Editorials: Kris Kobach knuckles under to court in major victory for thousands of Kansas voters | Yael T. Abouhalkah/The Kansas City Star

In a great victory for up to 50,000 Kansans, Kris Kobach capitulated late Tuesday after suffering his latest stinging legal defeat on voter ID issues. The Republican secretary of state finally provided instructions to election officials across the state on their duty to register at least 18,000 Kansans whose eligibility for federal elections had been suspended. Most of them are under 30, likely to skew Democratic in the ballot booth. Many more could be registered before the November elections, up to 50,000 total people according to state officials. Kobach had pushed through a law that required people registering at motor vehicle offices to provide citizenship documentation before they could be considered fully eligible to vote. However, a federal judge had ruled this violated federal laws. And the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals last week denied Kobach’s plea that it override the judge’s order that registration of voters needed to start by June 15.

Editorials: This would be a nice first step on campaign finance reform | The Washington Post

They say time is money, and the adage rings especially true for members of Congress: Many of them — according to Rep. David Jolly (R-Fla.) — spend almost as much of the workweek fundraising as they do debating laws or helping constituents. Mr. Jolly, with a Democratic colleague, Rep. Rick Nolan (Minn.), has introduced a bill to fix that. Their legislation does not purport to solve all of the country’s fundraising woes, but this is a case in which some change would be better than none. Mr. Jolly estimates that Senate and House lawmakers spend an average of 30 hours a week at networking events and call centers instead of in the Capitol working for the people they were elected to represent. Under his bill, called the Stop Act, these representatives could not personally solicit campaign contributions — whether or not Congress is in session.

Editorials: A big step toward citizen reform of government in Illinois | Chicago Sun-Times

How about some good news about citizens taking control of their own government? The citizen-led Independent Map Amendment initiative easily cleared hefty signature requirement hurdles, was deemed valid and won tentative approval Monday to appear on the Nov. 8 ballot, pending the outcome of a lawsuit filed to try to thwart it. In a first for an Illinois redistricting attempt after two previous attempts in 2010 and 2014, commissioners on the Illinois State Board of Elections declared the signatures valid, giving a tentative green light to the ballot question that would ask voters if they want an 11-member independent commission to design state legislative districts rather than letting ruling politicians draw them. “This is a huge hurdle that we’ve cleared and it’s one that no redistricting amendment has so far cleared in Illinois, so we’re very excited,” said Dave Mellet, campaign manager of the Independent Map Amendment. When this was tried in 2014, “they realized this is a pretty massive undertaking and there’s a lot you need to learn about duplicate signatures,” he added, “so to get to 290,000 valid signatures is a huge step.”

Editorials: District of Columbia’s Democratic Primary Highlights Their Statehood Blunder | Pat Garofalo /US News & World Report

Tuesday is officially the last election day of the 2016 Democratic presidential primary campaign. Not that it matters much, of course: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is already the presumptive nominee. But going 57th in the primary order and having their votes rendered largely meaningless by the previous contests is nothing new to Tuesday’s set of voters – after all, we’re casting our ballots in the District of Columbia. Yes, adding a lot of insult to plenty of injury, the voters of Washington, D.C. – myself included – were stuck at the end of the presidential politics playlist, relegated to a footnote in the campaign, after already being largely disenfranchised at the national level. But it doesn’t have to be this way: That D.C. is still stuck in representative purgatory highlights one of the biggest mistakes Democrats made during the Obama era.

Editorials: Kris Kobach must stop violating voting rights of up to 50,000 Kansans | Yael T. Abouhalkah/The Kansas City Star

Kris Kobach’s incompetence on voting rights has been exposed for all Kansans to see — again. In a nationally watched case, the Republican Kansas Secretary of State was slapped down late Friday by a federal appeals court for trying to enforce his overly restrictive voting law. Instead of trying to make it easier to cast a ballot, Kobach has been engaged in a campaign making it harder for young people, minorities and poorer residents — often Democratic voters — to do that. Up to 50,000 Kansans could be affected, state officials say, higher than earlier estimates of 18,000 as more people register to vote this summer.

