Following a week of turmoil over the firing of FBI director James Comey, the Department of Justice named former FBI director Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election and possible collusion between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Moscow. Deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein had been under escalating pressure from Democrats, and even some Republicans, to appoint a special counsel after he wrote a memo that the White House initially cited as the rationale for Mr. Comey’s dismissal.
The Supreme Court declined to consider reinstating provisions of North Carolina’s 2013 omnibus elections law bill that included restrictive voter ID requirements, leaving in place an appeals court ruling that had struck down parts of the law as unconstitutional. Though the decision was a victory for voting rights advocates, many worry that it is only a temporary reprieve, postponing a showdown over what kind of voting rules are acceptable and how much influence partisanship should have over access to the ballot box.
A Washington Post editorial warned that the recently announced Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity will likely endeavor to create further pretexts for GOP-dominated state legislatures determined to throw up barriers to minority turnout. The leading voice on the panel in Kansas Sewcretary of State Kris Kobach, described by the Post as a longtime champion of voter suppression laws who seconded as “absolutely correct” the president’s fabricated assertion that Hillary Clinton’s victory in the popular vote, which she won by nearly 3 million ballots, was a result of millions of illegal votes.
The closely-watched special election run-off election in Georgia’s 6th district will use 15 year old Diebold touchscreen voting machines that run on Microsoft Server 2000. “That’s a crap system,” said Douglas Jones, a computer science professor at the University of Iowa in a phone interview; adding that the database in use, Microsoft Access is a “toy database” that should never be used for industrial applications.
Members of the Utah House GOP caucus threatened to sue Republican Governor Gary Herbert over whether he will call them into a special session to decide how a replacement for resigning U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz will be picked. At issue is the Governor’s “secret plan” for establishing the terms on which the special election will run rather than involving the legislature.
Dismissing Gov. Scott Walker’s recommendation, the Wisconsin legislature’s budget committee approved state funding for five of six Elections Commission staff positions that have been supported by federal grant that’s set to run out. Lawmakers from both parties agreed that the staffing was necessary to ensure the proper administration of elections in the state.
Turnout was high in Nepal’s first elections in nearly two decades, though some voters are frustrated by the slow vote counting and there are concerns about preparations for anticipated run-off elections next month.. The Diplomat posted an article describing enthusiasm about the local elections in regions hit by earthquakes last yearTime ran an extensive piece examining Russia’s efforts to undermine Western democracy.