Editorials: What’s wrong with Palmdale: an unfair election system | Los Angeles Times

In the year since the city of Palmdale’s at-large election system was found by a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge to have violated the California Voting Rights Act, city officials have responded aggressively. Instead of fighting so hard to keep the status quo, Palmdale should turn its attention to fixing a broken electoral system. In the fall, after Judge Mark V. Mooney ordered the city to cancel its Nov. 5 at-large election, Palmdale officials persuaded California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal to allow the election to proceed. Then, in the winter, Mooney banned the certification of the election results and ordered a new election by district rather than at large; Palmdale again appealed, arguing that as a charter city, it was not governed by the state Voting Rights Act.

Editorials: California recounts are rare, and should be fair | Jessica A. Levinson/The Sacramento Bee

Until former Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez called it off Friday, we were in the midst of what was likely to become the biggest election recount in California history. If anything good comes of this political tempest, it is to remind us how badly we need to reform our recount laws. The race to be the next state controller was excruciatingly tight. Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin, a Republican, is now set to face off against Board of Equalization member Betty Yee. Four hundred eighty-one votes separated Pérez and Yee, both Democrats. After the recount, which cost approximately $30,000, Perez picked up 10 votes. The way we do recounts in California is, well, a tad unruly. Welcome to the Golden State, where a candidate or other registered voter must request and pay for a recount. And they can choose which precincts will be subject to the recount. Why is this a problem?

Editorials: Fixing Florida’s redistricting | Tom Tryon/Herald Tribune

Terry Lewis — the circuit judge, not the former interim manager of Sarasota city and county governments — faces a dilemma. Lewis recently ruled from Tallahassee that the state Legislature violated terms of a “fair districts” amendment to Florida’s constitution. Among other provisions, the amendment — approved in 2010 by 63 percent of voters statewide — requires the Legislature to create reasonably shaped congressional districts without favoring incumbents or political parties. Following a 12-day trial, Lewis found that interference by Republican operatives both manipulated and influenced the creation of new districts statewide. Legislative leaders declined to appeal. During a hearing Thursday, Lewis must either:

A. Allow this year’s congressional elections to continue in Florida, even though he found that the creation of two of the districts was unconstitutional.

B. Require the Legislature to redraw the Fifth and Tenth districts.

Editorials: The clear sin of contracting North Carolina’s voter participation | Gene Nichol/NewsObserver.com

North Carolina’s new voter ID law, currently being litigated in federal court in Winston-Salem, is an election lawyer’s dream. Ending same-day registration, cutting early voting from 17 days to 10, eliminating a popular high school civics program encouraging students to register before they turn 18, expanding poll “observers” and instituting the country’s toughest photo ID requirement, the statute is a cornucopia of voter restriction. Small wonder we’ve been sued by the federal government. Winston Churchill once rejected a dessert by saying: “Take away that pudding; it has no theme.” The same cannot be said of our voter ID bill. It changes election law in dozens of disparate and intersecting ways. The principal features have only this in common: Each makes it harder to vote than it was before. Such is life, here, at the leading edge of American voter suppression. Perhaps it should come as no surprise, then, that one of the potent challenges to the statute hasn’t been seen in our voting rights jurisprudence before. Seven college students from across the state argue that the oddly constructed identification measure violates the 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. You remember it, the provision that reduced the voting age from 21 to 18 and says, interestingly, that the right to vote “shall not be denied or abridged … on account of age.”

Editorials: The F.E.C. Lags on Campaign Finance Disclosures | New York Times

Billions of dollars are being spent in the run-up to this November’s midterm elections. The Supreme Court has struck down limits on campaign spending by corporations and unions, as well as overall caps on individual donations to candidates for federal office. More and more money is also being spent through ostensibly independent “super PACs” and nonprofit entities. Even as cash gushes through the system, though, we still have a key underpinning of our campaign finance law: the principle that the public has a right to know who finances campaigns, and how candidates, parties and other political committees are using those funds. If the Federal Election Commission, the agency charged with receiving and reviewing the reports and making the information available, falls down on the job, this principle is undermined. On May 21, about a month after reports for the first quarter of this year were filed, the research and technology teams here at the Center for Responsive Politics did a routine download of F.E.C. data, as we’ve done hundreds of times in our 30-year history. We use the information to populate a database that allows anyone to track giving by individual donors, their employers and their economic interests and to examine the links among campaign money, lobbying activity and the personal finances of politicians and key officials.

