Editorials: Alaska will gain by providing voter registration with PFD application | Alaska Dispatch News

We live in the digital age. With a few clicks of the mouse or finger taps on a smartphone we have access to a wealth of information that was unimaginable just a few years ago. An entire generation has grown up with the Internet, and it seems like there is an app for everything. You may even be reading this on your smartphone right now. But there is one aspect of our lives that has not embraced the digital transition. And it relates to the most important aspect of our democracy: voting. For some reason, we Alaskans cannot register to vote without printing out a piece of paper and mailing it to the State Division of Elections. It is hard to believe we are still dealing with such an anachronism, especially when we have been able to apply for our annual Permanent Fund dividend (PFD) online, through a secure platform, for a decade (something over 83 percent of Alaskans now do). Fortunately, we can change this.

Iowa: Judge upholds law disqualifying Iowa felons from voting | Globe Gazette

An Iowa judge upheld a state law that disqualifies felons from voting but said the state Supreme Court needs to sort out the confusion it caused last year when it ruled not all felons are automatically disenfranchised. Judge Arthur Gamble ruled Monday in the case of a woman who voted in a 2013 city election thinking her voting rights had been restored after she completed probation on a 2008 felony cocaine delivery charge. The case was one of the first brought against a felon who had voted that went to a jury. Kelli Jo Griffin of Montrose, 42, who said she’s turned her life around from drug addiction, was charged with perjury for registering to vote as a felon but a jury last year found her not guilty. Jurors concluded she’d made an honest mistake.

Kansas: Paul Davis files lawsuit against Kris Kobach over purging of suspended voters list | The Wichita Eagle

Paul Davis filed a lawsuit in federal court Wednesday against Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach over a new rule that will remove names from the suspended voters list. Davis, a Lawrence attorney who ran an unsuccessful campaign for governor in 2014, said federal law prohibits Kobach from “purging voters.” The state enacted a requirement that beginning in 2013, prospective voters must provide proof of citizenship, such as a passport or birth certificate, when they register to vote – a policy Kobach championed. Since the law went into effect, nearly 37,000 voters have been left in suspended registration status. For perspective, Davis lost to Gov. Sam Brownback in the last election by fewer than 33,000 votes. Davis said he didn’t think proof of citizenship affected the outcome of the election.

Editorials: In Virginia’s sham democracy, voters are robbed at the ballot box | The Washington Post

In Virginia, the incumbent protection racket known as redistricting has ensured that another all-but-meaningless season of state legislative elections has arrived, and with it the predictable response — namely, apathy and wan turnout. That’s fine by the lawmakers who drew the commonwealth’s electoral map, and who evidently prefer that voters ratify the status quo than enjoy a genuine choice at the ballot. In legislative elections in November, a Republican faces a Democrat in just 29 of the 100 races for the House of Delegates. As for those 29, most feature underfunded challengers mounting quixotic races against entrenched incumbents; they are contests in name only. The picture for the state Senate isn’t much better. A Republican faces a Democrat in just 20 of the 40 seats; perhaps a half-dozen races will wind up being genuinely competitive. (In one nominal contest, state Sen. Thomas K. Norment Jr. (R-Williamsburg), a darling of corporate lobbyists, has a war chest approaching $2 million; his Democratic opponent has less than $10,000.) Taking the two chambers together, well over half of incumbents are running unopposed.

Wisconsin: Government Accountability Board head asks lawmakers to delay overhaul of elections agency | Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

The head of the state’s elections board has urged legislative leaders to slow down their plans to overhaul the agency, but top GOP lawmakers say they will unveil their restructuring plans next week. Gerald Nichol, chairman of the Government Accountability Board, in a letter to lawmakers raised concerns about restructuring the board 13 months before the high-turnout presidential election. His request to slow down fell on deaf ears. On Wednesday, aides to Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) said they reached a deal on the matter. They declined to provide details, saying they would make their plans public next week. The leaders discussed the plan briefly with GOP Gov. Scott Walker. Walker spokeswoman Laurel Patrick said in an email Walker “looks forward to working with them to find a replacement that is fair, transparent, and accountable to Wisconsinites.”

