Kenyan police fired tear gas and beat opposition demonstrators with truncheons Monday to stop them storming the offices of the electoral commission to demand its dissolution. Hundreds of protesters were prevented from reaching the offices of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC). Some of the demonstrators threw stones at police. There have been several such protests in recent weeks. Protests were also held in other Kenyan towns, including Kisumu and Kisii in the southwest, with police there firing tear gas to break up the crowds, local media reported.
The Supreme Court decided a presidential election 16 years ago based on how votes were counted. This year, a shorthanded court seeking to avoid the limelight may help decide who can vote in the first place. Petitions challenging restrictions on voting in key states could reach the high court before Election Day, putting the justices exactly where they don’t want to be — at the fulcrum of American politics in what promises to be a wild race for the White House. Chief Justice John Roberts’ court has itself to thank for some of the laws enacted after the justices struck down a key part of the Voting Rights Act in 2013. Those laws impose new rules for registering and voting that could limit access to the polls for minorities and young people in particular — the coalition that propelled Barack Obama to the White House in 2008 and 2012.
Arizona: Hours-long lines, goofs with ballot materials. Why can’t Arizona hold elections? | Los Angeles Times
When the Supreme Court threw out major elements of the Voting Rights Act three years ago, Maricopa County in Arizona moved quickly to lower the cost of holding elections. Among its first moves was to reduce the number of polling centers from 200 to 60. With fewer locations, the state allowed voters to choose any polling station in the county. The hope was to make voting more convenient and encourage more people to cast their ballots by mail. It hasn’t turned out that way. The result: stories of having to wait five hours to vote in the March primary election for president, a call to impeach Arizona’s secretary of state, three lawsuits and a Justice Department inquiry. “I don’t know what the right word is to express it,” Arizona Atty. Gen. Mark Brnovich said at a news conference Thursday, speaking of his anger at the situation “as an Arizonan and as attorney general.”
Arizona: Renewed Republican Redistricting Revenge! Arizona Legislature Using Budgetary Power To Possibly Limit Map Defense | Arizona’s Politics
n the wake of two GOP defeats at the U.S. Supreme Court, Republicans at the Arizona Legislature are using their budgetary powers to sweep $695,000 from the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (“AIRC”). The funds were to be used in defending a state court action brought by key Republican lawmakers (and others) as that case heads towards trial next year. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed a new budget into law yesterday. It contains $1.1M for the entire Independent Redistricting Commission budget. That amount is not enough to cover the expected legal expenses for the Leach v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission case, which has already cost taxpayers $1.5M. Primarily because the Leach case had been placed on the back burner (by the parties and the court) while the (GOP-controlled) Legislature brought its constitutional challenge to the Supreme Court (2015) and Republican interests brought their challenge to the maps to the Supreme Court (2016), the AIRC currently has $695,000 in unspent appropriations from 2014 and 2015.
A Chandler lawyer called for the impeachment of Republican Secretary of State Michele Reagan on Friday after she failed to properly inform the public ahead of the May 17 special election. It’s unlikely that Arizona’s GOP-controlled Legislature would agree to move forward with an impeachment of a fellow Republican and former colleague, but attorney Tom Ryan said it’s necessary because Reagan intentionally hid an error resulting in hundreds of thousands of voters not receiving their election guides in time for next week’s special election. He also accused Reagan of campaigning in support of Proposition 123, one of the measures on the ballot in next week’s election. Ryan works on a campaign to oppose the same measure. “Here’s our problem: We have a secretary of state who fundamentally does not understand her job,” he said. “She is not supposed to be putting her thumb on the scales.”
Secretary of State Kris Kobach warned Kansas lawmakers last year that he knew of at least 18 suspected cases of double voting in recent elections. Wait, make that 100 cases! Kobach threw out these wild claims as he successfully pressed the Legislature to make him the only secretary of state in the nation with the power to prosecute in these matters. It was all part of Kobach’s continued loathsome attacks on U.S. immigration policy. He knew he could score political points with many Kansans by promising to stop “illegal” voters from canceling out the votes of red-blooded Americans. But now Kobach has been exposed as a big fraud on the issue of voter fraud, which studies have found to be almost nonexistent in America. Since the law took effect July 1, 2015, the publicity-seeking Kobach had filed a puny half-dozen cases by early May.