Editorials: Florida Déjà Voodoo – Why there is no reform that could be better for progressives than redistricting reform | Ron Klain/Slate

In my legal career, I’ve suffered two painful defeats litigating against the Republican political machine of Florida. The first was a case called Bush v. Gore. The second—less famous, but just as bitter—came two years later, in 2002, when I worked on a legal challenge to Florida’s absurdly partisan redistricting plan, only to see our claims rejected by both the state and federal courts. So last week’s court ruling overturning gerrymandered congressional districts in Florida gave me a serious case of déjà vu for several reasons. First, its author was Leon County Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis—a major figure in the post-2000 Florida election litigation miasma, who ultimately wound up overseeing the statewide hand recount of ballots that the U.S. Supreme Court halted in its infamous 5–4 order. Second, the ruling represented a long overdue vindication of our 2002 claim that the Florida Legislature had abused its power in entrenching its control over the state through redistricting. While much of the coverage of Lewis’ opinion has focused on the Florida legislative “chicanery” that it laid bare, a more substantial question is this: Why did this case strike down a hyper-partisan districting plan, when virtually every other such court challenge, in virtually every other state, has failed over the past three decades? How was the widespread bastardization that allows “representatives to pick their voters, instead of voters picking their representatives” finally checked by a court decision?

Editorials: North Carolina Will Determine the Future of the Voting Rights Act | Ari Berman/The Nation

In 1940, 19-year-old Rosanell Eaton took a two-hour mule ride to the Franklin County courthouse in eastern North Carolina to register to vote. The three white male registrars told her to stand up straight, with her arms at her side, look straight ahead and recite the preamble to the Constitution word-for-word from memory. Eaton did so, becoming one of the few blacks to pass a literacy test and make it on the voting rolls in the Jim Crow era. Eaton, a granddaughter of a slave, is one of the unsung heroes of the civil rights movement. She’s devoted her life to expanding the franchise, personally registering 4,000–5,000 new voters before losing count. “My forefathers didn’t have the opportunity to register or vote,” she said. “It is my intention to help people reach that point when they could do something.” Now, as a result of North Carolina’s new voting restrictions—widely regarded as the most onerous in the country—the 93-year-old activist could be disenfranchised by the state’s voter ID requirement because the name on her driver’s license does not match the name on her voter registration card.

Editorials: Voter ID lawsuits are the last chance to prove the laws are intentionally racist | Ana Marie Cox/The Guardian

This week, the US Department of Justice and the state of Texas started arguments in the first of what will be a summer-long dance between the two authorities over voting rights. There are three suits being tried in two districts over gerrymandering and Texas’s voter identification law – both of which are said to be racially motivated. In its filing, the DoJ describes the law as “exceed[ing] the requirements imposed by any other state” at the time that it passed. If the DoJ can prove the arguments in its filing, it won’t just defeat an unjust law: it could put the fiction of “voter fraud” to rest once and for all. These battles, plus parallel cases proceeding in North Carolina, hinge on proving that the states acted with explicitly exclusionary intent toward minority voters – a higher standard was necessary prior to the Supreme Court’s gutting of Section 3 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) back in January. Under Section 3, the DoJ had wide latitude to look at possible consequences of voting regulation before they were even passed – the “preclearance” provision. Ironically, because the states held to preclearance had histories of racial discrimination, some of the messier aspects of the laws’ current intentions escaped comment.

Editorials: Should Massachusetts bother with ballot questions? | The Boston Globe

The Senate president spoke: “So, what you want me to do, James, is manipulate procedures to ensure that there is no vote to repeal your law for one full year. Is that correct? I wouldn’t put it that way, but yes,” I said. “Done!” Bill Bulger declared. And with that, Massachusetts became the first state to require certain banks, insurance companies, and publicly traded corporations to disclose what they paid in state taxes. All because tens of thousands of signatures demanding a ballot question convinced business leaders and politicians like Governor Bill Weld that a compromise was better than what might be handed to them in the election six weeks later, when voters weighed in on the measure. Bulger agreed to back the narrower version of the proposal which still required the disclosure of corporate tax payments. But could a law that horrified corporate leaders — whose money moved Beacon Hill — really survive? That was 1992, when I lobbied on Beacon Hill as director of the Tax Equity Alliance for Massachusetts. Legislating by ballot had been made possible three-quarters of a century earlier, when the state constitution was amended to allow voters to make or repeal laws.

