National: Court disputes over voting laws often divide justices along party lines | Los Angeles Times

It’s no secret that partisan state legislators, once in power, frequently try to alter voting laws to give their party an advantage. But increasingly, when those laws are challenged in federal court, the outcome appears to turn on whether the judges or justices hearing the case were appointed by Republicans or Democrats. Last month, North Carolina’s Republican leaders were blocked from enforcing several new restrictions on voting that had been adopted over the fierce opposition of Democrats. They included less time for early voting and a requirement that a registered voter show one of several specific types of photo ID cards. A federal judge appointed by former President George W. Bush had upheld the full law in April, deciding the regulations were reasonable. They were struck down in late July by a panel of three judges of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, all of them Democratic appointees, who said the new rules violate the federal Voting Rights Act because they “target African Americans with almost surgical precision.”

Alaska: The painstaking work of translating Alaska’s ballot into Native languages | Alaska Dispatch News

After hours in the state elections office in Midtown Anchorage last month, two women stared at a computer screen, murmuring words in Yup’ik. They were struggling over the translation for the phrase “risk-adjusted return.” One of the women, Lorina Warren, looked across the table at Indra Arriaga, language assistance compliance manager for the Division of Elections. “Tell…

California: More than 235,000 votes didn’t count in June’s U.S. Senate race, and some think ballot designs are to blame | Los Angeles Times

A bumper crop of U.S. Senate candidates and the resulting challenge in designing ballots may be why more than 235,000 California voters had their selections for the race rejected in June. “Our research shows a clear problem with complicated ballot designs,” said Philip Muller, an election data analyst whose firm creates online voter guides. Muller and partner Davit Avagyan sorted through election results from all but six California counties to see how many “over-votes” were cast in the U.S. Senate race — ballots on which voters chose two or more candidates. Because elections officials have no way of knowing which of those candidates was the preferred choice, those Senate votes weren’t counted. Election officials warned this past spring of potential confusion with a ballot listing 34 candidates who were in the race to replace Sen. Barbara Boxer. Under the state’s top-two primary rules, only Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris and Orange County Rep. Loretta Sanchez advanced to the Nov. 8 general election.

Minnesota: State Supreme Court’s decision keeps Trump on ballots | Minneapolis Star Tribune

Donald Trump will be on Minnesota’s ballot this November, despite a DFL Party legal maneuver to try to keep him off. In a six-page decision issued Monday afternoon, the state Supreme Court dismissed a petition filed last week in which DFL leaders argued that the Republican presidential nominee and his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, should not be listed on the ballot because Republicans had not properly selected alternate electors. The court said the DFL waited too long to lodge its objections to what it characterized as a technical error. The DFL had argued that Secretary of State Steve Simon should not have accepted the GOP’s “certificate of nomination” for Trump and Pence because Republicans had missed one required step at their party’s convention last spring — selecting 10 alternate electors for the presidential race. GOP leaders selected the electors in August, after discovering the problem, but state law requires that the selection be made at political parties’ conventions.

Montana: Officials say ballot delay could harm election | Associated Press

Some Montana residents may not be able to vote in the November election if the state Supreme Court grants Republican Party chairman Jeff Essmann’s petition to delay the printing of ballots to remove a Libertarian candidate’s name, state officials said Monday. Changing the ballots now to remove Roger Roots’ name from the ballot could cause counties to miss the deadline to mail ballots to Montana residents currently outside of the United States, said Jorge Quintana, the lawyer for Secretary of State Linda McCulloch, in his response filed with the Supreme Court. It would also require changing the handicapped-accessible electronic voting system and the vote tabulating equipment for the more than 700 ballots statewide, said Lisa Kimmet, McCulloch’s elections deputy. And ballots would have to be reprinted because the candidates’ names in each race are rotated on different ballots so that each name appears at the top of the list an equal number of times.

New York: G.O.P. Voters Urged to Select Dead Assemblyman in New York Race | The New York Times

Even in death, State Assemblyman Bill Nojay, a Republican from the Rochester area who fatally shot himself in a city cemetery last week, seems likely to win the primary election for his seat on Tuesday. Rarely has a candidate died so close to Election Day. And even as political insiders and Mr. Nojay’s friends dissect his final days, trying to unravel the circumstances surrounding his suicide, his continued presence on the ballot has turned what was supposed to be a simple race into an Albany aberration born of an odd, little-noticed portion of the electoral rule book. Voters are being urged to cast their ballots for a dead man. Three men in a room are preparing to pick his political heir. The funeral has yet to be held, but the struggle to replace him is already on.

