The Voting News Daily: Reports show hard-to-track donors dominate outside giving, New curbs on voter registration could hurt Obama

National: Reports show hard-to-track donors dominate outside giving | Millions of dollars flowing to independent political groups dominating this year’s presidential and congressional contests have come from mystery and hard-to-find donors, newly filed campaign reports show. More than $8 out of every $10 collected during the first three months of this year by two conservative…

National: Reports show hard-to-track donors dominate outside giving |

Millions of dollars flowing to independent political groups dominating this year’s presidential and congressional contests have come from mystery and hard-to-find donors, newly filed campaign reports show. More than $8 out of every $10 collected during the first three months of this year by two conservative groups associated with Republican strategist Karl Rove, for instance, went to a non-profit branch that does not have to reveal its donors. The two groups have surpassed the fundraising of the candidate their spending will help the most — Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney. FreedomWorks for America, a super PAC that has spent more than $700,000 working to oust veteran Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, relied on undisclosed money from its non-profit arm for nearly a third of its receipts this year, federal records show. Hatch, a six-term senator, now faces a June 26 primary after failing to win the support of at least 60% of delegates Saturday at Utah’s GOP convention.

Editorials: New curbs on voter registration could hurt Obama | Reuters

New state laws designed to fight voter fraud could reduce the number of Americans signing up to vote in this year’s presidential election by hundreds of thousands, a potential problem for President Barack Obama’s re-election bid. Voting laws passed by Republican-led legislatures in a dozen states during the past year have sharply restricted voter-registration drives that typically target young, low-income, African-American and Hispanic voters – groups that have backed the Democratic president by wide margins. A further 16 states are considering bills that would end voter registration on election days, impose a range of limits on groups that register voters and make it more difficult for people to sign up, according to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School. The new laws – many of which include measures requiring voters to show a photo ID at the polls – could carve into Obama’s potential support in Florida, Ohio and a few other politically divided states likely to be crucial in the November 6 election, analysts say.

Editorials: How to beat Citizens United | E.J. Dionne/The Washington Post

We are about to have the worst presidential campaign money can buy. The Supreme Court’s dreadful Citizens United decision and a somnolent Federal Election Commission will allow hundreds of millions of dollars from a small number of very wealthy people and interests to inundate our airwaves with often vicious advertisements for which no candidate will be accountable. One would like to think that the court will eventually admit the folly of its 2010 ruling and reverse it. But we can’t wait that long. And out of this dreary landscape, hope is blossoming in the state of New York. There’s irony here, since New York is where a lot of the big national money is coming from. No matter. The state is considering a campaign finance law that would repair some of the Citizens United damage, and in a way the Supreme Court wouldn’t be able to touch.

Editorials: The New York Times’ Disingenuous Campaign Against Citizens United | Wendy Kaminer/The Atlantic

Like Fox News, The New York Times has a First Amendment right to spread misinformation about important public issues, and it is exercising that right in its campaign against the Citizens United ruling. In news stories, as well as columns, it has repeatedly mischaracterized Citizens United, explicitly or implicitly blaming it for allowing unlimited “super PAC” contributions from mega-rich individuals. In fact, Citizens United enabled corporations and unions to use general treasury funds for independent political expenditures; it did not expand or address the longstanding, individual rights of the rich to support independent groups. And, as recent reports have made clear, individual donors, not corporations, are the primary funders of super PACs. When I first focused on the inaccurate reference to Citizens United in a front-page story about Sheldon Adelson, I assumed it was a more or less honest if negligent mistake. (And I still don’t blame columnists for misconceptions about a complicated case that are gleaned from news stories and apparently shared by their editors.) But mistakes aboutCitizens United are beginning to look more like propaganda, because even after being alerted to its misstatements, theTimes has continued to repeat them. First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams wrote to the editors pointing out mischaracterizations of Citizens United in two news stories, but instead of publishing corrections, the Times published Abrams’ letter on the editorial page, effectively framing a factual error as a difference of opinion. Since then the error has reappeared: A February 21 post by Editorial Page Editor Andrew Rosenthal attributes Sheldon Adelson’s ability to influence the election to Citizens United. “Thanks to Citizens United, unlimited contributions to third-party groups are legal,” Rosenthal asserts.

