Turkey’s opposition said on Thursday new electoral regulations proposed by President Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling party and its nationalist allies could open the door to fraud and jeopardise the fairness of 2019 elections. Under a draft law submitted to parliament on Wednesday, security force members will be allowed into polling stations when invited by a voter, a measure the government says will stamp out intimidation by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in the mainly Kurdish southeast. The bill also grants the YSK High Electoral Board the authority to merge electoral districts and move ballot boxes to other districts. Ballots will be admissible without the stamp of the local electoral board, formalising a decision made during a referendum last year that caused a widespread outcry among government critics and concern from election monitors.
After a heated 2016 election season, Wyoming lawmakers are looking to implement several new regulations relating to political campaigns during elections. During its meetings this week in Lander, the Wyoming Legislature Joint Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee advanced several draft bills for further consideration relating to election issues. And some of those pieces of proposed legislation pertain to a slew of controversial incidents in Wyoming in 2016. Just weeks before the 2016 general election, the Wyoming Republican Party filed a complaint with the secretary of state’s office alleging left-wing political groups based in Laramie engaged in shadowy tactics stemming from a series of mailers critical of Republican candidates. The mailers described in the GOP complaint alleged that the source of funding, a group known as Forward Wyoming Advocacy, was connected to another organization, ELLA WY, which was hired by several Democratic candidates for consulting services. While any firm connection between candidates, their campaigns and Forward Wyoming Advocacy is yet unclear, Republicans alleged it constituted a violation of Wyoming election law.
A joint committee of the House of Representatives, comprising Elections & Inauguration and the Judiciary is reviewing a new election law to amend certain provisions of the elections law to clarify the powers and authority of the National Elections Commission with respect to the qualification of political parties and organizations for elections, determining election results and election disputes.’ The Joint Committee is expected to report and advise the House’s Plenary next Tuesday, August 29, as to whether the august body should concur with the Liberian Senate.
Candidates and political analysts are criticizing the Electoral Affairs Commission for the Legislative Assembly Election (CAEAL), for creating confusion between the definitions of “propaganda activities” and the rights of candidates to inform the public of their agenda – another controversy in addition to the short amount of time given to candidates to promote themselves. A total of 25 teams, with an aggregate of 192 candidates, will contest the direct election for the Legislative Assembly (AL) on September 17. Six teams, with a total of 15 candidates will contest the indirect election. On August 1, the commission issued its second election guideline in a bid to regulate campaign promotional activities. However several candidates and political analysts expressed their belief that it is absurd for the commission to issue such guidelines.
Cambodia’s parliament on Monday amended the law to ban people from associating with anyone convicted of a criminal offense, a move the opposition says aims to hobble rivals of Prime Minister Hun Sen ahead of a general election next year. Hun Sen’s ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) voted to change the election law to ban political parties from engaging with such individuals, who also face bans on participating in politics through images, audio recordings and writing. Political parties which violate the law face a five-year suspension or could be dissolved. The amendment effectively bans former opposition leader Sam Rainsy, who lives in exile in France to avoid arrest in a number of convictions, from campaigning from abroad for the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP).
Officials scrambled Friday to smooth the path for the endorsement of a new vote law amid fears that sticking points could unravel the agreement reached by the country’s top leaders at Baabda Palace. A series of important meetings were held Friday between senior officials with each of Speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Saad Hariri aimed at speeding up the implementation of the agreement reached by President Michel Aoun, Berri and Hariri at their closed talks before an iftar hosted by the president at Baabda Palace Thursday. Sticking points such as the percentage for candidates to win electoral seats in any district, the preferential vote, and the duration of a technical extension of Parliament’s term could block the agreement which calls basically for the adoption of a proportional voting system dividing Lebanon into 15 districts.
Last October, Lebanese politicians finally elected a new president to end a two-and-a-half-year power vacuum that had crippled the functioning of the government. But just over six months later, Lebanon is drifting into yet another political crisis that could leave the country without a functioning parliament. The parliament’s term expires on June 20, and it is extremely unlikely that an election will be held before then. The members of parliament were elected in 2009 for a four-year term but have extended their mandate twice, citing instability caused by the Syrian civil war and later the country’s lack of a president.
With the Alabama Code, what was intended, what gets written and how it’s interpreted are often different things, and so it is when setting special election to replace Jeff Sessions in the United States Senate. On Thursday, Gov. Robert Bentley set a special election to be held in 2018, at the same time as state and mid-term national elections. But was that legal? State Rep. Chris England, D-Tuscaloosa, says it wasn’t. “For anyone that has read the law, this is ILLEGAL,” England wrote on Facebook Thursday, above the relevant snippets of the Alabama Code. “Again, read it for yourself. If the vacancy occurs more than four months prior to the next upcoming general election, which it CLEARLY does, state law demands that the Governor call a special election ‘forthwith.'” I have read that section many times since last November, and I’ve gone over it with several lawyers I trust, and the verdict? It’s unclear.
