Editorials: Everyone says turnout is key. So why does it keep going down? | Dan Balz/The Washington Post

Tens of millions of dollars will be spent this year in an effort to boost turnout in the November elections. But the longer-term trends suggest that any marginal increase in what is expected to be a low-turnout election won’t have much effect on one of the chronic problems of America’s politics. The Center for the Study of the American Electorate (CSAE) recently issued a dreary summation about participation in the primary elections so far this year. Based on the 25 states that have already held their primaries, the report chronicled a pattern of voter indifference and, in some cases, record low turnout. In 15 of the 25 states with statewide primaries, turnout was the lowest ever, and only three of the 25 saw an increase over the last mid-term election in 2010. One of those that produced increased turnout was Mississippi, but that happened during the extraordinarily contested run-off election between Sen. Thad Cochran (R) and his tea party challenger state Sen. Chris McDaniel.

Editorials: ‘Jungle primary’ brings unintended consequences | Harold Meyerson/Capital Times

Would the dysfunction of U.S. politics be dispelled if we got rid of partisan primaries? That’s the contention of Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. In an op-ed for The New York Times, Schumer argued that the primary system in most states, in which voters choose nominees for their respective parties who then run head to head in November, gives too much weight to the party faithful, who are inclined to select candidates who veer either far right or far left. The cure Schumer proposes for this ill is the “jungle primary,” in which all primary candidates, regardless of party, appear on the same ballot, with the top two finishers, again regardless of party, advancing to the general election. The senator cites the example of California — once the most gridlocked of states, now a place where legislation actually gets enacted — as proof that such primaries work. But Schumer misunderstands what got California working again. In so doing, he also misses the fatal flaws of the jungle primary.

Arizona: Election officials seek to avoid 2012 delay | Associated Press

Arizona’s most populous county will try to cut down on provisional ballots and speed up election results in this year’s races, officials said. The Maricopa County Elections Department is seeking to avoid a repeat of 2012, when provisional ballots prolonged an official count by nearly two weeks. County Recorder Helen Purcell said last week many voters used provisional ballots two years ago because they didn’t vote with an early ballot, the Arizona Capitol Times reported. Voters thought the early ballots were samples and threw them out, Purcell said.

Florida: Judge doubts Florida election maps can be fixed by November | Reuters

A judge who ruled Florida’s new congressional districts were unconstitutional earlier this month expressed doubt Thursday that he can postpone next month’s primary election for a quick fix of the political boundaries. Circuit Judge Terry Lewis said he will rule by the end of next week on a request by the Republican-run legislature to proceed with the 2014 elections, using the flawed district lines. Lawyers for the League of Women Voters and a coalition of Florida citizens argued that there is still time to realign the districts. The judge ordered two districts redrawn because they were designed to benefit incumbents. Those districts are held by U.S. Representatives Corrine Brown of Jacksonville and Daniel Webster of Orlando.

Michigan: U.S. Senate candidate Land discloses joint account, but questions remain | Detroit Free Press

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land’s campaign insisted Thursday that her nearly $3 million in contributions to herself are legal and proper, even as Michigan Democrats called on state and federal authorities to investigate. Land’s campaign this week filed a correction to her federal financial disclosure, revealing a previously undisclosed joint checking account she controls with her husband Dan Hibma from which she has drawn $2.9 million for her race. The Free Press first revealed the existence of the account a week ago, but the campaign’s filing still leaves doubts as to whether the funds drawn from it were put there expressly for campaign use and, if so, whether they may violate contribution limits. Candidates may give as much as they like to their campaigns and can tap liberally into jointly held bank accounts. But the law is murkier on spouses making funds available for a campaign, being constrained by the standard limit of $5,200 per election cycle.

Editorials: McDaniel needs to file a challenge or call it quits | Clarion-Ledger

Enough is enough. Chris McDaniel has used every excuse in the book to delay filing a challenge to incumbent Thad Cochran’s election as the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate. His campaign has said filing a challenge before having all evidence will prevent him from including additional evidence. They have said they need more time to gather more data. They have said they need birthdates to verify voter identities. They have said circuit clerks have prevented them from seeing public information. However, at the end of the day, McDaniel’s campaign has been given access to everything to which they are entitled under the law. And despite their assertions, introducing a challenge to the Mississippi Republican Party will in no way prevent them from presenting new information of voter fraud to a court if indeed they discover it after their challenge is filed.

Montana: Campaign finance goes digital | Bozeman Daily Chronicle

Montana’s Commissioner of Political Practices said Thursday that his office has worked out the kinks in the electronic reporting of state candidate and committee finance reporting. “The COPP’s new electronic campaign finance reporting system for candidates for public office in Montana worked. The new system was launched, literally, the day before 2014 primary election reporting was due and it had some glitches,” Commissioner Jonathan Motl wrote on the office’s website. The commissioner said all that’s left is to get candidates to use the electronic system. About 103 of the 319 primary election legislative candidates used electronic reporting. Motl said his office will contact the remaining 236 general election legislative candidates to encourage them to use the new system.

