National: FEC Asks God and Satan to Prove They Exist | The Atlantic

The Federal Election Commission has a few questions for God, Satan, and the Ghost of Ronald Reagan, all of whom have filed paperwork to run for office this election cycle. This implausible scenario is part of a policy aimed at dealing with an influx of suspicious-sounding presidential candidate names. It’s relatively easy to register as a presidential candidate, and during the 2016 election plenty of people seem to be taking advantage of that. As a result, the federal agency is now asking whoever filed paperwork to run for president under the names “God,” “Satan,” and “Ronald Reagan’s Ghost” to prove they actually exist. “It has come to the attention of the Federal Election Commission that you may have failed to include an accurate candidate name,” a letter sent by the commission to “H. Majesty Satan Lord of Underworld Prince of Darkness!” in College Station, Texas dated August 31, 2016 reads. “The Commission requires the filing to be true, correct and complete,” the letter warns, adding that “knowingly and willfully making any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation to a federal government agency, including the Federal Election Commission, is punishable.”

Florida: Phantom write-in candidates bar more than a million voters from Florida elections | Tampa Bay Times

In his secretive and impossible bid for public office, James Bailey will accomplish only this: He will deprive thousands of residents from voting for their state legislator. Bailey, 28, is a write-in candidate for a state House seat in Vero Beach, a three-hour drive from his home in Clearwater. He’s not campaigning or raising money. He faces possible fines for refusing to file routine campaign paperwork. He won’t answer phone calls and e-mails. Yet his sham candidacy is manipulating the outcome of a race involving four Republicans. Because only one party fielded candidates, the primary should serve as a general election where all voters, not just Republicans, cast ballots. Such a “universal” primary is the intent behind a 1998 constitutional amendment passed by Florida voters to open up one-party contests to the entire electorate.

Serbia: Mock group becomes surprise election success in Serbian town | Associated Press

A young man poses as a sleazy, bejeweled politician in a white suit, sitting atop a white horse surrounded by hordes of bodyguards while promising jobs and prosperity to the voters. Luka Maksimovic and his friends started out to have fun, but the young pranksters have become a sensation — and have been elected to office — after finishing second in a local vote in a run-down industrial town in central Serbia. The success of the rookie citizens’ group at last weekend’s election in Mladenovac, outside Belgrade, seems to reflect widespread disillusionment with politicians in crisis-stricken Serbia and the desire for new, young faces still untouched by the corruption that has plagued all aspects of the Balkan country’s political scene.

Venezuela: Opposition decries confusing candidates in high-stakes congressional elections | Associated Press

The ballot for congressional elections in which Venezuela’s ruling socialists face their stiffest challenge in 16 years is dizzying enough in this industrial state, with more than two dozen parties on the ballot. But most worrisome for incumbent Ismael Garcia, a fierce opponent of the deeply-unpopular socialist administration, is a 28-year-old parking lot attendant whose name will appear directly beside his on the ballot, under a nearly identical party title and logo. He, too, is named Ismael Garcia. And three weeks ahead of the Dec. 6 vote he has yet to make a public campaign appearance or even explain his platform. The result has been a bizarre campaign in which political veteran Ismael Garcia, 61, is mostly focused on helping voters identify him correctly when they go to the polls.

Florida: Congressman Rivera ran secret campaign, fake candidate tells FBI |

Justin Lamar Sternad, whose failed congressional campaign became the subject of a federal grand-jury investigation, has told the FBI that U.S. Rep. David Rivera was secretly behind his run for office, The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald have learned. Sternad, 35, also told authorities that his campaign manager, Ana Sol Alliegro, acted as the conduit between the campaign and Rivera, who allegedly steered unreported cash to the Democrat’s campaign, according to sources familiar with the investigation and records shared with The Herald. Sternad said Alliegro referred to the congressman by his initials, “D.R.,” and called him by the nickname, “The Gangster.”

