Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney picked up nine more delegates Saturday, winning unanimous backing at the Guam GOP convention. Republicans on the tiny Pacific island decided to shun traditional paper ballots and all 215 eligible to vote at the convention backed Romney with a show of hands. Though Guam’s Republican National Convention delegates are technically uncommitted all nine had pledged to vote for the candidate chosen at the state convention, said Jerry Crisostomo, convention co-chair.
The Voting News Daily: If you aren’t sure Citizens United gave rise to the super PACs, just follow the money, Super Tuesday more slow than super
Editorials: The Numbers Don’t Lie – If you aren’t sure Citizens United gave rise to the super PACs, just follow the money | Slate Magazine Most of what you hear about Citizens United v. FEC is negative. By opening the door for corporations to spend unlimited sums in elections and to allow for the creation of super…
Editorials: The Numbers Don’t Lie – If you aren’t sure Citizens United gave rise to the super PACs, just follow the money | Slate Magazine
Most of what you hear about Citizens United v. FEC is negative. By opening the door for corporations to spend unlimited sums in elections and to allow for the creation of super PACs, the Supreme Court has made a campaign finance system that was already flooded with money much worse. But Citizens United obviously has its defenders, and they have advanced a number of arguments to try to blunt criticism of the Supreme Court’s controversial decision: The public actually learns from the flood of negative advertising coming from these super PACs; super PACS increase competition; The Supreme Court’sCitizens United decision didn’t create super PACs, so stop blaming the court for the flood of dollars and the negative campaign ads they buy.
This last argument has recently gained a lot of traction, and has been made by First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams, his son the legal commentator Dan Abrams (who accused the media of “shameful, inexcusable conduct” in describing the Citizens United-super PAC connection), columnist George Will, and the Atlantic’s Wendy Kaminer. The argument goes like this: The Supreme Court back in 1976 held that individuals had a constitutional right to spend unlimited sums on elections. And before Citizens United, rich individuals like George Soros gave large sums of money to so-called “527 organizations” (named after an obscure section of the tax code) with innocuous names like “Americans Coming Together.” These 527 organizations were just like super PACs, so there’s nothing new here.
National: Super Tuesday more slow than super – Low turnout, few problems mark contests in 10 states | electionlineWeekly
Unlike four years ago when states jockeyed to be among the first to cast ballots in the hotly contested 2008 presidential primary season and 24 states and America Soma held their contests on February 5, this year only 10 states held contests on “Super Tuesday.” And with no contest on the Democrat side and less interest on the Republican side than there seemed to be four years, that made for a slow Super Tuesday for many elections officials with light turnout reported from Alaska to Vermont. That being said, just because the day was relatively quiet, some would say slow, doesn’t mean it was uneventful. The following is a brief recap of some of the events of Super Tuesday. In Franklin County, Ohio, some voters left their polling places without voting after confusion about ballots lead to delays. The confusion arose in polling places that handle multiple precincts. Due to the confusion about which ballots voters were supposed to receive, some voters could not wait because they had to get to work. Poll workers took down the contact information of the voters who had to leave and reached out to them after the ballot confusion was cleared up to encourage them to return to vote.
Despite the hype about super PACs this election, most aren’t very super at all: Nearly three in four report having less than $5,000 cash to their name or have yet to report assets, a review of their most recent disclosures indicates. And of the nearly 330 federal super PACs in existence today, about one-fourth have never raised or spent a dime, records show. More than two-dozen of these underwhelming organizations are the creations of one man — Josue Larose, an eccentric Floridian who’s confounded state and federal regulators while displaying no interest, or ability, to operate them for their intended purpose and frequently changes their names. Federal Election Commission officials wrote to Larose Wednesday informing him that they plan to administratively terminate 61 of the committees he’s created — both traditional political action committees and super PACs — because of inactivity.
Voting Blogs: California Felon Voting Case Asks: When is Being in Jail Not “Imprisoned”? | Election Academy
This week, civil rights advocates filed suit in a California appellate court seeking to restore the voting rights of 85,000 felons. Normally, these offenders would be ineligible to vote, given that California – like most states – has felon disenfranchisement laws on the books. But as the result of a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision aimed at overcrowding, the Golden State is reducing its state prison population by transferring tens of thousands of inmates from state prisons to county jails and tens of thousands more from state parole to county probation. In December, California’s Secretary of State sent county election offices a memorandum detailing how this “realignment”, as it is called, would affect the voting rights of the individuals involved. Basically, the memo says that almost nothing has changed with regards to felon voting rights; except in very limited circumstances (when the accused is convicted of a felony but required to serve time in a county jail as a condition of probation in lieu of a felony sentence) these individuals remain ineligible to vote.
On the last day of a once-a-decade redistricting legislative session, the Florida Supreme Court officially ordered overtime Friday by ruling that the re-drawn state Senate map failed to follow new anti-gerrymandering standards. The 5-2 ruling said that 8 of the Senate’s 40 re-drawn districts violated the new Fair Districts standards, a move that will force lawmakers to return to work — possibly within days — to take another crack at the maps. The court also gave unanimous approval to maps for 120 House districts. The defective Senate districts stretch from the Panhandle to Fort Myers, and Jacksonville to Orlando to Dania Beach — and failed to measure up in the high court’s review for different reasons, including being drawn to protect incumbents, and failing compactness or geographic standards.
