Press Release: ES&S to Provide New Machines for York County’s November Election | Election Systems & Software

Election Systems & Software (ES&S), LLC, partnered with Printelect, Inc., is privileged to add another Virginia locality to our customer base. This November, citizens of York County will cast votes using our DS200 tabulator thanks to the York County Board of Supervisors’ unanimous decision Tuesday. More details are available in the abbreviated article below.

York County Supervisors Agree to Purchase New Voting Machines

This November, York County citizens will be using a new voting system to cast their votes in the general election. The York County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to purchase new voting machines and software that will replace the county’s current aging voting software, called AccuVote, and its companion, the WINVote machine used by voters with disabilities. “We’ve known this was coming,” he said at the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, explaining the current system was approaching 20 years old.

National: Campaign Finance Reform, An Enduring Election Promise | Wall Street Journal

Candidate Hillary Clinton thinks there’s too much money in politics. But President Hillary Clinton — should she win — will find it very difficult to change that. Vowing to fix the country’s campaign finance system is a perennial campaign trail promise, especially for Democrats. But finding ways to reduce the amount of money in politics has bedeviled every presidential administration since Bill Clinton’s. Mr. Clinton promised campaign finance changes early in his first term. Barack Obama ran against big money in politics in 2008, even though he became the first candidate to refuse public financing in the general election since the system was introduced in the 1970s. Mrs. Clinton advocated expanding publicly-financed campaigns during her first run for office.

Voting Blogs: Online voter registration numbers grow |electionlineWeekly

This week, with the deadline to register to vote in the May Parliamentary elections looming, more than 400,000 Britons used the country’s online voter registration system to register…in one day. Britain launched their online voter registration system in June 2014 and since then, more than 7.1 million people have used it to register online or update their existing registrations. Even though the British system differs from voter registration here in the United States because it’s a national system, states throughout U.S. that provide online voter registration (OVR) can regale you with significant numbers of people using the online systems to register or update their voter registration. Currently 20 states offer online voter registration with an additional six states and the District of Columbia working to implement systems mandated by law.

Illinois: Special election forces decision on same-day voter registration | Herald and Review

State lawmakers are trying to help county clerks manage the upcoming special election for former U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock’s seat in Congress. But with the clock ticking on the July 7 special primary election, some clerks in the 18th Congressional District say the deadline for action by the General Assembly has passed already. Sangamon County Clerk Don Gray said Tuesday that he is moving ahead with plans to comply with a new law requiring counties to allow voters to register and vote on election day at each polling place.”I don’t have time to waste,” Gray said. “I think all of us have that same mindset,” Logan County Clerk Sally Turner said.

Montana: Bullock signs Montana campaign finance bill into law | Billings Gazette

Gov. Steve Bullock signed into law Wednesday a major bill to tighten Montana’s campaign finance laws to require anonymous so-called “dark money” groups to report how they are spending money in state political races. The Democratic governor signed the bill flanked by two Republicans, Sen. Duane Ankney of Colstrip, who sponsored the bill, and Rep. Frank Garner of Kalispell, who led the debate in the House. Later, a number of legislators who supported the bill and others who worked on it stood behind the governor and two lawmakers for another bill signing. “When it comes to Montanans as individuals having control of our elections, this is the most significant day in the last 112 years since Montanans passed the Corrupt Practices Act,” Bullock told a large crowd in the Governor’s Reception Room.

North Carolina: US Supreme Court tosses NC high court decision on GOP-drawn voting district maps | News & Observer

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday threw out a North Carolina Supreme Court ruling that had upheld the state’s Republican-drawn legislative and congressional districts. The nation’s highest court ordered the state’s highest court to reconsider whether legislators relied too heavily on race when drawing the 2011 maps, which shape how state and federal elections are decided. In an order released Monday, the U.S. justices ordered North Carolina’s highest court to reconsider the 2011 maps in light of a recent decision the court made in a similar Alabama case.

National: In 2016 fundraising, Jeb Bush is on the defensive | Politico

This weekend in Miami Jeb Bush will huddle with a group of his top donors at a brand new “nature-centric,” $700-a-night South Beach hotel, replete with four pools, a Tom Colicchio restaurant and an 11,000-plant “living green wall.” The point, though, isn’t tranquility and relaxation – it’s survival. For a time, it looked like Bush would steamroll the GOP field with a cash-flush juggernaut that might raise as much as $100 million in the first quarter, using a variety of super PACs to push the boundaries of campaign finance laws and dominate the field. But that was before New York hedge fund magnate Robert Mercer pledged more than $15 million to Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio gained the full-fleged support of Miami billionaire Norman Braman and became the front-runner to win casino mogul Sheldon Adelson’s backing. Another rival, Scott Walker, recently became the favorite of billionaire David Koch, who seemed to tip his support for the Wisconsin governor at a fundraiser this week.

