National: Corporations Grow Nervous About Participating in Republican Convention | The New York Times

Some of the country’s best-known corporations are nervously grappling with what role they should play at the Republican National Convention, given the likely nomination of Donald J. Trump, whose divisive candidacy has alienated many women, blacks and Hispanics. An array of activist groups is organizing a campaign to pressure the companies to refuse to sponsor the gathering, which many of the corporations have done for the Republican and the Democratic Parties for decades. The pressure is emerging as some businesses and trade groups are privately debating whether to scale back their participation, according to interviews with more than a dozen lobbyists, consultants and fund-raisers directly involved in the conversations. Apple, Google and Walmart are among the companies assessing their plans for the convention, which will be held July 18 to 21 in Cleveland.

Full Article: Corporations Grow Nervous About Participating in Republican Convention - The New York Times.

Editorials: What if eight justices must decide election? | Joshua A. Douglas/USA Today

Imagine the worst case scenario.  It is Wednesday, Nov. 9, the day after the election, and we do not yet know the winner of the presidential race. Worse still, the outcome will turn on a ballot-counting dispute in one state.  A lawsuit is filed, and the courts are enmeshed in an election law contest. It’s Bush v. Gore round two: Trump v. Clinton.  The case reaches the Supreme Court. Do we want to take the chance of having an even number of justices deciding that dispute, hoping that the court will not deadlock 4-4? A post-election case that reaches the Supreme Court will necessarily come from a lower court. The rule, in the case of a Supreme Court tie, is that the lower court’s decision is affirmed, without a precedential opinion. So if Trump v. Clinton does reach the Supreme Court, and if the vote is a tie, then a lower court – say an elected state supreme court in a battleground state – would essentially decide the presidential election.

Full Article: What if eight justices must decide election?.

Arizona: Will the DOJ investigate the Arizona election? | NMPolitics

Two petitions calling for a U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation of the March 22 Arizona presidential primary election have gathered hundreds of thousands of signatures in the past few days. Though overshadowed by other stories in the mass media like ISIS, the Brussels bombings and the Trump-Cruz spectacle over wives and alleged affairs, the demand for a DOJ investigation is picking up steam following last Tuesday’s debacle of ballot shortages and hours-long poll lines. Many people reportedly left the polls after long waits without voting. During a primary that was closed to independents, reports also surfaced of voters claiming long-time Democratic Party registrations being told by election officials that they could not vote because their names were showing up in the voter rolls as registered Republicans or independents.

Full Article: Will the DOJ investigate the Arizona election? |

Arizona: House passes campaign finance bill easing dark money rules | Associated Press

Political donors could spend unlimited amounts on food and beverages to throw extravagant fundraisers without having to disclose a single dollar under a sweeping campaign finance bill the Arizona House passed Monday. GOP Secretary of State Michele Reagan’s office is backing the campaign finance overhaul that critics call a back-door attempt to expand the influence of anonymous political spending in Arizona elections. Democrats attempted to obstruct the bill on the House floor during debate, but were overcome by the Republican majority.

Full Article: Arizona House passes campaign finance bill easing dark money rules - ABC15 Arizona.

District of Columbia: Sanders likely on D.C. ballot despite challenge | CNN

Anita Bonds, chairwoman of the Washington, D.C. Democratic Party, said Wednesday she was confident presidential candidate Bernie Sanders would appear on the primary ballot, despite a challenge filed with the city’s Board of Elections. “Bernie will be on the ballot,” Bonds told CNN. Her comments come after NBC 4 in Washington reported the local Democratic Party filed paperwork for Sanders a day late to the Washington Board of Elections and a challenge was filed against Sanders. It’s the first time Bond said she has heard of a candidate being challenged. But the Sanders campaign also said it was confident he would appear on the ballot.

