Presidential contenders provided a glimpse inside their campaign war chests on Wednesday, releasing financial statements that offered the first detailed accounting of how the candidates were raising and spending hundreds of millions of dollars in pursuit of elected office. The reports showed, for instance, that Jeb Bush has relied largely on wealthy donors giving the maximum contribution — attracting far less financial support from more modest donors — and that Rick Perry, Ben Carson and Rick Santorum are burning through the money they have raised much more quickly than most of their opponents. Hillary Rodham Clinton raised the most money for the primary of any candidate, $46.7 million, while Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, running against Mrs. Clinton for the Democratic nomination, brought in $15 million, the vast majority of it from donors giving $200 or less.
Kentucky: Legislative panel approves regulations allowing online voter registration | Lexington Herald-Leader
Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes’ efforts to allow online voter registration in Kentucky kept moving through the legislative process Tuesday, though one lawmaker tried to derail it. State Sen. Ernie Harris, R-Crestwood, tried to get his colleagues on the legislature’s Administrative Regulation Review Subcommittee to declare deficient a new state regulation allowing online voter registration. But his request died on a 4-3 vote on the regulation, proposed by the Kentucky State Board of Elections. The legislature’s State Government Committee will review the regulation at its next meeting in a few weeks. If that panel signs off on it, the regulation would take effect in several months.
In an effort to persuade students to vote in local elections, Ward 3 City Councilman Jacob Frey is looking to University of Minnesota-area landlords for help. At a City Council meeting last week, Frey announced he will introduce a plan at the end of the month that would require landlords to hand out voter registration documents to residents when they move in. The idea aims to make voter registration easier for student renters and to increase the number of students turning out on Election Day.
North Carolina: Witnesses: Changes in N.C.’s election law caused voting hardships | Winston-Salem Journal
The second day of the closely watched federal trial on North Carolina’s election law featured testimony from two people, including one from Greensboro, who said their votes did not count in the November 2014 election because of changes that state Republicans made. The North Carolina NAACP, the League of Women Voters, the U.S. Department of Justice and others are suing North Carolina and Gov. Pat McCrory over the 2013 Voter Information Verification Act. The legislation was pushed by a Republican-dominated General Assembly a month after the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The changes in the law included eliminating preregistration of 16- and 17-year-olds, increasing the number of poll observers that each political party can assign and allowing a registered voter in a county to challenge another voter’s right to cast a ballot. Plaintiffs contend that the law is racially discriminatory and imposes unfair burdens on blacks and Latinos, poor people and the young. Attorneys for North Carolina and McCrory deny the allegations and argue that the law gives everyone an equal opportunity to vote.
Just days after Scott Walker officially kicked off his presidential bid, the Wisconsin Supreme Court was set to announce Thursday whether investigators can resume a wide-ranging and secret probe into alleged election law violations during the Republican governor’s 2012 recall campaign. At issue is whether Walker’s campaign and several conservative groups illegally coordinated their activities during the recall, which was spurred by Democratic anger over Walker’s successful drive to effectively end collective bargaining for most public workers. Walker and the groups have denied any wrongdoing and called the probe a violation of their free-speech rights.
Buenos Aires is currently in the middle of electing its mayor and city council. With a first round that took place on July 5th, and a second round due on July 19th, the election is the first time Argentina’s capital city has used an electronic voting system called Vot.ar, created by local company Magic Software Argentina (MSA). Like many e-voting systems before it, the security and accountability of MSA’s Vot.ar has long been questioned by local computer technicians, lawyers, human rights defenders and Internet users. But instead of addressing the flaws or postponing Vot.ar’s deployment, the Buenos Aires authorities have chosen instead to silence and intimidate critics of the system’s unfixed problems. A local judge demanded ISPs block web pages, and ordered a raid on the home of one technologist, Joaquín Sorianello, who disclosed to MSA a key insecurity in their deployed infrastructure. Even as the election continues with its troubled technology, online information on the problems is legally censored from online readers, and Sorianello’s property remains in limbo.
The Burundian government and political opposition groups are committed to resolving the disputes that have flared into violence, with a less than week left before a presidential vote that sparked the unrest, a mediator said. Discussions between the groups, which have included civil society activists, opposition parties and three former presidents, are making progress and they aim to report back with proposals as soon as possible, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said in an e-mailed statement on Wednesday. Museveni, who was picked by the five-nation East African Community to mediate an end to the political crisis, led efforts for two days in Burundi’s capital, Bujumbura, and his defense minister, Crispus Kiyonga, will arrive on Thursday to take over that role.
A top U.S. official stunned some Washington lawmakers Wednesday with testimony that Haiti needs as much as $50 million to carry out successful elections this year. The declaration during a Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on Western Hemisphere hearing comes just three weeks before Haiti is scheduled to hold the first of three critical elections. “There is a fairly good chance (the election) will happen,” Thomas Adams, the State Department’s special coordinator for Haiti, said about the scheduled Aug. 9 elections to restore Haiti’s parliament. “But there are still a few issues left. One is a lack of funding.”
President Vladimir Putin has signed off on a law that brings next year’s Russian parliamentary elections forward by three months, a move some commentators said gives an unfair advantage to pro-Kremlin parties. “The election of the seventh convocation of State Duma deputies will take place on the third Sunday of September 2016,” the Kremlin said in a statement on Wednesday. Parliamentary elections were initially scheduled to take place in December 2016. Supporters of the initiative, including State Duma speaker Sergei Naryshkin, have said an early election would ensure continuity between the adoption and implementation of the 2017 budget. Critics of the move have argued it is unconstitutional and unfairly plays into the hands of the Kremlin.
A lack of funding led to UK stamps being put on postal ballot papers for overseas voters ahead of the general election in May, the Electoral Commission disclosed in a report. A flood of complaints came in from Britons living around the world that they were unable to vote, despite being registered to do so. Some did not receive their postal ballot papers before the May 7 poll, which swept the Conservatives to victory. Others received their papers too late to be able to send them back to their last-registered constituency in time for them to be counted. More than 400 people complained to the Electoral Commission.
The government has suffered yet another defeat in the House of Lords over an amendment that would give 16- and 17-year-olds the vote in council elections. Labour and Liberal Democrat peers teamed up for the second time this week to change the cities and local government devolution bill. They are also planning to stage similar changes to the EU referendum bill to give 16- and 17-year-olds the right to vote in that poll when it comes to the Lords later this year.