An obscure problem with Idaho election laws that caused a lawsuit and an abnormally heated election in Teton County may soon be solved by the Legislature. Having already been approved by the House, House Bill 13 was taken up Friday by the Senate State Affairs Committee. The committee unanimously recommended that the bill pass. The issue the bill addresses arose in the race between Teton County Sheriff Tony Liford and challenger Lindsey Moss. Liford was an incumbent Democrat. Moss, an investigator for the prosecutor’s office, had previously challenged Liford as a Republican, coming within a few dozen votes of ousting him. In 2016, Moss again challenged Liford, this time switching to the Democratic party in an effort to decide the race in the primary. But Liford wanted to fight it out in the general election, so he switched his affiliation to Republican the same day he filed his declaration of candidacy, which he filed on the last possible day.
America’s nasty, brutish and not-so-short 2016 presidential campaign raised some painful issues about the nation’s democratic institutions and the treatment of people involved in them. Charges were made about voter fraud, “rigged” elections and whether people’s ethnic or racial background makes them more likely to commit crimes. It was the sort of ugly dialogue justices on the US Supreme Court can typically experience as interested observers, separated from the politics and immune from the fallout. But this year, a high court already hit with the collateral damage of legislative-executive branch politics may well be dealing with the aftermath of a painful election season. Voting rights, redistricting and the fairness of the criminal justice system to racial and ethnic minorities are all topics likely to reach the high court, adding a judiciary sequel to the tense debates of the 2016 campaign season. “It’s going to go on forever, apparently,” quips David Coale, a partner at Dallas-based Lynn Pinker Cox Hurst who has been monitoring critical cases rooted in the Lone Star State.
After prime minister Matteo Renzi’s crushing defeat in last weekend’s constitutional referendum, Italy has been thrown into political crisis. President Sergio Mattarella may appoint a caretaker government in the next few days. But a general election seems inevitable, as the only way to resolve the impasse in the longer term. The populist, anti-euro Five Star Movement led by the comedian Beppe Grillo is running neck and neck in the opinion polls with Mr Renzi’s Democratic party. Under an electoral law known as Italicum that came into force in July and under which the next general election is set to be held, Five Star could form a majority single-party government if it wins a certain share of votes. That prospect frightens Italy’s political establishment. Five Star aims to bring Italy out of the euro. Whatever one’s views on the single currency, such a development would be destabilising for Italy and the eurozone. Italy has chronically weak banks and an underperforming economy and a period of upheaval as it changed currency would make matters worse.
Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella wants parliament to draft a new electoral law before any ballot is held, a source close to the president said on Tuesday, a move likely to delay any vote after Prime Minister Matteo Renzi resigns. Renzi said he would step down after losing a referendum on constitutional reform on Sunday, but Mattarella asked him to stay on until parliament passes the 2017 budget, a vote scheduled for Wednesday. The next parliamentary election is not scheduled until 2018 but on Tuesday there was growing consensus among party leaders for it to be held a year earlier. Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said the vote should be held in February. Senior members of Renzi’s Democratic Party (PD) will meet on Wednesday to discuss the referendum defeat and the party’s future strategy.
Only weeks after giving up on his lackluster presidential campaign in the face of national indifference, Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin is back to making mischief in his home state. Last Friday, Mr. Walker signed a bill to protect public officials like himself from an effective and well-established tool for rooting out political corruption. The tool, known as the John Doe law, lets prosecutors conduct secret investigations into possible crimes by executing search warrants and compelling people to testify. It is essentially a grand jury proceeding, with a judge rather than jurors deciding whether there is enough evidence for an indictment. Mr. Walker has been a target of two John Doe investigations in recent years.
Michigan: Senate panel debates changes to presidential election system, Electoral College votes | MLive
Michigan’s Republican-led Legislature is again debating prospective election law changes that could benefit a second-place finisher in the state, which has gone Democratic since 1992. The Senate Elections and Government Reform Committee on Thursday took testimony on proposals that would divide Michigan’s Electoral College votes, but chairman Dave Robertson, R-Grand Blanc, told reporters that he does not expect any changes for the 2016 election cycle. “The perception has been that clearly there must be a desire on the part of Republicans… to move away from winner-take-all and others saying ‘no, no we shouldn’t,'” Robertson said. “I can assure you there is no uniformity of opinion on the Republican side.”
