National: Hillary Clinton proposes campaign finance overhaul to limit influence of big donors | The Guardian

Hillary Clinton is proposing a slate of campaign finance reform measures aimed at limiting political donations by corporations and large donors while increasing transparency in election spending. Clinton, who is seeking the nomination to be the Democratic candidate in the November 2016 presidential election, identified measures she would pursue if she became president. Among them are rules requiring greater disclosure of political spending, including by publicly traded companies and US government contractors, and a program that would provide matching funds for small donations to presidential and congressional candidates. “We have to end the flood of secret, unaccountable money that is distorting our elections, corrupting our political system and drowning out the voices of too many everyday Americans,” Clinton said. “Our democracy should be about expanding the franchise, not charging an entrance fee.”

Arizona: Utility regulators seek legal advice on dark money | The Arizona Republic

Utility regulators at the Arizona Corporation Commission asked Tuesday for a legal opinion from their staff about dark-money political contributions that utilities could be making toward the campaigns of candidates who, if elected, will set their rates. Susan Bitter Smith and Bob Burns are trying to encourage utilities and other entities such as rooftop-solar groups from funding independent political groups that advertise for and against candidates for the commission. But they said they need more information on whether they can force utilities to disclose such spending

Florida: House balks at another redistricting session | News Service of Florida

House Speaker Steve Crisafulli on Tuesday all but ruled out a special session to take another stab at drawing new districts for Florida’s congressional delegation, making it increasingly likely that the task will fall to the courts. In a memo sent to state House members, Crisafulli indicated he would not back off a demand that lawmakers approve a “base map” aimed at satisfying a July Supreme Court ruling, which found that existing congressional districts violate the anti-gerrymandering “Fair Districts” standards approved by voters in 2010. During a special session last month, senators tried to amend the base map, but House leaders said that could cause the courts to strike down districts again. The session imploded after the House and Senate failed to reach agreement. The Supreme Court on Friday sent the redistricting issue back to Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis, who has overseen long-running litigation about the congressional map. But justices left open the possibility that lawmakers still could go into special session and agree on districts.

Editorials: Maryland Redistricting reform gets another day in court | Capital Gazette

The betting odds are that the case filed by Stephen M. Shapiro, a former federal employee from Bethesda, won’t make a dent in Maryland’s chronic gerrymandering — the manipulation of district lines in order to benefit the majority party. All past attempts to get the judiciary to intervene have failed. But you have to give Shapiro, who has pursued the issue for a quarter-century, credit for trying. His determination has gotten him not just a day in court but a day (well, actually more like an hour) in the U.S. Supreme Court this fall. The court is scheduled to hear a case resulting from Shapiro’s contention that the maps drawn by this state’s Democrats after the 2010 census violate First Amendment rights to free speech.

Minnesota: Voting rights’ next frontier: 16 year-olds? | MinnPost

In most U.S. states, a typical 16-year-old can drive a car, get married, hold a job and pay taxes on the income they earn from that job. Fifth District Rep. Keith Ellison believes there’s another thing 16-year-olds should be allowed to do: vote. Last week, Ellison tweeted, “I think the voting age should be lowered to 16. What do you think?” It wasn’t the first time he had expressed his view about the voting age; he did so in 2012, also on Twitter. Speaking with MinnPost last week, Ellison says he was inspired to take up the cause a few years ago, recalling a visit with high school students in Minneapolis. “One of the students said to me, ‘How come we can’t vote? We pay sales tax and payroll tax.’ I said, it makes a lot of sense to me. What could go wrong if 16-year-olds could vote? A lot could go right.” Continued visits with high school students have shored up that point of view: Ellison says he is frequently impressed by the knowledge of high school students, adding that they sometimes know more about the issues than adults.

Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania becomes 23rd state to offer online voter registration | The Daily Collegian

Preparing for the next election just became easier for Pennsylvanians, who can now register to vote online. On Aug. 27, Gov. Tom Wolf and his Secretary of State Pedro Cortès, made Pennsylvania the 23rd state in the country to offer the modernized option with hopes that it will offer convenience and more accessibility. “It is about giving citizens an easier way to exercise their right to vote and establishing a clearer connection between the political system and the citizens,” Wolf said, according to his website. Since its release, over 4,000 people have already registered to vote, said Wanda Murren, press secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of State.

