National: Who’s The Boss? The Worst Post-Citizen’s United Ruling Yet | The New Republic

On August 14, several hundred coal miners joined Mitt Romney at the Century Mine near Bealsville, Ohio, to cheer the Republican nominee as he denounced a “war on coal” by the Obama administration. Two weeks later, an official of the company that owns the mine, Murray Energy Corp. (which has given more than $900,000 to Republican candidates in the last two years, far more than any other coal company) admitted that the miners were not all there by choice. “Attendance at the Romney event was mandatory,” Rob Moore, the chief financial officer of Murray Energy told radio host David Blomquist. Mandatory, but unpaid. Because the mine was closed for the Romney event, miners lost a day of pay. Is this legal? Is this right? Interestingly, just a few days after the rally, the F.E.C. decided a case involving an employer in Hawaii that required its employees to campaign, on their own time, for Democratic congressional candidate Colleen Hanabusa. (The employer happened to be a union, but the case had to do with its staff, not its members.) In what might seem like a reversal of partisanship, the Commission’s three Democrats supported the general counsel’s judgment that such coercion violated the Federal Election Campaign Act, which  forbids employers from coercing workers to contribute to a campaign. But its three Republicans argued that because the work was part of an independent effort by the union, and didn’t involve contributions to the campaign itself, the law didn’t apply: A union or corporation’s “independent use of its paid workforce to campaign for a federal candidate post-Citizen’s United was not contemplated by Congress and, consequently, is not prohibited by either the Act or Commission regulation.” Without a majority on the Commission, it was unable to act.

Editorials: The GOP war on the Voting Rights Act | William Yeomans/

In 2006, Congress reauthorized Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act with nearly unanimous Republican support. In 2012, Republican officials declared war on minority voting and have challenged the constitutionality of Section 5 — which requires states and localities with egregious histories of voting discrimination to seek federal approval before making any election changes — in multiple court cases. What happened? Consider: Republican support among African-Americans for presidential nominee Mitt Romney finally hit zero in a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll and the GOP’s strength among Latino voters is nearly as anemic. These numbers make minority voters, sadly, irresistible targets for Republican vote suppression efforts. Legal battles over when ballots can be cast and whose votes will be counted, The New York Times reported Monday, could substantially affect the outcome of 2012 elections.In many states, only the Voting Rights Act is standing in the GOP’s way. Rather than showing respect for the voting rights of minorities and winning their votes with appealing policies, Republicans appear to have instead decided to try to expel them from the electorate and attack the biggest legal obstacle to their expulsion — the Voting Rights Act. The rights of minority voters, however, are not fair game in partisan battles. Partisanship must not be allowed to trump equal opportunity in voting. Republicans have whipped up a phony frenzy over the extent of voter fraud to justify their assault on minority voters.

Florida: Clay County Republicans, other GOP groups, oppose Corrine Brown’s early voting lawsuit |

Arguing that their political operations would be hampered, three county Republican Parties — including the Clay County GOP — have joined a legal fight over newly minted early voting hours. The lawsuit was filed by, among others, U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, a Jacksonville Democrat. It challenges 2011 legislation that cut early voting days from a maximum of 14 to eight and decreased the required number of early voting hours from 96 to 48. Under the legislation, election officials have the option to keep early voting open for 96 hours, but it’s not required. Brown’s lawsuit asks the Florida Secretary of State and Duval County Supervisor of Elections to use the state’s old early voting schedule. She says the new law impacts minority voters because they use early voting in large numbers, especially on the Sunday before the election. In a motion accepted Monday by Jacksonville federal Judge Timothy Corrigan, the Republican Parties of Broward, Clay and Sarasota counties said their interests are not represented by the defendants and they want to join the lawsuit.

Indiana: Ex-Secretary of State White appeals 3 convictions | Post-Tribune

Former Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White is appealing three of the six felony convictions that got him ousted from office earlier this year. The appeal filed last week in the Indiana Court of Appeals challenges his convictions on charges of perjury on his marriage license application, submitting a false voter registration application and casting a fraudulent ballot. The brief does not contest White’s three other felony convictions.

Iowa: Voter fraud rules criticized as ‘chilling’ | The Des Moines Register

New state rules meant to identify noncitizens on Iowa’s voter rolls could have the unintended effect of intimidating eligible voters, several Iowans and immigrant advocates told a state panel on Tuesday. The rules at issue — passed this summer through an emergency process without public input — outline procedures for the Iowa Secretary of State’s office to use a federal database to verify the citizenship status of registered voters in Iowa. Secretary of State Matt Schultz has been seeking access to the database for several months. By using state Department of Transportation records, Schultz believes he has identified more than 3,500 people who are in the country legally and are registered to vote in Iowa, but are not citizens. Tapping the federal data would allow Schultz’s office to determine more accurately which of those voters are not citizens and thus ineligible to vote. The new rules are meant to satisfy the federal government’s demands for how the database will be used.