Editorials: Montana’s absentee voting, signature-gathering laws discourage citizen initiatives | Charles S. Johnson/Ravalli Republic

Direct democracy, a proud tradition in Montana for more than a century, fell flat on its face this year. For the first time since 1992, no initiatives sponsored by citizens, groups or corporations qualified for the November ballot in Montana. Twelve of the 18 proposed ballot issues were cleared for signature-gathering, but none got enough signatures to appear on the November ballot, Secretary of State Linda McCulloch said. One factor is the growing trend of Montanans voting by absentee or mail-in ballots instead of showing up to the polls to cast their votes. In June, 68 percent of Montanans who voted in the primary did so by absentee ballot. As a result, initiative supporters no longer can count on that day to hit up large numbers of voters for signatures.

New Hampshire: 2012 voter registration law null — for now | New Hampshire Union Leader

The Secretary of State’s Office said Friday the decision by Strafford County Superior Court Judge Brian Tucker means there will be no change in the current voter registration forms. Deputy Secretary of State David Scanlan said the disputed language change for voter registration forms — passed by the Legislature in 2012 and challenged in court by four University of New Hampshire students and the League of Women Voters as unconstitutional — was never implemented. A preliminary injunction was granted by a different Strafford County judge, and the state Supreme Court let the ruling stand in October 2012. …  Then-House Speaker Bill O’Brien had supported changing the registration law primarily to prevent students from outside New Hampshire but attend college in the state from being allowed to vote in New Hampshire college towns.

New Mexico: Ballot overflow may be problem | Albuquerque Journal

Voters in Bernalillo County can expect an incredibly crowded ballot this fall – so crowded, in fact, that election workers are struggling to find room for municipal questions. The city of Albuquerque holds its own regular elections in odd-numbered years, though city councilors occasionally ask the county to add a city item or two to county ballots in even-numbered years. This year, however, the city might seek space for four or more questions on the November ballot, including proposals to change how the police chief is hired and to reduce marijuana penalties. But the ballot is already stuffed with federal and state races, plus retention elections for state and metropolitan judges.

Utah: State committee studying feasibility of extending online voting to more Utahns | Deseret News

Utahns file their taxes, bank and shop online all the time, says state Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, so why shouldn’t they also be able to vote on their laptops? “It seems reasonable that we have a discussion — a serious discussion — about how you would set up a secure, auditable system to vote online,” Bramble said. “Personally, I’m going to be pushing the envelope.” But Bramble, appointed to a new committee put together by Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox to study online voting, said he’ll wait to see what members come up with by the end of the year before deciding whether to introduce legislation next session. … Another member of the new committee, Salt Lake County Clerk Sherrie Swensen, also questions whether Utahns will be voting online anytime soon. “I hope that sometime in the future it will be something that happens,” Swensen said. “I admire the lieutenant governor’s office for wanting to explore this and be progressive, but I think there’s a lot to overcome before we get to that point.”

Afghanistan: Election Audit Stalls Again | Wall Street Journal

The full audit of votes cast in Afghanistan’s presidential election was again suspended on Saturday, underscoring the fragility of the political deal between the two camps brokered by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. On Saturday, the recount was stopped for a third time since it began 10 days ago, after supporters of one of the candidates, Abdullah Abdullah, walked out, claiming one of the audit criteria wasn’t being adhered to. The sticking point concerned a technical issue related to ballots from polling stations that saw a surprising jump in votes in the June-14 runoff election compared with the first round of voting on April 5. The two camps on Saturday did reach an agreement on a separate issue that had been slowing down the audit: how to disqualify fraudulent votes.

China: Hong Kong’s big political question: What will the rules be for the 2017 election? | Los Angeles Times

The giant alien robot smackdown in “Transformers: Age of Extinction” isn’t the only fight raging in Hong Kong this summer. The southern Chinese territory has been consumed by a real-life political battle royale. Massive crowds have taken to the streets to demonstrate. Cops arrested more than 500 people at a sit-in and pepper sprayed others trying to smash through the doors of the legislature. Inside the chamber, one lawmaker even hurled a glass toward Hong Kong’s chief executive, the city’s (widely disliked) top leader. High schoolers interrupt their graduation ceremonies with tuneful protests of “Do You Hear the People Sing?” from “Les Miserables.” Bosses of big banks and accounting firms face off against their own employees, taking out dueling political ads in newspapers.

Indonesia: Election violations in every province, says Prabowo-Hatta | The Jakarta Post

The legal team of the Prabowo Subianto-Hatta Rajasa ticket has specified the details of alleged presidential election violations in 34 provinces across Indonesia, in its lawsuit submitted to the Constitutional Court on Friday. Based on election result dispute (PHPU) documents published on the court’s official website at mahkamahkonstitusi.go.id, in the province of Aceh, election violations were related to the number of voters in the province being different than the number of ballots used in the election. The Prabowo-Hatta team said the Aceh General Elections Commission (KPUD) and related committees, such as district election committees and election organizing groups, were unable to carry out their main duties and functions in line with existing laws and regulations, leading to the presidential election being undemocratic, Antara news agency reported.