You already hate tax season, and as you move wearily through the cold calculations of the 1040 form, you come across a familiar checkbox. It’s the one that requests permission to send $3 to the “presidential election campaign,” delivering cash to a bunch of politicians that you’re sure are awash in money anyway. “What’s the point?” you might ask yourself. To fund more polarizing and negative campaign ads? You happily refuse to check the box. By doing so, you joined 94 percent of Americans who also declined to make that checkmark. The share of tax forms with a checked box has been declining steadily for decades.
On November 24, 2014 widely reported stories told of Sony Pictures being hacked, resulting in the loss of an incredible amount of intellectual property. Then last month, a massive cyberattack hacked Anthem Blue Cross, leading to a breach of over 11 million customers’ personal information. Now, with the end of the session less than four weeks away, legislators in Colorado—both Democrat and Republican—are working on a bill that could expand the use of internet voting, claiming that it is safe and secure. The bill, known as House Bill 15-1130, would mark the third year in a row that the legislature has tried to overhaul elections in Colorado. Each bill has been worse than the last. In the 2013 session, the Democrat-controlled legislature passed a bill that contained mandatory all mail-in ballots, same day voter registration and reduced residency requirements for any state-wide election. In 2014, they extended these bad ideas to local elections.
The Connecticut GOP’s Iowa caucus experiment for 2016 may be a pipe dream. A spokesman for the state’s top election official said Thursday that Republicans can’t unilaterally change from a presidential primary to a caucus, as some in the state’s minority party have been pushing to gain relevance nationally. “So talking to our attorneys, the state law would have to be changed because the law does prescribe a primary for the presidential preference for the parties,” said Av Harris, an aide to Secretary of the State Denise Merrill. “The way it’s written in Connecticut, it says the party shall hold a primary. It doesn’t give the party the option.”
Today, voting rights in America – and therefore, our civil rights – stand at a critical crossroads. As we await reauthorization by Congress of the Voting Rights Act, state legislatures across the country have rolled back critical voting rights provisions. Sadly, too many of today’s battles elicit a sense of déjà vu, harkening back to Civil Rights struggles that many of us believed that our nation had fought and moved past. In this troubling climate, I am proud to say Delaware is a bright spot: State Sen. Margaret Rose Henry is planning to introduce a new voting rights bill that will make it easier for all Delawareans to participate in our great democracy.
The Chicago Board of Elections has dismissed claims of pre-marked ballots at the polls after a Hyde Park voter said he received one for Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Sam Dreessen, who canvassed for Chuy Garcia and voted for him at Kozminski Elementary School, 936 E. 54th St., reported the incident on Facebook Tuesday morning. “I was really surprised, because I have been voting in Chicago since 2006 and I’ve never had an experience like that,” said Dreessen, whose post was covered in In These Times magazine and as of Wednesday afternoon had been shared more than 1,000 times.
When voters go to the polls on May 5, Portage City Councilman Ted Uzelac won’t be on the ballot. That’s because a new state law forced him to make a choice – keep his job as a police officer for the city or seek a third term in office. The law, which will take full effect in January, bans an elected official from working for the government he or she represents. “The state put me in a spot where I had to pick my family or my desire to run again,” said Uzelac, a Republican.
Amid a national movement to make it easier for ex-felons to vote, Maryland could be next to take a step forward on the issue. A bill that would allow most ex-felons to vote after being released from prison passed both houses Thursday and went to the desk of Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican. Currently, ex-felons must complete parole and probation before getting their voting rights back. “The governor is still reviewing that legislation and hasn’t taken a position yet,” Erin Montgomery, a Hogan spokeswoman, told msnbc. She said the governor is expected to make a decision in the next few days. If signed into law, the bill would restore voting rights for an estimated 40,000 people.
