Election rules in Kansas and Arizona are set to bar thousands of people in coming weeks from casting ballots in state primaries even as the federal government allows some of them to vote in congressional races. The split system is the result of a growing battle between federal officials and a handful of states over the necessity of verifying that a newly registered voter is a U.S. citizen. Kansas and Arizona say the federal registration process doesn’t rigorously check citizenship. They have established their own verification systems and are barring people who register using the federal system from voting this month for such offices as governor and local posts. In recent years, mostly Republican-controlled states have tightened voting rules, including requiring voters to produce picture identification at the polls, arguing it prevents fraud. “There is a very real problem with aliens being registered to vote,” said Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who said about a dozen states are likely to pass such measures in coming years. Democrats have countered that there are few examples of fraud at the polls and that such steps suppress the vote of such groups as minorities and women.
Facing an Aug. 15 deadline, Florida legislative leaders will announce Monday that they will bring lawmakers back for a week-long special session on Thursday, Aug. 7, to revise the congressional redistricting map declared invalid by a judge. Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis on Friday ordered lawmakers to revise their congressional redistricting map to fix two districts he had previously ordered unconstitutional, those held by U.S. Reps. Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville and Dan Webster, R-Winter Garden. Lewis gave the Legislature until Aug. 15 to fix the map, an action that requires a special session of the Legislature and an abrupt halt to their summer vacations and primary campaigning. Lewis also said he was considering calling a special election after Nov. 4 for the affected districts and he called for an Aug. 20 hearing to decide how to go forward.
Florida: Judge takes on gerrymandering; sets stage for Supreme Court cases in fall | The Washington Post
About 10 years ago, the justices of the Supreme Court took a good, hard look at the way politicians bend, tweak and manipulate electoral boundaries in order to protect themselves and punish their enemies — and threw in the towel. The Constitution, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for a plurality in Vieth v. Jubelirer , does not provide “a judicially enforceable limit on the political considerations that the states and Congress may take into account when districting.” In other words, politics is politics. It’s the court’s duty to decide what the law is, Scalia said, but sometimes the answer is that it is none of the court’s business. Scalia acknowledged that the Supreme Court had previously ruled otherwise. But “18 years of essentially pointless litigation” had convinced Scalia and others on the court that it was impossible to come up with a test to decide when partisan gerrymandering amounted to a constitutional violation. The political parties have been running through that green light ever since.
Iowa Democrats, eager for Hillary Clinton to compete in their state and thus maintain the credibility of their caucuses, unveiled five proposals Friday to increase turnout in 2016. But they did not go nearly as far as some thought they would. After her humiliating third place finish in Iowa in 2008, Clinton noted in her concession speech that “there were a lot of people who couldn’t caucus tonight.” She mentioned troops serving overseas, hospital workers, waitresses and cops on patrol. As she moves toward a likely 2016 presidential campaign, one of the biggest decisions that Clinton must make is how hard to compete in the caucuses that kick off the nominating process. They tend to draw a more ideological, motivated set of base voters. A higher turnout would favor the better-known, better-funded former secretary of State, senator and first lady.
North Carolina: Despite budget squeeze, lawmakers poised to step up anti-voter fraud spending | Facing South
This week, North Carolina state lawmakers put forward a budget plan that calls for tens of millions of dollars in program cuts — sacrifices that Republican leaders say are necessary since the state will be collecting $1.57 billion less in revenues through 2015 due to hefty tax cuts approved last year. But at least one program is getting a boost in the plan proposed by the Senate: a request from the N.C. State Board of Elections, led by Kim Strach, to add three new investigators to tackle alleged voter fraud. While the Senate’s budget eliminates at least 12 positions from the Department of Health and Human Services, the latest budget plan released Thursday [pdf] calls for $201,657 in new funding “for three new positions to investigate fraud in elections, discrepancies in voter registration information, including duplicate registrations, and to pursue prosecution for violations of election law.” According to news reports, Strach had asked for five new investigators to focus on voter fraud. This was addition to the state board’s May 2014 hire of former FBI agent Chuck Stuber, who has been tasked with investigating voter fraud and campaign finance issues.
US Virgin Islands: Court Puts Coffelt, Canegata Back On the Ballot for Governor/Lieutenant Governor | St. Thomas Source
The U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals put independent gubernatorial candidate Soraya Diase Coffelt and running mate, Republican John Canegata back on the general election ballot in an order published Friday. In late May, the V.I. Elections Office rejected the nominating petition for lieutenant governor candidate Canegata, saying that as a registered Republican he could not legally run on a nonpartisan ticket with an independent, Coffelt, giving Canegata three days to resubmit. Coffelt and Canegata declined to resubmit, instead challenging the ruling in court. On June 7, Chief Judge for the U.S. District of the Virgin Islands Wilma Lewis issued a temporary restraining order blocking the election system from disqualifying the two running mates.
