Egypt: Sans Parliament, Egypt Picks a President | The Daily Beast

Egyptians are choosing their president this weekend in a runoff election that pits a military stalwart and standard bearer for the old regime, Ahmed Shafik, against the leader of an increasingly assertive Islamic movement, Mohammed Morsi. The good news, 16 months after Egyptians ousted Hosni Mubarak in a two-and-a-half-week uprising, is that the choice is stark. Shafik, an ex Air Force chief, makes no secret of the fact that he admires Mubarak and wants to restore the secular, quasi-military state that the ex-dictator ran for nearly 30 years, albeit with an electoral frame. Morsi is more complicated. A leader of the long-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, he’s promised to bring more religion and more democracy to Egyptian public life, without necessarily explaining how the two will coexist.

The Voting News Daily: Indianapolis Meeting Compares Voting Machine Standards, Fannie Lou Who? Why Voting Rights Still Matter

National: Indianapolis Meeting Compares Voting Machine Standards | Indiana Public Media State election officials from more than a dozen states are in Indianapolis to compare notes on voting machines. The controversy over “hanging chads” in the Florida presidential vote prompted Congress in 2002 to order the states to make the transition to optical-scan and touch-screen…

National: Indianapolis Meeting Compares Voting Machine Standards | Indiana Public Media

State election officials from more than a dozen states are in Indianapolis to compare notes on voting machines. The controversy over “hanging chads” in the Florida presidential vote prompted Congress in 2002 to order the states to make the transition to optical-scan and touch-screen voting machines. But Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson insists Indiana is one of the few states with the technical expertise to assess whether competing models meet state standards. Still, Hoosier officials will hear presentations from many states in an effort to determine best practices, Lawson says.

Editorials: Fannie Lou Who? Why Voting Rights Still Matter | Colorlines

I’m poring over notes created the last few weeks on my laptop, in my notebook, and on scraps of paper, in order to explain why this blog exists. In short, Voting Rights 2012 is a collaborative effort between and The Nation, to report on voter suppression. But that doesn’t explain why this blog exists. Brentin Mock will be writing the bigger picture story, looking at broader national trends from voter ID to voter suppression. Meanwhile, I’ll be augmenting with more of the day-to-day developments, as well working with community journalists, who will be our eyes and ears, since our little team can’t be everywhere at once. Now that I have it down in a short paragraph, it sounds simple enough. But it hardly begins to answer why we’re really here, or why anyone should want to follow our work. Many readers of The Nation, who follow electoral trends and possess a tendency towards protecting voting rights, might wonder why their coveted magazine (and, increasingly, their online go-to site for political analysis) felt the need to pair up with a site that focuses on racial justice. Meanwhile, some readers, who may be disenchanted with politics four years after a historic election that resulted in fewer gains for people of color than many hoped for, might wonder why their favorite daily news site is concerned with voting rights—an issue that seemingly only affirms the establishment (as a dear friend recently posted on Facebook, “the republicrats will win no matter what.”) And then, there’s Brentin and I, pressed to write for two intelligent yet not always overlapping audiences, and convince both that what we’re reporting is relevant.

Arizona: State allowed to keep law that demands proof of citizenship for voter registration | East Valley Tribune

Arizona can continue to demand proof of citizenship before registering voters, at least for the time being.
In a brief order Thursday, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy blocked a ruling against the state from taking effect as scheduled Friday. Instead, he directed those who successfully challenged the requirement to file legal papers by the end of the day Monday explaining why the April decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals should be upheld. It does not mean the high court intends to overturn the ruling — or even from preventing it from taking effect while the state seeks review. But it does mean that at least one justice thinks the issue is significant enough to require an immediate look by him and his colleagues.

Connecticut: Common Cause slams Malloy veto of campaign finance bill | The Connecticut Mirror

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy vetoed a controversial campaign finance disclosure bill Friday, saying it would have a “chilling effect on issue advocacy.” The veto provoked disappointment by legislative leaders and a stinging denunciation of Malloy’s commitment to reform by Common Cause. The bill pitted Common Cause and other campaign reform advocates against the ACLU, newspapers and business groups, which argued that the legislation was poorly written and overly intrusive. The goal was to provide greater disclsoure about independent expenditures. Secretary of the State Denise Merrill opposed elements of the bill that essentially would have allowed voting by fax or email. “This is not Gov. Malloy against the world,” said Roy Occhiogrosso, the governor’s senior adviser, defending the veto and responding to Common Cause. “There is a coalition, an interesting coalition…they have identified any number of problems with this bill.”