House Majority Leader Val Hoyle wants to figure out how to give the growing number of non-affiliated voters a voice in the state’s partisan primaries. The Eugene Democrat said it’s an issue that is gaining urgency. The percentage of voters who don’t register by party has more than doubled since 1990, with 24.5 percent now registered as non-affiliated. In addition, under Oregon’s new motor voter law – which automatically registers people using driver’s license data – the number of unaffiliated voters is expected to rapidly climb in the next several years.
Utah: Federal judge deals Utah Republican Party a blow in its challenge of new election law | The Salt Lake Tribune
A federal judge on Friday declined the Utah Republican Party’s request to block the state’s new method for nominating political candidates, finding that the law doesn’t unfairly infringe on the party’s rights. “At this point there will be no injunction against the enforcement of Senate Bill 54,” U.S. District Judge David Nuffer ruled from the bench after hearing nearly five hours of argument, most of it from the attorney representing the Utah GOP. Later, Nuffer said, the party may be able to show it might be harmed by the law, but now there are paths it could take where it wouldn’t be burdened and it would be premature to block the law. The trial on the party’s legal challenge will still go forward and the judge has said he hopes to have the case resolved early next year.
Virginia: Faced with WINVote voting machine concerns, Botetourt plans to count votes by hand | Roanoke Times: Virginia
In response to concerns about glitches with some voting machines in Virginia, election officials in Botetourt County will be counting votes by hand for the June 9 Republican primary. The decision to go old-school, made Friday by the county’s electoral board, comes amid growing concerns about WinVote touch-screen voting machines, which are used in about 20 percent of Virginia’s precincts, including those in Botetourt. A vote to decertify the machines statewide could be taken as early as next week at a Virginia Board of Elections meeting in Richmond. In anticipation of not being able to use the WinVote machines for the June primary, the electoral board accepted a recommendation from Registrar Phyllis Booze: Borrow three voting machines from a vendor with whom the county is negotiating the purchase of all the equipment that it will need for the November elections.
Nigeria: Muhammadu Buhari’s Party Retains Lagos Control, Amid Election Violence And Low Voter Turnout | International Business Times
Nigerian president-elect Muhammadu Buhari’s political party retained the Lagos state governorship, the country’s electoral commission said Sunday. Amid violence that marred weekend polling, Buhari’s All Progressives Congress consolidated the new president’s power by gaining control of the commercial capital, Reuters reported. The results mean it will be the first time since the end of Nigerian military rule in 1999 the governor of the capital and the president are from the same party. However, election observers said Buhari’s party reached that milestone with low voter turnout, compared to last month’s presidential vote that saw President Goodluck Jonathan’s defeat.
Sudanese begin voting on Monday in an election boycotted by the main opposition parties which looks set to extend President Omar Hassan al-Bashir’s more than 25 years in power. The presidential and parliamentary polls, held on April 13-15, are the first since Sudan split with the south in 2011, losing a third of its land and nearly all of its oil production. Polls open at 8am local time (0500 GMT) and 13 million people are eligible to vote, according to the National Election Commission. Initial results are expected in the days after the polls shut. The boycotting parties say a clampdown on the opposition, media and civil society has created an impossible environment to run against Bashir, who has ruled the country since a 1989 Islamist and army-backed coup.
PRIME Minister Mizengo Pinda has said that Tanzanians living in the Diaspora will not be eligible to vote in the General Election to be held in October, this year. He said that there are various things that the government will have to first implement to enable them to vote. Mr Pinda said this on Saturday night while addressing a gathering of Tanzanians living in the United Kingdom at the residence of Tanzania’s Ambassador to UK, Peter Kallaghe, at Highgate, south of London.
Uganda’s Electoral Commission (EC) has announced its preparations for the 2015-2016 elections that will be held early next year. The acting EC Chairman, Joseph Biribonwa, told a recent news conference recently between April 7th and 30th an update of all registers will take place. EC officials will capture unregistered youth, elderly and disabled persons and armed forces personnel. This also includes other people who were not qualified during the last election but are now eligible to vote. Between June 2and 22, the final registers will be displayed at the relevant polling stations and the general public is encouraged to check for their names and details to avoid any later inconveniences.