National: Bill Is Proposed Requiring Presidential Candidates to Show Tax Returns | The New York Times

Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, introduced legislation on Wednesday that would require major presidential candidates to publicly disclose their three most recent personal income tax returns, a challenge to the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald J. Trump, who has resisted releasing his filings. Mr. Wyden, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, is trying to goad Republicans, including the committee chairman, Senator Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, and the majority leader, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, into defending Mr. Trump, giving Democrats a legislative rallying point. But Mr. McConnell and Mr. Hatch, as leaders of the majority, are likely to ignore the bill.

Editorials: Two myths about the unruly American primary system | Richard Hasen/The Washington Post

In yesterday’s New York Times, a story suggests that after this year’s election, the U.S. political parties might struggle over whether to re-design our primary system. But before we think about potential changes, let’s examine the unique system we have today — and expose two myths usually told about how we got here. Many Americans will be surprised to learn that few democracies give primary elections a dominant role in selecting their parties’ nominees for the country’s highest office. In most systems, elected party members take a major role in choosing or filtering potential candidates. In Britain, for example, to be a Labour Party nominee for prime minister, you need to be nominated by 15 percent of Labour’s members in Parliament; the Conservative Party members nominate just two candidates. The wider party membership then chooses from this narrowed field, although only 1 percent of registered voters are party members (compared with 60 percent or so in the United States), because party membership entails more significant obligations. But starting in the 1970s, the United States stumbled — and I do mean stumbled — into a system that eliminated any meaningful role for party figures. Instead, unmediated popular participation, through caucuses and primary elections, came to control the way we choose presidential nominees. That uniquely populist system, which we now take for granted, has culminated in our current, stunning moment. Two essentially freelance, independent political figures — Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders — will either represent, or come surprisingly close to representing, the nation’s two major parties in the 2016 election.

Arkansas: In 5 counties, ballot systems set for update | Arkansas Online

Secretary of State Mark Martin will provide an estimated $2.1 million worth of new voting equipment to five counties, his office announced Tuesday. The five counties are Chicot, Cleveland, Jackson, Randolph and Washington. The counties are scheduled to receive the voting equipment and have it operational for the upcoming school elections in September, the Republican secretary of state said. They will join five other counties for which the state this year purchased new election equipment, at a cost of nearly $3 million. The voting equipment will include new voting machines, tabulating machines and software. The counties will use the Express Vote Universal Voting System, which is a touch-screen machine, said Chris Powell, a spokesman for Martin.

California: San Francisco city attorney slams Sanders’ backers’ voter registration suit | San Francisco Chronicle

A lawsuit by supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders and a group of independent voters against election officials is just a headline-grabbing “political stunt” unsupported by any evidence, San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera said Tuesday. The suit “cynically aims to undermine the legitimacy of our election, and to further a political narrative that has zero basis in reality,” said Herrera, whose office represents San Francisco elections Director John Arntz in the case. The lawsuit accuses election officials of providing independent voters with misleading and confusing information about their right to vote for a partisan presidential candidate in the June 7 primary. The suit seeks to extend Monday’s voter registration deadline to election day.

Hawaii: Justices Aren’t Buying That Voting Rights Weren’t Violated | Honolulu Civil Beat

There’s no dispute that the 2012 general election was marred by widespread ballot shortages that caused confusion and delays at many polling places. Now the Hawaii Supreme Court will have to decide what, if anything, needs to be done about it. The court heard oral arguments last week in the appeal of a lawsuit brought by the Green Party of Hawaii and seven individual voters stemming from the 2012 ballot fiasco. The plaintiff’s contend the methods and procedures for printing and handling ballots are in fact agency rules that should have been adopted pursuant to the state’s Administrative Procedures Act. They sought a ruling that elections officials be required to go through the public rule-making process before applying them in future elections.

