Missouri: Trial judge strikes down ballot summary for proposed Missouri voter ID constitutional amendment | The Republic

A trial judge has struck down the ballot summary for a proposed amendment to the Missouri Constitution that would have cleared the way for requiring voters to show photo identification. Missouri lawmakers developed the summary when they approved the measure. But Cole County Circuit Judge Pat Joyce struck down the ballot summary and concluded that it is insufficient and unfair. In a ruling signed earlier this week, Joyce left it to the Legislature to revise.

National: The Comeback of Campaign Finance | Roll Call

Ten years after they celebrated the enactment of their sweeping ban on unregulated campaign cash, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) have revived their assault on big money.
The two are not plotting some grand new reform or launching a public relations tour — though they did tape a public radio segment together recently. But a decade after the McCain-Feingold law was signed by the president (March 27, 2002), the erstwhile allies are delivering a strikingly unified message: The campaign finance rules are in tatters, scandals will follow, and voters will once again demand reform. “Thanks to a naive and politically ignorant decision by the United States Supreme Court, obviously it has been largely dismantled,” McCain said in an interview about the law that he authored with Feingold. “And the consequences are manifesting themselves every day in what will someday be, sooner rather than later, a huge scandal.”
Feingold struck a similar note. “We put a brick on top of a wall, and the brick is intact, but the wall was smashed by the Citizens United decision,” Feingold told Roll Call. “It has turned the election system into a joke.”

Voting Blogs: Campaign Spending Shows Political Ties, Self-Dealing | ProPublica

For an example of the fluidity of campaign finance rules, as well as the tangled web of connections between candidates and super PACs, look no further than the digital consulting firm Targeted Victory. So far, the firm’s hauled in $4.1 million working for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign and American Crossroads, the super PAC launched by GOP strategist Karl Rove. Just down the hall, its neighbors in Arlington, Va., include an office housing four other companies working for Romney, American Crossroads or the pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future. With the rise of super PACs, the jet-fueled political action committees that can take unlimited contributions, many campaign finance watchdogs have focused on the hundreds of millions of dollars being raised this presidential election cycle. But after the most recent campaign filings came in last week, ProPublica decided to track the other side of the equation: Where the money goes. Our analysis found that more than $306 million has been spent so far by major super PACs and the five leading presidential candidates.

Alaska: Redistricting Board says it has adopted new election districts | Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

After just two days of work, the Alaska Redistricting Board has adopted a new election district plan that members believe complies with the state constitution. The adoption of the new plan is the first step to comply with an order from the Alaska Supreme Court, which earlier this month found the board hadn’t followed the proper process in drawing its original plan. The court sent the board back to the drawing table to follow guidelines laid out by its 1992 ruling in an earlier election redistricting case, Hickel vs. Southeast Conference. The “Hickel process” requires the board to first draw a plan that complies with the constitution before making changes for the federal Voting Rights Act. Most changes in the new plan affect Fairbanks and rural districts. Anchorage, Southcentral, Southeast and the North Slope are untouched from the board’s original plan. That’s because the lawsuit that led to the redrawing only focused on districts with constitutional complaints, said Taylor Bickford, the board’s executive director.

Florida: Wellington canvassing board certifies revised election results subject to hand count | Palm Beach Post

The village council has no newly sworn members and looks exactly like it has for the past few years – despite a March 13 election for three of its five seats. The same council members will rule until and unless a hand recount makes clear who prevailed for mayor, seat 1 and seat 4. Wellington’s canvassing board voted unanimously tonight to certify election results from a March 19 revised tally of votes – subject to their confirmation by a hand count. That means the results still aren’t official and that until and unless there is a hand count – which could take only one day, but must be ordered by a judge – the pre-election council is seated. “What a mess,” Wellington Chamber of Commerce Vice President Victor Connor said as he left the meeting.

Minnesota: Conference committee will take up Voter ID differences | MinnPost

The state House Monday rejected the Senate’s version of a measure that would require voters to show a photo ID at the polls, ensuring the two bodies will hash out their differences in conference committee. A provision introduced by GOP Sen. John Howe on Friday – when the Senate passed the Voter ID constitutional amendment along near party lines – is likely at the heart of the disagreement between the two bodies. Both passed the measure last week. Howe’s provision broadened the amendment’s language to include “equivalent” verification measures to ensure that future technologies wouldn’t be locked out of the state Constitution. It passed the Senate with wide support (63- 3), including backing from Sen. Scott Newman, the bill’s chief sponsor there, who said he “philosophically” agrees with it.

