Voting Blogs: The Presidential Commission on Election Administration — A New Model for Reform | Heather Gerken/Election Law Blog

Reform is always hard. Election reform is even harder, on average. There are two unusual obstacles that are always at play for election reform. To begin, you don’t just have to get by the legislators beholden to interest groups; you have to get by the legislators’ own interests. The foxes are guarding this particular henhouse. That means that those who know the most about reform and care the most about it are often the legislators who oppose it.  Second, election reform is always second-order reform because it focuses on process rather than substance. I firmly believe that process shapes substance, but election reform is still one step removed from bread-and-butter issues like healthcare and jobs. That makes organizing harder. In the face of these political tides running against reform, note how differently the President’s Commission looks than most reform commissions of the past.

Alaska: Democrat and independent challengers to Gov. Sean Parnell negotiate merging campaigns | Associated Press

The two challengers to Gov. Sean Parnell are discussing uniting their campaigns, representatives of the candidates said Monday. Democrat Byron Mallott and independent candidate Bill Walker were in their second day of discussions Monday about whether they would run as a bipartisan or non-partisan ticket, Mallott spokeswoman Laury Scandling said in an email to The Associated Press. A formal statement was expected by noon Tuesday, said Scandling, who added that she plans to leave the campaign at the same time. Any changes to the ballot have to be made by Tuesday.

Idaho: Ada County wrongly strips more than 750 voter registrations | KBOI

Hundreds of people in Ada County have been stripped of their voter registration when they shouldn’t have been. It all came to light when KBOI’s Truth Squad received a call from a woman in Eagle, saying her husband received a letter that said his voter registration was taken away. When the Truth Squad began making calls, Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa, said it alerted him to the magnitude of the problem countywide. Charmaine Miller, the Eagle resident, read the letter her husband received in the mail. “Dear David…you are currently registered in Arizona. Based on this information, we have canceled your registration in Ada County, Idaho,” she said. “We’ve never been in Arizona,” Miller told KBOI.

Louisiana: Mary Landrieu’s residency isn’t up to courts, it’s up to Congress | Derek T. Muller/Times-Picayune

News reports recently surfaced revealing that U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu is registered to vote at her parents’ home in New Orleans, which she also lists as her primary residence. But she also has a home in the District of Columbia and spends a substantial amount of time there. Political opponents question whether she is an inhabitant of Louisiana and have urged elected officials to investigate her qualifications. If she isn’t an inhabitant, after all, she fails to meet the Constitution’s qualifications for members of the United States Senate. But the dispute about whether she is an inhabitant is not a question for state election officials or judges to decide ahead of an election. It’s a question for the voters on Election Day, and for Congress after the election. The Constitution requires that a senator must, “when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.” The words “when elected” are important. It doesn’t require that a candidate be an inhabitant for months or years before an election. It only requires someone be an inhabitant of the state on Election Day.

Mississippi: Chris McDaniel pushes back announcement on status of election lawsuit until Wednesday | Associated Press

Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel will take at least one extra day to decide whether to try to revive his lawsuit that challenged his Republican primary loss to six-term Sen. Thad Cochran. McDaniel campaign spokesman Noel Fritsch said Monday that McDaniel will take until Wednesday to decide whether to ask the Mississippi Supreme Court to overturn the lawsuit’s dismissal. McDaniel’s camp originally said he would announce a decision Tuesday. Judge Hollis McGehee dismissed the lawsuit Friday, saying McDaniel waited too long to file it.

New Mexico: New voting machines set for Nov. 4 election | Albuquerque Journal News

New Mexico voters in the Nov. 4 general election will cast ballots using new voting machines, which have cost the state nearly $12 million over the past two years to purchase and set up. Secretary of State Dianna Duran’s chief of staff Ken Ortiz said county clerks in all 33 counties have received thorough training on the machines in recent months. “Our office is confident that there is an adequate plan in place for election night,” Ortiz told the Journal in an email. A Legislative Finance Committee report released earlier this month raised questions about relying on the machines’ Colorado-based vendor for oversight and troubleshooting.

Texas: Two Sides Cite Discrimination as Battle on Texas Voting Law Heads to Court | New York Times

Minority groups and Democrats in Texas have loudly opposed a state law requiring voters to show government-issued photo identification before casting their ballots. But one of the law’s biggest critics can be found not in Texas but in Washington — Eric H. Holder Jr., the United States attorney general. On Tuesday, in a federal courtroom in Corpus Christi, Tex., Justice Department lawyers will try to persuade a judge to strike down the voter ID law, the latest skirmish in a three-year legal battle over whether the law passed by the Republican-led Legislature in 2011 discriminates against blacks and Hispanics. If Texas loses the trial — which opens Tuesday and will last about two weeks — it could again be required to seek federal approval before making changes to its voting procedures, a level of oversight it was freed from by the United States Supreme Court.

Wisconsin: New Documents Undermine Walker Statements on Criminal Probe | PR Watch

Despite claims that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is not a “target” in the state’s criminal campaign finance probe, newly-released documents demonstrate that prosecutors are indeed looking at potentially criminal activity by the first-term governor and 2016 presidential hopeful.  The latest round of documents released in Wisconsin’s “John Doe” investigation shine new light on the stalled inquiry into alleged illegal coordination between Walker’s campaign and outside political groups like Wisconsin Club for Growth (WiCFG) during the 2011-2012 recall elections. The documents show that Walker made personal appeals to out-of-state billionaires and millionaires to raise funds for WiCFG — which spent $9.1 million on the recalls and acted as a “hub” for funnelling millions more to other groups — and evidence indicates that his campaign also worked with WiCFG on how those funds were spent

