Kentucky: Grimes Touts New Online Voter Registration Tool | Richmond Register

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes continued her statewide tour of college campuses Tuesday at Eastern Kentucky University, where she is encouraging people, especially students, to register in time for the May 17 primary election using the Commonwealth’s new online voter registration portal, The deadline to register to vote in the May primary is April 18. Several students used the portal at the town hall to register to vote and attendees discussed the portal’s ease of use, accessibility and other election issues. Grimes said the OVR will improve the accuracy of voter rolls and will lead to major cost savings for the Commonwealth and hailed the portal as a major success for Kentucky. Grimes said her administration has worked creating the portal for less than a year and that the new online system was created in-house using Kentucky talent while partnering with Microsoft.

Maryland: Republican Larry Hogan really wants redistricting reform. He wrote to Obama about it. | The Washington Post

Republican Gov. Larry Hogan is pulling out all the stops — including asking for President Obama’s help — in pressing Maryland’s Democratic-controlled legislature to vote on his plan for redistricting reform before lawmakers adjourn for the year on Monday. It is almost certainly not going to happen. Hogan has proposed putting a referendum on the November ballot that would ask voters whether they want a nonpartisan commission to redraw the state’s voting boundaries, which are widely considered to be among the nation’s most gerrymandered, or manipulated to give one party an advantage. In a state with an extremely popular Republican governor and a 2-to-1 ratio of registered Democrats to registered Republicans, all but one of the state’s eight congressional seats is held by a Democrat. The state constitution gives the legislature and governor authority to create congressional and legislative districts every 10 years.

Missouri: St. Louis County suffers ballot problems, voting confusion | St. Louis Post-Dispatch

A voting debacle in St. Louis County left residents in more than 60 precincts unable to cast ballots Tuesday, leading the St. Louis County Council and Secretary of State Jason Kander to announce separate investigations. Gov. Jay Nixon called the problems “inexcusable,” adding: “The St. Louis County Board of Elections, and particularly its two directors, must rectify these mistakes, explain how they occurred, and be held accountable for this unacceptable failure.” Kander said his office’s Elections Integrity Unit would review the election in St. Louis County. He also called the election performance “unacceptable.”

Missouri: New proposal would only allow paper ballots in Missouri | KMOV

A St. Charles County lawmaker is pushing for a proposal that would get rid of electronic voting machines in Missouri. State Senator Bob Onder-R, Lake St. Louis, is the sponsor of a bill that would make paper ballots the only type of ballots available in Missouri when voters go to the polls. Onder has previously expressed doubts about the accuracy of electronic voting machines during recounts. The proposal comes in midst of a probe into problems with paper ballots in St. Louis County. On April 5, many precincts ran out of ballots or had ballots meant for other towns or wards. As a result, lots of voters were turned away. Only paper ballots were used on April 5. County election officials believe the mess would have been avoided if touch screen voting was available. Only paper ballots were used because officials believed there was not enough time between the presidential primaries and the April elections to properly test the machines.

Ohio: New Lawsuit Challenges Alleged Voter Purge In Ohio | TPM

Voting rights groups filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday challenging what they described as a massive voter purge in Ohio. The lawsuit accuses the state of violating the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 — also known as the “Motor Voter” law — by taking tens of thousand of voters off the registration rolls because they did not participate in past elections. “As a result of these violations, numerous Ohioans have been disenfranchised in recent elections, and many more face the threat of disenfranchisement in the 2016 Presidential Election and future elections,” the complaint said. The lawsuit is being brought by the progressive public policy organization Demos and the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, who are representing a state chapter of the A. Philip Randolph Institute, an African-American labor group, and the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless. It was filed in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Ohio.

Wisconsin: Jury is still out on voter ID after first big test | Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

The state’s first major test of its voter ID law arrived with historic turnout and scattered long lines, prompting Republicans to dismiss claims it suppresses the vote and Democrats to maintain that it played a role in some delays. U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-Wis.) also said Tuesday that he thought the law would take Republicans a small step closer to winning the presidential election in Wisconsin for the first time in 32 years, and a former legislative aide said he had quit the Republican Party over the voter ID law, calling it the “last straw.” In general, voting went smoothly Tuesday, but there were lines of an hour or more in a few locations statewide, especially near college campuses such as Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