Missouri: Voting Machine Veto Stands; St. Charles County to Re-Bid Election Items | St. Charles, MO Patch

For the second time, St. Charles County send out bids for 260 optical scan voting machines. The council lacked the five votes necessary during its Monday meeting to override County Executive Steve Ehlmann’s veto on buying 260 voting machines for $1.2 million. So, the council opted to re-bid the items. Council members Terry Hollander, Ward 5, and Paul Wynn, Ward 4, were absent. Election Authority Director Rich Chrismer said the bid results will be the same. “We will get only one bid,” he said. “There are no other companies. Is that a shame that only one company can bid in the state of Missouri? Sure it is.” Chrismer said only one company is certified under 2005 standards by both federal and state government to supply the voting machines, and that’s Henry Adkins & Son. “You could not buy new voting equipment unless it’s certified according to the 2005 standards (according to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission),” Chrismer said.

Nebraska: Filibuster kills voter ID measure | Fremont Tribune

A bill that would have required Nebraska voters to show government identification at the polls was squashed Wednesday by a legislative filibuster, but the senator who introduced the measure said he’ll likely introduce it again next year. Lawmakers who backed the bill fell three votes short of the support they needed to stop debate on the measure. As a result, the matter is essentially dead for this legislative session. The vote to end the eight-hour debate was 30-16. Bill supporters needed 33 votes. The divide in the officially nonpartisan Legislature fell mostly along party lines. “That was unfortunate,” said the measure’s sponsor, Fremont Sen. Charlie Janssen, who wants to bring the bill back next year. “It wasn’t put forward as a partisan issue. It was never intended to be a partisan issue, but in the end I think that’s what happened. I think people closed their ears and didn’t want to compromise, which was evident when we were trying to reach out to them.”

Ohio: Senate Votes To Repeal Election Overhaul Bill | NBC 4i

The Republican-controlled Ohio Senate has approved a plan to repeal a contentious new election law that shrunk early voting in the presidential battleground state. The bill cleared the chamber along party lines Wednesday, over the strenuous objections of Democrats. It heads to the Ohio House. Republican Sen. Bill Coley called the bill nothing more than a repeal of the law Democrats and their allies are working to turn back in November. “If there were provisions of the bill that were deemed so terrible as to trigger a referendum, then lets revisit the topic,” Coley said.  “Let’s hit the reset button in an effort to find common ground.”

Pennsylvania: Still paying a fee for free voter IDs | Philly.com

When Stephen Branch visited the state driver’s license center on Ogontz Avenue last week with his birth certificate and Social Security card, a clerk told him he’d have to pay $13.50 for what’s supposed to be a free voter-ID card. “I showed him my papers and [the Daily News] article about free IDs, but he wouldn’t listen,” Branch said. He’s one of several voters who have complained about inconsistencies with the controversial new voter-ID law. Under the law, passed March 14, the fee usually associated with getting a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation photo ID is waived if the applicant has no other identification and is getting it to vote. At least that’s what’s supposed to happen.

Wisconsin: One week till primary, elections officials prepare for two scenarios | FOX6Now

The April 3rd Wisconsin presidential primary is just one week away, and there is a great deal of confusion after a Dane County judge placed a permanent injunction on Wisconsin’s Voter ID Law. Milwaukee County election officials are also dealing with getting ballots reprinted, due to an error. Election clerks say even they aren’t sure whether the Voter ID Law will be in place at the polls on April 3rd. Amidst the continuing confusion, Alice Knitter says she’ll do what she can next Tuesday. “I’m a voter, and I will vote next week,” Knitter said. With the Wisconsin presidential primary next Tuesday, voters and election officials are trying to remain aware and prepared. In Greenfield, City Clerk Jennifer Goergen says she and other Milwaukee County election officials have already been dealing with the fact that they still do not have acceptable ballots, due to a printing error. Throw in the uncertainty surrounding the on, then partially off, and potentially back on again Voter ID Law requirements, and confusion abounds.

