It certainly looks suspicious that more than 125,000 Democrats were dropped from Brooklyn’s voter rolls between last November and Tuesday’s primary. New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer said that the Board of Elections confirmed the voters were removed and that his office would conduct an audit to see if anything improper was done. In a statement, Mayor Bill de Blasio called on the New York City Board of Elections to “reverse that purge,” adding that “the perception that numerous voters may have been disenfranchised undermines the integrity of the entire electoral process and must be fixed.” And it was an unusually high number of names to be dropped all at once. But Michael Ryan, executive director of the elections board, denied anyone was disenfranchised. While more than 100,000 voters were taken off the rolls, he told the New York Times,63,000 were added and the decline did not “shock his conscience.” He told WNYC that “people die every day and they come off the list,” and New Yorkers move a lot — another reason they might be taken off the rolls. Indeed, there might very well be a good — and legitimate — explanation for why all those names were removed.
National: 1,240 arrested in past week as “Democracy Spring” movement against money in politics spreads throughout U.S. | Salon
It was one of the most massive acts of civil disobedience in recent U.S. history. Over the past week, well over 1,000 people were arrested in an enormous sit-in protest at the U.S. Capitol. The demonstration is part of a new movement that calls itself “Democracy Spring.” Activists are calling for ending the chokehold money has on U.S. politics, overturning Citizens United and restoring voting rights. On April 2, activists launched a colossal 10-day, 140-mile march from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. This was the preface to the mass arrests. At least 1,240 protesters were arrested in the week from Monday, April 11 to Monday, April 18, according to police, on charges of crowding, obstructing or incommoding. Some activists even tied themselves to scaffolding in the Capitol rotunda.
Editorials: The Battle Over “One Person, One Vote,” Has Just Begun | Carl Klarner and Dan Smith/The American Prospect
After the Supreme Court’s politically consequential decision in Evenwel v. Abbott this month, supporters of the principle of “one-person, one vote” breathed a sigh of relief. The Court unanimously ruled that states may continue to draw legislative districts based on total population, instead of on a new standard—the number of registered or eligible voters—that would have excluded non-citizen immigrants, youth under 18, people who are or were incarcerated, and anyone else not registered to vote. The ruling stymied a challenge brought by conservative activists in Texas who set out to upend the practice of apportioning legislative districts based on population, which had been settled law for five decades. A ruling in the challengers’ favor could have triggered mass redrawing of legislative district lines around the country, most likely to the advantage of Republicans.
Connecticut: Presidential Primary Will Test Merrill’s Latest Attempt At Computerizing Vote Tallies | Hartford Courant
Secretary of the State Denise Merrill’s office has stumbled repeatedly while spending $350,000 to $400,000 in five years trying to build a computerized system to produce speedy election-night vote tallies. But Merrill said Tuesday the system’s now ready – and its first big test is next week’s presidential primary. Merrill said her new Connecticut Election Management System will be “certainly … the most comprehensive in the country.” Asked where it ranked among the 50 states, she responded, “I’d say number one.” That’s because it will do a lot more than just produce fast and accurate results on election night, she said. It will also help voting officials in Connecticut’s 169 cities and towns do other parts of their jobs, such as preparing ballots and submitting mandatory reports, more easily and quickly.
Florida’s 27 congressional districts drawn by state courts will remain intact, after a federal appeals court upheld the new maps in a ruling issued late Monday. The ruling is another setback for U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville, and her quest to hold onto her seat. State courts affirmed a redrawing of districts in January after a lawsuit brought by voters groups claimed that Republican state lawmakers packed too many black voters into her current district, which snakes down from Jacksonville into Orlando. The new district runs from Jacksonville west into Tallahassee.
Missouri: St. Louis County election board suspends top director for ballot blunder | St. Louis Public Radio
The St. Louis County Board of Election Commissioners suspended its top official, a move that comes after dozens of polling places ran out of ballots during this month’s municipal elections. After the four-person election board went into closed session on Tuesday, it voted to suspend Democratic director Eric Fey for two weeks without pay. Commissioners also suspended elections coordinator Laura Goebel without pay for one week. The board did not exert any punishment against Republican director Gary Fuhr.
