The Voting News Daily: Deciphering super PAC double-speak, Romney declining to disclose names of campaign bundlers

Editorials: Deciphering super PAC double-speak | Frank Askin/NJ.com As we enter the final stages of the 2012 presidential election, the campaign finance landscape has changed considerably from past elections. While a few of the rules remain the same, the opportunity for the very wealthy — including corporations and labor unions — to play a dominant…

Editorials: Deciphering super PAC double-speak | Frank Askin/NJ.com

As we enter the final stages of the 2012 presidential election, the campaign finance landscape has changed considerably from past elections. While a few of the rules remain the same, the opportunity for the very wealthy — including corporations and labor unions — to play a dominant role has increased exponentially. Individuals are still limited to donating $2,500 per election, and corporations and unions are still forbidden to donate directly to candidates (although that prohibition may well be the next shoe the Supreme Court drops). Unions and corporations can still sponsor political action committees, which can accept contributions up to $5,000 a year from a union’s members or a corporation’s shareholders and executives. And those PACs can still donate a maximum of $5,000 to a candidate in each election cycle. But those PACs are now totally overshadowed as political funders in the post-Citizens United era. The landscape has changed in two fundamental ways.

National: Mitt Romney declining to disclose names of campaign bundlers | USAToday.com

More than a month after becoming his party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Republican Mitt Romney has not publicly identified most of the fundraisers helping him collect the millions of dollars he needs to win the White House, even as he promises them special access perks. Romney is not required by law to disclose the identities of his fundraisers with the exception of those who work as federal lobbyists. Releasing the names of bundlers, however, has been standard in presidential campaigns for more than a decade. Republican George W. Bush established the pattern in the 2000 election, revealing the names of fundraisers who collected at least $100,000. He repeated the practice in 2004. Arizona Sen. John McCain, the Republican nominee four years ago, had disclosed his fundraisers by this point in the 2008 campaign, releasing a list of 106 bundlers on April 18 of that year.

National: Flame: Massive, advanced cyber threat uncovered | GovInfo Security

Highly sophisticated malware being used to spy on several countries, mostly in the Middle East, that has been around for more than two years has been discovered by Kaspersky Lab, the research arm of the Russian security products company announced May 28. Detected by researchers as Worm.Win32.Flame – or more simply, Flame – it’s designed to carry out cyber espionage and steal valuable information, including, but not limited to, computer display contents, information about targeted systems, stored files, contact data and audio conversations, Kaspersky Lab says.Kaspersky Lab’s chief security expert, Alex Gostev, characterizes Flame as a super-cyberweapon such as Stuxnet and Duqu, and in his blog contends it’s “one of the most complex threats ever discovered. It’s big and incredibly sophisticated. It pretty much redefines the notion of cyberwar and cyberespionage.”

Alaska: Redistricting Board submits election plan to Justice Department | Juneau Empire

The Alaska Redistricting Board on Friday submitted the redistricting plan it adopted with the Alaska Supreme Court’s approval to the U.S. Department of Justice. The board is seeking required federal approval, known as “pre-clearance,” that the plan does not diminish Native voting power. The plan it submitted, the Amended Proclamation Plan, was adopted after much debate and legal action. The Supreme Court had earlier issued a surprise ruling the board was to draft a plan without consideration of the federal Voting Rights Act.

Arkansas: Review finds 759 votes not counted on Election night in Faulkner County | TheCabin.net

Hundreds of votes were not counted during the initial stages of last week’s preferential primary election, possibly because of equipment problems, according to the Faulkner County Election Commission. The commission will meet at 3 p.m. Tuesday to review all final results and certify last Tuesday’s election, which included nonpartisan judicial races. Commissioners also are expected to review election procedures and address any reports of alleged irregularities or software that was utilized. An equipment flaw reportedly resulted in 759 votes not being read off ballots. The votes were ultimately found and tabulated, but election officials said the votes did not affect the outcome of any race that was decided before the lost votes were tabulated.

California: New format to shake up June 5 primary | The San Luis Obispo Tribune

The June 5 primary is like any other in one regard: Voters get to pick who will face off in the November election for state legislative and congressional races. But that is where the similarities end. This time around, voters can choose anyone from the field, regardless of party affiliation. And all candidates will appear on all ballots. Gone is the day of having a one-party-only ballot. So in races for state Assembly, Senate and Congress, Republicans can vote for Democrats, and vice versa. Green Party members can back their party’s nominees — or candidates from other parties.
In this open primary, the top-two finishers qualify for the November ballot, regardless of party. If a race has only two candidates, they automatically go forward to November in what amounts to a test run. As logical as it might be for a winner to be declared in a two-candidate primary, the law requires them to also be on the ballot in November, according to the California Secretary of State’s Office.

