South Carolina: South Carolina Election Commission to consider 7th District runoff | The Post and Courier

Election officials were set Friday to consider a runoff between the top two vote-getters in the Democratic race for South Carolina’s new 7th congressional district. Members of the state’s Election Commission are mulling if they will order the face-off between Coastal Carolina professor Gloria Bromell Tinubu and attorney Preston Brittain, who finished first and second, respectively, in Tuesday’s primary. At issue is whether to count the votes of state Rep. Ted Vick, who withdrew May 25 following an arrest for drunken driving, but remained on the ballot. Without Vick’s more than 2,300 votes, Bromell Tinubu won the four-way race outright, with 52 percent of the vote to Brittain’s 39 percent. But five names were on the ballot. Both the Democratic Party and Brittain’s campaign argue none of the five received a majority, so a runoff is necessary; otherwise, voters are being disenfranchised, they argue.

Editorials: The Missing Right To Vote – What we’d get from amending the Constitution to guarantee it | Heather Gerken/Slate

The Constitution does not guarantee Americans the right to vote. That always comes as a surprise to non-lawyers. But you will search the Constitution in vain for any such guarantee, as the Supreme Court cheerily reminded us in Bush v. Gore. What the Constitution contains is a series of “thou shalt nots.” Thou shalt not deny the right to vote on account of race or sex. Thou shalt not impose poll taxes. Thou shalt not prevent 18-year-olds from voting. It is difficult to develop a robust case law when you only know what you can’t do. Some think that a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to vote would instantly produce any number of progressive goodies, like universal registration or a healthy campaign finance system or the end of partisan gerrymandering. Don’t believe it. If an amendment enshrining the right to vote looks anything like its cognates in the Bill of Rights, it will be thinly described, maddeningly vague, and pushed forward by self-interested politicians who benefit from the current system. It’s unlikely to be enough to persuade judges to mandate large-scale reform. Judges are conservative creatures (at least in the Burkean sense). They are typically loath to upend a system based on a vague textual guarantee. And a vague textual guarantee is as good as it’s likely to get. As Larry Tribe’s post makes clear, it is a challenge to draft an amendment just to overturn a single case, let alone to detail what a right to vote should involve. Even if we were to add as broad-gauged a right as I suggest below, the courts will inevitably create reasonable exceptions and interpretations, just as it has done for the First Amendment.

Editorials: The Money Crisis – How Citizens United Undermines Our Elections and the Supreme Court | Russ Feingold/Stanford Law Review

As we draw closer to the November election, it becomes clearer that this year’s contest, thanks to the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, will be financially dominated by big money, including, whether directly or indirectly, big money from the treasuries of corporations of all kinds. Without a significant change in how our campaign finance system regulates the influence of corporations, the American election process, and even the Supreme Court itself, face a more durable, long-term crisis of legitimacy. For years, our political process was governed by an underlying principle: large organizations, primarily corporations, were not allowed to buy their way into elections. For 100 years, our laws reflected this principle. First, Congress passed the Tillman Act in 1907, which prohibited corporations from using their treasuries to influence federal elections.[1]Signed by President Theodore Roosevelt, the legislation recognized what had become abundantly clear: corporate influence corrupts elections. Later, under the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947, Congress extended the same prohibition to labor unions.[2] For generations, these regulations provided the bedrock of our election law that followed, including the landmark Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act passed in 2003. And for several election cycles, between 2004 and 2008, our system seemed headed towards more fair and transparent elections. But Citizens United changed everything.

Florida: Some counties aren’t suspending purge |

Election officials in two southwest Florida counties are not ending a contentious push to remove potentially ineligible voters from the voter rolls. Gov. Rick Scott initiated the push last year. But most counties in Florida stopped efforts to identify and remove non-U.S. citizens from the rolls amid conflicting legal opinions between the state and federal government. The U.S. Department of Justice on Tuesday sued Florida, saying the state must halt the purge because it is too close to the next federal election.

