Fifty-nine-year-old veteran Larry Harmon got a surprise when he went to cast a ballot in Ohio last year: He was no longer registered to vote. Harmon hadn’t voted since 2008, a result of being fed up with politics and not liking any of his choices. He didn’t know you could lose your registration just for taking a vacation from the political process. Tens of thousands of other voters in the state were taken off the rolls for the same reason, which they might not figure out until they go to cast a ballot this fall — and Ohio will be an important swing state this year. Voters all over Brooklyn had the same problem in April, when at least 70,000 people were taken off the voter rolls because they hadn’t voted enough in the past. Thousands of voters may have been mistakenly removed for other reasons as well. A baker from Bushwick who had been excited to vote for Bernie Sanders told the New York Daily News, “I’m feeling profoundly snuffed.” And it was hardly the first time this has happened. Ari Berman notes in his book Give Us the Ballot that during the notoriously messy 2000 election in Florida, about 12,000 voters were wrongfully labeled as felons and taken off the rolls. About 44 percent of those were likely African-American.
They say time is money, and the adage rings especially true for members of Congress: Many of them — according to Rep. David Jolly (R-Fla.) — spend almost as much of the workweek fundraising as they do debating laws or helping constituents. Mr. Jolly, with a Democratic colleague, Rep. Rick Nolan (Minn.), has introduced a bill to fix that. Their legislation does not purport to solve all of the country’s fundraising woes, but this is a case in which some change would be better than none. Mr. Jolly estimates that Senate and House lawmakers spend an average of 30 hours a week at networking events and call centers instead of in the Capitol working for the people they were elected to represent. Under his bill, called the Stop Act, these representatives could not personally solicit campaign contributions — whether or not Congress is in session.
Arizona: Attorney General won’t pursue Reagan over outdated election manual | Capitol Media Services
Calling her interpretation of the law “at least plausible,” the state Attorney General’s Office won’t pursue Michele Reagan for her failure to update the state elections manual this year the way her predecessors have done. Michael Bailey, the chief deputy, acknowledged Tuesday that the secretary of state adopted what appears to be a unique interpretation of the law requiring her to prepare the manual. That book, now nearly 400 pages, is a virtual bible for election workers on every facet of what the law requires and how to handle different situations. Put simply, she decided it’s OK to simply keep in place for this the 2014 manual prepared by her predecessor despite that not being how prior secretaries of state read the law. That decision resulted in a complaint by Chandler attorney Tom Ryan to Attorney General Mark Brnovich.
California: One week later, almost 2 million California primary ballots still must be reviewed | Los Angeles Times
Elections officials across California continue to work through a stack of unprocessed ballots, now totaling more than 1.9 million potential votes in last week’s local and statewide races. About 60% of the unprocessed ballots are in just a half dozen counties. By law, local officials have another three weeks to count votes, a process slowed down in part by the large number of ballots cast by mail. This is also the first year for a new state law allowing any ballot received 72 hours after election day to be counted, as long as it was postmarked in time.
District of Columbia: D.C. makes it shockingly easy to snoop on your fellow voters | The Washington Post
A little-known law in the nation’s capital is leading to complaints over the way it lets anyone on the Internet find out D.C. voters’ names, addresses, voting history and political affiliations, with little more than a click or two. The political list, known as a voter file, was published on the D.C. Board of Elections’ website in the weeks leading…
District of Columbia: Glitch believed to be based in mobile app erases some D.C. voters’ party affiliation | The Washington Post
Voters reported multiple problems in casting ballots in the District on Tuesday, raising the possibility that technical issues could mar a citywide election for the second year in a row. An unknown number of D.C. voters who went to the polls discovered that their party affiliation had changed — without their authorization. Three voters interviewed by The Post said they were told their registration was no longer Democrat but “N-P,” meaning no party, preventing them from casting regular ballots counted on Election Day. The Distrtict has a closed primary; only voters registered as Democrats, Republicans and D.C. Statehood Green party members can participate.
How about some good news about citizens taking control of their own government? The citizen-led Independent Map Amendment initiative easily cleared hefty signature requirement hurdles, was deemed valid and won tentative approval Monday to appear on the Nov. 8 ballot, pending the outcome of a lawsuit filed to try to thwart it. In a first for an Illinois redistricting attempt after two previous attempts in 2010 and 2014, commissioners on the Illinois State Board of Elections declared the signatures valid, giving a tentative green light to the ballot question that would ask voters if they want an 11-member independent commission to design state legislative districts rather than letting ruling politicians draw them. “This is a huge hurdle that we’ve cleared and it’s one that no redistricting amendment has so far cleared in Illinois, so we’re very excited,” said Dave Mellet, campaign manager of the Independent Map Amendment. When this was tried in 2014, “they realized this is a pretty massive undertaking and there’s a lot you need to learn about duplicate signatures,” he added, “so to get to 290,000 valid signatures is a huge step.”
Kansas must begin registering thousands of eligible voters for federal elections who have not provided proof of citizenship under a federal court order that has complicated the state’s elections less than a month before early voting begins for its primary. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s office issued instructions to county election officials late Tuesday to register those motor voter applicants without citizenship documentation to vote — but only in the federal races for President and U.S. Senate and U.S. House. Those guidelines come in the wake of a 10th Circuit Court of Appeals decision last week that refused to temporarily block a federal judge’s order. Early voting begins July 13 for the state’s primary election in August. In addition to the presidential race on the November ballot, U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran and all four of his Kansas colleagues in the House are up for re-election.
A federal court gave Kansas until Tuesday to start registering thousands of would-be voters tripped up by the state’s strict proof of citizenship law. But Secretary of State Kris Kobach isn’t saying whether he’s complying with the order. It’s been radio silence from Kobach since Friday night, when the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the order issued last month by U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson. A Kobach spokeswoman didn’t respond to multiple phone and email messages asking whether Kobach intends to begin registering voters. Messages sent on Twitter to Kobach and to the official account for the secretary of state’s office also went unanswered. “Secretary Kobach has repeatedly stood in the way of thousands of Kansans who have tried to exercise their right to vote,” Dale Ho, the director of the ACLU’s voting rights project, said in a statement Tuesday.“ Today that ends. He must let them vote.”
Voters in a rural Oregon town are receiving ballots in the mail for a recall election targeting a judge who opposed the armed takeover of a federal wildlife refuge earlier this year. Harney County Judge Steve Grasty decided to fight the recall even though he is retiring this year. The recall has stirred passions in Burns, which held the national spotlight for weeks during the standoff at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Ammon Bundy and others occupied the refuge this winter to protest federal land policy and the imprisonment of Dwight and Steven Hammond, two ranchers sent to prison for starting fires. The 41-day standoff ended Feb. 11 and included the fatal shooting by police of rancher and occupation spokesman Robert “LaVoy” Finicum.
A large majority of the General Affairs Committee of the Brussels parliament voted in favor of e-voting in next municipal, regional and federal elections. The committee adopted the proposal by 13 votes for and one vote against. Ecolo, a green francophone party, voted against. The proposal will be put to the vote in the plenary on 24 June. The preferred voting system has been conclusively used in previous elections in two municipalities of Brussels.
A newly formed opposition alliance said Tuesday it will seek to oust the Maldives’s president and form an interim government to ensure elections scheduled in 2018 will be free and fair. An interim administration is crucial to restore democracy and to “protect the many people being persecuted,” Ahmed Naseem, a member of the so-called shadow government in exile. “The primary objective of the Maldives United Opposition is to strive for the removal from power of the dictator in Maldives, through all legal and lawful means, and pave the way for a transitional administration as soon as possible,” Naseem said.