National: Voter ID’s new champion |

After a month of bitter protests and a wave of defections by its corporate members, last week the special-interest-sponsored legislation mill known as ALEC disbanded its Public Safety and Elections Task Force. That’s the unit that crafted the controversial “stand your ground” laws and voter ID measures that ignited the national conversation about Trayvon Martin and minority voters’ access to polls. Liberal groups, like ThinkProgress, hailed the development as a “progressive victory.” But now, another scandal-plagued right-wing group is stepping in to fill the gap. The National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative Washington think tank, has announced plans to launch a task force to take over ALEC’s work on election issues. “Part of the mission of the National Center is to find out where the conservative movement is weak and to insert ourselves in the process,” the group’s executive director, David Almasi, told Salon. “Our aim is to make sure ALEC’s excellent work continues.”

Editorials: Democracy Restoration Act Would Restore Voting Rights to Millions | Huffington Post

Despite two centuries of a national history extending the right to vote to ever more Americans, state legislatures have recently passed a flurry of laws that make voting more difficult. Some require government-issued photo identification cards; others are obstructing early voting or restricting voter registration drives. It’s time for Congress to protect the rights citizens of a democracy hold most dear and create the opportunity for greater citizen participation. Members can begin by opening up the voter rolls to the four million Americans covered by the Democracy Restoration Act.

National: Presidential campaign donors moving to super PACs | Sunlight Foundation

A few weeks after some individual donors hit their campaign contribution limits to President Obama’s reelection campaign, they made donations to the super PAC supporting him, extending their financial support to the shadow campaign that’s backing his bid for another four years in the White House. This new trend has just begun to emerge in the most recent super PAC financial disclosures filed over the weekend with the Federal Election Commission. It’s another impact of the sweeping changes in campaign finance law set off by the 2010 Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United, which opened the door for unlimited contributions to organizations that expressly advocate for or against a candidate’s election. That gives deep-pocketed supporters a new avenue for showing their support once they’ve passed the FEC limits, which limit individual donors to $5,000 per election cycle — $2,500 for the primary election and $2,500 for the general.

Alaska: Voting Rights Group Weighs In on Anchorage Poll Problems | KTVA CBS 11

As Assembly members sort through what happened at the polls April 3, national voting groups say the municipality isn’t the only jurisdiction facing electoral troubles. According to the organization Fair Vote, which pushes for election reform across the country, election difficulties are very common these days. The organization points to places like Connecticut, Miami, and now Anchorage. Fair Vote’s spokesperson says the biggest problem is how ill prepared cities officials are: In Anchorage, the most recent election has been called the city’s most chaotic. Critics say what happened on April 3 undermines the democratic process, and they’ve been complaining. “I’m as concerned about the ones I’m not hearing from,” said Assembly Chairman Ernie Hall.

Arizona: State heading back to Supreme Court over voter ID law | New York Amsterdam News

The state of Arizona wants the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the appeal by the federal government of a law that would allow them to practice their own enforcement regarding immigrants. Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld Arizona’s requirement that voters show identification at the polls, but disallowed the requirement to show proof of U.S. citizenship in order to register to vote in federal elections. Known as SB 1070, the law, if overturned by the court, would allow Arizona’s law enforcement officials to arrest and detain individuals who might be undocumented immigrants without any federal oversight or regard for federal priorities. Under the law, failure to comply with registration requirements would result in an inability to vote in elections.

Florida: Governor Scott angers election supervisors |

Florida’s election supervisors are rising up in opposition to Gov. Rick Scott in the wake of his push to rank them. State election officials have drawn up a list of rankings based on criteria that includes how quickly counties reported election results during the Jan. 31 presidential primary and when those counties set up early voting sites. The list was supposed to be released this week, but it has been delayed after a loud outcry by county supervisors. The rankings are being criticized because nearly all supervisors are elected, and there are fears the list is a prelude to the Republican governor asserting more control just months before the crucial 2012 elections. “I’m not a department under the governor, nor should I be,” said Ann McFall, the Republican elections supervisor from Volusia County. “He’s an elected official, I’m an elected official. He doesn’t rank me.” David Stafford, the GOP elections supervisor of Escambia County, also pointed out that voters assess them at least every four years.

Kentucky: Supreme Court reiterates redistricting decision |

A legislative redistricting plan for Kentucky is unconstitutional because it doesn’t adequately address population shifts of the past decade, the Kentucky Supreme Court reiterated in a ruling Thursday. Justices also echoed a February decision that legislative candidates will have to run this year in districts that have been in place for the past 10 years. The 27-page ruling explains the legal rationale behind the previous ruling in which justices had originally declared the redistricting law unconstitutional.

