Working to broaden his popularity among military veterans, Republican Mitt Romney’s campaign has sent letters to election officials in Wisconsin, Mississippi and Vermont demanding that the deadline for receiving ballots from military and overseas voters be extended. The letters sent in recent days on Romney’s behalf by former U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Anthony Principi charge that election officials in the states missed the Sept. 22 deadline for mailing some ballots to overseas and military voters. A fourth letter was to be sent Tuesday to Michigan officials, according to Romney campaign spokesman Ryan Williams. The campaign is actively monitoring state and local election officials across the country, he said. “We want to ensure that our fighting men and women overseas have the right to vote in the time that is given under federal law,” Williams said. “We’re doing it across the country in both red states and blue state and battleground states.”Full Article: Romney seeks extended deadline for overseas voters, including in Michigan | The Detroit News | detroitnews.com.
We’ve learned the girl filmed in a viral YouTube video while registering voters at a local grocery store was employed by a company just dumped by the Republican National Committee over allegations of voter fraud. The video got a half-million views in just a few days, becoming an overnight Internet sensation with national attention. The girl gathering voter registrations claimed she was working for the El Paso County Clerk & Recorder’s Office, and said at one point she preferred to register only Mitt Romney supporters. After speaking with local party heads and campaign officials, it was determined the girl was not working for the county clerk, but for a consulting firm hired by the state GOP. Eli Bremer, chairman of the El Paso County Republicans, explained to News 5 that it was the girl’s first day on the job, and said she misspoke when asked who was “paying her”. Wayne Williams, the El Paso County Clerk & Recorder, also confirmed that what she was doing– prescreening voters with preference questions before offering a voter registration form– was not illegal.Full Article: Girl in viral voter registration video worked for shady firm | koaa.com | Colorado Springs | Pueblo |.
New voting laws in key states could force a lot more voters to cast provisional ballots this election, delaying results in close races for days while election officials scrutinize ballots and campaigns wage legal battles over which ones should get counted. New laws in competitive states like Virginia, Florida, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin could leave the outcome of the presidential election in doubt – if the vote is close – while new laws in Kansas, Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee could delay results in state or local elections. Some new laws requiring voters to show identification at the polls are still being challenged in court, adding to the uncertainty as the Nov. 6 election nears. “It’s a possibility of a complete meltdown for the election,” said Daniel Smith, a political scientist at the University of Florida. Voters cast provisional ballots for a variety of reasons: They don’t bring proper ID to the polls; they fail to update their voter registration after moving; they try to vote at the wrong precinct; or their right to vote is challenged by someone.Full Article: Provisional ballots could be hanging chads of 2012 - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |.
Pennsylvania: Sponsor Of Voter ID Law Defends Romney, Says ‘Lazy’ People Also Shouldn’t Vote | ThinkProgress
As Pennsylvania’s strict voter ID law returns to the lower court for reconsideration, its original sponsor, Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-PA), told KDKA Radio Wednesday morning that his law will only disenfranchise “lazy” people, like the ones Mitt Romney was talking about in the leaked video of a private fundraiser. When asked about the voter ID law’s disenfranchisement of the 750,000 Pennsylvanians who cannot get IDs, Metcalfe cited Romney’s offhand dismissal of the 47% of the country who will never “take personal responsibility and care for their lives” as proof that those people don’t deserve the right to vote.Full Article: Sponsor Of Pennsylvania Voter ID Law Defends Romney, Says 'Lazy' People Also Shouldn't Vote | ThinkProgress.