Voting Blogs: Total Recall: Far-fetched Wisconsin recall election hypotheticals | Dane101

In one week Wisconsin will be taking part in historic recall election primaries. The general consensus is Governor Scott Walker will handily win the Republican primary against “Lincoln Republican” Arthur Kohl-Riggs and one of the official Democratic candidates and not the Wisconsin GOP appointed fake Democrat, Gladys Huber, will win the Democratic primary. In the Senatorial races there are similar expectations. Even so, there are some extremely long shot scenarios that could play out and further Wisconsin’s descent into political madcappery. This post exists solely for the purpose of conducting an exercise in futility by considering those “what if…” scenarios. What if a “protest” candidate wins? While the state GOP has said on numerous occasions that it wouldn’t be actively campaigning on behalf of their protest candidates that doesn’t mean the candidates won’t actively campaign or that local Republican parties won’t actively campaign. Last year we saw the St. Croix County Republican Party dump a substantial amount of time and money into promoting District 10 fake candidate Isaac Weix (who is running as a fake candidate again in the Lt. Governor race). Weix’s role was to trigger a Democratic recall against incumbent State Senator Shelia Harsdorf’s challenger Shelly Moore. Of the six recall primaries that summer Moore came the closest to losing to her protest challenger.

Editorials: Phony party candidates dilute Wisconsin election process | River Falls Journal

Last July Isaac Weix, an apparent Republican, entered the election recall race of state Sen. Sheila Harsdorf as a Democrat to force a primary election for Harsdorf’s Democrat opponent Shelly Moore. Weix’s motivation was that a primary would give Harsdorf more time to campaign for the general recall election. This year recall fever revs up again. More state lawmakers, including Gov. Scott Walker, are facing recall elections. Statewide, six Republicans are running as fake Democrats to force primaries. Walker, too, has a “fake” opponent: Arthur Kohl-Riggs, whose motto is “Less of a joke than Scott Walker,” has collected enough signatures to force a Republican primary. Kohl-Riggs has never been associated with the Republican Party.

Wisconsin: Government Accountability Board says six fake Democrats can run in recall elections | The Oshkosh Northwestern

The state elections board voted unanimously Tuesday to allow six Republicans to run as Democrats to appear on the ballot in Wisconsin’s upcoming recall elections against Gov. Scott Walker and five other Republicans. The decision of the retired judges who sit on the state Government Accountability Board means that all six of the races will have a May 8 primary election and a general recall election on June 5. The GAB agreed with the recommendation of its staff, which was released in a Monday memo, that elections officials did not have the legal authority to keep the six fake Democrats, or “protest candidates,” from the ballot because state law doesn’t require people to prove they belong to any political party before running for office. And GAB staff counsel Mike Haas told the board that Wisconsin elections officials can’t investigate the motives of candidates or their political affiliation. “It’s a bad precedent for us to question the motivations of candidates on the ballot,” said Kevin Kennedy, the GAB director and general counsel.

Wisconsin: Fake Democrats acceptable in recall election, Wisconsin officials say | Herald Times Reporter

Six Republicans running as Democrats in this spring’s recall elections should be allowed a place on the ballot, state election officials said Monday. The state Government Accountability Board is scheduled to vote today on whether to disqualify the candidates. Board attorney Michael Haas wrote in a memo to the board that the candidates should be allowed to run because state law doesn’t require people to prove they belong to any political party before they can run for office. Voters can condone or condemn the candidates at the polls, Haas wrote. “(The candidates’ actions) are products of political calculation and decision-making, and as such they can be rewarded or rejected during the course of the campaigns and the elections,” Haas wrote. Democrats have forced Gov. Scott Walker and five other Republicans into recall elections to punish them for passing a contentious law last year that stripped public workers of their union rights. The GAB has scheduled elections for May 8 and June 5. The state Republican Party openly recruited candidates to run as fake Democrats in every race. The move ensures a Democratic primary will be held in every race May 8. That means no Republican incumbent will have to face a general election that day, when Democrats will be out in force to pick their gubernatorial challenger.