Canada: NDP internet vote disruption worries experts | The Chronicle Herald

Although many people are attached at the hip to their laptops, few are conversant in software coding and even fewer are familiar with heavy encryption. Combine computers with the intricacies of elections, and that leaves only a handful of specialists worldwide who can claim to understand online voting. Questions about e-voting were raised after the NDP leadership convention was disrupted by a cyber attack. Not all of them have been answered satisfactorily, say software experts, despite reassurances from Scytl, the software company that handled the NDP election process, and from Halifax Regional Municipality, which has committed to use the company’s services in October’s municipal election. “Multibillion-dollar (software developers) like Windows, you know, Microsoft . . . can’t have their software bug-free. So I don’t think Scytl is able to do that,” said Daniel Sokolov, a Halifax information technology expert. Sokolov has examined several European elections that used e-voting and found at least three with troubling results.

Guinea-Bissau: Date set for presidential runoff | CBS News

An election official in Guinea-Bissau says a presidential runoff will be held next month. Electoral commission president Desejado Lima da Costa said Wednesday the vote will be held April 22. Former prime minister Carlos Gomes Jr. took nearly 49 percent of the first vote. Challenger Kumba Yala came second with about 23 percent. Yala has previously said he won’t participate in the runoff because he believes the poll earlier this month was fraudulent. It’s not known if he will participate in the April runoff.

Mali: Junta says will not stand in planned election | Reuters

Mali’s coup leaders announced a new constitution including a pledge to allow elections in which they would be barred from standing, even as several thousand supporters rallied in the streets of the capital Bamako on Wednesday. The charter, which did not specify when the elections would be held, came hours after West Africa’s ECOWAS bloc threatened sanctions and the use of military force to reverse last week’s coup that ousted President Amadou Toumani Toure. “Anyone who was a member of the CNRDRE or the government cannot be a candidate in the elections,” the new constitution, read out on state television, said of the junta, known as the National Committee for the Return of Democracy and the Restoration of the State.

Senegal: Macky Sall wins Senegal run-off election in landslide | Deseret News

Senegal’s new president won the runoff election in a landslide, garnering nearly twice as many votes as the incumbent of 12 years, according to provisional results released Tuesday. Senegalese officials announced that Macky Sall had won 65.80 percent of ballots cast in Sunday’s runoff ballot, benefiting from a united opposition in the second round of voting. Incumbent President Abdoulaye Wade won 34.20 percent of the vote — slightly less than his percentage in the first round last month. It marked a sharp drop-off from the last presidential race in 2007, when he easily won the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff. “It’s a landslide victory for President Macky Sall,” said Mbaye Ndiaye, who represents the opposition coalition that supported Sall in the runoff.

Editorials: Analysis: In Senegal, presidents concede defeat | Washington Times

The moment that crystallized this nation’s reputation as one of Africa’s established democracies was in the morning after the presidential election 12 years ago. In the neoclassical presidential palace, Senegalese President Abdou Diouf stayed awake all night, counting and recounting the results that showed in no uncertain terms that he had lost. Mr. Diouf could have rigged the election from the start, as his neighbor to the north in Mauritania had the habit of doing. He could have stacked the court in charge of validating the election with supporters, the strategy his neighbor to the south in Ivory Coast would put to good use one day. He could have deployed the army to keep his grasp on power like in nearby Guinea, Gambia and Guinea-Bissau – all of which share a border with Senegal, a nation of 12.4 million on Africa’s western edge. Instead, the 64-year-old president emerged from his office, told his aides to draft a statement conceding defeat and picked up the phone to congratulate the man who had beaten him, Abdoulaye Wade.

United Kingdom: Election watchdog’s concern over Scottish referendum | Channel 4 News

The concerns emerge in the minutes of private meetings held by the commission, which have been released to Channel 4 News under the Freedom of Information Act. They show the watchdog does not believe the Scottish government is proposing to give it the power to have proper oversight of the referendum. The documents also reveal the electoral commission “does not favour” holding the poll on a Saturday and that it believes it would “not be acceptable” for the Scottish government to test the fairness of the referendum question itself.