National: Super PACs’ Next Target: Local Elections | National Journal

When Philadelphia’s next mayor delivers his victory speech Tuesday night, he should take a moment to praise a most important ally: his super PAC. Before long, it could become a regular part of any winning mayor’s speech. In this open-seat race in the nation’s fifth-largest city, the disparity in spending between super PACs and the official campaigns has been considerable. Heading into the weekend, the race’s three highest-spending groups on TV all were super PACs, according to a Democratic source tracking the buys. One outside group, funded by out-of-town charter-school advocates, had invested more on TV ads than the other campaigns combined.

Arizona: Yavapai County Supervisors weigh how to pay for vital election equipment | The Prescott Daily Courier

Yavapai County Supervisors working through dozens of decisions with the new fiscal year budget have a critical decision hanging over the Elections Department’s inserter, which prepares ballots for mailing. A decision must be made before the Prescott Election this year, and they have delayed the decision for another day. The Microsoft XP software that drives the equipment becomes obsolete Oct. 1, with about a $1 million replacement cost looming. At the same time, the supervisors are looking to cut some of each of various departments’ budget requests to adopt a balanced budget for 2015-16 beginning July 1. County Recorder Leslie Hoffman, who administers Voter Registration and Early Voting, says her department has been anticipating the change for as long as three years and pricing out the options.

Illinois: Biss pushes for automatic voter registration | Evanston Now

Legislation being filed this week in Springfield sponsored by Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) would automatically register to vote any Illinois resident with a valid driver’s license or state-issued ID. “Voting is a constitutionally protected right and civic duty,” Biss said in a statement. “While some states are making it more difficult for voters to exercise that right, this legislation will empower Illinoisans and encourage a truly representative democracy in Illinois.” A co-sponsor of the bill, Sen. Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), said the proposal would streamline and simplify voter registration and make the process more efficient for taxpayers.

Kentucky: Board of Elections sues software company, county clerks | WDRB

Some of the votes for Tuesday’s primary may not be counted until June because of a lawsuit filed Monday by the Kentucky State Board of Elections. A Jefferson Circuit Court judge has agreed to enter a restraining order directing nine county clerks to certify votes from a dozen military and overseas voters who failed to receive their absentee ballots on time. The Kentucky State Board of Elections and Secretary of State Allison Lundergran Grimes filed a lawsuit Monday against the software company that sends out absentee ballots and the clerks in nine counties, including Jefferson, alleging 12 qualified military and overseas voters were not sent ballots on time.

Michigan: August ballots sent to printer without Flint’s as election-fix bill passes Senate |

The ballots for August primary election races in Genesee County were approved and sent for printing Tuesday, May 19, with no Flint ballots included. The Genesee County Election Commission validated ballots and voted to send them to a printer the same day the State Senate approved a plan to allow Flint mayoral candidate names to appear on the August primary. “We’re moving forward, we’re doing our job,” said Genesee County Clerk John Gleason, who sits on the Election Commission alongside Probate Judge Jennie Barkey and County Treasurer Deb Cherry, who was absent from Wednesday’s vote.

Editorials: The Cost of Democracy | Shelby Fenster/NBC Nebraska

Putting pen to paper and signing a check for $40,000. The thought may almost make your squirm. But it’s decisions like that our counties, cities and school districts make every year. And in making those decisions, they have to weigh costs. When is one thing worth more than another? From 9th Street to school bonds, over the last couple of years, Central Nebraska has seen several special elections. But those elections don’t come without a price tag. And if the money is going to ballots and polling places– there’s something else that’s not getting it. So, we reached out to your city’s leaders, and to the people who run your children’s schools, to find out. “We live in an interesting community right now because I think the question of, what is the extent that we have voter input, is being questioned,” said Hastings Public Schools Superintendent Craig Kautz. But for schools, voter input isn’t a question– it’s a law.

New Hampshire: Court Strikes Down New Hampshire’s Voter Residency Law | Governing

The New Hampshire Supreme Court Friday unanimously struck down a 2012 state law that required voters be state residents, not just domiciled here, in order to vote. “Today’s ruling acknowledges that elections should be free, fair and accessible to all people in a democracy,” said Gilles Bissonnette, of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire (ACLU-NH). The state had appealed two lower court decisions that ruled in favor of four voters and the League of Women Voters who claimed the law violated the state constitution. “We’re reviewing the decision,” said Assistant Attorney General Stephen G. LaBonte, who represented the state. “We have no comment at this time.”

Ohio: Republican Party paid $300,000 in legal bills to keep Libertarian candidate off ballot | Cleveland Plain Dealer

The Ohio Republican Party paid $300,000 to the law firm involved with successfully keeping would-be Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Charlie Earl off last year’s ballot, according to Ohio Elections Commission filings. The payments, detailed by attorneys representing Gov. John Kasich’s re-election campaign and GOP activist Terry Casey, came after Republican Party Chair Matt Borges denied in federal court last year that his party was behind the challenge to Earl’s candidacy. Casey and Kasich’s campaign brought up the payments as evidence that Kasich’s re-election campaign did not collude to disqualify Earl, as the Libertarian alleges in an elections commission complaint.

