The Voting News Daily: Disclose Act: Super PAC Transparency Legislation To Be Introduced By House Democrats, Super PACs set sights on 2012 congressional races

National: Disclose Act: Super PAC Transparency Legislation To Be Introduced By House Democrats | Huffington Post Amid growing concern over the growing influence of super PACs, congressional Democrats are set to introduce new legislation designed to bring an increased level of transparency to campaign-related expenditures. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) will introduce in the coming weeks…

National: Disclose Act: Super PAC Transparency Legislation To Be Introduced By House Democrats | Huffington Post

Amid growing concern over the growing influence of super PACs, congressional Democrats are set to introduce new legislation designed to bring an increased level of transparency to campaign-related expenditures. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) will introduce in the coming weeks an updated version of the DISCLOSE Act, the legislation aimed at increasing transparency in election spending that failed to pass Congress, in September 2010, by a single Senate vote. Senate Democrats will introduce their own version of the legislation after the House moves first. The two bills are likely to differ slightly in language, though those differences aren’t immediately known. “There is still work being done on a bill in the Senate,” said one Senate Democratic aide. “It will be high on our priority list,” added another.

National: Super PACs set sights on 2012 congressional races |

Outside political groups, already big players in this year’s GOP presidential battle, have started to train their firepower on Senate and House races. Third-party organizations, including political parties and super PACs that can raise and spend unlimited corporate and union money, have pumped nearly $9 million into last-minute advertising and other independent spending to support or oppose congressional candidates in this election cycle, Federal Election Commission records show.

Colorado: Recall election brings new Saguache clerk | The Pueblo Chieftain

County Clerk and Recorder Melinda Myers lost her recall election by more than a 2-1 margin Tuesday night and will be replaced by the candidate she beat in a controversial 2010 election. Voters recalled Myers, 941-453, pushing her from office 14 months after an election that prompted two reviews by the secretary of state and another by a statewide grand jury. Republican Carla Gomez, who lost to Myers in the last election, topped independent Patricia Jenkins, 762-319, according to Tuesday’s final unofficial results.

Georgia: Changes to Georgia’s voter ID law? |

The Georgia House of Representatives is considering making some changes to the state’s voter ID law. Representative Alisha Thomas Morgan (D-Austell) has introduced a bill that would allow students at private colleges or universities to use their school ID to vote. Under the current law, one must present a photo ID to vote in Georgia. State school-issued IDs are already accepted.

Hawaii: Committee Advances Transparency Bills, Stalls Online Voter Registration | Honolulu Civil Beat

Hawaii political committees that can raise and spend unlimited amounts of campaign money would be required to disclose the candidates their expenditures are attacking or supporting under a proposal moving through the Legislature. The House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday passed House Bill 1756 out of committee, sending it to the Finance Committee. The bill was supported by the state Campaign Spending Commission, Common Cause Hawaii and the League of Women Voters-Hawaii. Currently, independent-expenditure-only committees — or so-called Super PACs — only have to disclose basic information on expenditures such as the name and address of vendors. The proposed bill would require them to “include the name of the candidate who is supported or opposed by the expenditure, and whether the expenditure supports or opposes the candidate.”

Kansas: Senator says State not ready for voter ID laws |

Sen. Kelly Kultala, D-Kansas City, said Wednesday that a mix-up over the availability of free birth certificates shows that the state is not ready for Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s new voter ID laws. Kobach alluded to the misunderstanding in testimony before the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee, of which Kultala is a member.

Kentucky: GOP to seek injunction on House redistricting | Evansville Courier & Press

Kentucky House Republicans plan to file a lawsuit within days challenging the constitutionality of a redistricting measure that hits GOP state representatives especially hard, the party’s House floor leader said Wednesday. Rep. Jeff Hoover said the lawsuit also will seek an injunction to delay implementation of the measure and ask that next Tuesday’s election filing deadline be postponed until the matter is resolved. A government watchdog group, concerned about what it considers overtly political motives that fashioned new legislative districts, may seek to join the case. “I am very sympathetic,” said Richard Beliles, head of Common Cause of Kentucky. “I think this was very unfair.”

Maine: Lawmakers poised to gut Maine voter ID bill | Sun Journal

A bill that threatened to reignite last year’s heated debate over voting rights appears to be heading to the legislative attic, at least for another year. Lawmakers on the Legislature’s Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee on Wednesday tabled a voter identification bill and expressed willingness to gut the proposal and replace its language with a resolve directing the Secretary of State Office to propose voter reform legislation next year. The initiative follows a report by Secretary of State Charlie Summers that suggests non-residents have voted in Maine elections.

