National: There Won’t Be Any Election Monitors in the Most Vulnerable States This Election: What Could Go Wrong? | Yahoo News

In a contentious election year with voter suppression on the rise, the list of possible catastrophes is pretty long. The Department of Justice has just dealt a major blow to voting rights in the United States with the news that it won’t be dispatching election monitors to some of the most vulnerable states in November. In a contentious election year where voter suppression is likely to be a recurring theme across the country, this is extremely bad news — because instead of relying on federal observers, we’re going to be forced to count on voters themselves enforcing their rights. If election monitors sound like something the UN dispatches to developing democracies, it’s not just nations like Iraq that need monitoring to ensure that everyone has a fair chance at the vote. Systemic inequality and a repeated pattern of voter suppression in the United States demonstrates that we can’t get it together when it comes to protecting the “one person, one vote” principle that’s supposed to be a cornerstone of American life.

National: Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Uses Pokémon Go to Register Voters | Wall Street Journal

Hillary Clinton is hoping to use Pokémon Go to catch voters. At a rally on Thursday, Mrs. Clinton talked about the game phenomenon, saying “I don’t know who created ‘Pokemon Go,’ but I’ve tried to figure out how we get them to have Pokémon go to the polls.” The game, created by Niantic Labs in a partnership with Nintendo and Pokémon Co., is causing people to flock to public places as they search for Pokémon, which virtually pop up in the real world. The mobile game has been cited for traffic accidents, injuries and for giving its users unexpected exercise as they walk around trying to find “pocket monsters.”

Arizona: Rejected ballots studied | Tri Valley Central

Tens of thousands of ballots cast in Arizona’s last presidential election were rejected by elections officials, indicating continued communication and voter education problems in the state, according to a 2014 analysis. Nearly 46,000 of the more than 2.3 million ballots cast in Arizona’s 2012 election — or about 2 percent — were rejected. That rate is down from 2.2 percent in 2008, when Arizona led the nation in rejected provisional ballots. The rejected votes consist of early voting or provisional ballots in which voters went through the voting process but later had their ballots thrown out after review by elections officials. The most common reasons were that voters weren’t registered in time for the election, voted in the wrong precincts or didn’t sign their ballots.

Hawaii: How Two Different People Could Win The Same US House Seat | Honolulu Civil Beat

Hawaii voters will be asked who should serve out the remainder of the late Mark Takai’s term in Washington — possibly on the same day they decide who should represent the 1st Congressional District in the next term starting in January. A special winner-take-all election will most likely be held in conjunction with the Nov. 8 general election, according to the state Office of Elections. But the winner of that special election will only serve for two months — from Nov. 8 until the current session of Congress wraps up on Jan. 3, 2017. The Aug. 13 primary will go on as scheduled, as will the general election. Takai died Wednesday in Honolulu at the age of 49.

Rhode Island: Under proposal, State could allow selfies in voting areas | Providence Journal

Rhode Islanders with cell phone cameras would be able to prove that they’ve voted, via a selfie photo, under a proposed change in voting regulations.The proposal would modify a blanket restriction on any photo-taking or electronic recording in the voting areas of polling places, allowing voters to photograph themselves while restricting them from photographing other people, according to the Board of Elections’ legal counsel, Raymond Marcaccio. The proposed change reflects a recognition that many voters, especially younger people, want the freedom to take selfies.“It’s the way of the world for this generation,” said one board member, Stephen P. Erickson. “They grow up with excessive sharing. They’re gonna do it.” The proposal to allow selfies is among several changes entertained by the board, including a proposal that would allow bake sales in the vicinity of voting areas.

South Carolina: GOP rejects proposed changes to South Carolina’s first-in-the-South primary | The State

South Carolina and other early-voting Republican primary states have staved off efforts to weaken their influence in picking GOP presidential nominees. But GOP officials did agree to study the primary lineup sometime before the 2020 election cycle. South Carolina now goes third overall in that lineup — behind Iowa and New Hampshire — and first in the South. “We look safe for now,” said S.C. GOP chairman Matt Moore, a member of the Rules Committee, where the party’s primary system was discussed last week.

Texas: Appeals court says Texas voter-ID law discriminates against minorities | The Washington Post

A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that Texas’s strict voter-ID law discriminates against minority voters, and it ordered a lower court to come up with a fix for the law in time for the November elections. The full U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, one of the most conservative in the country, declined to strike down the law completely but said provisions must be made to allow those who lack the specific ID the law requires to be able to cast a vote. Nine of the 15 appellate judges who heard the case generally upheld a district court’s finding that 600,000 people, disproportionately minorities, lack the specific kind of identification required — a driver’s license, military ID, passport or weapons permit, among them — and that it would be difficult for many to secure it. African American, Hispanic and poor voters were most likely to be affected, the court found. “It would be untenable to permit a law with a discriminatory effect to remain in operation” for the coming election, wrote U.S. Circuit Judge Catharina Haynes for the majority, made of up five judges nominated by Democratic presidents and four nominated by Republicans.

