Ukraine: Voters face complicated and confusing ballots — again | Kyiv Post

Ukraine will on Oct. 25 conduct the most procedurally complicated local elections it has ever seen. Voters can only hope the polls are not also the most chaotic and corrupt ever seen. The complex, multi-system voting procedure will inevitably cause problems with vote counts and distribution of seats, and will likely further reduce the trust of voters in election results, experts have told the Kyiv Post. “Even we don’t totally understand the logic of this law,” said Andriy Mahera, deputy head of Central Election Commission, adding the new election system is already causing some head scratching.

United Kingdom: Left-wing and right-wing parties unite in call for a fairer voting system | The Independent

Parties from across Britain’s political spectrum have called for reform of Britain’s electoral system in the wake of a highly disproportionate election result that ignored the preferences of a large chunk voters. Ukip, the Green Party, and the Liberal Democrats all won 12 per cent, 8 per cent and 4 per cent of votes respectively in Thursday’s election – but none ended up with much more than 1 per cent of the seats. “We have a deeply unfair electoral system,” Green Party leader Natalie Bennett told the BBC.

United Kingdom: Liberal Democrats call for more proportional parliamentary voting on English laws | The Guardian

A radical change to the voting system at Westminster, entailing parliamentary bills being passed in a more proportional way, should be introduced to resolve the row over English-only laws, the Liberal Democrats will say on Friday. In a Guardian article, the Lib Dem minister David Laws calls on the Tories to follow the example of the Labour party in setting aside “narrow partisan interest” to resolve the matter. The intervention by Laws comes as a fresh coalition row flared up after Nick Clegg accused Theresa May of making “false and outrageous” slurs against his party. She had claimed the Lib Dems were putting children’s lives at risk by blocking surveillance legislation, known by critics as the snooper’s charter.

New Zealand: Clean sweep: New Zealand’s election | The Economist

Winning a third term is a remarkable achievement for any political party. New Zealand’s centre-right National Party did so on September 20th, carried to victory, as expected, by its popular leader and the country’s current prime minister, John Key (pictured). But securing an increased majority over its first and second terms, as National did on Saturday, is astounding: it raked in 48.1% of the vote.  Based on figures from election night, the party will also have enough members to form a government without the need for supporting parties—the first time this has happened since the introduction of the mixed-member proportional voting system in 1996. And even if special votes (yet to be counted) mean that National will not have an absolute majority of 61 in the 121-seat unicameral house, Mr Key is unconcerned: support from the United Future Party, the ACT Party and the Maori Party, which have all supported National Party-led governments in the last two terms, would give the National Party a comfortable majority.

New Zealand: Key wins third term with outright majority in New Zealand’s ‘dirty tricks’ election | Telegraph

New Zealand’s ruling National party secured a third term in government in the election on Saturday, winning an outright majority on a platform to continue strong economic growth. Prime Minister John Key’s centre-right party received 48.1 per cent of the vote, giving it 62 of 121 parliamentary seats and improving its performance on the previous vote in 2011. The 53-year-old former foreign exchange dealer triumphed despite allegations of dirty political tactics involving government ministers, and claims that a government spy agency had planned mass secret domestic surveillance. Investigative journalist and liberal activist Nicky Hager had previously published a book called “Dirty Politics,” which exposed the extent of the National Party’s links with a conservative blogger.

Germany: Court rules to abolish 3% threshold quota on European elections | The Guardian

The European parliament could become a squabbling ground for “loonies and lobbyists”, observers warned after a German court on Wednesday ruled against a voting threshold at European elections. The president of the federal court, Andreas Vosskuhle, ruled on Wednesday that the 3% entry hurdle violated the constitution and had stopped parties from getting a fair hearing. The ruling will come into effect immediately and apply to the European elections in May, where Germany will elect 96 MEPs for the next parliamentary term – the highest number of seats of all member states. Sixteen out of 29 EU countries, including Britain, have no threshold quotas for European elections, but the issue is an unusually politically loaded one in Germany: a 5% hurdle was introduced for the national parliament in 1949 with a view to making the raucous parliamentary squabbles of the Weimar Republic a thing of the past.