Editorials: GOP upends NC’s voting process | Raleigh News & Observer

North Carolina’s capital is a place where Republicans battle with Democrats, but since Republicans took full control of the General Assembly, the Supreme Court and the governor’s office, that conflict has changed. Instead of Republicans against Democrats, it’s Republicans colliding with democracy. Republican candidates and lawmakers used the district maps and election laws drawn and written by Democrats in the majority to ascend to power, but they’ve thrown out both to keep it. Political gamesmanship is to be expected, especially when a party takes full control of the state after more than a century. But what Republican lawmakers have done – and Gov. Pat McCory has abetted – goes well beyond settling scores or tilting the electoral landscape in their favor. Instead, they’ve made a hash of the state’s electoral process. They’ve gerrymandered the state’s districts to a new extreme, passed laws to suppress the vote and turned what were once nonpartisan state Supreme Court elections into expensive, highly charged partisan fights.

Editorials: Down and Out and Voteless in Ohio | The New York Times

The attempts by Republican lawmakers to suppress the turnout of Democratic-leaning voters in the 2016 election have reached shameless levels in Ohio — a swing state where it turns out that even homeless citizens have been blocked from exercising their right to vote. Thanks to a timely ruling last week from a federal district judge, Algenon Marbley, the obstacles to minorities at the polling booth come November may be less formidable than they might have been, though the state plans to appeal and problems remain. The judge struck down a 2014 Republican-sponsored state law that, among other things, required that absentee ballots be thrown out for essentially trivial mistakes. This, the judge ruled, discriminated against minority voters in violation of the Voting Rights Act, including homeless people disqualified for not providing precise addresses. Other changes in the 2014 law shortened the period during which voters could correct such errors and barred election clerks from helping someone confused by the forms, unless the voter was physically disabled.

Editorials: Why the Wisconsin redistricting lawsuit will win | Matthew Flynn/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

I had the good fortune to serve as a law clerk to the Honorable Thomas E. Fairchild, chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, the year after I graduated from the University of Wisconsin Law School. Fairchild was one of the most respected federal judges in the country, and many of his opinions are still cited as precedent. I once asked him the secret to courtroom advocacy, and he said “Matt, make me want you to win. If a judge wants you to win, the judge will find a way to do it.” The redistricting lawsuit pending in federal court is very likely to result in the court’s overturning the present imbalanced legislative districts, but not for the reasons most people think. The decision itself is likely to be couched in terms of “packing” (loading large Democratic majorities, usually minorities, in safe districts, resulting in overwhelming Democratic margins), and “cracking” (diluting the remaining Democratic votes in what could be competitive districts to ensure a Republican victory no matter whom the Democrats nominate). But the reasons why the three-judge panel will want the redistricting position to win are more profound.

Editorials: Pennsylvania bill to permit internet voting for military, overseas travelers an invitation to hackers | Daniel Lopresti/The Morning Call

The Pennsylvania Legislature is considering a bill, sponsored by Sen. Pat Stefano, that would permit military and overseas voters to transmit voted ballots over the internet. Despite good intentions, SB 1052 would jeopardize the vote and voice of our troops and compromise the integrity of Pennsylvania elections by exposing them to attacks from hackers operating…

Editorials: America’s voting system is broken. It’s time to overhaul it | Trevor Timm/The Guardian

There’s no debate at this point that Hillary Clinton has won the popular vote and the delegate count to win the Democratic primary. But even Clinton supporters should agree that our supposedly “democratic” system for picking nominees for president is terribly broken and should be dramatically overhauled. It’s not just Bernie Sanders’ campaign that should (and has) argued that the voting system in this country is “rigged”. Virtually every major campaign in both parties griped about how the other was winning at some point during this campaign, and along the way almost all of them were right. First, there are the delegates themselves – the “representatives” that voters “choose” to express their interests at the party conventions (but sometimes don’t have to comply). Each state has its own rules for how delegates are allocated, and they are almost always ridiculously complicated. In both parties, delegate counts regularly do not match up to the percentage of votes candidates received in the primaries. For example, as Fusion’s Felix Salmon demonstrated in March, Trump had dramatically more delegates than his percentage of the Republican vote at that point, and Sanders had dramatically fewer delegates than his percentage on the Democratic side.

Editorials: Are American Samoans American? | Christina Duffy Ponsa/The New York Times

The Supreme Court will soon decide whether to hear an appeal in Tuaua v. United States, which poses the question of whether the Citizenship Clause of the 14th Amendment applies to American Samoa. That this is a question at all is puzzling, and not just because it’s called American Samoa. The 14th Amendment to the Constitution guarantees citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof.” The United States annexed the eastern half of a group of Pacific islands known as the Samoas at the end of the 19th century. As a result, those islands became American Samoa. Surely, people born in American Samoa are legally speaking born in the United States and therefore citizens by birth. Easy, right? Not so easy. The answer is that no one knows for sure. How is it possible that a question as basic as who is a citizen at birth under our Constitution remains unresolved in a place subject to the sovereignty of the United States? To understand, you have to dive into the muck that is the law of the United States territories.

