National: Should soldiers’ votes get counted? That’s not as easy as you’d think. | The Washington Post

Americans want their soldiers to vote. But often they can’t. Despite absentee balloting, military personnel deployed overseas often just cannot participate in elections. For most of U.S. history, military personnel have not been able to vote. State laws and constitutions often specifically restricted military personnel from participating in the franchise. Attitudes about voting soldiers started to change when the Civil War called large numbers of citizens for military service—but action was tempered by partisan politics. The Civil War was the first time the United States had large numbers of soldiers deployed during a presidential election. Politicians of both parties were convinced that the army would vote for the commander-in-chief, Abraham Lincoln, a Republican. As a result, most states with Republican governors and legislatures passed laws enabling soldiers to vote, while most states led by Democrats did not. Those voting soldiers probably helped Abraham Lincoln in Maryland and influenced a few local elections in various states.

Editorials: Veterans Day, Still No Right to Vote | Neil Weare/Huffington Post

Veterans Day is a painful reminder of inequality for veterans in America’s territories who are disenfranchised because of where they live. In 2013, Luis Segovia was deployed to Afghanistan, a world away from his family in Guam. For him it was a bit of deja-vu; four years earlier he was serving his first tour in Afghanistan. A lot had changed in his life since. He had moved from Chicago to Guam, married the woman of his dreams, and started a family. One thing he hadn’t expected was that a change in zipcode would mean he longer would be able to vote for president. Being denied basic democratic participation is something he could never have imagined in 2005, when he was deployed for 18 months in Iraq. Serving at Forward Operation Base Marez near Mosul, one of his primary missions was providing security for the 2005 Iraqi election. He felt a sense of accomplishment, he could feel history being made.

District of Columbia: Bill Aims to Lower Voting Age | The Hoya

District of Columbia Councilmember Charles Allen (D-Ward 6) has introduced a bill that would lower the voting age from 18 to 16 for municipal and federal elections held in Washington, D.C. Councilmembers David Grosso (I-At Large) and Brianne Nadeau (D-Ward 1) are co-sponsoring the bill. Even if the council passes the measure, Congress must approve it before implementation. If successful, D.C. would join Takoma Park, Md., and Hyattsville, Md., as the third city in the area to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in municipal elections, but the first to allow them to vote in federal elections. Allen explained that despite original reservations, he became more receptive to the idea after hearing from community members about the maturity of 16- and 17-year-olds. Those lobbying for the bill also expressed a desire to reconnect younger people with city politics after the District experienced a rise in youth violence this summer.

Florida: State Supreme Court Weighs Redistricting Plans | Sunshine State News

A key Florida Supreme Court justice sounded skeptical Tuesday about the Legislature’s proposal for a contested South Florida district in a battle over the map for the state’s congressional delegation. Meanwhile, two congresswomen vowed to take the fight to the federal courts after their districts were largely ignored during oral arguments before the state Supreme Court, raising the prospect of more uncertainty in the nearly four-year saga about how to redraw the state’s political boundaries under a voter-approved ban on political gerrymandering. “There is no justice in this courthouse,” said Democratic Congresswoman Corrine Brown in a fiery speech after the hearing. “I will be going to the federal courthouse, because there is no justice and there will be no peace. We’ll go all the way to the United States Supreme Court.”

Georgia: NAACP Sues Hancock County For Purging African-American Voters | WABE

About 50 voters were permanently removed from Hancock County’s registration list in recent months, according court filings. Most were African-American, and the Georgia NAACP is now suing the county Board of Elections for what it says are racially biased voter purges. Hancock County is about 100 miles southeast of Atlanta. At issue is how the Board of Elections conducted a series of voter challenge hearings. Julie Houk, an attorney with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, represents the plaintiffs. She said since August, at least 201 voter registrations were challenged, according to the lawsuit.

Kansas: Kris Kobach’s office registers two suspended voters, files motion to dismiss lawsuit | The Wichita Eagle

Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s office has registered two suspended voters suing him in federal court and contends that the case should now be thrown out. The lawsuit, filed by a pair of Douglas County residents whose voter registrations were suspended, challenges the state’s requirement that people show proof of citizenship in order to vote. But the case should be dismissed because the plaintiffs have been registered to vote, Kobach’s office said in a motion filed in federal court Tuesday. Kobach’s office registered them after the lawsuit was brought in late September. “Although Mr. Cromwell and Mr. Keener did not present proof of citizenship to the relevant county election officer to complete their registrations, Kansas law provides that the Secretary of State and the county election officers may obtain proof of citizenship on behalf of applicants for voter registration,” Kobach’s attorney, Garrett Roe, stated in a brief.

Ohio: Boehner resignation leads to election oddity | Cincinnati Inquirer

It’s unlikely to happen, but voters could elect two different congressmen to fill John Boehner’s vacated seat in the March primary. That’s because Ohio Gov. John Kasich has chosen to conduct the primary for Boehner’s unfinished 6-month term and the two-year term on the same date. And since the Speaker of the House resigned in the middle of his term, voters must choose a replacement and someone to serve the next full term, which begins in 2017. That means any candidate running for both will appear on the March ballot twice. When asked about the date, Joshua Eck, press secretary for Ohio Secretary of State John Husted, could not think of any examples when this had been done before. Husted, Ohio’s chief elections officer, is responsible for setting the election calendar and deadlines for those elections.

