The Voting News Daily: A Crack in the GOP’s Support for Voter-ID Laws, UFO sightings are 3,615 times more common than instances of voter fraud

Editorials: A Crack in the GOP’s Support for Voter-ID Laws | The American Prospect There’s little question what the political calculus behind voter-ID laws is. Advocates argue that the laws, which require government photo identification to vote, are necessary to prevent voter fraud—despite there being virtually no evidence that such fraud is a problem. In practice,…

Editorials: A Crack in the GOP’s Support for Voter-ID Laws | The American Prospect

There’s little question what the political calculus behind voter-ID laws is. Advocates argue that the laws, which require government photo identification to vote, are necessary to prevent voter fraud—despite there being virtually no evidence that such fraud is a problem. In practice, the laws will disproportionately have an impact on poor people and those of color, two Democratic-leaning groups that are less likely to have such IDs. Predictably, Republicans have been pushing for these laws, while Democrats generally oppose them. That is, until earlier this week, when Michigan Governor Rick Snyder shot down his own party and vetoed a state voter-ID law. He also vetoed laws that would have made it harder to conduct voter-registration drives and to confirm U.S. citizenship for voters. All three—pushed by Republican Secretary of State Ruth Johnson and sponsored by Republican lawmakers—would likely have dampened turnout, particularly among disadvantaged communities.

Editorials: UFO sightings are 3,615 times more common than instances of voter fraud | msnbc

Reported UFO sightings happen far more than voter fraud, Mother Jones reports. Republicans legislatures are quick to legislate against supposedly rampant voter fraud, but a new report finds that UFO sightings are far more likely than actual voter fraud.  3,615 times more likely, to be exact. “Voter laws are a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist,” PoliticsNation host Al Sharpton said on Thursday. In 2000 to 2010, just 13 cases of credible, in-person voter fraud were found in the 649 million votes cast in general elections, but the legislative efforts to curb the supposed fraud are huge: in the last ten years, nearly 1,000 bills have been introduced in 46 different states to tighten voting laws. 24 voting restrictions have passed in 17 states in the last year and a half and five important battleground states—Florida, Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin—will have tighter voter restrictions than they did in 2008.

Editorials: Fight back against restrictive voting laws | Lawrence Norden/

Amid our vacations, fireworks and barbecues Wednesday, it’s easy to forget that we are actually commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The most famous phrase from that document is one of our nation’s founding values: “All men are created equal.” As it happens, this July Fourth week brings two significant victories for that value that are worth celebrating. Most Americans are probably not aware that since 2011, more than two dozen measures have passed that will make it more difficult for some eligible citizens to vote, denying them the opportunity to participate equally in our democracy. Too often, it appears that politicians are trying to manipulate voting laws to save their jobs and pick their voters, rather than allowing all voters to choose their politicians. The good news is that the public, the courts and some elected officials have fought these new restrictions in several states, including Ohio, Maine, Missouri and, just Tuesday, Michigan. To the surprise of many — at the urging of good government and voting rights groups, several editorial pages and many of Michigan’s citizens — Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed a package of restrictive voting laws in that state. One of the bills would have restricted voter registration drives.

Editorials: A Case Study in How Kris Kobach’s Cabal Aims to Remake Election Law | The Nation

 “Some 1,500 people voted under dead people’s and prisoners’ names from 2008-11, according to Michigan’s auditor general. Many might be clerical errors, but this illustrates the need to ensure accurate voter rolls.” Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson wrote this in a July 2 Times-Herald column, and she lied. Johnson is a member of a fifteen-state consortium of right-wing elections officials that’s hellbent on purging voters. And her dishonest jousting in Michigan this week offers a window into how that consortium works—playing fast and loose with facts in order to create the impression of a problem that would justify their hardline solutions, and flouting the law themselves when necessary. Johnson’s Monday column was a last-ditch effort to persuade Governor Rick Snyder to sign into law herSecure and Fair Elections (SAFE) initiative, including the bills HB 5061 and SB 803, which respectively would force voters to reaffirm their citizenship before receiving a ballot and would require photo ID for absentee voting. Another bill, SB 754, would put onerous restrictions on third-party registration organizations, much like a Florida law that was recently blocked by a federal judge. On Tuesday, Governor Snyder vetoed those three bills, but preserved the rest of Johnson’s SAFE package. Despite Johnson’s constant refrain on dead people voting, her own Bureau of Elections has already established that there was no actual voter fraud in the auditor general’s report she referenced in her July 2 column.