Wisconsin: Democrats want faux candidates out of recall election | Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune

Democrats asked state elections officials on Thursday to block six Republicans trying to run as Democrats from the ballots for this spring’s recall elections. Democratic Party of Wisconsin attorney Jeremy Levinson filed Thursday’s complaint against the Republican Party of Wisconsin and the six people it recruited to run as fake Democrats, or so-called “protest candidates.” The complaint, filed with the state Government Accountability Board, said the GOP and fake Democrats — Gladys Huber, Isaac Weix, Gary Ellerman, Tamra Varebrook, James Engel and James Buckley — gave false information on documents submitted to elections officials. “The respondents falsified information on these documents, asserting that the six phony primary candidates were ‘affiliated’ with and ‘represent’ the Democratic Party,” the complaint reads.

Wisconsin: Attorney files complaint against fake Democrats | JSOnline

An attorney filed a complaint Thursday with state election officials to kick six fake Democrats off the ballot in the upcoming recall elections.  Six Republicans posing as Democrats filed paperwork to run in the recall elections against Gov. Scott Walker and five other GOP officials. The effort was concocted to ensure all general elections are on the same day, June 5. If they had not executed their plan or one like it, some of the general elections would have occurred on May 8, when the primary will be held to determine which Democrat runs against Walker. But the plan violates state election law, said the filing from Milwaukee attorney Jeremy Levinson. He asked the state Government Accountability Board to boot the six from the ballot. The board is to meet on the matter on Tuesday. “The respondents falsified information on these documents, asserting  that the six phony primary candidates were ‘affiliated’ with and ‘represent’  the Democratic Party,” the filing said.

Wisconsin: GOP’s fake Democrats for Wisconsin recall primaries named |

The state GOP has lined up six fake Democrats to run in upcoming recall elections targeting Gov. Scott Walker and five other Republicans. GOP spokesman Ben Sparks says Gladys Huber will run for governor; Isaac Weix will run for lieutenant governor; and Gary Ellerman, Tamara Varebrook, James Engel and James Buckley will run in four state Senate recalls. The elections are scheduled for May 8 and June 5. If primaries are needed they’ll be held May 8.

Wisconsin: GOP Plans To Run Democratic Candidates In 4 Recall Races | WISC Madison

Officials with the state Republican Party said that they plans to run candidates in the Democratic primaries in four upcoming recall elections targeting GOP state senators. GOP executive director Stephan Thompson said the move will guarantee that a Democratic primary has to be held. He said that ensures one clear date for the primary and a separate one for the general election, thereby limiting any scheduling control the Democratic Party might try to assert.

Turkmenistan: Elections: Opponents Float Proposals President Might Like |

The Turkmen presidential campaign has produced no surprises yet. The cookie-cutter candidates running in opposition to President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov all come from state controlled organizations or industries and are not straying from the incumbent’s program. Perhaps their purpose is to get a tiny bit out in front of the Turkmen leader so as to test which ideas are more feasible. For example, Rejep Bazarov, deputy head of the government in Dashoguz velayat (province) proposed that Turkmenistan curtail the practice of hand-picking cotton, and mechanize the harvest. He also wanted to increase manufacturing of products for export in the provinces.

Arizona: Judge Finds Manipulation in Recall Vote in Arizona |

At first glance, it had the makings of a spirited election: the leader of Arizona’s crackdown on illegal immigration facing off at the polls with an immigrant from Mexico who believed that the state had gone too far. But the immigrant, Olivia Cortes, a retiree who filed papers in July to challenge the State Senate president, Russell Pearce, disappeared from the political scene last week just as quickly as she had appeared. Ms. Cortes’s candidacy for a legislative district in this working-class community east of Phoenix, it now appears, had been a dirty trick.

