National: How a great-great-granny could settle the voter ID issue | Yahoo! News

State laws requiring identification cards for voters have raised big issues that will carry into fall election season, as three key rulings are expected at the same time the presidential election heats up. And in one case that has Supreme Court ramifications, it might be a great-great-grandmother’s testimony that could settle the voter ID issue in a key swing state. Viviette Applewhite, 93, is the lead plaintiff in the ACLU’s lawsuit in Pennsylvania, in a case that could have long-term implications for stricter voter ID laws. Currently, there are pitched battles in Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Texas over photo IDs as a requirement to vote. The issue will get a lot of attention as state court rulings are issued later this summer in Minnesota and Pennsylvania. The Texas case was heard by the District of Columbia federal appeals court and a ruling there is also expected by Labor Day.

National: Lawyers Raking in Cash as Campaign Spending Hits Records | Bloomberg

Every four years, a new mix of politicians assembles to compete for the opportunity to run for president. While the candidates’ names and faces change, the lawyers stay the same. Attorney Michael Toner began his presidential-campaign legal career in 1996 working for Republican nominee Bob Dole. He worked for George W. Bush in 2000. In 2008, his first client was former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson before signing with party nominee Arizona Senator John McCain. Democrat Bob Bauer worked for former New Jersey Senator Bill Bradley’s presidential campaign in 2000, his law partner represented Massachusetts Senator John Kerry in 2004, and Bauer landed then-Senator Barack Obama of Illinois in 2008. Republican Ben Ginsberg cut his teeth in 1996 working for then-California Governor Pete Wilson’s White House run before joining Bush in 2000 and 2004. Four years later, he landed a new client, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, and he’s still representing him today.

Michigan: Absentee ballot waiver sought for McCotter special election | The Detroit News

Absentee ballots for the special election to fill U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter’s term were sent out Monday, a day later than allowed by federal rules. State elections officials are working with the U.S. Justice Department to get a waiver of the 45-day rule mandating how long before an election the ballots must be sent out. “The Justice Department is (very) strict on the 45 days,” State Elections Director Chris Thomas told the Board of State Canvassers on Monday. After the meeting, Thomas said there is a provision in the federal law for the Department of Justice to grant a waiver to the 45-day rule. Thomas told board members his office is “in discussions” with the Justice Department about a waiver. The tight timeframe is the result of McCotter’s resignation from Congress after a petition signature scandal. Gov. Rick Snyder’s office set Sept. 5 as the date of a special primary election to fill the remainder of McCotter’s term.

Kansas: Voter ID law burdens Wichita | Wichita Eagle

Voter ID is now the law in Kansas. But Kansans and especially Wichitans should note some serious pitfalls of the law as identified by a new national study, and consider whether they’re comfortable if their cure for the negligible problem of voter fraud interferes with the constitutional right to vote of some eligible voters. For those who already have driver’s licenses or other accepted government-issued photo IDs, remembering to bring an ID to the polls for the August primary or November general election will be no big deal. Those 65 and older may use expired photo IDs. And it’s true that a Kansan without a driver’s license can secure a free ID card from the state Division of Motor Vehicles by providing proof of identity and residence, and that anyone born in the state can get a free birth certificate if needed to prove identity. But that all involves filling out forms, signing affidavits and finding transportation to offices during daytime hours – no small matter anytime given Wichita’s poor bus system but especially this summer, given the long lines at the Kansas driver’s license offices related to computer changes.

Nevada: Americans for Prosperity in a bind over Nevada rules on donor details |

Americans for Prosperity spent tens of millions of dollars on the 2010 election and will spend tens of millions more this year to see conservative advocates of limited government elected — all without revealing any of its contributors. Taking advantage of a complex web of federal laws, the group, founded and financed by billionaire industrialists David and Charles Koch, has successfully kept its donors secret. But when AFP decided to wade into a Nevada Senate primary in June, it might have triggered a state law that could open its donor list to the public. In a complaint filed July 19, the Nevada Democratic Party asked Secretary of State Ross Miller to investigate whether the nonprofit organization must report the contributions it received to fund mailers attacking state Senate candidate Kelvin Atkinson, a Democratic assemblyman from North Las Vegas.

Pennsylvania: Justice Department investigating voter ID law |

The Justice Department is investigating Pennsylvania’s new voter identification law, a letter sent to the state government Monday indicates. The letter from Assistant Attorney General Tom Perez seeks a variety of records related to the implementation of the voter ID, which was passed in March and is set to take effect before the November election. Among the items Perez is requesting are databases of Pennsylvania voters and holders of drivers’ licenses and similar state IDs. It’s not clear precisely what triggered the letter but it refers to an estimate Secretary of State Carol Aichele issued earlier this month indicating that 9.2 percent of the state’s 8.2 million voters don’t have a state-issued photo ID. However, a state-issued ID is not the only form of acceptable voting ID, which includes passports, military ID and some student IDs.

