Archives

Colorado: First year of open, mail-in primaries will be an unprecedented experiment with unclear implications | Summit Daily

Colorado will elect a new governor in November, and at least a dozen candidates are currently in the running on both the Republican and Democratic sides. This year, unaffiliated voters have reason to take early notice in the race to replace term-limited Governor John Hickenlooper — and not just because of the dizzying number of candidates. Thanks to an open primaries ballot measure passed in 2016, voters who aren’t registered to either major party will able to help choose nominees for the first time in June. Proponents of the measure argued that opening up primaries to independents could give a boost to more moderate candidates and wrest some control from the hardcore partisans who cast a disproportionate number of primary votes.

Full Article: Colorado’s first year of open, mail-in primaries will be an unprecedented experiment with unclear implications | SummitDaily.com.

Kentucky: Eighth State Quietly Quit Free Anti-Voter-Fraud Program Over Security Concerns and ‘Unreliable’ Results | Gizmodo

The State of Kentucky has pulled out of the Interstate Crosscheck System, Gizmodo has learned, making it the eighth state to quit the program so far—even though it cost nothing to participate. A source with direct knowledge of the decision told Gizmodo that Kentucky never used the data that it received from Crosscheck for the purpose of purging voter rolls because the data was “unreliable.” Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Grimes also expressed concern about the security of the program, the source said. Kentucky officially quit Crosscheck in June but made no official announcement at the time. A tweet by Grimes last week about Kentucky not submitting voter data to Crosscheck initially puzzled activists who were unaware of the state’s decision.

Full Article: Eighth State Quietly Quit Free Anti-Voter-Fraud Program Over Security Concerns and 'Unreliable' Results.

Minnesota: Secretary of state announces $7 million for new election equipment | Pioneer Press

Minnesota will spend $7 million on new voting equipment in 2018, but the state’s elections chief says cities and counties need a lot more help. Secretary of State Steve Simon announced the $7 million in grant funding for new election equipment that was the result of bipartisan legislation approved in 2017. The grants cover half the cost of mandatory equipment, like ballot counters, and 75 percent of the cost of electronic voter rosters.

Full Article: Minnesota secretary of state announces $7 million for new election equipment – Twin Cities.

North Carolina: North Carolina Mismanaged Itself Into Electoral Chaos | Bloomberg

The U.S. Supreme Court’s Jan. 18 decision to pause a nine-day-old federal court ruling against North Carolina’s congressional map was the latest turn in a legal war that has made the state’s electoral system the most chaotic in the U.S. The temporary stay is part of a wider, national challenge to the kind of political gerrymandering that has helped breed hyperpartisanship across the country. The Supreme Court gave North Carolina a reprieve while it considers partisan gerrymandering cases in Wisconsin and Maryland, with decisions expected in May or June. In Pennsylvania the state Supreme Court rejected partisan congressional maps on Jan. 22.

Full Article: North Carolina Mismanaged Itself Into Electoral Chaos - Bloomberg.

Pennsylvania: The Supreme Court may have signaled that it might block Pennsylvania’s ruling against partisan gerrymandering | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Supreme Court was seen as signaling Monday it may be open to blocking a state ruling on partisan gerrymandering at the behest of Pennsylvania’s Republican leaders. Last week, Pennsylvania’s high court struck down the state’s election districts on the grounds they were drawn to give the GOP a 13-5 majority of its seats in the House of Representatives. Unlike other recent rulings, the state justices said they based their ruling solely on the state’s constitution. Usually, the U.S. Supreme Court has no grounds for reviewing a state court ruling that is based on state law.

Full Article: The Supreme Court may have signaled that it might block Pennsylvania’s ruling against partisan gerrymandering | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Virginia: Senate passes voter ID bill linking poll books with DMV photos | WTOP

Virginia voters could see their own face when they check in at the polls under a bill approved along party lines by the Virginia Senate on Monday. Sen. Mark Obenshain’s proposal would have electronic poll books automatically display driver’s license photos of voters, which could eventually be used in place of Virginia’s existing voter identification requirement. “It’s not going to allow any election official to actually turn anybody away right now at all. It is simply porting those IDs over and is simply an additional deterrent to casting votes illegally,” said Obenshain, R-Harrisonburg, before the 21-19 vote.

Full Article: Va. Senate passes voter ID bill linking poll books with DMV photos | WTOP.

Colombia: Ex-guerrilla launches historic presidential bid in Colombia | Associated Press

Former guerrilla leader Rodrigo Londono was once one of Colombia’s most-wanted men. Now he is a presidential contender. The graying, spectacled man best known by his alias Timochenko launched his bid Saturday to lead the government he once battled from the jungle with a celebratory campaign kickoff featuring giant posters, colorful confetti and even a catchy jingle. “I promise to lead a government that propels the birth of a new Colombia,” he said. “A government that at last represents the interests of the poor.”

