National: Republican FEC Commissioners Go Public With Complaints About Mystery Redaction | National Journal

The Republican commissioners of the Federal Election Commission have broken their silence about the mysterious 76-page document that was redacted against their wishes in the deadlocked decision over whether Crossroads GPS was a legitimate nonprofit. In a statement posted to the FEC’s website late Tuesday, the commission’s three Republicans pulled back the curtain a bit on the missing document. “We do not believe that these redactions are necessary,” they wrote, saying they had sought to release the documents in a closed-door commission meeting but “the vote failed.” National Journal first reported the existence of the massive redaction and the behind-the-scenes controversy earlier this month.

Iowa: Anderson: Use fed money for poll book expansion, not investigations | Quad City Times

Iowa Secretary of State candidate Brad Anderson said Tuesday he plans to stop the use of federal funds to pay for investigations into alleged voter fraud and instead use the money, as well as other funds, to expand the use of electronic poll books. He also said he plans to clean up a flawed list of ineligible voters. Anderson, a Democrat, was campaigning Tuesday in Clinton, and he released a plan he said represents a clean break from the policies of Republican Matt Schultz, the current Secretary of State who is leaving the office to run for Congress. “Iowa has a history of clean, fair elections, and I believe we should have a chief elections official who recognizes that fact,” Anderson said.

Missouri: Legislators Could Change the Way Missourians Vote | CBS

The Senate has endorsed legislation by Republican Senator Brian Nieves that could possibly change how Missouri voters cast their ballots. The legislation has been given first-round approval, but needs one more Senate vote before moving to the House. The law will require local election authorities to phase out the use of electronic voting machines. The touch screen method would be gone. The bill says when the current machines break, they can’t be repaired or replaced.

Montana: Court blocks ‘top-two’ primary referendum from appearing on 2014 ballot | Billings Gazette

The Montana Supreme Court on Tuesday blocked the state from placing on the November ballot a legislative referendum to change how the state’s primary elections work. The Republican majorities in the House and Senate in 2013 put Legislative Referendum 127 on the ballot. Some unions and another group went directly to the Supreme Court to ask that it be stripped from the ballot on legal grounds. In a 6-1 decision, the court majority ruled that the title of the referendum “does not comply with the plain meaning of the Legislature’s 100-word limit” in state law.

New York: Legislature approves National Popular Vote | Capital New York

The New York Legislature approved a bill tonight that would award the state’s presidential electors to the winner of the national popular vote, if enough states agree to do the same. Both the Assembly and Senate overwhelmingly approved a measure that would allow the state to join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which seeks to circumvent the Electoral College. With New York’s 29 electors, the interstate compact would have 160 electors, or the 60 percent of the 270 it needs to take effect. The bill has been teetering between the chambers for years, and this is the first year it has passed both chambers. The bill now returns to the Senate, and requires the signature of Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has not taken a public position on the legislation.

New York: Elections Board head claims agency deliberately underfunded | New York Post

The head of the city Board of Elections stunned City Council members on Tuesday by claiming that the long-battered agency was purposely shorted funds by the city so it would fail. BOE director Michael Ryan made the conspiracy-laden accusation as part of a pitch to secure a whopping $55 million in additional funding from the city’s coffers, even as his agency remains under investigation by the city. A recent Department of Investigation probe identified a host of failings at the agency — including nepotism, voter roll deficiencies and poor training of poll workers. “While the board has historically been a convenient foil for public criticism, it has at the same time been the victim of a funding scheme that seems to have been intentionally designed to ‘cash starve’ the agency to accomplish some unknown and ultimately inconceivable goal,” Ryan said of the city’s preliminary $75.6 million fiscal 2015 budget for his agency.

Ohio: Attorney General’s office argues against boss in court case | Dayton Daily News

Ohio Solicitor Eric Murphy Wednesday urged the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold a lower court ruling that two independent organizations from Cincinnati failed to show they have been harmed by a state election law that prohibits making false statements with malice. In an unusual legal twist, Murphy finds himself on the opposite side of the same case with his boss, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, who earlier this month filed a separate brief with the justices declaring that the Ohio law violates the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech. The justices in January agreed to accept the election law cases from Ohio, but it is unclear whether the court wants to rule on whether the law violates the Constitution instead of more narrowly concluding that the organizations could not demonstrate they faced prosecution.

