MPRN’s Rick Pluta reports that reactions to Gov. Snyder’s vetoes today were divided across party lines: Republicans – including Secretary of State Ruth Johnson – said the bills were reasonable ways to ensure only people who are supposed to vote cast ballots. She says the veto will not stop her from including a box on voter registration forms affirming their U.S. citizenship. The governor did sign 11 other bills in the package. But GOP leaders in the Legislature expressed disappointment in their Republican governor’s decision to veto some of their work. House Speaker Jase Bolger quickly issued a statement expressing his disappointment in the vetoes. Democrats, on the other hand, praised the decision as “courageous.”
The Voting News Daily: Pentagon Reverses Course on American Voters Living Abroad, Corporate Contribution Ban Upheld
National: Pentagon Reverses Course on American Voters Living Abroad | NYTimes.com Responding to the vocal concerns of American expatriates, the Pentagon agency responsible for overseas voting has agreed not to enforce a requirement for voters requesting absentee ballots to state categorically that they either intend to stay abroad indefinitely or not. In a separate development, the…
Amid the excitement over last week’s health care decision, the Fourth Circuit’s major campaign finance decision in a case called United States v. Danielczyk received relatively little attention. However, Danielczyk is a crucially important case, affirming the constitutionality of a longstanding federal law banning corporations from giving campaign donations directly to candidates. The opinion overturned a flawed lower court decision — and limited the reach of Citizens United. The federal ban on corporate contributions, now located in the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act, has been in force since Congress passed the Tillman Act in 1907. For more than a century, it has been one of the core protections against corruption in our democracy.
Voting Blogs: The Current Electoral College is Like the World Series (Which is Why We Need to Change It) | FairVote.org
Defending the current structure of the Electoral College is a difficult task. The winner-take-all method–in which states allocate all their electoral votes to whichever presidential candidate carries the state–is still used by the vast majority of states today. Its apologists, struggling to make this outdated and unfair system appealing to Americans, have tried to make it seem quintessentially American by comparing it to the most quintessentially American thing possible: baseball’s World Series. This analogy, introduced by MIT researcher Alan Natapoff in the 1990s and widely circulated after the controversial presidential election of 2000, is still commonly cited today as a defense of a winner-take-all Electoral College. It should not be. If anything, comparing these two American institutions perfectly illustrates we why we need to get rid of the winner-take-all Electoral College rules and establish a fairer system of electing the president based on a national popular vote. The basic argument goes like this. The World Series is divided into seven games. The winner of the World Series is the team that wins four out of the seven games, not the team that scores the most aggregate runs over the course of the series. Likewise, the winner of the Electoral College is the candidate that wins the majority of electoral votes through winning states, not the candidate that receives the most aggregate votes in the total population.
The “Show Me State” of Missouri has a lot to show Minnesota about the travails of trying to require voters to show a photo ID before casting ballots. Short version: It won’t be easy. Six years after the law first passed in Missouri, the state’s voter-friendly courts have kept photo ID and related election-law changes off the books and even off the ballot. Minnesota advocates on both sides have taken notice. “It does show a path to success,” said Mike Dean of Common Cause Minnesota, which opposes the election law changes and hopes to duplicate Missouri’s record of blocking them in court. “The Missouri legislature really screwed up,” responds Dan McGrath of Minnesota Majority, which supports the photo ID requirements. “The Minnesota Legislature didn’t make the same mistake.”
Lawmakers and others were celebrating the override of Gov. John Lynch’s veto of the photo identification bill, but the celebration may have come a little too early. The pending law must be reviewed by the U.S. Department of Justice because any significant changes in state election laws — and requiring photo identification is a significant change — have to be reviewed. New Hampshire — the only Northern state affected — and 15 other states are subject to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which seeks to eliminate discriminatory voting practices that bar or hinder voting by minorities. New Hampshire was snagged in the 1968 presidential election when 10 towns were identified with less than 50 percent of adults voting in the a presidential election, a violation of the act.
U.S Attorney General Eric Holder could be the last hurdle between New Hampshire and its new Voter ID law. Granite State lawmakers may have overcome the objection of Governor John Lynch to the state’s new Voter ID law, but they may still have to get Holder’s permission. Under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Department of Justice must “pre-clear” any changes in election laws affecting ten New Hampshire communities. The House and Senate overrode Lynch’s veto to a new Voter ID law on Wednesday, meaning voters will have to show photo identification at the polls this fall, or sign an affidavit that they are who they claim to be. New Hampshire Assistant Attorney General Matt Mavrogeorge tells New Hampshire Watchdog that his office has let Washington know that the new law is on the books. “We’ve been in contact with the lawyers in Washington to let them know about the law,” Mavrogeorge says. “We don’t anticipate any problems.”