Florida: Legal voters may or may not have been purged |

Florida Gov. Rick Scott often says that no actual citizens have been removed from the voter rolls in his program to make sure noncitizens don’t have the chance to cast ballots. “Not one person has been taken off the voter rolls that was a resident, a U.S. citizen who has the right to vote,” Scott, a Republican, said Tuesday in Miami. But that might not be the case. In two counties — Collier and Lee — at least nine people have been removed from the voter rolls under Scott’s program, and elections officials have no solid proof that those people are noncitizens. More could be purged soon. It’s that lack of certainty that concerns Democrats, liberals and voting-rights groups, who have sued the state to stop the program. On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Justice also filed suit.

Florida: Governor mistaken for dead in 2006 vote – required to cast provisional ballot | Reuters

Florida’s governor, who is leading a disputed purge of voter registration rolls, had to cast a provisional ballot in 2006 because officials mistakenly thought he was dead, election officials said on Thursday. Governor Rick Scott was required to use a provisional ballot in the 2006 primary and general elections because Collier County election officials had received a Social Security Death Index Death Record that led them to believe he had died on January 27, 2006. In fact the deceased was Richard E. Scott, who had the same birthday as the governor, December 1, 1952. The governor’s full name is Richard Lynn Scott. Election officials verified that Scott was among the living and his ballots were counted.

Nevada: Two Lawsuits Challenge Nevada Voting | Courthouse News Service

Two federal lawsuits challenging the way Nevada manages its voting processes were filed on the eve of the state’s primary. Civil rights groups claim the state violates the National Voter Registration Act by not helping low-income voters register to participate. In the second complaint, voters challenged Nevada’s unique rule allowing for a “none-of-the-above” vote.  Nevada reported a turnout of about 20 percent of registered voters for its Tuesday primary. In the first lawsuit, the National Council of La Raza and Las Vegas and Reno-Sparks branches of the NAACP claim Secretary of State Ross Miller and the state’s director of Health and Human Services fail to offer voting assistance at public assistance offices, as required by the National Voter Registration Act.

North Dakota: Problems at polls leave some unable to voice their vote | WDAY

A problem at the polls left some people unable to voice their vote. There was a mix-up with the ballots between Fargo and West Fargo, so some people ended up voting in the wrong races. It’s an opportunity Randy Schmidt waited years for — his first time voting in the Cass County primary elections. Schmidt: “there were some important measures I wanted to vote on this year.” Schmidt lives in Fargo, but because of legislative redistricting, his polling location was here, at the Holy Cross Catholic Church in West Fargo. Schmidt says he walked in, grabbed the ballot, but something was wrong.

South Carolina: No decison on Vick’s vanishing votes until Friday |

A decision on whether to count all votes cast in the Democratic primary for the newly created 7th Congressional district will not be made until Friday when state officials meet to certify results, a S.C. election official said Wednesday.
Gloria Bromell Tinubu, a Georgetown college professor, was declared the outright primary winner with 52.4 percent of the tally — enough of a margin to best four candidates and avoid a runoff with second-place finisher Preston Brittain, a Myrtle Beach attorney who received 39.4 percent of the vote.
But S.C. Democratic leaders believe that the state should not have excluded about 2,340 votes cast for state Rep. Ted Vick, whose name remained on the ballot despite withdrawing from the race last month after being charged with DUI.

South Carolina: Top South Carolina Democrat Says 7th District Primary Botched | Roll Call

“Clusterf—,” South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Dick Harpootlian said, enunciating every profane syllable in his Southern-tinged baritone. “We’ve got more in common with a third-world, South American country than we do with the rest of the other 49 states. This is nuts,” he added. Venezuelan leader Hugo “Chávez would conduct a fairer, better election than the Republican South Carolina [State] Election Commission.” All of which is to say  the South Carolina Democratic Party is not very happy with Tuesday’s Democratic primary election results in the state’s new 7th district. At first, the results appeared to indicate a Democratic primary runoff between long-shot candidate Gloria Bromell Tinubu, an economist, and establishment-backed attorney Preston Brittain, since neither received the more than 50 percent required to be declared the winner outright. But then, according to the Associated Press, the South Carolina State Election Commission disqualified the votes received by state Rep. Ted Vick (D) on the grounds that he had withdrawn from the race before primary day.

