The Voting News Daily: John McCain predicts ‘huge scandals’ in super PAC-tainted election, Election Officials’ Responsibility for Handling Denial of Service Attacks

National: John McCain predicts ‘huge scandals’ in super PAC-tainted election | iWatch News Sen. John McCain slammed the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision as “incredibly naïve” on Tuesday, and predicted there would be “huge scandals” in its wake. The Arizona Republican was co-author with then-colleague Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., of the last major attempt by…

National: John McCain predicts ‘huge scandals’ in super PAC-tainted election | iWatch News

Sen. John McCain slammed the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision as “incredibly naïve” on Tuesday, and predicted there would be “huge scandals” in its wake. The Arizona Republican was co-author with then-colleague Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., of the last major attempt by government to reform campaign finance laws in 2002. He was participating in a panel discussion on the decision at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. The law prohibited corporations and unions from bankrolling issue ads that mention a candidate within the final weeks before an election. But under the contentious Citizens United ruling, corporations and unions were freed not only to fund issue ads that mention a candidate but to also make so-called “independent expenditures” that urge people to vote for or vote against candidates. Many worry this change will increase the potential for corruption and unseemly alliances between lawmakers and special interests.

Voting Blogs: “Nobody Goes There Anymore, It’s Too Crowded”: Election Officials’ Responsibility for Handling Denial of Service Attacks | Election Academy

Over the weekend, Canada’s New Democrats (NDP) conducted a vote for a new leader. The vote was conducted online so that registered party members could vote both in person at the NDP convention site and remotely from home computers or smartphones. Sometime during the second round of voting, the system slowed considerably, and eventually it became known that the system had likely been the target of a “denial of service” (DoS) attack aimed at clogging the the system and thus preventing (or at least discouraging) voters from casting ballots. The NDP, its vendor and consultants have identified two IP addresses that appear to have been the source of the attack and are investigating now. The results of that investigation are still forthcoming, but in the meantime I wanted to focus on a discussion I saw online yesterday about whether and how NDP and its vendor should have prepared for the possibility of a DoS attack.

Voting Blogs: Citizens United sequel filed | SCOTUSblog

Arguing that the heavy flow of money into this year’s presidential election campaign is not the result of a controversial Supreme Court ruling, two small Montana corporations told the Supreme Court Tuesday that there is no need now for the Justices to reconsider that decision two years ago in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.  In fact, the new petition (found here, with an appendix) asked the Justices to summarily overturn a Montana Supreme Court decision that the corporations argued directly disobeyed the Supreme Court.  The case is American Tradition Partnership, et al., v. Bullock, et al. (no docket number assigned yet). Two Justices had argued last month that the Montana case would give the Court a chance to reconsider Citizens United, because of the “huge sums” of money now being spent “to buy candidates’ allegiance.”  Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, joined by Justice Stephen G. Breyer, nonetheless conceded in their statement that lower courts were still bound by the 2010 ruling freeing corporations and labor unions to spend as much as they wished on campaigns if they did so independently of candidates.  The Court put on hold the state court ruling upholding a Montana law similar to the federal law nullified in Citizens United, at least until an appeal is decided.

National: Two SEC Commissioners Could Dramatically Change Campaign Finance | The Nation

The road to overturning Citizen’s United by constitutional amendment is a long one—it requires a two-thirds vote in both chambers of Congress and then ratification by thirty-eight state legislatures. The DISCLOSE Act was re-introduced in the Senate this month but is almost certain to remain stuck in the mud. Meanwhile, corporations are dumping millions into the coffers of outside groups for the fall elections. Some campaign reformers have thus turned their attention to the Securities and Exchange Commission, urging it to pass a rule that all publicly traded companies must disclose political spending to shareholders—this would reveal exactly what business interests are trying to influence the election, and in the eyes of most experts, lead to dramatically reduced corporate electioneering.

National: Romney’s fundraisers are quietly amassing millions |

A few weeks before the Republican primary in Florida in January, the billionaire owner of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins hosted a fundraiser for Mitt Romney at his oceanfront home in Palm Beach. The average voter wouldn’t know about the event at the home of Stephen Ross because Romney’s campaign doesn’t follow the practice of other major presidential candidates who have willingly identified big-money fundraisers and the amounts they collect. A review by The Associated Press of campaign records and other documents reveals hints about the vast national network of business leaders bringing in millions to elect Romney. The same month that Ross invited friends and colleagues to his home, for example, Romney’s campaign received $317,000 from nearly 150 people who share Ross’s exclusive ZIP code on Florida’s east coast, according to Federal Election Commission records. That mysterious surge of donations outpaced all contributions to Romney during the previous year from the wealthy Palm Beach area, when the campaign collected $270,000 over nine months. Romney got $21,000 more from residents there in February.