Iowa: Iowa’s new voter rules face scrutiny |

New voter rules that Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz created in July face a hurdle at the courthouse and a hurdle at the Capitol. Polk County Judge Mary Pat Gunderson is considering legal arguments over whether to allow Schultz to move forward with what he is calling emergency rules, and the Legislature’s Administrative Rules Review Committee is scheduled to meet today to consider taking action on those same rules. If the voting rules are upheld, Schultz would be allowed to purge certain voters from Iowa’s voter registration list, and it would be easier to report voter fraud. Schultz, a Republican, approved the rules in July without public input, saying he had to act before the November election to ensure that noncitizens don’t vote. Schultz has asked the legislative committee to approve the rules permanently. The group has little authority to stop the rules from taking effect if Gunderson finds that Schultz had the legal authority to create them.

Maryland: Democrats will run write-in candidate to replace Wendy Rosen | The Washington Post

Maryland Democrats plan to run a write-in candidate against Rep. Andy Harris (R), as Wendy Rosen — who quit the race Monday amid vote fraud allegations — will not be able to come off the November ballot. Rosen announced that she was leaving the race after the state Democratic Party uncovered voting records showing she had cast ballots in both Maryland and Florida in 2006 and 2008. Rosen issued a statement expressing “great regret, and much sorrow,” but did not directly address the allegations. Initially, Maryland Democrats said they would be able to pick a new candidate to replace Rosen on the ballot as long as they did so by Sept. 27, 40 days before Election Day. But while Maryland Election Law allows a ballot vacancy to be filled up to 40 days before the election, a candidate can only voluntarily withdraw up to 70 days before the election. That deadline was Aug. 28.

Michigan: Democrats propose easier military voting rules |

Minority Democrats in the state Senate introduced legislation Tuesday to make it easier for members of the armed forces stationed internationally to vote in Michigan elections. The bills would let service members’ absentee ballots be counted as long as they’re postmarked by Election Day and would allow absentee ballots to be submitted electronically, according to the office of Democratic leader Gretchen Whitmer. Another bill in the package would permit statewide online voter registration, Whitmer’s office said in a statement. “On this important day, we should recognize the American men and women who are fighting to protect our way of life and do our part here at home to ensure their rights are upheld,” said Whitmer. “No voter should be unduly disenfranchised, let alone our men and women in the military, and this legislation will protect our service members’ votes. While they are serving our country overseas, they should not lose their voice over here.”

New Hampshire: Voter ID dry run hits speed bumps | Concord Monitor

Cynthia Houston, 84, had a flash of grumpiness when she went to vote yesterday in Boscawen: Her husband reminded her that she was supposed to bring a photo ID after they’d already gotten in line in the basement of the Congregational church. “He didn’t remember to tell me when we got out of the car,” Houston said. She had already started to leave when a town official stopped her and said she could still vote yesterday, which election officials considered a test-run for the implementation of the state’s new voter ID law. She wasn’t the only one to run into some trouble yesterday, the final election day in which voters could simply show up at the polls, announce themselves and receive a ballot. Yesterday, officials also asked for a photo ID, and voters who couldn’t or wouldn’t produce one were supposed to received a sheet informing them that on Nov. 6, they would need to produce a photo ID or sign an affidavit swearing they were who they said they were.

Pennsylvania: Look at the history of voter ID: A case cited to support Pennsylvania’s new voter ID law instead calls it into question | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

On Thursday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will sit to decide the fate of the state’s controversial new law requiring all voters to show picture ID. To understand what’s at stake — for the court’s reputation as well as the voting public — you need to know some legal history. This is not the first time the Pennsylvania high court has ruled on the constitutionality of extraordinary procedures to establish voter eligibility. In 1869, in a case called Patterson v. Barlow, the court upheld a law requiring some voters to go through bureaucratic hassles far more inconvenient than sitting for a photo at PennDOT. And the court’s decision in that case is certainly relevant, because it approves burdening voters to protect election integrity, a conclusion that seems to bless the new ID requirements. Last month, a Commonwealth Court judge approved the new voter ID law, quoting at length from the old Patterson case to support the new law’s constitutionality. It is this decision that the high court will review this week.