Pennsylvania: ACLU seeks info on Pennsylvania voter roll purge | Associated Press

A civil-rights group raised questions Tuesday about Pennsylvania’s participation in a program designed to help purge voters with duplicate registrations in different states. Witold Walczak, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, said state officials have rebuffed his requests for details about how rigorously state officials will oversee the purging of voter rolls under the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program. “Cleaning voter-registration rolls of inaccurate and duplicate information is important, but it must be achieved in a way that does not improperly or wrongly purge voters from the rolls,” Walczak said in a letter to Pennsylvania Secretary of State Carol Aichele.

Texas: Electronic voting flash drive prompts re-tally of March Primary | Pleasanton Express

A recount of the Justice of the Peace Precinct 1 Republican Primary race between Debra Ann Herrera and Michael Pascarella revealed 73 votes had not been counted during the March Primary election. In that race Herrera had received 141 votes and Pascarella had received 144. The three-vote difference prompted Herrera to ask for a re-count. After the recount, Herrera picked up 33 votes and Pascarella received 40 more votes. The disparity alerted the officials and those sitting in that something was definitely off. It was discovered that a MBB drive from one of the electronic voting machines used in early voting had not been downloaded in the March 4 tallying of votes.

Utah: Election law reins in tea party | Los Angeles Times

Four years ago, the fledgling tea party claimed one of its first and greatest victories in Utah, ousting the state’s veteran Republican senator in a thunderclap of anti-incumbent anger. Now the establishment has struck back, with a new law giving more voters a say in nominating the candidates for public office. The measure, signed this month, amounts to a compromise in a fight to limit the influence of grass-roots activists and others bent on purging the GOP of all but the most ideologically pure. Under the agreement, primary candidates can still be chosen, as they long have been, at party conventions, attended by just a few thousand delegates chosen at neighborhood meetings. But others can bypass delegates and appeal directly to voters if they collect enough signatures to make the ballot. Those unaffiliated with a party, a big chunk of Utah’s electorate, will also be allowed to vote in Republican primaries.

Afghanistan: Taliban carry out deadly attack on Kabul election office | CNN

The number of people killed when militants stormed an election commission office in the Afghan capital Tuesday has risen to five, a spokesman for the Afghan Interior Ministry said. The victims were two police officers, two election commission workers and a provincial council candidate, said spokesman Sediq Sediqqi in Kabul. Eight others were injured, including four police officers and four election commission staff, Seddiqi said. After a five-hour gunbattle with Afghan security services, the five militants who carried out the attack were also killed, he said, bringing the violence to an end. Two militants blew themselves up as they entered the compound in the Darul Aman area, he said, while the remaining three went into the election commission building.

Australia: Internet vote on the card for next state poll | Sydney Morning Herald

New South Wales voters could cast a ballot at the next state election without leaving home under proposed changes that would alleviate the Saturday rush for polling booths. A joint parliamentary inquiry into electoral matters said the so-called iVote system, which allows electors to vote using the internet, should be introduced for all council and state elections. It called for the measure in a draft report obtained by Fairfax Media, saying it would help boost voter turnout. The report is due to be tabled in Parliament on Thursday. However, voting experts say the system is open to abuse by hackers and should be used with caution.

India: Green chilli, chappals and stethoscope among 85 free symbols for Independent candidates | The Indian Express

Eatables such as green chilli, carrot, cauliflower and cake, daily use items such as nail cutter, chappals, purse and helmets besides instruments and appliances such as stethoscope, plate stand, dish-antenna and air-conditioner form an interesting list of more than 85 free symbols to be allotted to Independent candidates in Lok Sabha fray. The list also has symbols of different sports including carom, chess-board, cricket bat and batsman for poll aspirants willing to accept these symbols. As many as 36 candidates filed their nominations as independents from Pune Lok Sabha seat on the last date of the filing of nominations on Wednesday, said election authorities. The election commission has set aside reserved symbols for national parties including BJP, Congress, NCP, CPI, CPI (M), BSP, Shiv Sena and MNS.

