National: There’s No Way to Follow the Money | The Atlantic

Christmas comes early for campaign watchdogs—or late, depending on your perspective. Thanks to a lag in IRS reporting rules, the tax returns of independent groups that spent hundreds of millions of dollars in the 2012 election are just now coming due. Considered together with a recent campaign-finance investigation in California, these filings hint at an orgy of self-dealing and “dark money” shenanigans unprecedented in American politics. The first presidential election since the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision spawned what Bloomberg Businessweek called “a Cayman Islands-style web of nonprofit front groups and shell companies.” These not only shielded donors’ identities but also obscured the huge profits of political operatives who moved nimbly between the candidates, the super PACs, and the vendors that get their business. The so-called “independent expenditure” groups have been “transforming the business of running a political campaign and changing the pecking order of the most coveted jobs,” Businessweek noted. “With a super-PAC, the opportunity to make money is soaring while the job is getting easier to do.” Is it any wonder then that many of the biggest players from past elections jumped to the other side of the game in 2012? Or that they imported two money-making techniques perfected in campaign work: shell corporations that put fees and commissions beyond the reach of federal disclosure rules, and “integrated businesses,” set up by staff and advisers to do nuts-and-bolts electioneering?

National: Federal judge sends voter citizenship lawsuit filed by Kansas, Arizona, back to EAC | Associated Press

A federal judge sent back to federal elections officials Friday a request by Kansas and Arizona to force modifications in a national voter registration form so the states can fully enforce proof-of-citizenship requirements for their residents. U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren gave the U.S. Election Assistance Commission until Jan. 17 to make a final agency decision on the requests by the two states, but kept control of the lawsuit in anticipation of further court proceedings. The commission has told the states it has deferred acting on the request until it has a quorum of commissioners. The panel has been without a quorum since about 2010 and has been without any commissioners since 2011, the judge noted in his order. Melgren found there has been no final agency decision, essentially making a jurisdictional ruling in the case. But he noted that the Justice Department has argued that even without commissioners the agency can act upon the states’ requests.

National: Kill the Election Assistance Commission? Two commissioner nominees languish as Congress mulls axing bedraggled body | Center for Public Integrity

Myrna Perez and Thomas Hicks again sat before a pair of U.S. senators Wednesday for a hearing on their presidential nominations to the Election Assistance Commission. Their session, however, morphed into a debate on whether this little-known and decidedly bedraggled commission — created by Congress in 2002 to help prevent voting meltdowns like those experienced during the 2000 presidential election — should exist at all. “The Election Assistance Commission has fulfilled its purpose and should be eliminated,” declared Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, the ranking member of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee, which conducted the hearing. He quickly added: “None of my comments are a reflection of the nominees.” Reflection or not, the nominees find themselves in a political purgatory and legislative limbo soupy as any Congress is stirring.

National: Republicans moving to overhaul 2016 primary process | CNN

A handful of Republican Party officials is quietly advancing a new batch of rules aimed at streamlining a chaotic presidential nominating process that many party insiders viewed as damaging to the their campaign for the White House in 2012, multiple GOP sources told CNN. In a series of closed-door meetings since August, handpicked members of the Republican National Committee have been meeting with party Chairman Reince Priebus in Washington to hash out details of a sweeping plan to condense the nominating calendar, severely punish primary and caucus states that upend the agreed-upon voting order and potentially move the party’s national convention to earlier in the summer, with late June emerging as the ideal target date. No party convention has been held that early since the steamy summer of 1948, when Republicans nominated Thomas Dewey as their standard bearer in Philadelphia.

National: Justice Dept. Fights $2M Fee Request in Voting Rights Case | The Blog of Legal Times

The U.S. Department of Justice is fighting a request from the lawyers for Shelby Co., Ala., for more than $2 million in legal fees and costs tied to their challenge of the constitutionality of a provision of the Voting Rights Act. The government on Nov. 26 in Washington federal district court filed its opposition to the attorney fees and litigation expenses that Shelby County’s lawyers—led by Bert Rein of Wiley Rein—contend they should receive for their work. The U.S. Supreme Court in June, in a 5-4 decision, struck down the provision of the Voting Rights Act that established the formula for determining which jurisdictions were required to give the Justice Department or a federal court the authority to review certain electoral changes before they were implemented.