Editorials: Government’s voting source code secrecy is dumb and dangerous | ZDNet

Here’s an idea for streamlining our national elections. Once people have voted, how about we scoop up all the ballot papers, put them into a big sack, and hand it to a group of masked strangers? They take the sack away somewhere — somewhere secret, so no-one can interfere with them — and some time later they return and just tell us who won. I reckon it’d be cheaper and a lot less trouble for everyone than all this slow, manual counting in front of scrutineers, right? No? Don’t like it? Well, boys and girls, given that the Australian government is refusing to show us the source code for the Australian Electoral Commissions’s EasyCount software, that’s pretty much exactly how your votes for the Senate are being counted right now. Your Senate votes, the ones where you’ve carefully specified your preferences for dozens of candidates, go into the black box of EasyCount, magic happens, and out pops the result.

Editorials: Kansas voting ‘cure is worse’ | Wichita Eagle

In signing off Friday on Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s galling plan to let some Kansans vote in some races and not others on Aug. 5, a judge concluded that “the cure is worse than the disease.” That’s an apt description of the law that Kobach sold as a remedy for voter fraud but that has created a barrier to voting for 19,500 Kansans. The American Civil Liberties Union wanted to block Kobach from treating voters’ ballots differently depending on whether they registered using the state or federal form. Shawnee County District Judge Franklin Theis probably chose the least confusing option of letting Kobach’s nutty two-tiered plan proceed while the larger legal battle plays out in federal court. As he said, if he forced election officials to count all votes from both kinds of registrants and Kobach later prevailed in court, it would be “a mess” at that point to try to identify and discount the unlawful votes.

Editorials: Texas GOP’s secret anti-Hispanic plot: Smoking gun emails revealed | Salon.com

On Nov. 17, 2010, Eric Opiela sent an email to Gerard Interiano. A Texas Republican Party associate general counsel, Opiela served at that time as a campaign adviser to the state’s speaker of the House Joe Straus, R-San Antonio; he was about to become the man who state lawmakers understood spoke “on behalf of the Republican Congressmen from Texas,” according to minority voting-rights plaintiffs, who have sued Texas for discriminating against them. A few weeks before receiving Opiela’s email, Interiano had started as counsel to Straus’ office. He was preparing to assume top responsibility for redrawing the state’s political maps; he would become the “one person” on whom the state’s redistricting “credibility rests,” according to Texas’ brief in voting-rights litigation.

Editorials: After Afghanistan’s questionable election, a real chance for peace | The Washington Post

A week ago the political system fostered by the United States in Afghanistan was on the brink of collapse, with a new civil war being the likely result. After Afghan election authorities announced the preliminary results of a presidential election runoff, the apparent loser, Abdullah Abdullah, readied what looked to some like a coup, dispatching forces to Kabul police stations and lining up provincial governors to endorse his announcement of a government. Timely phone calls to Mr. Abdullah and rival Ashraf Ghani, first by Secretary of State John F. Kerry and then by President Obama, temporarily defused the crisis. Now Mr. Kerry has brokered an accord that appears to establish a clear plan for arbitrating the dispute over the election and establishing a stable government — a turnaround so remarkable that the U.N. representative in Kabul is calling it “not just a top-notch diplomatic achievement [but] close to a miracle.”

Editorials: Voting in China, a Distant Dream | Yu Hua/New York Times

I am 54, but have never in my life seen an election ballot. “Have you seen one?” I ask people, out of curiosity. Like me, most of them have no idea what a ballot looks like and have only seen pictures on television of people completely unknown to them clutching a ballot and voting on their behalf. A few say they have seen a ballot, but a long time ago, in their college days, when a class monitor came over, ballot in hand, and had them write down a name they’d never heard of. That was the closest they came to a democratic election. Every March, however, almost 3,000 National People’s Congress delegates and more than 2,000 Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference delegates gather in Beijing. The government claims that, as participants in the political process, they represent the voices of China’s 1.35 billion people. Every five years sees a turnover in the two assemblies, and at the meetings in March 2013, delegates who had completed their terms made way for new members. A friend of mine, returning to Beijing after a lecture tour in Europe, got a phone call as soon as he landed: He had been elected a member of the C.P.P.C.C., he was told, and was to proceed at once to the meeting hall.

