National: The Mobile Election: How smartphones will change the 2016 presidential race | Politico

Four years ago today, President Barack Obama was gearing up to announce his reelection campaign, Mitt Romney was leading Newt Gingrich in the polls, and roughly one out of every three American adults owned a smartphone. You read that right: In the spring of 2011, just 35 percent of American adults owned a smartphone, according to Pew Research. The Internet and social media may have been changing politics in myriad ways, but news consumption was mostly a sedentary experience. Today, as Hillary Clinton prepares for the formal launch of her campaign, and as Jeb Bush and Scott Walker are neck and neck in the polls, roughly two out of every three American adults, or 64 percent, own a smartphone, according to a new report from Pew. The new mobile reality is changing the state of news and advertising, and it will also change the dynamic of American politics — especially during the 2016 campaign season, journalists and political operatives said.

Connecticut: Compromise election overhaul bill clears Connecticut panel | Associated Press

A newly crafted compromise aimed at professionalizing Connecticut’s election system after a spate of polling mishaps cleared a legislative hurdle Monday. While the revamped bill would still retain the current system of 339 locally elected, partisan registrars of voters, it now requires a new certification program for registrars and a process for investigating and possibly removing those who behave negligently. The proposed legislation also enables the Secretary of the State to temporarily remove a registrar for failing to obtain the newly required certification.

North Dakota: Senate approves voter registration study | INFORUM

A bill requiring a study of voter registration in North Dakota will soon be on its way to Gov. Jack Dalrymple for his signature. The Senate voted 28-19 Monday to approve House Bill 1302, which requires legislative management to study policies to implement a system of voter registration, including provisions necessary to allow same-day voter registration. North Dakota is the only state without voter registration. But Rep. Corey Mock, D-Grand Forks, who offered the study as an amendment to his original bill that sought to reverse changes made to the state’s voter identification law in 2013, said he believes the state has created a de facto voter registration system through its central voter file.

Ohio: Kasich’s veto removes voting target for out-of-state college students | The Columbus Dispatch

In a rebuke of fellow Republicans, Gov. John Kasich used his line-item veto authority today to kill language that would have targeted out-of-state college students who register to vote in Ohio to quickly obtain in-state licenses and vehicle registrations. The governor let stand a new portion of the law requiring new Ohio residents to get an updated license and registration within 30 days. But he stripped out the measure linking that provision with voting registration. The Dispatch reported today that state officials could not say how the voting requirement would have been enforced. Democrats and voting-rights activists had lobbied the governor’s office to veto the measure, contending it would discourage students from voting if they had to obtain Ohio documentation within 30 days of registering to vote.

Vermont: Senate passes same-day voter registration, rejects photo ID | VTDigger

The Vermont Senate rejected a last-ditch effort Wednesday to require photo identification at the polls as part of a same-day voter registration bill. State senators amended an original version of the Election Day voter registration bill last week and delayed implementation of S.29 until 2017 — after the next presidential election. Sen. Dustin Degree, R-Franklin, last week attempted to delay S.29 until the Secretary of State’s Office could prove in writing that all polling places had Internet connections in order to access the secretary’s online voter checklist. Degree abandoned that amendment Tuesday.

Virginia: Report cites security issues with some AVS WinVote voting machines | Associated Press

An investigation into voting irregularities during the November general election has raised serious security concerns about equipment used in about one-fifth of Virginia’s precincts, a new report says. The report issued late Wednesday says the state Board of Elections should consider decertifying the WinVote touchscreen system and barring its use in future elections. The board is expected to conduct a public hearing on this and other options in the next few days. Link: Full DOE report on Virginia voting equipment

National: Menendez indictment marks first big corruption case involving a super PAC | The Washington Post

The federal bribery case against Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey marks the first time large-scale super PAC donations have figured prominently as evidence of a political corruption scheme, renewing questions about how truly independently such groups operate. The 22-count indictment against Menendez and wealthy Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen hinges in part on $600,000 that Melgen gave to the Senate Majority PAC — a Democratic super PAC — earmarked to support the senator’s 2012 reelection. Senate Majority PAC officials have not been accused of any wrongdoing. But the Justice Department argued in the court filing that the donations were among the things of value Melgen offered Menendez so the senator would use his position to help get the donor’s girlfriends visas to enter the country and to influence government officials to help Melgen’s businesses.

National: Robert Menendez Indictment Points to Corrupting Potential of Super PACs | New York Times

It seemed like a typical corruption case: A Florida doctor, seeking official favors with a United States senator, plies him with gifts while raising all the money he can for the senator’s campaign, and for his fellow senators and party. But the searing 68-page indictment of Senator Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, filed this week by the Justice Department, does more than pull back the curtain on a politically and personally lucrative relationship between the senator and the doctor, Salomon E. Melgen. It is also the first significant campaign corruption case evolving out of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which opened up new channels for the wealthy to pour money into campaigns even as it narrowed the constitutional definition of political corruption and made it harder for prosecutors to prove bribery.