Editorials: Can Afghanistan Survive Its Presidential Election? | Eurasia Review

Nearly thirteen years since the United States and its allies undertook one of the largest efforts at nation building in recent history, prospects for Afghanistan’s future peace and prosperity are facing critical threats. The Taliban and affiliated insurgent groups continue to destabilize much of the countryside. Uncertainty as to prospects of a negotiated peace deters capital investment and propels the flight of the country’s best and brightest. Following the second round of presidential elections in June, the equitable and constitutional transfer of executive power from President Hamid Karzai to his successor is in a state of jeopardy. In May this year, President Barak Obama announced a near total drawdown of US troops in Afghanistan by the end of 2016. At the moment, the fate of the Afghan people is most uncertain. Yet as dispiriting as this state of affairs is, Afghanistan is not yet lost. While its insurgency is persistent, the Taliban lack the means and popular support to retake control of the state. Warlords-cum-politicians recognize that they have more to lose by taking guns to the hills than by brokering negotiated deals. Its increasingly educated and globally aware youth comprise nearly two-thirds of its population. And given its mineral resources and position as a geographic bridge for regional trade and energy transit, Afghanistan is not without economic opportunities.

Canada: Progressive Conservatives scramble to resolve voting concerns as campaigns wind down | Calgary Herald

With just days to go before Progressive Conservatives cast their ballots for a new leader, the three candidates are crossing their fingers that problems with memberships will be resolved and trouble with a new electronic voting system will be avoided. Each of the leadership contenders acknowledge that their campaigns have seen numerous submitted memberships rejected by the party because they don’t match up exactly with the Elections Alberta voter’s list. Calgary-Hays MLA Ric McIver said his campaign has been busy dealing with membership rejections, working hard to “clean them up, one file at a time.” “It’s an issue for us. Absolutely. Large numbers, yes,” McIver said.

China: Democracy Backers in Hong Kong Face Tough Choices | New York Times

For more than a year, Democrats in Hong Kong have threatened to disrupt Asia’s most important financial center with a sit-in protest if the central government in Beijing put onerous restrictions on a voting plan here. China’s Communist Party-controlled legislature did just that on Sunday, so now the democracy movement must decide how to carry out its threat, even while the defeat of its immediate demand seemed certain. Students and organizers will hold meetings in coming days to map out a plan of protracted protests, including student strikes, legislative obstruction and a sit-in in the city’s Central financial district, the tactic that gave name to the main grass-roots opposition group, Occupy Central. They said they expected to be arrested for blocking major thoroughfares in the heart of Hong Kong.

China: Disruptive Hong Kong protests loom after China rules out democracy | Reuters

Hong Kong police used pepper spray to disperse pro-democracy activists on Monday as the Asian financial centre braces for a wave of disruptive protests against China’s decision to rule out full democracy. China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee set the stage for a political showdown on Sunday when it rejected democrats’ demands for the right to freely choose Hong Kong’s next leader in 2017, leading scores of protesters to take to the streets. Scuffles broke out on Monday during a tense stand-off at the entrance to a centre where a senior Chinese official was explaining Beijing’s decision, prompting police to use pepper spray amid chaotic scenes inside and outside the venue.

Egypt: Calls to delay parliamentary polls divide political figures | Ahram Online

A lawsuit asking to delay Egypt’s upcoming parliamentary elections has left the country’s political forces taken aback amid a scramble to form alliances before the expected polls. The suit – filed by former independent MP and businessman Hamdy El-Fakharany with Cairo’s Administrative Justice Court – argues that the polls, scheduled for later this year, must be delayed for a year or even more. “This one year delay is necessary until security forces are strong enough to safeguard candidates and election campaigns against any possible terrorist attacks,” said El-Fakharany’s lawsuit, adding that “the group of the Muslim Brotherhood … could exploit the polls to attack its arch rivals – including the candidates of political secular forces, non-Islamist independents and even the ultraconservative Nour Party – with the objective of dragging the country into a Syrian-style civil war.” In an interview with a private television channel last week, El-Fakharany said that “the number of candidates in the coming parliamentary polls could surge to as high as 60,000 and in which case the Muslim Brotherhood could exploit election campaigns and tours to explode bombs, mount acts of terrorism and sabotage and kill its political opponents.”

Philippines: Comelec elects to use PCOS, other machines in 2016 | Inquirer

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has decided to use another voting technology aside from the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines in 2016, an agency official told reporters on Monday. The official, who declined to be identified for lack of authority to speak, said the commission en banc adopted the recommendation of the Comelec Advisory Council (CAC) to use “multiple or mixed technologies” in the elections to accommodate more voters. “In principle, it has been decided to use mixed technologies. It is not a total adoption but we are basically following the CAC recommendation, although there will be some modifications,” the source said.

United Kingdom: Tories pledge to give vote back to all expats | Telegraph

The Conservatives have pledged to abolish the “15 year rule” that prevents millions of British expats from being able to vote – if the party wins the next general election. The manifesto commitment is designed to protect the rights of citizens overseas who have “contributed to Britain all their lives” according to a Tory spokesman. He said that if the party wins power next May, it will remove the cap that prevents Britons from voting in UK elections after they have been out of the country for 15 years and allow them the vote for life. “Millions of British citizens live and work across the globe. Many have worked hard, contributed to Britain all their lives, and have close family living in Britain,” said the spokesman.

United Kingdom: Scottish independence: Deadline looms for vote registration | BBC

Both independence referendum campaigns have urged people to register to vote if they have not already done so. Residents have until midnight on Tuesday to ensure they can take part. Voter registration in Scotland has already reached record levels, with more than 4.1 million people listed on the electoral roll. On 18 September, voters in Scotland will be asked to vote on the question: Should Scotland be an independent country? Labour’s Shadow Scottish Secretary Margaret Curran MP said: “There are just 17 days to go until Scots vote in the independence referendum, and many people are already voting by post.