The story of voter ID laws and how quickly they’ve spread across the United States can be told through one state’s journey. A decade ago, Missouri was one of the first states to require voters to present an ID to vote. But things quickly backfired for voter ID proponents: The state Supreme Court ruled that the law was unconstitutional, and it was wiped from the books. A decade later, Missouri Republicans now have a chance to reinstate a voter ID law. The Republican-controlled legislature voted to put the question in the form of a constitutional amendment to voters this November, where proponents expect it to pass and a new law to go on the books as a result. If it plays out as expected, Missouri will join a totally different voter ID landscape than when it first waded into the issue a decade ago. Voter ID laws have progressed so much over the last decade that if Missouri was once a leader in the voter ID debate, today its reentry will be barely a footnote.
National: Stevens says Supreme Court decision on voter ID was correct, but maybe not right | The Washington Post
In the rapid expansion of states with voter-identification laws and the backlash of litigation that always follows, there is one constant from proponents: that the Supreme Court already has declared them constitutional. The court ruled in 2008 that Indiana’s requirement for a photo ID was legal, with none other than liberal justice John Paul Stevens writing what was described as the “lead opinion” in a fractured 6-to-3 ruling. But in the years since, Stevens — who retired from the court in 2010 — has never seemed comfortable with his role in the case. And he recently expressed doubts again about whether he had all the information he needed in reaching what he called a “fairly unfortunate decision.”
Arizona: Fact Check: Michele Reagan’s duties don’t include collecting ballots | The Arizona Republic
On the day of the presidential preference election, March 22, Reagan asked a member of her staff to collect ballots from workers in the Capitol’s Executive Tower, including the Governor’s Office. Reagan admitted collecting ballots in an interview with Capitol Media Services. This admission elicited cries of hypocrisy from critics who said she had violated House Bill 2023, which outlaws most early ballot collection. Reagan had supported the legislation, which Gov. Doug Ducey signed on March 9. The legislation, which takes effect this summer, makes unauthorized ballot collection a Class 6 felony. The law, intended to prevent voter fraud, exempts election officials and postal workers engaged in their “official duties,” as well as a voter’s family members, caregiver, or member of their household. Reagan told Capitol Media Services her actions would not have violated the law had it been in effect because she and her staff would be considered “election officials” performing “official duties.”
California: From marijuana laws to paper bags, Californians could see up to 18 propositions on the November ballot | Los Angeles Times
California voters this fall will likely wade through the longest list of state propositions since Bill Clinton was president, a sizable batch of proposed laws that is likely to spark a record amount of campaign spending. A review of election records and interviews with almost a dozen political consultants confirms that as many as 18 propositions — from legalizing marijuana to redirecting the proceeds of a fee on paper bags — will land on the Nov. 8 statewide ballot. “I think it’s overwhelming,” said Cristina Uribe, state director of the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center, a national nonprofit that advocates for politically progressive ballot measures. This week marks an unofficial but closely watched deadline for backers of the fall’s bumper crop of propositions. Campaigns will submit the final voter signatures gathered for initiatives, and elections officials will then need several weeks to verify those signatures. Secretary of State Alex Padilla must certify the final list by June 30.
Elections workers from across the region descended Monday on Baltimore to launch a precinct-level review of the city’s primary — days after the state took the unusual step of ordering the results decertified amid irregularities. In a West Baltimore warehouse on North Franklintown Road, dozens of workers under the state’s direction began organizing documents. The state is investigating why the number of votes in the city’s April 26 primary election was higher than the number of people who checked in at the polls. The work began hidden from public view, drawing criticism. Workers told members of the public — including several reporters — they were not welcome inside to observe the process.
The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals set June 21 to hear arguments in the North Carolina voting rights case. The appeal was filed by the NAACP and other organizations representing voters who challenged the extensive elections law overhaul in 2013. The new law established a voter ID requirement, curbed the number of days voters could cast ballots early, eliminated out-of-precinct voting and stopped letting people register to vote and cast a ballot on the same day.
Oregon’s presidential primary is tomorrow, but the bigger story is how many new voters there are in the state. More than 100,000 new voters have registered so far in 2016, over half through the state’s new automatic voter registration system. The 51,558 voters signed up through automatic registration is an average of 12,889 new voters per month, three times higher than the average of 4,163 monthly registrants in 2012. “It looks like it’s going to be a big success,” says Nikki Fisher, executive director of The Bus Project, which helped conceive of the program. The number of voters registered has been higher than initial projections and half of new registrants are under 35. “All indications are that new people are being brought into the system,” Fisher says. This year Oregon became the first state to automatically register eligible citizens who request or renew a driver’s license through the DMV. They are sent a card informing them of their registration status and have 21 days to opt out from the voting rolls. The burden of registration shifts from the individual to the state.
