For months, White House hopefuls from both parties have been raising millions in unlimited contributions at upscale fund-raisers from Manhattan to Palm Springs, Calif. — all without officially declaring themselves candidates and becoming subject to federal caps on contributions. Only a few of some 20 would-be presidential candidates have even bothered to set up the exploratory committees that were once a time-tested way to declare interest in the White House — and that set off their own fund-raising restrictions. But two leading campaign finance groups charged on Tuesday that the spread of these unofficial campaigns in recent months was not only deceptive, but also illegal.
Arizona Republican legislators advanced several bills Monday that would restore key provisions of a sweeping election law that was repealed last year, saying they want to root out fraud and clarify existing state regulations. The proposals aim to allow donors to contribute more money to candidates, make it easier for judges to throw out signatures for technical errors on ballot measures and expand campaign signature requirements. Critics, including Democratic legislative leaders, say the efforts aim to make voting more difficult.
A Senate committee on Monday advanced a bill that would impose new restrictions on the petition process for ballot initiatives. The Senate State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee gave a “do pass” recommendation to Senate Bill 860 by Sen. Jimmy Hickey, R-Texarkana. Under the bill, the sponsor of a statewide initiative or referendum would be required to obtain background checks of all paid canvassers, at the sponsor’s expense, and register the results with the Arkansas State Police. Each paid canvasser also would have to sign a statement swearing that he or she has never been convicted of a felony, a violation of an election law, fraud, forgery or identity theft.
A special election to replace Aaron Schock in Congress will be later in the summer than expected after the federal government stepped in to ensure military voters have a chance to cast ballots. In action Tuesday, Gov. Bruce Rauner set the dates for the 18th Congressional District primary for June 8, but he acknowledged that it could be late June or early July once negotiations with the U.S. Department of Justice conclude. The Republican governor set the general election for the post for July 24 but said it could be late August before balloting actually occurs.
Lawmakers are reviewing four Democrat-sponsored bills that would make voting easier and add more opportunities to register. Members of the Senate Legislative Operations and Elections Committee held a hearing Monday for measures including SB237, a bill sponsored by Sen. Pat Spearman that would allow people to register to vote and cast a ballot on Election Day. She’s also sponsoring SB203, which would allow people to vote at central polling centers in their home county on Election Day rather than only their designated neighborhood polling place. The measure also allows teens as young as 16 to pre-register to vote, and calls for the secretary of state to create a mobile app that could be used to register.
New York: 2 top local officials call for state attorney general to investigate Bloomingburg voting | Times Herald-Record
Top officials of the Town of Mamakating and Village of Bloomingburg have called on state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to investigate what the officials call systemic examples of voter fraud in Bloomingburg over the past two years. In calling for an independent investigation in a joint statement, Mamakating Supervisor Bill Herrmann and Bloomingburg Mayor Frank Gerardi harshly criticized Sullivan County District Attorney James Farrell for neglecting to conduct his own investigation.
Pennsylvania’s decision to continue to keep the press from entering polling stations draws an arbitrary line and leaves room for foul play by ensuring that the voting process is not as transparent as possible. The 2012 election marked the first time that the Commonwealth would attempt to enforce its voter identification law. The law required all eligible voters to present an authorized government ID at the polls. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporters’ wanted to gain access to the polling stations to observe the ID law, but were prevented from doing so due to a section of the Pennsylvania Election Code. The code stated that:
“[a]ll persons, except election officers, clerks, machine inspectors, overseers, watchers, persons in the course of voting, persons lawfully giving assistance to voters, and peace and police officers, when permitted by the provisions of this act, must remain at least ten (10) feet distant from the polling place during the progress of the voting.”
With elections rapidly approaching, the Guinean opposition is putting the pedal to the metal in its campaigns for the country’s communal and presidential contests. The last presidential elections in 2010 resulted in a victory for Alpha Condé, who won 52.5 percent of the vote in the second round of the election against former Prime Minister Cellou Dalein Diallo.
Nigerian election winner Muhammadu Buhari congratulated outgoing president Goodluck Jonathan for peacefully relinquishing power on Wednesday, a day after becoming the first Nigerian politician to unseat a sitting leader at the ballot box. In an unprecedented step, Jonathan phoned Buhari to concede defeat and issued a statement urging his supporters to accept the result, a signal of deepening democracy in Africa’s most populous nation that few had expected. “President Jonathan was a worthy opponent and I extend the hand of fellowship to him,” Buhari told journalists and supporters to loud applause, wearing a black cap and kaftan.
Boko Haram was unable to disrupt elections in Nigeria but its allegiance to Islamic State shows the group has an agenda that reaches well beyond Africa’s most populous country, a UN envoy said Monday. Mohammad ibn Chambas, the UN envoy for West Africa, told the Security Council that while Boko Haram fighters staged attacks on election day in Bauchi state, northeast Nigeria, “they didn’t have an impact on the voting process. Boko Haram was unable to disrupt the electoral process,” he told the 15-member council.