Wisconsin: GOP congressman: Voter ID law will help Republicans | CNN

A Wisconsin Republican congressman confirmed Democratic critics’ claims Tuesday when he pointed to the state’s new voter ID laws as a reason the Republican candidate will be competitive there in the general election. The candid assessment by Rep. Glenn Grothman, who supports Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for president, came during an interview with Milwaukee news station TMJ4 at the Cruz campaign’s victory rally Tuesday night. Asked by reporter Charles Benson why Cruz would be able to turn a reliably Democratic state like Wisconsin red, Grothman said: “Well, I think Hillary Clinton is about the weakest candidate the Democrats have ever put up. And now we have photo ID, and I think photo ID is going to make a little bit of a difference as well.” Grothman pivoted back to praising Cruz and the interview moved on without any follow-up.

Wisconsin: Voter ID requirement has largest impact for students | Associated Press

The huge voter turnout in the Wisconsin primary could have been even higher without the state’s new photo identification requirement, voter advocacy groups said Wednesday. The 2011 voter ID law went into effect this year after lengthy court battles and had its first statewide run in the February election. The state Government Accountability Board says the primary Tuesday went more smoothly than February at the polls, but some voters faced long lines and difficulties trying to obtain valid IDs. “Probably by far the population that seemed to be struggling yesterday were students attempting to use their student IDs to meet the photo ID requirement,” said Neil Albrecht, executive director of the Milwaukee Election Commission. Most college IDs aren’t acceptable as photo IDs under the law, so University of Wisconsin schools and other colleges have been providing students with free secondary ID cards specifically for voting. Those IDs include a signature and expiration date and must be shown alongside proof of enrollment.

Iceland: Government appoints new Prime Minister, to call early elections | Reuters

Iceland’s government named a new prime minister and called for early elections in the autumn on Wednesday, a day after Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson quit to become the first global politician brought down by the “Panama Papers” leaks. It was unclear whether the naming of Fisheries Minister Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson to head the government or the call for early elections would satisfy the thousands of Icelanders who in street protests this week demanded the government resign immediately for early elections. Gunnlaugsson quit as prime minister on Tuesday after leaked documents from a Panamanian law firm showed his wife owned an offshore company that held millions of dollars in debt from failed Icelandic banks. The government said the decision to hold elections in autumn would give it time to follow through on one of the biggest economic policy changes in decades – the ending of capital controls introduced to rescue the economy from the 2008 financial crisis.

Netherlands: Dutch referendum voters overwhelmingly reject closer EU links to Ukraine | The Guardian

Dutch voters have overwhelmingly rejected a Ukraine-European Union treaty on closer political and economic ties, in a rebuke to their government and to the EU establishment.The broad political, trade and defence treaty – which had already been signed by the Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte’s government and approved by all other EU nations, and Ukraine – provisionally took effect in January. But on Wednesday 64% of Dutch referendum voters rejected it; the turnout was just 32% – barely enough for the result to be valid. Voters said they were opposing not only the treaty but wider European policymaking on matters ranging from the migrant crisis to economics.

Peru: Thousands protest against presidential bid by daughter of corrupt former Peru leader | The Guardian

The statue of José de San Martín astride a horse in the plaza named after the South American liberation hero in downtown Lima has seen a lot of protests. But a march against the presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori on Tuesday was probably the biggest since the end of her father’s decade-long rule in 2000. At least 30,000 people joined the march, on the 24th anniversary of the infamous “self-coup”, or “auto-golpe”, when her father Alberto Fujimori dissolved congress, assumed extraordinary powers and sent tanks and soldiers onto the streets. Alberto Fujimori, who led Peru between 1990 and 2000, was jailed for 25 years in 2009 for directing death squads, embezzlement and bribing the media to smear his opponents. Five years earlier, he had been listed as No 7 in a list of top 10 corrupt leaders in Transparency International’s Global Corruption Report. Peruvians vote on Sunday in presidential elections and Keiko Fujimori is currently the frontrunner, with polls showing her with more than 40% of the vote. But Tuesday’s march suggested she may yet face defeat if the vote goes to a second round.

Seychelles: Parliament Votes to Limit Presidential Term Limits | VoA News

Seychelles parliament voted on Tuesday to amend the archipelago’s constitution and limit presidents to two five-year terms in office, officials said, in contrast to wider Africa where many presidents have sought to extend term limits. The Indian Ocean island nation of 92,000 people elected James Michel as president in December 2015, giving him a third term in office, but among the promises he made during his campaign was to ensure the change in the law. The amendment required two thirds of the 32 lawmakers to vote in favor but all sitting members are from the ruling party except opposition leader David Pierre, who also supported the change.

