available letters, whenever a third-party group spends money to air an ad attacking (or supporting) a candidate, the potential beneficiary must donate half the sum of the ad buy to a charity of their opponent’s choice.

Massachusetts: Elizabeth Warren, Scott Brown Spending Pact Faces Challenges in Post-Citizens United World | International Business Times

U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass, and Elizabeth Warren, his main Democratic challenger, will have difficulty enforcing a pledge to limit third party spending in what is likely to be a closely watched and bruising Senate race. Brown and Warren have agreed to donate to charity 50 percent of the cost of any television or radio advertising purchased by outside groups. The pact is an attempt to curb the influence of outside organizations that have begun pouring millions of dollars into political campaigns after the Supreme Court’s Citizens United Decision eliminated some restrictions on campaign finance.

Montana: Montana’s Challenge to Citizens United |

Two years ago, when the Supreme Court struck down bans on independent corporate and union expenditures in elections in the Citizens United case, Justice Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion claimed that money does not “give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.” While it might result in “influence over or access to elected officials,” he wrote, it is not the same as  Last month, in a 5-to-2 vote, the Montana Supreme Court rejected that misguided reasoning and upheld a part of a state anticorruption law banning corporations from making political expenditures from general treasuries. The court’s dissenters argued that Montana cannot ignore the Citizens United decision — and they may well be proved right when the case is appealed to the United States Supreme Court.

Montana: Attorney General wants law in place before review | Great Falls Tribune

The attorney general’s office asked the Montana Supreme Court on Monday to keep in place the state’s century-old ban on direct spending by corporations on political candidates or committees until the U.S. Supreme Court reviews the law. Last month, the Montana Supreme Court restored the state’s ban by deciding it does not run afoul of the U.S. Constitution, as a lower state court had initially ruled. A politically involved corporation had challenged the 1912 Corrupt Practices Act, which passed as a ballot initiative. It argued the law unconstitutionally blocks political speech by corporations.

New Mexico: Forum presents downsides of voter-ID laws | Santa Fe New Mexican

Requiring voters to present photo identification before casting ballots at the polls would disenfranchise many New Mexicans and would especially affect minorities, the elderly, students and people with disabilities, said several panelists Monday at a League of Women Voters panel discussion. Panel members urged lawmakers to vote against any photo ID bill introduced in the Legislature. However, they probably were preaching to the choir — as only Democratic legislators showed up to the event. Democrats in New Mexico, and elsewhere in the country, tend to be against voter-ID legislation, while Republicans tend to support it.

Texas: State again facing possibility of two primaries | San Antonio Express-News

Texas could soon be facing the possibility of having its primaries split into two elections, a federal judge said Monday. U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia wrote in a filing that he was giving the move “serious consideration” if the groups involved in the fight over the state’s interim redistricting plans can’t agree on a set of maps by Feb. 6. Garcia, who leads the panel of judges that was ordered by the U.S. Supreme Court last week to redraw interim district maps for the 2012 election, also moved a key hearing up by three days, to Friday, when the court will hear arguments on how best to move forward.

Texas: Attorney General files suit to clear path for voter ID bill | Amarillo Globe-News

The ongoing Texas redistricting fight took a backseat to the voter identification law debate Monday, thanks to Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. Abbott filed a lawsuit seeking swift enforcement of the controversial legislation requiring Texas voters to show government-issued photo identification before casting a ballot. “The U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled that voter identification laws are constitutional,” Abbott said regarding the voter identification bill the Republican-dominated Texas Legislature approved in last year’s session.

Utah: Democrats, GOP spar over voter registration bill | The Salt Lake Tribune

Federal law prohibits removing voters from registration rolls for failing to vote. But Republicans on Wednesday endorsed a possible end run around that — one that Democrats, the ACLU and some good-government groups protested as illegal and likely to lower voter turnout. The House Political Subdivisions Committee endorsed HB253 on a 6-4 vote, mostly along party lines, and sent it to the full House. It would allow removing voters from rolls if they miss four consecutive general elections and fail to respond to a notice mailed to them after the second missed election.

Virginia: McDonnell restores voting rights to more convicted felons than predecessors |

Virginia’s conservative Republican governor is on pace to restore voting rights to more convicted felons than any governor in the state’s recent history, including his two Democratic predecessors. Gov. Bob McDonnell, once the state’s Attorney General, has restored voting rights to 2,555 convicted felons — or 87 percent of those who have applied — since he took over as governor two years ago. If that pace holds for the rest of his term, he will surpass former governors Timothy Kaine and Mark R. Warner in the number of felons given back their right to vote. Over their four years in office, Kaine restored voting rights to 4,402 felons, and Warner restored the rights to 3,486 felons.

Angola: Police to boost operational capacity to secure electoral process | Angola Press

The Angolan Home Affairs minister Sebastiao Martins has announced the strengthening of operational capacity of national police to ensure a climate of peace and tranquillity during the 2012 general elections. Speaking at the opening of Consultative Council meeting held Monday in Luanda, Sebastiao Martins considered priority the effective compliance of immediate strategy for securing the elections, “at a time when there are growing expectations of political power and society.”

