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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. Read More

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. Read More

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. Read More

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. Read More

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. Read More

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.  Read More

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. Read More

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. Read More

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. Read More

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. Read More