Nigeria’s two main political parties are asking election hopefuls to pay huge fees for the chance to stand at next year’s general election, in a move criticised as favouring the rich and well-connected. At the last nationwide vote in 2015, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of then-president Goodluck Jonathan charged 22 million naira per nomination form. The All Progressives Congress (APC) of the eventual winner Muhammadu Buhari asked for 27.5 million naira just to stand in the party’s presidential primary. Now, as both parties prepare for polling in February next year, the APC wants an eye-watering 45 million naira ($125 500) per presidential primary candidate, according to newspaper adverts on Wednesday.Full Article: Huge fees for Nigerian election hopefuls under fire | News24.
North Carolina: Republican legislators violated a candidate’s constitutional rights, judge rules | News & Observer
A judge threw out a new state law Monday, ruling that it violated the constitutional rights of at least two politicians whose 2018 campaigns the law had targeted. Chris Anglin, a Republican candidate for a seat on the North Carolina Supreme Court, had sued the legislature along with Rebecca Edwards, a Democrat who is running to become a district court judge in Wake County. Earlier this summer, the legislature passed a new law that would have prevented Anglin or Edwards from being able to have their party affiliations on the ballot. They argued that the law unfairly targeted them because their competitors in this November’s elections would still have their own parties listed on the ballot. Anglin, who is believed to have been the main target of the new law, is one of two Republicans running for the Supreme Court seat against a single Democratic candidate.Full Article: NC Supreme Court: Anglin wins lawsuit against Phil Berger, Tim Moore | News & Observer.
A European Union election observer mission on Friday urged Zimbabwe’s election agency to be more open about the printing and storage of ballot papers to enhance the credibility of a July 30 presidential and parliamentary vote. The southern African nation will hold its first election since a November army coup ended Robert Mugabe’s near four-decades rule and paved the way for his longtime ally Emmerson Mnangagwa to become president. For the first time since 2002, foreign observers are monitoring the vote. If they give it a seal of approval it will allow Harare to repair ties with the International Monetary Fund and World Bank to access the large-scale funding it needs to rebuild the economy.Full Article: EU mission urges Zimbabwe to improve ballot access to boost vote credibility | Top News | Reuters.
A group of Hong Kong lawyers yesterday condemned a ban on a democracy activist by the territory’s government to stop her from contesting a by-election, describing it as the suppression of free expression and a curb on voting. The weekend ban on Agnes Chow, a close ally of high-profile activist Joshua Wong, fuels wider fears of tightening political “red lines” by Beijing that could deny Hong Kong’s restive young people any political outlet beyond street protest. The 21-year-old Chow becomes the 13th politician barred from standing for office or disqualified from the legislature in recent years.Full Article: Hong Kong lawyers condemn ‘unlawful’ disqualification of candidate | World | Malay Mail Online.
Texas: Dallas Democrats strike back at GOP lawsuit to remove 128 candidates from primary ballot | Dallas Morning News
Lawyers for 14 of the 128 Democratic candidates whom the Dallas County GOP is trying to have removed from the March primary ballot have asked a court to dismiss the case. According to a document filed late Monday on behalf of 14 candidates threatened with removal, the Dallas County Republican Party and its chairwoman, Missy Shorey, have no standing to bring the suit, since they are not candidates in the election. “The DCRP is clearly not a candidate and Shorey does not allege that she is a candidate for any office,” according to the filing from the lawyers. “As such, neither the DCRP nor Shorey have the necessary personal interest to have standing to seek the removal of any candidate from the ballot.”Full Article: Dallas Democrats strike back at GOP lawsuit to remove 128 candidates from primary ballot | 2018 Elections | Dallas News.
North Carolina: Legislature opens ballots to third parties in veto override | The North State Journal
The state legislature voted Tuesday for the 10th veto override since Gov. Roy Cooper has been in the Executive Mansion, well more than half of his 13 total vetoes. The lawmakers needed a three-fifths vote to override, voting in the Senate Monday night 26-15 along party lines and in the House Tuesday morning, 72-40. Two Democrats voted in favor of overriding the governor’s veto: Reps. William Brisson (D-Bladen) and Elmer Floyd (D-Cumberland). This time the override is on an election bill aimed at making it easier to get third-party candidates on the state’s election ballots, but also canceling the 2018 judicial primaries. Lawmakers say they want to allow newly eligible candidates to be able to get a closer look at planned new judicial district maps. The effort to update judicial district lines was launched over the summer by Rep. Justin Burr (R- Stanly), but some members of both parties say its overdue.Full Article: Legislature opens ballots to third parties in veto override – The North State Journal.
