Illinois: Lake County spends $920K for same-day registration, voting technology | Lake County News-Sun

Another step toward same-day voter registration — which allows previously unregistered voters to walk into a polling place and cast ballots on the date of an election — was taken Tuesday when the Lake County Board approved $920,000 worth of contracts with tech firms to provide equipment necessary for the state-mandated initiative. Lake County Clerk Carla Wyckoff told the board that the purchases will, in part, create “an electronic poll-book system that we will use both on election day and also for early voting to enable us to have on-site registration and voting in every one of those voting sites, including on election day.” For example, Wyckoff said, a $147,685 contract with Omaha-based Election Systems and Software will include touch-screen voting machines at “any one of our 14 early-voting sites, (so) we will have to have the capacity to produce every single ballot style in the event that anyone would show up there to vote.”

National: 2016 Presidential Race Unfolds On Twitter, Facebook As New Social Media Trends Shape White House Campaigns | International Business Times

Social media may prove to be more crucial to the 2016 presidential race than past election cycles as voters increasingly rely on various networking platforms to keep informed. A new study released Tuesday reveals that the majority of Facebook and Twitter users consume their news on those sites. The report, which was conducted by the Pew Research Center in association with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, found that 63 percent of users on each of the social media platforms visit the site for news updates. These numbers are on the rise from 2013, when 52 percent of Twitter users and 47 percent of Facebook users reported finding their news on the sites. The increase was seen across all age groups. “There are many elements that can be at play with users of Facebook and Twitter when they are on these platforms,” said Amy Mitchell, director of journalism research at the Pew Research Center. “It may be that they are on the platform and news ends up being something they do or the degree to which both Facebook and Twitter have put increased emphasis on news engagement and accessibility.”

National: Groups backed by secret donors take the lead in shaping 2016 elections | The Washington Post

The latest television ad touting GOP presidential contender Marco Rubio proclaims that he is “leading the fight” to stop President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran. “Lessons of history are that evil is either confronted and defeated, or it grows,” Rubio says sternly, standing in front of a giant American flag. But the new spot, which hits the airwaves Wednesday, is not the work of his official campaign or even his allied super PAC. It was paid for by the Conservative Solutions Project, part of a crop of politically active nonprofit groups that are taking on new prominence in the 2016 elections.

California: Legislative leaders shelve bill overhauling elections until next year | Los Angeles Times

California legislative leaders have put a hold on a bill by Secretary of State Alex Padilla that would overhaul California elections in response to last year’s dismal voter turnout. A bill introduced for Padilla by Sen. Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica) would allow counties, beginning in 2018, to mail all voters ballots that could be marked and then cast at any of several voting centers to be opened around the county. Ballots could be cast at the centers during a 10-day period that includes election day. They also could be dropped off in secure boxes available 24 hours per day. The measure was scheduled to be heard Wednesday by the Assembly Elections and Redistricting Committee, but legislative leaders have put it on hold until January 2016, according to an email by Darren Chesin, chief consultant for the Senate Committee on Elections and Constitutional Amendments.

Florida: Can Anyone Draw Unbiased Districts in Florida? | The New York Times

Is Republican bias in Florida’s congressional districts really the fault of the legislature? Last week, the Florida Supreme Court ruled by 5-2 that eight of Florida’s 27 congressional districts were drawn with “partisan intent” favoring the Republican Party. The districts in question, drawn after the 2010 census, were used in the 2012 House elections. In those elections, the Republicans drew 51 percent of the vote yet won 63 percent of Florida’s House seats. In a perfectly unbiased electoral system, a party winning 50 percent of the statewide votes would earn 50 percent of the congressional seats. But the legislature that drew the districts might not be completely at fault.

North Carolina: ‘This is our Selma’: North Carolina voting rights trial threatens 50 years of progress | The Guardian

A landmark voting rights trial that opens in North Carolina on Monday will determine the way the 2016 presidential election is conducted in the state and could have long-lasting implications for the politics of the American south. The federal district court in Winston-Salem is expected to take at least two weeks to consider a legal challenge to the state’s recent changes to its voting laws, which are widely regarded to be among the most restrictive in the country. Republican governor Patrick McCrory, in his official capacity, and the state itself will be on trial, accused of intentionally discriminating against black voters in an attempt to drive down turnout within this traditionally Democratic-voting community.

North Carolina: Emails: Elections board member involved in disputed voting plan | Associated Press

A Republican member of the North Carolina elections board worked closely with local officials in their effort to eliminate a heavily Democratic voting site, a plan a judge ruled was intended to suppress voter turnout, according to hundreds of emails reviewed by The Associated Press. The state Board of Elections is supposed to act as a neutral arbiter when policy disputes arise involving county elections boards. The emails show that Paul J. Foley worked closely behind the scenes with GOP officials in Watauga County as they crafted a plan to eliminate the early voting site at Appalachian State University. Foley is already under scrutiny for failing to recuse himself for 17 months from the state election agency’s investigation into political donations from an Oklahoma sweepstakes mogul represented by his law firm. He recused himself only after staff learned the mogul had paid nearly $1.3 million to his firm. Details of that investigation are to be released Wednesday.