At least three Republican electors say they may not support their party’s presidential ticket when the Electoral College meets in December to formally elect the next president, escalating tensions within the GOP and adding a fresh layer of intrigue to the final weeks of the White House race. The electors — all supporters of former GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul — told The Associated Press they are exploring options should Mitt Romney win their states. They expressed frustration at how Republican leaders have worked to suppress Paul’s conservative movement and his legion of loyal supporters. “They’ve never given Ron Paul a fair shot, and I’m disgusted with that. I’d like to show them how disgusted I am,” said Melinda Wadsley, an Iowa mother of three who was selected as a Republican elector earlier this year. She said Paul is the better choice and noted that the Electoral College was founded with the idea that electors wouldn’t just mimic the popular vote. The defection of multiple electors would be unprecedented in the last 116 years of U.S. politics. It also would raise the remote possibility that the country could even end up with a president and vice president from different parties.Full Article: The Associated Press: 3 Electoral College members may pass on Romney.
The campaigns of President Barack Obama and his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, are preparing for what could be a series of legal battles over new U.S. voting laws after the Nov. 6 election – especially if the result of the presidential race is close. The campaigns and political parties are lining up lawyers for what would amount to a new wave of litigation surrounding election laws that have been approved by Republican-led legislatures in more than a dozen states since 2010. Some of the laws involve requiring voters to produce photo identification. Others curtail early-voting periods that are designed to help working-class people cast ballots if they can’t make it to the polls on Election Day. Still others have imposed strict requirements on groups that conduct voter-registration drives.Full Article: US campaigns prepare for post-election court fights on voting laws | Reuters.
On August 14, several hundred coal miners joined Mitt Romney at the Century Mine near Bealsville, Ohio, to cheer the Republican nominee as he denounced a “war on coal” by the Obama administration. Two weeks later, an official of the company that owns the mine, Murray Energy Corp. (which has given more than $900,000 to Republican candidates in the last two years, far more than any other coal company) admitted that the miners were not all there by choice. “Attendance at the Romney event was mandatory,” Rob Moore, the chief financial officer of Murray Energy told radio host David Blomquist. Mandatory, but unpaid. Because the mine was closed for the Romney event, miners lost a day of pay. Is this legal? Is this right? Interestingly, just a few days after the rally, the F.E.C. decided a case involving an employer in Hawaii that required its employees to campaign, on their own time, for Democratic congressional candidate Colleen Hanabusa. (The employer happened to be a union, but the case had to do with its staff, not its members.) In what might seem like a reversal of partisanship, the Commission’s three Democrats supported the general counsel’s judgment that such coercion violated the Federal Election Campaign Act, which forbids employers from coercing workers to contribute to a campaign. But its three Republicans argued that because the work was part of an independent effort by the union, and didn’t involve contributions to the campaign itself, the law didn’t apply: A union or corporation’s “independent use of its paid workforce to campaign for a federal candidate post-Citizen’s United was not contemplated by Congress and, consequently, is not prohibited by either the Act or Commission regulation.” Without a majority on the Commission, it was unable to act.Full Article: Who’s The Boss? The Worst Post-Citizen’s United Ruling Yet | The New Republic.
Pennsylvania, a presidential battleground, is joining at least 15 other states that have agreed to make it easier for welfare recipients to register to vote in agency offices. The Keystone State agreed yesterday to settle a lawsuit over the so-called Motor Voter law, a 19-year-old statute that says public-assistance agencies must offer clients the chance to sign up to vote. Ohio, Michigan, Colorado and Virginia also have changed their ways after either being sued or told by advocacy groups how they could improve compliance. The changes stem from pressure by activists whose drive may aid Democrats in November. About 1.5 million people have registered since 2004 because of the drive, according to New York-based Demos, a nonprofit group involved in the Pennsylvania case. The state was sued as the presidential campaigns scrounge for every vote, making ballot access a key front as Democrats challenge restrictive steps taken by Republican-led states.Full Article: Swing-State Aid Agencies Denying Voter Signups Draw Suits - Bloomberg.