Voting Blogs: Puerto Rico and Electoral College reform | Excess of Democracy

The New York Times recently reported on comments by Hillary Clinton in Puerto Rico about the territory’s status in presidential elections:

But she also has an eye on the general election. Puerto Ricans are increasingly moving to Central Florida, where they are a key voting bloc in the swing state. In the past two elections, they have turned out in large numbers, helping hand President Obama his two victories in Florida. And she hinted at as much as she closed her remarks in Puerto Rico. “It always struck me as so indefensible that you can’t vote for president if you live here,” she said with a slight smile. “But if you move to Florida — which, of course, I’m just naming a state — you can vote for president.”

Wisconsin: Democrats renew push for redistricting reform | Wisconsin Radio Network

Democratic state lawmakers are once again calling for a change in how Wisconsin does legislative redistricting every ten years. Currently, data from the decennial U.S. Census is used by the majority party in each chamber to redraw the district lines across the state. Democrats argue the issues with the process came to a head in 2011 when, for the first time in decades, Republicans were in complete control of Wisconsin government. During a Capitol press conference Tuesday to unveil the bill, state Rep. Dave Considine (D-Baraboo) said a recent study of that process resulted in Wisconsin being called “the most gerrymandered state in the country.” Democrats are reintroducing a bill that would change the way the state draws district lines every decade. Under the proposal, which is similar to legislation introduced last session, the non-partisan Legislative Reference Bureau would draw new legislative and congressional district maps, aided by a Redistricting Advisory Commission.

Argentina: Court blocks proclamation of winner in provincial vote | EFE

An Argentine court on Tuesday ordered the electoral board of the northern province of Tucuman not to declare any winner in the Aug. 23 gubernatorial election until a move to have the ballot overturned is resolved. Election officials must “refrain from considering closed the process of definitive vote-counting which is under way and from declaring winners,” the administrative court ruled. The court also ordered all ballots and ballot boxes used in the elections to be protected.

Haiti: Leading political party pulls out of Haiti’s legislative elections | Reuters

A leading political party in Haiti announced on Tuesday that it was pulling out of next month’s legislative elections, saying it was the primary victim of violence during the first round of voting in August. It was not immediately clear whether the pullout would disrupt the second-round runoff on Oct. 25, when Haitians are also due to cast ballots for a new president. But the move was seen as another setback for stability in the impoverished Caribbean country, long rocked by political turmoil. The Vérité (Truth) Party, which announced its boycott of the upcoming poll, is widely seen as a leading political threat to President Michel Martelly’s Haitian Tet Kale (Bald Headed) Party, which takes its name from Martelly’s trademark shaved scalp.

Myanmar: President wants ceasefire ahead of elections | Al Jazeera

Myanmar President Thein Sein has made his first public appearance since the start of a campaign for November 8 general elections, meeting leaders of ethnic armed groups for ceasefire talks. At the opening of the talks in the capital Naypyitaw on Wednesday, Thein Sein stressed the importance of peace in the country’s “transition to democracy” through peace. “I hope today’s summit will pave the way to signing the nationwide ceasefire agreement by the end of September,” he said. Clinching the deal with the armed groups would be a political win for Thein Sein, who made it his top priority, boosting the chances of his ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party in the first general elections since the end of military rule. He said that he wants the ceasefire signed by September 29.

Trinidad and Tobago: Voters usher opposition back into power | The Statesman

Voters in Trinidad and Tobago chose not to give Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s coalition a new five-year term, opting to bring back the opposition under Keith Rowley. People in the oil-rich, twin island nation off South America’s northeastern shoulder voted yesterday in elections that had the prime minister battling both the opposition — and an upstart splinter party launched by disgraced football honcho Jack Warner. Persad-Bissessar’s main challenger was Rowley, a vulcanologist; his People’s National Movement (PNM) has governed the nation more than any other since independence from Britain in 1964. “These are not the times of milk and honey. There are difficult times ahead. We have a resilient people, particularly a large body of young people who are looking for a future from our country,” the prime minister-elect said to chants of “Rowley, Rowley” from hundreds of supporters.

United Kingdom: EU referendum: David Cameron suffers defeat in parliament over ‘purdah’ rules | The Guardian

David Cameron has suffered a humiliating defeat over the EU referendum as Tory rebels and Labour put aside their differences to oppose changes to the rules that restrict government campaigning before an election. The government lost by 27 votes as a group of Tory backbenchers argued that Downing Street was trying to unduly influence the result in favour of staying in the EU. The rebels, led by Eurosceptics including Bernard Jenkin, Bill Cash and Steve Baker, said it was wrong of the government to seek changes to purdah, which is the month-long period before a poll when government announcements and spending are restricted.