Editorials: Why Jeb Bush’s super PAC plan is potentially illegal | Fred Wertheimer/Reuters

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush is preparing to push the role of the individual-candidate super PAC to new, brazen heights. The Bush campaign is reportedly planning to reverse the role of Bush’s campaign committee and the “independent” super PAC supporting him – so that the super PAC would essentially become Bush’s campaign committee. The reason for this audacious move is simple: super PACs can be funded with unlimited donations, while a candidate’s campaign is limited to contributions of $2,700 per donor per election. A relatively small number of millionaires and billionaires could pay for Bush’s race for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. The only problem is that the Bush scheme, as reported, would be illegal.

Voting Blogs: Elections, Meet Academia; Academia, Meet Elections | The Canvass

“Elections are the way we measure the democratic process,” said Kathleen Hale, associate professor at Auburn University in Alabama. “As technology changes, and the pace of change accelerates, having top skills in the part of our government that measures democracy is critical.” Her university and a number of others are doing their part to help measure democracy better—and otherwise help improve the election process. If you’re a legislator from Alabama, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio, Virginia and a few other states, count yourselves lucky. These states already get help from academia to improve election management.

Arizona: Races stuck in idle over redistricting case | Politico

Many of the most vulnerable House incumbents have already attracted challengers for 2016 — but not in Arizona, where races are largely on hold thanks to a Supreme Court case that’s threatening to erase the state’s congressional map. The case, which pits Arizona’s Republican-dominated Legislature against its Independent Redistricting Commission, could invalidate maps that were drawn by the commission in 2011 and that give the Legislature power to reshape the state’s congressional districts ahead of the 2016 election. Republicans in the Arizona Legislature would be able to draw more GOP voters into the state’s three most competitive districts, potentially undercutting Democratic Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick and Kyrsten Sinema and aiding newly elected GOP Rep. Martha McSally.

Minnesota: Felon voting bill wins approval in Minnesota Senate | Pioneer Press

Convicted felons should have their rights to vote restored once they’ve been released from prison, even if still on probation or parole, the Minnesota Senate voted Thursday. The move was spurred by activists who say felons should be encouraged. “If you’re still a citizen, don’t you deserve the right to participate in our democracy?” said Sen. Ron Latz, DFL-St. Louis Park. “Once they’re back out in the community, from Day One … they’re paying taxes, but they don’t have the right to vote on who their representatives are imposing those taxes?”

Missouri: Conway pursues absentee voting changes | St. Joseph News-Press

A St. Joseph Democratic lawmaker continues to push ahead with attempted reforms to the state’s method of absentee balloting. Rep. Pat Conway has filed only one bill for the 2015 legislative session: a measure that would allow registered voters eligible to vote in a particular election to do so by absentee ballot without needing to provide a reason. Mr. Conway’s proposal seeks to repeal the state’s requirement of asking a registered voter who applies for an absentee ballot to submit a reason for voting absentee. However, the application would have to state whether the voter is incapacitated or confined due to an illness, physical disability, or is someone who is primarily responsible for the physical care of an incapacitated or confined person.

New Hampshire: State Supreme Court hears arguments on law linking voter registration to motor vehicle rules | Concord Monitor

The New Hampshire Supreme Court heard arguments yesterday in a case challenging language that would tie voter registration to motor vehicle laws. A law passed in 2012 sought to amend the state’s voter registration forms that required those registering to vote to also affirm, among other things, that: “In declaring New Hampshire as my domicile, I am subject to the laws of the state of New Hampshire which apply to all residents, including laws requiring a driver to register a motor vehicle and apply for a New Hampshire’s driver’s license within 60 days of becoming a resident.”

North Dakota: Legislature passes voter ID bill | Bismarck Tribune

North Dakota lawmakers approved legislation Tuesday clarifying the acceptable forms of voter identification. But one state representative from Grand Forks said the bill does little to make it easier for students and others who had trouble casting a ballot at the polls last November. The final legislation doesn’t include a provision from the bill’s introduction that would have allowed bills, bank statements and change-of-address forms to be used to help prove residency. It also removes the ability for students to use identification certificates issued by their university. Under House Bill 1333, valid forms of ID will be a current driver’s license or nondriver’s ID card issued by the state Department of Transportation, an official tribal ID, a long-term care certificate prescribed by the secretary of state, or a current military ID card or passport.