Kentucky: Recanvass Of Presidential Primary Votes Will Happen Thursday | WFPL

Bernie Sanders has requested a recanvass of votes cast in Kentucky’s Democratic presidential primary last week, which he lost to Hillary Clinton by 1,924 votes. The recanvass is essentially a re-tabulation of results from each precinct and will be conducted on Thursday, May 26, according to the Kentucky Secretary of State’s office. “The purpose of a recanvass is to verify the accuracy of the vote totals reported from the voting machines,” Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes tweeted after receiving Sanders’ request. Sanders sent the request to Grimes’ office on Tuesday morning; the deadline to ask for a recanvass is 4:00 Tuesday afternoon. According the Kentucky Democratic Party, Clinton won 28 delegates and Sanders won 27 from last week’s primary election.

Michigan: New straight-ticket voting law in Michigan prompts lawsuit | MLive

A group of African American labor activists is suing in U.S. District Court to stop a new law eliminating straight-ticket voting. The Michigan A. Philip Randolph Institute is being represented by former Michigan Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer, an attorney with Southfield-based Goodman Acker P.C. The group is suing Secretary of State Ruth Johnson in her official capacity and hopes to stop enforcement before November elections, Brewer said. Public Act 268, which Gov. Rick Snyder signed in January, eliminates an option for voters to vote for all partisan positions by choosing either an all-Republican or all-Democratic option.

Montana: Judge rules against election materials law | Great Falls Tribune

A federal judge has once again struck down a law that requires candidates who criticize the voting records of another candidate to offer details on the vote. The ruling stems from a lawsuit filed by GOP candidate J.C. Kantorowicz who is running for the state Senate District 10 seat in the June 7 primary against fellow GOP Steve Fitzpatrick, who now serves in the state House of Representatives. Kantorowicz filed the lawsuit against Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl, Attorney General Tim Fox and Leo Gallagher, Lewis and Clark County attorney, in April, claiming that his First Amendment rights to criticize Fitzpatrick were muzzled by a state law that he described as an “incumbent protection act.” Fitzpatrick had filed a complaint against Kantorowicz in April with the COPP office. U.S. District Court Judge Dana L. Christensen made the ruling Monday.

Ohio: House OKs online voter registration — after fall election | The Columbus Dispatch

After years of debate and lack of action, Ohio is primed to join more than 30 other states in offering online voter registration — but not until after the 2016 presidential election. Supporters say the system would not only save money for county elections boards, but also would make Ohio’s voting system more secure and easier for voters. But it has been held up for years, and delayed again until next year, as some majority Republicans have worried about its political impact. “There are absolutely no good reasons why this should be delayed until 2017 from an administrative point of view,” said Secretary of State Jon Husted, who has pushed for online voter registration since 2011, after the House of Representatives approved the bill today by a 90-2 vote.

South Dakota: State trying to improve electoral processes | Rapid City Journal

The State Board of Elections adopted 45 pages of rules changes Monday in order to to keep up with South Dakota’s changing politics. The proposals covered establishing governments for new cities, adopting armed sentinel programs in school districts, filling city and school board vacancies after resignations, conducting random samples of petition signatures for statewide candidates and on statewide ballot measures, and many more. Pennington County Auditor Julie Pearson was the only person who testified and wasn’t a board member. She pointed out several times how the rules might be better written.

Texas: Voter ID battle explained: hearing in appeals court just the latest battle | Houston Chronicle

The Texas Attorney General was in federal court Tuesday to defend the state’s controversial voter ID law, which courts have twice tried to strike down. Both times it has persisted. So what is all this hullaballoo about, and why does Texas think it needs to fight so hard to required voters to show state approved ID at the polls? According to Gov. Greg Abbott in March, it’s because “the fact is, voter fraud is rampant” in Texas. But that doesn’t appear to be true all. PolitiFact rated Abbott’s claim “pants on fire,” finding just four documented cases of in-person voter fraud between 2000 and 2014, during which time 72 million ballots were cast in Texas. He and other proponents of the law argue that the burden it requires–showing one of seven forms of state-approved documents in order to vote–should be easily met by any Texan.

