Norway: Governments should consider the consequences when they decide whether to adopt Internet voting | Democratic Audit

The secret ballot is largely undisputed as a democratic principle. What this principle means in practice, however, may be contested when voting takes place outside the polling station in a so-called uncontrolled environment, i.e., remote voting including Internet voting, postal voting and telephone voting. Remote voting transfers the responsibility for vote secrecy from the authorities to the voters. The popular understanding of the principle of the secret ballot, therefore, becomes crucial, because this may influence whether voters actually keep their vote secret. The secrecy of the vote has two aspects. First, it requires that voters are able to cast their votes in private, unobserved by anyone. Second, it requires that no one is able to break the anonymity of the vote at a later stage. Even though both aspects are important, we focus on the former. Voter attitudes towards the privacy aspect have received little attention in the literature on remote voting. The secrecy of the vote is usually taken for granted, and questions about this issue are therefore rarely asked in surveys.

National: GOP delegate fight to stop Trump heats up in federal court | The Washington Post

Last-ditch attempts by a group of Republican delegates seeking to stop Donald Trump from becoming the GOP presidential nominee are quickly fading — and now their fight is facing a federal legal challenge. At issue is whether delegates to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland are bound to vote for the results of state caucuses and primaries. A group that claims the support of hundreds of convention delegates has been pushing to change Republican presidential nomination rules so that delegates can “vote their conscience” — reviving a long-simmering debate led by GOP purists who believe that only convention delegates — not the millions of voters who participated in the primary process — can ultimately pick a presidential nominee.

National: Early voting reduces voter turnout, mailing ballots boosts | Washington Times

Allowing voters to show up and cast ballots ahead of Election Day appears to actually reduce participation, but letting them vote by mail or to show up and register on Election Day boosts turnout, the government’s chief research agency said in a new report last week. The surprising findings by the Government Accountability Office contradict the conventional wisdom in a number of states, which are moving to expand so-called early voting, believing it makes it easier for those who are busy on Election Day to take part in the political process anyway. But the findings confirm the experiments of states such as Colorado, where voting by mail has become the standard. Still, the changes affect only the margins, and the main factors in predicting voter turnout are voters’ demographics and whether an election is seen as interesting, GAO analysts said.

Editorials: The Struggle to Vote in Kansas | The New York Times

The right to vote is turning into a tooth-and-claw saga in Kansas, thanks to right-wing ideologues’ determination to force new voters to produce a passport, a birth certificate or naturalization papers as proof of citizenship. This is unheard-of in most of the nation, where aspiring voters are required only to swear to being citizens under penalty of prosecution for fraud. But in Kansas, the requirement that citizenship be documented has become a grave electoral impediment that is being challenged on two legal fronts. In the first, a federal district judge in May ordered the state to register thousands of people who had been denied federal voting privileges because they did not produce proof of citizenship when they tried to register at motor vehicle offices. Judge Julie Robinson ruled that the requirement violated the National Voter Registration Act provision that “only the minimum amount of information” is needed to certify a voter. The state is appealing her ruling.

California: Daunting ballot awaiting California voters | San Jose Mercury News

Voters are in store for another thick November ballot — one that will offer up more statewide initiatives than IHOP has pancake dishes. With California Secretary of State Alex Padilla certifying 17 ballot measures late last week — the most for any election since March 2000, when the state’s voters grappled with 20 measures — local residents can expect to cast upward of five double-sided pages worth of votes and receive election guides that could number more than 200 pages, said Joe Canciamilla, Contra Costa County’s election chief. “The ballot is just going to be a nightmare,” he said. As voters labor over questions about legalizing marijuana, eliminating the death penalty and making adult film actors wear condoms during sex, studies show that nearly 1 in 10 of them will likely give up before making it to the raft of local races, including a $3 billion BART bond measure. And many more will find themselves nixing initiatives they never had the time to grasp, said Shaun Bowler, a ballot measure expert at UC Riverside.