US Virgin Islands: Attorney General Walker Says Voters Must Feed Ballots Themselves | St. Croix Source

In a formal opinion he issued this week, acting Attorney General Claude Walker told the St. Croix District Board of Elections that voters must be allowed to feed their own ballots into voting machines in the upcoming 2016 elections. Walker was responding to the board’s request for his interpretation of two major court cases affecting how ballots are processed: the 1968 U.S. District Court of the Virgin Islands case of Melchior v. Todman, and the 2014 V.I. Supreme Court case of Mapp v. Fawkes. In his letter to St. Croix Board of Elections Chairwoman Liliana Belardo de O’Neal, Walker said the 1968 case no longer applies because the law it addressed was repealed.

Utah: GOP wants Utah to let judge settle election dispute | The Salt Lake Tribune

The Utah Republican Party is asking the Lieutenant Governor’s office to help hurry a dispute over how candidates are nominated to a court so a judge can rule on the matter because, as the party chairman put it, the top elections office is no longer an “honest broker” on the issue. State GOP Chairman James Evans cited comments by Mark Thomas, the state elections director, in which he characterized as “crazy stuff” Evans’ contention that the party can decide whether to let candidates gather signatures to get on the primary ballot. “We have decided it is in the best interests of the party to not seek the [lieutenant governor’s] interpretation of the law,” Evans said. “Instead, we want to proceed to court for a determination since we have lost confidence that we would get a fair hearing and that the LG’s office would be an honest broker.”

Editorials: Let veterans vote with VA card | Peter Cannon/Wisconsin State Journal

Today is Veterans Day, and Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin will no doubt be thanking us for our service and telling us how important we are and how much they honor us. But their words ring hollow because they won’t even let us use our Veterans Administration ID card as a valid proof of identity when we try to go vote in the next election. This is part and parcel of their overall scheme to make it much more difficult for hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites to vote under the new Voter ID law they passed. I served in the U.S. Navy. I have a DD 214 card issued by the Navy on my discharge to prove I served and was discharged honorably. I also have a photo ID issued by the U.S. Veterans Administration. I had to show the DD 214 to get the ID. It is good enough to prove to a U.S. government agency that I am a veteran and entitled to use VA services. But it’s not good enough for those Republican legislators to prove I am who I am so I can vote. Why isn’t a VA ID card a valid proof of existence?

Armenia: Parliament Adamant On ‘Vote Rigging’ Bill | Azatutyun

Amid opposition allegations of serious fraud planned in Armenia’s upcoming constitutional referendum, the National Assembly passed in the final reading on Wednesday a bill that eases legal requirements for voter identification in polling stations. Voters in Armenia have until now had to show election officials their national passports before being able to cast ballots in elections and referendums. Under the controversial bill, those of them who do not have passports would be allowed to produce only plastic ID cards introduced in Armenia in recent years. According to government estimates, over 180,000 voting-age Armenians hold only this kind of IDs. Lawmakers from the ruling Republican Party (HHK), who have drafted the bill, say that they too should be able to vote.

Myanmar: President Congratulates Suu Kyi on Election Result | VoA News

Myanmar President Thein Sein has congratulated opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy Party (NLD) for their apparent landslide victory in this week’s parliamentary elections over the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP). An NLD spokesman says the message the party received Wednesday from Information Minister Ye Htut on behalf of Thein Sein included a promise that “the government will pursue a peaceful transfer” of power once the Union Election Commission has confirmed the NLD victory. The latest results from the country’s Union Election Commission show the NLD has claimed 273 seats in the lower house of parliament. The NLD is also far ahead in the upper chamber of parliament, winning 77 of the 83 seats announced so far.

Spain: Catalonia Votes to Secede from Spain, But Not Yet | Fortune

Ratcheting up the tension in an already edgy relationship between the Spanish national government and Catalonia, the restive region in northeastern Spain, the Catalan parliament passed a resolution in which it “solemnly declared the initiation of the process of the creation of an independent Catalan state in the form of a republic.” Or, in other words, secession from Spain. The resolution is unlikely to lead to independence in the immediate future, but it inspired an equally solemn yet hyperbolic response from the central government in Madrid. “The government is not going to let this continue,” Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said on Monday, announcing that the government would appeal the Catalan motion to Spain’s constitutional court. “We are committed to using all democratic means to defend democracy. We will use only the rule of law, but all the rule of law. Only the law, but all the law; only democracy, but all the force of democracy.”

Taiwan: Front-runner Tsai faces off China trolls | Nikkei Asian Review

Tsai Ing-wen, the front-running opposition candidate in Taiwan’s presidential election in January, said on Wednesday that trolls from China attacking the republic’s democratic politics on her Facebook page were welcome to a taste of democracy and freedom. As chair of the main opposition pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Tsai, 59, commands a comfortable lead in the polls, and if elected has promised to uphold Taiwanese democratic values while maintaining exchanges with China. “There were a lot of ‘netizens’ from the other side of the Taiwan Strait visiting my Facebook page last night and I welcome them to do so,” Tsai said on her Facebook profile on Wednesday morning.