Arizona: Thousands of Arizona Voting Ballots Going Uncounted Every Election, Report Says | Phoenix New Times

Thousands upon thousands of votes aren’t counted every election year in Arizona, according to a new report. The Arizona Advocacy Network, which is run by a onetime Democratic politician, released a report detailing how Arizona’s election laws affect voter turnout, and it doesn’t look good — through public records and voter data, the organization found that more than 100,000 votes haven’t been counted over the last 10 years. “When it comes to disenfranchising eligible voters, Arizona is, unfortunately, a national leader,” the report states. “These discarded votes were not the result of fraud, which is so extremely rare it borders on nonexistent. These were eligible voters – sometimes confused, sometimes misinformed or merely forgetful, sometimes willfully targeted because they share a common last name.” For example, there were more than 121,000 provisional ballots rejected from 2006 to 2014.

Arkansas: Photo ID bill for absentee voters advances in state House | The Anniston Star

A bill to require absentee voters to show photo ID before getting absentee ballots won approval from the House Constitutions and Elections Committee on Wednesday, advancing to the full House for a vote. “We’re just trying to make sure there isn’t any room for fraud,” said Rep. Reed Ingram, R-Montgomery, who sponsored the bill. Alabama passed one of the country’s strictest voter ID laws in 2011, requiring voters to show photo ID when they show up at the polls. Under that law, absentee voters must also provide a copy of their photo ID when they send their vote in to be counted.

Connecticut: Compromise election overhaul bill clears panel | The Bristol Press

A newly crafted compromise aimed at professionalizing Connecticut’s election system after a spate of polling mishaps cleared a legislative hurdle Monday. While the revamped bill would still retain the current system of 339 locally elected, partisan registrars of voters, it now requires a new certification program for registrars and a process for investigating and possibly removing those who behave negligently. The proposed legislation also enables the Secretary of the State to temporarily remove a registrar for failing to obtain the newly required certification.

Florida: Gov. Scott’s criticism of online voter registration angers counties | Tampa Bay Times

Gov. Rick Scott’s administration is quietly trying to scuttle legislation that would allow people to register to vote online in Florida, a stance that county election supervisors call “perplexing,” “inaccurate” and “erroneous.” No one from Scott’s administration has publicly opposed the idea. The administration’s behind-the-scenes opposition has opened a new rift between Scott’s office and county supervisors and stirred new speculation that the Republican governor may not want to expand the pool of voters as he explores a possible U.S. Senate bid in 2018. Florida would become the 25th state with an online voter registration program under a bill (SB 228) sponsored by Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth. The idea has broad bipartisan support as well as the backing of AARP, League of Women Voters and Disability Rights of Florida, and it unanimously passed a Senate committee Thursday.

Illinois: Rauner remaking election board | Quad City Times

Gov. Bruce Rauner replaced a longtime state election regulator Wednesday. In paperwork filed with the Illinois Secretary of State, the Republican governor announced the end of former Bloomington Mayor Jesse Smart’s 14-year tenure on the Illinois State Board of Elections. Smart, who served as mayor of Bloomington from 1985 to 1997, is being replaced by Madison County Republican Party Chairman Andy Carruthers of Edwardsville.

Nevada: 2 Nevada voter ID measures move with no recommendations | Las Vegas Review-Journal

Two voter ID measures, with one amended in its entirety to encompass a proposal from the 2013 session that would have created electronic poll books with voter photos, moved out of the Assembly Legislative Operations and Elections Committee on Thursday without a recommendation. Both Assembly Bill 253 by Assemblyman Lynn Stewart, R-Henderson, and Assembly Bill 266 by Assemblywoman Jill Dickman, R-Sparks, will be re-referred to the Assembly Ways and Means Committee because of the fiscal notes attached to the measures.

Nevada: Bill would do away with Nevada’s presidential caucus system | Las Vegas Review-Journal

Nevada would scrap its caucus system for a presidential preference primary under a bill considered Wednesday by a Senate committee. Another bill would open Nevada primaries in partisan races to all candidates, with the top two winners advancing to the general election. Both were heard Wednesday by the Senate Committee on Legislative Operations and Elections. The committee took no action on either bill. Senate Bill 421 presented by state Sen. James Settelmeyer, R-Minden, would replace Nevada’s presidential caucus system with a presidential preference election early in presidential election years. And it would move Nevada’s statewide primary election from June to February.