Canada: Elections Canada fixing mix-up, re-sending voter cards | CBC News

Elections Canada has reissued some Saskatchewan voters their voter information cards, this time with the correct information. It admits some voters received the wrong information about where their polling station was. “If you received your voter information card and something seems off, if you’re unsure, if it seems like your polling station is 70 kilometres away, I invite you to call Elections Canada,” says Marie-France Kenny, the regional media advisor for Elections Canada. “Most likely, we’re already aware. But just to be on the safe side, and to make sure you are going to the right station and that we do give you those voter information cards with the correct information, call your local Canada Elections office.”

Voting Blogs: Kyrgyzstan’s elections: a gentleman’s agreement | openDemocracy

Voters in Kyrgyzstan go to the polls this Sunday to elect a new parliament, with 14 political parties contesting the 120 seats in the Jogorku Kenesh. The ruling Social Democratic Party (SDRK), under its leader President Almazbek Atambayev, is set to keep its hold on government. But this time, other parties have also been given access to ‘administrative resources’ to help sway the voters, and Atambayev’s political competitors have been happily upholding the tradition of misusing them.

Myanmar: Carter Center frets over election credibility | Myanmar Times

As the third week of election campaigning kicks off, an international monitoring group is already raising alarm over the credibility of the elections. In a statement, the U.S.-based Carter Center questioned the legitimacy of the candidate scrutiny process that scrubbed more than 100 election hopefuls from the final list. Though the Union Election Commission reinstated 11 Muslim nominees just before the Carter Center released its findings on September 25, 75 candidates continue to be barred from the polls, largely due to the alleged citizenship status of their parents. “Although the number of disqualified candidates is relatively small, restrictive requirements, selective enforcement, and a lack of procedural safeguards call into question the credibility of the process,” the report stated.

Portugal: Not Even Voters Care as Portugal’s Election Offers Little Choice | Bloomberg

Portugal is set to register one of the lowest election turnouts since the transition to democracy in 1974, with voters turned off by the lack of choice or abandoning the country to try their luck elsewhere. More than 40 percent of the 9.6 million eligible voters may sit out the Oct. 4 ballot, said Antonio Costa Pinto, a political science professor at the University of Lisbon. The numbers opting to stay at home may even surpass the record 41.9 percent in 2011, the year Portugal requested a bailout. With apathy gripping so many voters, the result may prove a hollow victory for European officials seeking vindication for their austerity policies after being demonized in parts of the continent for their hard-line tactics with Greece.

Spain: Catalonia’s President to Face Court Questioning Over Independence Vote | Wall Street Journal

A court in Catalonia on Tuesday summoned the leader of the wealthy region for questioning for allegedly defying a constitutional court order and organizing a symbolic referendum on Catalan independence last November. The High Court of Justice of Catalonia called on regional President Artur Mas to appear Oct. 15 to explain his role in the symbolic vote in which 2.3 million people participated. The court is investigating a criminal complaint filed last year by Spain’s attorney general against Mr. Mas and two other Catalan officials shortly after the vote. The three officials were charged with four crimes each, including contempt of court and misappropriation of funds.

Alabama: Voter ID and driver’s license office closures black-out Alabama’s Black Belt | AL.com

I still remember when the lady in the uniform giving me my driver’s test asked me to do a three-point turn. Instead, I gave her a blank stare. I had no idea what a three-point turn was. It was a couple of days after my sixteenth birthday, and I knew right then that I wouldn’t be getting a license that day, but the lady was nice about it. Politely, she explained what I was supposed to do. Next we drove back to the Clarke County courthouse, and she failed me. A couple weeks later, I took the test again. That time, I passed, but my parents weren’t all that happy that we had to make a second trip. And that trip was only 10 miles, each way. When you live in a rural area, 10 miles seems a lot farther there. However, today a lot of folks will have to drive a lot farther just to be able to drive.