National: Fix to Voting Rights Act stalled in Congress | Dallas Morning News

When the Supreme Court struck down a key part of the Voting Rights Act in June, Democrats and civil rights activists vowed to breathe new life into the landmark law. Six months later, they haven’t gotten very far. Efforts in Congress to restore preclearance, the process by which the Justice Department reviews state election law changes for their effect on minorities, have stalled. And though a lawsuit aims to restore review of Texas based on allegations of recent discrimination, it’s months away from a hearing. A Congressional Black Caucus task force crafted a set of recommendations that would reinstate the formula for preclearance and sent it to Democratic leaders in August, but no legislation has come of it. If the recommendation became law, Texas could be back under preclearance, needing federal approval on every change, including tweaking districts, moving polling locations and changing voter ID laws. The recommendations would require federal oversight for any district where a law or change to voting procedure has been found by the court to be discriminatory since 2000. In August, a federal court found Texas’ voter ID law to be unconstitutional, and an appeal to the Supreme Court was rejected after its June ruling. But it could be awhile before Congress considers the matter. Rep. G.K. Butterfield, a North Carolina Democrat who helped lead the task force, said that the plan would have majority support in the House, but not from most Republicans who control the chamber — and it’s rare for the House to vote on a bill that most Republicans oppose.

National: Corporate campaign contributions issue falls off SEC regulatory agenda | Al Jazeera

Advocates for more transparency in the political system were dealt another blow this week as the Securities and Exchange Commission dropped a potential rule on the disclosure of corporate campaign contributions from its 2014 agenda. The regulatory agency, which is mandated to protect investors, is required by law to submit its agenda for the next year to the Office of Management and Budget. A conspicuous absence this time was consideration of a rule that would require publicly traded companies to disclose the specifics of their political spending to shareholders — an item that was included in the SEC’s 2013 agenda but was never acted upon. Individuals, interest groups, and corporations can write to the SEC to show they are in favor or opposed to proposed regulations. This particular provision garnered more than 600,000 public comments, more than any other rule in the SEC’s history, mostly written in favor of more disclosure. That fact alone makes the SEC’s decision all the more disappointing to those agitating for reform.

National: Nearly Half Of Americans Live In Places Where Election Officials Admit Long Lines Are A Problem | Huffington Post

Nearly half of Americans live in precincts where long lines at the voting booth were a problem in the 2012 election cycle, according to a survey conducted by President Barack Obama’s Presidential Commission on Election Administration. The survey of over 3,000 local elections officials also found that on average, poll workers received far less training than the eight hours most elections experts recommend. First-time workers in smaller jurisdictions received an average of just 2.5 hours of training, while workers in larger jurisdictions received an average of 3.6 hours of training, according to the survey. “It looks like there’s not a whole lot of training going on, and my question is, what is the quality of that training?” said Charles Stewart, a professor at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology who presented the results of the survey during the commission’s final public hearing on Tuesday.

National: Obama sees bipartisan voter access proposal next year | Reuters

President Barack Obama said on Thursday he expects a blue-ribbon panel to soon propose reforms that both parties can back to address concerns over the long waiting times some American voters experienced at the polls in 2012. “Early next year, we’re going to put forward what we know will be a bipartisan effort or a bipartisan proposal to encourage people to vote,” he said in an interview on MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews.” “You can’t say you take pride in American democracy, American constitutionalism, American exceptionalism, and then you’re doing everything you can to make it harder for people to vote as opposed to easier for people to vote.”

National: State lawmakers mull expanding ballot access | Gannett

States are gearing up for another battle over ballot access, and Florida, a key swing state, could again find itself in the middle. Florida’s next legislative session could be marked by fights over absentee ballots, online registration and early voting sites. Earlier this year, state lawmakers eased some voting restrictions enacted in 2011. Those restrictions, including a reduction in early voting days, had helped snuff out voter registration drives and contributed to lines as long as seven hours on Election Day in 2012. Now, a key Democrat in Florida’s House of Representatives wants the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature to go further by making it easier for residents to register and vote.