Virginia: Restoring Voting Rights to Convicted Felons |

Once a convicted felon, many civil rights are taken away, including the right to vote. Those rights are not automatically restored in Virginia. Beverly Thompson, a volunteer with the Augusta County Corrections Center says she and others want to help change that. Virginia is one of only four states that strips a person’s civil rights, after being convicted of a felony. “They can’t get it back unless they do a lot of paperwork,” said Thompson who tries to help inmates regain their voting rights. Thompson says that paperwork is inside a 30 page booklet called, ‘Virginia Civil Rights Restoration Guide.’

Wisconsin: How media called the Walker recall election so fast | The Daily Page

When the major networks called the recall election for Republican Scott Walker barely one hour after the polls closed at 8 p.m., there was widespread disbelief over the results — among Democrats, at least — and bewilderment over the process. Some of the confusion was understandable. The same networks just 30 minutes before had released early exit polling data showing the race between Walker and Democratic challenger Tom Barrett was a dead heat. People were also ticked off that the election was being called with just over 20% of wards reporting and voters still in line in Milwaukee waiting to cast ballots. It struck many in the heat of the moment that corporate media had usurped the democratic process. One woman tweeted in disgust at 9 p.m.: “Ok NBC get a grip 22% and you’re calling it? Puke.” Even the Associated Press seemed sensitive to the criticism, putting out an article that night with the headline “How the AP calls elections before all the votes are tallied.”

Canada: Cities pondering move to online voting | Edmonton Journal

Edmonton, St. Albert and Strathcona County want to push ahead with Alberta’s first test of Internet voting during next year’s civic election. The three communities are interested in allowing people who can’t reach a regular polling booth to vote online instead of mailing in their ballots, according to a report released Thursday. The move requires a change to the provincial Local Authorities Election Act, and though Alberta Municipal Affairs is interested, it needs letters of support from councillors before it will act.

Egypt: High court nullifies parliamentary elections; calls for dissolution of parliament, raising new transition fears | The Washington Post

Egypt’s highest court ruled Thursday that the Islamist-dominated parliament should be dissolved because one-third of its members were elected unlawfully, blunting the astonishing political ascent of the Muslim Brotherhood and imperiling the country’s transition to democratic rule. The decision and a second one safeguarding the presidential candidacy of former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq quickly strengthened the hand of forces linked to Egypt’s old regime, and significantly raised the stakes of the weekend’s runoff vote between Shafiq and the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi.

Mexico: Violence escalates as elections approach |

With presidential and local elections slightly more than two weeks away, violence — some of it political, some of it part of a raging drug war — is surging in Mexico, with candidates killed, journalists snatched and major arrests threatening to touch off a wave of reprisals. And in a sign of the profound corruption that a new president will face, a video released this week shows police officers marching men from a hotel in the middle of the night. The men turned up dead the next day, and the police are suspected of acting on orders from drug gangs.

Arizona: Delay in Arizona election case | SCOTUSblog

Justice Kennedy has issued a temporary order delaying the Ninth Circuit Court’s ruling, at least until further briefs are filed in the case.  The Circuit Court mandate was due to be issued tomorrow, but now will be delayed until at least next Wednesday afternoon.  The challengers to the Arizona citizenship proof requirement are to file a brief by Monday afternoon, with a state reply due by noon Wednesday.   Earlier today, this post was updated to provide a link to the application, here. Arizona state officials asked the Supreme Court on Wednesday to allow election officials there to demand that all voters show proof of citizenship before they may register to vote   The divided en banc Ninth Circuit Court ruled in April that the citizenship proof requirement conflicts with a 1993 federal law passed to make it easier for individuals to sign up to vote.  The state took its plea for a delay of that ruling, for the duration of this year’s election season, to Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who has the option of acting alone or referring the issue to his eight colleagues.  The application (11A1189) was filed in Arizona v. Gonzalez, et al.  The en banc Ninth Circuit, over three judges’ dissents, had denied a stay last week.