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.

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.

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.

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.”

Maryland: State lawyer questions aspects of Hogan’s redistricting plan | The Washington Post

A lawyer for Maryland’s General Assembly has cast doubt on the legality of Gov. Larry Hogan’s proposal to take politics out of the redistricting process by shifting control from the governor and legislature to a nonpartisan commission. The idea of using an independent board to draw voting districts is broadly popular among Marylanders, regardless of demographics and political leanings, according to a recent Goucher College poll. But Assistant Attorney General Kathryn M. Rowe, responding to a request for advice from Sen. Joan Carter Conway (D-Baltimore), said in a letter this month that she has identified 10 legal problems with the proposal by Hogan (R), which would amend the state Constitution to require that a nonpartisan commission handle the redistricting process. The goal of the legislation is to end the practice of gerrymandering, or manipulating legislative and congressional boundaries in ways that give one party an advantage.

New Mexico: Secretary of State won’t say if 17-year olds will be able to vote in primaries | The NM Political Report

The New Mexico Secretary of State’s office is not saying much about whether some 17-year-olds will be able to vote in the upcoming New Mexico primary elections. During the 2016 legislative session, a bill passed that allows those who will turn 18 before the general election to participate in primary elections. Gov. Susana Martinez signed the bill into law following the session. Still, it is unclear whether the Secretary of State’s office will be ready to accept votes from that age group during the primary on June 7.

Ohio: Now that lying isn’t against Ohio campaign laws, prepare for more ‘outrageous’ claims | The Columbus Dispatch

Did Sen. Larry Obhof really vote to fund Obamacare in Ohio? Did his Republican primary opponent, anti-abortion activist Janet Folger Porter, refuse to support personhood status for unborn crime victims? Each candidate accused the other of lying. But unlike in past elections, neither could take such complaints before the Ohio Elections Commission for a determination of whether the ads were false — a ruling that could have gained media attention and been used in subsequent advertising. The federal courts have struck down Ohio’s law prohibiting lying in campaigns. Now, Ohioans who were already accustomed to negative campaigning can brace themselves for what comes next, now that the reins are off. “Most of my clients want to tell the truth,” said attorney Donald Brey, who has represented Republicans in a multitude of cases before the Ohio Elections Commission. “But if a client says, ‘I want to lie through my teeth, and as long as I don’t defame anybody, can I get away with it?’ The answer is, unless you’re running for judge, yes.”

Rhode Island: General Assembly approves online voter registration | The Valley Breeze

Both chambers of the General Assembly on Tuesday gave their final approval to legislation sponsored by Sen. Gayle Goldin and Rep. Aaron Regunberg to allow Rhode Islanders to register to vote or update their voter information online. The bill is now headed to the governor’s desk. The legislation, which the two Providence legislators introduced in conjunction with Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, authorizes the secretary of state to establish a web portal to allow voters to register or update their existing registration information online. The bill would allow the Department of State to cross-reference application information with information in the databases of other state, municipal or quasi-public agencies to verify the information submitted by applicants. The sponsors said online voter registration is a convenience that citizens should be able to expect in an age when so much of their daily business can be conducted online.

Wyoming: Democrats move to larger caucus venues, expect high turnout | Caspar Star-Tribune

Democrats in six Wyoming counties, including Natrona, will move their April 9 presidential nominating caucuses to large venues, as leaders of the state’s minority party are now projecting higher-than-anticipated turnout. The Natrona County Democratic Party caucus will now be held at the Casper Events Center, said Brett Governanti, party chairman. The event was previously scheduled to be at Casper College. Other counties with venue changes include Laramie, Sweetwater and Albany, said Aimee Van Cleave, executive director of the Wyoming Democratic Party. “We changed because we are expecting huge turnout levels,” she said. “If you look at Utah and Idaho, you see the overwhelming number of Democrats running out to caucus in those states. In Wyoming, we’re expecting to have comparable to 2008 turnout, and we want to accommodate all of our voters. It’s really exciting.”

