Editorials: Is there a First Amendment right to lie in politics? | David Schultz/Cleveland Plain Dealer

Should candidates or groups say whatever they want about an opponent, issue or themselves and have it protected as a form of free speech? Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that a group had a right to challenge an Ohio law banning false campaign statements. While case law suggests the law will be declared unconstitutional, there is a compelling argument that electoral lies ought not to receive First Amendment protection. There should be outer limits on what can be said in campaigns in order to promote democracy and the integrity of the electoral process. Lying is wrong; even children know it. Philosopher Immanuel Kant asserted that deceivers lie to make themselves an exception to a rule that they expect everyone else to follow. We live in a world where we conform actions, make judgments and act as if others were truthful. Liars profit by taking advantage of this trust. If trust did not exist, then business would never exist. Contracts would be meaningless, promises futile.

Editorials: Restoring the vote to convicted felons | Dallas Morning News

When right meets left over the issue of access to the voting booth, it gets our attention. Case in point is GOP Sen. Rand Paul’s support for a long-sought objective of some congressional Democrats — restoring the right to vote to convicted felons. It’s a good objective that has parallels with the growing bipartisan questions about the nation’s 40-year-old war on drugs. As drug convictions caused state prisons to quadruple in population through those decades, and federal prisons swelled by 800 percent, the number of disenfranchised citizens spiked as well. Today, about 5.85 million people nationwide have lost the right to vote because of felonies. Some of them are disenfranchised permanently, depending on the state laws where they live.

Arkansas: Voter ID law a ‘procedural requirement,’ secretary of state argues in court papers | Associated Press

A Pulaski County judge didn’t follow proper court-mandated guidelines when he found Arkansas’ new voter ID law unconstitutional, attorneys for Secretary of State Mark Martin argued in court papers. Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox ruled in May that requiring voters to show photo identification before casting a ballot violated the Arkansas Constitution by creating a new qualification to vote. He also said lawmakers did not properly approve the measure, citing a constitutional amendment that requires a two-thirds vote in the Legislature to change the voter registration process.

California: John Pérez calls for recount in tight race for state controller | Los Angeles Times

Assemblyman John A. Pérez called Sunday for a recount in the razor-close primary election for state controller, a first step in what could become an expensive and lengthy effort to salvage his campaign for one of California’s top financial posts. Pérez, a Los Angeles Democrat, trails Betty Yee, a Democratic member of the Board of Equalization from the Bay Area, by just 481 votes — or one hundredth of one percent of the more than 4 million ballots cast. “It is therefore of the utmost importance that an additional, carefully conducted review of the ballots be undertaken to ensure that every vote is counted, as intended,” Pérez said in a statement. The two controller candidates have been battling for second place in the primary in order to advance to the general election. Ashley Swearengin, the Republican mayor of Fresno, has already secured her spot on the November ballot by finishing in first place in the primary. Under California law, any registered voter can ask for a recount, but the person making the request has to foot the bill.

Massachusetts: House quietly approved amendment to help state GOP | The Boston Globe

The House Republican leadership, with the cooperation of Democratic leaders, quietly attached an amendment to an election law bill last month that would allow the cash-strapped state GOP party to raise unlimited donations to pay for an expensive legal battle with Tea Party gubernatorial candidate Mark Fisher. If the House version of the bill becomes law, the Massachusetts Republican Party can avoid a serious financial pinch caused by the nearly $100,000 in legal bills it has so far incurred in its fight with Fisher. Halfway through this election year, it now has only about $247,000 in its account, with its legal bills threatening to eat up the money it needs to mount challenges to Democrats in statewide and legislative elections this year.

Missouri: Election timing affects Missouri issues | Associated Press

Missouri’s Aug. 5 elections could provide a case study for the ability of governors to affect proposed ballot measures, both politically and legally. Five proposed constitutional amendments will go before voters this summer, instead of during the November elections, because of a decision by Gov. Jay Nixon. The governor’s prerogative is provided for in the Missouri Constitution and has been used by many chief executives over the years to shift measures off the general election ballot and on to the August primaries. Those decisions can carry political consequences and, as a recent court ruling has shown, may also have legal implications. The political ramifications are perhaps best illustrated by proposed Constitutional Amendment 1, which seeks to create a right to farm similar to what already exists with the rights of free speech, assembly and religion.

North Carolina: Voter law challenged: ‘the worst suppression since Jim Crow’ | The Guardian

North Carolina’s voter identification law, which has been described as the most sweeping attack on African American electoral rights since the Jim Crow era, is being challenged in a legal hearing that opens on Monday. Civil rights lawyers and activists are gathering in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, for the start of the legal challenge that is expected to last all week. They will be seeking to persuade a federal district judge to impose a preliminary injunction against key aspects of HB 589, the voting law enacted by state Republicans last August. Lawyers for the North Carolina branch of the NAACP and the civil rights group the Advancement Project will argue that the main pillars of the law should be temporarily halted ahead of a full trial next year. Otherwise, they say, tens of thousands of largely poor black voters could find themselves turned away at the polls at the midterm elections in November.