Arizona: Secretary of State facing lawsuit after deciding to reject nearly 300,000 citizens’ initiative signatures | TriValley Central

The Quality Education and Jobs Committee last week filed a lawsuit in Maricopa County Superior Court challenging Secretary of State Ken Bennett’s rejection of 290,849 signatures to qualify the citizens’ initiative for the Nov. 6 ballot. In its legal complaint against Bennett, the committee asked the court to overturn his decision, arguing that Bennett’s decision violates state law, legislative intent and the Arizona Constitution. The complaint, filed by former Arizona Chief Justice Stanley Feldman as the lead attorney, stated that Secretary Bennett, by rejecting the signatures, has “failed to perform a duty required by law as to which he has no discretion.” The committee asked for the case to be heard quickly because of election deadlines. “The motto of the Secretary of State’s Office is that Arizona voters’ voice and vote count,” said Ann-Eve Pedersen, chair of the Quality Education and Jobs citizens’ initiative. “For Secretary Bennett to now tell voters that their signatures don’t count and they won’t even have the chance to vote on a measure they overwhelmingly support erodes public confidence in government and in the democratic process.”

California: California Becomes Sixth State To Call For Amendment Against Citizens United Ruling | Huffington Post

One of the largest states in the nation took an official stand Thursday against the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, which ruled that government restriction of corporation or union spending on political campaigns violated the First Amendment right to free speech. California joins Hawaii, Vermont, Rhode Island, Maryland and New Mexico in calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court ruling. State assembly members Bob Wieckowski (D-Calif.) and Michael Allen (D-Calif.) introduced the campaign finance reform bill in January, calling for the federal government to send a constitutional amendment overturning Citizens United to all the states for ratification. The measure also would serve as an official symbol of California’s disagreement with the ruling.

National: Pentagon Reverses Course on American Voters Living Abroad |

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 U.S. Internal Revenue Service said that it would make it easier for American citizens abroad who have not been filing tax returns — some from ignorance of new requirements — to meet their legal obligations if they owe little or no taxes. Expatriate groups applauded both developments. They had been fighting the ballot requirement, saying its black-or-white language could put overseas Americans in an untenable position and might dissuade some from voting. The groups have also complained about tough — and they say sometimes unfair — new I.R.S. enforcement of tax laws for those living abroad. Susan Dzieduszycka-Suinat, who heads the nonpartisan Overseas Vote Foundation, called the Pentagon’s decision “a huge win for overseas citizens” and praised the agency for responding to voters’ concerns.

Michigan: Snyder vetoes controversial voter ID, registration bills | The Detroit News

Gov. Rick Snyder on Tuesday vetoed three election law bills pushed by Republican legislators seeking to require a ballot box affirmation of citizenship, restrict voter registration drives and require photo ID for obtaining an absentee ballot. Snyder said he vetoed the absentee ballot bill, House Bill 5061, because it would not let an absentee ballot count if the person did not affirm their citizenship by the close of the polls on an Election Day. “I am concerned (the bill) could create voter confusion among absentee voters,” Snyder wrote in a veto letter to legislators. The Republican governor’s use of his veto pen won rare praise from Democrats, labor unions and other liberal special interest groups.

New York: Rangel opponent files for re-vote in increasingly tight primary | The Washington Post

What at one point looked like a big primary night victory for Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) has gradually become a close race — enough so that Rangel’s opponent is now filing for a possible do-over election. State Sen. Adriano Espaillat this week filed with the state Supreme Court seeking either a recount or a highly unusual redo of his June 26 primary with Rangel. Espaillat has lodged accusations of voter suppression and has pointed to faulty administration and vote-counting by New York City elections officials. Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., salutes surviving members of the Montford Point Marines, during a Congressional Gold Medal ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, June 27, 2012. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais — Associated Press) The race appeared over and done last Tuesday night, with Rangel holding a double-digit lead in early returns. He delivered a victory speech, and Espaillat conceded. As the night wore on, though, Espaillat closed the gap significantly, and a continuing manual counting of the ballots now has Rangel up just 802 votes out of nearly 40,000 cast. A couple thousand absentee ballots still have yet to be counted.

New York: Inside a Possible Rangel-Espaillat Rematch | WSJ

While contesting Rep. Charles Rangel’s primary congressional victory, lawyers for Sen. Adriano Espaillat raised eyebrows Monday by floating the possibility of a redo election. At the moment, with a couple of thousands ballots left to be counted, Espaillat’s camp is holding its powder.  But if Rangel’s lead — now standing at 802 votes — keeps shrinking, Espaillat could ask the courts to order a new vote. The campaign said it filed a petition asking for a re-vote Tuesday, but only to keep its options open in case it finds irregularities, since there’s a 10-day statute of limitations on such claims. Such a redo scenario would be highly unusual in New York. But it’s not unheard of in disputed primary races. “It’s granted in extraordinarily rare situations,” said Jerry Goldfeder, a veteran Democratic election attorney. A razor-thin margin, alone, isn’t enough to warrant a do-over. Under state election law: “The court may direct reassembling of any convention or the holding of a new primary election, or caucus where it finds there has been such fraud or irregularity as to render impossible a determination as to who rightfully was nominated or elected.”