Editorials: Scytl e-voting exposes the dangers of automating a democracy | Scott M. Fulton/Fierce Enterprise Communications

Technology is already neutral. While vendors and manufacturers and lobbyists characterize technology as a natural force unto itself with the power to improve our lives and work simply through direct contact with it, more often than not, it provides people within organizations, societies, states and countries with the tools they require to further entrench themselves in bureaucracy, and to bury themselves further in the obscurity and anonymity they desire. The first trials of Scytl’s protocol took place in Norway in 2013. The Carter Center, which has monitored and verified the accuracy of global elections ever since Pres. Carter left the White House, reported on the progress of the Scytl approach (.pdf). The process of voting in Norway, according to that report, was not at all dissimilar to the way B-52 bombers were told to attack Moscow in the movie Dr. Strangelove:

In order to vote, a voter had to register their mobile phone with a centralized government register (one could do so online while the voting was underway). The voter should have also received a special card… delivered through the postal service, with personalized numeric return codes. These cards provided the voter a list of four-digit numbers corresponding to each party running for election. The four-digit numbers were randomly assigned for every voter so that, for example, any two voters who wanted to cast their vote for Labour would unlikely have the same return codes associated to the Labour party.

Editorials: 7 papers, 4 government inquiries, 2 news investigations and 1 court ruling proving voter fraud is mostly a myth | Christopher Ingraham/The Washington Post

Voter ID laws are back in the news this week after a group of college students joined a lawsuit challenging North Carolina’s new restrictive rules. And as Catherine Rampell pointed out earlier this week, it’s not just ID laws – Republican state legislatures have been busy devising all manner of creative ways to make voting more difficult for traditionally Democratic-leaning groups. All of these restrictive measures take their justification from a perceived need to prevent “voter fraud.” But there is overwhelming scholarly and legal consensus that voter fraud is vanishingly rare, and in fact non-existent at the levels imagined by voter ID proponents. That hasn’t stopped many Republican lawmakers from crying “fraud” every time they’re faced with an unfavorable election outcome (see also: McDaniel, Chris).

Editorials: Millennials get cut off at the polls | Catherine Rampell/Washington Post

First they came for blacks, and we said nothing. Then they came for Latinos, poor people and married women, and we again ignored the warning signs. Now, after our years of apathy, they’re coming for us: the nation’s millennials. Across the country, Republican state policymakers have hoisted barriers to voting by passing voter-ID laws and curtailing electoral accommodations such as same-day registration and early voting. These policy changes are allegedly intended to eradicate the imagined scourge of voter fraud, but the real point seems to be voter suppression. For a time, the targeted populations were primarily racial, ethnic and income groups that traditionally vote Democratic. Now they happen to include Gen-Y’ers, more specifically my college-age brethren. We millennials may be fickle in our loyalties, generally distrustful of government institutions and unaligned with any political party, but our generation’s motley, liberal-to-libertarian-leaning ideological preferences still threaten red-state leadership.

Editorials: Do voting restrictions prevent fraud or cause disenfranchisement? | Al Jazeera

Lawyers from the Justice Department and a variety of civic groups appeared at an Asheville, North Carolina, federal courthouse this week, seeking an injunction that would delay portions of a state voting law from going into effect before the midterm elections this November. At issue are a reduction in days for early voting, the elimination of same-day voter registration and a prohibition on counting provisional ballots cast in the wrong precinct. (The most controversial provision, a photo ID requirement, does not go into effect until 2016.) Now a judge will decide if those elements should be delayed or implemented at all.

Editorials: Virginia Voter ID law sets stage for confusion | Courtney Mills/Roanoke Times

For the third time in recent years, Virginia voters will face new voter ID requirements when they go to the polls this November. Virginia’s new photo ID law, which went in to effect on July 1, was a long time coming. The law, sponsored by Senator Mark Obenshain, was passed in the 2013 legislative session but is only now being fully implemented. Despite over a year of time to plan, one of the largest questions still has to be answered: what IDs will actually serve as voter ID? At a State Board of Elections (SBE) hearing on June 10, board members heard testimony from community groups, voters, and county registrars (the people tasked with enforcing this ID standard at the polls).

Editorials: How Can We Fix the Broken Primary Election System? | Seth Masket/Pacific Standard

We’ve all heard plenty of complaints in recent years that national and state legislatures have simply grown too polarized to govern effectively. Democrats and Republicans not only can’t work together, they see each other as enemies and threats to the country. Thanks to this polarization, the country can’t solve the problems it faces. The Bipartisan Policy Center has produced a comprehensive document aimed at addressing this issue. (Disclosure: I served as a consultant on this project during an event last year.) To its credit, the Center isn’t pushing any magic bullets. There is no one simple reform that will substantially reduce polarization while allowing the United States to remain a democracy. It is, however, pushing a series of reforms that, enacted together, could potentially have some kind of impact. Given how many of us decline to even join parties in the first place, should we be encouraging, no less mandating, that such people vote in party nomination contests?