Full Article: Sanders likely on D.C. ballot despite challenge -

Louisiana: Senate rejects bill to ease absentee voting | The Times-Picayune

The Louisiana Senate voted 11-24 Tuesday (March 29) against legislation that would have made it easier to vote by mail. Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, D-New Orleans, brought Senate Bill 164 to allow anyone to vote by mail. Under current law, people must meet certain criteria to vote absentee. There was no discussion about the proposal on the Senate floor before it was rejected, but the vote broke down along party lines. All 11 senators who voted to expand absentee voting were Democrats. Every Republican either opposed the bill or was absent from the vote. Peterson is the head of the Louisiana Democratic Party. 

Full Article: Louisiana Senate rejects bill to ease absentee voting |

Louisiana: Senate votes to ban personal spending of campaign money | The Clarion-Ledger

The Senate on Wednesday unanimously approved campaign-finance and elections reform that includes prohibition of politicians using campaign money for personal expenses such as cars, apartments and clothes. “It’s really common sense,” said Senate Elections Chairwoman Sally Doty, R-Brookhaven. “The question you ask yourself is, ‘Is this a campaign-related expense, or an expense related to holding office?’ If the answer is yes, you’re fine. If it’s no, then you shouldn’t do it.” House Bill 797, now rewritten by the Senate, also includes a prohibition on politicians cashing out their campaign funds as a nest egg when they leave office and requires them to itemize campaign spending with a credit card. It would also prohibit legislators from soliciting campaign funds during a legislative session, although Doty said this might require changes so it doesn’t hamstring lawmakers running for other offices.

Full Article: Senate votes to ban personal spending of campaign money.

Massachusetts: Fight over state’s election ballots | Salem News

A local company that prints the state’s election ballots is calling on the state Inspector General’s Office to conduct an independent review of the procurement and management policies of the Elections Division of the Office of the Secretary of State. One key issue: Bradford and Bigelow President John D. Galligan says the state owes his company about $575,000 for forcing it to reprint 3.4 million ballots. Galligan charges that the problem is not with the ballots he printed. He says the problem lies with the majority of voting machines used in the state, which he said are an out-of-date technology that is prone to suffer problems. The machines, known as Accuvote, are used in 218 of the commonwealth’s 351 cities and towns, including nearly every local community.

Full Article: Fight over state's election ballots | News |

Montana: Ted Cruz questions signatures that put Kasich on ballot | Associated Press

Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign is trying to knock opponent John Kasich off Montana’s primary by questioning signatures the Ohio governor’s campaign submitted to qualify for the ballot — another subplot in the unfolding political drama to derail Donald Trump’s presidential bid. Emails obtained by The Associated Press show Cruz campaign officials have raised questions about the 622 signatures submitted by the Kasich campaign. A minimum of 500 valid signatures is required for a presidential candidate to qualify for the Montana ballot. The Cruz campaign asserts Kasich’s petition contains signatures with invalid notaries, improper dates, mismatched phone numbers and illegible names, among other potential discrepancies.

Full Article: Montana: Ted Cruz questions signatures that put Kasich on ballot.

Pennsylvania: Voter party switching sows primary intrigue in Pennsylvania | Associated Press

Voters are switching party affiliation in Pennsylvania at a rate not seen in years, if ever, as their chance to cast ballots in a competitive presidential primary election approaches. The latest statistics this week from Pennsylvania’s elections bureau show about 245,000 registered voters have switched this year, or 3 percent of the state’s 8.2 million registered voters. This is the first year voter registration in the state can be done online, making it easier than getting the paperwork, filling it out and submitting it. But many of those switching parties reported wanting to vote in Pennsylvania’s April 26 primary, and the switching accelerated in the weeks before Monday’s deadline to register to vote or change registration. In Pennsylvania, closed primaries are open only to the party’s registered voters and, historically, races tend to be settled by the time the state’s relatively late primary election date arrives. This year, contested primaries, particularly the closely contested Republican race, are driving up voter interest.

Full Article: Voter party switching sows primary intrigue in Pennsylvania.