Editorials: Ideas on Reconciling Critics of the Presidential Primary Process | Albert R. Hunt/The New York Times

It’s rare that President Obama and Reince Priebus, the Republican National Committee chairman, agree. In recent weeks, they both have said that the presidential nominating process is not rigged. They are right. But that hasn’t stopped those displeased with the results — not only establishment Republicans but also Democrats who support Senator Bernie Sanders — from insisting on changing the rules for the next election. Some tweaks are always in order, but both sides are trying to craft procedures that would have benefited them this time. As with generals fighting the last war, experience shows this rarely works and often backfires. “Every time someone tries to game out this system,” said Benjamin Ginsberg, a leading Republican election lawyer, “the great law of unintended consequences rears its head.”

Editorials: The Supreme Court needs to settle American Samoa birthright citizenship | Mark Joseph Stern/Slate

Soon, the Supreme Court will decide whether to take a case of astounding constitutional importance. Its outcome could alter the rules governing citizenship, equal protection, and the power of the federal government. And it centers around a tiny chain of islands that you probably cannot find on a map. The question: Can Congress decide that an entire group of Americans—born in America, raised in America, allegiant to America—does not deserve United States citizenship? American Samoans, the group in question, have been Americans since 1900, when the United States acquired their territory in the midst of an imperialist expansion. Since then, residents of America’s other territories have either achieved independence or gained U.S. citizenship. But in 2016, American Samoans stand alone: Unlike people born in, say, Puerto Rico or Guam, they are not granted citizenship at birth. Instead, they are considered “noncitizen nationals,” a legally dubious term that effectively renders them stateless, a mark of second-class status imprinted on their (American) passports.

Editorials: Awarding presidential delegates by congressional district is unfair | Derek T. Muller/The Sacramento Bee

This year’s presidential primaries have exposed problems in the nomination process, and they’re highlighted by California’s uneven method of awarding its delegates. Most delegates in Tuesday’s primaries will be awarded to the candidates who win the most votes in each of California’s 53 congressional districts. While that system is designed to ensure that a candidate has widespread support and that delegates come from across the state, it produces bizarre results in districts dominated by one party or the other. The Republican Party will award three delegates per district. The Democratic Party gives districts between four and nine delegates, based on total population, plus extra delegates to districts with more Democratic voters. The 13th District in San Francisco has about 260,000 registered Democrats and gets eight delegates, or one delegate per 32,500 voters. But there are just 86,000 registered Democrats in the 42nd and 50th districts, and they each will award five delegates, or one delegate per 17,200 voters. It doesn’t take a math degree to recognize that Democrats in San Francisco will have less power than Democrats elsewhere in the state.

Editorials: California’s Election Calamity | Jonathan Bernstein/Bloomberg View

California voters are set to vote in their primary on Tuesday, and will suffer the consequences of a serious self-imposed mistake in how they run their state. No, it has nothing to do with the presidential race. The disaster is its “top two” system, in which the candidates for state offices — regardless of party — go on to compete in the general election in November if they finish first and second in the primaries. The likely perverse result? Voters in November will probably have a choice between two Democrats for an open U.S. Senate seat. The motivation for the California system was to elevate more moderate politicians than the parties were producing on their own. In practice, at least in the first two election cycles since the change was carried out, the results have not matched reformers’ hopes. Candidates have not been more moderate.

Editorials: Kentucky Should Eliminate Its Recanvass Process for Close Elections | Joshua A. Douglas/Courier-Journal

Last week, Kentucky witnessed its second statewide recanvass of an election in the past two years. Bernie Sanders asked the state to review the totals in the Democratic primary, which Hillary Clinton won by 1,911 votes. Just as in the Republican gubernatorial primary of 2015, the recanvass yielded no change to the vote totals, confirming Clinton won as announced on Election Night. The state and counties spent money conducting a recanvass that had absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election. It is time to do away with this process. Kentucky law contains three possible procedures to contest the results of a close election. The first is a recanvass, in which the counties “recheck and recanvass” the vote totals from the machines, along with any absentee ballots. During a recanvass, counties do not recount individual votes; they instead verify, or retabulate, the count from the machines – in essence, it is like pushing the button again to re-tally the totals. The counties themselves pay for this process, meaning that any candidate who is down by a close margin has virtually nothing to lose by requesting this procedure.