Italy: Push in Sardinia for online vote on independence from Italy | RT

The island of Sardinia plans to hold an online referendum on independence from Italy, following in the footsteps of country’s northeastern Veneto region, where a similar vote revealed high separatist moods. Over 2 million people in Veneto took part in the internet referendum on March 16-21, with 89 per cent of them voting in favor of cutting ties with Rome. Despite the plebiscite having no legal power, it inspired the Sardinian Action Party (PSdAz) to organize an independence online vote in Sardinia, Nuova Sardegna website reports. PSdAz advocates withdrawal from Italy and the cultivation of Sardinian traditions and values.

United Kingdom: UK should consider e-voting, elections watchdog urges | The Guardian

The UK should consider allowing internet voting in elections because the current system risks appearing alien and outdated to an increasingly disenfranchised younger generation, the election watchdog has said. Launching a review of modern voting, the head of the Electoral Commission, Jenny Watson, warned that the state of the electoral system was “not an issue that can stay on the slow track any longer”.The long-term trend of falling voter turnout was particularly marked among young people, she said.

North Carolina: Federal judge rules correspondence, emails over voter ID law a public record | Charlotte News Observer

The North Carolina legislative leaders who led the crafting of the state’s new voter ID law will have to turn over some of their correspondence and email messages to voters and organizations challenging the wide-ranging amendments, according to a federal court ruling. U.S. Magistrate Judge Joi Elizabeth Peake issued a ruling on Thursday that addresses an attempt by lawmakers to quash subpoenas seeking email, correspondence and other documents exchanged while transforming the state’s voting process. In a court hearing earlier this year, attorneys for 13 Republican legislators tried to turn back efforts to get the correspondence released.

Wisconsin: Scott Walker signs early-voting bill; partial veto extends voting hours | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Acting out of the public eye on controversial measures, Gov. Scott Walker signed asbestos liability legislation Thursday opposed by a number of veterans groups and used a partial veto to loosen new restrictions on early voting opposed by Democrats. Wielding his pen privately on a stack of 31 bills, Walker approved a number of elections bills Thursday, including the absentee voting measure and another one to give lobbyists more time to give campaign donations to state officials. In the early-voting measure, Walker used his partial veto powers — the most powerful in the nation — to nix language restricting early voting hours in Milwaukee and other cities to 45 hours a week while leaving in place a provision to prohibit early voting on weekends.

Afghanistan: Taliban suicide bombers attack Afghan electoral commission HQ in Kabul | The Guardian

Taliban fighters attacked the Kabul headquarters of the Afghanistan’s independent election commission (IEC) headquarters on Saturday, the latest in a spate of attacks ahead of next week’s presidential vote. No injuries were reported from in the initial stage of the attack, but security forces and Taliban fighters were still shooting at each other. “Four suicide bombers armed with light and heavy weapons have entered a building near the IEC headquarters and are shooting towards the IEC compound and at passersby,” Mohammad Zahir, the Kabul police chief, told reporters near the site of the attack. The IEC compound is also close to offices used by the UN and and other international organisations.

Ukraine: U.N. General Assembly declares Crimea secession vote invalid | Reuters

The U.N. General Assembly on Thursday passed a non-binding resolution declaring invalid Crimea’s Moscow-backed referendum earlier this month on seceding from Ukraine, in a vote that Western nations said highlighted Russia’s isolation. There were 100 votes in favour, 11 against and 58 abstentions in the 193-nation assembly. Two dozen countries did not participate in the vote, either because they did not show up or because they have not paid their dues, U.N. diplomats said. Western diplomats said the number of yes votes was higher than expected despite what they called Moscow’s aggressive lobbying efforts against the resolution. Before the vote, one senior Western diplomat had described a result with 80-90 yes votes as successful for Ukraine. Other Western diplomats agreed, saying the result showed how few active supporters Moscow has around the world.