Editorials: What do you call 7 lbs. of campaign mail for 3 voters? | Dary Sragow/Los Angeles Times

We’re conscientious voters in my household, never missing a chance to cast a ballot. And that’s probably why, in the final weeks before elections, we find our mailbox flooded with a tsunami of political advertisements. In the recent primary, for example, nearly 200 pieces of mail showed up for my wife, my daughter and me, with 29 of them arriving on the Monday before the election, long after we had made up our minds and voted by mail. As a voter, I was annoyed by the 7 pounds of mail we received. We got 19 mailers in the race to replace County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, 16 of them from a single candidate. In the race for the state Senate seat that Ted Lieu vacated to run for Congress, 70 pieces of mail came. Fifty-five mailers came from those hoping to replace retiring Congressman Henry A. Waxman, 43 of them on behalf of candidates who didn’t make it into the runoff. And there were 25 so-called slate mailers laying out a list of candidates we should vote for, most of whom (if you read the fine print) had paid to be included on the slate.

Editorials: ‘Monster’ Voting Law Challenged in Federal Court | Ari Berman/The Nation

In March 1965, Carolyn Coleman, a young activist with the Alabama NAACP, marched to Montgomery in support of the Voting Rights Act. After the passage of the VRA, Coleman spent a year registering voters in Mississippi, where her friend Wharlest Jackson, an NAACP leader in Natchez, was killed in early February 1967 by a car bomb after receiving a promotion at the local tire plant. A year later, Coleman was in Memphis organizing striking sanitation workers when Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. Coleman devoted her life to expanding the franchise for the previously disenfranchised, serving as president of the North Carolina NAACP and Southern voter education director for the national NAACP. For the past twelve years, she’s been a county commissioner in Greensboro’s Guilford County. Nearly fifty years after marching for voting rights in Alabama, Coleman testified in federal court today in Winston-Salem against North Carolina’s new voting restrictions, which have been described as the most onerous in the nation. The law mandates strict voter ID, cuts early voting by a week and eliminates same-day registration, among many other things. After the bill’s passage, “I was devastated,” Coleman testified. “I felt like I was living life over again. Everything that I worked for for the last fifty years was being lost.”

Editorials: Indonesia’s robust election race | The Australian

Just how far Indonesia has come along a democratic trajectory since the Suharto dictatorship was deposed 16 years ago has been demonstrated in the election for a new president. Voting takes place tomorrow. And the vibrancy, freedom and competitiveness of the campaign to elect a successor to Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono have done the Islamic world’s largest democracy great credit. Polls show the outcome is too close to call, reflecting how hard-fought the contest has been to win support among 170 million voters. The campaign, which has been commendably free from violence, has been fought almost entirely on secular rather than religious issues. Both candidates, Joko Widodo, 53, and Prabowo Subianto, 62, have shown themselves well equipped to take over the leadership of our most important neighbour. Mr Widodo, known as “Jokowi”, is the populist Jakarta governor with a reputation for incorruptibility and good municipal government. He is a cleanskin in what Transparency International rates as one of the world’s most corrupt nations (114th out of 177). Mr Subianto, a tough-talking former army general and commander of the notorious Kopassus special forces, was part of the Suharto establishment. He was married to the former dictator’s daughter.

Editorials: Is there a First Amendment right to lie in politics? | David Schultz/Cleveland Plain Dealer

Should candidates or groups say whatever they want about an opponent, issue or themselves and have it protected as a form of free speech? Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that a group had a right to challenge an Ohio law banning false campaign statements. While case law suggests the law will be declared unconstitutional, there is a compelling argument that electoral lies ought not to receive First Amendment protection. There should be outer limits on what can be said in campaigns in order to promote democracy and the integrity of the electoral process. Lying is wrong; even children know it. Philosopher Immanuel Kant asserted that deceivers lie to make themselves an exception to a rule that they expect everyone else to follow. We live in a world where we conform actions, make judgments and act as if others were truthful. Liars profit by taking advantage of this trust. If trust did not exist, then business would never exist. Contracts would be meaningless, promises futile.

