Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) would presumably like to run against Joe Miller (R) in the November election. Miller, the GOP’s surprising 2010 nominee who eventually lost to Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R-Alaska) write-in bid, emerged from that campaign extremely unpopular and now fares worse than his primary opponents in general-election polling against Begich. At the very least, Begich’s supporters see former state attorney general Dan Sullivan as the biggest threat in Tuesday’s three-way Republican Senate primary in the state, judging by ads run by the group Put Alaska First are any indication. The pro-Begich PAC has been hammering Sullivan, in a move that some Republicans critique as undue “meddling” in their primary. A better descriptor than “meddling” might be: How politics works.
Alaska Native voters in the Yukon-Kuskokwim region of Western Alaska gave the Yup’ik language primary ballot translations mixed reviews. All eight of the Yup’ik voters that KYUK talked with said they needed help understanding what they were voting on. Elder Jacob Nelson is originally from the coastal village of Kwigilingok. He moved to Bethel in the 1970′s and he speaks mostly Yup’ik, and very little English. He says leading up to Alaska’s primary election, he heard some information on the radio in his language about an oil tax referendum. “I only ever heard about the ballot initiative on radio, not from anyone else.”
The California Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to take up the city of Palmdale’s appeals in a voting rights lawsuit it lost last year. The high court’s decision is the latest in a series of legal setbacks the city has faced since a Superior Court judge last year ruled Palmdale was in violation of the California Voting Rights Act and ordered it to hold a new election with council members chosen by geographic district. The trial judge said the current city council, elected at large, could not hold office after July 9. The city appealed parts of the ruling but the appellate court upheld the trial judge, prompting Palmdale officials to turn to the state’s high court.
In a wondrous proposal that says more about the decline of civilization than its authors surely intended, the Los Angeles Ethics Commission has come up with a way to boost voter turnout in L.A. city elections: Make voters eligible for cash prizes. The recommendation may fail to persuade the City Council to enact such a plan, and even if it does, the particulars — two $25,000 awards? one $50,000 windfall? 500 all-you-can-eat coupons to In-N-Out Burger? — remain to be determined. The plan’s purpose is to arrest the decline of voter participation in municipal elections, which has been falling for decades and hit an all-time low of 23% in last year’s mayoral run-off. Then again, it would be almost impossible to design a system more likely to produce low turnouts than L.A.’s elections. They are held in the spring of odd-numbered years, when potential voters are just coming up for air after the saturation coverage and ad blitzes of presidential and gubernatorial contests. More fundamentally, by the terms of California’s Constitution, city officials don’t have all that much power over public affairs. Separately elected school boards run the schools, while county supervisors are in charge of health and welfare programs.
An attorney for three residents of the town of Montezuma has asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit the town filed recently naming all its voters as respondents in a legal dispute that revolves around a botched election. “The town seems to be suing itself,” stated the motion to dismiss, filed Monday in Summit County District Court. Gunnison attorney Luke Danielson cited a number of what he believes are errors in the town’s lawsuit, including basing the suit on a repealed statute, failing to challenge an election in the allotted time and failing to name the 61 respondents who could be forced to appear before a judge.
In the latest legal face-off over Florida’s invalid congressional map, lawyers wrangled in court on Wednesday over the State Legislature’s newest version. With the state’s primary days away, the judge weighed whether to approve the revised boundaries for seven districts. Lawyers for the coalition of voters’ rights groups that sued the Republican-dominated Legislature over the original boundaries argued that the new map was scarcely different from the old one. They said the judge should reject the new map because it still gave the Republican Party an advantage. “They never tried; they never considered any other alternative because the intent we established at the last trial is alive and well in the Florida Legislature,” David King, the coalition’s lawyer, said in court. He said the Republicans who drew the map tried “to do the least they could possibly do.” If Judge Terry P. Lewis approves the Legislature’s revised map, he must then decide whether to delay the coming elections for those seven districts, possibly until next year, a move that Democrats oppose. Florida’s primary is scheduled for Tuesday.
