Legislation to strengthen the Voting Rights Act (VRA) remains stalled in the Republican-controlled Congress. But as the two-year anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that gutted the landmark civil rights law approaches, supporters of the measure aren’t giving up the fight, despite long odds. A coalition of civil rights, voting rights, labor, and other progressive groups plan to mark the June 25 anniversary by rallying in the Virginia district of Rep. Bob Goodlatte, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee where the legislation has been bottled up. “In this 50th anniversary year of the Voting Rights Act, voters are more vulnerable to discrimination than at any time since the law was first passed in 1965,” Wade Henderson, the president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said in a statement. “Congressional leadership has yet to act on restoring the law.”
National: As Hillary Clinton Pitches Voting Rights On The Trail, Her Counsel Looks To Fight For Them In Court | Huffington Post
The general counsel for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign is heading up three high-profile lawsuits against Republican-backed voting restrictions in what is shaping up to be a perfect political and legal storm leading up to the 2016 election. The attorney, Marc Elias, is involved in lawsuits challenging measures passed in Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin, arguing that laws cutting back early voting, restricting registration and requiring photo identification to vote, among other measures, disproportionately impact racial minorities.
Editorials: Bruce Schneier movie-plot threat contest: Winning entry imagines online voting gone wrong. | Slate
Imagine this: It’s the morning of Election Day, 2020. Americans across the country cast secure, encrypted votes from their smartphones and laptops, electronically choosing their president for the first time in history. Turnout reaches record highs. Live results online show that it’s a close race between the two leading candidates. But by early afternoon, an independent candidate—a sketchy figure with ties to multiple terrorist organizations and no public support whatsoever—mysteriously takes the lead. At 4 p.m., he officially wins the election. The American people rise up in protest: Clearly, hacking, bribery, or other nefarious activity has taken place. However, because the voting software is designed with end-to-end encryption to ensure anonymity, no audit or recount is possible. America’s next president is a terrorist. This is the hypothetical scenario that won Bruce Schneier’s annual online “movie-plot threat” contest by popular vote this past weekend.
A bill that will make it more difficult for citizens to initiate new ballot questions advanced in the Legislature on Monday, but it’s losing support amid warnings from opponents that the proposal will dramatically change the state’s referendum process. The bill, advanced by a 93-54 vote in the House of Representatives, would amend the Maine Constitution to require sponsors of ballot campaigns to obtain a percentage of voter signatures from each of Maine’s two congressional districts. Maine voters, who are the final arbiters in all changes to the Constitution, could vote on the change in November if the bill passes.
Secretary of State Ruth Johnson says she is backing new legislation to expand absentee voting and will testify in support Wednesday before a House committee. A bill introduced Tuesday by Rep. Lisa Posthumus Lyons, R-Alto, would allow absentee voting for any reason, for those who satisfy identification requirements.
Editorials: Thousands of Voters Are Disenfranchised by North Carolina’s Voting Restrictions | Ari Berman/The Nation
A month after the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act, North Carolina passed the country’s most sweeping voting restrictions. The Supreme Court refused to block key parts of the law—cuts to early voting, the elimination of same-day registration, a prohibition on voting in the wrong precinct—just weeks before the 2014 Election. As a result of the new restrictions, there were lengthy lines and confusion at many polling places, and longtime voters were turned away from the polls. Democracy North Carolina has estimated that “the new voting limitations and polling place problems reduced turnout by at least 30,000 voters in the 2014 election.” In a new report, the group analyzed provisional ballots cast during the 2014 election and concluded that 2,344 rejected ballots would have been counted if the new restrictions were not in place.
Last Tuesday’s Dispatch editorial, “ Clinton off-base on Ohio voting rules,” and the Friday letter “ Clinton did not mention Ohio, Kasich” from Randall Morrison brought attention to the important issue of voter suppression. However, voter suppression is broader and more insidious than the length of early-voting rules. The real “elephant in the room” of representative democracy is gerrymandering, and Ohio represents one of the worst cases in the country. Rigged Ohio House and Senate and U.S. House district lines have resulted in Republicans controlling 12 out of 16 U.S. House seats and huge majorities in the Ohio House and Senate.
The chaotic status concerning Nashville’s early voting less than two months out from a critical city election has stabilized after a compromise that seemed to start with a spreadsheet from a Metro Council member. Last week, the Davidson County Election Commission voted to shut down all but one early voting site without an additional $868,000 in additional funding from the Metro Council. It created an outcry that included Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell, Mayor Karl Dean and several of the seven candidates running for mayor. That’s when Bellevue-area Metro Council member Sheri Weiner stepped in late last week with her spreadsheet and some numbers that has satisfied both her fellow council members on the budget committee and the chair of the election commission.
Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza Tuesday swore in two new members of the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI). Annonciate Niyonkuru and Alice Nijimbere replace Spes-Caritas Ndironkeye and Illuminata Ndabahagamye, who resigned earlier this month. The two new members took their oath before the Burundian president in the presence of both chambers of the parliament and diplomats accredited to Burundi.
Elections Canada is urging all voters who may be missing appropriate identification to get their paperwork done in the few months remaining before the country goes to the polls. “We’re encouraging electors to be aware now, moving into the general election, that if they don’t have two pieces of ID, they really need to act…
Japan’s upper house approved a bill lowering the voting age to 18 from 20 on Wednesday, a move unlikely to lessen the dominance of the “silver” vote in one of Asia’s most-rapidly aging countries. The change will add about 2.4 million people to the almost 104 million who were eligible to vote in the December general election. The new law is likely to take effect in time for an upper house election scheduled for 2016. The views of younger Japanese are barely reflected in politics, as they are increasingly outnumbered by the swelling ranks of their elders and because they are less likely to vote. Nonetheless, both the main ruling Liberal Democratic Party and the biggest opposition group, the Democratic Party of Japan, backed today’s change in the hope of gaining more support from new voters.