Editorials: Voter Turnout in U.S. Mayoral Elections Is Pathetic, But It Wasn’t Always This Way | CityLab

As far as recent history is concerned, voter turnout in most major U.S. city elections can accurately be described as anemic. On Tuesday in Philadelphia, just about 27 percent of registered voters went to the polls to give Jim Kenney a landslide victory in the city’s Democratic mayoral primary. In Los Angeles, 23 percent bothered to show up in 2013 for the sleepy election that Mayor Eric Garcetti won. Even New York’s high-profile 2013 election, which brought Mayor Bill de Blasio to power, attracted just 26 percent of registered voters to cast a ballot, the lowest turnout in that city since at least 1953. For many observers, that election signaled a historic repudiation of the aggressive police tactics and warm embrace of the super-rich that characterized the Michael Bloomberg era. But in a larger sense, it also proved that most New Yorkers didn’t care either way.

Voting Blogs: More Conflict at the FEC: The Question of Partisanship and the Problem of Finger-Pointing | More Soft Money Hard Law

A dispute over whether the FEC is tilting its investigations against conservatives or Republicans is mostly a waste of energy. Commissioner Goodman got this started at a Commission hearing and has been rebuked by Commissioner Ravel. The Republicans profess to be outraged; the Democrats announce that this outrage has rendered them speechless. Once again there is here, in the midst of this clamor, an important question– the uses and misuses of the agency’s enforcement process—that is being misdirected into another round of finger-pointing about bad faith and improper motive.

California: Supreme Court could deal California ‘a one-two punch’ on redistricting | Los Angeles Times

In recent years, California voters have backed a series of changes to the state’s elections system to reshape its political landscape. Now, potential upheaval is brewing again, this time from the U.S. Supreme Court. Next month, the nation’s highest court will rule on a case challenging the legality of independent commissions to draw congressional districts. On Tuesday, the court said it would consider whether state and local voting districts should be based on total population or eligible voters. Both cases could have enormous implications in California, where voters first approved citizen-led redistricting panels nearly seven years ago and where the state’s burgeoning immigrant population has contoured the political map, regardless of eligibility to vote. Should the Supreme Court issue rulings overhauling the redistricting process, it would be a “one-two punch to the gut to California,” said Bruce Cain, professor of political science at Stanford University.

Florida: Volusia looks to buy new voting equipment for 2016 elections | News-Journal

Volusia County will switch to a new voting system next year for the first time in more than two decades. Supervisor of Elections Ann McFall said Tuesday she will start contract negotiations with Election Systems & Software, one of two companies to put in a bid to be the county’s provider. Dominion Voting Systems, which has been the county’s vendor since 1994, was the other company. But McFall said the package offered by ES&S surpassed anything Dominion could bring to the table. “They’re clearly the winner,” she said of ES&S.

Editorials: Veto of felon voting bill disenfranchised 40,000 Marylanders | Cory McCray/Baltimore Sun

After the death of Freddie Gray, leaders from Annapolis came into our neighborhoods, shot some hoops, attended church services and gave lip service about change. But those leaders have never endured the high levels of poverty, lack of access to fresh food, dilapidated housing or high levels of joblessness that plague those neighborhoods. That is why many community members were not convinced by their words. On Friday, Gov. Larry Hogan gave them more reason to be skeptical. At 2 p.m. on the Friday before a holiday weekend, when many people were already away on vacation, he vetoed House Bill 980, which restored voting rights to ex-felons upon their release from prison, rather than waiting until they’re off parole or probation.

Texas: Supreme Court to hear challenge to Texas redistricting plan | The Washington Post

Decades after the Supreme Court set “one person, one vote” as the standard states must meet in creating legislative districts that equitably distribute political power, the justices agreed Tuesday to decide exactly which persons should count. The court, in accepting a Texas case brought by a conservative advocacy group, will consider whether states and localities may continue to use a place’s total population as the basis or must make redistricting decisions based on the number of citizens who are eligible to vote. A shift from using total population would have an enormous impact in states with large immigrant populations because of the greater numbers of children and noncitizens. It would most likely transfer power from urban areas to more rural districts. The court will schedule the case for the new term that begins in October.

Virginia: Stimpson to file suit against ‘unfair’ absentee ballot process | Fredericksburg.com

The testy race for the 28th District House seat’s Republican primary nomination is about to get a little more heated. Susan Stimpson plans to file a lawsuit in Stafford County Circuit Court on Wednesday to block an absentee voter application process she claims gives her opponent, House Speaker Bill Howell, an unfair advantage in the race. “I am filing this lawsuit … on the principle of it,” she said Tuesday. “There’s no other path.” The lawsuit, prepared by Lynchburg attorney Rick Boyer, states that the state Board of Elections “acted arbitrarily and capriciously,” overstepped its authority and “took the regulatory action without meeting any of the notice requirements imposed by the Virginia Administrative Code.” The lawsuit adds that the board’s “action enabled Howell to plan, create, and produce a website dedicated to generating absentee ballot applications with electronic signatures.”

Myanmar: Myanmar on track for Nov vote, challenges remain – Election Commission | Reuters

Myanmar plans to go ahead with an election in November despite the challenges it faces in completing an electoral roll in the many areas of the country that have suffered ethnic conflict, the country’s election commission chairman said on Tuesday. The country is gearing up for a historic election in November, the first free vote in 25 years and a milestone in the country’s transition to democracy after 49 years of military rule ended in 2010.

Ethiopia: African observers say Ethiopia poll credible, opposition cries foul | Reuters

African Union observers said on Tuesday that Ethiopia’s parliamentary election held on Sunday was credible except for a few irregularities, but the opposition dismissed the vote as marred by violations including ballot box theft. Provisional results in Africa’ second most populous nation are due later this week and few expect anything but a landslide for the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) coalition, in power since ousting dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam in 1991. Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, who took over after EPRDF’s long-serving leader Meles Zenawi died in 2012, has pushed on with EPRDF’s highly-centralised statist economic model credited with turning around the fortunes of a country once ravaged by war and famine.

Luxembourg: No comment from Juncker on foreigner voting rights | Luxemburger Wort

European Commission President and former Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker has refused to comment on the upcoming June 7 referendum and the foreigner voting rights question. Questioned about the issue by the “Luxemburger Wort”, Juncker did not comment, with his press office later issuing a statement that the Commission in principle thinks that it is important “to support the participation of EU citizens in the democratic life of the EU.” The statement does not, however, address the specific question at hand in Luxembourg.

Nigeria: Smartphones Galvanized Nigeria’s Younger Voters | VoA News

Of the more than 175 million people who live in Nigeria, 70 percent of them are young. And among those millions are more than 125 million mobile phone subscribers, the largest such market in Africa. So, as Nigeria turned to a crucial national election last month, a group of political activists selected a smartphone application might galvanize a few million of those citizens and guarantee a free and fair election in a nation not known for its transparency. Yemi Adamolekun is one of those who tapped that demographic with technology. Dressed in T-shirt and a trousers of Ankara fabric, Adamolekun walked briskly into Terra Kulture, a bookstore located in the high-brow area in Lagos State. Her simple clothing style and a natural hairdo underscore her no-nonsense approach to national affairs.

New Zealand: Online voting cost alarms councillors | Wanganui Chronicle

Wanganui district councillors have agreed to try and be among local authorities trialling online voting next year but not without expressing concerns about the cost involved. The Government wants to trial online voting as an option in the 2016 local body elections and councils wanting to be the guinea pigs have been asked to indicate their interest. Noeline Moosman, the Wanganui electoral officer, said the council had platforms in place to handle the online voting. And she said the district’s high voter turnout could be another plus.