National: Why the Democratic path to a House majority may run through a courtroom | The Washington Post

Many Democrats are bullish on their chances of winning back the Senate next year, and most sound confident they can hold on to the White House. Few think they have a prayer of taking back the House of Representatives. So now they’re playing the long game – turning to the courts to help deliver what the ballot box won’t. Top Democratic attorneys are arguing before state and federal courts that district maps drawn in a handful of states violate the Voting Rights Act by improperly packing African American voters into a small number of districts, limiting their influence.

National: The FEC’s ‘non-partisan’ whistleblower | Politico

Federal Election Commission Chairwoman Ann Ravel, an outspoken advocate of tougher campaign finance laws who has been criticized as too partisan by some Republicans, says she’s open to a GOP idea of increasing campaign contribution limits as a way to stem the flow of money to super PACs and other outside groups. “I wouldn’t object to the raising of contribution limits,” the Democratic appointee told POLITICO in an interview. “But I wouldn’t want to totally eliminate contribution limits because what would worry me about that is that the candidates would then become like the super PACs, and it would drown out small donors.”

National: An online voting lobbyist’s misleading testimony | McClatchy

Introducing himself as a former Oregon state elections official, online voting industry lobbyist Donald DeFord vouched authoritatively to a Washington state legislative panel in late January as to the merits of statewide internet voting. Oregon, he testified, ultimately came to the “same solution” offered by a bill before the Washington state House that would allow everybody to cast their election ballots by email or fax – an option that top cyber security experts warn would expose elections to hackers. “First in a special congressional election and then statewide, we made our accessible online ballot delivery and return system available to any voter who was not able to use a paper ballot,” DeFord, a regional sales director for San Diego-based Everyone Counts, told the committee. There was a big problem with that testimony. Oregon doesn’t allow voters to send in marked ballots electronically, except for troops and citizens living abroad who have been prevented from mailing their absentee ballots due to an emergency or other extenuating circumstances. DeFord now says he “misspoke.”

Kentucky: Regulation issued prohibiting electioneering | The Ledger Independent

Electioneering during next week’s primary election will not be allowed within 100 feet of Kentucky polling locations. That was the message delivered by Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes on Friday. In her capacity as the state’s Chief Election Official, Grimes issued a notice to the public the State Board of Elections has approved and filed an emergency administrative regulation prohibiting electioneering within 100 feet of the entrance to a polling place on Election Day. The emergency administrative regulation, which is effective immediately, does not apply to private property.

Montana: New campaign finance law praised, but some say it needs to be toughened | Montana Standard

National authorities are praising Montana’s new campaign finance law as a vast improvement over the state’s former law, but they say it still needs toughening up to end anonymous “dark money” spent by groups known as incidental committees. Campaign finance law experts at the Campaign Legal Center and National Institute on Montana in State Politics each were pleased that Montana passed the stronger law. Both expressed concern that it doesn’t require incidental committees to report their donors.

North Carolina: Suit threatened over voting access; DHHS, Elections Board say they’ll investigate | News & Observer

Four national and state voting-rights organizations are threatening to sue North Carolina for what they contend are Gov. Pat McCrory administration’s violations of a federal law that requires the state to help poor people register to vote. The coalition gave written notice to the State Board of Elections and the state Department of Health and Human Services on Friday, triggering a 90-day period for the state agencies to comply with the law or face a lawsuit.

South Dakota: Federal judge refuses to dismiss Jackson County voting rights case involving tribal members | Associated Press

A voting rights lawsuit filed last year by four Oglala Sioux tribal members against Jackson County will be allowed to proceed following a ruling by a federal judge. County officials had asked U.S. District Judge Karen Schreier to dismiss the lawsuit, but she has denied the motion. Schreier determined the tribal members have provided enough information to support their allegations.

Washington: Bill intended to help minorities in elections | Spokesman-Review

A proposal to allow Washington cities to rearrange voting districts so minorities could have a greater voice in elections was praised Thursday as a way to avoid costly federal lawsuits; it also was denounced as a Trojan horse for more litigation. The proposed state Voting Rights Act passed the House on a partisan vote during the regular session but stalled in the Senate despite bipartisan support. It got an airing in a joint Senate committee work session Thursday though it’s unlikely to be revived for the special session, which is concentrating on budgets.

Burundi: Opposition leader to run for presidency; protests pause | CNBC Africa

Burundi’s leading opposition figure on Saturday registered to run in a coming presidential election against Pierre Nkurunziza, whose quest for a third term has sparked two weeks of protests. Nineteen people have died in the demonstrations against Nkurunziza’s bid for another term, which opponents say violates the constitution and a peace deal that ended an ethnically-charged civil war in 2005. “I presented my candidacy to respect Burundi’s constitution and the country’s electoral law,” Agathon Rwasa, who like Nkurunziza led a Hutu militia in the war, told reporters.

Guyana: Guyana goes to the polls in hotly contested national elections | Miami Herald

For decades, the two main political parties in this English-speaking South American outpost have been divided along racial lines with one drawing its well-spring of support from African descendants and the other from the country’s East Indian population. But changing demographics and the emergence of a multiracial third party have turned Monday’s election for president and parliament into one of the most closely watched since this former British colony transitioned from socialism to democracy 23 years go.

Poland: Opposition Candidate Wins First Round of Poland Presidential Elections | Wall Street Journal

A conservative opposition candidate won the first round of voting in Poland’s presidential election, a victory that could herald a change of guard in the European Union’s largest emerging economy. A contentious battle for the country’s presidency is likely in two weeks if the final tally, expected Tuesday, confirms no candidate won more than 50% of the vote. Andrzej Duda, supported by the main opposition party in Poland, the conservative Law and Justice, won 34.8% on Sunday. President Bronislaw Komorowski, supported by the center-right camp that has ruled Poland for nearly eight years, won 32.2% of the vote, according to pollster Ipsos for broadcasters TVP and TVN. A surprise third-strongest candidate, former rock star Pawel Kukiz, won 20.3%, according to the exit poll.

United Kingdom: Left-wing and right-wing parties unite in call for a fairer voting system | The Independent

Parties from across Britain’s political spectrum have called for reform of Britain’s electoral system in the wake of a highly disproportionate election result that ignored the preferences of a large chunk voters. Ukip, the Green Party, and the Liberal Democrats all won 12 per cent, 8 per cent and 4 per cent of votes respectively in Thursday’s election – but none ended up with much more than 1 per cent of the seats. “We have a deeply unfair electoral system,” Green Party leader Natalie Bennett told the BBC.