National: How State Voter ID Laws Could Be Problematic For Presidential Election | Wisconsin Public Radio

This November, U.S. citizens will cast a vote for president without the full protection of the Voting Rights Act for the first time in 50 years. In July of 2006, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 390 to 33 to restore the Voting Rights Act of 1965 for another 25 years. However, in June of 2013 a Supreme Court decision struck down a key part of the law, allowing nine – mostly southern – states to change their election laws without advance federal approval. Today, 17 states have new voting restriction laws in place for the upcoming election, many of which are in place for the first time, according to writer Ari Berman. “Whether that’s making it harder to register to vote, or cutting back on the amount of time people have to vote, or requiring stricter forms of ID to be able to vote that they didn’t need previously,” Berman said. “We’re seeing the impact already.”

Voting Blogs: Citizens United and the “Impossible Dream” | More Soft Money Hard Law

Justice Ginsburg’s recent press comments have been noted mostly for her openly expressed disdain for the Trump candidacy. Less surprising in the remarks was the Justice’s “impossible dream” that Citizens United be overturned. She has said this before, and since she dissented in that case, there is not much news here, unless anyone still had doubts that for this Justice, the killing off of that decision is a priority. The comment was reported at the same time as the Complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission by Representative Ted Lieu and others who intend to set into motion the reconsideration the Justice is hoping for. And so it invites an appraisal of its prospects for accomplishing the Justice Ginsburg’s “impossible dream.” As my colleague Marc Elias has pointed out, the FEC cannot succeed; this is a lost cause. When the Complaint fails, it may do little more than unnecessarily promote the belief that CU is here to stay. It is not clear why this is the best legal maneuver, or the most effective exercise in public communications, in the attack on Speechnow and Citizens United.

Arizona: The Wrong Lessons From a Voting Fiasco | Governing

For the 2016 presidential primary season, it was the classic and inevitable television “election moment”: As the clock ticked past midnight, thousands of Maricopa County, Ariz., voters were still standing in line to cast ballots in Arizona’s presidential primary. Longtime County Recorder Helen Purcell soon became the logical “film-at-11” culprit, especially after she’d initially suggested, not implausibly, that nearly 20,000 non-party-affiliated voters who couldn’t legally cast ballots in Arizona’s closed presidential primary had clogged the lines by showing up anyway on March 22. However, long lines hadn’t bedeviled Arizona’s other counties on primary day, and a likelier explanation soon emerged. With more than 1.2 million registered Democrats and Republicans, Maricopa County officials, aiming to save taxpayers’ money, had opened only 60 polling places. This compared to 200 in the 2012 presidential primary , and it was far fewer than other counties with far smaller populations. “We certainly made bad decisions … and didn’t anticipate there would be that many people going to the polling places,” Purcell later told the Arizona Republic. “We were obviously wrong — that’s my fault.”

California: Should felons be allowed to vote from behind bars? | Los Angeles Times

Thousands of felons serving time in county jails would be allowed to vote in California elections from behind bars under a bill moving swiftly through the state Legislature despite widespread opposition from law enforcement officials. Assemblywoman Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) introduced the measure with an aim that providing convicts the right to vote will give them a better sense of belonging to society and possibly reduce their chances of committing new crimes when released. “Civic participation can be a critical component of re-entry and has been linked to reduced recidivism,” Weber told her colleagues during a recent heated floor debate on the bill. But police chiefs and sheriffs throughout California say the proposal that passed narrowly in the state Assembly undermines a longstanding social compact: those who commit a serious crime lose not only their freedom to live in society for a time but also their right to participate in democracy.

District of Columbia: The statehood convention that wasn’t | The Hill

Since Mayor Bowser announced her statehood initiative in April, the celebratory mood has gone from one of exuberance to consternation among some statehood supporters in just a short few months. The debate over the content of the Mayor’s proposed new statehood constitution and the sequence for its ratification have caused a flurries of discontent. Now, according to council Chairman Mendelson’s office, the final statehood constitution is unlikely to be put on the ballot in November for a vote up or down. However, the language of the city’s “advisory” referendum states that D.C. voters who approve the referendum “would establish that the citizens of the District of Columbia … approve a Constitution of the State of New Columbia to be adopted by the Council…” In other words, the D.C. Council may add or subtract whatever language it likes and call it a constitution, without District residents actually knowing what’s inside when they vote to approve it in the November.

Florida: It’s in the mail: First primary ballots headed to overseas voters | Tampa Bay Times

It’s seven weeks before primary election day in Florida, but the first wave of primary ballots is in the mail to voters living or stationed in dozens of countries overseas. By law, those ballots, many headed to active-duty military personnel, must be in the mail by Saturday, July 16, or 45 days before the Aug. 30 election. The counties that generally ship the most overseas and military ballots are Escambia, Okaloosa and Bay in the Florida Panhandle, along with Duval, Brevard and Hillsborough, all with large military installations. In Okaloosa County, the home of Eglin Air Force Base, Supervisor of Elections Paul Lux said Tuesday he mailed 3,600 ballots, and another 1,300 will be sent by Friday to voters who emailed requests to his office. On Lux’s office wall in Crestview is a map (above) dotted with dozens of pins marking the many destinations for his county’s overseas ballots.

Kansas: State board limits votes of 17,000 Kansans missing citizenship proof; Kobach-initiated process called ‘appalling’ / Lawrence Journal World

A state board on Tuesday approved a temporary regulation that will limit the voting rights of an estimated 17,000 Kansans, saying they can cast ballots only in federal races, not in state or local elections. The action by the Kansas Rules and Regulations Board — which one opponent called “appalling” — affects people who attempted to register at a local motor vehicle office but did not provide proof of U.S. citizenship. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach requested the temporary rule in response to a temporary injunction issued in May by U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson, who said the state cannot enforce its proof of citizenship law on people who registered under provisions of the National Voter Registration Act, commonly known as the “motor voter” law. The temporary rule means that voters who fall into that category will be given a full ballot, but their ballots will be set aside as “provisional” ballots and will be counted after Election Day when their county Board of Canvassers meets, and that board will count only votes cast in federal races.