Pennsylvania: Programming error affects voting in Palmyra Borough Council race | Lebanon Daily News

Voters in Palmyra Borough ran into a problem casting their ballots in a Primary Election council race Tuesday morning. Three candidates – Scott Mazzocca, Carissa Mellinger, and Ralph Watts – are seeking the Republican nomination to two seats carrying two-year terms, but the electronic voting machines in the borough’s three precincts only allowed voters to select one candidate. The programming malfunction was caused by human error and was noticed about an hour after the polls had opened at 7 a.m. and roughly 30 ballots had been cast, said county administrator Jamie Wolgemuth, who sits on the Lebanon County Board of Elections. Once the problem was detected, poll workers began giving voters an emergency ballot to select a second candidate, Wolgemuth said.

Pennsylvania: Philadelphia Election Officials Charged With Voter Fraud | NBC

On the night before Philly’s primary, four local election officials are accused of casting extra votes in order to balance their numbers. Sandra Lee, 60, Alexia Harding, 22, James Collins, 69, and Gregory Thomas, 60, are all charged with voter fraud. Warrants for their arrests were issued Monday. All four suspects were election officials from Philly’s 18th Ward, 1st Division. “There’s no legally justifiable reason to vote multiple times and you cannot falsely certify that you live in a particular ward and division in order to work the polls and collect a check,” said District Attorney Seth Williams. “Our democracy rests on free and fair elections, but it also relies on the fact that they are conducted properly, which is why these four individuals deserve to be arrested for what they did.”

Burundi: Crisis Won’t Delay Presidential Election | Wall Street Journal

This country’s main opposition leader doesn’t go out in public much because of death threats, but nonetheless says he will run in a June presidential election he has no illusions of winning and wants delayed amid protests and a failed military coup. “We don’t want [President] Pierre Nkurunziza to pretend that there are no challengers,” Agathon Rwasa said. Burundi has been embroiled in turmoil since April, when President Nkurunziza said he would run for a third term despite a two-term constitutional limit. Some 20 people have died amid weeks of protests and more than 100,000 people have fled to neighboring countries. The World Health Organization on Tuesday said the influx of Burundians is overwhelming the health infrastructure and sanitation facilities of a village in neighboring Tanzania.

Ethiopia: As Ethiopia votes, what’s ‘free and fair’ got to do with it? | The Washington Post

Ethiopia, Washington’s security partner and Africa’s second most populous country, is scheduled to hold national elections on May 24. The ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and its allied parties won 99.6 percent of the seats in the last round of elections in 2010. There is no doubt that the ruling party will win again. The party has ruled since 1991 when it seized power following a prolonged civil war. It dominates all major political, economic, and social institutions, has virtually eliminated independent political space, and opposition parties are fractured and harassed. Ethiopia has jailed more journalists than any other country in Africa.

Ireland: Who won’t vote in the referendums? The exiled children of Ireland | Irish Times

For the last nine years I have had the privilege of being the chairman of the Washington Ireland Program (WIP), a well-established leadership programme that brings 30 young future leaders from the Republic and Northern Ireland to Washington, DC every summer for two months. More than 300 Irish university students annually apply to the WIP programme. The selection process is fair but rigorous and only one in 10 applicants makes the cut. Every year there are several gay students on the programme. These young people are idealistic, patriotic, full of spark and intellectual curiosity – just the type of leaders that Ireland will need in the coming decade. They are passionate about equality and are working hard to turn out a Yes vote in the upcoming referendum with their many straight friends. In London, Lorcan O Cathain, a WIP graduate, has organised “Change Ireland”, which is raising money to help Irish voters get back to Ireland in time to vote on the 22nd. What a valiant effort to get around Ireland restrictive voting laws.

Luxembourg: 105,000 potential new voters in Luxembourg | Luxemburger Wort

105,000 new voters could potentially join Luxembourg’s electoral register if a proposal enabling foreign residents to vote finds favour with Luxembourgers. On June 7, Luxembourgers will vote in a referendum to decide, among other things, whether or not to allow foreign residents who meet certain criteria to vote in legislative elections. According to figures published by STATEC, potentially 105,000 foreign residents meet the 10-year residency criterion being proposed.

Poland: Voters poised to punish government that delivered prosperity | Financial Times

Marek Jakubiak’s Polish brewing business has notched up 20 per cent sales growth each year since 2009, riding an economic boom that made Poland Europe’s fastest-growing economy in recent years. So it may seem surprising that Mr Jakubiak wants to throw out the government that steered that course. Yet he and other Poles are threatening to do just that. On Sunday, they will vote in a presidential election that many see as a harbinger of October parliamentary polls that could end almost a decade of rule by a government admired across Europe. Since coming to power in 2007, the Civic Platform party has managed to sidestep the financial crisis that has dragged much of the continent into recession, turning out year after year of gross domestic product growth. But not all Poles appreciate its efforts.