The Voting News Daily: Post-Citizens United Money May Swamp Congressional Candidates, Broadcasters fight plan to post names of political ad buyers on Web

National: Post-Citizens United Money May Swamp Congressional Candidates | Huffington Post Political spending by deep-pocketed donors and cash-rich corporations threatens to sow chaos in this year’s congressional races, political consultants warn. A billionaire or corporation writing a check for $1 million — or even $10 million — isn’t enough to swing a presidential election. But when…

National: Post-Citizens United Money May Swamp Congressional Candidates | Huffington Post

Political spending by deep-pocketed donors and cash-rich corporations threatens to sow chaos in this year’s congressional races, political consultants warn. A billionaire or corporation writing a check for $1 million — or even $10 million — isn’t enough to swing a presidential election. But when it comes to congressional campaigns, it could be plenty. “You can work for months and years to develop a fundraising advantage over your opponent of $2 million, $5 million or $10 million. And all that can be wiped out in seconds by a few people giving to a super PAC,” said Democratic pollster Mark Mellman.  While Republican and Democratic candidates are, in theory, equally susceptible to that kind of unlimited outside money, it’s the Democrats who sound much more alarmed.  “No one is safe, and everyone’s got to protect themselves,” said Democratic strategist Hank Sheinkopf. “Super PACs can strike at any time they want.”

National: Broadcasters fight plan to post names of political ad buyers on Web | The Washington Post

CBS and News Corp.’s Fox are among broadcasters fighting a plan to post names of campaign-ad buyers and purchase prices on the Web as record election spending raises concerns over anonymous political contributions. The information is maintained in desk drawers and filing cabinets at television stations, and the Federal Communications Commission wants to bring the data to a Web site the agency would run. The proposal would “impose significant new administrative burdens,” CBS and Fox stations told the agency Jan. 17 in comments joined by Comcast’s NBC stations and Walt Disney Co.’s ABC. The National Association of Broadcasters told the FCC recently that the agency lacks power to make the change.

National: Federal contractors donate to ‘super PAC’ backing Romney – unclear whether such giving is still banned after Citizens United |

A “super PAC” that has spent more than $35 million on behalf of Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has accepted donations from federal contractors despite a 36-year-old ban against such companies making federal political expenditures. At least five companies with government contracts gave a combined $890,000 to Restore Our Future, the pro-Romney super PAC, a review of federal contracting records and campaign finance data shows. Other super PACs, including Republican-allied American Crossroads, and Priorities USA Action, which backs President Obama, have language on their websites warning that federal contractors are not allowed to make donations. Restore Our Future does not list the prohibition on its website.

Editorials: The two-fold voter fraud fraud | Al Jazeera

Last week, thousands of people participated in a re-enactment of the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery march for voting rights, which was directly responsible for the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The recent march culminated with a rally at the state capitol. “We didn’t come to commemorate what happened 47 years ago. We came to continue what happened 47 years ago,” said Reverend Al Sharpton, whose National Action Network was a principal organiser of the march. Martin Luther King III told the crowd his father would have opposed voter photo-ID laws being passed or considered in many states. “I think my father would be greatly disappointed in our nation,” he said. Republicans allege that in-person voter fraud is on the up and up. Yet there’s simply no evidence – or plausible motive – for suspecting that individual voters pose a threat to our democracy. In fact, many of these new measures contribute to the further disenfranchisement of minority groups, while leaving the door open to the potential abuse of electronic vote counts.

California: Oakland Mayor Jean Quan camp gears up for recall election | San Francisco Chronicle

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan isn’t waiting to see if the recall drive against her qualifies for the ballot – she already has a well-oiled campaign up and running to keep her job. And with good reason. Joe Tuman, a San Francisco State political science professor and KPIX political analyst who placed fourth in the 2010 mayoral election, tells us that if the recall qualifies, “I would definitely run.” Tuman’s entry would offer Quan’s opponents an alternative to the only other announced candidate so far, City Councilman and former mayoral candidate Ignacio De La Fuente, whom some see as unelectable. So it may be no surprise that an estimated 21,000 Oakland voters recently got a glossy, eight-page mailer, Oakland on the Rise – State of the City, Mayor Jean Quan.