Editorials: Why North Carolina Is the New Selma | Ari Berman/The Nation

 On the first day of the federal trial challenging North Carolina’s new voting restrictions, thousands of voting-rights activists marched through downtown Winston-Salem. They held signs reading, “North Carolina Is Our Selma” and “50 Years After Selma Voting Rights Still Matter.” At first glance, the comparison between the Selma of the 1960s and the North Carolina of today seems absurd. Before the VRA was passed, only 2 percent of African-Americans were registered to vote in Selma, the most segregated city in the South. Today, largely because of the VRA, 68 percent of black North Carolinians are registered to vote and black turnout exceeded white turnout in the past two presidential elections.  But there’s a crucial similarity between Selma in 1965 and North Carolina in 2015—both show the lengths conservative white Southerners will go to maintain their political power. The billy clubs and literacy tests of yesteryear have been replaced by subtler and more sophisticated attempts to control who can participate in the political process.

Virginia: McAuliffe plans Aug. 17 special session to redraw congressional map | Richmond Times-Dispatch

Gov. Terry McAuliffe is calling an Aug. 17 special session of the General Assembly to comply with a court order that legislators redraw the state’s congressional map by Sept. 1. “This special session is an opportunity to work together to fix Virginia’s congressional district lines so that politicians do not have a greater say in who represents Virginians than voters do,” McAuliffe said in a statement Tuesday. “I look forward to working in a bipartisan way to meet the court’s mandate to pass a fair and equitable map by the court’s deadline.”

Wisconsin: GOP Looks to Overhaul Government Accountability Board | WUWM

Now that the Wisconsin Legislature has wrapped up its budget work, Republican leaders are setting their sights on a new goal — overhauling the state’s Government Accountability Board. It’s the non-partisan board tasked with overseeing elections and political ethics. Its leader, Kevin Kennedy, has have come under fire recently after redesigning the ballot – some believe it gave Democrats an advantage, and for approving a John Doe investigation into Gov. Walker’s 2012 recall campaign. An anonymous article in the Wall Street Journal is prompting renewed calls for change.

Burundi: Ugandan president in Burundi for crisis election talks | AFP

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni arrived in Burundi on Tuesday for crisis talks, as President Pierre Nkurunziza readied for a third term bid in polls next week following months of violence. Museveni, appointed mediator last week by the five-nation East African Community (EAC), arrived by road via Rwanda to push stalled talks between Nkurunziza’s ruling CNDD-FDD party and opposition groups. The veteran Ugandan leader, who first flew to Rwanda for meetings there before entering Burundi escorted by Ugandan armoured vehicles, said in a statement he would “establish a dialogue among warring political factions.” But with the presidential elections now scheduled for July 21, Museveni has been left with only a few days to succeed.

Myanmar: Myanmar Still in Dark Over General Election Main Players | Wall Street Journal

With Myanmar poised to hold its fairest general election in decades, the country remains in the dark over whom and what it will be voting for on Nov. 8. While Aung San Suu Kyi said her party will participate in the election, the Nobel Peace Prize winner is constitutionally barred from becoming president, leaving a blurred picture of what a vote for her would mean. And now the ruling party faces a potential leadership tussle between President Thein Sein and House Speaker Shwe Mann. Mr. Thein Sein, in power since the former military regime ceded control in 2011, has repeatedly hinted that he would seek a second term. On Tuesday, Zaw Htay, director of the president’s office, said Mr. Thein Sein’s “desires had not changed.” He said the president would seek a second term “if it is what the people wish.”

Philippines: Voting in malls might compromise elections, solon says | GMA News

A lawmaker on Tuesday expressed reservation about the proposal to allow voting for the 2016 local and national elections in malls, saying “political operators” might find a way to influence voters in such an open set-up. Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro, chairman of the House committee on suffrage and electoral reforms, said that while the Omnibus Election Code allows the voting to be held in public buildings, there is a possibility that the conduct of elections might be compromised if voters were allowed to cast their votes inside malls.

Rwanda: Lawmakers Back Move to Abolish Presidential Term Limits | VoA News

Rwandan lawmakers approved a measure Tuesday that would pave the way for President Paul Kagame to seek re-election when his second term ends in 2017. Both houses of parliament voted in favor of a petition that calls for the removal of presidential term limits from the country’s constitution. A reported 3.7 million Rwandans signed the petition, more than 30 percent of the population. The proposal will now be taken up by a parliamentary committee. Kagame has effectively ruled Rwanda since the end of the 1994 genocide, and he won easy victories in the 2003 and 2010 elections.