Haiti: New elections body must decide whether to recount or move on | Miami Herald

More than two months after its contested presidential runoff was postponed amid escalating opposition protests, Haiti has taken a significant step toward resuming the process. Provisional President Jocelerme Privert issued a presidential order late Tuesday, naming nine new members to a re-established Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) charged with organizing a second round to elect a president and complete parliament. “It is still up to us to support this body, which will need to analyze the process before deciding how to revive it to the satisfaction of all the stakeholders,” Privert said the day before as he welcomed a new caretaker government and prime minister, and announced his intentions to officially name the council known as the CEP. The order was published after the newly-installed government ended its first council of ministers meeting. The entire government, including Privert and interim Prime Minister Enex Jean-Charles, signed the three-page document in hopes of boosting transparency, and giving the new CEP the needed political clout to embark on the difficult task of seating a democratically-elected president in Haiti after a disputed electoral process.

Netherlands: The Dutch rooting for a No in the Ukraine referendum | EU Observer

What’s in a name? Last Monday, a provincial department of the Dutch Socialist Party (SP) announced that Crimea would vote No in next week’s Dutch referendum on an EU Association Agreement with Ukraine.
Of course, the party was not referring to actual Crimea. Rather, it had polled inhabitants of De Krim, an eastern Dutch village that shares its name with the Ukrainian peninsula that was annexed by Russia two years ago.
The SP said it had interviewed 168 people – around 10 percent of the village’s electorate. Of those who had already made up their mind, 76 percent would vote No. However, a week before the Dutch electorate could voice its opinion in its first-ever citizens-enforced referendum, a government-commissioned national poll suggested that only half of voters had made up their mind, and they were split equally between Yes and No. But while the Yes side is relatively uniform in its motivations and arguments (the EU-Ukraine is said to be good for trade for both sides and good for human rights), the No side consists of a more motley crew. Who are they?

Philippines: Comelec seeks NBI help vs hackers | The Philippine Star

The Commission on Elections yesterday asked the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to look into the hacking of the Comelec’s website last Sunday.Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said they have referred the case to the NBI’s cybercrime division as a group identifying itself as “LulzSec” has claimed uploading parts of the Comelec’s database to its Facebook account. “That matter has actually been referred to the NBI cybercrimes. So right now, the first step really is to validate whether or not the data they posted are authentic… At this point, I really don’t know if it’s the real deal and that’s the first thing that we want to find out,” Jimenez said. The NBI, however, said it has yet to receive the request from the Comelec. “None yet,” said Victor Lorenzo, executive officer of the NBI’s cybercrime division.

Russia: As elections loom, Kremlin applies ‘ethical standards’ to muzzle critics | CS Monitor

Since she was elected to the parliament of the Russian region of Kursk five years ago, Olga Li has been a major challenge to local authorities. Among other things, she has been instrumental in bringing charges of corruption against several leading local officials. She has publicly spoken out on dwindling economic opportunities in the important industrial region. The newspaper where she serves as editor, Narodni Zhurnalist, keeps up a steady drumbeat of criticism, and she seems able to bring hundreds of supporters onto the streets to support her political campaigning. Ms. Li even issued a widely viewed YouTube appeal to President Vladimir Putin, in which she claimed state institutions were being run like “criminal enterprises,” blamed the Kremlin for being “indifferent to the fate of millions” of increasingly impoverished citizens, and questioned the annexation of Crimea.

South Korea: League of ex-convicts in Seoul politics | The Korea Herald

One of the many weird, yet unavoidable things in Korean politics is that many people with dubious pasts and low ethical standards are allowed to seek elected office. One need look no further than the candidates for the April 13 parliamentary election, in which 1,102 candidates are running — 944 for 253 constituency seats and 158 for 47 seats allotted for proportional representation. Of the total, 38 per cent have at least one count of criminal record. This ratio goes up to 41 per cent for those who are contesting constituency seats. The ratio is almost twice as high as that for the current 19th National Assembly, which attests to the fact that the qualification bar for parliamentary candidates has been lowered.