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Arizona: Consultant: Secretary of state trying to ‘deflect responsibility’ for pamphlet error | The Arizona Republic

A former consultant to the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office said he was wrongly portrayed as contributing to that office’s failure to distribute publicity pamphlets in advance of this month’s special election. An internal investigation by Secretary Michele Reagan’s office painted the former consultant, Craig Stender, as providing guidance on how to build a pamphlet mailing list for the May 17 election. That list omitted nearly 200,000 households, affecting more than 400,000 voters. Some critics have said failure to deliver pamphlets to all voters might have affected the outcome of the vote on Proposition 123, which won by 1.8 percentage points. The pamphlets included arguments for and against the ballot measure that will put $3.5 billion into public schools over the next 10 years. Read More

Arizona: Judge delays ruling on signature election law | Arizona Daily Star

A federal judge has refused to block a 2015 Arizona law that its legislative proponents admit was designed to try to keep minor-party candidates off the ballot. U.S. District Judge David Campbell said Friday the Arizona Libertarian Party, in waiting until last month to challenge the statute, did not leave enough time for him to consider the merits of its claims or for Secretary of State Michele Reagan to defend the law. That’s because the deadline for candidates to file their nominating petitions is June 1. Campbell said there was no reason for challengers to wait as long as they did before asking him to void the law. Read More

California: Gov. Brown to decide whether voters will sound off in November on money in politics | Los Angeles Times

Lawmakers gave final approval Friday to a November ballot measure asking voters about the growing role of undisclosed donors in political campaign. If Gov. Jerry Brown approves, the measure would ask voters on Nov. 8 whether California’s elected officials should work to overturn the controversial 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision in the controversial Citizens United case. “This is about trying to get the system under control,” said state Sen. Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica), the author of the legislation. The Citizens United ruling in favor of a conservative nonprofit group opened the door to unlimited spending by corporations and unions in federal candidate campaigns. Much of that spending is done by nonprofit organizations that, under IRS rules, do not have to disclose their donors. Read More

Maryland: Deadline to ask for recount in Baltimore’s primary election is Tuesday | Baltimore Sun

With unanswered questions at 71 Baltimore precincts, candidates must decide this week whether to mount a formal challenge to a primary election in which there was a series of irregularities. The campaign of former Mayor Sheila Dixon said she was considering whether to contest the vote before the deadline Tuesday to request a recount. Martha McKenna, a spokeswoman for Dixon, said campaign officials were investigating issues left unresolved following last week’s recertification of the primary. A review by the state Board of Elections left Dixon behind state Sen. Catherine E. Pugh in the mayor’s race by 2,400 votes. “We’re pressing for more information,” McKenna said. “We’re in the process of trying to determine how we want to proceed, and we’ve contacted the [state] Board of Elections with additional questions and we’re hoping to get answers.” Read More

New Jersey: Bill Creating Automatic Voter Registration through MVC Gains Assembly Approval | Bergen Dispatch

By a vote of 52-21-1, the full Assembly on Thursday approved legislation (A-1944) sponsored by Assembly Democrats Craig Coughlin, Gary Schaer, Tim Eustace and Joann Downey that would require the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) to automatically register or update a person’s voter registration as part of the process of applying for or renewing a driver’s license. “This bill is designed to encourage participation in the democratic process by integrating voter registration with the process of driver registration,” said Coughlin (D-Middlesex). “This simple move will hopefully encourage more young people to register to vote and make it easier for residents to fulfill their civic duty.” Read More

Editorials: Texas’s voter ID chicanery | The Washington Post

Everyone is clear on the voter-ID games that have been played in Republican-controlled state legislatures in recent years. In the name of preventing ballot fraud — of which there is virtually no evidence — GOP lawmakers have enacted restrictive bills, whose purpose and effect are to disenfranchise a certain number of reliably Democratic-leaning citizens: African Americans, Latinos and low-income voters. The most over-the-top example of voter suppression is legislation adopted in 2011 by Texas, which three federal courts have struck down. Zombie-like, it refuses to die, owing to the unembarrassed determination of Gov. Greg Abbott and other Republicans in Austin intent on resurrecting Jim Crow-style obstacles to the ballot by any means they can finagle through the judiciary. Read More

Virginia: Herring defends McAuliffe’s voting rights order in face of GOP lawsuit | The Washington Post

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said Friday that Gov. Terry McAuliffe acted within his constitutional authority when he restored voting rights to more than 200,000 felons. Herring (D), acting as the state’s attorney, defended the governor’s action in a court filing in which he also objected to Republicans’ request for the Virginia Supreme Court to accelerate the timetable for a lawsuit they filed this week to stop the restoration of rights. The legal battle is the latest showdown between the Democratic governor and his allies and the Republican-controlled General Assembly over voting rights. Republican leaders have accused McAuliffe (D) of trying to add potential voters to the rolls to bolster the presidential bid of his friend, Hillary Clinton. McAuliffe denied any political motives and framed the order as a removal of the last vestige of laws such as poll taxes and literacy tests that disproportionately affected the voting rights of African Americans. One in 4 African Americans in Virginia had been banned from voting because of laws restricting the rights of those with convictions. Read More

Wisconsin: Arguments conclude in redistricting case in federal court | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Wisconsin Assembly district boundaries that Republicans drew up five years ago have robbed Democratic-leaning voters of their voices, attorneys argued Friday as they wrapped up a federal trial over whether the lines are constitutional. Gerald Hebert, an attorney for a group of voters who sued over the boundaries, told the panel that the boundaries represent the worst example of gerrymandering in modern history and punish Democrats and their supporters by diluting their voting strength. “Their right to vote is fundamental,” Hebert said during closing arguments. “It’s our voice in the government. It’s the only voice many of us have. It’s not right to target people and harm them because of their voting history. What did they do? They had the nerve to participate in the political process and go to the polls.” Read More

Wisconsin: At vanguard of national legal fight on voter ID | Wisconsin State Journal

The legal fight over Wisconsin’s photo ID voting requirement put it back in the political spotlight this month, with the state a key front in the national battle surrounding such laws. Here and elsewhere, the courtroom struggle stems from photo ID and other voting changes enacted by Republican legislators and governors in the last five years. Many, including Wisconsin’s, take effect in a presidential election for the first time this November. A nine-day court trial of the Wisconsin legal challenge concluded Thursday in federal court in Madison, and a forthcoming ruling in that case could decide how voter ID affects the state’s 2016 general election. The outcome of that and another lawsuit also could influence the national back-and-forth on voter ID. For now, how those challenges will be resolved is a big unknown for an election with high stakes. Read More

India: Election Commission cancels polls to two Tamil Nadu seats | Free Press Journal

In an unprecedented move in the history of Tamil Nadu”s electoral politics, the Election Commission of India (EC) on Saturday decided to rescind its poll notification in two constituencies following conclusive evidence of bribery of voters on a large scale. Quite shockingly, the EC has noted that bribing of voters continued in one of the constituencies after the postponement of polls in Aravakurichi constituency in Karur district and Thanjavur constituency, both in central Tamil Nadu, on charges of irregularities. Tamil Nadu went to polls on May 16 but polling in the two constituencies was deferred at the eleventh hour – first in Aravakurichi and then in Thanjavur. Originally the deferred polls were to take place on May 23 but the EC withheld its decision after the PMK and BJP”s candidates moved the Madras High Court seeking postponing of the elections. Read More