Nevada: Voter registration letters concern local and state election officials | KRNV

If you’ve received an “official looking” letter from the “Voter Participation Center” informing you that you are not registered to vote, you are not alone. Washoe County’s Voter Registrar Luanne Cutler said letters from this group surface around the time of General Elections, particularly in Presidential election years. But she said, “It is of great concern to us because it alarms voters who think maybe someone stole their identity or we are not doing our jobs.” A website for the “Voter Participation Center” describes the organization as non-partisan and not for profit. CLICK HERE to learn more about the VPC. The organization is a voter registration advocacy group. The letters encourage you to fill out their voter registration form and the envelope provided goes to the Secretary of State’s Office.

Ohio: Husted warns election officials of error-laden voter registration drive | The Clermont Sun

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted today contacted the Voter Participation Center in Washington D.C. to make them aware of a number of recurring errors surrounding the group’s voter registration drive. Both the Secretary of State’s Office and Boards of Election across Ohio have reported an unusually high number of voter complaints regarding the effort, which is attempting to contact unregistered individuals via U.S. Mail with a voter registration form. Ohioans have reported the registration mailing being addressed to family pets as well as to those who will not yet be 18 before the November 2016 General Election. The Voter Participation Center’s mailing has also commonly been ad- dressed to people who do not live in Ohio as well as citizens who are deceased.

Zimbabwe: Opposition Parties Slam Electoral Commission For Voter Registration Dereliction | VoA News

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission revealed earlier this week that it was failing to honor its mandate of registering voters around the year in line with the law due to financial limitations. But opposition parties are firing back, accusing the ruling Zanu PF of deliberately compromising the electoral body for its own benefit. ZEC has always come under attack from the opposition for colluding with the ruling Zanu PF to disenfranchise voters to boost the party’s numbers. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) was brought into existence on February 1, 2005, in conformity with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Act after a constitutional amendment was passed which, among other things, abolished the Electoral Supervisory Commission and reestablished the ZEC.

Zimbabwe: Electoral Commission: We Can’t Register Voters Because We’re Broke | VoA News

Zimbabwe’s electoral body said on Tuesday it was failing to register voters at any given time in lockstep with the country’s laws due to crippling financial constraints. And given its dire straits, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) said it was only registering new voters in areas with by-elections. Critics say the failure to keep the process open is jeopardizing thousands of prospective voters and undermining the country’s electoral system.

Kansas: Voting rules confusing for upcoming elections; here are some answers | Lawrence Journal World

Thousands of wanna-be Kansas voters who thought they might not be able to cast ballots for president and other federal officials this year are now eligible to vote in them — but not in state or local races. It’s part of the latest fallout from lawsuits surrounding the state law that requires prospective voters to provide proof of U.S. citizenship — such as a birth certificate, passport or naturalization papers — when they register. Republican Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is defending the law against multiple legal challenges. Supporters of the law say it’s important to make sure those who aren’t U.S. citizens don’t vote. Opponents say non-citizens aren’t voting in significant numbers and the real result is making it harder for the poor, the young and the elderly — those who might have trouble getting documents — to vote. There are so many legal challenges in play that it’s hard to keep track of who can vote and under what circumstances.

Ohio: Pets, kids and dead people getting voter registration forms from outside group | The Columbus Dispatch

An effort to encourage voter registration by a Washington D.C. group seems to unwittingly be sending letters to pets, children and deceased Ohioans, according to a news release from Secretary of State Jon Husted’s office. The Voter Participation Center, which mails voter registration forms to those who are unregistered, has been the subject of an increasing number of complaints at boards of elections throughout the state and the secretary of state’s office, according to the release. Josh Eck, spokesman for the office, said he didn’t have an exact figure for how many complaints have been fielded, but nearly every county has reported issues with the group.

Editorials: Kansas election law created chaos | The Wichita Eagle

Legislators and the governor should stop taking legal advice from Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, and start taking some responsibility for the chaos created by the law requiring people prove U.S. citizenship to register to vote. As it is, the burden of guaranteeing at least partial voting rights in Kansas is falling on judges – most recently the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ refusal last week to temporarily block a May order by U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson. In response, Kobach’s office told county election officials late Tuesday to start registering affected Kansans. They had tried to register to vote when they applied for or renewed a driver’s license, as intended by the federal 1993 “motor-voter law,” but had their applications put on hold or thrown out for lack of citizenship proof. Counting past and future motor-voter applicants, the state thinks as many as 50,000 voter registrations could be involved.

