Call it a dream for California political consultants, a nightmare for voters or an electoral extravaganza: The November 2016 ballot could feature a bigger crop of statewide propositions than at any time in the past decade. “The voters pamphlet is going to look like the Encyclopaedia Brittanica,” said Steve Maviglio, a Democratic campaign strategist. The list of measures is very much a work in progress. Most campaigns are still gathering voter signatures or waiting for their proposals to be vetted by state officials. But political strategists have identified at least 15 — perhaps as many as 19 –measures that all have a shot at going before voters next fall. The last time California’s ballot was that long was in November 2004, when there were 16 propositions. The March 2000 ballot had 20.
After a second consecutive redistricting session fell apart Thursday and the Legislature went home yet again without passing a map, lawmakers’ message was more or less: We told you so. Five years ago, with voters set to decide whether to add the anti-gerrymandering “Fair Districts” amendments to the Florida Constitution, legislative leaders argued against it. The standards were unworkable, they argued. Despite language calling for cities and counties to be kept whole, communities that had similar interests could be divided or disregarded. The amendments would lead to endless litigation and could become a quagmire. And with the collapse this week of a special session called to redraw the 40 state Senate districts, two of the three maps once controlled by the Legislature will instead be selected by the courts. Later this week, the Florida Supreme Court will consider whether to accept a Leon County judge’s recommendation that a map submitted by voting-rights groups be used for Florida’s congressional elections.
The DeKalb County election official placed on administrative leave complained about a faulty piece of equipment turned in from Tuesday’s election, according to elections director Maxine Daniels. Daniels said she suspended Leonard Piazza following a conflict he’d had with a subordinate. She declined to say if the conflict with the subordinate was related to the faulty equipment. Friday, DeKalb county officials certified the LaVista Hills cityhood vote now under investigation by the state. 11Alive news first reported the investigation into the election Wednesday. The state is investigating complaints of fraud.
More evidence is emerging calling into question the officially reported results of Tuesday’s marijuana legalization vote in Ohio, where Issue 3 was defeated by a two-to-one margin. On Friday, the Columbus Free Press published a series of screenshots of live televised election returns from Dayton’s WHIO-TV provided by Ohio’s Secretary of State. The sequence showed hundreds of thousands of votes flipped within minutes from the “yes” to “no” column of Issue 3. The controversial measure would have established a state-licensed cartel of 10 licensed growers operating regulated indoor grow sites of up to 300,000 square feet each. The pro-marijuana activist community was divided on the measure. The screenshots, posted below, show hundreds of thousands of votes flipping from the “yes” to the “no” column in 11 minutes, even though the number of precincts reporting only increased by 6 percent. In the first screenshot, with 39 percent of precincts reporting, the pot measure is winning 65-to-35 percent. In the second screenshot those percentages are reversed, even though the number of precincts reporting results has only increased by 6 percent. Look at the number of votes in each column and you will see that hundreds of thousands have been jumped from supporting to opposing the measure.
A package of bills to tighten the city’s campaign finance rules is set to be introduced in the City Council this week. The legislation would bar more people from giving big bucks to candidates because they do business with the city, and slap more restrictions on fundraising by such donors. “We’re taking on the onslaught of dark money and special interests in the city’s elections,” said Councilman Ben Kallos, chair of the government operations committee and one of the sponsors. Right now, owners of firms with city business are bound by strict contribution limits – but their parent companies and those companies’ execs aren’t covered. That means real estate titans who hide their business in multiple LLCs can get out of the rules.
Pennsylvania: Dismissed Luzerne County election official on leave from new job in Georgia during probe of alleged voting irregularities – Times Leader – timesleader.com
Former Luzerne County Election Bureau Director Leonard Piazza was placed on paid leave from a similar job in Georgia while state officials investigate allegations of voter fraud in a referendum that failed this week. Burke Brennan a spokesman for DeKalb County Friday confirmed Piazza was on administrative leave pending an investigation into the vote to make LaVista Hills a city. The ballot measure lost by 136 votes and according to media reports, Piazza said he took steps to attempt to prove fraud. Piazza could not be reached for comment.
