National: Campaign Contribution Limits Broken Repeatedly In 2012 Election With No FEC Oversight | Huffington Post

In October 2011, John Canning, chairman of the Chicago-based hedge fund Madison Dearborn Partners, expressed his displeasure with President Barack Obama to the Chicago Tribune. “It’s the populist economic policies of wealth redistribution and government control of all aspects of everyday life that I object to,” he said. Canning put his money where his mouth was, hosting a fundraiser for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney that fall. And Romney wasn’t the only benefactor of his largess. Over the course of the 2012 election cycle, Canning gave to as many federal candidates, political action committees (PACs) and party committees as he seemingly could find — some 38 individuals and groups, all but two of them Republican — ultimately distributing $276,000 in contributions.

Arizona: Fixes for consolidated elections stall, leaving cities in dark about when to hold elections | Arizona Capitol Times

When voters in Tucson and Phoenix went to the polls to elect their mayors in 2011, voters elected them for four years. But a bill passed last year by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Jan Brewer may extend the mayors’ time in office by a year. Or it may shorten their terms by a year. Nobody is sure which one it will be. After seeing the savings and the boost in voter turnout Scottsdale achieved from moving its election dates to the fall of even-numbered years to match the state election cycle, Rep. Michelle Ugenti of Scottsdale sponsored a bill to move all city elections to coincide with the state schedule.

Colorado: GOP Secretary of State Gessler squares off with Republican county clerks over election reform | Roaring Fork Valley News

Colorado’s Republican Secretary of State Scott Gessler arrived late to testify at the Senate committee hearing, but he came prepared. A practiced courtroom lawyer, he began slowly. He threw in folksy asides. He answered his own rhetorical questions. And he smiled at the majority-Democratic committee members as he railed against the election-reform bill they all support and that he wants desperately to derail. It was a dramatic moment in Colorado politics that had been building since Gessler took office two years ago.

Editorials: How Colorado’s Forthcoming Election Law Incentivizes The GOP | Reid Wilson/National Journal

The Colorado state Senate on Thursday passed legislation requiring the state to conduct its elections entirely by absentee ballot. The party-line vote, and Gov. John Hickenlooper’s likely signature, means Colorado will become the third state, alongside Washington and Oregon, to hold elections entirely by mail. I’ve been a little obsessed with this bill since it passed the state House last week, and here’s why: It exposes, and exacerbates, the largest structural advantage Democrats hold over Republicans. From an academic standpoint, the new system shouldn’t make much of a difference. Chelsea Brossard, the research director at the Early Voting Information Center at Reed College, says there’s no academic research that shows higher levels of early voting, whether in person or through the mail, benefits one party over the other.

Florida: Lawmakers Approve Overhaul of State’s Problem-Ridden Voting Process | New York Times

Six months after Florida became the butt of late-night jokes for a chaotic voting process that bedeviled the 2012 presidential election, the State Legislature passed a bill on Friday to remedy many of those problems. Gov. Rick Scott and Republican lawmakers made overhauling the election system a priority this year. Their push to change the law — a redo on a much-criticized bill passed in 2011 — was a response to waits of hours by voters in several counties and a flawed early voting program.

Florida: Marco Rubio gets Florida Legislature to eliminate early primary in 2016 | Miami Herald

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio persuaded state lawmakers to make a last-minute change eliminating Florida’s early presidential primary – a race in which the Republican could be on the ballot. Rubio’s main concern was shared by lawmakers and operatives from both parties: Ensuring that Florida’s 2016 primary vote counts. The measure, barely discussed, was tucked in an election-reform bill that passed the Legislature by wide margins Friday. Right now, the Sunshine State’s early primary violates Democratic and Republican national party rules, which penalizes the state by severely devaluing the vote of its delegation to nominate each party’s presidential candidate.

Iowa: New electronic poll book program to debut In Scott County | Quad Cities Online

Scott County Auditor Roxanna Moritz announced today that voters in Tuesday’s City of Dixon special election will have the option to scan their state issued IDs to help check in at the polling place. This is part of Iowa Express Voter, a new electronic poll book program developed by the Iowa Secretary of State. Precinct election officials presiding over the upcoming City of Dixon Special Election will be the first in Iowa to use this new program.
“We are pleased that Scott County will be the first to use Iowa Voter Express in a live election environment,” Moritz said. “My staff and staff from Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz’s office have worked together to fine tune this new program. It has been a good example of intergovernmental cooperation, and will result in a good product that is easy to use,” Moritz said.