North Carolina: Sunday voting, early voting cuts could prompt legal action | News & Observer

Advocates of expanded early voting opportunities are considering legal action after a mixed bag of victories and losses at Thursday’s State Board of Elections meeting. During a 12-hour meeting Thursday to settle disputed early voting schedules in 33 counties, the state board restored Sunday early voting hours in five counties that had offered the option in 2012. It also added early voting hours in six counties where schedules had been cut, mandating more locations in Wake and Mecklenburg counties to prevent long lines. But in party line votes, the board’s Republican majority rejected efforts by Democrats to add Sunday voting in counties that hadn’t previously offered it and extend early voting hours in more counties. Early voting schedules have prompted bitter partisan disputes this year. With tight races expected for president, governor and U.S. Senate in North Carolina, strong turnout could be the key to victory.

Washington: Update to Online Search Tool Exposed Voter Info | Government Technology

Some personal voter information could have been gleaned from Washington’s online search tool for several months because of a problem with an update of the system, state elections officials said Friday. That problem was fixed shortly after it was pointed out in a complaint to the state Office of Cyber Security by Tina Podlodowski, the Democratic candidate for secretary of state. Podlodowski, who has criticized incumbent Republican Secretary of State Kim Wyman over voter data security, said Friday the problem was brought to her attention by “a couple of concerned citizens” and she confirmed it by checking her own registration information online.

Washington: Secretary of state learns of online data issue from opponent | KING5

A design flaw in Washington’s online voting tool, MyVote, exposed some voter information that should not have accessible. The secretary of state’s office says the glitch has since been fixed. But, in an election year twist, the Democratic candidate for secretary of state, Tina Podlodowski, alerted the state’s cyber security office to the problem. Podlodowski is challenging incumbent Secretary of State Kim Wyman, a Republican. Podlodowski says a concerned citizen brought the glitch to her attention, prompting her to send an email to Washington’s Chief Information Security Officer. According to the secretary of state’s office, the software issue allowed access to personal information including email address, and phone number, as well as some contact information for military voters. The information was not visible on screen, but could be read through computer coding.

Wisconsin: Judge wants state’s voter ID plan | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

A federal judge on Monday gave the state 10 days to spell out what it is doing to inform people how they can vote if they have great difficulty getting IDs. The ruling by Judge James Peterson in Madison gives state officials until Sept. 22 to explain their plans to help voters in the Nov. 8 election. Peterson in July struck down limits on early voting and other election laws and ordered the state to make changes to the voter ID law for those who have the most trouble getting IDs.

Austria: Presidential vote postponed due to faulty ballots | The Washington Post

A second attempt this year to elect Austria’s president was postponed Monday when the country’s interior minister said envelopes of absentee ballots frequently couldn’t be sealed due to faulty adhesive strips. The delay must be formalized through a still-to-be-created law. But in asking the government to draft such legislation, Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka effectively canceled plans to hold the vote Oct. 2. The presidency originally was to have been filled in July, after left-leaning contender Alexander Van der Bellen edged out Norbert Hofer of the right-wing Freedom Party. But the country’s highest court ordered a rerun after the Freedom Party claimed major irregularities. The court decision was seen as a victory for the Freedom Party, giving it more time to exploit widespread anti-migrant sentiment in favor of its candidate. Recent polls have given Hofer a 4 to 6 percentage-point edge over Van der Bellen.

Belarus: Activists unmoved by election of two opposition MPs | The Guardian

Opposition candidates have won seats in parliamentary elections in Belarus for the first time since 2000, though critics of the ruling regime said they had been “appointed” to appease the west, and independent observers reported widespread vote-rigging. Anna Konopatskaya, of the United Civic party, won a district in Minsk, and Yelena Anisim, of the Belarusian Language Society, also won a seat. Anisim’s opponent, Yelena Zhuravlyova, a regime loyalist, unexpectedly withdrew from the race last month. Leading critics of the regime of Alexander Lukashenko, who has ruled Belarus for 22 years, were unimpressed.

