Voting has become one of the most partisan issues in contemporary politics. Republicans have sought to make it more secure by requiring photo identification. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last month to allow Ohio to purge inactive voters from the rolls is likely to open the door to similar efforts in other red states. Democrats, conversely, are doing everything they can to make voting easier. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill in March implementing automatic voter registration. The following month, Gov. Phil Murphy signed a similar bill in New Jersey, bringing to 12 the number of states that sign people up, unless they opt out, when they interact with the department of motor vehicles or other state agencies. Democrats control the political branches of government in most of these states.
National: You Should Be ‘Significantly Concerned’ There’s No White House Cyber Coordinator, Policy Experts Say | Defense One
How concerned should Americans be about a White House shuffle that removed the cybersecurity coordinator position? Significantly concerned, according to a collection of top cybersecurity policy experts gathered by the Atlantic Council think tank. White House National Security Adviser John Bolton eliminated the cybersecurity coordinator position soon after taking office in May. The elimination was greeted with consternation by many cyber analysts who believed the job, which encompasses government cyber protections, international cyber negotiations and broad U.S. cyber policy, was too complex to be subsumed into broader White House operations.
Editorials: Kennedy’s Retirement Could Threaten Efforts to End Partisan Gerrymandering | Michael Wines/The New York Times
For 14 years, as partisan gerrymanders across the country grew more extreme, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy came to symbolize hopes that the Supreme Court would eventually rein them in. His retirement this week did not merely dampen those hopes. Experts said it also presented a potentially crippling threat to growing efforts by voting rights advocates and Democrats to halt gerrymanders by legal and political means. Justice Kennedy was widely seen as the swing vote on gerrymandering in a court divided between liberals, who see the practice as unconstitutional, and conservatives, who regard it as a political problem, not a legal one. Indeed, he single-handedly preserved it as a judicial question, in a 2004 case involving Pennsylvania’s Legislature, when he declined to join four other justices who declared that it is impossible to determine when a political map becomes unacceptably partisan. “That no such standard has emerged in this case,” he wrote then, “should not be taken to prove that none will emerge in the future.”
To adhere to a standard of “one person, one vote,” the Supreme Court requires each congressional district to contain a roughly equal number of people. The court has also ruled that gerrymandering legislative maps to dilute the power of racial minorities is unlawful (though its commitment to that view might be questioned). However, the court has avoided taking a stand on partisan gerrymanders, by which legislative maps are manipulated to give a decisive advantage to one party over another. This month, it sent claims on gerrymandered districts in several states back to lower courts. That’s unfortunate. Political gerrymanders, whether by Democrats or Republicans, undermine confidence in the political system, add to an already abundant supply of partisan rancor, and discriminate against the Americans whose votes are discounted.
Legislation allowing early voting in Delaware has died in the state Senate, more than a week after it was declared to have passed the House despite falling short of the two-thirds vote requirement. The Democratic Senate majority leader announced late Saturday that the bill would not be considered on the final night of this year’s legislative session because it did not have enough votes.
County elections officials and Gov. Rick Scott’s administration are at odds again, this time over new state requirements on how millions of dollars in cyber-security money can be spent across the state. Florida was awarded $19.2 million from the feds in March, and most of the money is to help counties fortify their voting equipment against the ever-present threat of cyber-attacks from Russia and elsewhere, as they plan primary and general elections. First, counties accused the state of slow-walking an application for federal help. Scott had to personally intervene in May and direct Secretary of State Ken Detzner to seek the money.
Guam: Voting rights case gets support from US Virgin Islands, constitutional scholars | The Guam Daily Post
The U.S. Virgin Islands and two constitutional law scholars have filed briefs in support of a voting rights case filed by Guam resident Luis Segovia, a member of the Guam Army National Guard, which has now reached the Supreme Court. The case could decide whether 4 million Americans living in U.S. territories can vote in presidential elections. Segovia, who previously lived in Illinois and served in the state’s National Guard, has served two deployments to Afghanistan and provided security during the 2005 Iraqi elections.
Illinois: County GOP joins effort to end Bloomington Election Commission | Government and Politics | pantagraph.com
Voters may finally have their say on the Bloomington Election Commission. Months after the McLean County Libertarian Party started circulating petitions for a ballot question that would dissolve the BEC, the McLean County Republican Party is throwing its weight behind the proposal as well. “It was unanimous: We think this is an issue that should go before the public,” said party Chair Connie Beard of a vote among precinct committeemen last week. “We think eliminating the BEC would increase efficiency, save taxpayer dollars and make the process more directly connected to voter control.”