Virginia: Senators in contempt over secret emails get day before Supreme Court of Virginia | Daily Press

A case that could recalibrate what documents state legislators can keep secret was heard Tuesday in the Supreme Court of Virginia. Vesilind v. Virginia State Board of Elections is primarily a redistricting case, brought to challenge 11 General Assembly districts under the state constitution. But a side issue has gotten four state senators, and two former senators, held in contempt of court by a Richmond Circuit Court judge. That was the issue before the Supreme Court Tuesday: whether the Virginia Constitution allows state legislators to withhold emails and other documents, even when they’re subpoenaed in a lawsuit.

Wisconsin: 9 Percent of the Wisconsin Electorate Just Got Their Right to Vote Back | The Nation

Whenever people say that strict voter-ID laws don’t disenfranchise eligible voters, I tell them the story of Eddie Lee Holloway Jr., whom I’ve written about before for The Nation. Holloway, a 58-year-old African-American man, moved from Illinois to Wisconsin in 2008 and voted without problems, until Wisconsin passed its voter-ID law in 2011. He brought his expired Illinois photo ID, birth certificate, and Social Security card to get a photo ID for voting, but the DMV rejected his application because his birth certificate read “Eddie Junior Holloway,” the result of a clerical error. After being told it would cost between $400 and $600 to fix his birth certificate at the Vital Records System in Milwaukee, Holloway spent $200 on a bus ticket to Illinois to try to amend his birth certificate. He made seven trips to government agencies in two different states, but he still couldn’t vote in Wisconsin’s April 5 primary. Today a federal district court in Wisconsin delivered a major victory for voters like Holloway, ruling that those who are unable to obtain a voter-ID in Wisconsin can instead vote by signing an affidavit. The preliminary injunction in a challenge brought by the ACLU protects the voting rights of thousands of Wisconsinites who faced disenfranchisement in November.

Wisconsin: Elections Commission Navigates New Voter ID Requirements | Wisconsin Public Radio

The state Elections Commission is working to implement polling place changes and new voter education requirements in light of a federal judge’s ruling on Wisconsin’s voter ID law. U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman ruled Tuesday that voters who can’t obtain a state-issued ID must be allowed to sign an affidavit to verify their identity at the polls. Then they can vote on the spot. Adelman also directed the Elections Commission to train poll workers and educate voters about the affidavit. The Elections Commission is figuring out how to implement those changes, with just about three months to go before November’s general election, said spokesperson Reid Magney. “A lot of the details, it’s just too early to discuss at this point,” Magney said.

Fiji: Elections Office Clarifies Its Role | Fiji Sun

The Fijian Elections Office yesterday clarified their role towards the Electoral Commission. Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem, while making submissions on the Multi-National Observer Group and the Electoral Commission report before the Standing Committee on Justice, Law and Human Rights, said their role was to provide secretarial services to the commission. He said this included funding, allowances, travelling and meeting allowances, and other administrative requirements. Mr Saneem said for the past two years they had considered all request and requirements put forward by the commission.

Ghana: Electoral Commission Rejects Accusation of Bias | VoA News

The electoral commission of Ghana is rejecting criticism it is doing the bidding of the ruling National Democratic Congress by deleting the names of supporters of the main opposition New Patriotic Party from voter lists. The electoral commission is preparing for November 7 presidential, parliamentary and local elections. Following an order from the Supreme Court, the electoral commission this week began expunging the names from the voter list of those who registered using their National Health Insurance Scheme identification card. But Samuel Pyne, the Ashanti Regional Secretary of the NPP, said the electoral commission deleted the names of party supporters who did not use their National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) identification cards.

India: High Court Seeks Responses On Removing Party Symbols From Voting Machines | NDTV

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought reply from the Centre, State Election Commission and the AAP government on a plea for removal of party symbols of candidates from Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) in municipal corporation polls in the National Capital. A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal issued notices to the authorities concerned and asked them to file short counter affidavits within six weeks. The court has now posted the matter for September 28. The plea filed by law student Sanjana Gahlot and advocate Hargyan Singh Gahlot has sought directions for inclusion of photographs of contesting candidates on the EVM.

United Kingdom: Labour signs up more than 180,000 supporters to vote in leadership contest | The Guardian

The Labour party has signed up more than 180,000 new registered supporters in 48 hours to vote in the party leadership election despite the new £25 fee imposed by the party’s national executive. The huge number of registered supporters comes despite the NEC ruling the fee should be more than eight times higher than 2015, when it cost just £3. Around 105,000 registered supporters voted in 2015, though thousands more were excluded by the party’s vetting procedures. This time 183,541 supporters signed up in a two-day window, which last year was several weeks. This means the party will have raised £4,588,525 in two days. Labour party headquarters had hoped to avoid the administration burden of vetting hundreds of thousands of new members and supporters, but will have a month to do so before ballot papers are sent out in late August. Last year, the party had just two days after the deadline closed to check supporters were not members of other parties.

Zimbabwe: Electoral Commission Set to Implement Sweeping Reforms | VoA News

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairperson, Justice Rita Makarau, says the election management body is implementing a raft of measures aimed at making the Zimbabwe’s electoral system more transparent and credible. Makarau told a stakeholders’ conference organised by the Elections Resource Centre that the reforms include a robust and efficient biometric voter registration exercise that would eliminate the dead and absent from the voters roll. She said the polling station-based voter registration exercise would, among other issues, result in the reduction in the number of ballot papers per polling station and reduce chances of double voting.