California: Will California guarantee the right to know the names of political donors? | The Washington Post
When Silicon Valley entrepreneur Jim Heerwagen decided to invest in an effort to reduce the influence of big money on politics, he considered a push for a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. “Then I realized I could be dead or not remember where my car keys were by the time that happened,” he said. Congressional proposals to tighten federal campaign finance rules seemed like long-shots, he concluded: “They just weren’t going to go anywhere.” So Heerwagen looked to make a stand in the more hospitable political environs of California. After commissioning a poll and hiring political strategists, the former software executive and his team of election law experts are rolling out an unusual measure they hope to get on the ballot in November 2016.
Utah: Federal judge orders Utah and Republican Party to try to resolve election law lawsuit | Associated Press
A federal judge has ordered the Utah Republican Party and state officials to work to resolve a lawsuit over a new law changing how political parties nominate candidates. U.S. District Judge David Nuffer said this week that mediation will be faster and cheaper than waiting for the dispute play out in court as state officials prepare to run 2016 elections. At a court hearing Tuesday afternoon, Nuffer ordered the GOP and the state to pick a mediator by Sept. 18 and hold talks in late September and early October. The disputed law, approved in 2014 by Utah’s GOP governor and Republican-dominated Legislature, allows candidates to bypass a caucus and convention system and instead try to become a party’s nominee by gathering signatures and participating in primary elections.
A federal judge last week heard arguments in a case of the Powhatan County Republican Committee and four Republican candidates for the Powhatan County Board of Supervisors trying to challenge state election law. U. S. District Judge M. Hannah Lauck presided over a hearing on Thursday, Sept. 3 that saw the local Republicans suing the Virginia State Board of Elections to challenge a state code they say would unconstitutionally prevent the political party affiliation of local candidates from being included on the Nov. 3 general election ballot next to the candidate’s name. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Richmond Division.
The leader of the Yabloko party has told reporters that Russia must abandon the current practice of political parties presenting supporters’ signatures before elections to prove their popularity, saying it was both obsolete and prone to rigging. Sergey Mitrokhin told reporters in Novosibirsk on Monday that his party supported the cancelation of pre-electoral signature collection for all political parties. He commented that this part of Russian election law is “medieval.” The press conference was held in connection with the next nationwide election on September 13. This is when 11 Russian regions will elect legislatures, 21 heads of regions will be elected by a direct vote, and four more by voting in regional parliaments. He added that Yabloko, one of the oldest parties in Russia, has always supported greater equality for all political groups.
The Ohio Democratic Party and two of its county organizations are seeking to join a federal lawsuit filed in May that alleges that election laws and rules in the political battleground state disproportionately burden Democratic-leaning voters. The Ohio Organizing Collaborative brought the case. But in court filings last week, the organization’s attorneys asked Magistrate Judge Norah McCann King to let it withdraw and substitute in its place the state’s Democratic Party and Cuyahoga and Montgomery county parties. “OOC is a non-profit organization with limited resources, and it does not have the institutional capability to remain as a plaintiff,” attorneys wrote in court documents.
Republican voters have welcomed Donald Trump with open arms. More than twice as many back him in polls as any other candidate. In charts, support for Trump looks like a moonshot. Trump would seem to have little incentive to take his presidential run independent. But lingering doubts about Trump’s ideological purity – he is a past Democratic donor and former supporter of abortion rights – and about the willingness of party elders to embrace him have fuelled speculation that, at some point, Trump might take his act solo. Trump himself has propped the door open on a third-party run – most famously at the start of the Republican debate earlier this month. “I’m a frontrunner – obviously I’d much rather run as Republican and let that be clear,” he told MSNBC. “And I just want to see if somebody gets in that I like and if I’m treated with respect, I would not run as an independent. But I want to leave the option open just in case that doesn’t happen.” Running as an independent, however, would require more than a change of heart by Trump – it would require a national campaign to document the support of hundreds of thousands of voters across the country, in the form of signed petitions and new voter registrations.
During the final weeks of the 2013 legislative session, Robert J. Rodriguez, a state assemblyman from Harlem, went out drinking with friends one night and was later arrested and charged with drunken driving. Mr. Rodriguez eventually pleaded guilty, losing his driver’s license for at least six months. But the monetary cost to Mr. Rodriguez was far less: His campaign not only picked up the roughly $8,500 in legal bills — it also paid his $900 penalty, records show. Mr. Rodriguez’s case, while extreme, is one of many examples where New York lawmakers have used campaign funds to pay for lawyers, often lawyers who specialize in criminal defense. The New York Times examined the spending of 41 elected officials who have been connected to a scandal or investigation since 2005; those 41 politicians have spent at least $7 million of campaign funds on legal fees, based on a review of Board of Elections filings from 2005 to the present.