Mayfield resident John Raine, the first in line at his polling place on Election Day last month, can understand why the city’s election results are now in question. When Raine, 30, checked his ballot folder, he saw that poll workers had given him five blank ballots. And when he approached the scanner machine, no election judges were around. “I could have scanned in all five,” he said. “But I didn’t. I called the judge over.” Voters like Raine are feeling less confidence in the electoral system these days, as the state steps in to review irregularities at some polling places during the April 26 primary. With elections ever more partisan and many highly contested races ending in narrow vote margins, election watchers say people are more concerned than ever about ballots being tallied accurately.
Polling places in Baltimore failed to open on time. Election workers were unfamiliar with procedures, and ballot mix-ups put the outcome of contests in question. The year was 1970. The historic election that sent Maryland’s first African-American congressman, Parren J. Mitchell, to Washington was fraught with problems — problems strikingly similar to the irregularities revealed in the weeks since the city’s April 26 primary this year. A half-century ago, the botched primary led to the deployment of police to supervise the general election, an unprecedented decision to order a second round of voting in eight precincts and a congressional investigation.
After two decades of complaints about the Minnesota presidential caucus system, the state is moving swiftly to adopt a presidential primary. The state Senate overwhelmingly approved a presidential primary measure, which would negate the need for a presidential caucus in 2020. The House is following in the same vein and may give the measure a final vote on Friday. After a crush of people crowded into thousands of caucus sites across Minnesota in February, Minnesota voters, party leaders and others decided it was time to switch to a primary. “Despite the valiant efforts from thousands of volunteers, we also experienced some chaos,” Sen. Ann Rest, DFL-New Hope, said of the 2016 caucus crush. Rest is the sponsor of the bill making the switch. Under the primary plan, parties would still have caucuses but the binding presidential preference vote would be held during a primary.
Missouri voters will soon be asked to vote on how they vote. Thursday evening, the Missouri State House voted to send a referendum to the ballot that will ask citizens to amend the state constitution to require voters to show photo identification in order to cast a ballot. That measure is the second half of a two-part maneuver: Legislators previously passed a bill that governs how the requirement would be implemented, but thanks to a state supreme court decision ruling against a similar law in 2006, the Show Me State has to amend its constitution in order to create the requirement. Missouri Democrats, outnumbered in both houses of the General Assembly, blasted the law but were powerless to stop it. Nor can Governor Jay Nixon, a Democrat, veto the ballot referendum—though he does get to decide when the vote will be held.
Nevada: Here’s what happened at Saturday’s dramatic Nevada Democratic convention | The Washington Post
Saturday’s raucous state Democratic convention in Nevada encapsulated a lot of the themes of the party’s 2016 election in a relatively short period: complex delegate math, inscrutable processes, allegations of deceit, fury — and a result that doesn’t do much of anything to shift the race’s eventual outcome. Nevada’s process for sending delegates to the national convention in Philadelphia is among the most complex. When the state caucused in late February, the fourth state on the calendar for the Democratic Party, the results of that process favored Hillary Clinton. Twenty-three of the 35 total bound delegates were given out proportionally in the state’s four congressional districts, giving Clinton a delegate lead of 13 to 10. The results of the caucus suggested that after the state convention — which bound the state’s seven at-large delegates and five delegates who are elected officials or party leaders — Clinton would end up with a 20-to-15 lead over Bernie Sanders, with Clinton winning one more delegate from the at-large pool (4-to-3) and one more from the party-leader pool (3-to-2) than Sanders. The people who attend the Democratic convention this weekend were chosen during voting in early April. At that point, Sanders out-organized Clinton, getting 2,124 people elected to the state convention (according to the tabulation at the always-essential delegate-tracking site the Green Papers) to Clinton’s 1,722. That suggested that voting at the state convention would flip: Sanders would win those 4-to-3 and 3-to-2 contests, giving him a 7-to-5 victory at the convention and making the state total 18-to-17 for Clinton instead of 20-to-15. But that’s not what happened, as best as we can piece together.
New Jersey: Bernie Sanders decoded quirky New Jersey ballot system in quest for delegates | USA Today
Alex Clark never aspired to become a sheriff. But the 28-year-old lab manager entered the sheriff’s race in Somerset County, N.J., not to get the job but to help his favorite presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, get a prominent spot on the state’s Democratic primary ballot. “I’m not running a campaign, or raising any money or spending any money,” Clark said. “I don’t expect to win.” In New Jersey, county clerks often determine ballot positions by randomly drawing county candidates’ names from a well-shaken wooden box. Sanders’ campaign says those drawings can favor establishment and other candidates who are aligned — or “bracketed” — with the county candidates.