Alaska: Election Commission Hears Stories of Problems at the Polls |

Nearly three weeks after a city election fiasco, the Anchorage Election Commission is encouraging voters who had problems at the polls or were unable to vote, to share their experience. On Saturday, the commission was available to meet with individuals who wanted to explain the problems they faced on Election Day. A second meeting is scheduled for Monday, from 4pm-7:30pm at City Hall for those who could not make the Saturday time. According to commission chair Gwen Mathew, the goal is to get a better idea of how many people were unable to vote because of a ballot shortage. “Whether they’re registered voters, whether they were able to cast their vote, what problems they encountered, what went on in the different precincts- we are gathering information from both the voters as well as the precinct workers to get a larger, more comprehensive picture of what actually went on,” said Mathew.

Pennsylvania: Test of new voter ID law worries elections director | Citizens Voice

Voters will get a feel for Pennsylvania’s new voter ID law on Tuesday but won’t have to show a photo ID at the polls. Poll workers are required to ask voters for a photo ID, but voters still will be allowed to vote if they don’ have identification. “I am concerned about this,” said Tom Pizano, Luzerne County interim director of elections. “Is anybody going to get confused and tell people they can’t vote?” Poll workers are supposed to ask for ID to prepare for the Nov. 6 general election, when voters must show a photo ID. Gov. Tom Corbett signed the new law last month.

Rhode Island: State readies for statewide test of voter ID law |

Janice Brady votes every chance she gets, and thinks a new Rhode Island law asking voters to show identification at the polls will protect the integrity of the state’s elections. That law will have its first statewide test on Tuesday, when Rhode Island holds its presidential primary. So Brady, 69, lined up last week with 25 other residents at the Charlesgate apartments in Providence to get a new voter ID. “It sounds like a good idea to me,” said Brady, who said she has no current driver’s license or other acceptable ID. “I don’t mind showing it.” Voters will be asked to present identification such as a driver’s license, U.S. passport, military ID, Social Security card, birth certificate or even a utility bill or health club ID. Voters who fail to present the necessary identification will only be allowed to cast a provisional ballot, which must be approved by election officials before being counted. Starting in 2014, only identification with a photo will be accepted.

Utah: Hatch Forced Into Primary At Utah GOP Convention – 32 votes short | International Business Times

Veteran U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah will face a Republican primary fight after delegates to a party convention on Saturday denied him the nomination, forcing him into an election with a Tea Party-backed challenger who finished second. Hatch, 78, won the day over nine challengers, but narrowly fell short of reaching the 60 percent of the vote needed in a pairing against his number two challenger, Dan Liljenquist, to win the nomination outright and avoid the primary, Reuters reported. Heavily Republican Utah last elected a Democrat to the U.S. Senate more than four decades ago, so the Republican nominee is usually considered the presumptive winner of the general election. The nominating convention held in Sandy, Utah, marked a test for the continuing strength of Tea Party activists, who played a decisive role nationally in the 2010 mid-term elections and helped unseat then-Republican Senator Bob Bennett of Utah. In a final delegate vote on Saturday, Hatch took 59.2 percent of the votes to 40.8 percent for Liljenquist, a former state senator with a Tea Party following. Hatch was only 32 delegates short of getting the required 60 percent vote that would have allowed him to avoid a primary contest. A total of 3,908 delegates participated. In the first round, eight challengers were eliminated.

Virginia: Voter fraud investigated in Virginia | Richmond Times-Dispatch

Results of an ongoing Virginia State Police investigation of voter registration irregularities from the 2008 general election may signal a more significant voter fraud issue than some state lawmakers realized. As Virginia legislators hotly debated a voter ID bill that narrowly passed the General Assembly, many were unaware of a state police investigation that, so far, has resulted in charges against 38 people statewide for voter fraud. Warrants have been obtained for a 39th person who can’t be located. A majority of those cases already have resulted in convictions, and 26 additional cases are still being actively investigated nearly 3½ years after the state Board of Elections forwarded more than 400 voter and election fraud allegations from 62 cities and counties to Virginia State Police for individual investigation.