Pennsylvania: Justice Department opens probe of voter-ID law | Philadelphia Inquirer

The Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Department has opened an investigation of Pennsylvania’s new voter-ID law, asking the Corbett administration to document its repeated claims that 99 percent of the state’s voters have the photo identification they will need to vote in November. In a letter delivered Monday to Secretary of the Commonwealth Carol Aichele, the Justice Department sought a series of databases and other records that have raised questions about the number of registered voters with proper ID, and left county election boards and the public bewildered about the impact of the new voting requirements. The Justice Department said it needed the information “so that we may properly evaluate Pennsylvania’s compliance with Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and other federal voting-rights laws.” That section of federal law prohibits laws or practices that discriminate against any citizen because of race, color, or language.

Pennsylvania: New voter ID law criticized as inconsistent | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pennsylvanians who vote by absentee ballot in November will need only to provide proof on their applications that they have Social Security cards, state Rep. Dan Frankel said Monday night. All voters who show up in person on Election Day, however, must have state-approved photo identification, the Squirrel Hill Democrat said. “If the last four digits [of a Social Security number] are good enough for absentee ballots, they should be good enough for voting at the polls,” he said during a discussion of the state’s new voter ID law.

Virginia: State Board of Elections debunks re-registration rumor | Augusta Free Press

Information circulating via mass emails stating that voters who have not voted since the 2008 General Election must re-register to vote 25 days prior to Election Day Nov. 6, 2012 in order to be eligible to vote is false. The State Board of Elections addressed the rumors in a news release Monday. According to the SBE, there is “absolutely no requirement to re-register in Virginia.” Voters are not removed from the rolls solely for the reason of not voting. Because of the questions raised in the mass emails, it is recommended that voters check their registration status to ensure it is current.

Georgia (Sakartvelo): Progress in Georgia still needed ahead of elections | New Europe

As Georgia prepares for elections in early October, the deputy prime minister has said that, despite progress in the country, more is still needed as Tbilisi pushes its ambitions towards NATO and the European Union. Giorgi Baramidze, vice prime minister and minister of sate for European and Euro-Atlantic integration told New Europe that Georgia needs to continue on its current path if the country is to gain political credibility on the international stage.His comments come as foreign ministers from the Eastern Partnership countries, which, along with Georgia, comprise Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine, meet in Brussels to discuss further co-operation with the EU.

Mexico: Tens Of Thousands Protest Against New President | Eurasia Review

At least 32,000 protesters marched through Mexico City on Sunday to protest the “imposition” of the new president. They accuse president-elect Enrique Pena Nieto, a member of the old ruling party, of electoral fraud. Protesters have dubbed the country’s TV giant Televisa a “factory of lies.” Demonstrators marching through to capital claimed that Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) won the election by vote-buying and an aggressive PR campaign through major media outlets such as Televisa, which they claim was well paid for positive coverage of Nieto’s presidential campaign. Enrique Pena Nieto, 46, won the election with 38.2 per cent of the vote against 31.6 per cent for the leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. Nieto’s victory brought the Institutional Revolutionary Party back to power after being in the opposition for 12 years. The ruling President Felipe Calderon of the conservative National Action Party came in third. Opponents of the victorious candidate demanded urgent domestic reforms.

Russia: Election Observers Condemn Local Vote | The Moscow Times

In a stinging rebuke to the authorities and United Russia, election observers said Monday that weekend municipal elections in a provincial town had been too tarnished by fraud to be considered legitimate. The Ryazan region town of Kasimov had turned into a key battleground for the political opposition ahead of Sunday’s vote for the municipal legislature, and activists had hoped to ensure a fair election in this corner of the country following disputed national elections in December and March. According to preliminary results, United Russia won nearly 50 percent of Sunday’s vote, matching its local result in State Duma elections in December, and secured 13 seats in the 20-seat legislature. But monitors said they witnessed numerous offenses, including ballot stuffing, at the town’s 22 polling stations. “There were nearly two serious violations at every station. … The number of violations per voter was unprecedented,” said Sofia Ivanova, regional coordinator of the election watchdog Golos. Pro-United Russia ballot stuffers were caught in the act in at least two polling stations, and observers discovered stacks of votes for the ruling party at several others, she said by telephone.