Rosanell Eaton, a resolute African-American woman who was hailed by President Barack Obama as a beacon of civil rights for her role as a lead plaintiff in a lawsuit against a restrictive North Carolina voting law that reached the Supreme Court in 2016, died on Saturday in Louisburg, N.C. She was 97. Ms. Eaton’s daughter, Armenta Eaton, said she died in hospice care at the home they had shared in recent years. Caught up as a witness to history in one of the nation’s major controversies, Ms. Eaton, an obscure civil rights pioneer in her younger years, became a cause célèbre after Mr. Obama cited her courage in his response to a 2015 article in The New York Times Magazine about growing efforts to dismantle the protections of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. “I was inspired to read about unsung American heroes like Rosanell Eaton in Jim Rutenberg’s ‘A Dream Undone: Inside the 50-year campaign to roll back the Voting Rights Act,’ ” Mr. Obama wrote in a letter to the editor. “I am where I am today only because men and women like Rosanell Eaton refused to accept anything less than a full measure of equality.”
National: Senator Warner blames White House for election security bill not passing Congress | The Hill
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) on Friday said the White House prevented a bipartisan election security bill from passing Congress this year. Warner, who is vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said that if the bill known as the Secure Elections Act made it to the Senate floor, it would receive at least 80 votes in favor of passage. “The objection has come from the White House,” he said at an event hosted by the Center for a New American Security. A White House spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The bipartisan legislation, introduced by Sens. James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), is aimed at protecting election systems from cyberattacks. The measure was held up in committee this year because of a lack of GOP support, a Republican aide told The Hill at the time.
When it comes to election fraud, the “voting twice by dressing up with a different hat” tactic that President Trump talks about almost never happens. What actually does happen, as allegedly illustrated in the race for North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District, is vote-by-mail fraud. “The consensus, among people who study fraud carefully, is that voting by mail is a much more fertile area for fraud than voting in person,” said Charles Stewart, who studies election technology and administration at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Still, voting by mail is on the rise. The numbers aren’t finalized for 2018 yet, but in the 2016 presidential election, the percentage of people who voted by mail had more than doubled compared to two decades prior.
National: Prosecutors Effectively Accuse Trump of Defrauding Voters. What Does It Mean? | The New York Times
The latest revelations by prosecutors investigating President Trump and his team draw a portrait of a candidate who personally directed an illegal scheme to manipulate the 2016 election and whose advisers had more contact with Russia than Mr. Trump has ever acknowledged. In the narrative that the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, and New…
New filings by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III on Friday provided fresh clues about where the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election is headed. Mueller’s filing said President Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, was contacted in 2015 by a “Russian national” seeking “synergy” between Trump’s campaign and the Russian government. The special counsel’s team also said Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, lied about meeting with Konstantin Kilimnik, whom the U.S. government has linked to Russian intelligence. The Mueller filings made news, of course. But how much has what we know about Trump and Russia really changed since 2016? Not as much as you might think. On the Friday before the Democratic National Convention in July 2016, Russian agents released, through WikiLeaks, thousands of emails stolen from the DNC. The timing caused maximum harm at a critical moment in the Democratic contest. As campaign manager for Hillary Clinton, I appeared two days later on two Sunday political talk shows, ready for an avalanche of questions about the emails, which I got. But rather than focusing on the content of the documents, I thought it was important to discuss why they were released in the first place.
Arizona: Judge rules overhaul of campaign finance laws against Arizona Constitution | Arizona Republic
A judge has ruled that Arizona lawmakers violated the state Constitution on multiple fronts when they passed a sweeping overhaul of campaign-finance laws in 2016. Those changes illegally limit the power of the voter-approved Citizens Clean Elections Commission to police campaign-finance laws and illegally create loopholes for spending limits, the ruling states. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge David Palmer ruled that the changes are unconstitutional and cannot be enforced. The ruling is the latest twist in a fight over Senate Bill 1516, a major rewrite of campaign- finance laws that the Republican-controlled Legislature and Gov. Doug Ducey pushed in 2016.
