The Voting News Daily: With Elections Awash in Cash, There’s Plenty of Blame to Go Around, Election Policy Decisions Cost New York City, North Carolina Big Bucks

National: With Elections Awash in Cash, There’s Plenty of Blame to Go Around | David Axelrod, President Obama’s political strategist, recently invoked a common perception about the 2012 campaign by blaming the Supreme Court for empowering 21st-century “robber barons trying to take over the government.” But that explanation does not account for another development that…

National: With Elections Awash in Cash, There’s Plenty of Blame to Go Around |

David Axelrod, President Obama’s political strategist, recently invoked a common perception about the 2012 campaign by blaming the Supreme Court for empowering 21st-century “robber barons trying to take over the government.” But that explanation does not account for another development that probably has been just as influential as the court’s Citizens United decision in creating the flood of money into the election: the demise of the public financing system for elections, hastened by Mr. Obama’s decision four years ago to abandon it. So far, Mr. Obama, Mitt Romney and their respective parties have raised more than $1.2 billion — five times the amount raised by all “super PACs” combined — as they race frenetically for the cash they need to pay for television advertising, sophisticated technology and old-fashioned get-out-the-vote efforts. Nor is there any reason to expect a slowdown. Neither Mr. Obama nor Mr. Romney plans to take the $92 million per candidate on offer from public financing for this general election season, and combined they have raised less than $10 million for spending on the general election, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. More than 95 percent of their receipts so far are for use only through the late-summer nominating conventions, meaning they still have far to go to fill their general election bank accounts.

Voting Blogs: Dollars and Sense: Election Policy Decisions Cost New York City, North Carolina Big Bucks | Election Academy

I talk a lot about election costs on this blog … and when I do, I’m usually discussing how states and localities are finding ways to spend less on elections in order to make their budgets work. Recently, however, we’ve seen two stories that involve funding challenges for election offices, both involving a a twist that has an impact on election administrators’ bottom lines. One story is already familiar if you’ve been following this blog. Last week, New York City’s Independent Budget Office (IBO) released a report estimating the cost of a Citywide election in 2012 at approximately $23 million per election. As the report notes, that figure is particularly significant because it represents the extra funds required for a fourth election made necessary by the legislature’s failure to harmonize the election calendar in the wake of a federal court order.

Florida: State was warned that voter purge was based on bad data | Sun Sentinel

Weeks before the Florida Department of State publicly announced its non-citizen voter purge, proclaiming it was cleaning up the voter rolls, local supervisor of elections were already warning state election officials that the department’s data were bad. In late March, the state elections office alerted local supervisors that it was sending them a list of 2,600 voters who had been identified as non-citizens based on drivers’ license records from the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Right away, according to emails obtained by the South Florida Sun Sentinel and the Orlando Sentinel, there was concern from election supervisors. On April 2, Seminole County Election Supervisor Mike Ertel emailed Gisela Salas, director of the Florida Division of Elections, that some of the five people on Ertel’s list were non-citizens when they obtained a driver’s license but had subsequently become citizens. In fact, he said, some had registered to vote at their naturalization ceremony. “I hate having these new citizens’ first experience with our process be one that frustrates,” Ertel wrote, following it with a smiley face.

Florida: Seminole County commission write-in candidate keeps non-Republicans from voting in primary | Orlando Sentinel

Kevin Gross is running for Seminole County Commission, but you won’t see his name on a ballot. He doesn’t have a campaign website, and it’s unlikely he will knock on doors looking for votes. Gross, a registered Republican from Longwood, is a write-in candidate. Yet despite his low profile, he could have a significant influence on the District 3 commission race Aug. 14. Because of a loophole in state law, his candidacy means that only registered Republicans — about 41 percent of the county’s 260,000 registered voters — will be able to vote in the race. If not for Gross, all registered voters in Seminole could vote in the Republican primary. Across Florida, Republicans and Democrats alike have used the write-in tactic to keep voters from other parties out of their primaries.

Iowa: Few Iowa felons pursue voting rights | Fox News

Republican Gov. Terry Branstad has made Iowa one of the most difficult states in the nation for felons to vote, with an executive order he issued last year already having disenfranchised thousands of people, a review by The Associated Press shows. On the day he took office, Branstad signed an order reversing a six-year policy started under Democrat Tom Vilsack in which felons automatically regained their voting rights once they were discharged from state supervision. The move flew in the face of a nationwide trend to make voting easier for felons, making Iowa one of four states where felons must apply to the governor to have voting rights restored. Branstad’s new process requires applicants to submit a credit report, a provision critics call inappropriate and unique among states. Since then, 8,000 felons in Iowa have finished their prison sentences or been released from community supervision, but less than a dozen have successfully navigated the process of applying to get their citizenship rights back, according to public records obtained by the AP. Branstad’s office has denied a handful of others because of incomplete paperwork or unpaid court costs.

Minnesota: Same-day voter registration fight heard in U.S. court |

Minnesota must check the eligibility of voters who register on Election Day before their ballots are counted or set up a process for others to do so, a voters’ rights group is arguing in federal court. Otherwise, “we’re going to lose the integrity of our elections,” said Erick Kaardal, attorney for the Minnesota Voters Alliance and other plaintiffs. But the state has no obligation to verify eligibility before counting votes, nor would doing so be practical, countered Assistant Attorney General Nathan Hartshorn, representing Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and Attorney General Lori Swanson. The two sides argued for two hours Friday, June 22, before U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank in St. Paul. Frank said he would rule within 60 days.