New Mexico: Doña Ana County residents confused over voter registration forms mailed by nonprofit group | www.kfoxtv.com
Dona Ana County said a group called The Voter Participation Center has sent out voter registration forms to some ineligible voters, including deceased people and non-U.S. citizens. The group is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization which said it focuses on helping unmarried women, minorities and people under age 30 register to vote, but some of the forms have mistakenly gone to people who never should have received them. “I got an email from a French couple, French nationals, who said, ‘I don’t know why you’re asking me to register,” Dona Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins said.
The U.S. Justice Department has turned down South Carolina’s voter identification law for a second time as the state’s lawsuit against the federal government moves forward. “I remain unable to conclude that the State of South Carolina has carried its burden of showing that the submitted change in Section 5 of Act R54 neither has a discriminatory purpose nor will have a discriminatory effect,” Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez wrote in a letter Friday to an attorney representing South Carolina in its lawsuit against U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson sued Holder after the federal government blocked South Carolina’s photo ID requirement in December, saying it could keep tens of thousands of the state’s minorities from casting ballots. It was the first such law to be refused by the federal agency in nearly 20 years. The Justice Department has said the law failed to meet requirements of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which requires approval from that agency for changes to South Carolina’s election laws because of the state’s past failure to protect blacks’ voting rights.
A recount has concluded Democrat John Lehman defeated incumbent Republican Van Wanggaard in last month’s state Senate recall races. An official canvas following the June 5 elections showed Lehman leading Wanggaard by 834 votes out of nearly 72,000 ballots cast in Racine County’s 21st Senate District. A Lehman victory would give Democrats a one-seat majority in the Senate. Wanggaard requested a recount, but final tallies from the Racine County clerk’s office Monday showed Lehman with 36,358 votes and Wanggaard with 35,539, a difference of 819 votes.
Wisconsin Democrats moved closer to controlling the state Senate today after a recount showed Democrat John Lehman defeated Republican Sen. Van Wanggaard in last month’s recall elections, though the incumbent said his campaign was pondering a lawsuit challenging the results. A Lehman victory in Racine County’s 21st Senate District would give Democrats a one-seat majority in the chamber until the November elections. Lehman issued a two-sentence statement saying he looks forward to joining his colleagues in the Senate. But Wanggaard refused to concede. “I will spend the next couple of days reviewing the evidence, speaking with voters, supporters, and my family before deciding my next step,” Wanggaard said in a statement.
For more than a century, the GOP has had a hard time pulling in the Jewish vote. But in a move demonstrating just how close Republicans expect the 2012 election to be, the GOP isn’t leaving any constituencies to chance—even those living abroad. The Republican Jewish Coalition announced Monday that its board of directors, together with former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleicher, are headed next week to Israel to encourage Jewish Americans living abroad to register to vote just in time for the presidential election. The Republican group hopes American voters living in Israel might help the GOP gain an edge among Jewish voters in the U.S.
Ireland: Recycling firm’s plan to sell e-voting machines for charity blocked by government department | The Irish Times
Attempts by a private company to sell some of the controversial e-voting machines for charity have been blocked by the Department of the Environment. Kurt Kyck of KMK Metals Recycling Ltd in Tullamore, Co Offaly, which bought the machines from the government, was told by a department official yesterday that attempts to sell 100 of them for charity were in breach of the terms of his contract. The machines, which have cost the State €55 million, were sold for scrap to Mr Kyck’s company for just €70,000 last week. Mr Kyck had indicated he would sell 100 of the machines for charity at €100 each, with the money going to children’s charity Barretstown. He had come up with the idea after receiving many inquiries from people interested in buying one of the machines. He said he had received more than 130 inquiries from organisations as diverse as small museums and pubs that wanted to put them on display.
Jordan: King urges Islamists to take part in elections despite dissatisfaction with reforms | The Washington Post
Jordan’s king urged his country’s Islamist opposition Sunday to take part in upcoming elections, despite their dissatisfaction with reforms. King Abdullah II’s appeal in a rare interview on Jordan TV was part of his attempt to engage with the Islamic Action Front, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, Jordan’s main opposition. Islamists have made gains all over the region after Arab Spring uprisings and show increasing strength in Jordan. “Our doors and hearts are open to everyone, including the Muslim Brotherhood and their party,” he said. “We call on all groups to take part in this reform process and participate in the legislative elections.” Abdullah is concerned that the Brotherhood’s party will boycott elections, undermining his reform plan and igniting a violent uprising, like elsewhere in the Mideast. No date has been set, though the election is expected this year.
Hundreds of armed protesters on Sunday attacked the offices of Libya’s election commission in two cities, Benghazi and Tobruk, in anger over the way seats in next week’s planned election for a constituent assembly were distributed among the country’s regions. The protesters carried computers, ballot boxes and ballots out of the offices, and shattered and burned them in the streets outside, according to witnesses, news agencies and photographs that circulated on the Internet. Some of the attackers carried signs calling the leader of Libya’s interim government a “traitor” to the eastern region of the country, known as Cyrenaica, which the protesters said got too few seats in the assembly. Others demanded the writing of a constitution before elections.