Iowa: Caucus results may threaten first-in-nation status | Des Moines Register

The winner of the 2012 caucuses, we now know, was Rick Santorum. The loser, it’s becoming clear, was Iowa. The certified results released this week from the nation’s first presidential nominating contest revealed that Mitt Romney’s declared eight-vote victory on caucus night was actually a 34-vote defeat. They revealed that eight voting precincts went missing in action, and their votes will never be counted. And they were accompanied by evolving statements from the Republican Party of Iowa, which, having initially called the race for Romney, first declared this week’s result a “split decision” and only later acknowledged victory for Santorum.

Myanmar: US Calls for International Observers at Burma By-elections |

A US delegation fronted by Sen. John McCain and Sen. Joseph Lieberman will request that the Burmese government allow international observers to oversee April by-elections, which, if deemed free and fair, will almost certainly see the US remove some sanctions on the Burmese government. “Obviously we will have to look carefully at the process of the elections,” said McCain, who conceded that Burma’s reforms in recent months—including the release of several hundred political prisoners—are “a dramatic change in policy and behaviour in as short a time as a year ago,” he said. McCain confirmed that the delegation, which arrived in Burma on Sunday, would ask Burma’s government to allow international observation of the April by-elections, in response to a question about the issue from this correspondent.

Croatia: Croatia and the EU: Slouching towards Brussels | The Economist

There were no fireworks and no joyous, flag-waving crowds, although the president, prime minister and speaker of parliament did at least raise a glass to the strains of Ode to Joy. Yesterday two-thirds of Croats who took part in a referendum on whether their country should join the European Union voted “yes”, more than had been expected. The low turnout of 43%, however, meant that only a third of the electorate actually voted in favour. “It’s not great, but it’s legal,” was the accurate if underwhelming summing-up of Zoran Milanović, the new prime minister. Still, not a single one of Croatia’s 15 regions voted against. Indeed, one could fairly make the case that given the steady stream of bad news from the euro zone, Balkan Greece and Croatia’s neighbour Hungary, a two-thirds vote in favour of joining was something of an achievement.

Voting Blogs: Paper ballots are expensive, so faulty electronic voting machines are fine. Right, EC? | ET Blogs

On January 17, the Delhi High Court ruled that although the highly tom-tommed Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) used in our elections are NOT tamperproof, it is still not in a position to issue any directive to the Election Commission (EC). However, it added that since EVMs are the backbone of our election process, needful should be done to dispel doubts. I am no technology expert but if one goes through the arguments made by Subramanian Swamy and the defence put up by the EC, they both seem to have a point. While Swami, and indeed experts all over, have been able to prove that EVMs can be tampered with, and it is for that reason that several technologically more advanced nations are loathe to try them out, EC too made it quite clear that tampering is extremely difficult and almost impractical to make any material difference to the final result.

Finland: Finland to choose between liberal and conservative in second round |

The second round of Finland’s presidential election will be a battle between conservatives and liberals, with Finland’s political left unrepresented. YLE election pundit Ville Pernaa says that the next president is likely to be the candidate who best harnesses the working class vote that is now without a left-wing candidate to support. The left’s absence from the second round is unprecedented, with voters left without a straight left-right choice for the first time. ”There is not a pure bourgeois versus socialist configuration,” said Pernaa. “Now the battle is for the working class soul, in that neither Niinistö nor Haavisto is a candidate working class voters can relate to.”

Ireland: The Celtic Tiger’s white elephant |

So it looks like ‘our stupid aul pencils’ got the last laugh. With Ireland’s 7,500 e-voting machines now up for sale or waste disposal if they can’t be sold, the end is finally in sight for a costly saga going back some 13 years. Following research and trial runs the machines were eventually purchased in 2002 for €50 million as the Fianna Fail led government sought to push ahead with their introduction. However, amid serious concerns surrounding the accuracy and security of the machines the government was eventually forced to set up an independent commission to look into these concerns. The commission found the concerns were justified and plans to use them in the 2004 elections were scrapped just a month before people voted in June. Since then, it has cost the stage a whopping €3.5m to store Ireland’s e- voting machines.

Russia: Putin’s liberal challenger faces poll exclusion | AFP

Liberal leader Grigory Yavlinsky is likely to be excluded from the Russian presidential race, election officials said Tuesday, in a move that will undermine the legitimacy of Vladimir Putin’s historic comeback. The Central Election Commission said it had examined 500,000 of the two million signatures the veteran leader of the Yabloko party submitted to take part in March 4 presidential elections and found that nearly a quarter of them had problems. “The number of signatures that have been deemed invalid and questionable gives the Central Election Commission grounds to deny registration” to Yabloko, Nikolai Konkin, a member of the election organisers, told reporters in televised remarks.

Russia: Opposition parties seek new Election Commission before presidential poll | RT

Leaders of three opposition factions in the lower house have prepared a bill demanding that Russia’s new Central Election Commission is elected before the March presidential poll. Gennady Zyuganov of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Zhirinovsky of the Liberal Democratic Party and Sergey Mironov of the Fair Russia party submitted the suggestion to dissolve the Central Election Commission headed by its current chairman Vladimir Churov, and form new commissions starting from district level.