Hillary Clinton called for a constitutional amendment to address the influx of “unaccountable money” in politics during her first official day of campaigning in Iowa. “We need to fix our dysfunctional political system and get unaccountable money out of it once and for all, even if it takes a constitutional amendment,” she said during an event at Kirkwood Community College in Monticello. She added that campaign finance reform is one of the “four big fights” that her campaign is focused on. The others include building the “economy of tomorrow, not yesterday,” strengthening both families and communities, and protecting the country from current and future threats.
Two developments caught the attention of the political fund-raising world last week. First is the eye-popping amount of presidential campaign money Senator Ted Cruz’s supporters reported raising in just a week — $31 million in big checks from affluent conservatives. This bonanza offers further evidence that the 2016 election has already become a runaway race of “super PACs” allowed to raise unlimited funds from uber-rich donors out to reap political influence.
Elections are about to get easier for major party candidates — especially those who have access to big-dollar donors. And voters who want to craft their own laws will find new hurdles, as Gov. Doug Ducey on Monday signed three measures approved by the Republican-controlled Legislature, including:
– Sharply boosting the number of signatures minor-party candidates would need to qualify for the ballot;
– Allowing candidates to accept up to $5,000 from any one source, a 25 percent increase since the last election;
– Requiring judges to throw out citizen-sponsored initiative, referendum and recall petitions if there are technical flaws in the paperwork.
It is the measure on petition signatures, though, that could have the biggest impact.
A federal judge has set dates for the special election to fill the 18th Congressional District seat vacated by former Rep. Aaron Schock, who resigned last month and now finds his spending habits under federal scrutiny. The primary election will be held July 7, followed by the special election Sept. 10, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections.
On Sept. 1, a new provision will be put into effect regarding New Hampshire voting procedures. Currently, if a voter doesn’t have ID when they go to the polls they are able to fill out a challenge affidavit and have their identity verified after the election. The new provision would require town moderators to take a color photo of the person filling out the affidavit, print it, and then attach it to the form. This provision has worried many town moderators and clerks, in part because earlier this month the New Hampshire House Finance Committee decided to cut funding for the provision. Without the $137,000 originally included in the bill, every municipality would either have to buy the cameras and equipment to satisfy the provision or have moderators use their own cameras.
New Mexico voters will be able to go online to update their addresses and other information on state voter rolls — and eventually even register to vote online — under a bill that was signed into law by Gov. Susana Martinez. Backers of Senate Bill 643 — which sailed through the state Senate and the House of Representatives without a dissenting vote — say the new law will modernize the state’s voter registration system, help clean up the voter rolls and will make registration more convenient for voters. Martinez signed it on Friday.
Rhode Islanders would be able to register to vote online and vote early in-person under new legislation promoted by Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea. The legislative package, dubbed Voting and Elections Modernization Act of 2015, would among other things make early voting available up to 28 days prior to an election using the emergency mail balloting process. Under the proposal, voting would be available on the weekend before Election Day in 2016. By 2018, in-person early voting would be available on two weekends prior to Election Day. “I think it’s important that elections are modernized and adapt to people’s lives and schedules and commitments,” Gorbea said.
A Richmond Circuit Court judge on Tuesday denied former Del. Joseph D. Morrissey’s injunction to prevent printing of the ballots for the June 9 Democratic primary, ruling that he did not have a right to appeal. The court’s decision further reduces Morrissey’s chances of seeking the Democratic nomination as a candidate for the 16th state Senate district.
A small pro-democracy encampment has started to take shape ahead of a crucial vote on electoral reform. It has been 200 days since tens of thousands of Hong Kongers flooded the city’s streets demanding the right to freely elect their own leader, and 126 days since the police unceremoniously cleared the tent-filled villages after almost three months of occupation. The movement for democracy has largely been relegated to online forums and abstract discussions, but that isn’t the only place it resides. The handful of tents that remained in front of the Central Government Offices even after the Dec. 16 clearance has steadily grown over the past three months. Currently, 146 fabric shelters line the sidewalks of Tim Mei Avenue, where the use of pepper spray and arrest of student protesters on Sept. 27 was the spark that set the movement ablaze. Some have spilled over onto the sidewalks of Harcourt Road, which the protesters knew as Umbrella Square. Some of the most endearing elements of the camp, like an organic garden and a study corner, have been re-created.
Opposition leaders in Guinea on Tuesday called for a suspension of protests after gunfire erupted in several neighbourhoods in the capital, Conakry, as hundreds of supporters clashed with security forces for a second day running. Protests over the timing of elections would be suspended until next week, a spokesman for the opposition said. Government spokesman Damantang Albert Camara said one person died on Tuesday after falling into a ravine during violence. The government had earlier said about 10 people were injured, including one with bullet wounds.
Zimbabwe’s main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai says his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party will not take part in elections until reforms are made, media reports said on Saturday. “Unless there are reforms, participation in those by-elections would be futile,” said Tsvangirai, a former trade unionist who beat long-time leader Robert Mugabe in the first round of presidential elections in 2008 and later served as prime minister in a coalition government. His comments were carried by the official Herald daily.