Colorado: Secretary of State Gessler asks Homeland Security to ID noncitizens on voter rolls | The Denver Post

Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler has asked the Department of Homeland Security to provide his office with the citizenship status of about 4,500 registered voters — his latest tactic in an ongoing effort to remove noncitizens from the state’s voter rolls. “It is imperative to the integrity of Colorado elections that we ensure only U.S. citizens are registered to vote and voting in our elections,” Gessler wrote in the March 8 letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano. Critics of the move agreed only U.S. citizens should vote but said Gessler is going to extremes during a crucial election year — in a key battleground state — to address a problem that his office so far has been unable to quantify.

Illinois: Aurora considers past, future of separate election commission |

The future of the Aurora Election Commission may be in jeopardy, even as it prepares to oversee its portion of Tuesday’s primary. Critics say the 78-year-old independent election body is becoming increasingly costly to operate and may be an unnecessary unit of government. In short, they say, its time may have passed. “The Aurora Election Commission was (created) in a day when you would have to go to the county seat to vote, which would have been arduous for a lot of people,” said Carie Anne Ergo, chief management officer in Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner’s office. But now, she said, “the mayor thinks there’s a better and cheaper alternative to providing election services.”

Minnesota: Court fight inevitable for Minnesota voter ID |

Even if the Legislature approves the measure as a constitutional amendment, opponents vow to try and keep it off November ballot. The turmoil and contention surrounding voting rights and election integrity does not cease when a state adopts the type of photo ID requirement Minnesota is moving toward. It just moves into the courtrooms. Two Wisconsin district court judges blocked the state’s strict, new ID requirement this month, after just a single election. One judge said a government that limits the right to vote “imperils its legitimacy.” The state is appealing. In Texas and South Carolina, concerns dating back to the Civil Rights era have caused the federal government to block ID laws, fearing minority voters will be disenfranchised. Those states are appealing. Even Indiana and Georgia, two states with the longest history of using strict photo ID requirements, had to battle multiple legal challenges, culminating in a 2008 U.S. Supreme Court decision that upheld the Indiana law as being in “the interest in deterring and detecting voter fraud.”

Missouri: Raucous GOP caucus in St. Peters is shut down | St. Louis Today

Crowds and chaos rattled Missouri’s GOP caucuses on Saturday, threatening to put further scrutiny on a process that was already a national anomaly.
In St. Charles County, which was to have been the biggest single prize of the day, the caucus was shut down before delegates were chosen after a boisterous crowd objected to how the meeting was being run, including an attempted ban on videotaping. Two supporters of presidential hopeful Ron Paul were arrested. At other caucuses, participants gathered outdoors as the appointed locations turned out to be too small to accommodate crowds or waited for hours as organizers worked through procedural questions.

Missouri: Contention, confusion mar Missouri caucuses |

Contention and confusion marred various Republican caucuses in Missouri on Saturday, and one meeting was abruptly shut down, as impassioned supporters of Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul battled for an edge in the state’s complicated delegate selection process. A caucus at a school near St. Louis where roughly 2,500 Republicans had gathered was adjourned before a vote could take place because it got so rowdy that extra police were summoned and two people were arrested for trespassing. Elsewhere, political tensions and divisions led to recounts not only on votes over which candidates should be supported, but even which people should preside over the caucuses. “It looks like a chaotic day around Missouri,” said former senator Jim Talent, a Romney campaign adviser who participated in one of the more politically divided caucuses in St. Louis County.

Ohio: Rogue political robocalls on the rise in Ohio |

Shadowy unregistered political groups — some of which claim to be “super PACs” — are placing apparently illegal robocalls to voters across Ohio and the country. Experts say the latest form of dirty politics has the power to sway elections, and the problem is escalating nationwide. A Cincinnati-area Democratic congressional primary candidate, David Krikorian, says his defeat at the ballot box on March 6 may have been caused by a robocall that went out to voters the prior weekend, urging them to vote for an unknown candidate who didn’t actively campaign, instead of Krikorian, who was endorsed by many Democratic groups.

Editorials: Pennsylvania’s voter ID law: ill-timed, too costly | Erie Times-News

Voting in Pennsylvania’s April 24 primary and in the Nov. 6 presidential election just got complicated, thanks to Pennsylvania’s new voter ID law. Gov. Tom Corbett signed the bill into law Wednesday, after the House followed the Senate, both controlled by Republicans, and approved the bill 104-88. Three Republican senators had voted against the bill on March 8: Sen. Jane Earll of Fairview, Sen. Mary Jo White of Franklin and Sen. Stewart Greenleaf of suburban Philadelphia. As with most political issues today, the rhetoric is heated about whether voter fraud is a legitimate, widespread worry and whether strict new ID requirements will discourage citizens from exercising their right to vote.

