Monday, February 28, 2011

Brennan Center for Justice: This Week in Fair Courts: KS and OK Judicial Selection News

"The Kansas House passed a bill to replace the state’s merit selection system for appellate judges with a system in which judges are appointed by the governor, subject to state Senate confirmation. The bill’s sponsors argue that the current system — in which a judicial nominating commission sends candidates to the governor — gives too much influence to attorneys. Chief Judge Richard Greene of the Kansas Court of Appeals advocated vocally against the change, and an editorial in the Wichita Eagle similarly worries that the switch will politicize the court. Meanwhile, the Tulsa World reports that a similar proposal to do away with Oklahoma’s merit selection system has advanced in the Oklahoma Senate Judiciary Committee. And, in response to proposals to modify Arizona’s judicial selection system currently before the state legislature, the Morrison Institute for Public Policy at Arizona State University has published a paper highlighting the benefits of merit selection."
The entire article, without commenting, is at 
Oklahoma bill SB621 was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee for markup.


The Oklahoma Observer: Voting Rights Denied for Independents in Primaries

"Women were given the right to vote. People of all races were given the right to vote. Those 18-years-old were given the right to vote.It was well past time that these Americans were given the right to vote. And when this right was given there were no restrictions placed on what party, if any, they were to affiliate themselves with. Nor were there any restrictions placed on which elections they could cast their votes. This is as it should be.
But this isn’t true for the more than 250,000 registered independents in Oklahoma. These voters have been denied the right to vote in primary elections just because they choose not to affiliate with either of the major political parties. This isn’t right.
Why should independents be penalized because leaders of the Democratic or Republican parties say they should be? Who gave them the right to deny anyone from voting? Who made them God?
Independents are not wing nuts or whackos just because they don’t follow a specific political party line. More often than not, they vote for candidates of the major parties. They strive to choose the best from each party. That alone should make their vote more palatable and worthy. They aren’t necessarily pushing for a third party. They just want fairness and equality in the voting process.
In the last presidential and congressional elections, political pundits and TV talking heads made much of the impact independents would have on the outcome of these elections. This impact is continuing to grow and more people are choosing to be independent in their political thinking and voting. ...
Rep. Eric Proctor, D-Tulsa, has introduced legislation [HB 1287, assigned to the House Rules Committee] that would allow independents to vote in presidential primaries. This is a start, but only a totally open primary where independents can vote is what’s needed to bring Oklahoma into the 21st Century politically. Unfortunately, a vote on his bill has been stifled by GOP legislators who have also added a plank in their party’s platform that denies the right of independents to vote in primary elections."
The entire article, with commenting, is at
Oklahoma bill HB 1287 was assigned to the House Rules Committee for markup.


U.S. Election Assistance Commission: EAC Standards Board Meeting--Day Two

"First up on day two was a discussion about the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act. We heard from election officials in Delaware, Washington and West Virginia. Officials from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) talked about their responsibilities under the MOVE Act.
Visit our Military and Overseas Voters section to learn more about EAC’s role under the MOVE Act and what we are doing to help these voters, including the Military Heroes Initiative, Pilot Program Guidelines and the most comprehensive research about ballot request and return rates.
The last panel of the day was Journalists and Election Officials: Working Together on Behalf of America’s Voters. Journalists and election officials discussed gathering and reporting results, post-election activities and shared goals. They exchanged practical information about challenges and how to achieve their shared goal of delivering election results to the public."
The entire article, without commenting, is posted under "Meetings and Events" at

The EAC Standards Board – made up of election officials from every state and U.S. territory – met in Oklahoma City on Feb. 24th and 25th.  See All Things Reform's earlier post for information on Day 1's activities.


PR Newswire: Former Federal Election Commission Chairman Michael Toner to Join Wiley Rein's Leading Election Law Practice