Friday’s exchange of letters between the election campaigns of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, in which Romney rejected Obama’s offer to drop the tax return issue if Romney will produce just three more years’ records, has moved the long-simmering brouhaha over Romney’s tax returns back to the front media burner. That’s many fewer than any presidential candidate has disclosed in decades, setting up the hearsay accusation disseminated joyfully by Harry Reid (who may or may not actually believe it) that Romney is afraid to tell voters that he sometimes pays no taxes at all. (Romney has answered that, saying he has never paid less than 13% in taxes on his income.) Meanwhile, Romney appears to have escaped relatively unsinged from the apparently unrelated revelation that he may have committed voter fraud in January 2010, when – despite not owning a house inMassachusetts and having given every appearance of having moved to California – he registered and voted in the Massachusetts special election to replace the deceased Senator Ted Kennedy. Given the GOP’s ongoing use of the “voter fraud” fable to justify modern Jim Crow laws and its highly-publicized persecution of the voter registration groupAcorn, an actual case of felony voter fraud committed by the Republican nominee could have been a big story – but Romney was able to tamp down the flames by claiming, not very credibly but also not disprovably, that he and Ann actually were living in their son Tagg’s Belmont, Massachusetts basement in 2010. Without proof that Romney lied about where he lived, there’s no felony – and no big national story.Full Article: Mitt Romney's tax returns: the 'voter fraud' theory | MS Bellows Jr | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk.
If Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) doesn’t become vice president of the United States, he has a backup option: his old House seat. Under Wisconsin law, Ryan can run simultaneously for both offices. The lawmaker hasn’t said anything about his House election, which he is strongly favored to win, but he may not have much of a choice. The law specifically states that once a candidate is nominated, his or her name has to remain on the ballot except in the case of death. But if Ryan does make it to the vice presidential mansion, that election would “void the candidate’s election to any other office,” and a special election would be called, according to the law. And names are already being floated in case that comes to pass.Full Article: Ryan can run for House seat, VP at same time under Wisconsin law - The Hill - covering Congress, Politics, Political Campaigns and Capitol Hill | TheHill.com.
Mitt Romney’s decision to select Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) as his vice presidential running mate raises the question of what happens in the Badger State’s 1st District, where Ryan is favored to win reelection in the fall. According to state election law, Ryan would not have to sacrifice his spot on the congressional ballot even though he is also running for vice president. He would appear on the ballot twice. Ryan would appear on the ballot as both a candidate for the House and for vice president. If the Romney-Ryan presidential ticket is not successful, but he wins his congressional race, Ryan can keep his seat. If the national ticket wins the White House and Ryan holds his House seat, a special election would be held to replace him in the House. “If the candidate is elected president or vice president of the United States such election shall void the candidate’s election to any other office. A special election shall be held to fill any office vacated under this subsection,” reads a state statute on multiple nominations.Full Article: Ryan would appear on ballot twice in Wisconsin - The Washington Post.
Mitt Romney wrongly suggests the Obama campaign is trying to “undermine” the voting rights of military members through a lawsuit filed in Ohio. The suit seeks to block state legislation that limited early voting times for nonmilitary members; it doesn’t seek to impose restrictions on service members. In an Aug. 4 Facebook posting, Romney called the lawsuit an “outrage,” and said that “if I’m entrusted to be the commander-in-chief, I’ll work to protect the voting rights of our military, not undermine them.” He painted the court filing as an attack on the ability of service men and women to vote: “The brave men and women of our military make tremendous sacrifices to protect and defend our freedoms, and we should do everything we can to protect their fundamental right to vote.” Conservative blogs and opinion pieces have also misrepresented the case, claiming in headlines that President Obama was suing to “restrict military voting.” A fundraising email appeal from a group called Special Operations Speaks — which wants to “remove Barack Obama from the White House” — wrongly says that Obama “deploys army of lawyers to suppress military’s voting rights,” claiming that “Obama needs the American military to not vote, so he has set out to make it as difficult as possible for them to do so.” But that’s not what the Obama lawsuit aims to do at all.Full Article: Fact check: Obama not trying to curb military early voting – USATODAY.com.