Kansas: Judge Reiterates Kansas Attorney General Kobach Unable to Encumber Voting | Associated Press

A judge is standing by his earlier ruling that Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has no legal right to bar people from casting ballots in local and state elections because they registered to vote using a federal form that did not require proof of citizenship. In a ruling made public Thursday, Shawnee County District Judge Franklin Theis rejected Kobach’s request that he reconsider an earlier decision. Theis said in January that the right to vote under state law is not tied to the method of registration. Two weeks after that decision, Brian Newby, the new executive director of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, added a documentary citizenship requirement on the national voter registration form for residents of Kansas, Georgia and Alabama. Newby unilaterally changed the national form without approval from the agency’s commissioners. That change prompted Kobach to ask the judge to reconsider his ruling.

Editorials: Another victory for voting rights in Kansas | Topeka Capital-Journal

Last month, U.S. District Court Judge Julie Robinson ruled that 18,000 Kansans had been wrongfully disenfranchised for failing to produce proof-of-citizenship documents when they registered to vote. Robinson’s temporary injunction was upheld when the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to block it last week, meaning Kansas must register all 18,000 voters for federal elections this year. This is another defeat for Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, whose attempts to combat an imagined epidemic of voter fraud have resulted in no more than four misdemeanor convictions for double voting. Kobach hasn’t prosecuted a single non-citizen for voter fraud, and it’s unlikely that he will (only three such cases were recorded in Kansas between 1995 and 2013). But these paltry numbers haven’t prevented him from scaremongering about the logistics of registering voters for upcoming elections.

Kansas: The problem with fixing something that isn’t broken | The Kansas City Star

This is the consequence of passing bad law. Kansas is set to become the national example for how poorly thought out legislation can undercut the right to vote. Changes the Legislature approved in 2012 are being compared to the days of poll taxes. It’s not a stretch. This go-round, thousands of would-be voters were excluded, not by race. It was over their ready access to documents, birth certificates and passports that they needed to produce to prove their citizenship. By court order, on Tuesday, the state had to begin adding at least 18,000 people to voter rolls — potential voters who’d been kept off by the new law when they tried to register at motor vehicle offices. Problem is, rectifying the people’s voting status can’t be accomplished by the flip of a switch. Secretary of State Kris Kobach argued it. He told a federal appeals court that the confusion his policies have created will be an administrative nightmare for the 105 counties in the state to fix. He submitted that many checks of records will need to be done manually, that not everything is automated. And that it will be costly to counties.

Editorials: Kris Kobach knuckles under to court in major victory for thousands of Kansas voters | Yael T. Abouhalkah/The Kansas City Star

In a great victory for up to 50,000 Kansans, Kris Kobach capitulated late Tuesday after suffering his latest stinging legal defeat on voter ID issues. The Republican secretary of state finally provided instructions to election officials across the state on their duty to register at least 18,000 Kansans whose eligibility for federal elections had been suspended. Most of them are under 30, likely to skew Democratic in the ballot booth. Many more could be registered before the November elections, up to 50,000 total people according to state officials. Kobach had pushed through a law that required people registering at motor vehicle offices to provide citizenship documentation before they could be considered fully eligible to vote. However, a federal judge had ruled this violated federal laws. And the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals last week denied Kobach’s plea that it override the judge’s order that registration of voters needed to start by June 15.

Ohio: Husted’s office to reach out to eligible voters who aren’t registered | The Columbus Dispatch

Between 1.5 million and 2.3 million Ohioans are eligible to vote but can’t because they are not registered. Secretary of State Jon Husted is going after every one of them, hoping to sign them up in this presidential election year. An estimated 80,000 already on Ohio’s voter registration rolls are also registered in other states, while 360,000 need to update their registration because they’ve moved within Ohio. Husted is going after every one of them, too. Unless they fix their registration they will either be forced to cast a provisional ballot or be purged from the list. Fueled by a $400,000 grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts, Ohio is joining the Electronic Registration Information Center, a nonprofit group that includes 20 states. So in the end, will the effort generate more or fewer registered voters in Ohio? “That’s the $64,000 question,” said David Becker, Pew’s director of election initiatives, who attended a Statehouse news conference Tuesday with Husted. Becker said that when other states signed up with ERIC, the twin efforts to register new voters and purge those ineligible essentially wound up canceling each other out.