Illinois: DuPage County eyes merging Election Commission, clerk’s office | Naperville Sun

Efforts are continuing to combine the DuPage County clerk’s office and the DuPage Election Commission, but it would not happen until after the November election, County Board Chairman Dan Cronin told board members this week. The consolidation idea follows the absorption two weeks ago by DuPage of a Naperville street-lighting district and comes as Cook County considers merging its clerk and recorder of deeds. “We are moving forward with our efforts to create a streamlined, more efficient, more cost-effective government,” Cronin said at Tuesday’s County Board meeting.

Editorials: Voting Rights / Lawrence Journal World

There is nothing more important to American democracy than the participation of its citizens through voting. Voting in local, state and federal elections is a precious right that unfortunately is the subject of considerable confusion in Kansas these days. With the primary election less than a month away, Kansas remains mired in a number of court battles over which registered voters are allowed to vote and in which contests. Last week, a federal judge refused to block a decision by the executive director of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to require voters in Kansas, Georgia and Alabama to present proof of citizenship to complete their registrations using a federal form. In other states, the federal voter registration form requires voters to swear under penalty of perjury that they are citizens but doesn’t require citizenship proof such as a birth certificate or passport. Legal action challenging the EAC decision still is active, but the judge said the decision should stand until the case is decided at trial.

Louisiana: Felons on parole, probation sue to obtain voting rights | NOLA

A lawsuit filed Friday (July 1) in state court seeks to restore voting rights for some 70,000 Louisiana residents who are on probation or parole for felonies. The suit was filed in Baton Rouge by the group Voice of the Ex-Offender and several convicted felons who have been denied voting rights. The suit says state laws blocking people who are on parole or probation from voting violate the Louisiana Constitution. The 1974 constitution allows suspension of voting rights for people judicially declared mentally incompetent or those who are “under an order of imprisonment” for a felony. The lawsuit contends that the denial of voting rights does not extend to felons who have been released on parole or probation.

Nevada: Officials say lining up city, Clark County election cycles could save millions | Las Vegas Review-Journal

Four cities in Clark County are expected to share a $2.4 million cost to hold spring municipal elections next year, a number officials say could be zero if they lined up their election cycle with the county’s. Clark County data pegs the cost of 2017 city elections at $2.4 million, if the cities of Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Henderson and Boulder City all require both primary and general elections in the spring. The cost for the city of Las Vegas alone is about $1.47 million. Those new figures for city elections capture the actual county cost for holding them, county spokesman Dan Kulin said. A county audit last year found that the county was substantially under-billing the cities for their off-year elections. The currently proposed charge for the cities has come down a bit from the cost that was landed on in the audit, which was in excess of $3 million.

Oklahoma: Online system aimed at raising Oklahoma voter registration | The Southern

Oklahoma election officials hope that a new online voter registration system will increase voter participation in the state. Since 2000, the number of people eligible to cast a ballot who haven’t registered to vote in the state has more than doubled, the Tulsa World reported Sunday. About 389,000 of the nearly 2.5 million eligible Oklahomans did not register in 2000, and that number grew to more than 800,000 of the total eligible population by 2014. The 30-to-39-year-old age group showed the biggest decrease in voter registration, falling from 82 percent to 62 percent. But the 18-to-29-year-old group continues to have the lowest percentage of registered voters, falling from 61 percent to 48 percent.

Virginia: Few ex-felons registering to vote in Virginia | Politico

When Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe restored voting rights to more than 200,000 state citizens with felony convictions in April, he opened the door — much to the dismay of state Republicans — to a influx of likely Democratic voters in a state whose recent presidential elections have been decided by razor-thin margins. So far, however, very few of those potential voters have taken the first step toward actually showing up in November. As of June 30, only 8,170 of the newly eligible Virginians have registered to vote, according to the Virginia Department of Elections. For many, the gap between eligible voters and registered voters is distressing, particularly given the struggle waged over ex-offenders’ right to vote. McAuliffe’s order restored voting rights to felons who have completed their incarceration, parole or probation and paid all court-related fees and restitution. Virginia felons had long ago lost their right to vote permanently — one of few states in the country to use so harsh of a penalty — until former Gov. Bob McDonnell began lifting these restrictions in 2013 (though felons still had to apply individually for a rights restoration).