Voting Blogs: Meet The 91-Year-Old WWII Veteran Targeted By Florida’s Voter Purge | Think Progress

Bill Internicola is a 91-year-old, Brooklyn-born, World War II veteran. He fought in the Battle of the Buldge and received the Bronze Star for bravery. He’s voted in Florida for 14 years and never had a problem. Three weeks ago, Bill received a letter from Broward County Florida stating “[Y]ou are not a U.S. Citizen” and therefore, ineligible to vote. He was given the option of requesting “a hearing with the Supervisor of Elections, for the purpose of providing proof that you are a United States citizens” or forfeit his right to vote. This decorated World War II veteran is just one of hundreds of fully eligible U.S. citizens being targeted by Governor Scott’s massive voter purge just prior to this year’s election, according to data obtained from Florida election officials by ThinkProgress.

Florida: Voter-Purge List Appears Flawed | TheLedger.com

The state recently released a list of registered voters in Florida, including some in Polk County, that it says are non-U.S. citizens and therefore ineligible to vote. Not so fast, says Polk Supervisor of Elections Lori Edwards. Nearly half the people on Polk’s part of the list do appear to be citizens. Workers in her office have examined registration records from the 21 Polk residents on the list, and nine appear to be citizens, leaving 12 as questionable. Statewide, a list of 2,600 names was sent to election supervisors. Three of those Polk residents flagged by the State Division of Elections had listed their place of birth as Puerto Rico. That string of islands is a U.S. protectorate, so people born there are U.S. citizens. Most of the 21 Polk residents flagged by the state have Hispanics names.

Florida: Controversy brewing over Gov. Scott’s push to purge Florida’s voter rolls | BayNews9

The presidential elections are just a few months away and it’s almost time for Floridians to make their decision. But 180,000 voters may not get to weigh in as Gov. Rick Scott is pushing to purge the state’s voter rolls. In the words of Gov. Scott, “people lie” about having citizenship when they register to vote, which is why he has signed off on a massive review of the voting rolls. In a new letter, Democratic members of Florida’s congressional delegation are asking Scott to stop the review before it turns into what they call a “purge” of legal voters.

Michigan: Thad McCotter’s problems mount | The Washington Post

The Michigan attorney general’s office is preparing to look into potential election fraud within Michigan Republican Rep. Thaddeus McCotter’s campaign after large numbers of the signatures turned in by the campaign were ruled invalid. “We will review information provided by the Secretary of State and determine whether additional action is warranted,” said a Joy Yearout, a spokeswoman for Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette. McCotter, who briefly waged a long shot bid for the GOP presidential nomination last year, has failed to qualify for the ballot and announced Tuesday that he will wage a write-in campaign in the primary.At the root of that failure to qualify were more than a thousand invalid signatures. Just 244 of the more than 2,000 signatures submitted by McCotter’s campaign wound up being valid, according to the local CBS station and MIRS. While campaigns will often have some signatures invalidated, the sheer number of signatures that were thrown out suggests that people who collected them may have engaged in fraud.

Missouri: High court upholds new congressional districts | Southeast Missourian

The Missouri Supreme Court upheld the state’s new congressional districts Friday, solidifying a Democratic primary fight between two St. Louis congressmen and providing certainty for candidates who weren’t sure which neighborhoods would be in their territories for the August primary elections. A divided high court ruled Friday that Missouri’s eight new U.S. House districts comply with a constitutional requirement to be “as compact … as may be.” The ruling affirms boundaries enacted last year when the Republican-led legislature — with the help of a few Democrats — overrode a veto by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon. Although some Supreme Court judges dissented, a majority determined that the Missouri Constitution “does not require absolute precision in compactness.” The Supreme Court ultimately deferred to a February decision by Cole County Circuit Judge Dan Green, declaring that it was not going to substitute its own judgment for the trial court’s when it came to disputed factual issues about the boundaries.

Montana: Independent Candidate Petition Deadline Held Unconstitutional | Ballot Access News

On May 25, U.S. District Court Judge Sam Haddon ruled that Montana’s March petition deadline for non-presidential independent candidates is unconstitutionally early. The case is Kelly v McCulloch, cv-08-25. Montana’s petition deadline for non-presidential independent candidates had been in June between 1973 and 2007, but in 2007 the legislature moved it to March. Here is the 22-page opinion.

New Hampshire: Signs of movement on voter ID bill | SeacoastOnline.com

House and Senate lawmakers indicated Tuesday that a compromise might be possible on a bill to require voters to show photo identification before casting ballots if they can resolve differences over issues such as when certain provisions should take effect and what types of IDs can be used. Sen. Russell Prescott, the bill’s prime sponsor, opened the negotiating session by telling House members that their version of the bill was likely to be vetoed by the governor or challenged in court, while the Senate version “is ready for prime time.” “I think you guys are on the ropes, and I’m ready to battle hard,” said Prescott, R-Kingston. But Prescott later said the Senate was willing to consider some changes. For example, the House wants to require voters to present photo identification cards or sign affidavits and be photographed by election workers. The Senate version of the bill would let people sign affidavits without being photographed, but senators said Tuesday they’d be willing to consider the picture-taking provision if it was delayed until next year. House lawmakers also indicated they might consider allowing student IDs to be used, as the Senate wants, though they asked for language specifying that the cards must be issued by accredited schools.