National: Why Is It So Hard For States To Keep Track Of Registered Voters? | MTV

Fifty-nine-year-old veteran Larry Harmon got a surprise when he went to cast a ballot in Ohio last year: He was no longer registered to vote. Harmon hadn’t voted since 2008, a result of being fed up with politics and not liking any of his choices. He didn’t know you could lose your registration just for taking a vacation from the political process. Tens of thousands of other voters in the state were taken off the rolls for the same reason, which they might not figure out until they go to cast a ballot this fall — and Ohio will be an important swing state this year. Voters all over Brooklyn had the same problem in April, when at least 70,000 people were taken off the voter rolls because they hadn’t voted enough in the past. Thousands of voters may have been mistakenly removed for other reasons as well. A baker from Bushwick who had been excited to vote for Bernie Sanders told the New York Daily News, “I’m feeling profoundly snuffed.” And it was hardly the first time this has happened. Ari Berman notes in his book Give Us the Ballot that during the notoriously messy 2000 election in Florida, about 12,000 voters were wrongfully labeled as felons and taken off the rolls. About 44 percent of those were likely African-American.

Kansas: State Moves to Register Those Without Citizenship Proof | Associated Press

Kansas must begin registering thousands of eligible voters for federal elections who have not provided proof of citizenship under a federal court order that has complicated the state’s elections less than a month before early voting begins for its primary. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s office issued instructions to county election officials late Tuesday to register those motor voter applicants without citizenship documentation to vote — but only in the federal races for President and U.S. Senate and U.S. House. Those guidelines come in the wake of a 10th Circuit Court of Appeals decision last week that refused to temporarily block a federal judge’s order. Early voting begins July 13 for the state’s primary election in August. In addition to the presidential race on the November ballot, U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran and all four of his Kansas colleagues in the House are up for re-election.

Kansas: Kris Kobach won’t say if he’s complying with order to register voters | MSNBC

A federal court gave Kansas until Tuesday to start registering thousands of would-be voters tripped up by the state’s strict proof of citizenship law. But Secretary of State Kris Kobach isn’t saying whether he’s complying with the order. It’s been radio silence from Kobach since Friday night, when the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the order issued last month by U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson. A Kobach spokeswoman didn’t respond to multiple phone and email messages asking whether Kobach intends to begin registering voters. Messages sent on Twitter to Kobach and to the official account for the secretary of state’s office also went unanswered. “Secretary Kobach has repeatedly stood in the way of thousands of Kansans who have tried to exercise their right to vote,” Dale Ho, the director of the ACLU’s voting rights project, said in a statement Tuesday.“ Today that ends. He must let them vote.”

Kansas: Appeals court ruling will let some Kansas voters register, for now | Reuters

Thousands of Kansas residents who signed up to vote at motor vehicle offices but were kept off the rolls by a state law requiring proof of citizenship could be allowed to cast ballots in the November general election, under a ruling on Friday by a U.S. appeals court. Kansas’ secretary of state, Kris Kobach, a Republican who has become a national leader in pushing for voting changes, had asked the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to place on hold a decision last month by a lower-court judge ordering the state to begin registering 18,000 residents affected by the law. In requesting the stay, the state said the order to begin to register voters would “result in extraordinary confusion on November 8, 2016.” The Denver-based federal appeals court, however, rejected the argument.

Editorials: Kris Kobach must stop violating voting rights of up to 50,000 Kansans | Yael T. Abouhalkah/The Kansas City Star

Kris Kobach’s incompetence on voting rights has been exposed for all Kansans to see — again. In a nationally watched case, the Republican Kansas Secretary of State was slapped down late Friday by a federal appeals court for trying to enforce his overly restrictive voting law. Instead of trying to make it easier to cast a ballot, Kobach has been engaged in a campaign making it harder for young people, minorities and poorer residents — often Democratic voters — to do that. Up to 50,000 Kansans could be affected, state officials say, higher than earlier estimates of 18,000 as more people register to vote this summer.