Facing accusations of fraud and disenfranchisement, the New York City Board of Elections voted unanimously last week to certify the results of New York’s hotly contested April 19 presidential primary. But the results are sure to leave many unsatisfied. The board threw out nearly 91,000 of the 121,056 provisional ballots cast by voters who had been unable to vote on primary day either because their names were taken off the rolls or because their party affiliation had been dropped or switched to a different party without their knowing. So roughly three-quarters of the affidavits were deemed invalid and not counted, according to the tallies posted on the Board of Elections Web site last Friday. That’s in addition to all those who did not file affidavits because they were not aware they could or because their polling places ran out of them.
Statutes pertaining to Oregon election laws run for pages and pages. But, for the most part, voter fraud and related illegalities are exceedingly rare, according to Oregon Secretary of State Jeanne P. Atkins. “I’ve been in this job since last March (2015),” she said. “And I’ve had only four or five of those come across my desk. I’d call it a relative rarity.” What scant voter malfeasance exists almost always involves one family member signing the ballot envelope of another — something that’s strictly prohibited by law. “You just can’t sign someone else’s ballot,” she said, “regardless of how well intentioned it may be.”
A federal judge is set to weigh whether a host of changes that Republican legislators have made to Wisconsin’s voting laws illegally burden minority and Democratic-leaning voters. Liberal group One Wisconsin Institute, Inc., social justice group Citizen Action of Wisconsin Education Fund and 10 voters filed the lawsuit last June. U.S. District Judge James Peterson has scheduled a bench trial to begin Monday in Madison. There will be no jury, just the judge’s final decision that he’ll likely issue weeks down the line. In the crosshairs are multiple changes that Republicans have made since 2011, including parts of Wisconsin’s voter photo identification mandate; shrinking the state’s early voting window from 30 days before an election to 12; eliminating weekend early voting; prohibiting someone from vouching for a person’s residence if he or she lacks proof of residency during registration; limiting early voting to one location per municipality and eliminating election registration deputies at high schools.
Long lines, technical difficulties and walkouts by polling staff marred presidential elections in the Dominican Republic yesterday, a race that incumbent leader Danilo Medina is expected to win. After some polling centres opened up to two hours late, authorities in the popular Caribbean tourist destination, which is beset by widespread poverty, prolonged voting by an hour. “Given that in the morning hours there were delay problems, we are giving voters an additional hour to vote,” the head of the electoral commission, Roberto Rosario, said. The delays were due to glitches with electronic equipment and a mass resignation of some 3,000 technical assistants, Rosario said, without giving details on why the workers quit.
Philippines: Citing irregularities in voting machines’ memory cards, Lim eyes poll protest | Inquirer
Alleging that there were irregularities in the conduct of the local elections, the camp of former Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim will file a protest on Friday. Renato dela Cruz, Lim’s lawyer, said that their petition would seek to annul the proclamation of incumbent Mayor Joseph Estrada who was earlier declared the winner in the mayoralty race. In a phone interview, Dela Cruz said one of things they would cite in their petition was the “irregular use of SD cards” which he claimed were “not genuine.” Asked to elaborate, he declined, saying they were still “evaluating” their evidence.
From the fringes of power, Ella Pamfilova has spent decades fighting against the odds. As Russia’s first female candidate for president, she ran on a largely symbolic ticket against Vladimir Putin in 2000, earning just 1 percent of the vote. As Russia’s human rights ombudsman, she sought compromise between harried advocates and hidebound officials. But as the newly appointed head of Russia’s Central Elections Commission, she faces an even more improbable task: ensuring that Russia’s notorious parliamentary elections this fall are free and fair. The stakes are high. Russia’s most recent parliamentary elections, in 2011, descended into farce as social media videos of ballot stuffing and accusations of mass voter fraud spawned the country’s largest pro-democracy and anti-Putin rallies in recent memory. The difference now, Pamfilova said in an interview, is that Putin has given a mandate for clean elections. And she says she is the proof.
Official campaigning for Zambia’s August 11 presidential, parliamentary and local elections begins Monday, says the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ). Electoral commission chairman Justice Esau E. Chulu has launched the inspection of the provisional voter list. During this process, prospective voters are required to verify their information in the provisional voter register before a final list is compiled for the elections. The electoral body says this period is the last chance voters have to ensure their information is accurate on the voters list. All participating political parties registered with the ECZ including the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) and main opposition (UPND) United Party for National Development are to monitor the verification phase.