A political sea change is emerging within the Russian Federation, and it’s all thanks to a web app. MunDep (that’s short for “municipal deputy”) is the online interface that gamifies the process of turning someone from Russian citizen into Russian political candidate. The country’s notorious bureaucracy usually keeps citizens away from participating in politics meaningfully, but MunDep presents itself as a convenient central hub for meeting a prospective candidate’s every conceivable need. It guides them through the process of filling out paperwork, collecting signatures, and printing political leaflets for distribution. When candidates face trouble of any sort, they can even chat with the human staff via voice or text. Thoroughly cutting through Russia’s red tape, this platform turns the country’s political registration process into a 15-step “quest” for office. MunDep is the brainchild of Maxim Katz, a former municipal representative currently focused on political technology. He operates it alongside Dmitry Gudkov, former Russian parliament member and current Moscow mayoral candidate, and Vitali Shkliarov, a former operative for Bernie Sanders’s 2016 presidential campaign.Full Article: How Russians use technology to influence their own elections.
Gov. Gary Herbert wished aloud Thursday that the Utah Republican Party would drop its lawsuit challenging the state’s new election law, which is driving a wedge between the party’s right wing and moderates. But he concedes that maneuvering by conservatives has probably successfully forced party leaders to proceed against his wishes — and their own. When asked at his monthly KUED news conference if the GOP should drop the lawsuit, Herbert said, “They would be wise to do that.” The suit challenges SB54, which allows candidates to qualify for a primary election by collecting signatures and/or the traditional caucus-convention system.Full Article: Gov. Herbert wishes GOP would drop lawsuit challenging new election law - The Salt Lake Tribune.
A total of 143 election coalitions across Estonia have applied for registration ahead of the local government council elections this fall. “The number of election coalitions may not be final, as if, for example, an election coalition does not include a single candidate’s name, the coalition will not be registered,” explained State Electoral Office director Priit Vinkel.Full Article: 143 election coalitions applied to register for local elections | News | ERR.
After out-of-state groups spent millions of dollars on ballot measure and constitutional amendment campaigns last year, a task force is set to consider proposals Wednesday that could make it harder to pass a measure in South Dakota. Lawmakers, elections officials and ballot campaign insiders on the Initiative and Referendum Task Force have met twice this summer and are set to consider 20 draft bills aimed at reforming the state’s ballot initiative and referendum process. They could bump up the number of voters needed to pass a constitutional amendment, cap the number of amendments that voters can take up on each ballot and set up a board to hold hearings on ballot measures before voters take them up. And they’ll also consider requiring uniform font, changing filings deadlines and shifting some of the information that comes out about proposals before they hit the ballot.Full Article: Proposals could raise the bar for ballot questions in South Dakota.
Gov. Gary Herbert said Thursday that he doesn’t see the need now to call a special legislative session this spring to pass a law detailing how his administration would conduct a special U.S. House election. U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who stunned state politicos by announcing Wednesday he won’t seek re-election in 2018, told KSL Radio’s Doug Wright Thursday morning that he “may” resign his seat before his current term ends January 2019. All Utah has currently is the U.S. constitutional requirement that the governor will call a special election to fill a U.S. House vacancy.Full Article: Bob Bernick's Notebook: No signature gathering route to special election ballot.
The Montana Green Party is appealing a decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to deny an emergency motion requesting that Thomas Breck’s name be added to Montana’s special congressional election ballot. Breck of Missoula, along with Independent candidates Steve Kelly and Doug Campbell, said they now plan to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, alleging that they were turned down “on the basis of an unconstitutional state law.”Full Article: MT Green Party appeals ballot access decision to the US Supreme Court | KTVH.com.
Montana: Green Party, independents won’t be on Montana’s special election ballot, appeals court rules | Associated Press
An appeals court has denied a request by three minor party and independent candidates to place their names on the ballot for the special election to replace Ryan Zinke, who left Montana’s only U.S. House seat to become Interior secretary. The three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the emergency motion late Monday. Instead, the panel ordered the candidates and the Montana Secretary of State’s Office to file their arguments by mid-June, well after the election set for May 25. Overseas ballots have already been mailed and other preparations are already underway for the election. Absentee ballots are scheduled to be mailed May 1.Full Article: Green Party, independents won't be on Montana's special election ballot, appeals court rules | Government & Politics | billingsgazette.com.