Editorials: Virginia Voter ID bill reduces access |

America has had a few episodes of voter registration fraud – people being paid to fake signatures to satisfy voting requirements. Election mischief, like the annual robocalls that remind people to vote on the wrong Tuesday, is much more commonplace. Voting officials also regularly find signs that election machines have been tampered with. In Virginia, as the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported recently, there’s an ongoing state police investigation into fraud by individual voters, most of them felons who hadn’t had their rights restored but tried to vote anyway. None of these problems would be addressed by the voter ID legislation passed by the General Assembly earlier this year. Last week, the legislature rejected amendments to ease restrictions that, in the governor’s words, seem specifically designed to disenfranchise certain voters.

Mississippi: Voter ID bill gets final approval in Mississippi House |

A Mississippi voter ID bill is headed to Republican Gov. Phil Bryant, who has said he supports it as a way to protect the integrity of elections. The final version of the bill passed the Republican controlled House 79-39 Thursday, with strong opposition from black representatives. It would require voters to show a driver’s license or other form of photo identification before casting a ballot. The bill is intended to enact a state constitutional amendment that 62 percent of Mississippi voters adopted in last November’s general election.
Bryant has pledged to sign the bill into law. However, there’s no guarantee that the ID requirement will ever take effect.

Canada: Elections Canada may roll out Internet voting in 2015 in spite of security concerns | CottageCountryNow

While Huntsville council tackles election topics such as ward boundaries, some residents believe the issue of electronic voting should be the primary concern. Grant Hallman, a retired resident who spent a career in software development, has said council’s decision to discuss in 2013 whether electronic voting or traditional paper ballots will be used in the 2014 municipal election will not give the municipality enough time for thorough debate. Hallman said it will likely not give the municipality enough time to switch back to paper ballots if council decides it does not want to use the telephone and Internet voting method used in the previous municipal election. There are several concerns Hallman and others have with the electronic voting method.

Ghana: Police And Electoral Commission Cover Up Illegal Biometric Registration |

Acting on credible information received from a source in ododiodio that an NDC ward executive is using his tailoring shop for illegal Biometric registration, the Young Patriots made contact with the police service and some media houses to catch the culprits in the act adjacent the Barclays Bank at UTC in ododiodio. The culprit Mr Bernard Allotey with his accomplices, were arrested with biometric registration forms, scanning machines and equipments being used for registration. They also had in their possession, over 500 completed forms and biometric ID cards yet to be distributed. However in the regular mysterious fashion in which the Police handle cases related to the ‘no go area’ of Nii Lantey Vandapouye, the Police have since released the culprits who have vanished and are threatening Mr Akwasi Sarpong of Happy FM.

Guinea-Bissau: West African bloc to send troops to Mali and Guinea-Bissau | AFP

West African leaders decided to send troops to coup-hit Mali and Guinea-Bissau to support their return to civilian rule and demanded coup leaders “return to barracks” in both countries. At an extraordinary summit in Ivory Coast, the 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) also said the two countries must prepare for legislative and presidential elections within a year. Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara, current head of ECOWAS, pledged a firm response to the instability “to prevent our sub-region from giving into terrorism and transnational criminality”. “The safety of Europe and of the United States now starts in the Sahel and the Gulf of Guinea,” Ouattara said.

Editorials: Greece’s Election Supernova | The Daily Beast

With Greek elections looming, the country’s mainstream political forces are melting down and splintering into smaller, more radical factions, all of which are vowing to deliver Greece from its EU bailout terms. In his campaign kickoff speech on April 19, Greek socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos described the state of Greek politics as “rudderless”. “This political dead end will multiply and deepen the economic and social crisis,” he said. Venizelos was holding up the specter of ungovernability, which currently haunts Greek politics, to deter voters from punitive action at the ballot box. More than four in ten voters say they are going to the polls to punish socialists and conservatives for their mismanagement of the economy in previous years, rather than to elect the best possible government.

Serbia: Cliffhangers – The outcomes of Serbia’s many elections on May 6th are unpredictable | The Economist

On May 6th the French vote for a president and the Greeks and Armenians for parliaments. For Serbs it is the big bang: they will vote for a president, a parliament, in local elections and, in the province of Vojvodina, for a regional assembly. In Kosovo too, many Serbs may vote, but this is contentious and could lead to violence. Kosovo aside, the Serbian elections are a cliffhanger. Polls give President Boris Tadic of the Democratic Party (DS) just under 36% and Tomislav Nikolic, leader of the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), just over 36%. A run-off between the two a fortnight later is likely, and the result will be influenced by the parliamentary election. Mr Tadic sells himself as pro-European and pro-reform. But he looks tired and the economy is in dire straits. One poll finds 80% of Serbs are dissatisfied and angry, 77% feel helpless and hopeless and 60% are just depressed. The latest score for the SNS and its allies is 33.5%, with the DS and its allies trailing on 28.3%. Yet it may be easier for the DS than for the SNS to find other coalition partners.