Oregon’s landmark new automatic voter registration system added nearly 52,000 voters in just four months this year, more than double what the state has normally seen for an entire year. That sounds impressive, but there’s a hitch. The so-called “motor voter” law — a first in the nation widely hailed as a way to boost voter participation — hasn’t made it much easier to participate in Oregon’s closed primary on Tuesday. Unlike the November general election when all voters can participate, the presidential primary in Oregon and some other states is restricted only to voters who are registered as Republican or Democrat. Under the new law, Oregonians 18 and up are automatically registered to vote while renewing or applying for a driver’s license or state ID card, but they can’t pick a party at that time. Instead, they’re registered by default as nonaffiliated, and a few days later they can choose a party or opt out on a form sent by mail.
A trial over Wisconsin’s voting laws kicked off Monday with a former aide to a Republican state senator testifying that GOP senators were “giddy” over the prospect the state’s 2011 voter ID law could keep some people from voting. Todd Allbaugh, who worked at the time for then-Sen. Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center), said some senators expressed a lack of enthusiasm to take up the voter ID legislation early that year during a private meeting of Republicans. Sen. Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) then made the case for the bill, he testified. “She got up out of her chair and hit her fist or her finger on the table and said, ‘Hey, we’ve got to think about what this would mean for the neighborhoods around Milwaukee and the college campuses,'” Allbaugh said.
Voters in Sunday’s election were on Monday warned to use the right symbols on ballots otherwise their vote will not count. “According to the electoral law, the only symbols with which voters are allowed to vote, are the ‘x’ or ‘+’ or ‘√’,” a Chief Returning Officer announcement said. In the case voters use any other symbol or letter, “with which his or her identity may be revealed, their ballot will be considered as invalid”. Voters must choose the designated number of candidates for each district from the same party/coalition, it said. In Nicosia votes are made for five candidates, in Limassol and Famagusta three, Larnaca two and one in Paphos and Kyrenia, it said.
President Danilo Medina declared electoral victory in the Dominican Republic on Monday as results showed him ahead with a huge margin, but the win was marred by deaths and violence exacerbated by the slow pace of the vote count. Medina swayed voters with a record of surging GDP growth and social projects that outweighed stubborn poverty, high crime and accusations of graft in the Caribbean’s largest economy. “We have received the support of the majority of the Dominican people,” Medina said in a speech at his campaign headquarters, thanking the nation for his victory. Final results were still not out more than 24 hours after polls closed on Sunday night, a situation electoral authorities blamed for tension between candidates that led to six deaths and unrest in the provinces.
For the third Monday in a month, hundreds of protesters gathered in Nairobi to demand major reforms in the country’s electoral commission, starting with the resignation of the commission members. Protests also took place in western Kenya. The protesters, most of whom are supporters of the opposition CORD coalition, accuse the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, IEBC, of favoring the ruling Jubilee coalition. They say the commission is unable to conduct free, fair, and transparent elections. James Orengo, a Kenyan senator with CORD who led the crowd in chanting, “no reforms, no elections,” says a fair vote cannot be held with the current electoral commission in place.
The ruling VMRO DPMNE of former prime minister Nikola Gruevski has denied accusations it is practically suspending political pluralism in Macedonia by insisting on competing in June 5 elections alone. “It is a misconception that only one party [VMRO DPMNE] will participate. Our coalition is comprised of 20 parties and that is in itself proof that political pluralism will be preserved,” a senior source from VMRO DPMNE told BIRN under conditions of anonymity. Gruevski previously told the news agency AFP that while he was unhappy about the planned boycott of the polls by other big political parties, “there is no legal basis to be found for postponement of the elections” because parliament had already dissolved and cannot now change the election date. Gruevski said he might opt for another poll, right after the June 5 vote, in order to give other players a second change to participate.
A controversial political leader, Rodrigo Duterte, has won the recently held presidential elections in The Philippines. He had undertaken an extremely inflammatory campaign, propagating draconian measures for handling issues related to drugs and crime. This 71-year-old leader, who has been a long-time mayor of the southern city of Davao, had used highly filthy and cuss-filled language during the election campaign. Although he spoke against laws on human rights and abused the Pope, he still won with a large popular support. Because of Duterte’s maverick approach and obvious comparisons with the US Presidential hopeful Donald Trump, media attention during this election remained focused more on various theatrics. Now, after the heat and dust of the election is over, it is important to analyse a few issues that did not receive adequate attention during the campaign phase, but which are vital not only from the perspective of The Philippines but globally as well. One such issue is cyber-attack on the database of The Philippines Election Commission. This attack is considered as the worst ever government data breach anywhere in the world.