There’s no debate at this point that Hillary Clinton has won the popular vote and the delegate count to win the Democratic primary. But even Clinton supporters should agree that our supposedly “democratic” system for picking nominees for president is terribly broken and should be dramatically overhauled. It’s not just Bernie Sanders’ campaign that should (and has) argued that the voting system in this country is “rigged”. Virtually every major campaign in both parties griped about how the other was winning at some point during this campaign, and along the way almost all of them were right. First, there are the delegates themselves – the “representatives” that voters “choose” to express their interests at the party conventions (but sometimes don’t have to comply). Each state has its own rules for how delegates are allocated, and they are almost always ridiculously complicated. In both parties, delegate counts regularly do not match up to the percentage of votes candidates received in the primaries. For example, as Fusion’s Felix Salmon demonstrated in March, Trump had dramatically more delegates than his percentage of the Republican vote at that point, and Sanders had dramatically fewer delegates than his percentage on the Democratic side.
The Supreme Court will soon decide whether to hear an appeal in Tuaua v. United States, which poses the question of whether the Citizenship Clause of the 14th Amendment applies to American Samoa. That this is a question at all is puzzling, and not just because it’s called American Samoa. The 14th Amendment to the Constitution guarantees citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof.” The United States annexed the eastern half of a group of Pacific islands known as the Samoas at the end of the 19th century. As a result, those islands became American Samoa. Surely, people born in American Samoa are legally speaking born in the United States and therefore citizens by birth. Easy, right? Not so easy. The answer is that no one knows for sure. How is it possible that a question as basic as who is a citizen at birth under our Constitution remains unresolved in a place subject to the sovereignty of the United States? To understand, you have to dive into the muck that is the law of the United States territories.
Gov. Jerry Brown cleared the way Wednesday for Californians to vote in November on whether to urge their congressional representatives to approve a constitutional amendment repealing the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which allowed corporations to spend unlimited amounts on political campaigns. The state Supreme Court blocked a similar ballot measure in 2014, saying it wasn’t clear whether state law allowed advisory measures on the ballot, but ruled this January that voters could consider the proposal if the Legislature approved it again. Lawmakers, voting mostly along party lines, then passed SB254 by Sen. Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica, and Brown, who could have signed or vetoed the measure, said Wednesday he had allowed it to proceed toward the ballot without his signature. Opponents said the nonbinding measure was intended mainly to boost turnout among Democratic voters.
California: Two Democrats will face off for California’s U.S. Senate seat, marking first time a Republican will not be in contention | Los Angeles Times
California voters made history on Tuesday in the race for the U.S. Senate, sending two Democrats to a November runoff and denying a Republican a spot on the fall ballot for the first time since the state’s first direct election of senators in 1914. State Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris won the largest share of the vote and the title of winner in the primary. By the end of the night, Harris led Orange County Rep. Loretta Sanchez by more than 800,000 votes, a margin of 23 percentage points. Under California’s relatively new top-two primary rules, the two Democratic women will square off on Nov. 8 – a contest that pits Harris’ strength as the party favorite against Sanchez’s potential appeal to Republicans, unaffiliated voters and Latinos. “Our unity is our strength. Our diversity is our power,” Harris told a boisterous crowd at the Delancey Street Foundation clubhouse in San Francisco on election night. “We understand that we have so many challenges as a country and we are prepared to lead.”
Kansas: Kris Kobach predicts massive voter confusion in November in seeking stay of voter ID injunction | Topeka Capital-Journal
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach contends massive voter confusion will occur if an appeals court doesn’t block a lower court’s order to register thousands of state residents for November’s presidential election. Kobach made the prediction in a document he filed with the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The dispute centers on residents who submit voter registration forms at Division of Motor Vehicles offices and don’t provide proof of citizenship. A 2011 state law requires newly registering voters to provide proof of citizenship. A preliminary injunction issued May 17 by U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson prohibits election officials from enforcing the proof of citizenship requirement for residents who register at DMV offices.
Twenty weeks from now, the first Massachusetts voters will be casting their ballots days before the Nov. 8 election, in the state’s inaugural early voting period. In the meantime, election overseers at the local and state level must figure out and develop a new set of practices to grapple with a new range of issues: Where and when should early voting be made available? How do you make sure people only vote once? How do you keep the process fair? What will it all cost? “We’re building the system right now as we go, but we know these are issues that are likely to emerge,” said Secretary of State William Galvin, the state’s top elections official. In late May, Galvin’s office posted online a set of regulations governing the early voting process, with a public hearing on the guidelines planned for July 27.