Texas: Court orders redistricting maps to stay the same, 2016 elections will proceed | Houston Chronicle
Texas’ political maps won’t change for the 2016 elections, a federal court has ruled in a decision intended to provide certainty for candidates, election officials and voters ahead of the upcoming cycle. A three-judge panel in San Antonio on Friday rejected a motion to temporarily block a set of redistricting maps passed by the Legislature in 2013 for Congress and the Texas House. Litigation on the maps remains pending, as civil rights groups say they discriminate against minorities. The three-judge panel said it has not reached a final decision and that the current boundaries are being “used on an interim basis only.”
State Sen. Todd Weiler has asked the lieutenant governor’s office for a formal determination on whether he could become a Republican nominee by gathering signatures, potentially bringing to a head the dispute between the party and elections officials. “A lot of my colleagues have called and asked me these questions, and I’ve given them my opinion, but my opinion doesn’t count,” the District 23 Republican said. “Candidates are entitled to know the lay of the land so they can plan accordingly. And right now, everything seems to be up in the air.” In the letter, Weiler said he plans to begin gathering signatures on petitions in January to secure a spot on the Republican primary ballot. He also plans to seek the nomination through the party’s convention.
On Tuesday, Seattle voters advanced the city’s reputation for progressivism when they approved a bold and unusual campaign finance reform plan. The plan will draw on real estate taxes to give every registered voter $100 in “democracy vouchers” to spend on candidates in the next city elections. The 10-year, $30 million experiment in taxpayer subsidized elections was approved by a 20 percent margin in an initiative that supporters said was a reaction to the ability of affluent donors to dominate campaigns. Under the plan, every voter will receive four $25 vouchers in every election cycle to be used only as campaign contributions to candidates in city races.
The state Senate voted early Saturday morning to approve sweeping changes to the state’s election and campaign finance systems, ending weeks of uncertainty surrounding the bills’ fates. One bill would alter state campaign finance law by increasing contribution limits for campaign donations and loosening restrictions on political action committee giving. That measure passed 17-15 with state Sen. Robert Cowles, R-Green Bay, voting with the Democratic minority to oppose the measures. The second bill, designed to split the state’s nonpartisan election board into two entities comprised equally of Republicans and Democrats, passed on a party-line vote.
Wisconsin: GOP lawmakers reverse course, balk at campaign donor reporting | Milwaukee Jounal-Sentinel
GOP state senators reversed course early Saturday and voted to let people make political donations without disclosing their employers as part of a broad overhaul of campaign finance laws. The bill passed just after midnight 17-15, with all Democrats and Sen. Rob Cowles (R-Allouez) opposing the measure and all other GOP senators supporting it. The measure now returns to the state Assembly, which will have to agree to the changes made by the Senate. GOP senators also approved a bill to eliminate the state Government Accountability Board, which runs elections and oversees ethics laws, and to give those duties to two new commissions. The proposal, which passed on a strictly party-line vote of 18-14, goes to the Assembly as well. Together the proposals would represent a significant shift in how elections are run and how money flows in the world of Wisconsin politics.
Mauricio Macri’s surprisingly strong showing against Daniel Scioli in the Oct. 25 presidential election shook up Argentina’s political landscape. The main question before the election was whether Scioli, the candidate of president Cristina Fernández’s Front for Victory (FPV) alliance, could gain enough votes to avoid a runoff election. Since Scioli led many of the polls by more than 10 points over Macri, the front-runner and mayor of Buenos Aires, the concern was whether he could get either 45 percent of the vote or 40 percent and a 10-point advantage over the second place candidate — the conditions necessary to win in the first round without a runoff. Indeed, many pundits speculated that Macri would go the way of Mexico’s Andres Manuel López Obrador, claiming the election was stolen from him. None of this happened.