Egypt: Constitutional Court denies SCAF’s request over Disenfranchisement Law | Ahram Online

Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) rejected on Saturday the military council request to determine the constitutionality of the drafted Disenfranchisement Law before proposed legislation becomes law. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) had referred the proposed Disenfranchisement Law to the SCC on Thursday. The draft legislation, which was approved last week by the People’s Assembly, stipulates that those who were part of Hosni Mubarak’s government during the five years prior to 11 February 2011 would not be eligible to enter the presidential race or hold public office for ten years. The SCC said it has no legal jurisdiction over draft legislations that have not yet been approved by the SCAF. It added that the Disenfranchisement Law must be enacted first before it could issue any rulings on constitutionality.

France: Hollande on top but Le Pen delivers record result | The Guardian

François Hollande has moved a step closer to becoming the first Socialist president of France in a generation by beating the incumbent, Nicolas Sarkozy, in the first round of elections for the Elysée. But the surprisingly high vote for the extreme-right candidate, Marine Le Pen, boosted the overall figures for the right and meant that the final runoff vote on 6 May remains on a knife-edge. Partial results from the beginning of the count showed Hollande – a former Socialist party leader, rural MP and self-styled Mr Normal – with a clear lead at more than 28%, compared with Sarkozy on about 26%. Hollande’s is one of the left’s best ever results and will raise momentum for next month’s final run-off. The Socialist party is seeking to return to the presidency for the first time since François Mitterrand’s re-election in 1988. But Sarkozy’s total will be seen as a personal failure. It is the first time an outgoing president has failed to win a first-round vote in the past 50 years and makes it harder for Sarkozy to regain momentum. The final runoff vote between Hollande and Sarkozy now depends on a delicate balance of how France’s total of rightwing and leftwing voters line up.

Ghana: Electoral Commission discovers inconsistency in voter registration | ITNewsAfrica

Ghana’s Electoral Commission (EC) has disclosed that it has detected 4,000 multiple registrations had so far been detected nationwide. The Commission has allayed fears that the problem occurred in a particular region that could favor a particular political party. The Director, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Department of EC, Gilbert Akomea, said such registrations did not follow any pattern or come from any particular part of the country, but were widespread across the country.

Iran: Iran to Hold Run-Off Parliament Votes May 4 | Fars News Agency

Iran is due to hold run-off votes on May 4 for the 65 remaining parliament seats not decided in the first round of legislative elections in March. Iran’s Deputy Interior Minister Solat Mortazavi said 135 candidates will compete for the remaining 65 parliamentary seats in the parliament run-off elections. Mortazavi, who also heads the country’s Election Headquarters, added that the elections will be held in the Iranian capital of Tehran as well as 18 other provinces. He also said Tehran will experience more intense competition as out of its 30 candidates, only five have succeeded in winning the majority of vote in the first round of the elections.

Netherlands: New election looms for Netherlands | BigPond News

The ruling Dutch minority government is on the brink of collapse after anti-EU lawmaker Geert Wilders torpedoed seven weeks of austerity talks, saying he would not cave in to budget demands from ‘dictators in Brussels’. New national elections that will be a referendum on the Netherlands’ relationship with Europe and its ailing single currency are now all but certain. But before Prime Minister Mark Rutte can tender his resignation – possibly as early as Monday – he must consult with allies and opposition parties on how to run a caretaker government that will have to make important economic decisions in the coming weeks and months. ‘Elections are the logical next step,’ Rutte said.

Russia: Elections Chief Vladimir Churov Admits Astrakhan Violations | The Moscow Times

Elections chief Vladimir Churov raised opposition hopes of overturning Astrakhan’s mayoral election by announcing widespread procedural violations, a claim made by candidate Oleg Shein and his supporters. Video footage revealed procedural violations at 128 of the city’s 202 polling stations during the March 4 vote, although there was no evidence of falsification, Churov told journalists Friday. The announcement was greeted with jubilation by Shein, whose refusal to concede the election to the ruling party candidate and a dramatic hunger strike have turned him into an opposition hero. “Our chances of success in court have been significantly improved,” he wrote on his blog. “Now I’m confident that the court will annul the election in Astrakhan.” Shein says he defeated United Russia’s Mikhail Stolyarov in districts with electronic counting machines as well as in exit polls, sparking allegations that the vote was rigged. Officially, Shein lost the election to Stolyarov by more than 30 percentage points.