National: Pro-Romney PAC Killing Machine With Attack Ads | Bloomberg

One of the political ads airing in the run-up to the April 3 Wisconsin primary accuses Rick Santorum of voting with former Senator Hillary Clinton in favor of granting voting rights to violent convicted felons. Santorum’s campaign says the commercial is untrue, yet that hasn’t stopped Restore Our Future, a so-called super-political action committee supporting Mitt Romney, from running it and another attack ad more than 1,647 times on Wisconsin television stations, according to New York-based Kantar Media’s CMAG, a firm that tracks advertising.

Florida: Restrictions on Voter Registration in Florida Have Groups Opting Out |

Florida, which is expected to be a vital swing state once again in this year’s presidential election, is enrolling fewer new voters than it did four years ago as prominent civic organizations have suspended registration drives because of what they describe as onerous restrictions imposed last year by Republican state officials. The state’s new elections law — which requires groups that register voters to turn in completed forms within 48 hours or risk fines, among other things — has led the state’s League of Women Voters to halt its efforts this year. Rock the Vote, a national organization that encourages young people to vote, began an effort last week to register high school students around the nation — but not in Florida, over fears that teachers could face fines. And on college campuses, the once-ubiquitous folding tables piled high with voter registration forms are now a rarer sight.

Florida: Judge expected to hold hearing on Wellington election today | Palm Beach Post

A judge has the power to decide whether any candidates are sworn in to the village council tonight, as expected — and if those candidates can be only the original winners of Wellington’s disputed election. Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Robin Rosenberg is expected by this morning to decide whether to hold a hearing today to determine if Wellington’s canvassing board can certify only the village’s March 13 election results. According to a complaint filed Friday by former Wellington Mayor Kathy Foster and Wellington resident Gaye Scarpa, it would be “unlawful” for that board to accept any other results. That’s why they want the judge to stop the board from possibly swearing in candidates whom a March 19 revised tally of votes revealed to be the winners. Three other lawsuits, including one filed Monday, support the March 19 results.

Nebraska: Lawmakers tangle over Nebraska voter ID proposal |

A measure that would require Nebraska voters to show government-issued identification at the polls drew fierce criticism Tuesday from opponents in the Legislature, with one lawmaker calling it a “Jim Crow light” bill. Lawmakers argued over the measure into the evening, but were not expected to reach a vote until Wednesday. The bill’s sponsor, Fremont Sen. Charlie Janssen, told lawmakers that his bill seeks to fight the threat of voter fraud. Critics say the problem doesn’t exist and have mounted a filibuster on the bill to delay a vote. Janssen, a former U.S. Navy rescue swimmer, said he cast his first ballot as an absentee voter from a combat zone in the Persian Gulf. “I took great pride in casting that ballot, and I’d hate to think it was canceled out by somebody voting illegally,” he said. Opponents say the bill disproportionately affects poor and young voters. Between 50,000 and 100,000 Nebraskans do not have identification that would qualify as valid for voting purposes, according to the group Nebraskans for Civic Reform.

New York: They keep voting honest, one ballot at a time | The Columbia Paper

Columbia County’s election commissioners have counted 100% of the paper ballots in every election for the past two years, ever since the county switched to using new voting machines as part of a federal mandate. Their approach can delay the final vote tally and it may seem an odd when technology has taken over so many manual tasks. But they question the accuracy of the results for the new machines and see no reason to stop checking them by hand. “The most accurate and reliable method is a 100% visual audit,” Elections Commissioner Jason Nastke (R) said Tuesday. He referred to multiple scanner miscounts in Greenport in a past election. “The machines are not completely reliable,” he said. “Hand counting allows for voter intent to be taken into consideration,” said Election Commissioner Virginia Martin (D). “If someone has circled rather than filled in the ovals, it counts when the ballots are hand counted, but with machine counting, the only allowed discrepancies involve machine error, not human error.”