Botswana: Row over electronic voting machines in Botswana | The Southern Times

Political parties in Botswana are planning a demonstration to protest the introduction of the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) in the upcoming general elections. The march, which will be held on 17 September in Gaborone, is being organised by the four opposition political parties; Botswana National Front (BNF), Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and Botswana People’s Party (BPP). While the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) recently said that it was still to be consulted on the introduction of voting machine by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) it has not shown interest in joining the protest. Speaking on behalf of opposition parties recently, the BNF secretary-general, Moeti Mohwana, said they reject the use of EVM in 2019 elections, unless safeguards and audit trail accompany its use.

Editorials: Croatia’s election is a warning about the return of nationalism to the Balkans​ | Paul Mason/The Guardian

Amid the alleys and ancient churches of Šibenik, Croatia, the late-summer tourists look quizzical as a tough old man harangues a meeting in the public square. “In 1945, people worked for free to build factories, roads, new houses. We wanted to build a better country then,” he says. “Find me five people prepared to do that now.” The speaker is the city’s “last partisan” – a veteran of the anti-Nazi resistance movement. But such idealistic sentiments are not popular in the Croatia of today. In January, the country’s conservative coalition government appointed as culture minister Zlatko Hasanbegovic, a man described by the Simon Wiesenthal Centre as a “fascist”. He had lionised the country’s pro-Nazi Ustase movement as a student in the 90s and labelled Croatia’s anti-fascist history and culture “an empty phrase” with no constitutional relevance. (Hasanbegovic has since emphasised that his current party is anti-fascist.)

Gabon: Civil society calls for an international inquiry on the post-electoral “massacres” | AfricaNews

A Civil society group, an association of Europeans and Africans named “ Collective turn the page” has requested for an international inquiry on the military and police repression that followed the post-election violence in Gabon, in which at least six people were killed. A popular revolt had followed the re-election of outgoing President Ali Bongo Ondimba “creating a military repression” in the Central African country. Some Families are still in search of their relations who have disappeared since August 31, following the announcement of the provisional results of the presidential elections granting victory to President Bongo. The civil-society group is requesting for an international probe on the massacre of civilians by the repression forces.

Russia: Openly Gay Candidates Push Back In Russia’s Duma Elections | RFERL

Bulat Barantayev is calling for the impeachment of Russian President Vladimir Putin and for all corrupt officials to be tried and imprisoned. But that’s not why he has no chance of winning a legislative mandate in Russia’s September 28 Duma elections. Barantayev, by his own admission, won’t be representing Novosibirsk from the liberal Parnas coalition because he is one of the first openly gay men to run for the Duma in modern Russian history. “For a long time now, I have used all opportunities to cultivate an audience for accepting LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender] people,” Barantayev told RFE/RL when asked why he was running in a race he is certain he can’t win. “By my example, I show that gays in Russia can create their own successful businesses, can meet with people, can have children, and can even run for the State Duma.”

Seychelles: International observers call for reform of electoral commission and regular revision of voter register | Seychelles News Agency

International observers monitoring the Seychelles’ sixth National Assembly election have called for the reform of the electoral commission and regular revision of the voter register for a more credible election. Three international observer missions — SADC-Electoral Observation Mission (SEOM), Electoral Commissions Forum of SADC (ECF-SADC) and an all-women mission from the African Union — presented their preliminary reports Monday. “We find that there is a general lack of confidence in the electoral commission by a range of stakeholders, particularly the opposition and civil society,” said Augustine Mahiga, the head of the SADC Electoral Observation Mission. Mahiga said that Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, should consider implementing policy measures to improve confidence in the electoral commission.

United Kingdom: MPs face uncertain future under new boundary proposals | Reuters

Dozens of British MPs face uncertain futures under proposals by an independent commission charged with cutting the number of parliamentary seats. The Boundary Commission for England unveiled its proposals on Tuesday to meet parliament’s decision to cut the number of constituencies, or voting areas, to 600 from 650 in Britain to make sure the number of voters in each region is similar. Opposition Labour MPs say they will oppose the changes, arguing they disproportionately affect the left-leaning party.The proposals are not final: they will be debated by the public before being presented to parliament in 2018. They are aimed at creating constituencies of 71,000 to 78,500 voters, compared with a current range between 55,000 and 95,000.