Editorials: Texas’s voter ID chicanery | The Washington Post

Everyone is clear on the voter-ID games that have been played in Republican-controlled state legislatures in recent years. In the name of preventing ballot fraud — of which there is virtually no evidence — GOP lawmakers have enacted restrictive bills, whose purpose and effect are to disenfranchise a certain number of reliably Democratic-leaning citizens: African Americans, Latinos and low-income voters. The most over-the-top example of voter suppression is legislation adopted in 2011 by Texas, which three federal courts have struck down. Zombie-like, it refuses to die, owing to the unembarrassed determination of Gov. Greg Abbott and other Republicans in Austin intent on resurrecting Jim Crow-style obstacles to the ballot by any means they can finagle through the judiciary.

Editorials: The fire next time | The Economist

The 45-mile drive from Union Springs, seat of Bullock County, Alabama, to Montgomery, the state capital, might not seem very arduous. But for some locals, the distance itself is not the main obstacle. Going to Montgomery, as some now must to get a driver’s licence, means the best part of a day off work for two people, the test-sitter and his chauffeur (there is no public transport). That is a stretch for employees in inflexible, minimum-wage jobs—and there are lots of them in Union Springs, a tidy town in which the missing letters on the shuttered department store’s façade betray a quiet decline, surrounded by the sort of spacious but dilapidated poverty characteristic of Alabama’s Black Belt. To some, this trek is not just an inconvenience but a scandal. The state’s voters must now show one of several eligible photo-IDs to cast a ballot, of which driving licences are the most common kind. Last year, supposedly to save money, the issuing office in Union Springs, formerly open for a day each week, was closed, along with others in mostly black, Democratic-leaning counties. After an outcry, the service was reinstated for a day per month; at other times, applicants head to Montgomery. For James Poe, a funeral-home director and head of the NAACP in Bullock County, the combination of a new voter-ID law and reduced hours is “insanity”. Such impediments may not be as flagrant as when, as a young man in Union Springs, he had to interpret the constitution in order to vote, but, he thinks, they are obnoxious all the same.

Editorials: The United States has a moral obligation to give Puerto Rico the right to vote | Noah Berlatzsky/Quartz

Voting rights has become an increasingly partisan issue. In Wisconsin, new voter ID laws led to brutal lines at the polls in urban areas—a development designed, even according to Republicans themselves, to suppress Democratic turnout. In Virginia at the end of April, governor Terry McAuliffe re-enfranchised all felons who had finished parole. In theory, the move returned the vote to 200,000 people. This was a refutation of a policy originally designed to explicitly deny black people the vote. It was also, potentially, a way to give more votes to more minority and poor voters, and tip a narrowly balanced purple state more Democratic in the US presidential election. The focus on voter IDs and felon disenfranchisement—while important—has inadvertently obscured other voting rights issues. Every year, with little comment, the United States denies millions of people representation in the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and other territories. Washington, DC, has a population of over 650,000 people. That makes it larger than the states of Vermont or Wyoming, and yet it has no voting representatives in either the Senate or the House of Representatives. Puerto Rico has a population of around 3.5 million people, which makes it more populous than states like Nevada, Iowa, and Arkansas. But not only do Puerto Ricans lack Congressional representation, they also cannot vote in presidential elections (unlike residents of DC, who are entitled to three votes in the Electoral College).

Editorials: Texas’ draconian voter ID law retreads LBJ’s civil rights victory | Carl P. Leubsdorf/Dallas Morning News

The gripping movie version of “All the Way,” which premiered last week on HBO, centers on the combination of political brilliance and personal volatility that exemplified Lyndon B. Johnson’s triumphant first year in the White House. But its sub-text is civil rights, including the fight to protect the vote for Southern blacks at a time when enemies of that most basic American right didn’t hesitate to employ brutality, up to and including murder, to protect their segregated society. The movie’s timing is especially apt in an election year when an underlying issue is again voting rights, thanks to the efforts by Republicans governors and legislatures — granted free license by a conservative Supreme Court majority — to roll back those rights through new rules allegedly required to curb non-existent voter fraud. On Tuesday, the full 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans heard an appeal by Texas on behalf of one of the most draconian of those measures, the Texas voter ID law, after a three-judge panel upheld a federal district judge’s decision that it discriminated against the state’s growing minority population. Texas’ reliance on the 5th Circuit’s conservative majority — Republican presidents nominated 10 of its current 15 judges — symbolizes how the politics of these issues has changed.