As a bill asking Minnesotans to amend the state constitution so voters would be required to show a photo ID began its way through the House on Thursday, Gov. Mark Dayton and Secretary of State Mark Ritchie unveiled an alternative they say would be faster, cheaper and less likely to disenfranchise voters. With an electronic “poll book,” eligible voters who have lost an ID or no longer carry one could come to the polling place and have their electronic information pulled up from state records, Ritchie said. He said about 84,000 Minnesota voters don’t carry photo ID, but in many cases, they would have photos in the state drivers’ database. For those who don’t, another ID could be scanned in or a photo could be taken at the polling place. “We would not be disenfranchising anybody and we would not be breaking the bank,” Ritchie said.
Four days before Ohio’s primary election, Democratic voters in the 2nd Congressional District received a blitz of automated telephone calls supporting William R. Smith, a candidate who didn’t campaign, raised no money and gave no media interviews before the election. On election night, Smith won by 59 votes against a well-known, better funded and harder working candidate who had the endorsement of major Democratic groups. So who gets credit for helping Smith secure the Democratic nomination to Congress? No one knows. The “Victory Ohio Super PAC” claimed credit for the “robocalls,” but it is not registered with the Federal Election Commission and hasn’t disclosed any contributions or spending to federal regulators.
William R. Smith is the invisible candidate. No one has seen him; no one has heard him speak. Outside of his home county of Pike, there is probably no Democrat who could recognize him on sight. Tuesday, the Waverly resident won – barely – the popular vote in the 2nd District’s Democratic primary, while Brad Wenstrup was busy in the Republican primary upending a GOP incumbent member of Congress, Jean Schmidt. He came out ahead of Madeira’s David Krikorian, who ran against Schmidt as an independent in 2008, by a scant 59 votes out of slightly over 20,000 cast. Once the official count is done later this month, there may well be an automatic recount. “I have never seen. I don’t know him,” Krikorian said Wednesday. He blamed his loss on a mysterious SuperPAC that may have paid for calls for Smith and other Democrats.
Oregon: Taxpayers stuck with bill for a cumbersome ‘open primary’ that features just one candidate | OregonLive.com
Oregon taxpayers have to spend $200,000 on a cumbersome elections process that will ask the state’s nearly 440,000 unaffiliated voters if they want a Republican primary ballot that features just one candidate. Republican and Democratic Party officials are each accusing the other of wasting taxpayer money while in pursuit of a partisan advantage. About the only thing that’s clear is that only one Republican has even signed up to run for the three statewide seats that the GOP opened to voters who don’t register in any political party. That’s left everybody feeling a little frustrated. “There’s not much benefit,” fumed Rob Kremer, treasurer of the Oregon Republican Party, “in taxpayer money being spent to no purpose.”
The head of the Wisconsin state elections board recommended Friday that recall elections proceed against four Republican state senators, including Scott Fitzgerald, and that they take place on May 15 and June 12. Government Accountability Board director Kevin Kennedy said in his recommendation to the full board that his staff found enough valid signatures to trigger recall elections for the senators but is still examining signatures on petitions seeking the recall of Gov. Scott Walker and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, who are also Republicans. Kennedy said the proposed election dates make the most sense given the remaining verification work and other timing concerns related to the proximity of the state’s April 3 presidential primaries. The full board was to discuss the issue Monday and if it agrees, ask a Dane County judge for more time on Wednesday.
Parliamentary elections are being held in the separatist territory of Abkhazia, which broke away from Georgia in a bloody war in the 1990s. Today there is a fragile ceasefire between Abkhazia and Georgia but some worry that signs of instability are growing in the region again. A burning car and a road strewn with machine guns and cartridges – that was the scene a few weeks ago, after Abkhazia’s President Alexander Ankvab was attacked in an ambush. He was on his way to work when a bomb blew up his car and men hidden behind the trees started firing with machine-guns. The president survived but his two bodyguards were killed. Mr Ankvab, who became president in August, says his main aim is to fight corruption. But in this region, that can be a risky undertaking.
Imagine a game in which you fix the rules, choose the players, hold a veto over the results and, yet, go on to cheat. This is what happened last Friday with the ninth set of legislative elections in the Islamic Republic in Iran. As always, the regime decided who was allowed to stand and who was not. Then, the task of running the exercise was given to the Ministry of the Interior rather than an independent election commission as is the norm all over the world. No need to say, the results could be changed or canceled by the Council of the Custodians, the mullah-dominated organ of the regime. So, with such a configuration, why cheat?
The Justice and Legal Affairs Committee has faulted the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission for ignoring the recommendations of Parliament regarding the new electoral zones. Speaking to journalists in Parliament the acting chairman of the committee Njoroge Baiya, said that while the IEBC was an independent arm of government, it was duty-bound to make sure that most of the proposals from MPs were taken on board.
Renewed protests are due to be held in Moscow and other Russian cities following Vladimir Putin’s victory in last weekend’s presidential election. Authorities have given permission for up to 50,000 protesters to gather on one of central Moscow’s large avenues. A wave of protests was sparked last December by evidence that parliamentary elections had been rigged. Similar allegations have surrounded the presidential vote, which saw Mr Putin win a third term. Foreign states have accepted Mr Putin’s victory but observers said the poll had been skewed in his favour.