Editorials: Interfering with voting rights | The Washington Post

Florida is one of a number of states to have recently imposed ill-considered restrictions on voting rights, as it interferes with efforts to register new voters and seeks to purge non-citizens from state voting rolls. State officials, acting at the behest of Gov. Rick Scott (R), have scoured driver’s license and other records to identify non-citizens and have forwarded a list of 2,600 supposedly ineligible voters to local elections officials for further action. Chris Cate, a Florida Division of Elections spokesman, asserted that the division has “a duty under both state and federal laws to ensure that Florida’s voter registration rolls are current and accurate.” But the state also has a duty to ensure that those legally entitled to vote are not unjustly prevented from doing so. The last thing the state needs is another election tainted by questions of fairness.

National: Picture proving you are who you say you are at the polling place | UPI.com

Stricter voter identification measures supporters say fight fraud and opponents counter disenfranchise groups of voters are being detoured into the U.S. court system, possibly keeping them from going into effect or being considered before Election Day. Restrictions on early voting, new photo ID requirements and efforts to purge voter lists of non-citizens have been met with opposition from the U.S. Justice Department, civil rights groups and judges who blocked the provisions. “There has been a real push-back by the courts to these widespread efforts to restrict the vote,” Wendy Weiser, director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, told The Washington Post. “If those seeking to suppress the vote won round 1, round 2 seems to be going to the voters.”

National: In a world of super PACs, Mitt Romney rules | The Boston Globe

It seemed like just another campaign appearance – Mitt Romney taking time from the trail to address a ballroom full of well-heeled donors. It was anything but. When Romney spoke last summer at fund-raisers for a super PAC run by three of his former top aides, it marked a turning point in his campaign and, in some ways, in the modern history of campaign finance. The group, Restore Our Future, capitalized on Romney’s support to raise $57 million by the end of April and has become one of the most powerful forces in the race for the White House – the financial engine behind the fusillade of broadcast ads, most of them harshly negative, that felled his GOP challengers one by one. No candidate in the 2012 race adapted more swiftly and effectively to the rise of the super PACs in the wake of US Supreme Court and other rulings that effectively removed any barriers to individual and corporate donations to such so-called independent groups.

National: Friends and family plan: Super PACs often personal campaign fundraising affairs | The Washington Post

The Committee to Elect an Effective Valley Congressman has one particular congressman in mind: Howard L. Berman, a 15-term California Democrat who is struggling to hold on to his redistricted San Fernando Valley seat. The political fundraising committee is essentially the creation of one man trying to keep a close friend and political ally in office. “Howard and I have been friends for 30 years,” said Marc Nathanson, a cable TV magnate and investor who founded the super PAC and has given it $100,000. “It’s a friendship beyond what I call political friendships — it’s a personal relationship. When it was clear he needed help, I figured out a way to do that.”

Alaska: Natives sue to stop state from holding ‘illegal’ primary election | Alaska Dispatch

A group of Alaska Natives wants a federal court to stop the state from using what it calls an “illegal” redistricting plan for the 2012 election. Uncertain is what effect the lawsuit, reqAlauesting a preliminary injunction to stop that plan, will have on the Division of Election’s efforts to hold an Aug. 28 primary elections. That election would use newly drawn boundaries for the state’s 40 voting districts. Those boundaries were approved under an emergency redistricting plan that received the blessing of the state Supreme Court to allow the 2012 elections to go forward. With the lines redrawn, elections will take place for 59 of Alaska’s 60 legislative seats.

Arkansas: Election officials watching absentee ballots | Blytheville Courier News

Concern was expressed in a Thursday meeting of the Mississippi County Election Commission about the high number of absentee ballots being cast in both the recent primary and its resulting runoff, which is currently in the early voting phase. During the primary election, a total of 4,563 votes were cast, over half of them during early voting. Of that total, 231 were absentee ballots. County Clerk Lib Shippen told the commission that as of Monday, the courthouse had processed 200 absentee ballots for the runoff in Osceola alone, and that Blytheville employees had reported inflated numbers as well. As of Friday morning, the Osceola courthouse had processed 275 absentee ballots, and the Blytheville Courthouse had processed 151. Clerk’s office employees report that this number is much higher than it has been in previous elections, and that people are being “hauled” in to request absentee ballots by others.

California: 15 races are still unresolved after Tuesday’s primary | latimes.com

Days after Tuesday’s primary election, four congressional and 11 Assembly races — as well as Proposition 29, a proposed cigarette tax — still are undecided. In most of the candidate contests, it’s not yet clear who finished second — a crucial position in the state’s new “top-two” elections system. The 15 unsettled races, one of which hung by two votes Friday, represent a significant jump from the typical three or four in past elections, according to Allan Hoffenblum, who publishes the nonpartisan California Target Book of state contests. They’re a product of the new primary system and freshly drawn voting districts. “Now we’ve got a whole smorgasbord of interesting contests,” Hoffenblum said.