Editorials: Two myths about the unruly American primary system | Richard Hasen/The Washington Post

In yesterday’s New York Times, a story suggests that after this year’s election, the U.S. political parties might struggle over whether to re-design our primary system. But before we think about potential changes, let’s examine the unique system we have today — and expose two myths usually told about how we got here. Many Americans will be surprised to learn that few democracies give primary elections a dominant role in selecting their parties’ nominees for the country’s highest office. In most systems, elected party members take a major role in choosing or filtering potential candidates. In Britain, for example, to be a Labour Party nominee for prime minister, you need to be nominated by 15 percent of Labour’s members in Parliament; the Conservative Party members nominate just two candidates. The wider party membership then chooses from this narrowed field, although only 1 percent of registered voters are party members (compared with 60 percent or so in the United States), because party membership entails more significant obligations. But starting in the 1970s, the United States stumbled — and I do mean stumbled — into a system that eliminated any meaningful role for party figures. Instead, unmediated popular participation, through caucuses and primary elections, came to control the way we choose presidential nominees. That uniquely populist system, which we now take for granted, has culminated in our current, stunning moment. Two essentially freelance, independent political figures — Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders — will either represent, or come surprisingly close to representing, the nation’s two major parties in the 2016 election.

Editorials: The Virginia GOP’s voting rights lawsuit would perpetuate injustice | The Washington Post

Republican leaders of Virginia’s legislature have asked the state’s highest court to block Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s order restoring voting rights to more than 200,000 felons who have served out their sentences — the latest in a series of GOP measures meant to dilute and minimize the electoral clout of African Americans in the commonwealth. The Republican lawsuit rests heavily on the idea that Virginia’s governor is invested with the authority to restore ex-convicts’ voting rights only if the restoration is “individualized” — a word that appears nowhere in the state’s constitution. In fact, the constitution explicitly empowers the governor “to remove political disabilities” arising from “conviction for offenses” and strips voting rights from a felon “unless his civil rights have been restored by the governor.”

Editorials: At least courts are protecting voting rights in Kansas | The Wichita Eagle

The mess that Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has made of voter registration draws yawns at the Statehouse. At least the courts continue to look out for the thousands of Kansans who would have registered to vote since 2013 if not for the Kobach-pushed law requiring they produce U.S. citizenship documents. The most recent ruling came Tuesday from U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson in Kansas City, Kan. She ordered Kobach to register more than 18,000 prospective voters who’d filed applications at motor vehicle offices, as per the 1993 National Voter Registration Act, but whose registrations were stalled or canceled for lack of citizenship proof. (Though more than 32,000 registrations were in limbo at one point, before Kobach started purging them last fall after 90 days, Robinson’s ruling covers only those applications filed in the process of obtaining driver’s licenses.)

Editorials: Californians from both parties are working to expand voting rights | Alex Padilla/Los Angeles Times

If there’s one thing that every American should agree with, it’s this: Voting is the fundamental right in our democracy, the one that makes all others possible. The right to choose our representatives is why patriots dumped tea into Boston Harbor, why women marched for the 19th Amendment and why, 51 years ago, people of all races joined together to win the passage of the Voting Rights Act. But one of the most insidious ideas in the 2016 election is that voting rights are negotiable. More than 20 states have enacted voting restrictions that could prevent many Americans from exercising their fundamental right to vote this November. We saw the logical outcome of these laws last month in Arizona, when local election officials closed 70% of polling locations in Maricopa County. We will never know how many people didn’t vote that day, frustrated by five-hour lines and overwhelmed poll workers.

Editorials: Baltimore elections: ‘stuff happens’ isn’t good enough | E.R. Shipp/Baltimore Sun

Back in 2000, the state of Florida became an international laughingstock over its difficulties tallying ballots. Baltimore has escaped that ignominy so far this year only because the fate of a presidential election is not in the balance. But the difficulty of its elections specialists in tallying ballots from April 26 is just as unforgiveable as was Florida’s. Baltimore, we’ve got a problem here — and it did not begin with this election cycle. As The Sun recently reported, what we have experienced is in many ways déjà vu all over again. Still, a history of persistent problems does not mean the future has to be fraught with them, too — especially the predictable ones like too few and poorly trained election judges who are ultimately responsible for the smooth operation of more than 200 polling places and the delivery of voting results after the polls close.