Editorials: Utah is correct to both be at the front of online voting, and cautiously study security | Deseret News
Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox has convened a committee to study how the Beehive State might proceed with online voting. He has said Internet voting is inevitable, but his office agrees that security is the top concern. That is the correct attitude to assume as this effort proceeds. Security — the idea that a voter’s secret ballot is transmitted and tabulated correctly — must be nailed down and ensured beyond any reasonable doubt before anyone votes directly through the Internet. If voters lose confidence in the integrity of the election system, the notion of government by the people would be imperiled. We have yet to hear of any online effort that has successfully overcome these concerns. Norway, a pioneer in online voting, ended a three-year experiment with it last month, citing a lack of security. A small number of people there succeeded in voting twice by casting both online and paper ballots.
creating confusion and may even open the door to the very type of behavior Republican lawmakers were trying to prevent. Policy makers, attorneys and voter ID experts were struggling Friday with how to interpret a Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling from a day earlier, which mandated a change to the law in order to make it constitutional. The court said the state can’t require applicants for state-issued IDs to present government documents that cost money to obtain, such as a copy of a birth certificate. The court left it to the Division of Motor Vehicles to come up with a solution. “We don’t know how that’s going to work,” Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said Thursday shortly after the ruling. When asked whether obtaining photo IDs without having to present government-issued documents verifying a person’s identity could result in fraud, Vos said: “It’s got a potential for it.”
A recount of votes in the Afghan election has been suspended again, despite being scheduled to restart on Saturday after the Muslim Eid holiday. The breakdown came despite late night phone talks between US Secretary of State John Kerry and candidates Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani. A spokesman for Mr Abdullah said that the UN had not taken his concerns into account. Both candidates accuse each other of electoral fraud. It was Mr Kerry’s intervention last month in three days of talks in Kabul that led to agreement to carry out a full audit of votes. The current dispute is over how to deal with ballot boxes found to contain invalid votes.
Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election plunged deeper into crisis on Sunday when one of the main contenders accused a deputy of President Hamid Karzai of orchestrating fraud in favour of his rival. Supporters of Abdullah Abdullah, a former foreign minister, released an audio recording they said was Vice President Mohammad Karim Khalili encouraging vote-rigging in favour of Ashraf Ghani, the other contender in the race. Khalili’s and Ghani’s staff dismissed the recording as a fake. Allegations of mass fraud have overshadowed the outcome of the vote, which was meant to be the first democratic transition of power in Afghanistan’s history and came before the withdrawal of international combat troops at the end of this year. The eight million votes cast in the second round of the election, held in June, are currently being audited under U.N. supervision, according to a deal brokered by the United States.
Indonesia: Prabowo still confident ahead of ‘pointless’ Indonesia election appeal | Asian Correspondent
On Wednesday this week a team of 95 lawyers representing defeated presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto will head to Indonesia’s Constitutional Court as part of a last-ditch effort to nullify the results of this year’s election. It is the first hearing of an extremely ambitious legal challenge which aims to discredit at least 4.2 million votes and bring about repeat elections in allegedly fraud-ridden constituencies – an outcome so unrealistic that even Prabowo’s former campaign manager has denounced the appeal as “pointless”. Following on from the bogus quick count extravaganza, which led to Prabowo’s original declaration of victory shortly after voting ended on July 9, the court case is the latest addition to his manifold attempts to manipulate and ultimately steal this year’s presidential contest. But for those readers who have finally succumbed to Indonesian election fatigue, you will be pleased to know that Prabowo’s Constitutional Court appeal is the very last chance for the tormented old general to overturn rival Jokowi’s victory, and it’s almost certainly bound to fail. Not only do the laws of probability suggest that proving 4.2million fraudulent ballots is a lost cause, but Prabowo’s chances of launching a post-results day comeback have been further dashed by his own attorneys’ careless penmanship.
More than 43,000 New Zealanders are missing from the electoral roll just over a month out from the September 20 election, the Electoral Commission says. The commission mailed enrolment update packs to everyone on the electoral roll at the end of June, asking them to check their enrolment details. But tens of thousands had bounced back marked “gone no address”.
Senate President Franklin Drilon yesterday urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to strengthen the government’s Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV) program so more overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) can exercise their right to suffrage without leaving their jobs or residences abroad. “It is high time that the Comelec adopt all the necessary technologies that would empower about 10 to 12 million overseas Filipinos to use the Internet to register and vote in 2016 and onwards,” said Drilon, principal author of the OAV Act of 2003. He said the modes of registration and voting under the OAV law, Republic Act 9189 as amended by RA No. 10590, through mail or personal appearance at the Philippine embassies or consulates abroad, limit overseas voter registration and actual voting.