Several veterans slammed Mitt Romney on Monday for opposing and mischaracterizing an Obama campaign lawsuit which would expand early voting rights to veterans, cops, firefighters and all Ohio voters. Romney had claimed — falsely — that the Obama campaign opposed allowing members of the military and their families to vote in-person in the three days before the election. Actually, the Obama campaign wants all people in Ohio — including, for example, veterans, cops and firefighters — to be able to vote during that period. The Romney campaign has not responded to TPM’s multiple requests for comment on whether they believe Ohio firefighters and cops are worthy of early voting rights. “When it comes to Mitt Romney, I feel like he lives in bizarro world,” Iraq veteran and former Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA) told reporters in a conference call organized by the Center for American Progress on Monday. “He’s suppressing millions of votes across our country in this election, and then he lies and says that President Obama is trying to do the same thing, when it couldn’t be further from the truth.” Murphy said Romney’s opposition to the lawsuit was part of a coordinated effort to suppress the vote.Full Article: Veterans: Romney Lying About Obama Suit’s Effect On Military Voters | TPMMuckraker.
The Obama campaign has challenged an Ohio law that extends the early voting period for members of the military, but not for civilians. The focus is on the three days right before Election Day. Under the new law, service members stationed in Ohio can continue to vote in person on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday before the election, but civilians can cast early votes only through Friday. When the Obama campaign asked a federal court to open the full early voting period to all voters, Mitt Romney accused the President of trying to undermine military voting rights. Republicans said the lawsuit questioned whether it was constitutional to ever make accommodations for military voters. This characterization is inaccurate, and silly. There is a long history of accommodation for military and overseas citizens to vote by absentee ballot (for example, the federal Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act), and this is a settled understanding. The Ohio law is the first, as far as I know, to grant extra voting privileges to service members voting in person, not by absentee ballot. The Obama campaign is not arguing that service members are never entitled to accommodation based on the unpredictable circumstances of their assignments, but only that it is arbitrary to hold “military-only” voting days when all voters are physically present and able to vote in person. If the election offices are going to be open, we should let everyone in the door.Full Article: Mazur: Should We Have VIP Lanes for Military Voters? | Election Law Blog.
When I read stories this weekend that said the Obama campaign was suing to restrict the voting rights of military in Ohio, my blood got boiling. Of course, Think Progress has already documented that story, inflamed by the Romney campaign, is patently false. In fact, the Obama campaign was suing to block an Ohio law which restricts a very successful early voting program in the state. The President’s campaign was trying to keep expanded voting rights in place for everyone, military included. So, why am I still so disturbed? Because Mitt Romney, by supporting the Ohio law that would do away with three days of early voting for all but those covered under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voter Act (‘UOCAVA’), is supporting the restriction of voting rights for as many as 913,000 Ohio veterans. This includes military retirees with over 20 years of service and multiple deployments. In short, Mitt Romney supports efforts to make voting more difficult for the very people who have put their lives on the line after swearing an oath to uphold our Constitution and democracy. Once you leave the military, you are no longer covered by UOCAVA. Your voting rights are the same as any civilian. That means the early voting law which Mitt Romney wants to undo, provided hundreds of thousands of Ohio veterans with more of an opportunity to vote. By all accounts, Ohio voters liked and used the early voting law. In 2008, nearly one-third of all ballots was cast under the early voting measures, surely many of them veterans.Full Article: Romney Would Restrict Voting Right For 900K Ohio Vets.
It’s the white whale of American elections: elusive, mythical and never realized. But could it finally happen this year? The likelihood that President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney will each net 269 electoral votes in November, instead of the 270 needed to win, is actually not so farfetched — and for close observers of the Electoral College system, a tie would set off a wave of constitutional and political mayhem that would make the 2000 Florida recount seem like a tidy affair. Election results in key states would immediately be subject to legal challenges. Electors, normally an anonymous batch of party insiders elected to ratify each state’s winner with their electoral votes, would be lobbied to change their votes by friends, neighbors and political leaders. Swing states could decide U.S. election Alex Castellanos’ electoral map James Carville’s electoral map Ultimately, the House of Representatives could elect the next president, even if that candidate lost the popular vote.Full Article: Electoral College tie possible in Obama-Romney race - CNN.com.