Editorials: Restoring the vote to convicted felons | Dallas Morning News

When right meets left over the issue of access to the voting booth, it gets our attention. Case in point is GOP Sen. Rand Paul’s support for a long-sought objective of some congressional Democrats — restoring the right to vote to convicted felons. It’s a good objective that has parallels with the growing bipartisan questions about the nation’s 40-year-old war on drugs. As drug convictions caused state prisons to quadruple in population through those decades, and federal prisons swelled by 800 percent, the number of disenfranchised citizens spiked as well. Today, about 5.85 million people nationwide have lost the right to vote because of felonies. Some of them are disenfranchised permanently, depending on the state laws where they live.

Editorials: Why elections won’t save Libya | Al Jazeera

On June 25, Libyans went to the polls to elect a new 200-seat Council of Deputies that would replace the General National Congress. Three years after Libya’s revolution overthrew Muammar Gaddafi’s regime, the country’s security continues to deteriorate, and its economy has been crippled by endless protests at its oil facilities. The ruling Congress, whose mandate expired in February but which has continued to limp along until these latest elections, became so dysfunctional that many of its members simply stopped attending meetings. Most Libyans feel their politicians have failed to deliver basic government. As such, many hoped the elections would offer the promise of a much-needed new start and help salvage the country’s ailing transition. But these elections may not usher in a new era. Libya’s political institutions have proved weak and ineffectual, and there is little to suggest that the new ruling body will be any different. Moreover, the struggle between liberal and Islamist political forces, which left the Congress paralyzed and prompted calls for its dissolution, continues to play out in the country.

Editorials: Gerrymandering Efficiency Gap: A Better Way to Measure Gerrymandering | Nicholas Stephanopoulos/New Republic

If insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, then litigants who challenge gerrymandering must be mad. Last month, a federal court threw out the Texas Democratic Party’s claim that the state’s new congressional and state house districts are unlawful. This was the twelfth time in a row that this sort of claim has failed in the current cycle. Plaintiffs’ record of futility now spans at least three dozen cases over four decades. It doesn’t have to be this way. Litigants keep losing these lawsuits because they keep proposing standards the courts have already rejected (such as partisan intent). They’re failing to capitalize on encouraging comments by the Supreme Court, which show that it’s open to a test based on partisan symmetry—the idea that district plans should treat the parties equally. In a forthcoming law review article, Eric McGhee and I lay out just such a test. If plaintiffs were to use it in litigation, they’d have a fighting chance at winning. And if they were to win, then the whole landscape of redistricting in America would be transformed.

Editorials: Will Same-Day Voter Registration Law Fix Hawaii’s Poor Voter Turnout? | Honolulu Magazine

On June 30, Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed legislation into law that will eventually allow same-day voter registration, first at absentee polling places beginning in 2016, and at all precinct polling places on Election Day starting in 2018. Lawmakers hope the adoption of HB 2590 will improve Hawaii’s abysmal voter turnout. Allowing same-day registration in other states, including Connecticut and Colorado, has boosted voter turnout. Other studies have shown election-day registration can increase turnout between 7 and 14 percentage points. Hawaii has one of the lowest voter turnouts in the nation, with just 44 percent of eligible voters actually casting ballots in last year’s presidential election, even when local boy Barack Obama was on the ballot.

Editorials: Canadian expatriates should never lose the right to vote | Semra Sevi/The Globe and Mail

Canada, a nation of immigrants, is quickly becoming a nation of emigrants. According to a study by the Asia Pacific Foundation, 2.9 million Canadian citizens – equivalent to 9 per cent of Canada’s population – study, live and work abroad. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms grants every Canadian citizen the right to vote and to be a candidate in an election. Until 1993, Canadian citizens living abroad were not allowed to vote at all except for civil servants and military personnel. The subsequent Bill C-114 introduced voting rights for Canadians living abroad for fewer than five-years. But why five years? Expatriate voting rights are now common in many countries. In the English-speaking world, the United States has the most generous provision for expatriate voters. Americans living overseas have the right to vote no matter how long they have been abroad.

Editorials: Turkey’s Last Chance? | Michael Rubin/Commentary Magazine

Turks will go to the polls on August 10 to elect a new president, the first time that office will be filled by direct election. This weekend, incumbent Abdullah Gül, a Justice and Development Party (AKP) acolyte, has announced he will step down and the AKP will determine its nominee on July 1. The party’s nominee will likely be Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey’s Islamist, corrupt, and increasingly authoritarian prime minister. Rather than roll over and accept Turkey’s slide into autocracy or kleptocracy without a fight, the center-left Republican Peoples Party (CHP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) have nominated a joint candidate, Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, the former head of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).