In 2010, California lawmakers approved legislation meant to reduce the incentive for expensive and contentious ballot recounts of the sort looming in the exceedingly close race for second place in the state controller’s primary. But the law went dormant at the end of last year and will have no bearing on the controller’s contest between Betty Yee and John A. Pérez. In a statement Tuesday, the Pérez campaign said it is conducting a review to “determine whether a recount is warranted. After nearly a month of counting votes and a vote margin of just 1/100th of one percent, out of more than 4 million votes cast, nobody would like to the see this process completed more than we would,” the statement said. “Since this is one of closest statewide elections in the history of California, we have an obligation to review and ensure that every vote cast is accurately counted. During our review, we will also determine whether a recount is warranted.”
A measure taking aim at Hawaii’s worst-in-the-nation voter turnout is now law. Gov. Neil Abercrombie today signed a bill making Hawaii the 12th state in the country where late registration could be done on the day voters head to the polls. But same-day voting registration won’t begin until the 2018 elections to give state election officials time to phase in the program. “Hopefully, this will improve voter turnout and as I say, the delayed implementation gives the county clerks and the Office of Elections time to make sure it’s implemented accurately,” Abercrombie said.
Illinois citizens will now be able to register to vote on the same day as voting. Today, Gov. Pat Quinn signed that into law and other new provisions that he says will expand voter access. But some Republicans are calling the new law purely political, and are criticizing the shadowy way in which it came about. This law will only affect the coming November election, not future elections, which have set off criticism that this relaxation of voting laws will ultimately benefit Democrats – not enfranchise more voters as supporters contend. But the governor and other lawmakers say they will revisit the law after the election, they just want to see how it works first. “This bill is designed to take a look at some new ideas,” Quinn said. “We want to see how it works. I think a lot of the election authorities asked us to make this a bill that would be for this election and take a look at how this works out.”
Mississippi: McDaniel not giving up on claims that voter fraud produced Cochran runoff win | Associated Press
Chris McDaniel has presented no evidence to support his claim that voter fraud pushed Senate incumbent Thad Cochran to victory in Mississippi’s GOP runoff. And without evidence, the tea party-backed hopeful is going to have a tough time overturning Cochran’s nearly 6,800-vote win. But a week after the balloting, McDaniel isn’t giving up. McDaniel spokesman Noel Fritsch said Tuesday that the campaign continues to examine poll books for possible examples of crossover voting that is prohibited by state law — people who voted in both the Democratic primary June 3 and the Republican runoff June 24. “We haven’t determined our specific legal recourse,” Fritsch said. “We’re kind of in a holding pattern, to a certain degree, while we’re collecting evidence.”
A conservative group filed a lawsuit in federal court Tuesday challenging the outcome of the bitter Mississippi GOP Senate primary, saying that investigators should take more time to determine whether election laws have been broken and whether illegal ballots were cast. True The Vote, which bills itself as the nation’s leading voters’ rights and election integrity organization, said that it had no choice but to file a lawsuit after the Mississippi secretary of state and Mississippi GOP refused to respond to requests to review possible “double-voting” in the state’s primary, where Sen. Thad Cochran was declared the winner over tea party-backed state Sen. Chris McDaniel. The group said the outcome could have been diluted by some of the votes cast and said it could be in violation of the Equal Protection Clause under the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution.
The U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran campaign is denying reports from a conservative blogger that it was trying to buy votes in Lauderdale County. Blogger Charles C. Johnson of GotNews.com is reporting that Stevie Fielder says the Cochran campaign told him to offer black voters in the Meridian area $15 each to vote for Cochran in the June 24 GOP primary runoff against Chris McDaniel. Cochran campaign spokesman Jordan Russell called the accusations of illegal vote buying “baseless and false. It comes from a blogger who in the last 24 hours has accused a Mississippi public official of being responsible for an individual’s death and had to retract other outlandish accusations regarding another Mississippi elected official,” Russell said. “The author of this article admits he paid his source for the story.” The report comes as McDaniel continues to examine records from the June 24 runoff which he narrowly lost and consider a challenge of the results.
North Carolina: NAACP, others to argue for a preliminary injunction against voting law | Winston-Salem Journal
The state NAACP and other civil rights groups want a federal judge to block what they call the worst voter suppression bill since the days of Jim Crow. “The reality is that this monster voter suppression law was passed a few weeks after Shelby,” said the Rev. William Barber, the president of the state NAACP, in a conference call Tuesday. Barber was referring to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act that required states and other communities to seek federal approval for changes in voting laws. Forty counties in North Carolina had been under the Section 5 requirement. The law, officially known as the Voter Information Verification Act, includes a number of provisions. The most well-known is a requirement that voters present a photo ID, beginning in 2016, but it also reduces the number of days for early voting from 17 to 10, eliminates same-day voter registration during early voting and prohibits county elections officials from counting ballots cast by voters in the right county but wrong precinct.