U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa said Tuesday that she would not legally challenge her Democratic primary loss to U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz. The congreswoman lost to Schatz by 1,769 votes. The outcome was delayed for nearly a week after the state Office of Elections allowed voters in two Puna precincts on Hawaii island struggling to recover from Tropical Storm Iselle to cast ballots in a makeup vote. The state also found about 800 previously uncounted absentee ballots on Maui. “A big mahalo to our volunteers and supporters for your hard work, sacrifice and most importantly, for your trust,” Hanabusa said in a statement. “We would not have gotten as close as we did without the love and Aloha you poured into our campaign. I will forever be humbled and inspired by your support.”
Mississippi: Tyner Explains Irregular Vote: McDaniel Lawyer Listed in Challenge | Jackson Free Press
Last week the Internet poked fun at state Sen. Chris McDaniel’s challenge to the election results of the U.S. Senate race due to one piece of evidence included in the amended filings: His campaign lawyer’s name was listed as an irregular vote. Political enthusiasts on both sides speculated about why his name was listed, but McDaniel lawyer Mitch Tyner has confirmed that he voted, or at least tried to vote, for the Tea Party candidate. “His banner’s on my building; of course, I voted for Chris McDaniel,” Tyner said. Comedic blogs used the seemingly hypocritical element of the challenge to mock the McDaniel campaign, but right-wing blogger Charles C. Johnson claims the addition was unfiltered data. On Wednesday he tweeted: “The entire Madison precinct is in question, and McDaniel volunteers reported the data without filtering it so it can be properly examined in the appropriate venue.” But Tyner told the Jackson Free Press that he was listed as an irregular vote because he was listed as voting twice. He said he knew his name was on the list all along.
A judge presiding over a lawsuit that challenges Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran’s victory in a Republican primary runoff said his intention is to have the case settled in time for the November general election. A hearing was held Wednesday before Special Judge Hollis McGehee, who was appointed to hear the lawsuit filed by Chris McDaniel. McGehee said it was a unique case because there has never been a statewide election challenge. McDaniel claims he lost to incumbent Thad Cochran because of thousands of fraudulent votes and voter irregularities. McDaniel wants to be declared the winner of the Republican primary runoff or have a new election. Certified results of the June 24 runoff show that Cochran, a six-term incumbent, defeated the tea party-backed McDaniel by 7,667 votes.
A New York State appeals court ruled on Wednesday that Zephyr Teachout, a law professor who is running against Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in the Democratic primary, can remain on the Sept. 9 ballot. Mr. Cuomo’s campaign, which had sought to disqualify her, said it would not appeal. The campaign had questioned whether Ms. Teachout, who teaches at Fordham Law School, met the state’s five-year residency requirement to be governor, arguing that in recent years, she had intended for Vermont, where she grew up, to be her legal residence. It cited a variety of records in which Ms. Teachout used a Vermont address. But a State Supreme Court justice rebuffed the challenge last week. Mr. Cuomo’s campaign appealed that ruling, and the appeal was argued in Brooklyn on Tuesday.
Federal MPs and senators are passing on the cost of printing election-related material to the taxpayer in a practice once described as “double dipping” by the auditor general’s office. A Guardian Australia analysis of politicians’ entitlements shows that on average claims for printing and communications materials during an election campaign are twice as high as at other times. Funds are provided separately to parties for election campaigns via the Australian Electoral Commission, so using regular entitlements for campaign material may represent a double use of taxpayers’ funds that benefits incumbent politicians.
In 2007, Halldór Auðar Svansson, 27, was working as a programmer in one of the main Icelandic banks, Kaupthing Bank. As a young professional, he was seduced by Kaupthing’s stated ambition to become one of the world’s top ten banks. Seven years later, Kaupthing Bank has collapsed and Svansson is the first Pirate to sit in a majority coalition, in the Icelandic capital city Reykjavik. I met him a few weeks after he took office. Among the consequences of the 2008 Icelandic financial crisis, two were particularly instrumental in Halldor’s decision to get involved in politics. The first one started with a joke. In 2010, the Best Party (a “joke party”) and its self-declared “anarcho-surrealist” leader, Jón Gnarr, won the Reykjavik municipality, a key position in the country’s political life. For Svansson, “2008 movements did actually change the way politics was done. The Best Party was a direct response to how people were disillusioned with the political system. It was a ‘parodic rebellion’, which turned out to be probably the best thing that could have happened to Reykjavik at that point.”