"In early March, Michael E. Toner, a former Chairman of the Federal Election Commission and prominent election law expert will return to Wiley Rein, where he will serve as co-chair of the country's oldest and largest Election Law & Government Ethics Practice.  Mr. Toner — a political veteran with a wealth of experience advising candidates, political committees, trade associations and corporate clients on federal and state election law compliance — adds further depth to a nationally recognized team that is commended by Chambers USA as a top-tier group and a "formidable force in the U.S. political arena."  He rejoins Wiley Rein from the DC office of Bryan Cave, where he led their Election Law Practice and was President of Bryan Cave Strategies, the firm's public policy and government affairs branch.
Mr. Toner, who began his legal career as an associate at Wiley Rein, has established himself as one of the nation's leading lawyers in the political law arena.  Nominated to the Federal Election Commission in 2002, Mr. Toner served as FEC Chairman in 2006 and remained an FEC Commissioner until 2007.  He served as Chief Counsel of the Republican National Committee from 2001 to 2002 and RNC Deputy Counsel from 1997 to 1999.  He also served as General Counsel of the Bush-Cheney Transition Team and the Bush-Cheney 2000 presidential campaign, and was counsel to the Dole-Kemp presidential campaign in 1996.  A prolific author, Mr. Toner has contributed to several books and frequently is called upon by the media to provide expert commentary and analysis."
This Press Release, without commenting, is at
A hat tip to Election Law blog for the link.

Amplify Politics Extra: Ohio Secretary of State wants online voter registration

"[Ohio] Secretary of State Jon Husted today said he wants Ohioans to be able to register to vote online – in time for the 2012 presidential election.
Under his proposals, which need the General Assembly’s ok, voters could also change their addresses online. From his release:
This convenience to voters would also assist boards of elections and potentially reduce errors by cutting back on data entry. To protect against fraudulent registrations, the on-line system would require a valid Ohio driver’s license or state identification card to participate. Husted noted that according to an informal survey of the 88 county boards of elections, nearly half of voters were required to cast provisional ballots in the last general election because they moved or changed their name and did not notify their board of elections prior to Election Day. This on-line system would make it easier for Ohioans to keep their information up-to-date so they can vote a regular ballot on Election Day."
The entire article, with commenting, is at 
A hat tip to Election Law blog for the link.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

OpenSecrets Blog: National Popular Vote Plan Pushers Hire New Lobbyists, Bring on Deep-Pocketed Help

"On Tuesday, National Popular Vote, which seeks to require the Electoral College to back the winner of the national popular vote, announced the support of billionaire New Yorker Thomas Golisano. According to a Center for Responsive Politics review of records filed with the U.S. Senate last week, the group also retained the lobbying services of Park Strategies, a decade-old lobbying shop founded by ex-Sen. Alfonse D'Amato (R-N.Y.). ...In an interview with Gannett earlier this week, Golisano said his new role at National Popular Vote, a bipartisan nonprofit group, will be to meet with legislative leaders and governors across the country. He will also be providing financial support. In the Gannett interview, he declined to give an exact dollar amount, saying only that 'it's not an inexpensive proposition.'"
The entire article, with commenting, is at 

unprison: Ten Million Movement: Beyond COINTELPRO, the Demand for Civil Rights Continues in America from the Formerly Incarcerated

"From February 28–March 2, formerly incarcerated people from around the country will gather in Montgomery and Selma to develop a common platform for restoration of civil rights, stopping prison expansion, eliminating excessive punishments, and protecting the dignity of families and communities.  The gathering – called by and for formerly incarcerated people and people with criminal convictions — is the first of its kind in the United States. Representatives from nearly 30 states will gather to establish a national agenda for securing the civil and human rights for the tens of millions people in the U.S. living in prison or jails, on parole or probation, or with a criminal conviction. Having served their sentences and returned home, formerly incarcerated people face circumstances that often seem designed to prevent their full participation in their communities and country. These include stigma for having a criminal conviction, barriers to gaining meaningful employment and decent housing, barriers to constructive educational opportunities, lack of access to healthcare, and denial of voting rights.  It is nothing short of Second, or Third Class Citizenship in the United States, and (if unchecked) serves to create a Third World nation within our borders, with entire communities marked by unemployment and poverty.  Those communities are no longer confined to a housing project, no longer a certain section of “East ___” or “South _____,” as roughly 25% of America has a criminal record.
This is a widespread problem. Consider that there are 2.4 million people incarcerated in prisons and jails in the U.S. today.  Most people currently incarcerated are coming home – according to the Department of Justice, over 700,000 people were released from incarceration in 2006 alone. Across the country, over six million people are under state supervision like parole or probation. There are millions of people who are currently and formerly incarcerated, and millions more who were never incarcerated but have a criminal conviction—all of whom live, every day, without their full civil and human rights.
The gathering takes place in Alabama to re-connect with the rich history of the Civil Rights Movement. March 7 marks the 46th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday March over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, reminding America of the Civil Rights Movement.
▪                On Monday, February 28, diverse delegates from over 30 states will hold a day-long meeting in Montgomery, AL to map out a national civil and human rights agenda for formerly incarcerated people in the United States.
▪                At 1 p.m. on Tuesday March 1, the eve of the Bloody Sunday anniversary, and with the blessing of Civil Rights veterans from Alabama and beyond, formerly incarcerated people and their allies will march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, signaling their intent to fulfill the promise of the Civil Rights Movement.
▪                On Wednesday March 2 at 10 a.m., the group will hold a rally at the statehouse in Montgomery, just steps away from Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s old church.
Participants are attending from around the country. The Gathering Steering Committee is available for comment or interviews:..."
The entire article, with commenting, is at 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Wall Street Journal: NY Governor Cuomo's bill would extend NY congressional vacancy for military voters