United Kingdom: Brexit Vote: U.K. Extends Voter Registration Deadline for EU Referendum | Wall Street Journal

U.K. lawmakers approved emergency legislation allowing more people to register to vote in the referendum on Britain’s continued membership of the European Union, prompting anger among some “leave” campaigners who said it would favor those lobbying to remain. A last-minute rush by those wishing to register to vote ahead of the initial deadline of midnight Tuesday caused the government’s website to crash, leaving some unable to access the system. Prime Minister David Cameron, who is leading the push to persuade voters to stay in the EU, said he wanted those people to have the opportunity to take part in the June 23 plebiscite. The government subsequently introduced legislation to extend the deadline to midnight on Thursday, which was passed by lawmakers in parliament earlier in the day.

California: Federal judge rejects lawsuit Bernie Sanders backers had hoped would boost his California chances | Los Angeles Times

A federal judge refused Wednesday to reopen voter registration in California ahead of next week’s presidential primary, telling a group led by backers of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders that the rights of the state’s unaffiliated voters have not been harmed. “There’s absolutely no showing of any federal violation,” said U.S. District Judge William Alsup. Alsup also denied the request that volunteers at polling places be required to tell voters about the unusual rules surrounding which political parties have opened their presidential contests to unaffiliated “independent” voters. “The citizens of California are smart enough to know what their rights are,” the judge said in a brief court hearing in San Francisco. Attorneys for the Sanders affiliated group and California’s American Independent Party, both plaintiffs in the lawsuit, said they would consider asking a federal appeals court to intervene. But they also suggested a last-minute case in state court, even though the primary is on Tuesday.

Kansas: Thousands of voters in limbo after Kansas demands proof they’re American | Reuters

After moving to Kansas, Tad Stricker visited a state motor vehicle office to perform what he thought was the routine task of getting a new driver’s license and registering to vote. It was a familiar procedure for Stricker, 37, who has moved from state to state frequently in his work as a hotel manager. He filled out a voter registration form and got his driver’s license. He was not asked for more documents, he said. So he was stunned when he tried to cast a ballot in November 2014 and was told he was not on the voter rolls. A month later, a letter from the state said why: His registration had been placed “in suspense” because he had failed to meet a state requirement he did not know about – proving he was an American. Spurred by Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a national leader in pushing for anti-immigration and voting changes, more than 36,000 Kansas residents have joined Stricker in limbo since early 2013 under a state law that raises a new and higher barrier to voting in the United States: proof of citizenship.

Louisiana: State Repeals Century-Old Voter Registration Requirement | Associated Press

Louisiana has repealed a century-old state law that required naturalized citizens to provide proof of their citizenship when they registered to vote, a change that effectively resolves a lawsuit’s discrimination claims. Civil rights groups that sued last month to block the 142-year-old law’s enforcement announced Wednesday that they will withdraw their federal lawsuit now that state lawmakers have removed it from the books. Their suit claimed the old law discriminated against foreign-born, naturalized U.S. citizens by arbitrarily subjecting them to “heightened” voter registration requirements that didn’t apply to native-born citizens.

California: San Francisco city attorney slams Sanders’ backers’ voter registration suit | San Francisco Chronicle

A lawsuit by supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders and a group of independent voters against election officials is just a headline-grabbing “political stunt” unsupported by any evidence, San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera said Tuesday. The suit “cynically aims to undermine the legitimacy of our election, and to further a political narrative that has zero basis in reality,” said Herrera, whose office represents San Francisco elections Director John Arntz in the case. The lawsuit accuses election officials of providing independent voters with misleading and confusing information about their right to vote for a partisan presidential candidate in the June 7 primary. The suit seeks to extend Monday’s voter registration deadline to election day.

National: Voter Registration is all about Residence (and Domicile) | The Canvass

Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have something in common (as strange as that sounds)—they both seem to be turning out first-time voters. But before those newly-minted participants in democracy can cast their ballots, there are a few boxes to be checked. Registration is often the first step for those voters towards casting their first-ever vote—it’s required in 49 states (North Dakota does not have voter registration). And when it comes to registering to vote, it’s all about residency. Residency requirements matter in elections. They are one of the basic requirements for voting, along with age, U.S. citizenship and other factors. While those requirements have clear yes or no answers (you either are or aren’t old enough to vote; you’re either a U.S. citizen or not) residency requirements are more complex.

