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.Full Article: Turkish opposition sounds alarm over proposed voting law changes.
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.Full Article: Wyoming election law proposals grow from 2016 controversies | Wyoming News | trib.com.
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.Full Article: Liberia: House Reviews New Election Law From Senate - allAfrica.com.
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.Full Article: Electoral rules may breach Basic Law, experts and candidates say | MACAU DAILY TIMES 澳門每日時報.
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).Full Article: Cambodia changes election law ahead of 2018 vote | Reuters.
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.Full Article: Lebanon's top leaders scramble to ease vote law endorsement | Zawya MENA Edition.
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.Full Article: Lebanon’s election law deadlock threatens another crisis | The National.
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.Full Article: What Alabama law says (and doesn't say) about special elections for Senate | AL.com.
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.Full Article: Legislature to fix election problem | Post Register.
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.Full Article: Supreme Court Faces Its Own Campaign Season | National News | US News.
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.Full Article: A post-Renzi election complicated by a new Italian election law.
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.Full Article: Italian president pushes for new voting law before election | World | Reuters.
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.Full Article: The Revenge of Scott Walker - The New York Times.
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.”Full Article: Michigan panel debates changes to presidential election system, Electoral College votes | MLive.com.
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.Full Article: Will California guarantee the right to know the names of political donors? - The Washington Post.
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.Full Article: Federal judge orders Utah and Republican Party to try to resolve election law lawsuit.
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.Full Article: Hearing held on state election law - Richmond Times-Dispatch: Powhatan Today.
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.Full Article: Liberals blast Russian election law as ‘medieval,’ suggest radical changes — RT Russian politics.
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.Full Article: Ohio Democrats seek to join lawsuit over voting changes - Fairfield Citizen.
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.Full Article: Could Donald Trump really run as an independent? | US news | The Guardian.