National: Many hurdles preventing emergence of online voting | Purdue News

The search for solutions to increase voter numbers on Election Day continues as states rack up underwhelming turnouts in both presidential and non-presidential election years. But Eugene Spafford, a computer science professor at Purdue University, says online voting is not one of those solutions. The most important aspects of an election are privacy and accuracy for citizens and, from the standpoint of candidates, the vote total accountability. However, current online technology available to the average citizen dictates that you can’t have it all, says Spafford, the executive director of Purdue’s Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security. “Voting by Internet sounds attractive, but either we have to give up the anonymity of the ballot, which is not a good practice, or we have to give up the ability to confirm that the count is correct,” he said.

Editorials: We Need a New Voting Rights Act | Robert Reich/Newsweek

A crowning achievement of the historic March on Washington, where Dr. Martin Luther King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech, was pushing through the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965. Recognizing the history of racist attempts to prevent black people from voting, that federal law forced a number of Southern states and districts to adhere to federal guidelines allowing citizens access to the polls. But in 2013, the Supreme Court effectively gutted many of these protections. As a result, states are finding new ways to stop more and more people—especially African-Americans and other likely Democratic voters—from reaching the polls. Several states are requiring government-issued photo IDs—like driver’s licenses—to vote even though there’s no evidence of the voter fraud this is supposed to prevent. But there’s plenty of evidence that these ID measures depress voting, especially among communities of color, young voters and lower-income Americans.

California: ‘Open Primary’ law confuses voters ahead of presidential primary | KSBW

It’s unlikely anyone would find this year’s presidential primary boring, but some California voters are finding the upcoming June primary a little confusing. “I was expecting to see both parties and that you could make a choice,” said voter Rosetta Winston. Christine Krynak also said she expected to see candidates from both parties. In 2011 a new “Open Primary” law took effect in California that’s left some voters thinking when it comes to the June 7 presidential primary, they can vote for any of the candidates, regardless of their party preference. But that’s not quite how it works because the Open Primary law does not apply to candidates running for president.

Georgia: Faulty state records could disqualify Democratic candidate | Atlanta Journal Constitution

James Williams qualified weeks ago as the only challenger to a Republican incumbent state lawmaker in South Georgia, one of a host of Democrats trying to tilt the balance at the state Legislature in this statewide election year. But now the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office — which keeps the official records used by political parties to qualify candidates — says its records were wrong about which district Williams lives in, likely disqualifying him from the race. The mix-up apparently happened four years ago when the state last re-drew district lines in a statewide process known as redistricting, including around House District 151 which includes part of Dougherty County as well as all of Terrell, Calhoun, Early, Randolph, Webster, Stewart, Quitman and Clay counties.

Maine: Bill to switch Maine to presidential primaries moves forward | The Portland Press Herald

The campaign to hold presidential primaries in Maine took a tentative step forward Monday. A legislative committee voted unanimously in support of a bill that directs the Secretary of State’s Office to begin the groundwork for switching Maine from a caucus state to a primary state starting with the 2020 presidential election. The push toward holding primary elections gained traction last month after a record number of voters overwhelmed some caucus sites. Lawmakers added a clause to the bill, L.D. 1673, that would allow the Legislature to stick with caucuses if it is uncomfortable with the anticipated cost or other aspects of holding primaries. “We’re moving in a different direction but recognizing that we need to figure out a lot of these details,” said Sen. Justin Alfond, D-Portland, the lead sponsor of the bill.

Maryland: Ex-felons become voters as Maryland primary approaches | Baltimore Sun

On a West Baltimore street corner last week, John Comer launched the same conversation he’s begun hundreds of times in the past 22 days. “You registered to vote, bro?” he shouted. “Nah, nah,” Jeffrey Burns responded. “I got a felony.” “Everybody can vote now,” Comer told him. “We passed that law, just for that.” Burns, 54, stopped, shook his head in disbelief, then picked up a clipboard and registered to vote for what he said was the first time in his life. Activists from Communities United have been signing up hundreds of voters like Burns in West Baltimore neighborhoods and housing projects since March 10, the day a new state law went into effect that allows people with felony convictions to register to vote as soon as they are released from prison. Before that, they had to finish probation or parole.