No, Virginia, Democrats aren’t trying to register your dog to vote. As Drudge Report readers already know, Mitt Romney’s campaign sent a letter to Virginia officials on Wednesday complaining that the “dubiously named” Voter Participation Center has been sending out voter registration forms “pre-populated with names and/or information belonging to the recipients’ dead relatives, minor children, non-citizen relatives, already registered voters, convicted felons, and cats and dogs.” The letter, signed by Romney general counsel Kathryn Biber, asks Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli and Charles Judd, the chairman of the state board of elections, to investigate the voter registration campaign, claiming it may be in violation of several state laws. It claims the Voter Participation Center’s tactics “amount to, or at the very least induce, voter registration fraud.”Full Article: Romney Cries Fraud On Virginia Voter Registration Campaign | TPMMuckraker.
Editorials: GOP’s voter ID tactics could undermine a Romney win | Harold Meyerson/The Washington Post
Suppose Mitt Romney ekes out a victory in November by a margin smaller than the number of young and minority voters who couldn’t cast ballots because the photo-identification laws enacted by Republican governors and legislators kept them from the polls. What should Democrats do then? What would Republicans do? And how would other nations respond? As suppositions go, this one isn’t actually far-fetched. No one in the Romney camp expects a blowout; if he does prevail, every poll suggests it will be by the skin of his teeth. Numerous states under Republican control have passed strict voter identification laws. Pennsylvania, Texas, Indiana, Kansas, Tennessee and Georgia require specific kinds of ID; the laws in Michigan, Florida, South Dakota, Idaho and Louisiana are only slightly more flexible. Wisconsin’s law was struck down by a state court. Instances of voter fraud are almost nonexistent, but the right-wing media’s harping on the issue has given Republican politicians cover to push these laws through statehouse after statehouse. The laws’ intent, however, is entirely political: By creating restrictions that disproportionately impact minorities, they’re supposed to bolster Republican prospects. Ticking off Republican achievements in Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives, their legislative leader, Mike Turzai, extolled in a talk last month that “voter ID . . . is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.” How could Turzai be so sure?Full Article: Harold Meyerson: GOP’s voter ID tactics could undermine a Romney win - The Washington Post.
National: Million-dollar donors account for nearly half of GOP super PAC fundraising | The Washington Post
If super PACs are indeed saving Mitt Romney early in the 2012 election (as we posited Tuesday morning), he’s got a lot of very wealthy people to thank for it. About four dozen donors and families have given at least $1 million to super PACs this election cycle, with three-quarters of them giving to the GOP. Combined, these four dozen donors have provided $130 million of the $308 million super PACs have raised this cycle (more than 40 percent) — a reflection of how much these outside groups are funded by extremely wealthy donors. And that goes double on the GOP side, where nearly half of the $228 million raised by super PACs has come from about three dozen million-dollar donors. Million-dollar donors have contributed $111 million out of $218 million raised by super PACs this election cycle, while million-dollar Democratic donors have contributed less than one-fourth, $19 million out of $80 million raised.Full Article: The Fix’s super PAC Millionaires Club - The Washington Post.
As a highly contested swing state, Colorado is typically overrun by political ads from campaigns and outside groups supporting them. But the tragic shooting Friday at a movie theater in Aurora is temporarily silencing much of the spending on ads in the state. President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney announced Friday they will suspend their ad efforts in Colorado, and super PACs are planning to join them. Priorities USA, a super PAC supporting Obama’s re-election campaign, announced it will not run ads in Colorado for the time being. “Priorities is suspending advertising in Colorado,” said Priorities USA strategist Bill Burton. “Our prayers are with the victims of this horrible tragedy.”Full Article: Campaigns and super PACs halt political ads in Colorado after shooting | The Ticket - Yahoo! News.