Florida: Florida Stops Search for Ineligible Voters on List | NYTimes.com

Florida’s attempt to purge ineligible voters from its rolls has been halted, at least for now. “We felt the information wasn’t credible and reliable,” said Vicki Davis, president of the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections. “Too many voters on the state’s list turned out to actually be citizens.” That decision dealt a major setback to state leaders, including Gov. Rick Scott, who have pledged to identify ineligible voters before state primary elections in August. The United States Department of Justice has ordered Florida to stop the purge, saying states cannot remove voters from their rolls within 90 days of an election.

Florida: State, feds and elections supervisors continue war of words over voter purge | WFSU

At the Leon County Supervisor of Elections Office, volunteers sign up to work with the League of Women Voters. One of the group’s core missions is to help people participate in democracy by registering them to vote.  On Wednesday, about 15 volunteers showed up to become voter registrars. One of them is Katie Pospyhalla, a college student majoring in Middle Eastern studies who said people her age don’t care enough. “And it’s something that I kind of hope to change. I kind of want to be like, ‘Wake up! These are your issues too and you need to get involved…nicely, of course,” she laughed. A battle is heating up over Florida voters, but it isn’t political candidates who are fighting. Voter registration groups claimed victory in court as a judge struck down parts of the state’s election law last week. And this week, the state stands defiant against a federal order to stop purging non-citizen voters. These fights over voting rights have pitted Florida Governor Rick Scott against the federal government and all 67 of the state’s supervisors of Elections.

Oklahoma: State makes election administration changes | NewsOK.com

The troubled April 3 special election in Tulsa’s House District 71 has led state and local officials to change procedures, software and training to makes sure all voters and candidates have confidence the process. On election night, Democrat Dan Arthrell was declared the unofficial winner by three votes. But a subsequent recount led to Republican Katie Henke being certified the winner by one vote. Only hours after the recount ended, Tulsa County election officials discovered two unsecured ballots for Arthrell still sitting in an election machine. They later said that evidence suggested that on two other occasions people were allowed to vote twice because of mistakes by precinct officials. Ultimately, the Oklahoma Supreme Court found it impossible to determine who won the election and invalidated the vote.

South Carolina: Ballot changes, remap blur lines | Times and Democrat

Thanks to redistricting, myriad uncontested races and ballot adjustments, area voters will need a program to assist with this week’s election process. Republican and Democratic primaries on June 12 are expected to happen on schedule despite past court rulings and political infighting. Whether you’ll cast your vote depends largely on where you live and in which party primary you participate.

Texas: State prepares for court over voter ID law | San Antonio Express-News

Texas is preparing for a legal showdown next month in federal court over a new voter photo ID law passed by the Legislature. The law was blocked by the Justice Department over claims that it discriminates against minority voters. “We objected to a photo ID requirement in Texas because it would have had a disproportionate impact on Hispanic voters,” U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder explained to a conference of black clergy in a speech about the continued need of protections under the Voting Rights Act. Despite legal maneuvering by Texas and Justice Department lawyers, a three-judge U.S. District Court panel has cleared the docket for a July 9 trial. And it remains questionable whether the new law can be implemented in Texas by the November general election.

Texas: Judicial election recount shelved because of cost | Houston Chronicle

A Republican judicial candidate who had sought a hand recount of all mail ballots cast in her race has dropped her request, in part because of the cost of pursuing the recount. Challenger Donna Detamore thought she had beaten County Civil Court-at-Law No. 2 incumbent Theresa Chang at the end of primary election day but found herself 226 votes behind the next morning. County Clerk Stan Stanart blamed the late delivery of about 2,700 mail ballots for the post-midnight shift in the tally. Detamore said she planned to pursue a hand-recount of those paper ballots, but GOP and county officials learned that state law does not allow a partial recount in the race.

Libya: Landmark election postponed to July 7 | Reuters

Libya’s first election in more than half a century will take place 18 days later than planned because of the logistical challenges in a country still recovering from last year’s revolt, the electoral commission said on Sunday. The election, for an assembly which will re-draw the autocratic system of rule put in place by ousted leader Muammar Gaddafi, will now take place on July 7 instead of the previous date of June 19. “We never planned on postponing the election, we worked hard for the election to be on time,” Nuri al-Abbar, head of the electoral commission, told a news conference. “I don’t want to blame anybody for the postponement, I just want to make sure the elections are transparent.”

Romania: The unexpected changes and expected wins of Romania’s local elections | HotNews.ro

Romanians voted strongly in favor of the new governing coalition of Social Democrats and Liberals (USL) in local elections on Sunday, after years of Democratic Liberal (PDL) government which applied a long series of austerity measures but which, according to rivals, had lost its legitimacy. USL claimed a strong lead across the country with major wins in Bucharest and other cities, while here and there a close vote remains to be settled. USL leader Victor Ponta pointed out on Monday morning that these were the best results the Social Democrats and the Liberals ever received in local elections.