National: Senators Ron Wyden, Lisa Murkowski Unveil Bipartisan Campaign Finance Bill | Huffington Post

Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) unveiled on Tuesday the first bipartisan campaign disclosure bill in the Senate since the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling opened the door to unlimited electoral spending by groups that were not covered by any prior campaign disclosure regime. The bill, known as the Follow the Money Act, would require any and all groups spending at least $10,000 on electoral activity to register and disclose contributions above $1,000. The bill would also raise the threshold for contributor disclosure from $200 to $1,000 for all political committees, including those of candidates and political parties.

National: Bob Edgar dies, Former Congressman and Common Cause President | Chicago Sun-Times

Robert W. Edgar, who represented Pennsylvania for six terms in the House of Representatives and went on to lead the public interest group Common Cause, died Tuesday. He was 69. Mr. Edgar collapsed Tuesday morning in the basement of his home in Burke after a run on the treadmill, said his wife of 48 years, Merle Edgar. Mr. Edgar, a liberal Democrat, was elected in 1974 in a large class of newcomers that came to Washington after the Watergate scandal. His political career ended after he lost a U.S. Senate campaign in 1986 to Arlen Specter.

Voting Blogs: Taking on American Political Dysfunction without Changing the Constitution |

In his draft paper on Political Dysfunction and Constitutional Change, University of California-Irvine professor Rick Hasen makes a powerful case for the need for out-of-the-box thinking on American political reform. But he also makes a curious omission. Fair voting alternatives to winner-take-all elections do not receive a single mention in the paper, even though they were promoted in one of Hasen’s major sources, Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein’s 2012 book It’s Even Worse Than It Looks. Hasen has a well-deserved reputation as one of our most thoughtful law professors, and his paper has generated considerable reaction in the political blogosphere. It posits three basic claims: 1) The government of the United States is currently dysfunctional, 2) that dysfunction could be solved by switching to a parliamentary system of governance – that is, government where the executive is chosen by the legislature, and 3) switching to a parliamentary system is the only way to end the dysfunction if the problem does not eventually solve itself.

District of Columbia: Homeless residents organize for D.C. special election | Washington Post

It’s unclear just how many D.C. residents will vote in Tuesday’s traditionally low-turnout special election. Will more vote this time than in the last citywide special election, in 2011, when 46,967 voted — a 10.3 percent turnout? What we know is that of the 2,894 residents who cast ballots during early voting this year, scores were homeless. They were organized by Shelter, Housing and Respectful Change and the Washington Interfaith Network, which held a rally April 13 at a downtown homeless shelter, after which about 80 homeless residents voted.

Kansas: Voters turned away | Hays Daily News

In the April 2 city and school board election, there were 45 people who couldn’t go to the polls in Ellis County. Part of a voter registration law took effect this year — proof of U.S. citizenship for first-time Kansas voters — and they did not complete the registration process to become eligible to vote. The last of the three parts of the Secure and Fair Elections (SAFE) Act, which was drafted by the office of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, took effect Jan. 1. It requires proof of U.S. citizenship for those who register to vote for the first time in the state. If a person attempting to register to vote doesn’t provide a citizenship document upon completion of the application, that person must submit proof to the county election office.

North Carolina: State senator proposes 5-year waiting period for ex-felons seeking to vote | Charlotte Observer

People convicted of felonies who have paid their debts to society in North Carolina would no longer automatically get back the right to vote under the Senate’s version of the voter ID bill. The bill would require people convicted of felony crimes to wait five years upon completing their sentence, probation or parole before they could attempt to re-register to vote. First, though, they would have to get affidavits from two registered voters attesting to their “upstanding moral character” and get the unanimous approval of their local board of elections.

Editorials: North Carolina – Voting delayed is justice denied | News Observer

North Carolina’s Republican lawmakers are now exploring a new way to take the state backward: Impose a five-year waiting period before felons who have served their time can get back their right to vote. And there’s more. After waiting five years, they would need to present affidavits from two registered voters attesting to their “upstanding moral character” and get the unanimous approval of their local board of elections. This is another pound-the-marginalized bill that reflects a meaness common to many bills offered by Republicans flexing their newfound legislative muscle. This one has the additional negatives of being politically self-aggrandizing and un-American.