New York: Non-citizens in New York City could soon be given the right to vote | The Guardian

New York City is routinely described as a “global hub”, a place so thoroughly penetrated by international capital and migration that it seems at once within and without the United States. It is the centre of American commerce and media, but its politics, demographics and worldly outlook make the Big Apple an outlier. New York may be about to become even more distinct. The left-leaning New York City council is currently drafting legislation that would allow all legal residents, regardless of citizenship, the right to vote in city elections. If the measure passes into law, it would mark a major victory for a voting rights campaign that seeks to enfranchise non-citizen voters in local elections across the country. A few towns already permit non-citizen residents to vote locally, but New York City would be by far the largest jurisdiction to do so.

Voting Blogs: All in the Family: New Jersey Closed Primaries Challenged | State of Elections

This past August the United States District Court in New Jersey dismissed a complaint brought by voters and independent interest groups to open state primaries and prevent the state from funding closed primaries. The coalition, formed by, is appealing to the Third Circuit to end state funded primaries for the two major parties. Their complaint alleges that the New Jersey statute impermissibly funds closed primaries to the detriment of unaffiliated candidates and voters generally. is a coalition of various groups that believe the two party system has been unfairly supported by the states and that the taxpayer funds supporting the parties creates an unfair advantage to the detriment of independent candidates. This is their first lawsuit as a coalition and it seems that they may have hit a major roadblock.

Ohio: Kasich vetoes transportation budget language that critics said would deter voting | Cleveland Plain Dealer

Gov. John Kasich on Wednesday vetoed some provisions tucked into the transportation budget bill that critics had predicted would deter out-of-state college students from voting in Ohio. But the governor let stand a 30-day time limit by which anyone who declares Ohio residency must re-register their cars and get a new driver’s license. A provision that listed registering to vote among several acts of declaring residency in the state had triggered criticism. Under the vetoed language, failure to re-register an out-of-state car and get a new driver’s license would have resulted in loss of all driving privileges in Ohio and open the driver to a minor misdemeanor charge and a fine.

Nigeria: How new technology drove Buhari’s campaign | The News

Technology played a decisive role in helping Muhammadu Buhari become the first Nigerian to oust a sitting president at the ballot box, from social media campaigning to biometric machines preventing the widespread rigging that marred past polls. Three decades after seizing power in a military coup, part of the 72-year-old former general’s appeal to the electorate in Africa’s biggest economy lay in his successful rebranding as a man who embraced democracy. A good deal of that rebranding happened online, where campaigning from smartphones can build momentum at low cost.

Tanzania: Referendum on Constitution Delayed | VoA News

Tanzania has postponed a referendum on a new constitution after delays in registering voters, the electoral body said Thursday. The postponement heightened tensions over the charter, which the main opposition parties have rejected. The delay also could complicate presidential and parliamentary elections due to be held in October. The new constitution would replace one passed in 1977, when the state was under one-party rule. The opposition said it was approved last year without a quorum by an assembly dominated by President Jakaya Kikwete’s Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party, which has been in power since Tanzania’s independence from Britain in 1961.

United Kingdom: Expat standing in general election to highlight vote ban injustice | Telegraph

James Jackson, 71, does not have the right to vote in the UK, having become a victim of the rule preventing Britons from voting at home once they’ve been out of the country for 15 years. However, nothing in law stops him standing as a Parliamentary candidate in the general election, so he plans to throw his hat in the ring as a candidate for the safe Tory seat of Uxbridge and South Ruislip. In an interview with the getwestlondon news website, Mr Jackson said: “This Kafkaesque situation means that, theoretically, I could win a parliamentary seat and take my place in the House of Commons, despite living abroad and not having a vote.” The website reported that Mr Jackson formerly lived in Colwyn Bay, North Wales, working as treasurer of the former Colwyn Borough Council. He left the UK in 1996 to work as an internal auditor/treasurer for the Falkland Islands government and later retired to live in Narbonne, southern France.

United Kingdom: E-voting is increasingly on the cards, but reformers remain sceptical | Computer Business Review

As the short campaign of the this year’s general election begins apace, technologists and electoral reformers are wondering whether this will be the last time the country goes to the polls without access to some form of online voting. Back in January the House of Commons speaker John Bercow again raised the possibility that the next election, expected in 2020 now that parliament has a five-year fixed term, could be the first in which citizens can vote online. Experiments in other countries have led some to question the wisdom of such a move. Having worked as an election official in the 2008 US presidential election, Paco Hope, principal consultant at software security firm Cigital, warns that fraud could rise if the technology is implemented. “I’m not sure that you can secure it,” he says, arguing that the voting process could be hijacked by hackers. “We can’t make websites that are resistant to the type of attacks that target an election.”