Tennessee: Shelby County Election Commission Denies Deleting Voting Records | WREG.com

The Shelby County Election Commission is accused of deleting the voting records of 488 people who are mostly African-American and Democrat. Congressman Steve Cohen is calling for the Department of Justice to investigate the matter, all while the Elections Commission says there’s no problem at all. Administrator Richard Holden volunteered to show us the database. He said all the names and voting records are there. A blogger accused the commission of deleting the records of 488 voters, to perhaps, prevent them from voting. “I don`t have any records of ever providing data to anyone who lives in Seattle,” said Holden.

Editorials: How Did Wisconsin Become the Most Politically Divisive Place in America? | NYTimes.com

This past March, standing outside a Shell station in Mellen, Wis., in the state’s far north, Mike Wiggins Jr. told me about a series of dark and premonitory dreams he had two years earlier. “One of them was a very vivid trip around the North Woods and seeing forests bleeding and sludge from a creek emptying into the Bad River,” Wiggins said. “I ended up at a dilapidated northern log home with rotten snowshoes falling off the wall. I stepped out of the lodge, walked through some pine, and I was in a pipeline. There was a big pipe coming in and out of the ground as far as I could see. “I had no idea what the hell that was all about,” Wiggins continued. But he said the dream became clearer when a stranger named Matt Fifield came into his office several months later and handed him his card. Wiggins is the chairman of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, and Fifield, the managing director of Gogebic Taconite (GTac), a division of the Cline Group, a mining company based in Florida. He had come to Wiggins’s office to discuss GTac’s desire to build a $1.5 billion open-pit iron-ore mine in the Penokee Hills, about seven miles south of the Bad River reservation. The proposed mine would be several hundred feet deep, roughly four miles long and a half-mile wide; the company estimated it would bring 700 long-term jobs to the area. Fearing contamination of the local groundwater and pristine rivers, Wiggins told Fifield he planned to oppose the mine. He didn’t know at the time that the company’s lawyers would be working hand in hand with Republican legislators to draft a bill that would weaken Wisconsin environmental law and expedite the permitting process.

Wisconsin: Voting in recall election difficult for some Wisconsin residents | The Minnesota Daily

Wisconsin’s recall elections will take place Tuesday, and for many nonresident University of Minnesota students wanting to participate in the election, returning to Wisconsin may not be an option. The historic recall election is a rematch of the 2010 governor’s race that Scott Walker won. After most Wisconsin public workers lost their collective bargaining rights, many called for this recall election. Walker again faces Tom Barrett, currently the mayor of Milwaukee. Absentee ballots allow Wisconsin students a chance to vote from out of state.

Wisconsin: Democratic, GOP officials post Facebook photos of their absentee ballots — a felony in Wisconsin | StarTribune.com

Wisconsin elections officials are reminding voters that posting photos of completed ballots on Facebook or Twitter is illegal — but high-ranking members of both political parties apparently missed the memo. Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate and St. Croix County Republican Party Chairwoman Jesse Garza said Friday they’re removing their ballot photos after finding out the postings violated state law. The law bars voters from showing their completed ballots to anyone. The intent is to prevent people from selling their votes and then showing their ballots as proof they voted as requested.

Egypt: Egypt election run-off sparks protests | FT.com

The campaign headquarters of one of Egypt’s two presidential hopefuls was stormed by a mob and set alight on Monday night, as thousands protested the results of the first round of the country’s presidential election. The elections committee had earlier in the day confirmed that Ahmed Shafiq, who was named prime minister by ousted president Hosni Mubarak in the dying days of his regime, would face the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi in the second-round run-off. It is a contest between the two most polarising and controversial figures in the race. The committee also said it had rejected appeals against the first round of voting that had alleged a number of violations of election law, including mistakes in counting votes.

Lesotho: Prime minister’s party wins vote | The Seattle Times

The party of the longtime prime minister won Lesotho’s parliamentary elections, according to complete results posted Tuesday on the website of the southern African country’s Independent Electoral Commission. Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili’s Democratic Congress won 41 of 80 seats, the simple majority needed to form a government, though it may need to form a coalition to consolidate power. The All Basotho Convention, the main opposition, had 26 seats. Shortly before Saturday’s vote in this nation of 2 million, Mosisili broke away from the Lesotho Congress for Democracy, which had been riven by an internal power struggle. The Lesotho Congress for Democracy had 12 seats while another opposition party had one according to the final results.