Editorials: Well Ohio, That’s Questionable | Campus Progress

The new Ohio state budget has some interesting components, but most important for college students is the effect it could have on both tuition rates and voting rights. Republican Gov. John Kasich released his budget on Feb. 12, and legislators have been debating it since. A proposed amendment would require public universities that issue students a letter or utility bill for voter ID purposes to grant those students in-state tuition. Critics charge it would prompt Ohio’s universities to stop issuing the documents to prevent the loss of the tuition revenue. “This is another attack on Ohio voters,” State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) told The Plain Dealer. “This provision will make it very difficult for Ohio’s universities to help students vote. I think it’s outrageous. The problem, if we have one, is that not enough students are voting.” Proponents of the bill say it’s about getting students better tuition rates, rather than suppressing their voting rights.

Wisconsin: Audit of state elections board off, at least for now | The Cap Times

Despite the Republicans’ ongoing criticism of the state ethics and elections board, the agency has avoided an audit, at least for now. “We were told (Friday) they had other priorities,” said Reid Magney, a spokesman for the Government Accountability Board, the nonpartisan state agency that oversees elections and campaign ethics laws. Earlier last week, Sen. Robert Cowles, R-Green Bay, and Rep. Samantha Kerkman, R-Powers Lake, the Republican co-chairs of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, had announced that a hearing would be held this Wednesday followed by a committee vote to decide if the state should audit the GAB. But on Monday committee members were told the meeting was off. Cowles and Kerkman did not return phone calls seeking an explanation.

Bhutan: Bhutan votes in 2nd ever parliamentary poll | Rock Hill Herald

People in the tiny Himalayan nation of Bhutan were cementing their young democracy Tuesday by voting in the nation’s second parliamentary election. The remote nation of 700,000 had its first election in 2008 after the king voluntarily reduced the monarchy’s role in running the country. A total of 67 candidates were competing Tuesday for the 20 elected seats in the 25-member upper house. The five remaining seats are filled by royal appointment. The candidates were running without party affiliation. However, five parties will contest polls for the more influential lower house, expected in June. Only two parties contested the 2008 election, when the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa won a landslide victory.

Iraq: Votes counted in first polls since US pullout | The Nation (pk)

Election officials began tallying votes on Sunday from Iraq’s first elections since US troops departed, a contest that served as a key test of its stability amid a spike in violence. Attacks killed three people on election day, a fraction of those who died in a wave of violence preceding the polls on Saturday, which seemed generally well-organised. Turnout for the provincial vote was about 51 percent, according to officials from Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission. IHEC board member Gaata al-Zobaie said ballot boxes and tallies from polling stations were being sent to Baghdad, and they would be entered in computers to tabulate the results. But the credibility of the elections came into question, as 14 candidates died in attacks ahead of the polls and with a third of Iraq’s provinces – all of them mainly Sunni Arab or Kurdish – not voting due to security concerns and political disputes.

Paraguay: OAS denounces violations in Paraguay’s presidential elections | Xinhua

Electoral violations had been detected in Paraguay’s presidential elections that put millionaire businessman Horacio Cartes in power, the Organization of American States (OAS) said Monday. Oscar Arias, head of a mission sent by the OAS to observe the presidential elections, told a press conference that members of his delegation witnessed “vote buying” at some polling stations and the “roundup” of indigenous groups before they were taken to the polls. Both represented “serious electoral violations,” said Arias, a former Costa Rican president and Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

Paraguay: Horacio Cartes Wins Paraguay’s Presidential Election | New York Times

Horacio Cartes, a Paraguayan tobacco magnate, faced various challenges during his presidential bid. He was pressed to explain why antinarcotics police officers apprehended a plane carrying cocaine and marijuana on his ranch in 2000; why he went to prison in 1989 on currency fraud charges; and why he had never even voted in past general elections. Still, voters across the country seemed ready to give Mr. Cartes the benefit of the doubt, handing him a solid victory in Paraguay’s presidential election on Sunday. He took 46 percent of the vote against 37 percent for his main opponent, Efraín Alegre of the ruling Liberal Party, with about 80 percent of the voting stations reporting. Electoral authorities declared Mr. Cartes the winner.