Minnesota: Voter ID fight escalates as Ritchie bows out of case |

Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, a DFLer who has campaigned against the photo ID requirement for voting passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature, said Thursday he will not defend the language of the proposed constitutional amendment in a court challenge that names him as the defendant. Ritchie’s decision, announced in a letter to Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie Gildea, followed a vote by Republican legislative leaders earlier in the day to hire their own attorney to fight a lawsuit that seeks to derail the amendment before it reaches voters in November. The day’s rapid-fire events escalated what has become a high-stakes summertime preliminary to the full-fledged political campaign over the photo ID plan and related election law changes.

Minnesota: Legislature can intervene in Voter ID lawsuit; Ritchie says he won’t defend proposal |

The Minnesota Supreme Court on Friday, June 15, agreed to let lawyers for the Legislature intervene in a lawsuit challenging voter ID, one day after Secretary of State Mark Ritchie said he would not defend the proposed amendment’s language. The lawsuit seeks to keep off the November ballot a proposed Minnesota constitutional amendment that would require voters have photo IDs. The state Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the case July 17 and is expected to issue a decision relatively soon to ensure ballots are ready by Nov. 6. As Minnesota’s secretary of state, Ritchie is named in the lawsuit. On Thursday, Ritchie wrote Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie Gildea that he has a “ministerial duty to ensure that the ballots are properly printed, not to take a side as to whether a ballot question proposed by the Legislature accurately or completely represents a Constitutional amendment under consideration. I therefore will not be filing a brief in this matter. I look forward to honoring and following the Court’s decision in the preparation of the ballots.”

South Carolina: Election commission: No Democratic runoff in 7th District | The Associated Press

Election officials opted Friday not to order a runoff between the top two vote-getters in the Democratic race for South Carolina’s new 7th congressional district, although all sides acknowledged the issue would next play out in court. After 90 minutes of executive session but with no public debate, the state Election Commission voted to certify Coastal Carolina University professor Gloria Bromell Tinubu’s victory in Tuesday’s primary over Myrtle Beach attorney Preston Brittain. At issue was whether the commission would 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 state Democratic Party and Brittain’s campaign had argued none of the five received a majority, thus necessitating a runoff or otherwise disenfranchising voters. The commission voted 3-2 not to count Vick’s votes.

Cyprus: Cyprus weighs its post-Greek election bailout options | Business Spectator

Cyprus faces the choice of asking for a bailout from its European partners in the euro or from Russia, and will decide where to turn after this weekend’s crucial elections in Greece, officials say. Government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou wouldn’t name the country where a possible loan could come from. But an official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, identified it as Russia. Mr Stefanou said Cyprus is looking at both options in order to have “flexibility to deal with the issue”. “We have these options in front of us, we’re looking in the direction of a bilateral loan as well as toward the European Union support mechanism,” he told AP.

France: Affairs of politics and heart mark French election | Washington Examiner

Back-room deals, black lists and bitter duels. Political and personal intrigue has wormed its way into Sunday’s final round of French legislative elections. President Francois Hollande’s Socialist Party is battling to assure a solid majority and fulfill his vows to boost growth in Europe and redefine the presidency as one beholden to the people. Barring surprises, the Socialists and their allies should win enough seats to control the crucial 577-seat lower house of parliament, after a strong showing in the first round a week ago. To get there, the party is trying to fend off conservatives who dominated parliament under former President Nicolas Sarkozy. They’re also trying to shame those in the mainstream right who are cutting vote-getting deals with the extreme right, anti-immigrant National Front, which is conniving for its first real presence in parliament in more than a quarter century. “The right no longer knows where it lives. It no longer knows what it is,” said Economy Minister Pierre Moscovici this week on France 2 TV. “It’s lost its markers, its identity, its values.”

Montenegro: President hints at early vote, EU talks loom | TrustLaw

Montenegro’s president said on Thursday his party might seek an early parliamentary election this year rather than next if the European Union, as expected, launches membership talks with the Adriatic state in June. The ex-Yugoslav republic of 680,000 people is due to hold parliamentary polls around March 2013, but President Filip Vujanovic suggested the government could seek a fresh mandate from voters in autumn this year if the EU opens talks. Vujanovic, a senior member of the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists, said other countries bidding to join the EU had also sought a clean slate before tackling the demanding process of negotiation, which in Montenegro’s case will include dealing with the country’s deep-rooted organised crime and corruption.

Ukraine: Yanukovych invites OSCE observers to monitor parliamentary elections | Ukrinform

President Viktor Yanukovych has invited observers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to monitor Ukraine’s parliamentary elections on October 28, 2012, the president’s press office said in a statement. “Reaffirming my particular interest in holding fair and transparent elections to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine in full compliance with the high international standards, I am addressing you with a request to send the official observation missions to Ukraine,” reads a letter of President Viktor Yanukovych’s to the Heads of State and Government of OSCE participating states.