Washington: $981,000: Latest cost for Yakima in ACLU voting rights case | Yakima Herald Republic

Yakima has paid more than $981,000 in attorney fees and expert witness costs in its voting rights case with the American Civil Liberties Union, according to records released by the city today. The City Council voted 5-2 last week to appeal the case to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals after a judge in federal district court ordered the city to change its council elections system. City officials supportive of the appeal are hopeful a Texas voting rights case with the potential to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court could give their argument enough weight to reverse the lower court’s decision.

Benin: Third term doubts overshadow Benin vote | Reuters

Benin President Thomas Boni Yayi promised voters and world leaders including Barack Obama he would step down when his second term expires next year but doubts over his pledge are overshadowing Sunday’s parliamentary election. Lawmakers from the president’s ruling alliance, the Cowry Forces for an Emerging Benin (FCBE), are trying to focus on jobs, roads and schools in the campaign, but his opponents portray the election as the only way to stop Boni Yayi clinging to power beyond the end of his mandate in 2016. His plans to reform Benin’s constitution – which would introduce a national electoral commission and state auditor to fight graft and ensure democratic elections – have fed the suspicions about the president’s real intentions.

Cayman Islands: Opposition says no to election changes | Cayman Compass

Leader of the Opposition McKeeva Bush, speaking to about 100 supporters in West Bay on Tuesday night, urged Cayman Islands Democratic Party voters to reject a move toward “one man, one vote” and single-member districts. Mr. Bush, joined by fellow MLAs Bernie Bush and Eugene Ebanks at the Sir John A. Cumber Primary School hall, said the proposed changes to local elections threatened Cayman’s democracy. “This is not something you play with. This is your democracy,” he said. He urged the supporters to attend the Electoral Boundary Commission meeting in West Bay next week. The commission is in the midst of a tour of the islands collecting comments on redistricting for single-member voting districts.

Kazakhstan: As succession struggle looms, Kazakhs poised to return leader | Bloomberg

Kazakhstan holds early presidential elections on Sunday and the only uncertainty over the result is the size of Nursultan Nazarbayev’s majority in extending his 26- year rule. Then the real struggle for power may begin. The veteran leader, who won 96 percent of votes in the 2011 election, is a shoo-in to beat two little-known opponents and win a fifth term. Voting starts at 7 a.m. local time and ends at 8 p.m. Preliminary results may be announced Sunday night, with a final tally due within 10 days.

Philippines: Comelec eyes new voting machines for 2016 polls | The Philippine Star

Following the Supreme Court ruling voiding its contract to repair the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is now looking for alternative machines to be used in the May 2016 elections. Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said the poll body will ready an alternative plan and not wait for the ruling on the motion for reconsideration to be filed by Smartmatic-Total Information Management (TIM) Corp. “The possibility of the motion for reconsideration being granted in the future cannot be a basis for the Comelec not to take any action at this time. We need to start our preparations already,” Jimenez said.

Togo: Togo Votes Saturday in Presidential Poll | VoA News

Thursday is the last day of campaigning in Togo before Saturday’s presidential poll. President Faure Gnassingbe faces four challengers in his bid for a third term. The Gnassingbe family has ruled Togo for nearly 50 years since Gnassingbe Eyadema took power in a military coup in 1967. His son, Faure Gnassingbe, stepped into the office in 2005 when his father died. Some people in the West African nation say it is time to move on.

China: Hong Kong Presents Plan for Elections, Offering Little to Democrats | New York Times

Hong Kong entered a new bout of struggle over its political future on Wednesday, as the local government offered only minor changes to an election overhaul plan that set off months of pro-democracy demonstrations last year. Opposition lawmakers denounced the latest proposals, signaling the start of a political contest that will make or break the government’s plans. The Hong Kong government has wagered that it can persuade enough city legislators, and members of the public, to accept the latest proposal as the best deal that can be had from the Chinese Communist Party, whose leader, Xi Jinping, has repeatedly condemned liberal democracy as anathema to Chinese values.

United Kingdom: Almost half a million people register to vote on final day | The Guardian

Almost half a million voters registered in the final hours before the deadline to participate in the 7 May UK general election, the vast majority of them young people. More than 485,000 people registered to vote online on Monday, with 16,000 paper applications made. According to figures from Gov.uk’s voter registration site, thousands left their registration until the last minute – quite literally. The Electoral Commission data shows that more than 3,700 people were accessing the service at 11.59pm on Monday night. Spikes from Monday evening saw more than 18,000 people accessing the site at certain times.