The Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to decide whether the Constitution requires only eligible voters be counted when forming legislative districts, taking up a lawsuit that could shift political power to less populous rural areas from urban centers. If successful, the challenge to the state Senate map the Texas Legislature drew in 2013 could reshape the political dynamic in states with large Hispanic populations. The lawsuit offers the high court a chance to clarify the one-person, one-vote doctrine it established in the 1960s, when the justices swept away legislative maps that gave rural voters disproportionate power over urban areas. Since then, the near-universal practice has been to draw maps based on total population without regard to legal status. Subsequent electoral disputes centered on whether the racial composition of resulting districts complies with the Voting Rights Act.
The Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to define what it meant by “one person, one vote” a half century ago. The justices will consider a challenge brought by two rural voters in Texas who claim their state Senate ballots carry less weight than those cast in urban areas with large numbers of non-citizens ineligible to vote. Under the current system in nearly all states, state legislative districts are drawn with roughly equal populations. The standard dates back to decisions made by the Supreme Court in the early 1960s.
Does the Constitution guarantee one person, one vote? Or is it one citizen, one vote? This deceptively simple question is actually profound — and the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide it in the term that will begin in October. The answer will define the nature of American democracy for generations to come. The legal nature of the question can be stated simply. In the 1961 case Reynolds v. Sims, the Supreme Court announced a principle that was then referred to as “one man, one vote.” Until then it had been up to state legislatures to allocate congressional districts according to whatever principle they wanted. There was no requirement that districts have roughly equal numbers of residents, which meant that some districts might have many fewer residents and voters than others. The court said this imbalance violated equal protection of laws because it diluted the votes of those who lived in relatively overpopulated districts.
Alaska: Anchorage Assembly votes to recertify runoff election after ballots found | Alaska Dispatch News
The Anchorage Assembly on Tuesday recertified the mayoral runoff election, taking into account 58 ballots not previously tallied that altered the result by 0.01 percent but did not change the outcome. Municipal Clerk Barbara Jones, who oversees municipal elections, said the bulk of the uncounted ballots were found inside a silver ballot box in a conference room in City Hall. Absentee ballots sent by mail are moved between three rooms — including the conference room — and two floors during the counting process. The day after the Assembly certified the runoff election on May 19, staffers discovered the silver box with the ballots still in their envelopes, she said.
County Clerks offices around Kentucky will be busy Thursday morning as they re-tally the votes in not just one, but two Republican primary races. (In addition to recanvassing the 83-vote margin between gubernatorial hopefuls Matt Bevin and James Comer, Republican Richard Heath has asked for a recanvass of his 1,427 vote loss to Ryan Quarles for state agriculture commissioner.) But what will the County Clerks offices actually be doing on Thursday at 9:00 am when they recanvass these races? It is fairly simple, and it depends on the kind of vote counting system each county uses. The recanvass essentially mimics the counting process from election night.
A proposal that would have changed how Nevada votes for presidential candidates has been defeated, but supporters say the measure could be revived. The Assembly Committee on Legislative Operations and Elections failed to approve SB421, voting 6-4 on Wednesday, with Republicans John Moore and Shelly Shelton joining Democrats to defeat the bill. The measure would have allowed national political party heads to change Nevada’s current caucus system for selecting a presidential nominee to a primary election. Supporters say the change would increase voter turnout and avoid a confusing caucus process.
A Nevada committee has defeated a proposal that critics say would make it more difficult to file voter-led initiative petitions. The Assembly Legislative Operations and Elections Committee voted 4-6 on Tuesday to defeat SB434. The measure would have required petitions to gather at least 1,000 signatures from registered voters before being filed with the Secretary of State, and included more judicial review and oversight in submitting ballot questions.
With 20 states currently allowing online voter registration and seven states plus the District of Columbia in the process, South Dakota legislators are waiting for a push from voters before considering any legislation. “There has not been a push for it, or vocal opposition to it, as far as I know,” said House Democratic Leader and Board of Elections Member Richard Casey. “I believe the change to allow online voter registration would have to be adopted by the legislature.” The new online systems would allow people to sign up anywhere with an internet connection. Applicants must provide their driver’s license number and the last four digits of their social security number.
Thousands of Texans are being disenfranchised thanks to chronic failures in the state’s voter registration system, a Democratic group alleges based on government records and extensive additional evidence. The charges raise serious questions about Texas’s commitment to making the ballot box accessible to new voters, and about its compliance with federal voting law. In a letter sent Wednesday to Texas Secretary of State Carlos Cascos, lawyers for Battleground Texas, which works to register voters in the state, wrote that the state government’s “voter registration failures are widespread and systematically undermining the right to vote in Texas.”
Ethiopia’s ruling coalition won a majority in national elections, extending its 20-year rule over Africa’s second-most populous country, the electoral board said. The Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front, or EPRDF, and allied parties won all 442 of the seats counted so far in the 547-member federal parliament, Chairman Merga Bekana told reporters Wednesday in the capital, Addis Ababa. In the last election in 2010, the ruling coalition won all but one seat in the assembly. “The election was successfully completed as scheduled with high participation of our citizens who really committed themselves to the development of democracy,” Merga said. More than 90 percent of the country’s 37 million registered voters cast their ballots in the May 24 vote, he said.
Editorials: Rejection of presidential age referendum shows ageism at heart of Irish society | Ireland Times
What happened on Friday was truly odd. In the same breath, the Irish electorate triumphantly extended equality to same-sex couples, and resoundingly denied it to young people. The result sent an unequivocal message: adults under the age of 35 are not held in equal esteem to those above that age. No matter how exceptional, competent or popular the individual, the idea of a person younger than 35 even presenting themselves to the electorate as a candidate for the highest office of State is apparently so preposterous as to require constitutional prohibition. To paraphrase three-quarters of the electorate: “It’s not just that we won’t vote for you. We won’t even let you run”. Granted, the mere representation of marginalised groups in political office does not necessarily translate to improved conditions – but their unqualified exclusion is symbolic of broader structural problems.
This weekend marks the end of the chance to cast votes in the Turkish election from abroad. And so this gives us another opportunity to analyze what — if any — influence these votes have on the election as a whole. In the meantime, this election will be yet again another test for the Supreme Election Board (YSK). In the first election in which Turks could cast votes from abroad, the appointment system, which requires Turkish nationals to apply for an appointment and determine the day they will vote through an online procedure on the YSK website, was alleged to have had a negative effect on voter turnout. Even in cities like Berlin, where the population of Turks is particularly high, there were turnout rates as low as around 8 percent, which many pointed to as being one result of the appointment system for voting. This has subsequently been eliminated, but it likely not the only factor influencing low turnout. In the meantime, a great deal of curiosity surrounds the question of who exactly Turks abroad will be voting for.
Long-term expats will have their right to vote in British and European elections restored. However, they will be unable to vote in the European referendum if they’ve lived abroad for more than 15 years. The Votes for Life Bill, announced after the Queen’s Speech today, will scrap the 15-year rule that sees expats lose their votes in UK and European parliamentary elections once they have been out of the country for that long. This had been promised by the Conservatives in their manifesto. The rule affects around one million of the five million British citizens overseas. However, Downing Street said it will remain in place for the referendum on Europe, as there is not enough time to enforce the change by the time of the vote, due by the end of 2017 at the latest.