Pennsylvania: Voter ID law assurances fail to quell fears of disenfranchisement | TribLIVE

The contentious state voter ID law should pose no problem for most Pennsylvania voters, according to the Department of State and PennDOT, but local opponents of the law say the state’s numbers show almost one in 10 voters could be disenfranchised. The two agencies compared data and found that 91 percent of the state’s registered voters have a PennDOT ID number on identification that qualifies them to vote. Supporters say the law is needed to prevent voter fraud. Secretary of the Commonwealth Carol Aichele said in a news release on Tuesday that the comparison “confirms that most Pennsylvanians have acceptable photo ID for voting this November.” Officials at the department and PennDOT could not be reached for further comment. “What’s truly scary about this report is that it makes my case,” Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner said. “About 10 percent of otherwise eligible Pennsylvanians are disenfranchised by the Voter ID law. That’s not an acceptable number of people to tell that they can’t vote.” Disenfranchised groups, Wagner said, include older residents, students and the poor.

Voting Blogs: So what’s going on in the Texas redistricting cases? | Texas Redistricting

After an extended period when the courts and parties were generating redistricting news it seemed almost hourly, things have gotten much quieter. In fact, in the  preclearance case in Washington, no pleadings, orders, notices, or advisories have been filed or entered since April 2.  Nada. And most parties seem to have more or less given up trying to predict when a ruling on the maps can be expected.

East Timor: Eyes on Timor’s testing election | Sydney Morning Herald

East Timor is about to face a crucial test of its fragile democracy in parliamentary elections that will determine if UN peacekeepers can leave. The UN, after presidential polls were held peacefully over two rounds in March and April, says it will pull out its remaining 1300 troops within six months if the general election tomorrow goes well. There are concerns that violence will reignite in the oil-rich but underdeveloped state if none of the 21 parties wins an outright majority and a fragile coalition takes power.

Mexico: Final results confirming Pena Nieto win |

Mexican opposition candidate Enrique Pena Nieto maintained his lead in a final count from Sunday’s presidential election, confirming initial results published the night of the vote. With 92 percent of polling stations counted by Thursday morning, Pena Nieto held 38.4 percent of the vote, seven points ahead of the leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, setting up a return to power by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). Mexico’s Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) expected to conclude the final vote count on Thursday and certify the results on Sunday, when an official count of results from the congressional elections is due. Preliminary results showed Pena Nieto claimed victory Sunday with some 38 percent of the vote, about 6.5 points clear of Lopez Obrador. Trailing in third was Josefina Vazquez Mota of the ruling conservative National Action Party (PAN).

Mexico: Mexican vote recount confirms Pena Nieto win | Reuters

A recount on Thursday showed Mexico’s Enrique Pena Nieto as the clear winner of Sunday’s presidential election, but the runner-up still refused to concede, alleging Pena Nieto’s party bought millions of votes. The results set up a return to power for the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, which governed Mexico from 1929 to 2000, when it was frequently accused of vote-rigging. With 99 percent of polling stations counted or recounted, Pena Nieto held 38.2 percent of the vote, 6.7 points ahead of leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. Mexico’s Federal Electoral Institute, or IFE, expected to conclude the final recount later on Thursday and certify the results on Sunday, when an official count of the congressional elections was also due.

Mexico: Inconsistencies Prompt Recount In Mexico’s Elections | International Business Times

Electoral authorities in Mexico have initiated a recount of roughly half of the votes cast in the presidential election upon finding inconsistencies in the final results. The initial tally, accounting for 99 percent of the votes, was released Sunday, the day of the election, showing Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) candidate Enrique Peña Nieto in the lead with roughly 38 percent of the votes, about six points ahead of runner-up and Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. Votes from about 78,000 of the 143,000 polling stations used in the election will be recounted. The results of the recount are expected to be ready by Sunday, Mexico’s Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) spokeswoman Ana Fuentes told the Associated Press.

Papua New Guinea: Cannibal killers delay Papua New Guinea poll | Telegraph

The cult is accused of killing and eating seven people — five men and two women – whom they say practiced black magic in remote jungle territory around the coastal town of Madang. Police say they have arrested twenty-nine members, including a 13-year-old boy, but the leader, a local councillor, remain at large. The cult began as an attempt to curb extortion by self-proclaimed sorcerers who were demanding money from sick people. But the anti-witchcraft activists began to believe they had special powers to detect sorcerers. ”Sorcery was getting out of hand in the villages,” a local political activist told The Sydney Morning Herald. ”It used to be a good thing, but now it’s turned into a kind of cult. They killed [the first victim] on the roadside. They cut out his heart, they cut out his brains they drank his blood.”

Senegal: President Macky Sall wins national assembly landslide | BBC

Senegal’s new President Macky Sall has won a huge majority in legislative elections, official results show. His Benno Bokk Yakaar (United in Hope) coalition won 119 of the 150 seats. The Senegalese Democratic Party (PDS) of former President Abdoulaye Wade gained only 12 seats, while a breakaway PDS faction won four seats. After 12 years in power, Mr Wade was defeated by Mr Sall in March’s tense elections which saw at least six people killed in anti-Wade protests.