Wisconsin: State’s New Elections Commission OKs Spending $250K On Voter ID Education Campaign | Wisconsin Public Radio

The newly minted Wisconsin Elections Commission elected officers and approved spending on an education campaign for the state’s voter ID law during its first meeting Thursday. The commission will spend $250,000 on a public education campaign before the November election to remind people to bring an ID to the polls, and tell them how to get one if they don’t have it. Commissioner Don Millis wants to avoid money going towards TV ads that aren’t likely to run during prime time.

Australia: Election cliff-hanger leaves nation in limbo | Reuters

Australia’s political parties began horsetrading on Sunday to break an anticipated parliamentary deadlock after a dramatic election failed to produce a clear winner, raising the prospect of prolonged political and economic instability. The exceptionally close vote leaves Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s center-right Liberal Party-led government in a precarious position, potentially needing the support of independent and minor parties. It has also opened the door to the possibility, albeit less likely, that the main opposition Labor Party could win enough backing from the smaller parties to form government itself, although Turnbull said on Sunday he remained “quietly confident” of returning his coalition to power for another three-year term.

Australia: Vote counting resumes as Labor and Coalition face leadership scrutiny | ABC

The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has begun counting millions of postal and absentee votes, as both the Coalition and Labor try to make their case to form government. The ABC computer still has 10 seats in doubt, but that figure should soon change as counting resumes in earnest. Attorney-General George Brandis said the Coalition remained “quietly confident” it could secure a “working majority” in the Lower House. “We hope that a final result in the narrowly contested seats will be available in coming days,” Senator Brandis said. But Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said if that was not the case he expected the regional independents to side with the Coalition. “Ultimately, regional people have more of an interest in the side of politics that has regional policies and [agriculture] policies and does the things that regional people want to do,” he told RN Drive.

Austria: In Liberal Vienna, Youth Fear Austria’s Presidential Re-run | VoA News

In the fall of 2015, the international news was flooded with pictures of an Austrian train station where volunteers welcomed refugees with food, clothing and games for children. Almost a year later, the train station now welcomes commuters and tourists. Media coverage focuses on a growing anti-immigration political movement poised to take another crack at the Austrian presidency. At a quiet park in Vienna, Jesse de Pagter, a 23-year-old philosophy student from the Netherlands, said the outpouring of sympathy for refugees may have been a catalyst for an outpouring of intolerance. “It may have been the positive image that made the contrary true,” he said. “It’s an image of a divided country.” On Friday, an Austrian court canceled the results of the country’s May presidential elections, citing widespread rule breaking. The re-vote, scheduled for the fall, essentially gives Austria’s Freedom Party candidate, Norbert Hofer, another chance at becoming the European Union’s first far-right head of state.

Ireland: Brexit vote makes united Ireland suddenly thinkable | Reuters

Protestant unionists are queuing for Irish passports in Belfast and once quiet Catholic nationalists are openly campaigning for a united Ireland, signs of deep shifts in the United Kingdom’s most troubled province since Britain voted to leave the EU. Eighteen years after a peace deal ended decades of fighting between mainly Catholic nationalists who favour a united Ireland and mainly Protestant unionists who favour remaining part of the United Kingdom, Britain’s Brexit vote is making people on both sides of the divide in Northern Ireland think the unthinkable. Northern Ireland, like neighbouring Scotland, voted to stay in the European Union, with 56 pecent in favour, even though Britain as a whole voted to leave the bloc.