Full Article: Ex-guerrilla launches historic presidential bid in Colombia | WPXI.

Egypt: Politician emerges as sole election challenger to Sisi | Reuters

An Egyptian politician emerged just ahead of a deadline on Monday as the sole challenger to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in a March election the incumbent appears set to win after other candidates withdrew citing repression. Mousa Mostafa Mousa leads the Ghad party, which had endorsed Sisi for a second term and even organized events to help nominate the former military commander as recently as last week. Mousa said he would mount a full challenge to Sisi, though opposition activists, journalists, and analysts took to Twitter to dismiss him as a dummy candidate, standing only to give the impression of a full democratic contest. “This is all theater,” said a shopkeeper outside the Ghad party headquarters in downtown Cairo.

Full Article: Egyptian politician emerges as sole election challenger to Sisi.

Russia: Protesters urge boycott of presidential vote even as opposition leader is arrested | The Washington Post

From central Moscow to the Arctic, thousands of Russian protesters on Sunday called for a boycott of the upcoming presidential election even as the authorities detained organizers and raided the office of opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Police detained Navalny, who branded the boycott a “voters’ strike” against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government, shortly after the protests began. But more than 1,000 people took to one of Moscow’s central thoroughfares nevertheless. Thousands more turned out on squares and streets in St. Petersburg, in Siberia and in places as remote as Murmansk, a port city in the far north where the temperature Sunday afternoon was 8 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. 

Full Article: Russian protesters urge boycott of presidential vote even as opposition leader is arrested - The Washington Post.

Spain: Catalan parliament postpones re-election of fugitive leader | Associated Press

Catalonia’s parliament speaker on Tuesday postponed a session intended to re-elect the region’s fugitive ex-president, saying the planned meeting would not take place until there were guarantees Spanish authorities “won’t interfere.” The decision comes after Spain’s top court ruled Saturday that Carles Puigdemont, who has fled to Belgium and faces arrest if he returns, could only be re-elected if physically present in the parliament in Barcelona. The court also ordered that he must obtain permission to appear at parliament from the judge investigating him over Catalonia’s independence bid. Puigdemont is one of more than a dozen Catalan political figures facing possible rebellion and sedition charges following the previous parliament’s illegal and unsuccessful declaration of independence in October, which brought Spain’s worst political crisis in decades to a head. The decision leaves the future government of the prosperous region in something of a limbo.

Full Article: Catalan parliament postpones re-election of fugitive leader - ABC News.

Venezuela: Election push draws dismay | Associated Press

Venezuela is under mounting international pressure over the government’s decision to push up presidential elections under conditions that opponents say overwhelmingly favor President Nicolas Maduro, who is so far the only candidate. Spain, a major trading partner with deep roots in Venezuela, became the latest government to break diplomatic ties on Friday, while French President Emmanuel Macron said that he’s open to additional European Union sanctions against what he called an “unacceptable authoritarian shift” by Maduro. The pro-government national constituent assembly last week called for an election to be held by the end of April but set no date.

Full Article: Venezuela election push draws dismay.

Pakistan: Supreme Court to learn about ‘challenges’ in framing system for overseas voters | Dawn

National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) Chairman Usman Mobin is set to apprise the Supreme Court on Monday of “non-technical challenges” and the minimum time required to develop an integrated internet voting system to enable overseas Pakistanis to cast their votes in the upcoming general elections. During the last hearing of the petitions seeking the right of vote for overseas Pakistanis, the Nadra chairman had tried to make a presentation before a SC bench, headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar, on the internet voting system, but at the outset he was intercepted by the chief justice when he sought a five-month time for developing the system. … Nadra spokesman Faik Ali, when contacted, said that after the court’s directive a Nadra team headed by the chairman held meetings with the ECP officials to discuss modalities, time frame and non-technical challenges related to the mechanism. He said the Nadra chairman would apprise the Supreme Court of the outcome of these meetings on Monday.

Full Article: SC to learn about ‘challenges’ in framing system for overseas voters - Pakistan - DAWN.COM.

National: States, Counties Seek Voting Tech Upgrades Amid Security Concerns | StateTech

With the 2016 presidential election bringing voting cybersecurity to the fore, many states and localities have been looking at innovative, technology-driven approaches to shore up voting machine security. There are growing concerns about the integrity of ballots nationwide following reports that hackers attempted to infiltrate voting machines in 21 states ahead of the 2016 presidential election. Those concerns are not unfounded, according to a 2017 report published by DEF CON, which unveiled the vulnerabilities of commonly used voting machines in the U.S. To address these weaknesses, several states are taking action to upgrade systems and ensure voting integrity for citizens everywhere. Rhode Island, for example, upgraded its systems to use a cellular connection with a double-encrypted signal that better protects against remote hacking. With worries of election hacking growing, more states are expected to follow suit to make cybersafety a priority at the polls.