The American Civil Liberties Union is urging Secretary of State Al Jaeger to expand what it calls his “exceedingly narrow” interpretation of North Dakota’s new voter ID law to allow voters to use more forms of identification, warning the law could disenfranchise Native American and disabled voters, among others. Jaeger said Monday he received the letter from the ACLU — as well as a supporting letter from the Fargo-based nonprofit Freedom Resource Center for Independent Living — on Friday and was still reviewing it to develop a response, adding, “I can just go by what the law allows. As to whether we can do anything or not, that remains to be seen,” he said.
Voting restrictions imposed by Ohio Republicans earlier this year will make casting a ballot in the Buckeye State significantly harder, and will hurt African-Americans far more than whites, according to a new court filing which offers a wealth of data to back up its claims. The brief, filed Monday by lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), asks a federal judge for an injunction to block the restrictions—cuts to the early voting period, and the elimination of same-day voter registration—before this November’s election. The ACLU filed suit earlier this year, alleging that the moves violate the Voting Rights Act’s ban on voting changes that have a racially discriminatory effect. But until Monday, it had not offered detailed information in support of its case.
Ohio: ‘Voters Bill of Rights’ effort misses July deadline, will continue to collect signatures | Cleveland Plain Dealer
Supporters of a “Voters Bill of Rights” constitutional amendment won’t attempt to put the issue on the ballot this November but plan to continue collecting signatures for a future November ballot. Amendment supporters had to collect roughly 385,000 valid signatures from registered Ohio voters by July 2 for the amendment to appear on the November ballot. The group has been collecting signatures since March, but were more than 200,000 signatures short. State Rep. Alicia Reece, a Cincinnati Democrat leading the group, said the all-volunteer effort has collected about 100,000 signatures in less than 90 days on a “shoestring budget.” Signatures that have been collected will still count toward the group’s final total.
The campaign to abolish the “master lever” crossed its final hurdle Tuesday with Governor Chafee signing matching House and Senate bills that will soon make a one-line straight-party voting option a thing of the past. Passed during final days of the 2014 legislative session, the bills ended a decades-long campaign to do away with the straight-ticket or “master-lever” option — so named because of the levers that were once present on voting machines The legislation will not change this year’s election ballots. Lawmakers, concerned that removing the straight-party option might confuse some voters, ultimately decided that the secretary of state’s office should conduct a “training and community outreach” campaign “throughout the state,” before an election is held without the master-lever option.
On Tuesday, Afghanistan’s electoral commission announced that it would likely delay the preliminary result of last month’s presidential runoff until the weekend at the earliest. The result was originally scheduled to be made public on Wednesday. “The announcement of preliminary results is likely to be delayed until Saturday,” election commissioner Sharifa Zurmati said. “Around 2,000 polling centers are to be recounted because of alleged fraud.” In June, Afghans defied Taliban violence to vote in a presidential runoff between former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah and ex-World Bank official Ashraf Ghani. Ballots were cast at 6,000 polling stations across the country. The Independent Election Commission (IEC) reported that 99.7 percent of the ballots had been logged into its database. IEC chief Zia ul-Haq Amarkhail resigned his post last week after Abdullah’s campaign released a phone conversation in which Amarkhail allegedly called for ballot boxes to be stuffed. Amarkhail claimed the recording was fake but said he was stepping down so that Abdullah would end his boycott of the vote.
Clutching banners and chanting slogans, tens of thousands of protesters have staged a pro-democracy rally in Hong Kong that organisers say could be the largest since the city was handed back to China. The rally on Tuesday reflects surging discontent over Beijing’s insistence that it vet candidates before a vote in 2017 for the semi-autonomous region’s next leader. The march comes after nearly 800,000 people voted in an informal referendum to demand a electoral mechanism to nominate candidates. The poll has irked Beijing, which branded it ‘‘illegal and invalid’’ despite the unexpectedly high turnout.
Turkey’s worst-kept political secret was revealed when the ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) announced that the current prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, will be its official candidate to become the country’s next president. Six weeks ahead of the country’s first direct presidential elections, the AKP announced Erdoğan’s candidacy on Tuesday to a cheering crowd of party members. Erdoğan’s nomination, kept under wraps until Tuesday, has long been rumoured among political analysts and the media. The nomination was revealed at an extravagant and emotionally charged event in the capital, Ankara, where the prime minister’s long-time political ally Mehmet Ali Şahin, former parliamentary speaker and justice minister, addressed a more than 4,000 party members. Şahin stressed that the decision had been unanimous. “In order to designate a presidential candidate, at least 20 signatures of party MPs are needed,” he said. “We were able to gather all signatures of all our [party MPs].”