National: Will the Supreme Court Consider a Campaign Finance Mulligan? |

The Affordable Care Act isn’t the only consequential law whose fate the U.S. Supreme Court holds in its hands. Before the end of the month, the Court is also expected to decide whether to hear a Montana campaign-finance case that may alter the landmark Citizens United ruling.  The Montana case, American Tradition Partnership v. Bullock, arose from a challenge to the state’s campaign-finance law. In 1912, when Montana’s “copper kings” routinely drew on their immense wealth to buy off local politicians, the state’s citizens approved a ballot initiative called the Corrupt Practices Act, which banned corporate money in state campaigns and imposed strict limits on individual donations. Today, state legislators can take no more than $160 from individual donors; candidates for governor can take about $1,000. The winner of a Montana Senate race spends an average of $17,000—compare that to the more than $125 million that’s been spent in Wisconsin on a series of recall elections since last winter. Montana’s insistence on transparency and the barriers it built to contain corporate spending have “nurtured a rare, pure form of democracy,” wrote Democratic Governor Brian Schweitzer.

Arizona: Voter ID law opponents ask Supreme Court to let lower court’s rejection stand | Arizona Capitol Times

Opponents of Arizona’s voter identification law asked the U.S. Supreme Court Monday to let a lower court decision take effect that would end the state’s requirement of proof of citizenship for voter registration. Justice Anthony Kennedy last week ordered a temporary stay of that ruling in response to state officials who said the decision, coming “on the eve of a new election cycle,” would have thwarted Arizona’s ability to “ensure fair federal elections.” Kennedy gave opponents of the law until Monday to file a response to the stay. Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne has until Wednesday to reply. Arizona has been requiring proof of citizenship since 2005, after the passage of Proposition 200. That law requires county recorders to reject any voter registrationform without proof of citizenship and it requires people to present identification when they show up to vote.

Colorado: Chaffee County CO election officials taken to task | Pueblo Chieftain

A citizen group fighting election officials in Chaffee and five other counties contends a judge’s order violates the group’s right to obtain public records from the officials.  The order restricts the group’s members from requesting records for information the group’s attorney can obtain from the officials, through normal court process, for its lawsuit against them.  “A gag order like this one is obviously a gross infringement on our collective rights,” alleged Marilyn Marks, Aspen, the founder of the group Citizen Center. The group is asking Magistrate Judge Michael Watanabe to rescind his June 4 order.

Georgia: State Senator Concerned About Possible Voter Purging; County Officials Deny Wrongful Removal | Public Broadcasting Atlanta

A group of seniors living in a West End high-rise were recently sent letters from Fulton County’s Department of Registration and Elections saying they were in jeopardy of being purged from the voter rolls. County officials have since apologized and said those voters are not being removed, but a Democratic state senator remains concerned. Senator Vincent Fort says approximately 3,000 residents received the letters and were informed they were in danger of being removed from the voter rolls because their addresses no longer existed, and residents were told to attend a hearing to confirm their address.  Election officials say after realizing the addresses were current they sent residents another notice saying they would not have to attend the hearing. But Senator Fort says approximately 1,200 who did not respond to the election department were nearly purged from voter rolls last week by the county’s election board, but the board ultimately decided against removing the residents. Fort says says a board member made a motion to remove the voters, but the motion was not seconded. But the state senator says he remains worried about what could happen on election day.

Minnesota: St. Paul files brief in suit challenging Minnesota Voter ID amendment, wants measure kept off ballot |

St. Paul has challenged the legality of the constitutional amendment requiring voters to present photo ID at the polls. In a so-called “friend of the court” amicus brief filed to the Minnesota Supreme Court on Monday, June 18, the city questions the accuracy of the language voters will read if the amendment reaches ballots. It also says Gov. Mark Dayton’s veto of the bill in April should force the Republican-led Legislature to rewrite the question and the amendment’s title. “The so-called ‘photo ID’ question is not authorized by law and should not be placed on the ballot,” St. Paul City Attorney Sara Grewing said in a statement. “The Minnesota Supreme Court should order that this bill be sent back to the Legislature for a veto override or further legislative clarification.” The brief, which is for interested groups other than the litigants, is for a lawsuit to keep the proposed amendment off the November ballot. The Supreme Court plans to hear arguments July 17 and expects to rule in time for the ballots to be ready on Nov. 6.

Mississippi: With voter ID awaiting federal scrutiny, Mississippi tries to tally how many people lack photo cards | The Republic

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann said Monday he’s trying to determine how many people in Mississippi lack the type of photo identification that might eventually be needed for voting. In last November’s election, 62 percent of Mississippi voters approved a constitutional amendment that would require voters to show a driver’s license or other form of photo ID at the polls. House Bill 921, passed this spring by the GOP-controlled Legislature and signed by Republican Gov. Phil Bryant, aims to put the mandate into law. Because of Mississippi’s history of racial discrimination, it is required by the 1965 Voting Rights Act to get federal approval for any changes in election laws or procedures. Such approval is not guaranteed. In recent months, the Justice Department has rejected ID laws from Texas and South Carolina, amid concerns that they would dilute minority voting strength.

Missouri: State Supreme Court upholds traditional candidate filing procedure | STL Today

The Missouri Supreme Court today ruled that candidates for state legislative seats in redistricting years don’t have to live in the newly-redrawn districts. In unanimous rulings, the high court said two St. Louis area candidates whose qualifications were challenged can be on the Aug. 7 primary ballot after all. The decisions, reversing a ruling last week by the Missouri Court of Appeals in St. Louis, also remove a cloud that had loomed over several dozen other candidates for legislative seats across the state. The court agreed with a decades-long interpretation of the Missouri Constitution allowing candidates to run for a House or Senate seat if they live in any component part of a district from which the new district had been taken. “Had the drafters of the constitution wished to limit eligibility to candidates residing only in those parts of an old district that were absorbed into the new one, they could have crafted narrowing language to that effect,” the court said in both rulings.  “They did not.”