Pennsylvania: Voter ID bill fulfills its intent: Discouraging voters |

Since Gov. Corbett signed Pennsylvania’s voter-identification bill into law two weeks ago, Philadelphia advocacy groups have been scrambling to educate and assist voters, who will now need a state-sanctioned photo ID to vote in November. I visited a lot of places and talked to plenty of people last week, and I can tell you this: The process is far from the smooth road proponents had predicted. You know what a nightmare PennDot can be. Yep, bumpy, even on a good day. Well, on the day I showed up at Eighth and Arch Streets last week, PennDot resembled a modern-day Tower of Babel – everybody talking, no one quite understanding what the other was saying.

Canada: More than 10,000 IP addresses used in attack on NDP vote | CTV Winnipeg

The company that ran the online voting system used to help choose the winner of the weekend’s NDP leadership race is now blaming several hours of delays on a “malicious, massive” attack on its voting system. In a news release, Barcelona-based Scytl said “well over 10,000 malevolent IP addresses” were used in a Distributed Denial of Service attack, which generated hundreds of thousands of false voting requests to the system. “We deeply regret the inconvenience to NDP voters caused by this malicious, massive, orchestrated attempt to thwart democracy,” Susan Crutchlow, general manager of Scytl Canada said in a statement. The attack effectively “jammed up the pipe” into the voting system, delaying voter access, the statement said. “This network of malevolent computers, commonly known as a ‘botnet,’ was located on computers around the world but mainly in Canada.”

Egypt: On a mission to rebuild the country | BBC News

Presidential elections will be held in Egypt in May – the first since Hosni Mubarak was removed in last year’s popular uprising – and it looks as if the list of candidates will be a long one. Outside the office of the Presidential Election Commission, close to where President Mubarak used to have his residence, the candidates come out in a steady stream, brandishing the papers they need to begin their run for election to be the next president of Egypt. Sami Ibrahim Abdul Latif is a man of humble origins, from a simple village in the Nile Delta, wearing the traditional Egyptian galabeya. He scrapes a living reciting the Koran in graveyards. His programme is to support the poor – people like himself, he says. His campaign team consists just of himself. He has no campaign funds whatsoever.

South Ossetia: Repeat Presidential Election In South Ossetia Inconclusive | Radio Free Europe

As anticipated, none of the four candidates in the March 25 repeat election for de facto president of Georgia’s unrecognized region of South Ossetia polled the 50 percent plus one vote required for a clear first-round win. A runoff  has accordingly been scheduled for April 8 between opposition-backed candidate Leonid Tibilov, who polled 42.48 percent of the vote, and human rights ombudsman David Sanakoyev, who finished second with 24.58 percent. The original election for a successor to Eduard Kokoity, who was barred by the constitution from seeking a third consecutive presidential term, degenerated into a major political standoff after the republic’s Supreme Court annulled the second-round victory on November 27 of opposition candidate Alla Dzhioyeva.

Syria: Syrian Parliament Calls on Assad to Postpone Elections | RIA Novosti

The Syrian parliament, the People’s Assembly, appealed on Monday to President Bashar al-Assad to postpone parliamentary elections set for May 7, Syrian official SANA news agency said. The elections were announced under a new constitution passed last month. The Syrian opposition said the vote would be rigged and signaled that it would boycott the poll. “The Assembly appealed to the President of the Republic to consider delaying the elections so that the comprehensive reforms are consolidated, waiting for the outcome of the comprehensive national dialogue and empowering the licensed parties in light of the new parties law,” SANA said.

United Kingdom: Labour calls for electoral commission inquiry | The Irish Times

British Prime Minister David Cameron is desperately trying to stave off an official inquiry by the electoral commission into Conservative Party fundraising, after a top official was forced to resign for improperly offering access to him. The battle between Conservatives and the Labour Party on the issue now centres on the electoral commission, after former Labour justice secretary Jack Straw wrote to it demanding an official inquiry. If such an inquiry were to go ahead and have negative findings, it could have a devastating impact on Tory fortunes. Consequently, Number 10 is keen to do everything possible to ensure that one is not ordered. Last night, the electoral commission was keeping its counsel. In his letter to the commission, Mr Straw said the Tory co-treasurer Peter Cruddas and former party staffer Sarah Southern had broken rules simply by listening to undercover reporters offering to funnel Middle Eastern money to the party.