A federal judge on Tuesday denied a request to delay the printing and mailing of ballots for Montana’s special congressional election for three minor party and independent candidates who are suing to be in the race. The request by Thomas Breck of the Green Party and independents Steve Kelly and Doug Campbell was made after U.S. District Judge Brian Morris said he would not unilaterally add them to the ballot in the May 25 election. The three men appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and asked Morris to prevent state election officials from printing and mailing ballots to military and overseas voters while the case is pending. Morris said in his order that he would halt the lawsuit in his court until the appeal is resolved, but he won’t prevent the election from proceeding because the three men haven’t shown that they are likely to win their case.Full Article: Judge won't halt Montana special election ballots for appeal | Government | missoulian.com.
A federal judge sided with three would-be candidates who argued they didn’t have enough time to gather the signatures required to qualify for Montana’s special congressional election — but their names still aren’t going on the ballot. U.S. District Judge Brian Morris on Saturday ordered Montana Secretary of State Corey Stapleton to reduce the number of voter signatures needed to place minor party and independent candidates on the ballot from 14,268 to 400. But the judge did not extend Stapleton’s March 6 deadline to turn in signatures, which means the three men who sued for ballot access — Thomas Breck of the Green Party and independents Steve Kelly and Doug Campbell — still don’t qualify for the ballot.Full Article: Would-be candidates win court case, still won't be on ballot.
Venezuela’s move to bar two-time presidential candidate Henrique Capriles from public office for 15 years looked like an unusually brazen blow at the opposition but is just the logical extension of a strategy that has emerged as the last, best hope of President Nicolas Maduro’s Socialists for maintaining power. A nearly identical maneuver was used ten years ago to halt the rise of former mayor Leopoldo Lopez, who in polls remains one of the most influential opposition leaders despite being jailed three years ago for his role in anti-government protests. The situation suggests the Socialists may continue to lean on Comptroller Manuel Galindo, accused by the opposition of being a government puppet, to clear the playing field of potential challengers. The election, still unscheduled, must be held by the end of 2018.Full Article: Venezuela Socialists' election strategy? Block adversaries | Reuters.
Montana elections offices are still eagerly waiting to hear whether U.S. District Court Judge Brian Morris will decide to let third-party and independent candidates on the special election ballot. The special election on May 25 is to replace former Rep. Ryan Zinke who was nominated to President Donald Trump’s cabinet as Secretary of the Interior in February. State law requires third-party and independent candidates to collect a certain number of signatures to place their names on the ballot, but those candidates are arguing they didn’t have enough time to collect signatures. Potential candidates Thomas and Danielle Breck and Steve Kelly are suing the Secretary of States Office over those ballot laws.Full Article: No decision yet from judge over special election ballot - NBC Montana.
A federal judge in Great Falls listened to arguments Tuesday for a lawsuit filed against the Secretary of State’s office to get third party names on the May special election ballot. Thomas Breck is the nominee for the Montana Green Party and Steve Kelly is the potential candidate for the Independent Party. The two along with Danielle Breck are challenging Montana’s ballot access laws for independent and minor party candidates. The trio says they didn’t have enough time to collect the required 14,268 signatures to get their names on the ballot under the special election deadlines. The filing fee for the May 25 special election is $1,740.Full Article: Federal court to decide Montana ballot lawsuit - NBC Montana.
Counties across Montana are trying to figure out how to finance the special election on May 25 to replace former Rep. Ryan Zinke. Zinke was nominated to President Trump’s cabinet as the Secretary of Interior in February. County elections officials proposed Senate Bill 305, which would allow counties to decide if they want to hold an all-vote-by-mail election, but there’s much debate. Missoula County Elections Administrator Rebecca Connors says an all-vote-by-mail election would save Missoula County around $130,000. She says the bill would help smaller counties with tighter budgets and smaller elections staff. Bill opponents argue the bill would make voting less accessible because not everyone has access to a mailing address.Full Article: Special election process stalled due to pending legislation, lawsuit - NBC Montana.
Montana: Green Party, independent candidate sue for ballot access in Montana’s special House election | Bozeman Daily Chronicle
A trio of plaintiffs, including two from the Montana Green Party, are suing the Montana secretary of state in federal court to put two more candidates onto the special election ballot for U.S. House of Representatives. The lawsuit against Secretary of State Corey Stapleton was filed by Thomas and Danielle Breck of Missoula, and Steve Kelly of Bozeman, in U.S. District Court in Missoula on Wednesday. It says that Thomas Breck was selected on March 4 as the Montana Green Party’s nominee for the coming congressional election to replace Ryan Zinke, now secretary of the interior, as Montana’s lone member of the U.S. House of Representatives. It also says that Kelly would like to run as an independent candidate in the same election to be held on May 25.Full Article: Green Party, independent candidate sue for ballot access in Montana's special House election | Politics | bozemandailychronicle.com.