Full Article: States, Counties Seek Voting Tech Upgrades Amid Security Concerns - StateTech.

National: Group sues for communications with Trump voter fraud panel | Associated Press

A civil rights group filed a federal lawsuit Friday against the U.S. Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security for failing to release information connected to President Donald Trump’s now-disbanded voter fraud commission. Voting rights advocates have expressed concern that the agencies might be working together as part of an effort by Trump and some commission members to justify his unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud. They also worry about possible efforts to enact tougher voting restrictions, such as proof of citizenship requirements. Without evidence, Trump has blamed “millions of people who voted illegally” as the reason why he lost the popular vote in the 2016 election.

Full Article: Group sues for communications with Trump voter fraud panel.

Editorials: The courts may address partisan gerrymandering. Virginia and Maryland, take note. | The Washington Post

Courts have historically shied away from striking down redistricting plans for fear of showing favor to one party in a process that is inherently political. But recent decisions by state and federal judges in North Carolina and Pennsylvania suggest that the judicial branch thinks partisan gerrymandering has gone too far and needs to stop. We hope lawmakers in Maryland and Virginia are paying attention and that those decisions serve as a trigger for them to overhaul how their states’ legislative and congressional districts are drawn.

Full Article: The courts may address partisan gerrymandering. Virginia and Maryland, take note. - The Washington Post.

Colorado: Former Colorado GOP chairman sentenced for voter fraud | CBS

The former chairman of the Colorado Republican Party was sentenced to four years of probation and 300 hours of community service for voter fraud. Steve Curtis blamed a “major diabetic episode” for causing him to vote his ex-wife’s absentee ballot in October 2016. Curtis, 57, told District Judge Julie Hoskins Friday it was “a customary thing” for him to fill out his wife’s ballot and he didn’t know it was illegal, but he said he didn’t remember doing it. In October of 2016, Kelly Curtis called the Weld County Clerk and Recorder’s Office to obtain her mail-in ballot. She was told she had already voted, CBS Denver reports. 

Full Article: Former Colorado GOP chairman sentenced for voter fraud - CBS News.

Florida: Top two election system clears constitution panel | Orlando Sentinel

An effort to let voters decide if they want open primary elections advanced Friday, but moving to such a “top-two” system drew questions from members of the state Constitution Revision Commission. Commission member Bill Schifino, a Tampa attorney, initially proposed allowing unaffiliated voters to cast ballots in Republican or Democratic primaries. But Schifino altered the proposal to put all candidates seeking the same office — if there are more than two candidates — into a single primary regardless of party affiliation. The top two vote-getters would run in the general election. That system, already in use by California, Nebraska and Washington, would also allow state parties to list on the ballot the candidate they “endorse.”

Full Article: Top two election system clears constitution panel - Orlando Sentinel.

Editorials: Floridians should scrap these retrograde, racist voting laws | The Washington Post

No state comes close to disenfranchising its citizens at the rate Florida does. By doing so, the state extends the iniquities of Jim Crow into the modern era to the detriment of minority and, for the most part, Democratic voters. Now, after years of serving as an anti-democratic model, Florida appears about to see its voters drag it into the 21st century. They should. Of 6.1 million former felons who remain barred from voting across the United States, more than a quarter of them — nearly 1.7 million — are Floridians. It is one of just three states that permanently bars all felons from voting unless their rights are individually restored following an arduous, years-long process. The result: More than 10 percent of voting-age adults, and more than 20 percent of African Americans, have no access to the ballot box in Florida. You read that correctly: 1 in 5 black adults in Florida cannot vote.

Full Article: Floridians should scrap these retrograde, racist voting laws - The Washington Post.

Indiana: Republicans consider watered-down redistricting reform bill | Indianapolis Star

A redistricting reform bill is heading to the Senate floor, but it’s not what good-government advocates have been asking for. For years, advocates have called for an independent committee to draw the Indiana’s legislative and congressional maps, instead of the General Assembly. Senate Bill 236, however, would create criteria lawmakers must consider when they redraw the maps every 10 years. Bill author Sen. Greg Walker, R-Columbus, said his bill was just a “baby step” in the right direction. He said that the criteria used to draw maps was far more important than who was drawing the maps.

Full Article: Indiana Republicans consider watered-down redistricting reform bill.

Massachusetts: State Inches Toward Election-Day Voter Registration | Courthouse News

Massachusetts is still fighting a ruling that struck down its voter-registration deadline of 20 days prior to an election, but the state on Thursday proposed same-day voter registration in the commonwealth. Secretary of State William Galvin filed the bill on Jan. 25, six months after Suffolk Superior Court Judge Douglas Wilkins struck down the 20-day rule as unconstitutional. The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts represented the challengers who brought the underlying suit, including voter Rafael Sanchez, and the groups Chelsea Collaborative and MassVote.

Full Article: Massachusetts Inches Toward Election-Day Voter Registration.