North Carolina: Bill would force attorney general to defend redistricting, other local acts | Greensboro News & Record

A bill fast-tracked through the N.C. House on Thursday would require the state Attorney General’s Office to defend local acts passed by the General Assembly that are challenged in court. The move comes in the wake of the state’s redistricting of the Greensboro City Council and Wake County Board of Education, which are both being challenged in court. In both cases Attorney General Roy Cooper, the Democratic challenger to Gov. Pat McCrory this November, chose not to defend redistricting laws passed by the legislature’s Republican majority. In the Greensboro council lawsuit, the Guilford County Board of Elections was left to defend the law and initially took no position on its constitutionality.

Ohio: Voting rights activists say election lawsuit claiming Jon Husted illegally purged voters is not over | Cleveland Plain Dealer

A day after Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted scored a win in federal court, voting rights activists say the case is not over. The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, the Ohio A. Philip Randolph Institute and the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless sued Husted in April, arguing the practice of removing voters who are inactive over six years violated the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, also called the “Motor Voter” law. U.S. District Judge George C. Smith disagreed, saying Ohio’s method Ohio’s process is consistent with federal laws because voters are not removed solely for not voting. “The court finds that the public interest is being served by Ohio’s voter maintenance procedures and will continue to be served as long as Ohio continues to operate in compliance with the NVRA,” Smith wrote.

Wisconsin: Judge: ‘Decent case’ political role in Wisconsin voting laws | Associated Press

A federal judge said Thursday that opponents of more than a dozen new Wisconsin election laws had made a “pretty decent case” that Republicans approved them to secure a partisan advantage, but added he isn’t convinced the measures actually had a dramatic effect. U.S. District Judge James Peterson’s comments came in closing arguments of a lawsuit challenging the laws passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature and signed by Gov. Scott Walker since 2011. Peterson promised to rule by the end of July but has said that will be too late to affect the Aug. 9 primary for the field of candidates running for dozens of state and federal races will be narrowed before the Nov. 8 general election. An attorney for two liberal groups challenging the laws, including the requirement that voters show photo identification at the polls, argued that they should be found unconstitutional and stopped from being enforced. But a state Department of Justice attorney said there was no evidence to support a wholesale undoing of the laws. “They’re going for the home run,” Assistant Attorney General Clay Kawski said. “They just haven’t shown that.”

Austria: Top Austrian court annuls presidential election result | Deutsche Welle

Austria’s constitutional court annulled May’s president election on Friday, upholding a legal challenge by the anti-immigation Freedom party (FPÖ) and opening the way for a repeat poll in September or October. “The challenge brought by Freedom Party leader Heinz-Christian Strache against the May 22 election… has been upheld,” said constitutional court head Gerhard Holzinger. The court said it was using its strict standard on the application of election rules. Final results on May’s election – after a count of absentee ballots – had put former Green party politician Alexander Van der Bellen ahead by little more than 30,000 votes. The margin of presumed victory was less than one percentage point – out of the 4.6 million ballots cast. Norbert Hofer of the FPÖ had come top in a first round in April.

Australia: From Outback to Antarctica, Australian votes roll in | AFP

From the harsh desert Outback to the frozen reaches of Antarctica, Australians at remote locations have been casting their votes ahead of tomorrow’s national election. Close to 2.2 million ballot papers had been handed in at pre-polling centres by mid-week, with small teams travelling across the vast country to ensure everyone eligible can vote. On Antarctica, expeditioners at Australia’s Davis Station voted on the sea ice in front of the research station, where temperatures are around minus 20 degrees Celsius. “I am glad that I can still have my say whilst being so far away from it all,” said Aaron Stanley, who works for the bureau of meteorology at Davis but was tasked with helping oversee the vote. “I’ve voted while on holiday in Malta before, but this is totally going to top the best voting location.”

Japan: Political parties target internet generation with innovative campaign videos | Japan Today

As Japan’s newly enfranchised teen voters make up their minds ahead of the July 10 House of Councillors election, the country’s political parties are taking their online campaign videos beyond the mundane to appeal to the youth vote. Since internet campaigning was legalized in 2013, parties’ online election campaign videos have tended to be limited to footage of leaders’ public speeches or press conferences. But with approximately 2.4 million new voters aged 18 and 19 joining the electorate in time for the upper house race after the voting age was lowered from 20, the parties are exploring new territory as they vie to become a familiar presence on young people’s smartphones.

Spain: Revolution cancelled | The Economist

The idea of re-running a vote when the first result is unsatisfactory has been getting a bad press recently. But Spain’s second general election in six months, on June 26th, showed that if the goal is to break a political deadlock, do-overs can be useful. The big winners were Mariano Rajoy, the prime minister, and his centre-right People’s Party (PP). Though they failed to get an absolute majority, they took 33% of the vote, up from 29% in the December election, which was so splintered that no party could form a government. Now, with 137 seats in the 350-member Cortes (parliament), Mr Rajoy is set to remain prime minister, albeit at the head of a coalition or minority administration. The election’s big surprise was that Podemos, a new far-left party dedicated to reversing austerity and defenestrating the traditional political class, stalled. Contrary to all poll forecasts, it failed to overtake the more moderate Socialist Party to become the largest force on the left. Podemos had merged with the old Communists of the United Left party for this election, but the merged force won 1m fewer votes than its constituent parts did last time.