National: The downside of clear election laws | Washington Post

State lawmakers have introduced at least 2,328 bills this year that would change the way elections are run at the local level. Some passed, some stalled. Some are mundane tweaks, others are controversial overhauls. But if election reformers want to prevent their laws from being held up by lawsuits, they would be wise to pay attention to how they’re written, says Ned Foley, an Ohio State University professor and election law expert. “Put clarity at the top of the list of things to achieve, maybe before fairness or integrity or access or whatever, because litigators can’t fight over things that are clear,” he said, speaking on an election law panel during a multi-day conference hosted by the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures in Washington, D.C. “It’s amazing how much ambiguity kind of seeps into laws that is unintended.” But while clear regulations are important, too much can backfire, said Alysoun McLaughlin, deputy director of the Montgomery County Board of Elections in Maryland.

National: Democratic state lawmakers push for ballot access | USAToday

States are gearing up for another battle over ballot access, and Florida, a key swing state, could again find itself in the middle. Florida’s next legislative session could be marked by fights over absentee ballots, online registration and early voting sites. Earlier this year, state lawmakers eased some voting restrictions enacted in 2011. Those restrictions, including a reduction in early voting days, had helped snuff out voter registration drives and contributed to lines as long as seven hours on Election Day in 2012. Now, a key Democrat in Florida’s House of Representatives wants the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature to go further by making it easier for residents to register and vote.

National: Group plans voting rights push | Politico

A group of state lawmakers on Wednesday met to develop policy proposals they say will promote voting rights as part of a 50-state effort aimed at enacting laws that expand voting and push back against laws the say restrict access to the polls. The Washington meeting of the left group American Values First’s Voting Rights Project was the first gathering of the task force that launched this summer. On Wednesday, the group identified areas it says states can improve on voting rights and that it will advocate for, including allowing registration on Election Day, online and pre-registering students, expanding early voting, distributing locations of polling places, including on college campuses, and reducing long lines at them, offering voting by mail and expanding absentee voting. The idea, the group says, is to create strategies that can be deployed in each state.

National: No political ads on public radio and TV, 9th Circuit Court rules | Los Angeles Times

A divided federal appeals court upheld a federal ban Monday on paid commercial, political and issue advertising on public broadcast radio and television stations. Rejecting a free-speech challenge to the ban, an 11-member en banc panel of the U.S. 9thCircuit Court of Appeals ruled that Congress was entitled to establish regulations to ensure that public broadcasting would be educational and noncommercial. Monday’s ruling overturned a smaller panel’s decision last year that would have permitted paid political and issue advertising. That ruling opened the door to hundreds of millions of dollars in ads for struggling public stations — and could have caused economic headaches for radio and TV stations who depend on political ad spending.

National: Expanding high-tech voting for ’14 | Politico.com

It may be a while before Americans can tweet their ballot or text their vote, but states are making strides to move elections from the voting booth into the hands — and even mobile devices — of voters. Across the country, states are gearing up to implement new voter technologies for 2014, as they attempt to advance the ballot-casting experience to catch up with the Facebook generation. The efforts range from bringing tablets to disabled voters to providing ballots through email and secure online systems to allowing voters to register online. One of the most significant recent leaps forward came in Pima County, Ariz., where voters for the first time used tablets (the Sony Tap 20 Windows 8), to mark their ballots at polling locations last November. … Although voters in places like Oregon and Pima County are using tablets, it’s not considered “online voting,” because the ballot is still printed out on paper to be counted just like those cast in machines. Online voting would mean the ballot is cast and counted solely online without a physical ballot ever being recorded. No state has yet gone as far as full online voting.

National: New IRS rules add both clarity and confusion about the role of advocacy groups in politics | The Washington Post

For the first time since 1959, nonprofit advocacy groups face new Internal Revenue Service rules governing their political activities, an area of the tax code that has been crying out for greater clarity. A proposed regulation unveiled Tuesday by the Treasury Department draws the boundaries more clearly — but instantly kicked off intense debate about whether the lines are in the right place. One phrase in the official notice summed up the imperfect nature of the exercise. The new rules, the department said, “may be both more restrictive and more permissive than the current approach.” That seemingly contradictory statement reflects the muddy zone now occupied by “social welfare” organizations set up under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code. Originally a designation used by civic leagues and homeowner associations, social welfare groups emerged in the past decade as the go-to vehicles for political operatives seeking to influence campaigns without revealing their donors.