"[New York] Governor Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday proposed extending the time frame for military voting in special elections with a bill that could delay the process of filling western New York's vacant congressional seat by at least several weeks. 
Cuomo said the legislation is needed to allow enough time for military ballots to be mailed and counted in the 26th Congressional District race, in compliance with recent federal law. ...
The bill, once passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor, would take effect immediately, Cuomo's office said, but it is unknown when state lawmakers will act on it."
The entire article, with commenting, is at 

Port Chester [NY] Roundup: 02/25/11 The Brother Of The Rye Town Supervisor Joe Carvin Has No Shame As He Takes $200,000 From Port Chester Homeowners

"Long-time Republican insider and the brother of Rye Town Supervisor Joseph Carvin, has been hired by Port Chester's Republican trustees for $750 an hour.

Thanks to Sam Terenzi and Bart Didden, Port Chester taxpayers are on the hook for a total cost of $225,000 [and eventually perhaps more] to fight the Department of Justice this week.

Port Chester Homeowners and responsible local leaders are crying foul.

Micheal Carvin, of the firm Jones Day, will now prepare to appeal a federal judge's decision that declared Port Chester in violation of the Voting Rights Act."
The entire article, with commenting, is at 

Ballot Access News: PA Elections Bureau Finally Releases Nov 2010 Write-in Vote-- Partially

"On February 25, the Pennsylvania Bureau of Commissions, Elections & Legislation released the write-in results from the November 2, 2010 election. However, the information does not seem to be on the Bureau’s web page yet. It appears that eight counties did not tally any write-ins at all for any office. They are Clarion, Clinton, Jefferson, Lawrence, Mifflin, Montgomery, Perry, and Philadelphia.
Pennsylvania is the only large state that has no procedure for write-in candidates who want their vote tallied to file a declaration of write-in candidacy. All write-in votes are valid votes in Pennsylvania, and the state admits that the law requires that all write-ins be counted. The Pennsylvania Constitution protects write-in votes."
The entire article, with commenting, is at 

A New Kind of Third Party: Proportional Representation, Roprortional Prepesentation!

The entire article, with commenting, discusses alternative electoral systems; it's at

Cleveland [TN] Daily Banner: TN Secretary of State Tre Hargett cites people as culprits

"There were no comments while Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett presented a brief overview of his job — until he began talking about elections.
After his speech Thursday in front of the Kiwanis Club of Cleveland, a member said the voting machines used in Tennessee do not have a recorded paper trail and could be hacked in five minutes.
'I don’t think they can be hacked in five minutes, but there is no perfect machine,' he said. 'As long as we have people who want to commit fraud, they are going to find a way to commit it regardless of what kind of machine we have. Machines are not the culprit. People are the culprit'
Hargett said he is not convinced the machines can be hacked in five minutes and the state is moving toward paper receipts that won’t tell how a person voted, only that they voted."
The entire article, without commenting, is at

Tennesseans: The bill has already passed your State Senate; it is currently in your State House.  You can still contact your own State Representative on bill HB0007.

Nota bene:  The website of the Tennessee Legislature is very nice to use.


PA State Representative Eugene DePasquale: DePasquale to introduce four-bill election reform package

"Pennsylvania State Representative Eugene DePasquale, Democrat-York, announced the introduction of a package of four bills designed to improve voter turnout and give more voters a voice on Election Day.

The first bill would allow voters registered as Independents to cast ballots in Pennsylvania primary elections. ...