North Carolina: New elections board starts amid questions about campaign donations | News Observer

A new GOP-majority state elections board takes office Wednesday as new details raise deeper questions about $240,000 in campaign contributions funneled to the governor and top Republican lawmakers from the sweepstakes gambling industry. State Board of Elections investigators are reviewing more than 60 donations from sweepstakes company owners – and still unearthing more money – as part of a complaint filed last week that suggests the checks may violate campaign finance laws. A majority of the outgoing elections board wanted to pursue the investigation but took no action on the matter Tuesday at its final meeting, saying the decision should fall to the new board.

South Carolina: “I Voted?” Documentary Examines South Carolina’s Voting System |

A Los Angeles filmmaker’s documentary isn’t giving South Carolina’s voting system rave reviews. “It really is incumbent upon us, ‘We the people,’ to own our elections,” Filmmaker Jason Smith said. Jason Smith wasn’t a big fan of politics until 2010. “I didn’t know anything about election integrity prior to what happened with this Alvin Greene story,” he said. After Greene won the state’s Democratic primary for a U.S. Senate seat in 2010 without much of a campaign, Smith took a hard look at voting integrity.

Texas: Texas has much at stake in voting rights ruling | Houston Chronicle

Nearly four decades ago, Pearsall watermelon farmer Modesto Rodriguez testified before Congress that discrimination against Latino voters was rampant in Texas. He urged the federal government to continue to oversee the state’s electoral process, saying that law enforcement officers in Frio County walked around polling places “brandishing guns and billy clubs” to find reasons to arrest Latino voters. His activism nearly cost him his life. When he got back home, Rodriguez went into the Buenos Aires bar in Pearsall in an effort to recruit Latinos to talk with Justice Department investigators about voting-rights violations. He was severely beaten by agents from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission and Department of Public Safety officers, court records show. “He got beat to a pulp,” said George Korbel, a San Antonio lawyer who was then working with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Chicago on civil rights legislation.

Texas: Beaumont voting rights case sparks heated debate in Washington court | Houston Chronicle

Beaumont lawyers are engaged in a bitter legal batter far from home in Washington, D.C. While filing their briefs for a D.C. case alleging voting rights violations, lawyers for some school board candidates have filed a separate suit over the canceled May Beaumont election, alleging the school board did not have legal authority to cancel the election. Due to the D.C. Circuit Court’s decision last week to hear a case on the Beaumont Independent School District (BISD) elections, judges held up an injunction requested by the Department of Justice.

Iran: Presidential Election Poses Dilemma For Voters | Radio Liberty

Like many Iranians, 31-year-old Amir is pondering what to do on June 14, when Iran chooses a new president. He has two options — to vote or not to vote — and neither is good, he says. Voting could lend legitimacy to the Iranian establishment in the international arena and help it erase the embarrassment caused by Mahmud Ahmadinejad’s contentious reelection in 2009. More than 70 people were killed and chaos ensued after mass protests erupted following that election, and the international community widely criticized Tehran’s response.

Malaysia: Fraud alleged as Malaysian coalition wins re-election | The Globe and Mail

Malaysia’s long-ruling National Front, headed by Prime Minister Najib Razak, appeared to fend off a fierce challenge and win re-election on Sunday. But the country’s opposition leader said the vote was tainted by widespread irregularities and did not reflect the popular will. He refused to concede. Anwar Ibrahim, whose support base is largely Internet-savvy younger voters, had promised the election would mark a “Malaysian Spring” in the country. Now Malaysians wait to see whether the veteran opposition leader will try and challenge the result in the courts or streets.

Malaysia: Anwar to challenge Election Commission’s announcement: We don’t accept that BN has won | Malaysia Chronicle

Malaysian Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim has challenged the controversial announcement made by the Election Commission that the Umno-BN coalition led by Prime Minister Najib Razak had won the majority of seats needed to form the next federal government. “At this stage, we are not prepared to accept the announcement of the EC that BN has won the majority to form the government,” PKR vice president Tian Chua told Malaysia Chronicle as he exited from the emergency meeting held by Pakatan Rakyat leaders over news of the ‘win’.

Pakistan: Women in Pakistan face opposition in fight for voting rights | Fox News

For decades, not a single woman in this dusty Pakistani village surrounded by wheat fields and orange trees has voted. And they aren’t likely to in next week’s parliamentary election either. The village’s men have spoken. “It’s the will of my husband,” said one woman, Fatma Shamshed. “This is the decision of all the families.” Mateela is one of 564 out of the 64,000 polling districts across Pakistan where not a single woman voted in the country’s 2008 election. The men from this village of roughly 9,000 people got together with other nearby communities to decide that their women would not vote on May 11 either.