The jury trial for a Wanamingo Township supervisor accused of burning township election ballots in 2014 got underway Tuesday in Goodhue County District Court. Defense attorney Alex Rogosheske said his client, Thomas Joseph Shane, 59, of Zumbrota, admits to destroying the ballots after the March 11 election, but was well-intentioned and acted following the advice of an election judge present that night. Prosecutor Christopher Schrader with the Goodhue County Attorney’s Office said the key question is why Shane allegedly burned the ballots and if he had legal reason to do so.
Voting Blogs: Campaign Finance and Issue Advocacy: The Fight About Wisconsin | More Soft Money Hard Law
The Wisconsin Supreme Court was badly divided on the “coordination” question that it resolved in favor ending an ongoing criminal investigation. The majority and dissents expressed their disagreement in harsh terms, and there was a similar outbreak of ill-will or impatience among experts and seasoned observers trading views on the election law list serv. Dividing the camps for the sake of convenience into progressives and conservatives: the former were appalled by the case and the latter overjoyed, and neither could believe how the other was reacting. The case was either a nightmare for desperately needed reform, or a vindication of the rule of law in a struggle with political persecution and police state tactics. But are the issues being fairly brought out amid all this vitriol, and is it necessarily true that the opinions on the coordination issues in Wisconsin must always and inevitably fall out along ideological and party lines?
Just days after Scott Walker officially kicked off his presidential bid, the Wisconsin Supreme Court was set to announce Thursday whether investigators can resume a wide-ranging and secret probe into alleged election law violations during the Republican governor’s 2012 recall campaign. At issue is whether Walker’s campaign and several conservative groups illegally coordinated their activities during the recall, which was spurred by Democratic anger over Walker’s successful drive to effectively end collective bargaining for most public workers. Walker and the groups have denied any wrongdoing and called the probe a violation of their free-speech rights.
Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has endorsed an amended law defining voting districts in this country of more than 50 million voters, his spokesman said Thursday, removing the last hurdle for setting the date for the long-delayed parliamentary elections. Egypt has not had an elected legislature since 2012, when the country’s Supreme Court ruled that the parliament’s lower chamber was not constitutionally elected. An earlier version of the law was declared unconstitutional by the same court in March, causing an indefinite delay in parliamentary elections. The court at the time said the law failed to guarantee equal representation for voters, and asked that it be amended.
Two small political parties in South Dakota filed a federal lawsuit Monday challenging part of a law that they say would make it harder to get their candidates on the ballot. The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit on behalf of the state’s Libertarian and Constitution parties, among other individuals. South Dakota activists are also gathering signatures to refer the law to voters in the 2016 election for a possible repeal. The measure in question, part of a new bundle of election law changes passed during the 2015 legislative session, shifted the deadline back by about a month for new parties to turn in signatures allowing them to participate in a primary election.
A former campaign manager for one-time Democratic Congressman Joe Garcia plans to plead guilty Thursday in Miami federal court to financing a tea party candidate in a scheme to siphon votes from his Republican nemesis. In April, Jeffrey Garcia was charged with a misdemeanor of conspiring to give a campaign contribution of less than $25,000 to the shadow candidate in the 2010 Miami congressional race. Prosecutors said Garcia, no relation to the former congressman, surreptitiously put up the $10,440 qualifying fee for Jose Rolando “Roly” Arrojo to pose as a GOP challenger to David Rivera in the general election. Arrojo was also charged with the same misdemeanor.
Senator Bernie Sanders, who is challenging Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, will face a significant legal barrier if he attempts to run in next year’s New York primary while remaining unaffiliated with a party. A section of state election law commonly known as Wilson-Pakula prohibits candidates from appearing on the ballot in a party’s primary unless they are either enrolled members or receive the approval of the party’s committee.
Campaigning for Sunday’s second wave of quadrennial unified local elections has highlighted a legal loophole that allows candidates to go to extremes — including nudity — to gain votes. In contrast with the ubiquitous portrait shots preferred by most candidates, the campaign poster for Teruki Goto, an independent running for the Chiyoda Ward Assembly in Tokyo, went viral after it showed him posing nude against a Rising Sun flag motif while raising a katana over the Imperial Seal, his genitals covered by his name.
Elections are about to get easier for major party candidates — especially those who have access to big-dollar donors. And voters who want to craft their own laws will find new hurdles, as Gov. Doug Ducey on Monday signed three measures approved by the Republican-controlled Legislature, including:
– Sharply boosting the number of signatures minor-party candidates would need to qualify for the ballot;
– Allowing candidates to accept up to $5,000 from any one source, a 25 percent increase since the last election;
– Requiring judges to throw out citizen-sponsored initiative, referendum and recall petitions if there are technical flaws in the paperwork.
It is the measure on petition signatures, though, that could have the biggest impact.