National: Blue-ribbon group pushes for 2016 debate changes | Politico

Top officials from past presidential campaigns have quietly formed a group to push for major changes in the general election debates, with recommendations expected by late spring. The working group is questioning the debates’ format, moderator-selection process and location: Might a TV studio make more sense than a college town? Members said a major goal is to make more allowance for changing technology and the rise of social media. A likely recommendation is an earlier start for the debates, in response to the increase in absentee voting. Members include the longtime lead debate negotiator for each party: Bob Bauer for Democratic nominees and Ben Ginsberg for the Republicans. So the Annenberg Working Group on Presidential General Election Debates could have a profound effect on the signature fall events of the race for the White House. The group’s co-chairs were top debate-prep advisers to each of the 2012 nominees: Anita Dunn for President Obama, and Beth Myers for Mitt Romney.

National: Experts: ‘Dark money’ here to stay | The Hill

A new administration proposal to limit the political activity of tax-exempt groups could fall short of forcing “dark money” out of campaigns, experts say. The new Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service proposals, which are expected to spark extensive debate, would bar so-called 501(c)(4) organizations from counting certain political activity as part of their social welfare work. But the IRS and Treasury are still going to accept recommendations on how much political activity a group can engage in while still receiving the prized 501(c)(4) status — and their decision is crucial to lawmakers and outside groups trying to ensure that big-time political contributors are public knowledge. But no matter how the decision comes down, campaign finance experts predict lawyers will eventually be able to find a way to help donors avoid public disclosure. “One thing we’ve learned is that very few fixes in this area of the law are permanent, and it requires a consistent regulatory response since lawyers can find their way around these rules,” said Rick Hasen, an election law expert at the University of California, Irvine. According to the current law, groups classified as 501(c)(4), which can accept unlimited amounts of donations, are to be exclusively engaged in promoting social welfare.

National: Young Black voters pay higher ‘time tax’ at the polls | Daytona Times

As the American electorate becomes more diverse, new voting laws threaten to disenfranchise young Black and Latino voters in what a new report called “the largest wave of voter suppression since the enactment of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.” The report by OurTime.org and Advancement Project, titled “The Time Tax,” details disparities in the excessive wait times that millennials (18-29 years-old), especially millennials of color, endured to cast votes during the 2012 November elections. According to the report, millennials are expected to account for 40 percent of the electorate in less than eight years including a higher proportion of young minority voters. During the 2012 November elections, millennial voters (18-29 years-old) accounted for 19 percent of the electorate. While turnout for Latinos, Asians and the youngest voters decreased (18-24 years-old), voter turnout for Blacks increased. Yet, Blacks “waited an average of 23 minutes to vote, compared to only 12 minutes for Whites,” stated the report.

National: The IRS Moves to Limit Dark Money – But Enforcement Still a Question | ProPublica

The IRS and Treasury Department announced proposed guidelines clarifying the definition of political activities for social welfare nonprofits Tuesday afternoon, a move that could restrict the spending of the dark money groups that dumped more than $254 million of anonymous money into the 2012 elections. Read the guidelines here. However, the guidelines, which finally define what constitutes “candidate-related political activity,” aren’t a done deal. They will take some time for public comment and debate, and more time to finalize. (The IRS asks that all comments and requests for a public hearing be submitted by Feb. 27.) Experts also cautioned that the real test of oversight on the political spending by nonprofits will be how these regulations are enforced, something that the IRS has been so far reticent to do.

National: FEC Deadlocks on Bitcoin Contributions, Tea Party Reporting Exemption | In the Arena

At today’s public meeting, the Federal Election Commission deadlocked on two advisory opinion requests and approved a third. Both deadlocked votes split along party lines between the Democratic- and Republican-selected Commissioners. The Commission first considered a request from the Conservative Action Fund PAC that was held over from last week’s meeting. The request asked whether and how political committees may accept contributions in the form of Bitcoins. While the Commissioners all agreed that committees may accept Bitcoin contributions, they were divided on whether committees could spend Bitcoins, and what steps must be taken to receive and report them. The three Republican-selected Commissioners all voted for a draft opinion that would have allowed political committees not only to accept Bitcoins as in-kind contributions, but also to use them to purchase goods and services and make contributions to other committees. However, the three Democratic-selected Commissioners argued that the Commission should take more time to understand the technology of Bitcoin and issue guidance through a policy statement or interpretive rule. All six Commissioners seemed open to considering such a rule in the future.