Pennsylvania: Voter ID Law Leads to DMV Trips from ‘Hell’ | ABC News

Two government offices, three hour-long lines, two 78-mile trips, two week-long waiting periods, four forms of identity and two signed affidavits later, Pennsylvanians will be allowed to vote. Under the state’s new voter ID laws,, which require every voter to show a government-issued photo ID at the polls, that is the epic process thousands of native Pennsylvanians have to go through to get the ID required to cast their ballots in November. And they now have just 56 days to complete it before the election. “It was hell all told,” said Jan Klincewicz, who helped his 87-year-old mother, Jisele, through the process. “To have to go through that kind of rigmarole to exercise her right to vote I think is excessive.”

Rhode Island: Primary Tests New Voter ID Law |

Candy McSwain and Bonnie Stevenson, two poll workers in this city’s diverse Elmwood neighborhood, peered at Jeziel Jared Lopez’s passport and expired state ID card and consulted the state’s new list of acceptable forms of voter identification. “It says U.S. passport,” said Ms. McSwain, pointing to the list. “This is O.K.,” Ms. Stevenson said, clearing the way for Mr. Lopez, 18, to vote for the first time. Rhode Island’s state primary on Tuesday gave its new voter identification law its most strenuous exercise yet, stirring dissent and praise from voters who lined up with ID cards, while officials reported few identification-related voting problems. The law, which went into effect this year, requires voters to show a photo ID, bank statement or government-issued document before they are allowed to vote. Its list of accepted forms of identification will become more restrictive in 2014, when only photo IDs will be accepted.

Texas: Harris County voter purge canceled in wake of faulty death data | Houston Chronicle

Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Don Sumners said Monday that he would not purge from the voter roll before the November election any of the 9,018 citizens who received letters from his office in recent days notifying them that they may be dead and are at risk of having their registrations canceled. However, a spokesman for the Texas secretary of state, the office that generated the statewide list of about 80,000 voters, said Sumners’ move contradicts legislative directives. “Our office has federal and state requirements to maintain an accurate and secure voter registration list. If any of those people are deceased, the law requires that they be removed from the voter registration list ,” Rich Parsons said. “Mr. Sumners’ decision would prevent that.” The letters, many of which were delivered Friday and Saturday, asked recipients to verify within 30 days that they are alive or be cut from the roll.

US Virgin Islands: Voters make use of paper ballots | Virgin Islands Daily News

When residents headed to the polls to cast their vote in the 2012 Primary election on Saturday, some used an option that they had not had for a number of years: paper ballots. In April, the Senate Rules and Judiciary Committee amended and passed the bill to allow for the use of paper ballots. The paper ballots bill, sponsored by Sen. Neville James and co-sponsored by Sen. Celestino White Sr., allowed voters to choose whether they wanted to vote by machine or by paper ballot. As written, it also requires that all paper ballots be counted after the closing of the polls, at the same time that electronic ballots are counted on election night. The move to give residents the option of using paper ballots was prompted by a group of voters who complained that the use of the electronic voting machines opened the door for manipulation and tampering of a person’s vote. They also said that there has been documented instances where the voting machines have failed and a voter’s vote may not have been registered.

Georgia (Sakartvelo): Deadline Extended for Overseas Voter Registration | Civil.Ge

The Central Election Commission (CEC) has prolonged deadline for registration of Georgian citizens living abroad from September 10 to September 13. In order to cast ballot in the October 1 parliamentary elections, overseas voters have to undergo registration at the polling stations opened in Georgian embassies or consulates in 32 countries. The registration requires no proof-of-residency and will be possible by submitting, either personally or through an authorized person, ID cards to the Georgian embassies or consulates where the polling stations are located.

Netherlands: Dutch vote in election set to be dominated by pro-European parties |

Mainstream pro-European parties look set to dominate the Dutch parliamentary election on Wednesday, dispelling concerns that radical eurosceptics might gain sway in a core eurozone country and push to quit the European Union or flout its budget rules. But the Netherlands is likely to remain an awkward, tough-talking member of the single currency area, strongly resisting transfers to eurozone debtors, regardless of whether prime minister Mark Rutte’s Liberals or the centre-left Labour party of Diederik Samsom win the most seats. Opinion polls on Tuesday showed the Liberals and Labour on 36 seats each or the Liberals fractionally in front, with the hard-left Socialists and the far-right anti-immigration Freedom party fading in third and fourth place respectively. That makes it more likely, though not certain, that Rutte, with the strongest international profile, will stay as prime minister.

Somalia: ‘Registration of political associations open’: Puntland Election Commission | Garowe Online

The process for registering political associations has opened in Puntland State of Somalia, according to the Puntland Election Commission, marking the first time that political parties can be registered during the state’s 14-year history, Garowe Online reports. Mr. Mohamed Hassan Barre, chairman of Puntland Election Commission and a former minister in the President Siyad Barre’s central government, told a press conference Tuesday in the Puntland capital of Garowe that political associations are welcome to register with the election commission.