California: Millions of California voters saw same-party races on November’s ballot and left the space blank | Los Angeles Times
As November’s election results become clear, so does a new California conundrum: Voters may like the top-two primary — which doesn’t guarantee any political party a spot on the fall ballot — but a lot of them skipped last month’s contests in which the only choices were candidates with the same party affiliation. It was not a lack of enthusiasm for the election. The percentage of registered voters who turned out was the highest for a regular gubernatorial election since 1982. Final results, expected later this week, will show about 12.7 million ballots cast statewide. But some races were left blank, in what elections officials call an “under-vote.” The reasons vary — some voters get confused or forget, and others simply don’t like either of the two contenders.
A federal judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit challenging the winner-take-all system Massachusetts uses to assign its Electoral College presidential votes, rejecting the argument that it violates the principle of “one person, one vote.” The case is one of several spearheaded by the onetime lawyer for former Vice President Al Gore that is targeting the winner-take-all system used in 48 states, which critics ultimately hope to get before the U.S. Supreme Court. They argue the practice of assigning all of a state’s Electoral College votes to the winner of a state’s popular vote disenfranchises those who voted for the losing candidate and puts too much weight in the votes of those who live in a few key battleground states. But Chief U.S. District Judge Patti Saris said the system is constitutional because it doesn’t treat any set of voters differently from another.
North Carolina: ‘Guru of Elections’: Can-Do Operator Who May Have Done Too Much | The New York Times
Adam Delane Thompson wanted to vote but was not sure what to do with the absentee ballots he received in the mail this year for him, his fiancée and his daughter. So for guidance he called an old friend in Bladenboro, L. McCrae Dowless Jr., a low-level local official with a criminal record who nonetheless had once been feted as “guru of elections” in Bladen County. Mr. Dowless soon had the sealed ballots in his hands and was off to the post office to mail them, Mr. Thompson said. Mr. Thompson, who works in the maintenance department at a DuPont plant, said in an interview he was grateful. But the act was apparently illegal in North Carolina, where, except in limited circumstances, it is a felony to collect another person’s absentee ballot. In this rural region near the state’s southern border, where candidates are often intimately known as neighbors, friends or enemies, Mr. Dowless ran a do-it-all vote facilitating business that was part of the community fabric.
In the back office of the only liquor store within 30 miles of this low-lying town in eastern North Carolina, behind a window where he can see out better than customers can see in, Mark Gillespie was paying bills. “They never stop,” the manager of the ABC Store said. He looked up occasionally to see who was coming in: friends and family, coaches from the Dixie Youth Baseball league program he runs, parents of the Boy Scout troop he oversees. They’re the reason, he said, he had to be careful with his words when I asked about his county’s new status as the epicenter of election fraud in the United States. “I’m just mad about the whole thing,” the former county commissioner told me. “It really is embarrassing for my county, my little tiny county, to be on national news. Where I grew up at and call home.”
Editorials: The GOP is using Republican fraud in North Carolina to try to punish Democrats. | Richard Hasen/Slate
It is easy for Democrats to feel some glee about revelations that a Republican operative may have committed absentee ballot fraud in connection with last month’s election for North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District. Not only does this mean that Democrat Dan McCready may have a chance to beat Republican Mark Harris in a new election that the state election board or the U.S. House of Representatives may order, giving Democrats a chance to pick up a 41st Republican seat this election cycle. The idea of a Republican operative being caught up in election shenanigans after North Carolina Republicans and others have been yelling so loudly in the past decade about the false specter of Democratic “voter fraud” deliciously demonstrates the hypocrisy and disingenuousness of Republican rhetoric about election integrity. But to me, the circumstances surrounding the North Carolina election controversy are profoundly depressing, because they reveal that even incontrovertible facts are not going to get in the way of a narrative used to justify a host of suppressive laws aimed at making it harder for those likely to vote for Democrats to register and to vote, not only in North Carolina, but in Florida, Georgia, Wisconsin, and elsewhere.