Germany: Neo-Nazis could enter EU parliament after court ruling | EUobserver

A myriad small German parties, including the neo-Nazi NPD, could enter the European Parliament following a ruling by the Constitutional Court on Wednesday (26 February) to abolish the minimum threshold for the vote. The Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe says the threshold discriminates against small parties. The verdict, approved with 5 out of the 8 votes in the judging panel, says fringe parties are being discriminated against with the current three-percent threshold. The Karlsruhe-based court already in 2011 ruled that a five-percent threshold in place for the 2009 EU elections was unconstitutional. Following that ruling, Germany’s parliament lowered the threshold to three percent, arguing that smaller parties could hamper the work of the European Parliament. The law was challenged again – this time by a coalition of 19 fringe parties, including the neo-Nazi NPD and the German Pirate Party. The judges agreed with the plaintiffs.

National: RNC tightens 2016 primary calendar, rules | The Hill

A series of changes aimed at tightening the GOP presidential primary calendar sailed through a vote at the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting, giving the party new tools to control its nomination process. The new 2016 rules will make it much harder for states to cut in line in the nomination process and will help Republicans avoid a repeat of a drawn out, bloody primary many believe damaged Mitt Romney’s chances in 2012 of defeating President Obama. After a contentious Thursday hearing on some rules changes, few members joined Virginia Committeeman Morton Blackwell in objecting to the final package — the landslide vote was 153 in favor, with 9 opposing. “I’m really proud of you for this debate,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said following the vote, to a standing ovation from the committee. “This is a historic day for our party, and I thank you all for what you’ve done. … We will all have a much better process in 2016.”

Italy: Parliamentary Election Pre-Election Report | The Monkey Cage

On February 24th and 25th Italian parliamentary elections will be held. The electoral system in place is referred to in Italy as the “Calderoli law”, approved in 2005 and already used in the 2006 and 2008. Both the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate are elected with a proportional system with a majority premium. The two systems however are not identical. For the Chamber of Deputies it is a majority-assuring system. The party or coalition of parties that gets a plurality of the votes at the national level is guaranteed 54% of the seats (340) regardless of its percentage of votes [JT: Unless it gets more than 54% of the vote – which won’t happen in this election – but in that case it would get the correct proportion.  It is only a bonus, never a penalty.] In the case of coalitions the votes of all its parties are counted for determining who gets the majority bonus. The remaining seats are allocated proportionally among the losers which meet the conditions for gaining representation. For parties running alone the threshold for getting seats is 4%. For parties running in coalition the threshold is 2%, provided their coalition gets at least 10% of the votes. For each coalition with more than 10% the largest party below the 2% threshold is entitled to receive seats. Party lists are closed.

Nepal: Election Commission to restrict candidates to one constituency each | Review Nepal

The Election Commission (EC) has proposed to make a provision for ‘one candidate one constituency’ in the next elections. A draft proposal prepared by the Commission to carry out an amendment to the CA Member Elections Act- 2064 BS has proposed this provision.The draft has been already submitted to the government, said the Commission. According to information provided by Commission’s Joint Secretary Madhu Regmi, prior to this, one candidate could file the candidacy from more than one constituency. Similarly, as per the amendment proposal, the political party should garner three percent of the total votes to attain a seat under the proportional system.

National: R.N.C. Rejects Changes to Nominating Contests for 2016 |

Members of the Republican National Committee considered — and rejected — changes to their presidential nominating process for 2016 after a contest this year that some members say was too long and drawn out. At a meeting here of the R.N.C.’s rules committee, members debated whether to abandon the proportional voting that gave Mitt Romney’s rivals the ability to try and accumulate delegates even as they failed to win the nominating contests. Sue Everhart, a committee member from Georgia, proposed the change, citing concerns about the length of the competition. She suggested changes that would have allowed states to hold winner-take-all contests in 2016, potentially bringing the contest to a close more quickly.

Jordan: House votes to refer elections draft to legal panel | Jordan News Agency

The Lower House on Tuesday referred the 2012 elections draft law to its legal committee despite protests by some lawmakers who had demanded the bill be repealed, saying it does not answer to reform requirements or help to build a modern civil state. But the legislature turned down Senate amendments to the divisive civil retirement bill, changes that would block any pensions for retired MPs who had served in public office for less than ten years. A majority voted for the election document’s referral to the panel during a session held under Speaker Abdul Karim Dughmi and attended by Prime Minister Awn Khasawneh and cabinet ministers.