National: Tea party group to make case for donor anonymity | Washington Times

A clash between the public’s right to know and fears of political persecution will play out when the Federal Election Commission on Thursday takes up a request from a leading tea party group that it be exempt from disclosure laws to protect its financial supporters from harassment. The FEC is set to vote on whether to exempt the Tea Party Leadership Fund (TPLF) from campaign disclosure laws in light of the group’s claims that its donors have faced “sustained harassment and severe hostility” and should have the right to give anonymously. The TPLF, which operates both a traditional political action committee and a “super PAC” for independent political expenditures, is arguing that its donors have been subject to harsh criticism from the federal government and the general public and that having to reveal their identity would only open them to further harassment.

National: Cornyn introduces bill to end disenfranchisement of military voters | KETK

U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) joined with Senate colleagues today to introduce The Safeguarding Elections for our Nation’s Troops through Reforms and Improvements (SENTRI) Act, S.1728. The bill will expand access to voting for military voters and improve voting assistance opportunities. “It is unacceptable that our service members and their families are facing hurdles when attempting to exercise one of the most fundamental rights they fight and sacrifice to protect—the right to vote.

National: What A Bitcoin Political Debut Could Mean For Transparency | Capital Public Radio

Bitcoin, the virtual currency that exists as alphanumeric strings online, is on the verge of getting into politics. The Federal Election Commission is expected to vote Thursday on a proposal to allow bitcoin contributions to political action committees — even as skeptics say that bitcoins could undermine the disclosure standards of federal law. The FEC is acting as other federal agencies are also exploring the uses, and dangers, of digital currency. At a Senate hearing on Monday, federal law enforcement officials cited Silk Road, an online illegal marketplace that used bitcoin before it was shut down. Edward Lowery III, chief of the Secret Service Criminal Investigative Division, told the panel: “While digital currencies may provide potential benefits, they present real risks through their use by the criminal and terrorist organizations trying to conceal their illicit activity.” Still, no one at the Senate hearing wanted to stifle virtual currency, and neither does the FEC. The commission was brought into the issue by the Conservative Action Fund, a political action committee that is seeking approval to accept bitcoins as contributions.

National: Long voting lines: Not just an inconvenience | MSNBC

Long voting lines were at the top of voters’ complaints in 2012 – and young voters got hit hard by wait times. A study released Monday from Advancement Project and OurTime.org turned the spotlight on Florida and Virginia, two states that experienced the longest wait times in 2012, and found that young voters turned out “in spite of numerous ballot barriers, not because the system worked efficiently.” How’s that for an apathetic youth? The study states: “Florida voters experience some of the longest voting lines in the country, with an average wait time of 39 minutes to cast a ballot. That was three times the national average in 2012, of 13.3 minutes.” Matthew Segal, co-founder of OurTime, calls those extra minutes a tax. Not in a monetary sense, but if time is money (as we’ve heard it is) then young voters are feeling the pinch more than others. “The Time Tax doesn’t cost literal dollars and cents, but it’s certainly costing time,” Segal explained to msnbc.com. Those minutes and hours spent on a voting line means less time for jobs, classes, and homework and more hoops to jump through to obtain proper identification and necessary voting qualifications means more people may give up on voting because it’s too time-consuming.

National: Sensenbrenner amps up voting rights reform push | The Hill

A powerful House Republican said this week that he’s preparing to throw his full weight behind the effort to reinstall the voting protections shot down by the Supreme Court in June. Rep. James Sensenbrenner, former head of the House Judiciary Committee, has been focused on a new surveillance bill in recent weeks. But speaking Tuesday at the Georgetown University Law Center, the 18-term Wisconsin Republican said he intends to shift gears to address the provisions of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) deemed by the high court to be unconstitutional. “Once I am done with this issue, my next project is to try to constitutionalize those parts of the Voting Rights Act that were struck down,” Sensenbrenner said. While noting that he no longer heads the Judiciary panel, Sensenbrenner vowed he’s “keeping my hands in the pie and attempting to deal with issues that I think are important … to improving the quality of life for all of the people in the United States of America.”

