The American Civil Liberties Union weighed in last month on this term’s big Supreme Court voting rights case, the one that will decide the meaning of “one person, one vote.” It took the position embraced by most liberals: that states should be allowed to count everybody in drawing election districts, including unauthorized immigrants, rather than only people eligible to vote. But the group seemed to take the opposite position in a pair of recent lawsuits it filed in Rhode Island and Florida, in which it objected to counting prisoners when drawing voting districts. Counting prisoners in one district, the lawsuits said, “dilutes the voting strength and political influence” of eligible voters in other districts. There may be good reasons for treating prisoners differently from other people who cannot vote. But it is also true that counting prisoners, often housed in rural areas, tends to amplify the power of Republican voters. Counting unauthorized immigrants, who often live in urban areas, generally helps Democrats.
Alabama: For Alabama’s Poor, the Budget Cuts Trickle Down, Limiting Access to Driver’s Licenses | The New York Times
It is about an hour and 10 minutes to Tuscaloosa, the nearest big city to this little knot of houses and churches in the Alabama pines. For the hundreds in this poor county who do not have a car or a friend with the spare time, someone can usually be found who is willing to give a ride. For a fee, of course. “You want to get to T-town, it’s at least $50,” said William Bankhead, 56, sitting in front of a boarded-up building that was once Panola’s general store. “We’re a long ways from a place.” As of last week, Tuscaloosa is the nearest location where a person here can get a driver’s license, after the state decided to stop providing services at 31 satellite locations around the state. The fallout from this decision has been widespread: national politicians and civil rights advocates have condemned Alabama for shuttering the locations, many of them in the state’s majority black counties, just a year after requiring that people show photo identification at the polling locations.
California will overhaul how it handles vote recounts during statewide elections, replacing a system that critics say is unfair and fails to safeguard the outcome of tight races. The new rules, approved by Gov. Jerry Brown on Saturday when he signed legislation from Assemblyman Kevin Mullin (D-South San Francisco), would require the state to pick up the tab for recounts. Right now, any candidate or voter can request a review, but they have to pay for it themselves. In addition, they choose the specific counties whose ballots would be double-checked. It’s a system that was showcased last year, when Betty Yee was leading John Pérez by fewer than 500 votes in the primary contest for state controller. Pérez started paying for a recount, but eventually gave up after spending tens of thousands of dollars to gain only a handful of votes. Yee went on to win the general election. “I don’t think anybody realized the crazy process that existed until we had the controller race,” Mullin said.
California is considering some of the nation’s strictest campaign-finance rules, aimed at keeping candidates from coordinating with groups able to raise unlimited amounts of money on their behalf. The state’s Fair Political Practices Commission is scheduled to vote on the proposals Thursday. The rules would apply to statewide and local elections. The vote comes as outside groups are playing a central role in national campaigns since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010. That ruling led to the growth of super PACs, which can raise and spend unlimited amounts in support of candidates, or their opponents, but cannot legally coordinate with candidate campaigns.
Florida: Judge rejects Legislature’s redistricting map, recommends plaintiffs’ plan | Tampa Bay Times
Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis on Friday rejected the Florida Legislature’s third attempt at redrawing its congressional districts and recommended a map proposed by the challengers to the Florida Supreme Court for its final review. Lewis adopted the bulk of the map approved by lawmakers in the northern and central portions of the state but specifically rejected the proposed boundaries for seven districts, including District 26 in Miami-Dade, now held by Republican Congressman Carlos Curbelo, potentially unseating at least three incumbents congressional candidates and opening the door for others. Download Romo Order Recommending Adoption of Remedial Map
North Carolina: Author says North Carolina leads in national trend to roll back voting rights | Winston-Salem Journal
North Carolina is emerging as ground-zero for the modern-day voting rights movement, an author of a book about the history of voting rights said in an interview Friday. “North Carolina is a case study in the voting rights fight,” said Ari Berman, author of “Give Us The Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America” and a writer for The Nation, a left-leaning magazine. Berman spoke Friday during the 72nd annual convention of the N.C. NAACP, which has the theme, “Pursuing Liberty in the Face of Injustice.” The convention started Thursday and ends Sunday. The Rev. William Barber, president of the state NAACP, said he expects 800 to 1,000 people to attend.
