Fifty years ago, when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act on Aug. 6, 1965, he felt, his daughter Luci said, “a great sense of victory on one side and a great sense of fear on the other.” According to Ari Berman, a political correspondent for The Nation, he knew the law would transform American politics and democracy more than any other civil rights bill in the 20th century, but he also feared that it would deliver the South to the Republican Party for years to come. Both predictions proved to be accurate. “The revolution of 1965 spawned an equally committed group of counterrevolutionaries,” Berman writes in “Give Us the Ballot.” “Since the V.R.A.’s passage, they have waged a decades-long campaign to restrict voting rights.” Berman argues that these counterrevolutionaries have “in recent years, controlled a majority on the Supreme Court” and “have set their sights on undoing the accomplishments of the 1960s civil rights movement.”
Google has an enormous amount of power through its ability to manipulate search rankings. The company can make or break a brand or website by making minor tweaks to its algorithms. There’s an entire science devoted to interpreting every move Google makes because even subtle changes can make a huge difference. Google has always maintained that the goal of its endless tinkering is delivering the best search results possible. That seems to be true and the search giant famously has a “you can make money without doing evil,” policy, but just because it currently has good intentions does not mean it always will. The company’s success and its ability to control where people go on the Internet put it into a place where it could impact the next president of the United States. There’s no reason to believe Google intends to rig the coming election, but it has that power according to a Politico essay written by Robert Epstein, senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology and the former editor-in-chief of Psychology Today.
A panel of skeptical federal judges Tuesday questioned a state lawyer on whether voter race was the predominant consideration when Republican lawmakers drew at least some of Alabama’s new legislative districts. The three-judge panel asked the state to explain why certain districts were drawn the way they were, with at least two judges suggesting that they saw problems with some of the lines. Voter race could be a factor in the decision-making, but couldn’t be the sole concern, judges and lawyers said. “I think there are some districts where you have a problem,” U.S. Circuit Judge Bill Pryor, a former state attorney general, said during questioning. The judges heard oral arguments after the U.S Supreme Court sent the case back for additional review. The Legislative Black Caucus and the Alabama Democratic Conference challenged the districts, saying lawmakers illegal sorted voters by race, packing black voters into designated minority districts and limiting their ability to influence elections elsewhere.
Colorado will not vote for a Republican candidate for president at its 2016 caucus after party leaders approved a little-noticed shift that may diminish the state’s clout in the most open nomination contest in the modern era. The GOP executive committee voted Friday to cancel the traditional presidential preference poll after the national party changed its rules to require a state’s delegates to support the candidate that wins the caucus vote. The move makes Colorado the only state so far to forfeit a role in the early nomination process, according to political experts, but other caucus states are still considering how to adapt to the new rule.
The top election official in Kansas has asked a Sedgwick County judge to block the release of voting machine tapes sought by a Wichita mathematician who is researching statistical anomalies favoring Republicans in counts coming from large precincts in the November 2014 general election. Secretary of State Kris Kobach argued that the records sought by Wichita State University mathematician Beth Clarkson are not subject to the Kansas open records act, and that their disclosure is prohibited by Kansas statute. His response, which was faxed Friday to the Sedgwick County District Court, was made public Monday. Clarkson, chief statistician for the university’s National Institute for Aviation Research, filed the open records lawsuit as part of her personal quest to find the answer to an unexplained pattern that transcends elections and states. She wants the hard-copies to check the error rate on electronic voting machines that were used in a voting station in Sedgwick County to establish a statistical model.
A Wake County judge will have to decide whether changes enacted this summer to soften North Carolina’s voter ID requirement should end a lawsuit that claims the state’s voting law violates the state constitution. Lawyers for the state and plaintiffs in the case, which include the League of Women Voters, squared off before Judge Michael Morgan Monday morning in Wake County Superior Court. “The statute the plaintiffs are challenging is no longer the statute that is on the books,” said Alec Peters, a special deputy attorney general in the North Carolina Attorney General’s office.
About this time last year, the cost for Texas to defend redistricting maps was around $3.9 million. Add at least $1 million after a federal appeals panel last week awarded that amount to attorneys challenging the maps. According to the opinion, the Texas attorney general’s office’s response to a court order was woefully inadequate. Let’s be clear. We’re talking about the previous administration under now-Gov. Greg Abbott.
Here’s what else is inadequate — the state’s approach to redistricting altogether. But this latest cost adds a different wrinkle. It doesn’t take much reading between the lines of the panel’s decision to conclude the state’s approach on these legal fees involved a degree of incompetence. Texas was appealing a court order last year that it pay legal fees to lawyers who challenged the maps.
Argentina: Finger pointing in Argentina after police break up protests over ballot burning | Associated PRess
In a sign of increasing tension ahead of October elections, the top presidential candidates in Argentina and other government officials exchanged accusations on Tuesday after protests over alleged vote fraud in a northern province were broken up with tear gas and rubber bullets. Cabinet chief Anibal Fernandez suggested that foreign elements from “up north” had organized the late Monday protests, which ended when police fired on people and forcefully removed them from the main square of San Miguel de Tucuman, about 807 miles (1,300 kilometers) north of Buenos Aires. Mauricio Macri, the leading opposition candidate for October’s presidential election, told reporters on Tuesday that it’s impossible to say Sunday’s gubernatorial election in Tucuman was clean when at least 40 ballot boxes had been burned. “We can’t say that this was a normal election,” said Macri, adding that having voting irregularities “in the 21st century is unacceptable.”
China: ‘Tip of the iceberg’: Warning from pan-democratic parties over 400 suspicious Hong Kong voter records | South China Morning Post
Pan-democratic parties flocked to the election watchdog yesterday to lodge more complaints about the records of over 550 voters with suspicious or false residential addresses, warning they could be “the tip of the iceberg”. A flood of cases reported to the Registration and Electoral Office recently included complaints by residents of unknown people registering their home addresses for voting in the district council elections in November. Among new cases yesterday were voters registering addresses that do not exist, and seven or eight voters registering as living together in flats of 200 to 300 sq ft. In one case a voter claimed to be living in a hospital.
Myanmar’s powerful commander-in-chief has reiterated that the military will respect the outcome of the country’s Nov 8 election, seen as a crucial test of Myanmar’s reform process. Senior General Min Aung Hlaing said that the main concern of the armed forces, known as the Tatmadaw, is that the vote is carried out fairly and that the result is respected by everyone – even if Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) wins a majority. “We wouldn’t mind even if the NLD won in the next general election, as long as it is free and fair,” he told members of the Myanmar’s Interim Press Council, a media support group, during a meeting on Monday.
Singapore would hold a snap general election on Sept 11, officials said yesterday, as Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong sought a new mandate from voters worried over immigration and the high cost of living. Despite a slowing economy, the People’s Action Party (PAP), which has ruled for more than 50 years thanks to strict political controls and Singaporeans’ rising affluence, is expected to keep its overwhelming majority in parliament against a fragmented opposition. But the party will be under pressure to improve on its electoral performance in 2011, when it won just 60 percent of votes cast — its lowest-ever share — despite retaining 80 of the 87 seats in a block-voting system. It will be the first election without the prime minister’s hugely influential father, independence leader Lee Kuan Yew, who died in March.
Harriet Harman has said 3,000 alleged “cheats” have so far been excluded from voting in the Labour leadership contest, with more expected. The acting Labour leader said: “It is not funny or clever for people from other parties to try to cheat their way into our system.” And only people who supported the “aims and values” of the Labour Party would be allowed to take part. She was speaking after a meeting with the four leadership contenders. She said the verification process was “robust” and would go on until the “very last minute”.