National: War on ‘Greatest Generation’? Critics assail voter ID laws | CSMonitor.com

Genevieve Winslow of Milwaukee belongs is a member of the Greatest Generation. In 1948, at age 20, she married Alex Winslow, who fought in the Battle of the Bulge. Beginning a year later, at 21, she’s voted in nearly every election since. Now, she worries she might get turned away at the polls in the future. It is a common concern among older Americans living in states that have enacted photo ID requirements for voting. Passed by Republican state legislatures as a hedge against voter fraud, the laws have been assailed by critics who say they discriminate against the elderly and minorities. As Wisconsin implements its law, it is opening a window into why a photo ID can be so difficult for the elderly to obtain. But it is also highlighting what some activists are calling a “war against the Greatest Generation” as federal and state budget cuts fall disproportionately on the elderly. Whether it is the government shutdown making it harder to obtain veteran’s benefits or cuts to food stamps or state welfare programs, many in the Greatest Generation feel that they are now being left in the cold. During the latest partial government shutdown, “I don’t know that people didn’t get their benefits, but does that mean that things did not get processed while the government was shut down? Yes,” says David Hobson, executive director of the National Organization of Veterans Advocates. ” That does mean that claims did not get processed, so that was being held up.” Yet voter ID laws, which have been adopted in at least 34 states, feel to many seniors like the most direct attack.

National: Republican Party Weighs a 2016 Shakeup With ‘Midwestern Primary’ | The Daily Beast

The national Republican Party is considering a number of major changes to its presidential nominating process to avoid a repeat of the debacles of 2012, according to several party officials. Most significantly, the party is considering holding a “Midwestern primary” featuring Great Lakes states such as Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin that would come immediately after the votes in the traditional early primary states. Also being weighed and thought likely to be approved when the Republican National Committee meets in early 2014 is a plan to shorten the primary season considerably by holding the party’s convention in July, almost as soon as the last primary ballots are cast. The move toward a “Midwestern Super Tuesday” after the early primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida appears aimed in part at wresting control of the nominating process from social conservatives in the South in an effort to produce a nominee more likely to carry the election in November. Nearly all the “Rust Belt” states have fallen into Democratic hands in recent elections, and GOP officials believe that showering them with more resources throughout the primary process—and ensuring that an eventual nominee is broadly popular there—could flip the Midwest into the Republican column in November.

National: Democrats tread carefully on voting rights bill | The Hill

Democrats in both chambers are working behind the scenes to draft legislation to re-install the Voting Rights Act protections shot down by the Supreme Court over the summer. But in a sign of the delicate nature of the topic, Senate Democrats are taking care not to rush ahead of the House, for fear of sinking the bill’s chances in the GOP-controlled lower chamber. Instead, Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is working with House Democrats and a small contingent of House Republicans – notably former Judiciary Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner (Wis.), who championed the 2006 VRA reauthorization – in an effort to defuse the partisan politics surrounding the thorny issue and forge a bill that has the best chance of becoming law. “We’ve had hearings and now we’re just trying to quietly get some support, because I don’t want to bring up something that doesn’t go anywhere,” Leahy said Thursday.

National: Gerrymanders and state [s]elections | The Hill

Ol’ Elbridge Gerry is back in the dock, his namesake “gerrymander” blamed for all that ails our “gridlocked” Congress.   Some claim that the House districts drawn by state legislatures in 2011 have reached new heights (or lows) of partisanship.  Critics deride the shape of the districts and object to their effect on control of the House.  These claims are important, but they ignore the fact that state legislatures have since 1788 sought to influence the selection of members of Congress. The current, computer-aided gerrymandering is only the most recent battle in that perennial fight.  When viewed as the “selection” of sympathetic House members by state legislatures, gerrymandering reflects deeper constitutional roots than its critics admit. The Framers of our Constitution granted state legislatures key roles in the election of the members of the Senate and House.  Article I of the 1787 Constitution provided for the election of senators by vote of the state legislatures.  Members of the House were to be chosen by the vote of the people of each state, but state legislatures would choose the “time, place, and manner” of such direct elections,” though Congress retained power to “alter” such state regulations.