Missouri: More stalling in Missouri Senate, this time on contentious Voter ID measure | St. Louis Post-Dispatch

A voter photo ID bill that has become one of the most contentious issues of the 2016 Missouri legislative session finally made its way to the Senate floor on Tuesday. The bill passed out of the House early in the session, but the Senate Republican majority had held off on bringing the bill up before the body. Democrats used stall tactics to hold the floor from roughly 4 to 7:15 p.m., halting further action on the bill. They say requiring photo ID at the polls would make it harder for an estimated 220,000 Missouri registered voters without IDs to cast ballots. “This is about voter suppression, not voter fraud,” said state Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, at about 5 p.m. She read county-by-county voting results from as far back as 2006, making the point that in-person voter impersonation fraud is rare.

Texas: District Fight May Persist in Texas After Supreme Court Ruling | The New York Times

With a long-running legal struggle raging over one of the nation’s strictest voter identification laws, Texas was already a prime battleground in a war between conservatives and liberals over voting rights. And on Monday, experts here and elsewhere say, the Supreme Court may have opened a second front. The court said unanimously that the state could take into account all of its 27 million residents when it carves its territory into voting districts for the State Senate, regardless of whether they can vote in elections. It was a setback for conservatives who want to limit that redistricting population to eligible voters, and a resounding affirmation of the one-person-one-vote principle that has governed most redistricting nationwide for decades. But it was probably not the final word because the court was silent on whether any other population formula could be used to draw new voting districts. And within hours, advocates on both sides of the issue indicated that Texas or another conservative-dominated state was bound to do just that, probably after the 2020 census triggers a new round of redistricting nationwide.

Utah: Jay Evensen: Utah GOP wants to keep online voting, despite worries | Deseret News

Two weeks have passed since Utah Republicans got to vote online for the first time. Was it a success? Computer experts would say it’s impossible to know. The key to hacking an election is making sure no one knows what you’ve done. Utah GOP Chairman James Evans, however, says yes. “I think we had tremendous success,” he told me Tuesday by phone. About 27,000 people cast ballots that way. People, mostly LDS missionaries, voted from 45 countries. He is planning to recommend to the Republican Central Committee that online voting happen again in 2020, if there is a presidential caucus.

Utah: State Supreme Court hears arguments over disputed state election law | Deseret News

Utah Supreme Court justices poked at the Utah Republican Party’s interpretation of a controversial new state election law in a hearing Monday as hundreds of candidates work to get on the primary ballot. Though lawyers for the GOP, Utah Democratic Party or the state didn’t want to read the tea leaves afterward, questions from Justices Deno Himonas and Christine Durham might signal where the court is headed. Republican Party attorney Marcus Mumford argued that the state can’t tell political parties how to select their nominees for public office. “This statute doesn’t do that,” Durham said. Under the law, organizations that register with the state as a “qualified political party” — which the Utah Republican Party did — must allow candidates to gather petition signatures, go through the party’s convention or both to secure a place on the primary election ballot.

Washington: Yakima City Council abandons appeal of ACLU voting rights suit | Yakima Herald

The Yakima City Council unanimously ended a four-year fight Tuesday over how the city elects its representatives by ending its appeal of a voting rights lawsuit with the American Civil Liberties Union. In a 6-0 vote, with Councilwoman Maureen Adkison absent, the council withdrew its appeal to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, ending a case it had spent more than $1.1 million defending and will now pay the ACLU $1.8 million as part of a federal court order. “This is a $3 million reminder” that all residents should have a say in who represents them,” Mayor Avina Gutierrez said.

Comoros: Key presidential poll runoff set for Sunday | Africa News

Presidential candidates are forming alliances ahead of the presidential runoff in the Comoros Island scheduled for April 10. A camp of the Juwa main opposition party has announced that it will support Azali Assoumani – a colonel who came third during the first round. The Juwa party did not make it to the second round and the controversial agreement is creating divisions within the opposition party. What we have just done today, is just the beginning, it shows that a single party cannot govern this country, We must unite to bring our country out of the abyss.

Netherlands: Dutch Vote on EU-Ukraine Deal Could Send Ripples Through Europe | Wall Street Journal

Weeks before the U.K. decides whether to leave the European Union, the Netherlands will hold a referendum that could deliver a blow to the bloc. On Wednesday, the Netherlands will vote to support or reject the EU’s association agreement with Ukraine, a pact that deepens economic and political ties with the former Soviet republic and is already ratified by the EU’s 27 other member states. Although the referendum is nonbinding, EU officials fear that a rejection by Dutch voters could send ripples through the continent and represent a victory for Russia, which has long tried to scuttle the agreement.