Texas: Push is on to make Texas GOP primary a winner-take-all battle | Star Telegram

Rick Santorum, trying to keep his presidential hopes alive despite increasingly long odds, is looking for the political equivalent of a Hail Mary pass from Texas Republicans. A group of Texas party activists, led by Santorum supporters, are waging an uphill battle to change the rules of the May 29 primary so that whoever wins would get all 152 delegates up for grabs in the contest. The activists say they have enough support to force an emergency meeting of the State Republican Executive Committee, though major hurdles loom beyond that. The Republican National Committee would have to approve the last-ditch move to change the delegate selection process because of the late date of the request, officials say. An RNC official in Washington, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Thursday that would be highly unlikely. Later, the RNC communications director, Sean Spicer, said there is “no basis” for a change and that Texas would “remain a proportional state,” according to a posting on Twitter from The Washington Post. The change might also require approval from the U.S. Department of Justice.

New Zealand: The future of Mixed Member Proportional Electoral System | NZ Herald News

Today is the deadline for those who wish to appear in person before the Electoral Commission to send in their submissions on its review of the Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) Electoral System. If you do not wish to appear in person, then you can still send in a written submission up until the end of May. The recommendations the Electoral Commission makes to the Government may or may not be adopted, but they will at a minimum ensure a debate on their recommendations. Some of the issues they will consider could have a significant impact on what Parliament and Governments will look like in the future.

Jordan: Government might adopt mixed electoral system | The Jordan Times

The government has not worked out an electoral system but is leaning towards a mixed formula featuring the proportional list and the majority system, Prime Minister Awn Khasawneh told union leaders on Tuesday. The meeting with the heads of the country’s 14 professional associations was one of a series of meetings the premier initiated on Monday to arrive at consensus over the new elections law, under which national polls are expected to be held this year. The government is expected to submit the bill to Parliament before April, according to a time schedule it has committed itself to.

Puerto Rico: Primary Could Pad Romney’s Delegate Lead or Spring Santorum Surprise | ABC News

If Mitt Romney proved anything last weekend with his victories in Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the Virgin Islands, it is that the Republican presidential nomination this year might not be won by high-profile triumphs in states such as Iowa and South Carolina, but rather by diligently and methodically amassing delegates in far-off contests. That makes Sunday’s primary in Puerto Rico more important than you might think. Twenty-three delegates will be up for grabs when voters in the island commonwealth head to the polls this weekend, nearly as many as there were in more publicized battles in Michigan – 30 – and Arizona – 29. It should come as no surprise, then, that Romney and rival Rick Santorum are set to campaign there only days before the primary. Newt Gingrich might soon follow.

Michigan: Santorum camp accuses Michigan GOP of ‘political thuggery’ in awarding delegates to Romney | The Washington Post

Presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s campaign is accusing Michigan Republicans of engaging in “political thuggery” for awarding the state’s two at-large delegates to Mitt Romney (R) instead of dividing Republican presidential candidates (L-R) former U.S. senator Rick Santorum (Pa.) and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. (JESSICA RINALDI – Reuters) them evenly between both candidates. Romney won Tuesday’s Republican presidential primary in the Wolverine State with 41 percent to Santorum’s 38 percent. Each candidate won 7 of the state’s 14 congressional districts, evenly splitting the 28 of Michigan’s national convention delegates that are awarded winner-take-all by district. There has been confusion over how the remaining two at-large delegates were to be awarded. Originally, the state GOP had announced that those two delegates would be allocated proportionally based on the statewide vote – meaning Romney and Santorum would each get one. But the state Republican Party’s credentials committee voted Wednesday night to award both delegates to Romney, the Detroit Free Press reports.

Chile: Parties propose changes to Chile’s electoral system | Santiago Times

The center-left Christian Democrat (DC) party and center-right National Renewal (RN) party presented a proposal on Tuesday that would replace Chile’s controversial binomial electoral system with a proportional system similar to the Electoral College in the United States. DC President Ignacio Walker and Carlos Larraín, of the RN, outlined the proposal called the “New Political Regime in Chile” at the former Congress building in Santiago.
“We want to give the country an offer that would move it toward a new political regime and would significantly increase the inclusion of political parties to better democratize Chile,” Walker told local media.

Hawaii: Republican Party changes caucuses in hopes of gaining more members | KHON2

Republican voters here in Hawaii will begin choosing their Presidential nominees in March. The Hawaii Republican Party made changes to this year’s Caucuses, hoping to attract more people to vote GOP. It’ll be very similar to the Democratic Caucuses in 2008, which as you may recall had a record turnout.

The Hawaii Republican Party will hold its Presidential Caucuses on Tuesday, March 13th from 6pm to 8pm. “Everyone goes, votes. At 8pm they’ll close, count the ballots and the votes will be allocated to a proportional method to each of the Presidential candidates they vote for,” said David Chang, Hawaii Republican Party Chair.