North Carolina voters will be asked this fall to add a photo identification requirement for voting to the state constitution. The state Senate gave final approval to the proposal Friday on a party-line 33-12 vote. There was little discussion on the floor for a bill that has been through multiple committees and floor votes this session and has been a hotly contested issue for years between legislative Democrats and the Republican majority. This will be one of six proposed constitutional amendments on the ballot this November, and it takes a majority vote of the people to change the constitution. Voters will be asked to vote for or against a “constitutional amendment to require voters to provide photo identification before voting in person.”
An Ohio Senate bill giving the secretary of state the authority to request up to $114.5 million in state funds for the individual counties to upgrade to the next generation of voting equipment only waits on Governor John Kasich’s signature to become law. The timing of the funds is advanced enough to allow counties the chance to have personnel trained and the bugs worked before the 2020 presidential election. Senate Bill 135, sponsored by Senator Frank LaRose (R-Hudson), received concurrence Wednesday from the Senate after passing the House Thursday, June 7 with a vote of 87-0. The bill was co-sponsored by both Delaware County representatives Rick Carfagna, R-Genoa Township (68th District) and Andrew Brenner, R-Powell (67th District).
Data on Tasmanian voters that applied for an express vote at recent elections has been stolen by hackers, the state’s electoral commission has warned. The commission is one of a growing list of victims of a breach at Spanish web form maker, Typeform, in which hackers were able to exfiltrate a “partial backup” file containing a range of client data. The Tasmanian Electoral Commission said in a statement that data collected through five forms on its website had been stolen. … Express voting offers a chance for constituents to cast their vote via email or fax. It is used when the voter is going to be interstate or overseas, or if they simply live too remotely to get to a polling station.
Iraq will begin a manual recount of votes on Tuesday from a May parliamentary election clouded by allegations of fraud, a step towards the formation of a new parliament and government. Only suspect ballots flagged in formal complaints or official reports on fraud will be recounted, a spokesman for the panel of judges conducting the recount said on Saturday. “The manual recount will be conducted in the presence of representatives from the United Nations, foreign embassies and political parties; as well as local and international observers, members of the media, and the Ministries of Defense and the Interior,” Judge Laith Jabr Hamza said in a statement.
Madagascar will hold a presidential election on November 7, the Prime Minister said yesterday, after street protests and a political crisis that forced the appointment of a caretaker government. If no candidate wins an outright majority, a second round of voting will be held on December 19, added Prime Minister Christian Ntsay. The Indian Ocean island nation has been in the grip of a growing stand-off over proposed electoral reforms that triggered mass protests and led the Constitutional Court to order a caretaker government to organise the ballot.
A baseball-loving left-wing nationalist who has vowed to crack down on corruption, rein in Mexico’s war on drugs and rule for the poor has been elected president of Latin America’s second-largest economy. Andrés Manuel López Obrador, a silver-haired 64-year-old who is best known as Amlo and counts Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn among his friends, was elected with at least 53% of the vote, according to a quick count by Mexico’s electoral commission. López Obrador’s closest rival, Ricardo Anaya from the National Action party (PAN), received around 22% while José Antonio Meade, a career civil servant running for the Institutional Revolutionary party, or PRI, which ruled Mexico for most of last century, came in third with around 16%.
United Kingdom: Brexit’s biggest campaign donor ‘investigated by National Crime Agency over links to Russia’ | The Independent
Brexit’s biggest campaign donor is reportedly being investigated by the National Crime Agency (NCA) over alleged links to Russia. The NCA was handed emails belonging to multimillionaire Arron Banks, co-founder of the Leave.EU campaign, revealing previously undisclosed meetings between the businessman and the Russian ambassador in London, according to The Times. The emails reportedly show Mr Banks was offered three Russian business deals in the buildup to the Brexit vote, including a gold mine in west Africa and a stake in Russia’s state-owned diamond mining organisation Alrosa. The revelations about the extent of Mr Banks’s Russian contacts will trigger further scrutiny as to whether the Russians sought to influence the Brexit vote.