California: Bernie Sanders supporters sue to have California’s voter registration extended until election day | Los Angeles Times

A federal lawsuit alleging widespread confusion over California’s presidential primary rules asks that voter registration be extended past Monday’s deadline until the day of the state’s primary election on June 7. “Mistakes are being made,” said William Simpich, an Oakland civil rights attorney who filed the lawsuit Friday. At issue is whether voters understand the rules for the presidential primary, which differ from those governing other elections in California. Unlike statewide primaries — where voters now choose any candidate, no matter the political party — the presidential contests are controlled by the parties themselves. Democrats have opened up their primary between Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders to voters that have no political affiliation, known in California as having “no party preference.” But the lawsuit alleges elections officials in some of California’s 58 counties aren’t making that clear to these unaffiliated voters. “There’s mass confusion,” Simpich said in an interview on Saturday night. “This is a situation that really shouts out for some uniformity.”

Kansas: Kobach appeals order to register thousands of voters | The Kansas City Star

Secretary of State Kris Kobach asked a federal appeals court Friday to delay a judge’s order to add thousands of Kansas residents to voting rolls for federal elections after they didn’t provide proof of citizenship when registering at motor vehicle offices. Kobach, a Kansas Republican, told the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals that the process would be administratively burdensome and involve thousands of hours of work by election officials. He’s asking for a stay while he appeals the decision. The American Civil Liberties Union, which sued on behalf of Kansas voters, is opposing the delay. U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson issued the preliminary injunction Tuesday after finding more than 18,000 eligible voters would be disenfranchised in the upcoming federal elections under the Kansas law. She put her order on hold, but only until May 31, so the state could appeal.

California: Tens of thousands have left California’s American Independent Party in the last month | Los Angeles Times

A new analysis finds nearly 32,000 voters in California’s American Independent Party changed their official registration and left the party in the two weeks after a Los Angeles Times investigation identified widespread confusion among the party’s members. The change comes after a series of stories last month about voters who had intended to be politically independent, what’s known in California as having “no party preference.” A poll conducted for The Times found 73% of American Independent Party members did not know they had registered with an actual political party. Paul Mitchell, a political data specialist whose firm sells exclusive analyses of voter data to California political campaigns, worked with The Times on the stories. He conducted the new analysis for The Times on a pro-bono basis.

Kansas: Kobach changing interagency policies for Kansas voter registration | Associated Press

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has told a federal court that he is changing interagency policies to improve the state’s ability to verify proof of citizenship for people who register to vote at motor vehicle offices. The notice, filed shortly before midnight Wednesday, comes a day after a federal court ruled thousands of Kansas residents who did not provide such documents must be added to voter rolls for federal elections. The judge stayed her ruling until May 31 so the state could appeal, which Kobach has said he plans to do. In his court filing, Kobach contends that the new policies were being implemented prior to Tuesday’s ruling. One policy says motor vehicle offices accept and scan documents proving U.S. citizenship. Another change gives the secretary of state’s office and election officials in all 105 counties Internet access to check whether motor vehicle offices possess such documents.

Australia: Fear of voter fraud is no excuse for restricting enrolment | The Guardian

The electoral roll closes at 8pm on Monday. Potential voters who have failed to enrol by then will not be able to vote on 2 July. As of March, the Australian Electoral Commission estimated that more than 900,000 people were “missing” from the roll – 6% of the eligible voting population. There are particularly large numbers of young voters missing from the rolls. While the AEC and other groups make a big effort to encourage young people to enrol, the rolls are closing long before most voters will engage with the election. It’s not surprising that many voters, particularly those voting for the first time, do not realise they need to enrol long befor polling day. At most elections, rolls close about four weeks before election day. This year’s longer campaign has stretched this period to six weeks.

Kansas: Judge rules Kobach must register 18,000 suspended Kansas voters | The Wichita Eagle

A federal judge on Tuesday ordered Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to register about 18,000 rejected voters who filed applications at Department of Motor Vehicles offices but didn’t provide the proof of citizenship Kansas law requires. Kobach said he’ll file an emergency appeal to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. Judge Julie Robinson ruled the Kansas proof-of-citizenship law conflicts with the federal motor-voter act, which was passed by Congress to make it easier to vote by requiring motor-vehicle offices to also offer voting registration. Robinson approved a preliminary injunction requiring Kobach to register prospective voters who were rejected since 2013 because they didn’t file documents proving their citizenship. They could vote in federal elections – U.S. House, Senate and the presidency – in this election cycle. The case centers on a Kansas law Kobach authored that requires applicants to provide documented citizenship proof. For most voters, that means either a passport or birth certificate – along with proof of marriage- and divorce-related name changes for women.