Jimmy Carter didn’t hesitate when asked how he would feel about running for president today. “I couldn’t possibly do it, because I have very little money,” the 90-year-old said at a press conference during a recent visit to Wilkes-Barre. “And now it takes $200 million if you want any chance to get the Democratic or Republican nomination.” Since 1976, when Mr. Carter, a Democrat, became the 39th president of the United States, campaigns — and financing them — have changed dramatically. In the early 1970s, individuals and organizations were limited as to what they could contribute to political campaigns. But campaign financing has been reshaped over the past 40 years due to a series of U.S. Supreme Court decisions.
The Florida House agreed Tuesday to allow online voter registration but tacked on a provision aimed at heightening cyber-security — sending the measure back to the Senate for final approval. Secretary of State Ken Detzner, the state’s top elections official and an appointee of Gov. Rick Scott, has opposed the legislation, which sets online registration to begin in 2017. Detzner cautioned that problems could emerge with the measure that has drawn widespread support from lawmakers, county elections supervisors, and voter advocacy groups. The House approved the measure (CS/SB 228) 109-9 Tuesday. But the move came after Rep. James Grant, R-Tampa, added a provision that authorizes the Scott administration to conduct a “comprehensive risk assessment” of online registration before the system is made available to the public.
Florida took another step toward becoming the 28th state to approve some form of online voter registration system Tuesday after legislation cleared the House with broad bipartisan support. The bill is strongly supported by local supervisors of elections, including those in Sarasota and Manatee counties. It tasks the state Division of Elections with developing a secure website for processing new voter registrations and updates to existing voter records. The legislation passed the Senate 34-3 on Monday but must go back for another vote after House Republicans added additional security measures to the proposal Tuesday.
A coalition of business, clergy and civic leaders has launched a petition drive and fundraising efforts for a 2016 ballot question aimed at changing how Illinois draws political boundaries, an initiative group officials said Tuesday builds on a previous failed attempt. Independent Maps, which wants to take the mapmaking process out of the hands of politicians and give it to an independent commission, said the state’s once-a-decade process of redistricting is too political. The group bills itself as nonpartisan and board members include former Tribune Co. CEO Dennis FitzSimons, former White House chief of staff Bill Daley, the Rev. Byron Brazier of Chicago’s Apostolic Church of God and former Playboy Enterprises CEO Christie Hefner.
A federal appeals court agreed with a lower court’s ruling that Kentucky’s electioneering laws banning campaign signs within 300 feet of a polling place was unconstitutional. The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld the last year’s federal district court’s ruling. The case was sparked by a Northern Kentucky business that displayed election signs on private property near a polling place. U.S. District Court Judge William Bertelsman in an October 2014 ruling found Kentucky’s electioneering sign law too broad. The law banned signs on public and private property within 300 feet of polling location. Kentucky’s attorney general and secretary of state appealed the ruling.
Missouri: Pleadings due today in Clay Chastain’s legal attempt to get Sly James off Jackson County ballot | The Pitch
A Jackson County Circuit Court judge has told Clay Chastain, April’s distant third-place finisher in the Kansas City mayoral primary, and attorneys for incumbent Sly James to file arguments to the court by the end of the day Tuesday about whether James should be disqualified as a candidate. Tuesday’s deadline is the first major step in Chastain’s bid to remove James from the ballot. Jackson County Judge Joel Fahenstock indicated on Monday that she might hold a hearing on Friday afternoon.
Supporters and opponents of a Texas law requiring specific forms of photo identification for voters faced close questioning in a federal appeals court Tuesday on whether the law was meant to discriminate against minorities and whether there are ways to remedy it. The U.S. Justice Department and others oppose the law as an unconstitutional burden on minority voters. The state of Texas says the law was aimed at preventing fraud. The state is appealing a federal district judge’s ruling last October that struck down the law. Judge Catharina Haynes, one of three judges hearing the Texas case at the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, suggested in questioning that the matter should perhaps be sent back to the district court for further consideration. She noted that the Texas Legislature currently has several bills that that could broaden the number and types of ID voters could use to cast ballots.
Texas’ voter ID law faces a fresh round of legal scrutiny in New Orleans on Tuesday, the next step in a long-winding case that may be headed for the U.S. Supreme Court. Three judges on the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments from Texas Solicitor General Scott Keller and lawyers for the plaintiffs, including minority groups and the U.S. Department of Justice. The case asks whether Texas intentionally discriminated against Hispanics and African-Americans when it passed what are widely considered the nation’s strictest rules for the identification voters must present at the polls. The dispute stands out in the national debate over recently tightened identification requirements in many Republican-controlled states, and could factor into whether Texas might – once again – need federal approval to enact new election laws.
Virginia: Henrico to spend $1.2 million to replace outdated voting equipment | Richmond Times-Dispatch
Henrico County has agreed to pay $1.2 million to buy new voting equipment after state authorities decided hundreds of machines the county already owns are no longer fit for use. Registrar Mark J. Coakley announced the purchase to the county’s Board of Supervisors at its Tuesday meeting. The State Board of Elections voted earlier this month to disallow the use of WinVote touch-screen voting machines due to security concerns. Henrico owned about 800 of the machines and only a handful of others. The county will replace the touch-screen machines with optical scan devices. To use the new machines, voters will fill out paper ballots, then feed them into the machines.
Cutting across party lines, members of Rajya Sabha on Tuesday supported the calling attention notice by Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad about the risks involved in giving voting rights to Non-Resident Indians through proxy voting or e-postal ballots. The members also pointed out that government needs to do something about millions of migrant workers who are denied voting rights within the country. Bhupendra Singh, BJP member from Odisha, and NDA leaders like Anil Desai of Shiv Sena and Naresh Gujral of Akali Dal said wider consultation is needed for the proposal of e-ballot for NRIs as it may not be very secure and advised the government not to rush into amending the Representation of People’s Act. They said supremacy of Parliament in framing laws should not be usurped by the Supreme Court.
Philippines: Comelec decides against testing electronic voting system in 2016 | Philippine Daily Inquirer
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will no longer push through with a plan to pilot-test the touch screen technology during the 2016 elections. In a memorandum, the Comelec said it would not be pilot-testing the direct recording electronic (DRE) voting system, as this would just present an “unnecessary hurdle” in the preparations for the May 2016 presidential polls. “The value of pilot-testing the DRE technology and its potential to further revolutionize Philippine elections are undeniable. However, present circumstances sway the undersigned that pilot-testing the use of DRE voting machines in Pateros is an unnecessary hurdle to the already daunting task of conducting the 2016 polls,” said the memorandum signed by acting Comelec Chair Christian Robert Lim.
Togo’s President Faure Gnassingbe has won a third term with 58.75 percent of the vote in Saturday’s polls, the electoral commission said, with his main rival Jean-Pierre Fabre taking 34.95 percent. “The national electoral commission states that Faure Essozimna Gnassingbe has been elected based on provisional results which are subject to confirmation by the Constitutional Court,” the commission’s head Taffa Tabiou said late Tuesday. Outside the headquarters of the ruling party, about 50 of his supporters danced to campaign songs late at night shortly after the results were announced.