Editorials: Kris Kobach is a big fraud on Kansas voter fraud | The Kansas City Star

Secretary of State Kris Kobach warned Kansas lawmakers last year that he knew of at least 18 suspected cases of double voting in recent elections. Wait, make that 100 cases! Kobach threw out these wild claims as he successfully pressed the Legislature to make him the only secretary of state in the nation with the power to prosecute in these matters. It was all part of Kobach’s continued loathsome attacks on U.S. immigration policy. He knew he could score political points with many Kansans by promising to stop “illegal” voters from canceling out the votes of red-blooded Americans. But now Kobach has been exposed as a big fraud on the issue of voter fraud, which studies have found to be almost nonexistent in America. Since the law took effect July 1, 2015, the publicity-seeking Kobach had filed a puny half-dozen cases by early May.

Editorials: Prepare for voter whiplash | Renée Loth/The Boston Globe

Presidential candidates Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have both complained that voting and delegate selection rules in the various primary states are “rigged” or “corrupt” because they favor establishment candidates who know how to play by the complex rules. The two men are right in one regard: America operates under a crazy quilt of voting requirements, with each state making its own laws for different populations and with challenges to those laws whipping back and forth through the courts. But if the primaries have frustrated the candidates, try being a voter in November. In 17 states, voters will face restrictive new requirements for the first time on Election Day. Several states will now require various forms of identification. Georgia, Alabama, Arizona, and Kansas will even require proof of citizenship. Different forms of ID will be required in different states: Some will accept a bank statement or utility bill, others want to see a passport or birth certificate. Texas, notoriously, will accept a gun license but not a college ID card. If you don’t have the proper ID, different procedures apply. Some states require prospective voters to sign an affidavit attesting to their eligibility; others hold the ballot as provisional and only count it if the voter returns to the local election office with proof of eligibility. Then there are new rules for early voting, same-day registration, and mail-in ballots. Confused yet?

Editorials: New probe of Newby is deserved | The Kansas City Star

Brian Newby’s once-sterling reputation as the leader of the Johnson County Election Office has lost most of its shine in recent months. The latest blow: District Attorney Stephen Howe’s office reportedly is investigating allegations that Newby misused public funds during his time at the office, which is financed with county taxpayer dollars. An audit released earlier this year identified about $36,000 in costs it considered questionably related to Newby’s duties. The county said it would ask that he reimburse $5,478 in travel expenses. Newby has denied doing anything wrong. However, controversy also has dogged the former Johnson County official in his new role as executive director of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission in Washington, D.C. The nonpartisan office is supposed to help make voting more accessible and promote good election practices.

Editorials: Beirut’s election was surprisingly competitive. Could it shake up Lebanese politics? | Amanda Rizkallah/The Washington Post

On May 8, Lebanon held the first of four rounds of municipal elections. The only elections since 2010, this round of voting represents Lebanese citizens’ first opportunity to exercise their political voice since the beginning of the Syrian civil war, ensuing influx of refugees and popular protests against a paralyzing trash crisis. Lebanon’s politicians have repeatedly postponed the parliamentary elections originally scheduled for June 2013 and the country has been without a president since May 2014. Amid this political impasse at the national level, municipal elections have become the last remaining institutional mechanism for generating a modicum of political accountability. Beyond activists’ efforts to ensure the funding of these elections, protesters and members of civil society have called for greater decentralization and fiscal resources for municipal councils.

Editorials: It’s Time to Expand Voting Rights | Harry Kresky/Huffington Post

This presidential primary season has exposed serious fault lines in our election system. One has been known for years. The voting rights of African Americans and Latinos continue to be compromised. Another has become the focus of widespread attention by the media and by ordinary Americans for the first time. There is a vast block of non-aligned voters who are systematically excluded from partisan primaries, where the decisions that effectively determine who will take office are often made. Independents have militantly protested their exclusion from a presidential nominating process organized around party primaries and caucuses. A look at the recent Arizona and New York presidential primaries helps us understand the interplay between these two voting rights issues.