Critics of Mr. Pearce’s hard-line approach to illegal immigration collected enough signatures to force him into a recall election in November. But allies of Mr. Pearce, who is one of the state’s most powerful politicians, did not take that humiliation lightly. They recruited Ms. Cortes in what was an effort to split the anti-Pearce vote, particularly among Latinos, a judge later found.

Arizona: Olivia Cortes will remain on ballot in Pearce recall election, court rules | AZ Central

Recall candidate Olivia Cortes will stay on the Nov. 8 ballot despite allegations that her campaign is part of a fraud, a Maricopa County Superior Court judge has ruled.

Judge Edward Burke heard arguments last week in the lawsuit filed by a Legislative District 18 Republican alleging that Cortes is part of a sham campaign to draw votes away from candidate Jerry Lewis and help Pearce retain his seat. In Monday’s ruling, Burke wrote that no one during the all-day hearing last week “impugned Cortes’ honesty or integrity.”

The judge’s ruling

“The court finds that she is genuinely opposed to what she believes is Pearce’s harsh legislative treatment of and comments about illegal Hispanic immigrants,” Burke wrote.

Arizona: Why the lawsuit against Olivia Cortes had to be aggressively defended | Anthony Tsontakis/Arizona Capitol Times

It’s not because the lawsuit was politically motivated. Everyone knows how unapologetically brutal politics can be. And it’s not because the lawsuit was brought to defame Ms. Cortes, either. Placing your name on a ballot is the functional equivalent of sending the world an open invitation to attack your character.

The reason the lawsuit against Olivia Cortes had to be aggressively defended, rather, is that it asked a judge, without statutory authorization, to inquire into the political beliefs, motivations, associations, and activities of ordinary citizens — and then to find legal liability where no law says there is: in the details of those ideologies, agendas, friends, and practices.

Tom Ryan, the plaintiff’s attorney, built the bulk of his case against Cortes around one concept: the political motivations of Ms. Cortes’ nomination petition circulators.

Arizona: Cortes denies being a sham candidate in Pearce recall election | Arizona Republic

Recall candidate Olivia Cortes took the stand Thursday to defend herself against allegations that she is a sham candidate running to draw votes away from candidate Jerry Lewis and help Senate President Russell Pearce retain his seat. “I wanted to offer my points of view as a naturalized citizen, a concerned citizen for the future of Arizona,” Cortes said. “I want to serve my community.” She said the accusations about her campaign make her feel “bad.”

“I feel they are taking away my constitutional right,” she said. “Anybody can run. I’m running to win. I want to win.”

During her testimony, Cortes said she is paying for her campaign but admitted she hasn’t yet spent any money. She said she does not know who paid professional circulators to collect the signatures to get her on the ballot. She said she also does not know who paid for the signs with her name on it that were put up around West Mesa. She doesn’t know who created her Web site. Cortes said she was not forced or paid to run. She said East Valley Tea Party leader Greg Western is the only one helping her with her campaign and as a political novice, she has left many decisions to him.

Arizona: New lawsuit over Russell Pearce recall election |

There are new developments regarding the Russell Pearce recall election and candidate Olivia Cortes. Many say she is a sham designed to siphon votes from Pearce’s other challenger, Jerry Lewis.

After the secretary of state’s office said it will not investigate allegations of fraud, a Mesa woman filed a lawsuit. Cortes is starting to look more like a legitimate candidate to challenge Senate President Russell Pearce. Her website went live Friday and she issued a press release that says, “I want to have an opportunity, to bring into this race my points of view and observations as a Permanent Alien and later Naturalized American Citizen for over forty years.”

Cortes was home Tuesday and didn’t answer when I dropped by. She didn’t respond Friday when 3TV’s Frank Camacho left her a note or when I called later.

Arizona: State will not investigate recall candidate Cortes | AZ Central

Chaos erupted Friday in the recall election of Senate President Russell Pearce. A Legislative District 18 voter filed a lawsuit alleging that Olivia Cortes is a fraud candidate running with the intention of pulling votes away from candidate Jerry Lewis to help Pearce. The Secretary of State’s Office declined to investigate the same complaint another district voter filed with that office.

