Congressional Democrats are expected to unveil new legislation this week, possibly as soon as Wednesday, that if passed would restore the requirement for federal approval for voting procedure changes in some states, a provision of the Voting Rights Act struck down by the Supreme Court two years ago. The legislation, titled “The Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015,” would force any state that has had 15 or more voting rights violations in the last 25 years to be subject to federal preclearance for any change in voting procedure or law. That criterion would initially subject 13 states to preclearance: New York, California, Arkansas, Arizona, Virginia, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Louisiana, and Texas, according to a copy of the legislation obtained by the Washington Post. Those states would be able to free themselves of the preclearence provision by going 10 consecutive years without a voting rights violation.
Press Release: Minnesota Secretary of State Certifies Innovative New Voting Technology | Hart InterCivic
Upon completion of an extensive system evaluation by the Minnesota Secretary of State’s Office, the Verity Voting system by Hart InterCivic has been certified for use in all Minnesota elections. That means that all jurisdictions in the state can now use Verity Voting’s new paper ballot scanners and accessible ballot-marking devices for polling location use and a new high-speed, scalable central scan solution for processing absentee ballots. The Verity Voting system offers a completely new choice for all jurisdictions in the State looking to replace their aging voting systems. Verity uses advanced voting technology to easily address all of Minnesota’s election needs, including built-in accessibility features that grant equality of access for all voters.
A nonprofit group and the Green and Libertarian parties filed suit Monday seeking to force open the general election presidential debates to candidates from outside the two major political parties. The lawsuit filed against the Federal Election Commission seeks to force it to crack down on the Commission on Presidential Debates, which it argues is violating FEC rules that dictate that debates must be staged in a nonpartisan manner and candidates selected for participation based on objective criteria. Alternatively, the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia seeks permission to sue the debate commission directly.
New voting system equipment for the state of Arkansas has been selected, but Mississippi County will likely not implement the new paper ballot system until November 2016. Secretary of State Mark Martin has chosen Election Systems & Software (ES&S) as the vendor for any state-purchased integrated voting system equipment going forward. This announcement comes after months of evaluation and analysis and input from state and county officials.
California: State Senate tells U.S. Supreme Court not to mess with ‘one person, one vote’ | Los Angeles Times
The state Senate on Monday sent a strong message to the U.S. Supreme Court to not mess with the principal of “one person, one vote.’’ The resolution, which passed 36-0, comes just weeks after the Supreme Court announced it would consider a Texas case challenging the way electoral districts are drawn. At issue is whether voting districts should continue to be drawn by using census population data, which include noncitizen immigrants as well as children. Conservative challengers want the system changed to count only citizens who are eligible to vote. Senate President Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles), author of the resolution, said he was “deeply concerned by the inexplicable decision” by the Supreme Court to hear the case. Since the Supreme Court established the principal of “one person, one vote” in 1964, it has ensured that all people in the country have received fair representation, the senator said.
New Jersey residents could be automatically enrolled to vote when they apply for a driver’s license or register online under an election law overhaul being considered by an Assembly panel. The Appropriations Committee advanced the legislation on Monday. Democratic legislators unveiled the measure last week, saying it would revise an outdated system. The proposal comes weeks after Gov. Chris Christie criticized Hillary Rodham Clinton for suggesting Republicans want to restrict voter access.
Yakima’s appeal seeking to stay City Council elections has been turned back by the federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. In a decision released Friday, the court said the city’s appeal should be heard by the federal district court judge who first ordered the elections. And in a related development, that district court judge, Thomas Rice, ordered the city of Yakima to pay $1.8 million in legal costs and fees to the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington. In a lawsuit brought against the city by the ACLU, Rice ordered the city to revamp its election process earlier this year after ruling Yakima’s voting system violated the federal Voting Rights Act by routinely suppressing the rights of Latinos.
Four people have been killed and 30 wounded in a wave of grenade attacks overnight in Burundi, police say, a week before parliamentary elections. A single attack on a bar in Ngozi, the hometown of President Pierre Nkurunziza, accounted for the majority of the victims. Police blamed the attacks on opposition supporters and said three suspects had been arrested. Violent protests began in April against the president’s third-term bid.
Ethiopia’s ruling party and its allies celebrated a clean sweep victory in parliament Monday with the announcement of last month’s election results. The Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn secured all 546 parliamentary seats, including the sole seat held by an opposition MP in the previous chamber, said Merga Bekana, chairman of the electoral board. Preliminary results for the last outstanding constituency, the southwestern Bonga district where elections were delayed, showed the EPRDF also winning that seat.
The leader of Poland’s conservative opposition on Saturday ruled himself out of the running for prime minister in this year’s parliamentary election, and instead nominated a female lawmaker who is considered less divisive. After more than two decades at the forefront of Polish politics, Jaroslaw Kaczynski said he wouldn’t put himself at the center of this year’s campaign, and instead threw his support behind Beata Szydlo. Ms. Szydlo is widely credited with softening the conservative party’s image and, as campaign chief, helping Andrzej Duda secure a five-year term in May’s presidential election.
Venezuela will hold legislative elections Dec. 6, election officials announced Monday after months of mounting pressure from local opposition groups and international observers. The South American country’s laws mandate that National Assembly balloting be held this year, but elections officials had delayed setting a date, raising concerns the contest would be canceled. In her announcement, elections council head Tibisay Lucena said the organization had always intended to set a date and was not reacting to public pressure. “These attacks and phony analyses from national experts and international figures have mostly been very ignorant,” she said. The date is timed to commemorate the first election of the late President Hugo Chavez, who launched the country’s socialist revolution when voters chose him overwhelmingly on Dec. 6, 1998.