Tennessee: State a step closer to online voter registration | The Tennessean

Voter registration in Tennessee could enter the digital era if state lawmakers continue to advance a bill to implement a system already adopted by a majority of states. The House Government Operations Committee on Tuesday approved a measure that would allow voters to register with the secretary of state over the Internet. If lawmakers approve the bill, sponsored by House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, Tennessee would join 31 other states that allow online voter registration.

Full Article: Tennessee a step closer to online voter registration.

Editorials: A Marred Election in the Republic of Congo | The New York Times

Opposition politicians are right to call the election on March 20 in the Republic of Congo an “electoral holdup.” President Denis Sassou-Nguesso, who has ruled the country for 32 of the past 37 years, did everything in his power to ensure he would be elected again, including ordering a cellphone and Internet blackout as voters headed to the polls — apparently an attempt to prevent information from circulating on voter turnout and possible fraud. Official results gave Mr. Sassou-Nguesso over 60 percent of the vote. The opposition complained of widespread fraud, the American State Department expressed “concerns about the credibility of the process” and the European Union lamented “a foreseeable lack of independence and transparency in the elections.”

Full Article: A Marred Election in the Republic of Congo - The New York Times.

Ireland: Emigrant groups form coalition to push for voting rights | The Irish Times

Groups representing Irish emigrants from Britain, the US, Australia, Germany and Latin America have formed a “global coalition” to put pressure on the next government to introduce voting rights for Irish citizens overseas. In letters sent to Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, the coalition, led by, has called on the next government to “end the current disfranchisement of one-in-six Irish-born citizens who are emigrants”. Ireland is one of only three countries in the EU, along with Greece and Malta, which does not allow its citizens overseas to vote. The new coalition claims that more than 125 countries worldwide have some provision to enable absentee citizens to cast a ballot from abroad. More than 250,000 Irish people have moved abroad since 2008, and “many of these emigrants are eager to return home with new talents to raise families and contribute to the strength of the nation,” the coalition said in the letters to Mr Kenny and Mr Martin.

Full Article: Emigrant groups form coalition to push for voting rights.

Netherlands: Russian Bear Looms Over Dutch Voting Booth | The Moscow Times

When the Netherlands introduced a new referendum law in July 2015, few expected it could one day play into the hands of the Kremlin. Or that it would be used to force a national vote on the more than 320-page-long European association agreement with Ukraine. Yet less than a year later, on April 6, the Dutch will have to answer with a Yes or No the question of whether they favor the bloc’s association deal with Kiev. Recent opinion polls suggest it will be a neck-and-neck race between the two sides. Although the vote is advisory and has no direct influence on EU policy, it has caused a scare in The Hague and Brussels. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has warned that a Dutch No vote will “open the door to a big continental crisis” with only one winner. “Russia would pluck the fruits of an easy victory,” he told the Dutch NRC newspaper. The dull language of the long text of the association agreement belies its explosive potential. For years, it has been the source of a tug-of-war with Moscow as Kiev tried to move out of its former Soviet ruler’s orbit into the arms of the EU.

Full Article: Russian Bear Looms Over Dutch Voting Booth | News | The Moscow Times.

Peru: Electoral board opens inquiry into Kuczynski | Reuters

A lower electoral board in Peru said Wednesday it was opening a formal inquiry into whether presidential hopeful Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, the chief rival of front-runner Keiko Fujimori, broke a new law against vote buying. If electoral authorities find the center-right candidate improperly bought beer and liquor for an Andean town, as alleged by opponents he would be barred from April 10 elections. Analysts said the board would likely keep Kuczynski in the race, especially after the same lower electoral board cleared Fujimori of similar allegations. The country’s five-member National Jury of Elections is expected to hand down a final ruling on Fujimori this week to settle an appeal.

Thailand: New charter perpetuates army’s power | The Manila Times

A panel appointed by Thailand’s military junta on Tuesday unveiled a draft Constitution touted as a solution to the kingdom’s decade-long political crisis, but derided by critics as undemocratic and divisive. Thailand has been controlled by the army since a 2014 coup overthrew the elected government of Yingluck Shinawatra, whose billionaire family has swept the last three elections but are hated by the Bangkok elite. If the charter is ratified, it will perpetuate the military’s influence. A junta-appointed Senate would check the powers of lawmakers for a five-year transitional period following elections. It also enshrines a proportional voting system, a move that would likely reduce the majority of any government once Thais regain the right to vote.