Pennsylvania: Councilman: Voter ID Requirement Forces Allegheny County to Break Federal Law | Essential Public Radio

Allegheny County’s Board of Elections will likely vote in favor of a lawsuit against the state’s new voter ID law. The vote is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon. Democrats on the board are hoping to strike down a law that requires photo identification to be presented before Pennsylvanians can vote. However, the board’s lone Republican said the lawsuit is redundant, expensive, and politically motivated. Board of Elections Chairman and County Councilman John DeFazio (D-At Large) said the new law is costly and ill-timed, requiring the county to retrain its elections employees before the November 8 general elections. “There’s nothing concrete [in the bill] about getting paid for all of this extra training and money it’s going to cost us,” said DeFazio. “There’s nothing definite on that yet for the county, if we’re going to get all this money back.”

South Carolina: Bromell Tinubu: Lift ban on recalibrating voting machines |

A candidate recently certified as the Democratic nominee in South Carolina’s new 7th congressional district wants to halt a lawsuit seeking to order her into a run-off. Gloria Bromell Tinubu said in papers filed Monday with the state Supreme Court that a temporary restraining order keeping election officials from recalibrating voting machines should be lifted. Two voters who support one of Bromell Tinubu’s Democratic opponents, Preston Brittain, have sued to try to force the two candidates into a run-off. State election officials certified Bromell Tinubu’s victory last week.

Tennessee: Special master sought in missing voter files case | Knoxville News Sentinel

State elections officials and lawyers for Democratic plaintiffs in a voter purge lawsuit have agreed to ask a federal judge to appoint a special master to look into missing voter files. The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports the request is being made as part of a lawsuit filed against the state by former Democratic U.S. Rep. Lincoln Davis, who says he was wrongfully kept from voting in the state’s presidential primary in March. Plaintiffs’ attorney George Barrett told the paper that the two sides have agreed to ask U.S. District Judge Kevin Sharp to appoint the special master to investigate claims that 11,000 voters’ records contain partial or completely blank voting histories. “We’ve asked the court to appoint a special master to investigate those facts and see what happened, if anything,” Barrett said.

Tennessee: Federal judge hears missing voting records case |

A federal judge this week will consider naming a “special master” to get to the bottom of Tennessee Democrats’ assertions that voter data files received from state election officials contained partially or even totally blank voting histories for an estimated 11,000 voters. Attorney George Barrett, who is representing Democrats in a federal lawsuit against Republican Secretary of State Tré Hargett and state Elections Coordinator Mark Goins, said U.S. District Court Judge Kevin Sharp heard the case Friday in Cookeville, Tenn. The judge asked both sides to agree on how to deal with issues raised in court testimony, Barrett said. Barrett, who is representing the Tennessee Democratic Party and former U.S. Rep. Lincoln Davis, D-Tenn., said both sides agreed Friday night on a consent order, which they intend to submit to Sharp this week.

Canada: First Nation protesters ‘trampled’ on voting rights: British Columbia officials | Edmonton Journal

Federal Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan has joined the B.C. government and the B.C. Treaty Commission in expressing disappointment with the weekend postponement of a treaty ratification vote involving B.C.’s Tla’amin First Nation. The vote was put off Saturday after a group of protesters used their vehicles to block access to the polling station at the community near Powell River, about 130 kilometres northwest of Vancouver. “It is disappointing that the vote was disrupted due to these actions,” Duncan said in a statement Monday, using much more tempered language than his B.C. counterparts. “Our government believes that a person’s right to vote should not be denied, and we hope that community members use the democratic process to express their agreement or disagreement with the proposed treaty.”

Egypt: Election Results: Guns Still Hold the Keys to Revolutions | PolicyMic

If you’re surprised by the Egyptian military’s latest power grab – well, you shouldn’t be. With well over a year having passed since the beginning of the Arab Spring, it’s time to take a look back at some of the outcome so far, and the result is not very optimistic. Despite all the mentions of how Twitter and Facebook were changing the world and how the youth of the Middle East were changing their societies in a peaceful manner, the lesson being learned again and again is that might still makes right. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the Middle East today. In Egypt, the military tacitly backed the supreme court wiping away a third of the parliament, took control of the writing of the constitution, and essentially neutered the position of the presidency. The protests of 2011 are not to be seen yet, and you may even see some silent joy from secular and leftist candidates who feared the Muslim Brotherhood sweeping into power. Even if protests do occur, there seems little incentive for the army to allow them, or they may just play a democratic charade again, perhaps more convincingly. The rest of the Middle East is no better. In Syria, the military has repeatedly crushed protesters, who have in turn taken up arms themselves. As a result, 13,000 may have already perished, and a conflict bordering on a full-scale civil-war is brewing. In Bahrain, protests have been repeatedly crushed by the government, with the timely help of patron state Saudi Arabia. While not really part of the Arab Spring, the Green Movement in Iran stirred much interest in the West. This interest was followed by the Iranian government dispersing the demonstrators, using a mixture of beatings, imprisonment, torture, and death.

Mexico: Electoral Campaign in Final Sprint | Prensa Latina

With less than a month remaining before the Mexican elections on July 1, just as the gap between the candidates is beginning to show signs of narrowing, the tone of the race is sharpening. The leftist candidate, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, warned that the war against him has already begun, just as in 2006, although he believes that this time, the attacks against him will fail. From Michoacan, Lopez Obrador denounced the increased attacks by his opponents, who are trying to counteract his gains in the race, seen in the results of the most recent polls.