As the popularity of early voting continues to rise, some lawmakers are reviving a plan to make it easier for Oklahomans to vote. But they likely will run into continued resistance that has given Oklahoma the shortest in-person early-voting period among the many states that allow early voting. Senate Minority Leader Kay Floyd, D-Oklahoma City, said Senate Democrats are preparing legislation that would extend the time voters have to cast ballots through the in-person absentee option. Oklahoma currently has the shortest early voting period of the 37 states that offer early voting. State law allows voters to cast in-person absentee ballots on three days before Election Day: from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.
South Carolina: Election Commission requesting new voting system that they say must have paper trail | Post and Courier
South Carolina election officials have taken a key step toward replacing the state’s 13,000 outdated voting machines and want the new system to generate a paper record after each ballot is cast. The state Election Commission on Friday outlined its call for a “statewide voting system solution” in a request for proposal, or RFP. The RFP marks the first formal step in soliciting contracts or bids from voting system vendors. Officials want the new system implemented by January 2020, ahead of the next presidential election. The touchscreen machines South Carolina voters have used since 2004 provide no paper record, making the Palmetto State one of five states where voting machines do not leave a paper trail behind. That means when there’s a contested election or a suspected security breach, there is currently no paper component for auditing results.
Armenia’s acting prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan, has bolstered his authority after his political bloc won early parliamentary elections in the former Soviet country, the Central Election Commission’s (CEC) results showed. My Step Alliance, which includes Pashinyan’s Civil Contract Party, won 70.4% of the vote on Sunday based on results from all polling stations, the CEC said on its website. Results showed that two moderate opposition parties – Prosperous Armenia and Bright Armenia – got enough votes to clear the 5% threshold to enter parliament.
Bolsonaro did not win 55 percent of votes thanks to misinformation alone. A powerful desire for political change in Brazil after a yearslong corruption scandal and a court decision compelling the jailed front-runner Luis Inacio Lula da Silva to withdraw from the race both opened the door wide for his win. But Bolsonaro’s candidacy benefited from a powerful and coordinated disinformation campaign intended to discredit his rivals, according to the Brazilian newspaper Folha. Days before the Oct. 28 runoff between Bolsonaro and his leftist competitor, leftist Fernando Haddad, an investigation by Folha revealed that a conservative.
Peruvians vote on Sunday in a referendum that could empower a sweeping overhaul of the country’s judiciary and a loathed political class following a string of scandals that have laid bare the corruption at the heart of Peru’s public institutions. The referendum comes at the end of a year of hitherto unimaginable political upsets beginning when the president Pedro Pablo Kuczysnki was forced to resign over corruption allegations in March and followed by the jailing in November of his principal adversary, the powerful opposition leader Keiko Fujimori. Four former Peruvian presidents are now under investigation for taking bribes from the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht, which has admitted to paying out $30m in Peru – just a fraction of the estimated $800m the firm has admitted to handing out as kickbacks across Latin America, making it the continent’s biggest-ever corruption scandal.
The determination by the Somalia federal government to influence the outcome of the Southwest State’s presidential election has raised doubts about whether the polls will still be held on December 19 having already been postponed three times. The election was initially set for November 17, but was pushed to November 28 and then December 5, due to what the government says is lack of equipment and ballot papers. However, experts on Somalia say that the government of President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo is determined to get a friendly leader in Southwest State especially after the regional leaders threatened to suspend their cooperation with the centre in September.
Thailand’s election law governing its lower house of parliament is set to take effect on Tuesday, paving the way for a long-awaited election to be held, likely next February. In what is expected to be a heated campaign, much attention will focus on the extent of power the military will hold following the vote. As the countdown starts, the focus now is on what Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha’s plans are regarding his own position and that of other parties. Since the military ousted former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in 2014, the junta government has delayed an election several times, holding back the return of democracy.
Venezuelans went to polling stations Sunday to elect municipal council members, but analysts predicted record low turnout, citing mistrust in the process, the banning of opposition parties and widespread exhaustion amid the ongoing socioeconomic crisis. The elections come one month before President Nicolas Maduro begins his second six-year term after winning an election in May termed illegitimate by political opponents, the European Union, the United States and most of Latin America. Voting was suspended in the southern city of Gran Sabana, where an indigenous man died Saturday in an apparent military operation against illegal mining, the National Electoral Council (NEC) reported.