Full Article: Thailand’s new charter perpetuates army’s power | The Manila Times Online.

Arizona: Officials weigh caucus vs. primary | Associated Press

Fresh off a troubled presidential primary marked by long lines and frustrated voters, Arizona officials are debating changes in how the state weighs in on the race for the White House. Arizona’s top election official, Republican Secretary of State Michele Reagan, is supporting legislation that would stop state presidential primary funding and push Arizona to a party-funded caucus system. Meanwhile, nearby Utah is considering going the opposite direction — returning to a primary — after its caucuses Tuesday saw disappointing turnout and voter confusion.  Another Arizona Republican, Gov. Doug Ducey, wants to include even more potential voters and is demanding election fixes to avoid a repeat of Tuesday’s hours-lines lines at polls in the state’s largest county. Ducey’s spokesman said Friday he doesn’t support ending presidential primaries, pointing to high voter interest. Instead he wants changes to a law that keeps independents from voting.

Full Article: Arizona officials weigh caucus vs. primary - Mohave Daily News: News.

Iowa: Voting rights case has high stakes for Iowa felons who voted | Associated Press

One is a sex offender who failed to register. Another stabbed a fellow teen to death in the 1970s. A third illegally possessed a firearm, and the other two have drug convictions. All five northeastern Iowa residents are charged with illegally voting in the 2012 presidential election as ineligible felons. But the Iowa Supreme Court will consider which offenders lose their voting rights in the first place: all felons or only a tiny fraction who commit specific “infamous crimes”? While the five defendants are not directly involved in the case, they would benefit from a ruling that narrowly limits the crimes that trigger lifetime voting bans. Oral arguments are Wednesday in Des Moines. The Supreme Court case has gained widespread attention because Iowa has one of the nation’s harshest bans against voting by felons. Critics say it’s a stain on the state’s progressive civil rights record and disproportionately limits blacks from voting and holding public office.

Full Article: Voting rights case has high stakes for Iowa felons who voted - Decatur Daily: National.

Louisiana: Trump Camp Will File RNC Complaint Over Delegates, Not A Lawsuit | TPM

An adviser to Donald Trump’s campaign on Wednesday clarified that the campaign will file a complaint with the Republican National Committee (RNC) over the selection of delegates in the Louisiana primary, not a lawsuit, as Trump suggested in a Sunday tweet. Trump’s lawsuit threat followed a report that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) could gain up to 10 unbound delegates from the Louisiana primary, five of which were previously committed to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) before he dropped out of the presidential race. Trump won the primary, but could end up with fewer delegates than Cruz. Delegates supporting Cruz have also secured five of Louisiana’s six slots on the rules committee for the Republican convention.

Full Article: Trump Camp Will File RNC Complaint Over Delegates, Not A Lawsuit.

Maine: Bill Would Change Maine to a Closed Primary Gets Party Support And Push Back From Independents | MPR

The grass-roots appeal of Maine’s town-meeting style presidential caucus system has long been touted by Maine political leaders. But the heightened interest in this year’s presidential contests resulted in long lines at many of the local caucus sites, prompting some voters to turn around and go home. NOW A bill that would reinstate the presidential primary process first used by Mainers 20 years ago is gathering bipartisan support. During Washington County’s Republican caucus, the room quickly filled up and the parking lot was soon crammed to capacity. Rep. William Tuell, an East Machias Republican, says organizers had underestimated the level of interest in the presidential primaries. The aftermath, Tuell said, was not pretty. “Some traveled long distances to find out they could only vote in a short window of time, others got discouraged and left, Tuell said. “I know several people who saw the parking lot full and passed right on by.”

Full Article: Bill Would Change Maine to a Closed Primary Gets Party Support And Push Back From Independents | Maine Public Broadcasting.