Voters will have a chance to change the way politicians draw state legislative district lines when they consider State Issue 1 on November 3. “The drawing of the lines is the single most significant factor in determining who wins,” said former State Rep. Vernon Sykes, an Akron Democrat who with former state Rep. Matt Huffman, R-Lima, is co-chairing the Fair Districts for Ohio campaign promoting State Issue 1. Supporters say the proposed constitutional amendment would upend what has been a largely partisan exercise that allows the party in power to create districts packed with its supporters while marginalizing supporters of the minority party. Lines are redrawn for the Ohio Legislature every 10 years to reflect population shifts.
The Shelby County Election Commission spent most of today trying to figure out what caused a technical glitch that delayed tabulation and release of last night’s election results. It took until early into this morning before the count was complete. The local I-Team’s senior investigator, Jeni Diprizio, spent today trying to get to the bottom of what really went wrong. At the election commission, officials have spent Friday trying to get to the bottom of what went wrong.
Election season is in full swing. This year, it is not a presidential election to which I am referring, of course—both parties’ candidates and the initial GOP debates to the contrary—but on Nov. 3, registered voters 18 and older can go to the polls to elect Virginia Senate and House of Delegates seats throughout our commonwealth. Of course, not all of the eligible registered voters will participate in what is perhaps our most holy of democratic traditions. Some may be turned away for not having the correct photo ID—a potential impediment not required in recent decades in Virginia, before last year’s elections. Virginia legislators, it seems, must spend much of their time away from Richmond looking under their beds for practically nonexistent fraudulent voters, thereby disenfranchising many of whom they perceive as the “wrong” voters.
Internal corporate network of the Central Election Commission of Azerbaijan can act in perspective as a platform to launch electronic voting system in the election process in the country. This was announced by the Director of the CEC Information Center, Rufat Gulmammadov at a briefing organized by the Information and Computing Center of Azerbaijan’s Communications and High Technologies Ministry on October 9.
According to him, addressing the issues of legal regulation is an important component of this process.
Aleksandr G. Lukashenko, the authoritarian president of Belarus, who suffered the indignity last week of seeing one of his sharpest critics win the Nobel Prize in Literature, won a prize of his own on Sunday: the presidency of Belarus, though that outcome had never been in doubt. Mr. Lukashenko, a former collective farm director who has led Belarus for 21 years, got nearly 83.5 percent of the vote, the Central Election Commission reported late Sunday, trouncing three token competitors and winning a fifth term.
More than 9,000 people are pledging to vote in the federal election with their faces covered in order to make a point. Launched on Facebook by a Quebec woman, the movement suggests people have the right to vote while wearing anything at all, whether it’s a potato sack, a Darth Vader mask or a black veil. The page’s creator, Catherine LeClerc said she started the page on her own in her living room after growing frustrated with the government’s inability to ban religious garb, such as the niqab, while taking oaths of citizenship or while voting. But she denied it being against Muslims and said it’s more about transparency. “It’s not against a religious group,” said Leclerc, adding that the movement she started is merely pushing for secularism in democratic processes. The page links to an Elections Canada webpage that indicates people can refuse to take their masks off and still vote.
Guinea started counting votes in Sunday’s presidential election, which the opposition has said was marred by irregularities. European Union observers said there were some delays opening polling stations. Overall, though, the voting progressed in a credible way, Frank Engel, the European Union’s chief observer, told reporters on Sunday. The opposition said on Saturday it would probably refuse to accept the results. The first tally of votes will be released as early as Thursday, the electoral commission said. Voting was extended by two hours to accommodate voters at precincts that opened late. Guinea is the world’s largest exporter of bauxite. “The electoral commission probably was less ready than what it asserted,” Engel said. “I have the impression at this moment that what we saw, observed and which was indicated to us does not smear the regularity of the vote.”
The European Union has deployed 30 long-term election observers to join its core team already in Myanmar to monitor the country’s upcoming general election scheduled for Nov. 8, an official report said Monday. The long-term observers will cover all regions, states and territories in both urban and rural areas and will observe the entire electoral process prior, during and after the election. They will be also joined by another 62 short-term observers and a delegation of the European Parliament shortly before the election, so that a total of 150 observers from all the 28 EU member states as well as Norway, Switzerland and Canada will be deployed on the election day along with EU diplomats.