Indonesia’s highest court is widely expected on Thursday to uphold last month’s hotly contested presidential election, paving the way for Joko Widodo to take over as leader of the world’s third largest democracy. Losing candidate Prabowo Subianto has asked the Constitutional Court to overturn the election result, saying the vote was tainted by mass fraud. The verdict, expected at around 2 p.m. (0300 EST), cannot be appealed. The case is widely seen as a face-saving gesture and has been a common course of action in previous elections. The court has never overturned the result of a presidential election.
There are elections in Sweden every four years. There are 349 seats up for grabs in the national parliament (Riksdag) and registered voters will also choose the next politicians to make up 21 county councils and 290 municipal assemblies. You have to be a Swedish citizen aged 18 or over to vote in national elections. But if you’re from the EU, Iceland or Norway and you’re registered as living in Sweden, then you can have a say in municipal and county council elections. People from outside Europe who have been in Sweden for more than three years may also be allowed to vote locally. In total around seven million people are eligible to go to the polls.
A coterie of powerful Afghan government ministers and officials with strong ties to the security forces are threatening to seize power if an election impasse that has paralyzed the country is not resolved soon. Though it is unusual to telegraph plans for what could amount to a coup — though no one is calling it that — the officials all stressed that they hoped the mere threat of forming an interim government would persuade the country’s rival presidential candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani, to make the compromises needed to end the crisis. After weeks of quietly discussing the prospect of imposing a temporary government, officials within the Karzai government said the best way out of a crisis that had emboldened the Taliban, weakened an already struggling economy and left many here deeply pessimistic about the country’s democratic future, might well be some form of interim government, most likely run by a committee.
Australia: Australian businesses get to vote: Sydney conservatives want it to be required by law. | Slate
In the United States, if the idea of letting corporations vote in elections gets talked about at all, it’s usually as the absurd logical end point of treating companies like people. Not so in Australia. In many cities across the country, business owners and landlords have long enjoyed the right to participate in local elections, even if they live out of town. (Imagine if a pizza parlor owner from New Jersey could vote in the New York City mayor’s race because he had a location in Manhattan, and you’ve got the picture.) This month, an intriguing political fight has been brewing over whether businesses in Sydney should be required to vote in municipal elections. At the moment, conservatives are pushing a controversial bill that would compel business owners and landlords to cast ballots in city council and mayoral races—a move widely viewed as an attempt to oust the current mayor, Clover Moore, a popular progressive. The controversy, to be clear, isn’t over whether businesses should still get the vote. It’s just about whether they should be forced to vote.
Indonesia’s top court on Thursday rejected an appeal by the losing candidate in last month’s presidential election over alleged voting irregularities, removing any uncertainty around the victory of Jakarta Gov. Joko Widodo. Prabowo Subianto, a former general with links to the regime of ex-dictator Suharto, had alleged massive fraud in the July 9 polls and filed a complaint in the Constitutional Court. He presented evidence and witness testimony for his claim, but all nine judges at the court ruled it was groundless. “The ruling is final and binding, but does not necessarily reflect truth or justice,” Tantowi Yahya, a spokesman for a coalition of political parties supporting Subianto, told a news conference. The verdict means that Widodo, a former furniture exporter who stands out among Indonesia’s political elite for his humble upbringing and lifestyle, can press ahead with preparing to take over the government of the world’s fourth most populous nation, a regional economic powerhouse.
The final element of uncertainty around Joko Widodo’s election to Indonesia’s presidency is set to clear later Thursday, freeing him to focus on an economy in dire need of reinvention. The country’s Constitutional Court is widely expected to strike down a challenge by Prabowo Subianto, a former army general who ran against Mr. Widodo in July elections and who had alleged voting irregularities. Its decision cannot be appealed. Since hearings to Mr. Subianto’s challenge began earlier this month, his supporters have held rallies in front of the court. Ahead of Thursday’s decision, police fired tear gas and used water cannons on a crowd of thousands of protesters in downtown Jakarta in an attempt to keep them away from the court.