North Carolina: Hearing on voter ID law draws national attention | Winston-Salem Journal

For Rev. John Mendez, longtime activist and pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, voting is more than just casting a ballot in a particular election. “I believe that voting is important to the African-American community because it is the only place where powerless people can be powerful,” he said in court papers filed in U.S. District Court in the Middle District of North Carolina as part of a trio of lawsuits challenging the state’s new election law. “It is where individuals who have been excluded and oppressed can find their voice. Voting makes you feel equal to everyone else, which is not the everyday experience for many African-Americans. At its core, voting gives individuals a sense of dignity.” Mendez and others believe that the right to vote, especially for blacks, is under attack in the form of the new election law that Gov. Pat McCrory signed last August.

North Carolina: Fight over voter ID law heads to court | Washington Times

The legal challenge to North Carolina’s voter ID law goes before a federal judge Monday, as the fight over whether the law suppresses minority votes flares up in the state’s U.S. Senate race. Opponents of the law, including Democratic incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan, contend that the identification requirement and other new voting laws create an obstacle for blacks, Hispanics and women to reach the ballot box. The support of the same voter blocs are crucial to Mrs. Hagan’s strategy to win in November against Republican state House Speaker Thom Tillis. The lawsuit, brought by the U.S. Department of Justice, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and others, seeks an injunction against the law for the 2014 election. A hearing is scheduled Monday before U.S. District Judge Thomas D. Schroeder in Winston-Salem. Mrs. Hagan, meanwhile, will be angling to use the court hearing to vilify Mr. Tillis and rally Democratic voters.

Afghanistan: Election Dispute Draws More Calls for Vote Audit | New York Times

A growing number of Western officials are calling for an audit of the ballots cast in the Afghan presidential election, increasing the likelihood that the nation’s electoral commission will have to formally reassess the June 14 runoff vote even as it prepares to announce preliminary results. Ever since Afghans voted in the runoff, the system has been deadlocked by allegations of widespread fraud. The presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah has consistently complained that his opponent, Ashraf Ghani, with the help of the commission and other Afghan officials, rigged the vote. Mr. Abdullah spent weeks threatening to walk away from the process, and his brinkmanship now appears to be paying off. The continued political crisis has forced some international figures off the bench, despite earlier efforts to avoid the appearance of involvement in the Afghan elections.

Afghanistan: Presidential candidate Abdullah preemptively rejects election results | The Washington Post

Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah has preemptively rejected the results of last month’s election, set to be officially released Monday, saying the country’s electoral commission was involved in widespread fraud that tarnished the legitimacy of the runoff vote. “Unless the clean votes are separated from those that are fraudulent, we will not accept the election results,” Abdullah said in a televised news conference Sunday night. “We will refer to the people” on how to respond to Monday’s announcement, he said. The stakes are high for a peaceful transfer of power, which would mark the first since the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. The fragile government here continues to battle a nationwide Taliban insurgency as foreign troops prepare to withdraw by the end of the year.

Indonesia: Early votes cast in presidential election | The Star Online

More Indonesians from among the country’s 300,000 early voters in Malaysia have come out to cast their vote in their presidential election. After early voting in Kuala Lumpur and Johor on Saturday, it was the turn of Indone­­sians working and living in Sarawak, Sabah and Penang to go to the polls yesterday. Indonesian Ambassador to Malaysia Herman Prayitno said there were 420,643 eligible vo­ters in Malaysia. Indonesian Consul-General Djoko Hardjanto and his wife Rosa Triana were among those who cast their votes as soon as the polling station in Kuching opened at 9am.

Libya: Vote results scrapped in 24 polling stations | News24

Libya’s electoral commission announced Sunday it was scrapping the results from 24 polling stations due to fraud in a parliamentary election contested at 1 600 stations in June. An investigation has been launched and those responsible for the alleged fraud will be put on trial, said commission chief Imed al-Sayeh. Sayeh was speaking at a news conference to announce preliminary results for the June 25 election, which was marred by a poor turnout, violence and the murder of a leading women’s rights activist.

Nepal: CPN-UML faction against electronic voting machines | eKantipur

The CPN-UML faction led by Madhav Kumar Nepal has rejected the party’s decision to use Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) for the Central Committee (CC) election. The Nepal faction has expressed a serious reservation over the effort of the organising committee of the ongoing ninth UML National Congress to use the EVMs for election. Organising a separate press meet on Saturday, UML politburo member, Raghuji Pant, said that a large section of the party representatives are skeptical about the use of EVMs, and demanded the use of paper ballot for the election.

New Zealand: The rights and wrongs of MMP | Northern Advocate

MMP has enjoyed more than a two-decade tenure as New Zealand’s voting system. But three months out from the general election, cracks are showing. Cassandra Mason investigates the prides and pitfalls of MMP and whether there’s room for change. New Zealand’s mixed member proportional system (MMP) ousted first past the post (FPP) when it was voted in in 1993. The change answered calls from an increasingly diverse New Zealand that Parliament more closely resemble its population. With September’s election on the horizon, the system’s more controversial characteristics are fuelling debate.