Michigan: House Democrats seek to amend constitution, add ‘voter bill of rights’ | MLive

A constitutional amendment proposed by two representatives would alleviate long lines at polls by allowing no-reason absentee and early voting, they said Wednesday. Rep. Gretchen Driskell, D-Saline, and Rep. Jon Hoadley, D-Kalamazoo, introduced a “voter bill of rights” on Wednesday. The resolution would amend the constitution to allow no-reason absentee voting, early voting and automatic registration when a voter gets a driver’s license or state ID card. It would also automatically send ballots to Michiganders serving in the armed forces overseas. “To ensure that our voices are heard, and that our votes count, we need to update and modernize our elections so that they work for everyone who is eligible and exercises the right to vote. That’s why a voter bill of rights is so important,” Driskell said.

North Carolina: Legislative leaders not defendants in Wake County election suit | News & Observer

State legislative leaders may regret fighting against being part of the federal lawsuit that led to their new election maps for Wake County Board of Commissioners and school board being declared unconstitutional. In an article posted online Tuesday in the Carolina Journal, Rep. Paul Stam laments how Senate Leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore had been dropped as defendants so their attorneys weren’t in court to defend the maps. But an attorney for the plaintiffs points to how lawmakers didn’t want to be part of the litigation in the first place. Stam tells the Carolina Journal that no one went to bat for the lawmakers who redrew the districts when the case went before the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals this year. Stam, an Apex Republican and attorney, notes how the office of state Attorney General Roy Cooper would have been defending the districts if Berger and Moore were still defendants. “In contrast to Europe, which is inquisitorial, the American and English legal systems are called adversarial,” Stam said. “You count on the fact that each side will be represented, so the truth will come out.”

North Carolina: September date set for voter ID state trial | Associated Press

A challenge to North Carolina’s new voter identification requirement will go to trial in state court this fall setting the stage for a possible decision before early in-person voting begins for the big November election. Superior Court Judge Michael Morgan on Monday set Sept. 26 for the trial, which could last a week or two. Morgan asked lawyers in a Wake County courtroom to confirm the Oct. 27 start date for early voting, when perspective voters must show one of several forms of photo ID. A two-week trial would give Morgan less than three weeks to rule. The ID mandate was approved in 2013 and used for the first time in the March primary and again in the June congressional primary.

Utah: Judge denies motions to throw out claims in Navajo voting suit | The Salt Lake Tribune

A federal judge has denied motions to throw out some claims in a lawsuit that alleges vote-by-mail procedures adopted by San Juan County hinder the ability of Navajo citizens to participate in elections on equal terms with white citizens. U.S. District Judge Jill Parrish on Monday rejected defendants’ arguments that claims in the suit against San Juan County commissioners in their official capacity are redundant and should be dismissed because the county is also a named defendant. Two other motions, one to dismiss claims brought by the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission and the other to throw out claims brought by one of the seven tribal members who are plaintiffs, also were denied.

Ireland: Referendum to give emigrants a vote for president ‘only a first step’ | The Irish Times

Organisations representing Irish citizens overseas have welcomed the announcement that a referendum will be held early next year on the right of emigrants to vote in Presidential elections. Plans for a referendum were discussed last week at an interdepartmental group on diaspora affairs, chaired by Minister for the Diaspora Joe McHugh. Proposals will be brought to the Global Irish Civic Forum, a meeting of organisations and individuals working with Irish communities around the world, in Dublin next February. It is the second time such a meeting will take place; almost 200 people attended the first forum in June 2015. A recent poll of 350 Irish people who emigrated since 2008, carried out by Ipsos MRBI for The Irish Times, found 62 per cent would like a vote for the president.Sixty-three per cent wanted a say in general elections, 61 per cent in referendums, and 53 per cent in Seanad elections. The remainder of those surveyed were fairly evenly split between those who had no opinion on the issue, or who didn’t think they should have a right to vote.

Nepal: Embattled Prime Minister expected to face no-confidence motion | Reuters

Nepal’s prime minister is prepared to face a no-confidence motion in parliament after former Maoist rebels who had backed his coalition withdrew their support but he sees no need to step down, an aide said. The impoverished Himalayan country has been plagued by political turmoil for years and the bid by the Maoists to unseat Prime Minister K.P. Oli and form a new government has ushered in another phase of uncertainty. Oli, who came to power in October when the Maoists offered his party parliamentary backing to build a coalition, faces the prospect of a no-confidence vote if he cannot persuade other parties to stick with him. The main Maoist party accuses Oli of reneging on past promises and is expected to move formally lodge a motion of no-confidence in the prime minister on Wednesday.

Thailand: What you need to know about Thailand’s controversial constitution referendum | Asian Correspondent

Just a few weeks from now, on August 7, Thailand will hold a referendum on the latest draft constitution for the coup-ridden nation – one that has scrapped 19 constitutions since 1932. Counting down to the big day, authorities under the junta’s rule have arrested 16 activists campaigning against the draft constitution, and a number of international organizations have denounced the referendum for its undemocratic process. As Thais prepare to cast their votes, here is what you need to know about the referendum that isn’t quite a referendum. The ballot has two questions. The first asks if the voter accepts or rejects the draft constitution, which was penned by a committee appointed by the junta which abolished the old constitution after staging a coup on May 22, 2014.