Cortes, who has for weeks evaded questions about her candidacy and political positions, on Friday sent out an e-mail announcing a campaign Web site and seeking voter support.

Chandler attorney Tom Ryan filed the lawsuit on behalf of Mary Lou Boettcher. Ryan also represented Citizens for a Better Arizona, the group that collected signatures to get the recall on the ballot. Boettcher, a Republican, was involved in that group.

Wisconsin: 6 fake Democrats fall, setting stage for GOP recalls | JSOnline

Six fake Democratic candidates put up by the Republican Party to buy time for Republican state senators subject to recalls accomplished that job Tuesday, but none of them did the unexpected and knocked off a real Democrat.

Candidates backed by the Democratic Party won all six Senate primary elections, all but one of them by substantial amounts. They’ll all go on to face the Republican incumbents on Aug. 9, in an attempt by Democrats to regain control of the state Senate and put the brakes on Gov. Scott Walker’s agenda. That the primaries were held at all is a function of the twists and turns of political strategy played out in recent months as the state broke into warring camps over Walker’s attempt to restrict collective bargaining for public employees.

The Republican Party forced the primaries to give its six senators facing recall another four weeks before facing a Democratic challenger, in order to allow them to take their case to the voters and argue that their work on the budget was good for the state.

Wisconsin: Recall Primaries: Real vs. ‘fake’ Democrats will cost taxpayers more than $475,000 |

Wisconsin’s divisive law ending most public-sector collective bargaining set in motion the biggest lawmaker-recall vote in state history, officials said.

Nine recall elections — beginning Tuesday with primaries in six state Senate districts — is “nothing like anyone in Wisconsin or, for that matter, the nation, has seen,” state Government Accountability Board spokesman Reid Magney told The Wall Street Journal.

And unlike in most states, Democratic challengers to six targeted Republican lawmakers are opposed by six Republicans running as Democrats — under Wisconsin’s open-primary system, which lets anyone of any party run in any primary.

Wisconsin: Fake Democrats run in Wisconsin primaries for recall elections |

Primary elections in six Wisconsin Senate races Tuesday pitted fake Democrats against candidates supported by the party, with the winners advancing to take on Republican incumbents targeted for recall.

The state Republican Party orchestrated the placement of the fake Democrats on the ballot, thereby delaying the general election until Aug. 9 and giving the incumbents an additional month to campaign.

Tuesday’s primaries marked the first of four elections over the next five weeks related to the targeting of nine senators for recall based on their actions related to Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal taking away collective bargaining rights from most public employees. The Republicans voted for it and the Democrats fled to Illinois for three weeks to delay a vote.

Wisconsin: St. Croix County Republicans urge vote for ‘fake’ Democrat | JSOnline

The St. Croix County Republican Party has launched an 11th-hour effort to mobilize voters to support a “fake” Democrat in the 10th Senate District primary election on Tuesday.

Jesse Garza, chairman of the county party, sent out an email Sunday urging voters who support Sen. Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls), who faces a recall election Aug. 9, to vote Tuesday for Isaac Weix of Menomonie. He’s one of six fake or protest candidates put up by the Republican Party to force Democratic primaries in six districts where Republican state senators face recall elections.

Weix faces Shelly Moore, a teacher and state teachers union official from River Falls, in Tuesday’s Democratic primary election. “We have the opportunity, and we might as well use it,” Garza said in a phone interview Sunday.

Wisconsin: ‘Madness Abounds’ as Fake Candidates Confuse Wisconsin Recalls | Bloomberg

Wisconsin voters will choose among real and fake Democrats this week to challenge six Republican senators in recall elections that may derail the agenda of Governor Scott Walker. The primaries are the opening skirmish in a state at political war. The six districts in tomorrow’s races have Republicans running as Democrats, hoping to win the nomination and effectively render the Aug. 9 recall votes meaningless.