Maine: Lawmaker introduces bill challenging Citizens United decision | Sun Journal

A Portland lawmaker has joined the growing list of those challenging the U.S. Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision by submitting a proposal that would ban unlimited corporate and union campaign contributions to candidates. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Jon Hinck, D-Portland, is identical to a Montana law that was recently affirmed by that state’s a highest court. The Montana justices argued that the state’s people and small business owners could be silenced by big-pocketed, in-state, or out-of-state interests.

New Hampshire: Voter ID bill has more support |

Sen. Russell Prescott, R-Kingston, unveiled a user-friendly voter ID bill Tuesday that could end years of partisan bickering and produce a new mandate for citizens at the polls. Prescott spent last month negotiating with and winning the support of Secretary of State Bill Gardner’s office and the New Hampshire Town and Clerks Association for the framework of a law that would require voters to produce a photo of their likeness before getting a ballot, starting in 2016. “This bill is all about placing a face with a name,” Prescott told the Senate Public and Municipal Affairs Committee Tuesday.

Ohio: Elections chief wants repeal of elections bill | Dayton Daily News

Ohio lawmakers should repeal a new law that shortens early voting in the presidential battleground state, rather than allow voters to decide in November whether the measure should be scrapped, the state’s top election official said Wednesday. Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, said an expected fall campaign over the law would create confusion for voters as to which rules are in place. And he wants the GOP-controlled Legislature to come up with a new proposal after this year’s election. “We don’t need the confusion that will come by debating a referendum at the same time we’re trying to inform people how to vote,” Husted told local election officials at a conference in Columbus.

Pennsylvania: High court throws out assembly redistricting |

A divided Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Wednesday invalidated a plan to redraw state House and Senate district lines, calling the redistricting approach “contrary to law.” The justices voted 4-3 to send the plan back to the Legislative Reapportionment Commission, and the majority said their opinion in the case, laying out the reasoning, would be released later. The high court’s ruling immediately threw into disarray plans by candidates and parties for this year’s General Assembly races.

South Carolina: Charge of ‘dead voters’ disputed |

“Zombies” are not voting in South Carolina, the state’s top election official said Wednesday, disputing claims by another state official that more than 950 dead voters have cast ballots in S.C. elections. Marci Andino, director of the S.C. State Election Commission, testified before a House panel that some of the voters the Department of Motor Vehicles claims are dead actually are alive. “In many cases, these are people that our (county election officials) know, and these people are very much alive,” Andino said.

Chile: President signs automatic voter registration into law | Santiago Times

With President Sebastián Piñera’s signature at a ceremony in the Presidential Palace on Monday, Chile joined a community of nations in which all eligible voters are automatically registered to vote.Piñera was joined by young beneficiaries of Chile’s latest voting reform on Monday. Photo by Alex Ibañez/Gobierno de Chile. This reform is the heart of this administration,” Secretary General Cristián Larroulet said while introducing President Piñera. “This is a step in the right direction for Chile, but not yet the answer to all our problems.” The new voting law will make registration automatic and voting itself voluntary. It is projected that over 4.5 million new voters will be added to the nation’s electoral registry, with most of the additions under the age of 30.

Chile: Parties propose changes to Chile’s electoral system | Santiago Times

The center-left Christian Democrat (DC) party and center-right National Renewal (RN) party presented a proposal on Tuesday that would replace Chile’s controversial binomial electoral system with a proportional system similar to the Electoral College in the United States. DC President Ignacio Walker and Carlos Larraín, of the RN, outlined the proposal called the “New Political Regime in Chile” at the former Congress building in Santiago.
“We want to give the country an offer that would move it toward a new political regime and would significantly increase the inclusion of political parties to better democratize Chile,” Walker told local media.

South Korea: Seoul to keep North Korean defectors away from polling stations | Asia One

The National Election Commission plans to prevent North Korean defectors from entering South Korean diplomatic missions in China during the overseas voting period for the general elections. The overseas voting period for the April 11 general elections runs from March 28 to April 2, and the ballots are open to overseas Koreans with Korean nationality, and absentees such as those studying or working abroad. According to reports, the National Election Commission is reviewing plans to collaborate with the Chinese police force to prevent North Korean defectors from entering South Korean diplomatic missions, where the voting will take place, by pretending to be South Korean citizens.