Towards the end of last month, on 25 October, the voters of the Democratic Republic of Congo went to the polls and elected representatives to sit in the parliaments of each of the country’s 26 provinces. That Sunday two weeks ago was the firing of a starting pistol which has launched a mammoth exercise in democracy during which, over 13 months and six different dates, the Congolese people and their new provincial legislators will take part in 12 separate elections, some direct (provincial and national deputies), others indirect (governors and national senators). Having filled thousands of elected positions from town councillors to provincial governors, the culmination of this herculean process will take place on 27 November 2016 when, returning to the polling booth, the Congolese will choose their 500 national parliamentarians and a new president
Croatia’s conservative opposition won the country’s first election since it joined the European Union in 2013, according to preliminary results on Sunday, but its narrow victory mean lengthy coalition talks are likely to follow in the next days or weeks. The new government will have to nurture a tentative economic recovery after six years of recession and deal with thousands of migrants from the Middle East streaming through the tiny Adriatic state on their way to western and northern Europe. “We estimate we will have around 10 seats more than the SDP. We will talk to all those who want changes in Croatia,” said Gordan Jandrokovic, Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) senior official and former foreign minister
A banned singer whose government bashing lyrics have became part of the political discourse is among Haiti’s newest senators, while an indicted former coup leader is headed into a runoff, according to preliminary election results issued Sunday by the Provisional Electoral Council. Antonio Cheramy, known as “Don Kato,” was elected with 297,260 votes in the Oct. 25 legislative runoff elections to represent the country’s most populous region, the West Department that includes metropolitan Port-au-Prince. The vote total, posted on the council’s website after midnight Sunday, is more than what 52 of the 54 presidential candidates received during balloting held on the same day, according to preliminary presidential results issued Thursday. “The battle I was carrying out reached the population,” said Cheramy, 40. “These results are incontestable and show that the population voted me.”
Myanmar’s ruling party conceded defeat in the country’s general election on Monday, as the opposition led by democracy figurehead Aung San Suu Kyi appeared on course for a landslide victory that would ensure it can form the next government. “We lost,” Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) acting chairman Htay Oo told Reuters in an interview a day after the Southeast Asian country’s first free nationwide election in a quarter of a century. The election commission later began announcing constituency-by-constituency results from Sunday’s poll. All of the first 12 announced were won by Suu Kyi’s National League of Democracy (NLD).
Myanmar’s opposition NLD party, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, says it is on track to win more than 70% of seats in the country’s historic election – a tally that could sweep it to power and end decades of military dominance. The National League for Democracy’s hopes of a decisive victory increased as Myanmar’s election commission began to release results from across the country. The NLD won all 32 out of the first 32 seats announced for Myanmar lower house, plus three out of four seats for the regional assemblies, prompting celebratory scenes among supporters outside party headquarters in Yangon. A total of 498 seats are being contested in the upper and lower houses of Myanmar’s parliament. More results are expected to be announced throughout Monday. “We will win a landslide,” Nyan Win, a party spokesman, told the Associated Press. Aung San Suu Kyi earlier hinted at victory in Myanmar’s first free elections for decades, despite an unexpected delay in the release of the results.
Among the voters braving long lines at polling places across Myanmar on Sunday, there was a sense of jubilation at taking part in what many described as the first genuine elections in their lives. “We’ve been suppressed for a very long time by the government,” said U Saan Maw, 63, who voted Sunday and made sure his friends and family did, too. “This is our chance for freedom.” After five decades of military rule and a series of rigged or canceled elections, Myanmar’s nationwide elections appeared to proceed without violence, raising hopes that the country’s five-year transition to democracy had reached another milestone. Though the official tally may not be known for days, early results on Monday showed the opposition, led by the Nobel Peace laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, leading in Yangon, Mandalay and the capital, Naypyidaw. On Monday morning, the speaker of the lower house of Parliament, Thura Shwe Mann, conceded defeat to a member of Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi’s party. He posted the message to his Facebook page. But in an overwhelmingly rural country, the elections will be won or lost in the countryside and those results are likely to be more slow in coming.