At a time when politics usually takes a break, voters will select candidates to run against Republicans who supported Walker’s efforts to curb collective-bargaining rights for most public employees. On July 19, there will be two primaries and a full-fledged recall aimed at Democratic senators who fled the state in February in hopes of blocking the measure, which touched off weeks of protests across the nation.

“It feels like madness abounds in our state, like Wisconsin is 65,000 square miles surrounded by sanity,” said Mike McCabe, executive director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a nonprofit that advocates openness in government. “We’re just living in a really weird time,” McCabe added in a telephone interview from Madison, the capital.

Wisconsin: Democrats Withdraw ‘Placeholder’ Candidates in Recall Election – Whitefish Bay, WI Patch

Democratic “placeholder” candidates will no longer run in this summer’s state Senate recall elections, the Wisconsin Democratic Party announced Friday.

The party said it will not file the final paperwork needed to be put placeholders on ballot in the six recall elections targeting Republican senators, including state Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills).

The idea of using placeholder candidates came after Republicans decided to have “fake Democrats” to run in the Democratic primaries of the six recall elections targeting GOP senators. The move was designed to ensure that primary elections would be held in all six races to give the incumbents more time to prepare for the general election.

Wisconsin: Octogenarian Former GOP State Rep To Run As Fake ‘Democrat’ In Wisconsin Recalls | TPMDC

Don’t let anyone say there isn’t bipartisanship in Wisconsin.

The newest example of Wisconsin Republicans recruiting fake Democratic candidates, to force Dem primaries and make trouble in the state Senate recalls: Otto Junkermann, an 82-year old former Republican state representative, who will challenge official Democratic candidate Nancy Nusbaum for the recall against GOP state Sen. Rob Cowles.

As the Green Bay Press Gazette reports, Junkermann very openly professes to support Cowles:

Otto Junkermann, 82 of Allouez, said he thinks “very highly” of Cowles, a Republican also from Allouez, and will run against Nusbaum as a “conservative Democrat.”

“I respect Rob a great deal. I’ve known him, I followed him into the Assembly and took the position he had when he went into the Senate, and I always admired him,” Junkermann said.

Junkermann served in the Assembly as a Republican for one term from 1987-88. He was also a Brown County supervisor from 1982-87 and ran again in 2002, 2004 and 2008 but lost.

Wisconsin: Who is the ‘Fake Democrat’ in Wisconsin 8th Senate District Recall Race? | Menomonee Falls, WI Patch

Gladys Huber, an 80-year-old Mequon woman who has filed papers to run as a Democrat in the 8th Senate District recall election made an odd comment when reached by a reporter.

“I really have no comment at all,” she said. “I will refer you to the Republican Party of Wisconsin.”

State party officials did not return calls about Huber’s candidacy but they have been upfront about its intention to run Republicans as Democrats in an effort to give incumbent senators like the 8th District’s Alberta Darling more time to raise money and campaign.

The state’s Government Accountability Board said Friday that Huber has officially registered to run as a Democrat against state Rep. Sandy Pasch of Whitefish Bay. If both candidates meet the 5 p.m. Tuesday deadline to file nominating petitions, a primary election would be held July 12 and the winner of that race would take on Darling on Aug. 9.

Wisconsin: Democrats may join GOP in fielding ‘fake’ candidates in recalls | JSOnline

Wisconsin’s unprecedented recall elections could soon get even more complicated. A coalition of union groups active in state Senate recalls now advocates that Democrats field fake Republican candidates to run in primary elections against GOP state senators – just as Republicans are fielding fake Democrats to run against those who challenging GOP incumbents.

Friday evening, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin issued a statement that neither endorsed nor ruled out the idea, saying the party will “review the options available.”

The proposal from We Are Wisconsin, described in an email from Kelly Steele, communications director, was sent earlier Friday. The email argued that it was necessary to keep Republicans from hijacking the election process, and called on interested Democrats to contact the state Democratic Party and volunteer to run as Republicans in the districts of six GOP senators subject to recall elections.