Sen. John Murante of Gretna has decided not to attempt to override Gov. Pete Ricketts’ veto of a redistricting reform bill that was negotiated for more than two years with Sen. Heath Mello of Omaha. Responding to the governor’s stated constitutional concerns about the proposal, Murante said: “Redistricting is too important. We must get it right. “The good news,” he said, “is that we have time to do so.” Redistricting would not occur again until 2021 following the 2020 U.S. census. Ricketts questioned the constitutionality of the bill (LB580) in his veto announcement on Monday and suggested that it would, in fact, inject more partisan politics into the process rather than achieve the desired result of distancing redistricting from partisan political pressures.
The New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office lost another court battle Wednesday, and as a result, state taxpayers face a bill of more than $90,000. The case stems from former Secretary of State Dianna Duran’s since-discredited claims in 2011 that 117 foreign nationals had illegally registered to vote in New Mexico and that 37 of those had actually cast ballots. In a long-running lawsuit over legal fees in a public records case filed against Duran in 2011 by the American Civil Liberties Union, the state Court of Appeals upheld a 2014 District Court decision that the ACLU is entitled to more than $87,000 in legal fees from the Secretary of State’s Office. That figure does not include subsequent legal fees from the appeals process.
Some of Bernie Sanders’s biggest supporters may not be able to vote for him in New York’s primary on Tuesday. Unaffiliated voters are a big share of Sanders’s support, but New York makes it hard for voters to register for a party at the last minute. For example, Erica Garner, daughter of Eric Garner and a Sanders supporter, can’t vote in the Democratic primary because she didn’t change her party registration in time to qualify. It’s an issue for Republicans too: Some high-profile Donald Trump supporters — or at least two of his kids — won’t be able to partake in the fun. New York’s deadline for switching party registration was Oct. 9, 193 days before the primary. I wanted to know if a party-switch deadline six months before a primary or caucus was as unusual as it sounded, so I went through every state’s election board website to see.
New York: Voting Problems Prompt Comptroller to Vow Audit of City’s Elections Board | The New York Times
Citing concerns about potential voting irregularities during the most consequential presidential primary in years, the New York City comptroller, Scott M. Stringer, said on Tuesday that his office would audit the city’s Board of Elections in part to determine if tens of thousands of Democratic voters were improperly removed from voter rolls. Mr. Stringer said in a statement that the Board of Elections had confirmed that more than 125,000 Democratic voters in Brooklyn were dropped between November 2015 and this month. He said the decline occurred “without any adequate explanation furnished by the Board of Elections.” “There is nothing more sacred in our nation than the right to vote, yet election after election, reports come in of people who were inexplicably purged from the polls, told to vote at the wrong location or unable to get in to their polling site,” Mr. Stringer, a Democrat, said.
Editorials: Why is Ottawa still defending disenfranchisement of expats? | Semra Sevi & Gillian Frank/The Globe and Mail
Last week, the Supreme Court of Canada agreed to hear a case about whether Canadians living abroad should regain their right to vote in federal elections. Over the past four years, the Conservatives sought in the courts and through legislation to prevent expatriate Canadians from regaining their voting rights. The Liberals, however, promised a different path. “A Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian,” Justin Trudeau repeatedly said during the 2015 election campaign when he repudiated the Conservatives’ narrow vision of citizenship and democracy. To understand what’s at stake, it’s necessary to understand the history of expat voting rights. According to a study by Asia Pacific Foundation, 2.9 million Canadian citizens – equivalent to 9 per cent of Canada’s population – study, live and work abroad.
New Zealand’s online voting trial, slated for local government elections this year, has collapsed with the national government scrapping the plan. Associate minister for local government Louise Upton yesterday sent a statement to Radio NZ saying they couldn’t “meet legislative requirements” in time for the elections. Last November, the NZ government published a requirements document that stated the local governments involved in the trial had to get independent assurance that their proposed solutions meet both national and local government technical requirements, including the security and accuracy of the system.
Predictable issues have derailed ongoing negotiations over the Syrian conflict, with the opposition resuming fighting against the Syrian regime, which has repeatedly broken the cessation of hostilities agreement that was implemented in February. In addition to the continued Assad regime bombardment of forces ostensibly included in the ceasefire agreement, the primary issue that continues to sabotage the latest efforts to bring some semblance of calm to the war-torn country and resolution to the never-ending conflict, remains unchanged: fierce disagreement over the future of Bashar al-Assad’s criminal regime. Sincere efforts to bring the conflict to an end, or carve out a path that will lead to such a reality, will continue to fail so long as they involve negotiating with parties that demand Assad remain in power. Such a proposal dismisses the fact that the Assad regime’s failure to step down years ago remains the chief reason why Syria has spiralled into hell and allowed barbaric actors, including ISIS, to flourish.