Wisconsin: Wausau Republican Sen. Pam Galloway: I didn’t quit Senate to avoid recall election | Green Bay Press Gazette

Former state Sen. Pam Galloway on Sunday dismissed as “totally implausible” speculation that she resigned her seat to avoid a recall race. Galloway, a controversial Republican from Wausau, spoke publicly for the first time about her decision to leave the Senate. She made the surprise announcement on Friday. Her resignation was effective at midnight Saturday. Galloway’s father-in-law in Illinois and her brother in Virginia both are facing long-term, serious health problems, she said, and she decided that she could no longer fulfill the demands of her office and care for them at the same time. “I always said that my family comes first,” she said. Galloway, a former breast cancer surgeon, said she essentially made the decision on Monday, but that she had been wrestling with the decision since January. “It was a real struggle. … Could I serve my constituents at the level they deserved?” she said.

East Timor: Timor-Leste president concedes election defeat | The Guardian

José Ramos-Horta, the president of Timor-Leste who helped steer the country into independence after campaigning tirelessly for nearly a quarter of a century, has conceded defeat after a poor showing in weekend elections. The first round of voting passed peacefully, raising the prospects of a withdrawal of the Australian-led mission of about 400 UN peacekeeping troops that was deployed to Timor-Leste in 2006 to quell chaotic unrest. Francisco Lu Olo Guterres, of the traditionally strong leftist Fretilin party, was leading with 28% of the vote, followed by the former military chief Taur Matan Ruak with 25%. That means Ramos-Horta, with 18%, has no chance of advancing to a 21 April runoff. “Congratulations to them,” the Nobel peace laureate told reporters. “And also to the people who supported me throughout my mandate.”

Guinea-Bissau: UN Mission Pleased With Peaceful Election in Guinea Bissau | VoA News

The United Nations Integrated Peace-Building Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS) said it’s pleased with the peaceful conduct of Sunday’s presidential election in the West African nation.  Citizens voted to elect a new president, who will succeed Malam Bacai Sanha who died in January.
UNIOGBIS spokesman Vladimir Monteiro said the electoral commission is constitutionally mandated to announce the final outcome of the vote within 10 days of the election. “The election was held in a very peaceful manner,” said Monteiro.  “In the morning, participation was relatively weak but, all day long, leaders of the electoral body encouraged the people to go and vote, and it seems that people listened and went to vote because the participation finally increased.” Several international organizations, including the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, called Bissau Guineans to peacefully vote in Sunday’s presidential election.

Iran: Parliamentary run-off election set for May 4 | Tehran Times

Iran’s run-off parliamentary election will be held on May 4, an official at the election headquarters of the Interior Ministry announced on Saturday. The second round of the ninth Majlis election will be held in Tehran and 32 other constituencies on May 4, Hassan Ali Nouri told the Persian service of ISNA. Two hundred and twenty five parliamentary seats were decided in the first round of the parliamentary election on March 2, and a run-off election will be held to decide the remaining 65 seats.

Senegal: Music star Youssou Ndour hits campaign trail | Daily Star

Senegalese superstar Youssou Ndour, who has lent his golden voice to politics, hit the campaign trail a week before run-off polls to rally support for presidential challenger Macky Sall. Ndour, along with all 12 presidential candidates who fell out of the country’s electoral race in a first round of voting, are campaigning hard for Sall, to block a controversial third term bid by 85-year-old incumbent Abdoulaye Wade. The Grammy-award winning artist has been at the forefront of this campaign since his own attempt to run for office was thwarted by the constitutional court which said he did not have enough signatures supporting his candidacy.

United Kingdom: Homeless targeted in voter registration drive in Scotland | The Press Association

A new campaign aims to encourage homeless people to sign up to vote in this year’s council elections. Housing and homeless charity Shelter Scotland has teamed up with the Electoral Commission for the initiative. As well as urging homeless people to register to vote, it will encourage those in temporary accommodation and people renting properties to put their name on the electoral roll. Research by the Electoral Commission last April found only 56% of those living in rented accommodation were registered to vote, compared with 88% of owner occupiers. Andy O’Neill, head of the Electoral Commission in Scotland, said people living in temporary accommodation may not realise they can still register to vote using their temporary address.