North Carolina: Elections money disappears from state budget |

When the $20.2 billion state budget was unveiled this week, voting rights advocates got an unpleasant surprise. Although the House and Senate had included $664,000 for the State Board of Elections in their initial spending plans, it mysteriously disappeared from a compromise budget that both chambers approved on Thursday. “When (the budget) went to the conference committee, we kind of thought it was a no-brainer this was going to be in there since both sides had done it,” said Brent Laurenz, executive director of the nonpartisan North Carolina Center for Voter Education.

Pennsylvania: Voter ID Law Will Prevent College Students from Voting | PolicyMic

This November should be an exciting time on Pennsylvania college campuses. Students across the state, many for the first time, will cast a vote in the presidential election. Unfortunately, many Pennsylvania students will be kept out of our political process. Some will not bother to go to the polls because they lack any of the recently specified forms of required photo identification; others will be turned away because they are unaware of the state’s new law. This is because of Pennsylvania’s new, complex voter ID law that puts strict requirements on which student IDs are acceptable for voting. Several student IDs issued by Pennsylvania colleges and universities currently do not comply with the new voter ID law. The few types of identification cards that will be acceptable in Pennsylvania for the November election include U.S. military IDs; employee photo IDs issued by federal or Pennsylvania state, county or municipal governments; photo ID cards issued by a Pennsylvania care facility; photo IDs issued by the U.S. Federal Government or the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, or photo ID cards from an accredited Pennsylvania public or private institution of higher learning.

Wisconsin: Voter ID Cases Unlikely to be Decided by Election Day | WUWM

A judge is expected to rule next month on a challenge to Wisconsin’s photo ID law. The decision would come weeks before this fall’s primary elections. Yet, as WUWM’s Ann-Elise Henzl reports, it is unlikely the state’s policy will be set in stone, by the time voters go to the polls.
Groups have filed four lawsuits seeking to overturn Wisconsin’s new photo ID requirement. Two are in state court. Until they’re resolved, the mandate that voters present an acceptable identification card is on hold. One challenge is before a court of appeals, with no decision date in sight. The ruling expected in July is in Dane County Circuit Court. The decision will most certainly be appealed, according to Kevin Kennedy, director of the Government Accountability Board. “Realistically, the courts are probably not going to be acting this summer. I think for August we’re just simply trying to say, ‘don’t expect it, but – again – be prepared,’” Kennedy says.

Egypt: Morsi wins Egypt’s presidential election | Al Jazeera

The Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi has officially won Egypt’s presidential election and will be the country’s next president, the electoral commission has announced. Morsi picked up 13.2 million votes out of just over 26 million, giving him about 51 per cent of the vote. His competitor, Ahmed Shafiq, the final prime minister under Hosni Mubarak, received 12.3 million. More than 800,000 ballots were invalidated. Farouq Sultan, the head of the election commission, delivered a long speech before announcing the results in which he defended the body’s “independence and integrity” amidst what he called meddling by unnamed political factions. The two candidates filed 456 complaints about the electoral process, Sultan said, most of them allegations of either forgery or Christian voters being blocked from polling stations in Upper Egypt. The vast majority of those complaints were dismissed.

Egypt: Mursi declared Egypt’s first civilian president, but military remains in control | Ahram Online

Muslim Brotherhood presidential candidate Mohamed Mursi has been named Egypt’s fifth president after narrowly defeating his rival, Mubarak-era PM Ahmed Shafiq, in the hotly-contested presidential elections’ runoffs. His victory, however, is barely expected to bring immediate stability to the turmoil-hit country. The final results, which gave 52 per cent of the vote to Mursi, were announced around 4:30pm, Sunday, at the Cairo headquarters of the Supreme Presidential Electoral Commission (SPEC). The announcement sparked massive celebrations in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the epicentre of Egypt’s uprising. … “I would like to thank the military council, the judicial system and the police for their efforts in making the elections clean and fair,” Mursi campaign manager Ahmed Abdel-Atti said shortly after the announcement.

Jordan: Rallies protest draft elections law | Jordan Times

Activists hit the streets in various cities on Friday as protests over the controversial draft elections law stretched into their fourth day. Leftists, independents and supporters of the Islamist movement joined ranks in a series of rallies in several parts of the country against the Lower House’s endorsement of an “undemocratic” elections law and ongoing government austerity measures. Under the slogan “No to the one-vote formula”, activists rallied in Irbid, Salt, Tafileh and Maan to object to the bill, which they claim fails to break away from the one-person, one-vote system that favours independent candidates at the expense of political parties.

Mexico: Fear of past, ire at present divide young Mexicans | BusinessWeek

With signs shouting “No to repression!” and “Down with the PRI!” the angry students who have taken the streets of Mexico with flash protests have become the most visible face of youth in this election. They have challenged the presidential candidates to debates, urged others their age to pay attention to the campaign, and sought to fight off the return of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, which held power for 71 years until its ouster in 2000. The college students marching in the protests are among the most privileged of the 24 million young people registered to cast ballots on July 1. At the other end of the spectrum sit the majority of Mexico’s young who live in poverty, did not graduate from high school, and earn less than $10 a day. But unlike the elections of 2000, when a majority of young voters agreed that the PRI had to go, this election season has seen a sharp division among youth along class lines. Educated voters in this demographic are opposed to the return of the PRI, while the rest of the voters aged 18 to 29 prefer the candidacy of Enrique Pena Nieto over his two major rivals.