Peru: Anti-Fujimori protest erupt days ahead of elections | Reuters

Tens of thousands of Peruvians marched against presidential front-runner Keiko Fujimori Tuesday on the anniversary of her authoritarian father’s most infamous power grab – forcing her to suspend campaign events ahead of Sunday’s elections. Protesters chanted “Never again!” and said a vote for center-right Fujimori would be a vote for ex-president Alberto Fujimori, who is now serving a 25-year sentence for human rights abuses and corruption committed during his 1990-2000 government. At least 30,000 took part in the protest in Lima – a sign of the stiff opposition to Fujimori that could make her vulnerable to defeat in a run-off. Fujimori is expected to win the biggest share of votes on April 10 but not the simple majority needed to win outright.

Singapore: Voting at polling stations still ‘most transparent’ method: Chan Chun Sing | Channel NewsAsia

Voting using paper ballots at polling stations is still the “simplest and most transparent method”, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Chan Chun Sing in Parliament on Wednesday (Apr 6). He said this in response to queries on whether online voting for overseas Singaporeans using SingPass was feasible amid security and secrecy concerns of postal voting. “The Elections Department has studied the feasibility of Internet voting for overseas Singaporeans,” he said. “While Internet voting may appeal to some, it has various challenges, like difficulties in authenticating voters, preventing impersonation and ensuring voter secrecy. In addition, there are system reliability issues and security risks such as vulnerability to hacking and cyberattacks.”

National: Supreme Court Rejects Challenge on ‘One Person One Vote’ | The New York Times

The Supreme Court unanimously ruled on Monday that states may count all residents, whether or not they are eligible to vote, in drawing election districts. The decision was a major statement on the meaning of a fundamental principle of the American political system, that of “one person one vote.” “We hold, based on constitutional history, this court’s decisions and longstanding practice, that a state may draw its legislative districts based on total population,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote for the court. As a practical matter, the ruling mostly helped Democrats and upheld the status quo. But until this decision, the court had never resolved whether voting districts should contain roughly the same number of people or the same number of eligible voters. Counting all people amplifies the voting power of places that have large numbers of residents who cannot vote legally — including immigrants who are here legally but are not citizens, illegal immigrants and children. Those places tend to be urban and to vote Democratic.

National: Conservative challenge to voting rights unanimously rejected by supreme court | The Guardian

The US supreme court on Monday unanimously rejected a conservative challenge to voting rights – ruling that states could count the total population, not just eligible voters, in drawing legislative districts. The case was brought before the court after conservative activists challenged the legal principle of “one person, one vote”, which has long established that election districts should be drawn to be equal in population. The two plaintiffs, both residents of Texas, argued the principle diluted the influence of those living in districts where a larger number of individuals were ineligible to vote. But shifting the method would most certainly lend greater power to states with wealthier populations with mostly white voters, and away from urban and more racially diverse areas. The lawsuit was opposed by the Obama administration, the state of Texas and civil rights groups across America.

National: How the Challenge to Legislative Redistricting in Evenwel v. Abbot Backfired | The Atlantic

If the Supreme Court were a stock market, the last few years have been as a bull market in conservative constitutional theories. With a tenuous but real 5-4 conservative majority in place, advocacy groups raced to get their pet theories before the Court. In some cases—campaign finance and gun rights, for example—the race paid off, producing 5-4 wins for radical shifts of doctrine. In others (think about public-employee unions) it has not. Bull markets tempt investors into unwise wagers. History, I suspect, will so regard the appellants in Evenwel v. Abbot, the “one-person-one-vote” (OPOV) case decided Monday. In Evenwel, the Court unanimously rejected an advocacy group’s invitation to throw American politics into turmoil, and in the process to shift power from immigrants to natives, from non-whites to whites, from young people to the aging, and, by coincidence, from the Democratic to the Republican Party. The needed votes, it now appears, were never there. The Court’s decision was unanimous; equally important, the majority opinion by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg attracted six of the Court’s eight justices, including Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy. Even more importantly, the six-justice majority not only decided against the conservative theory, it made it much harder for advocates to pursue the conservative theory in future cases.