New York: Cuomo Seeks Fixes to ‘Rampant’ Problems in New York’s Campaign Contribution System | The New York Times
With little movement on state ethics laws, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced a late push in the legislative session on Wednesday to tighten restrictions on election laws governing money given to candidates through so-called independent expenditure committees. In particular, the governor will suggest clarifying criteria — via a legal opinion and legislation to be introduced — for determining if a candidate is improperly coordinating with a committee, including whether the candidate and committee have overlapping donor bases, past staff members in common or the same consultants. Shared office space or information would also be considered evidence of improper coordination under the governor’s plan, outlined in a speech given on Wednesday at Fordham Law School, as would similarities in campaign material produced by a candidate and a committee.
North Carolina: Legislators say redistricting emails, other info protected from public scrutiny | Greensboro News & Record
State legislators say they won’t turn over more information about the new voting districts they drew last year for the Greensboro City Council. The legislators are fighting subpoenas from a group of local residents suing to stop the redistricting because of racial gerrymandering. The new districts are scheduled to take effect for the 2017 election. On Monday, lawyers for the N.C. Attorney General’s Office said the information is protected from public view because of “legislative privilege.” In their filing in U.S. District Court in Greensboro, they said the legislators have given the residents’ attorneys all the information that’s not covered by legislative privilege. The Greensboro residents, who are being represented by the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, asked a judge last month to force the legislators to turn over the information.
A federal judge will not put a lawsuit over Wisconsin’s voter identification law on hold while another similar challenge is pending in a different court. The U.S. District Court in Milwaukee on Wednesday posted a note in the court file saying the state Department of Justice’s request for a stay in the case was denied. The state requested on Monday that the case be put on hold. The American Civil Liberties Union wants to allow people to vote in the August primary election even if they are having trouble getting the required ID.
Austria’s right-wing, populist Freedom Party on Wednesday challenged the result of the presidential election it narrowly lost last month, injecting fresh uncertainty into a country already in political turmoil amid Europe’s migrant crisis. The party alleged “catastrophic” violations of election law centering on what it said was the improper processing of mail-in ballots in the May 22 vote. “We have always said that we will not challenge the election for the sake of challenging the election,” party chairman Heinz-Christian Strache said. “But the disaster around how the vote was counted cannot be accepted without comment.” The mail-in ballots are a key point of contention in part because a big margin of victory there helped independent candidate Alexander Van der Bellen, who was supported by the left-of-center Greens, beat out the Freedom Party’s Norbert Hofer in the runoff.
Kenya’s main opposition party rejected a government ban on political protests and said it will intensify rallies calling for changes to the East African nation’s electoral body. Interior Secretary Joseph Nkaissery on Tuesday outlawed demonstrations in the country after a least five people died in weekly rallies by supporters of the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy that began in April. He threatened to crack down on protesters until differences between the opposition and the government over the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission are resolved through negotiations. The ban “doesn’t change anything,” Dennis Onyango, a spokesman for CORD, said by phone from the capital, Nairobi, on Wednesday. “The courts have cleared us to hold demonstrations.” The protests will be held on Mondays and Thursdays, he said.
Patience was wearing thin as ballots in Peru’s presidential election continued to trickle in on Wednesday, three days after a contest whose results remained too close to call. Front-runner Pedro Pablo Kuczynski’s running mate met Wednesday with electoral authorities to request they speed up the counting. Meanwhile, dozens of supporters of his rival Keiko Fujimori held a demonstration Tuesday night outside the electoral board to denounce what they said is fraud, even though neither the candidate nor her campaign have presented any evidence to back up their supporters’ claims. Electoral officials said they hope to wrap up their work on Thursday when the last ballots cast at embassies abroad arrive in Lima. But most experts said it’s already mathematically impossible for Fujimori to make up the 42,000 vote difference separating her from Kuczynski.
The pro-independence coalition ruling Spain’s Catalonia broke down Wednesday, June 8, after its most radical component refused to back the government budget, forcing the regional president to call a parliamentary vote of no confidence. The development deals a blow to the coalition’s planned 18-month roadmap for independence from Spain by 2017, which it announced after winning a parliamentary majority in regional elections last September. Catalonia has so far done little to implement the plan, which calls for the regional government to create basic laws, a tax system and state structure for the wealthy, industrialized northeastern region whose capital Barcelona is a major tourist draw. Further complicating the project, the far-left, anti-capitalist CUP party that makes up the coalition turned against it Wednesday, refusing to back the government budget for 2016 and joining other non-independence opposition parties in voting against examining it in parliament.
David Cameron has been accused of bias by a senior Brexit campaigner after promising to force through legislation to extend the deadline for registering to vote in the EU referendum. It follows the chaotic collapse of a government website on Tuesday night as 250,000 people tried to apply in the final hours before the midnight deadline. The prime minister urged the public to keep on submitting their details, saying he was working urgently to ensure they would be able to take part in the referendum. MPs are to vote on Thursday on a 48-hour extension to the deadline to register, which is expected to allow tens of thousands more people to vote on 23 June. The new deadline would be midnight on Thursday.