Texas: State defends its voter ID law before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals | The Star-Telegram

A top lawyer for Texas fiercely defended the state’s strictest-in-the-nation voter identification law Tuesday in a high-profile case that could ultimately determine at what point states that assert that they are protecting the integrity of elections cross over into disenfranchisement. Standing before all 15 judges of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Texas Solicitor General Scott Keller argued that judges were wrong to conclude in two previous rulings that the Texas Legislature discriminated against minority and low-income voters in passing a 2011 law that stipulates which types of photo identification election officials can and cannot accept at the polls. If those rulings are left as written, “all voting laws could be in jeopardy,” Keller said before a packed courtroom that included his boss, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. Lawyers representing the Justice Department, minority groups and other plaintiffs disagreed, asking the judges to affirm what a lower court — and a three-judge panel in this same courthouse — previously concluded: that Senate Bill 14 has a “discriminatory effect” on Hispanic, African-American and other would-be voters in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. Only a handful of judges asked questions at length Tuesday, making it difficult to judge where the majority stands. But the 5th Circuit is considered among the nation’s most conservative, with 10 of its judges having been appointed by Republican presidents.

Editorials: The Virginia GOP’s voting rights lawsuit would perpetuate injustice | The Washington Post

Republican leaders of Virginia’s legislature have asked the state’s highest court to block Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s order restoring voting rights to more than 200,000 felons who have served out their sentences — the latest in a series of GOP measures meant to dilute and minimize the electoral clout of African Americans in the commonwealth. The Republican lawsuit rests heavily on the idea that Virginia’s governor is invested with the authority to restore ex-convicts’ voting rights only if the restoration is “individualized” — a word that appears nowhere in the state’s constitution. In fact, the constitution explicitly empowers the governor “to remove political disabilities” arising from “conviction for offenses” and strips voting rights from a felon “unless his civil rights have been restored by the governor.”

Wisconsin: Waukesha county clerk: Weekend voting gave ‘too much access’ to Milwaukee, Madison | Cap Times

A series of changes to Wisconsin election laws including a voter ID requirement hasn’t negatively affected voting in suburban communities near Milwaukee, city and county clerks testified in federal court Tuesday. “From the start, we have had virtually no problems at all,” said Waukesha County clerk Kathleen Novack. Their testimony came as the state began its defense in a trial challenging voting policies signed into law by Gov. Scott Walker between 2011 and 2015 including restrictions on early voting hours and locations, the elimination of straight-ticket voting and the photo identification requirement. The lawsuit contends those changes place a disproportionate burden on non-white voters. Tuesday marked the seventh day of the trial, which is expected to last almost two weeks.

Cambodia: Prime Minister sets 2018 election date, opposition leaders face legal charges | Reuters

Cambodia’s next election will be in July 2018, Prime Minister Hun Sen announced on Wednesday, as leaders of the opposition face legal charges they say are politically motivated to stop them challenging the veteran premier in the vote. Long before the Southeast Asian nation goes to the ballot box, political tension has risen. The last election in 2013 marked self-styled strongman Hun Sen’s toughest challenge in three decades of rule. The opposition, led by Hun Sen’s longtime foe Sam Rainsy, accused the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) of cheating its way to victory and boycotted parliament for a year.

Kenya: Opposition suspends anti-election body protests | Reuters

Kenya’s main opposition coalition said on Wednesday it would suspend its weekly protests against the election commission to give calls for dialogue a chance. Three people were killed on Monday in clashes between demonstrators and police in Nairobi and other cities during rallies against the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) led by opposition leader Raila Odinga’s CORD coalition. Clashes also flared during three other protests. The next presidential and parliamentary polls in Kenya, East Africa’s largest economy, are not due until August 2017 but politicians are already trying to galvanise supporters in a country prone to political strife. Violence erupted after the 2007 vote and the opposition disputed the outcome in 2013.