The second bill, to be called the Corporate Accountability Act, would require corporations to obtain shareholder approval before contributing an annual aggregate sum exceeding $10,000. Under current law, following the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling, corporations can spend freely to influence a political campaign without the approval of shareholders. Further, the contributions are not made known to the shareholders or the public.

The third bill would allow for early voting in Pennsylvania. The legislation would allow all voters to cast ballots up to 15 days in advance of Election Day in both primary and general elections. ...

DePasquale said voters taking part in early voting would have to provide photo identification and sign a certificate to confirm their participation in early voting, and the county board of elections would maintain a list of early voters to prevent fraud.

The final bill in the package would make general election competition among all parties a reality by equalizing the ability of Independent and third-party candidates to run for public office in Pennsylvania."
The entire press release, without commenting, is at 
Pennsylvanians: You can contact your own State Representative concerning these bills.  I could not locate the entire text of the bills.


Friday, February 25, 2011 Missouri State Senate Passes Voter ID Bill; It Now Goes on to the House

"A bill that would require Missouri voters to show a state, federal, or military picture ID when voting moved to the House Friday after passage in the state senate the day before. The bill would amend the state's constitution to change those requirements. Republican Senator Bill Stouffer of Marshall sponsored Senate Joint Resolution 2."
The entire article, without commenting, is at 
Missourians: You can contact your own State House Representative concerning House bill H 457.  I could not locate the full text of the bill.

A hat tip to Voting News blog from Verified Voting.


US Dept of Justice: The Justice Blog: Renewing a Commitment to Language Access from Federal Agencies

"[To] ensure that all federal agencies are providing the language access necessary to communicate effectively with LEP [limited English proficient] individuals, U.S. Attorney General has issued a memorandum asking each federal agency to renew its commitment to implementing Executive Order 13166 (PDF).  The memo outlines specific steps agencies should take to improve language access, which will be monitored by the Civil Rights Division. Learn more about Executive Order 13166 and the provision of language access, here."
The entire article without commenting is at
Voting rights-related federal agencies currently include the Dept. of Justice/ Civil Rights Division, the Election Assistance Commission, the U.S. Census Bureau and the Federal Election Commission.

Amplify Grand jury debunks reports of local [California] voter fraud

"Many instances of voter fraud alleged in recent years have "morphed from facts and allegations to urban legend" and the biggest instances of the problem locally happened 20-plus years ago, according to a Kern County grand jury report released Thursday.
Jurors investigated the local voting system, according to the report, after receiving a letter last year detailing a public presentation made by a 2002 30th Assembly District candidate alleging there were "huge discrepancies in voter registrations" before his loss.
The report doesn't name names but it's obviously referring to Bakersfield businessman and Republican Dean Gardner, who lost the race to Democrat Nicole Parra by a razor-thin margin and alleged voter fraud at the time.
The large increases in Democratic Party registrations in that district before the November 2002 general election "appears to be the result of more active organizing by that party rather than devious or illegal activities," grand jurors wrote. ...
The report said elections officials have many, thorough ways to keep the voter rolls clean and to minimize fraud. The only recommendations made in the report were for county elections officials and other staff to "continue to do the excellent job they have been doing" and for the auditor-controller to post a copy of the report for public review."
The entire article, with commenting and the Grand Jury Report, is at 
A hat tip to Voting News blog from Verified Voting.


The Examiner: Lawsuits challenge Florida redistricting changes

"After a hard-fought political campaign, voters approved two measures last fall that would change how Florida's congressional and legislative districts are drawn every decade.
Now, the real brawling is starting in the courts.
Two lawsuits filed in the wake of last November's election could determine the fate of the two amendments to Florida's constitution, which supporters say will help end gerrymandering, the process of tailoring districts to favor a particular party, incumbent or demographic group. Opponents claim the amendments will dilute the voting power of minorities."
The entire article with commenting is at

Bangor [Maine] Daily News: State bill would disallow ‘do-overs’ for absentee voters

"Lawmakers heard testimony Wednesday on a bill that would prohibit Mainers who cast votes by absentee ballot from asking for a do-over simply because they changed their minds."
The entire article with commenting is at 
This is outrageous, blocking voters from their ability to vote.  If a voter wants to change his vote before the election, let him do so!

Mainers: You can contact your own state legislators [House of Representatives and Senate] on Bill LD 179. Please remember to mention the bill number.

A hat tip to Voting News blog from Verified Voting.


On a lighter note (thank God): During Chicago Election, Two Boozing Judges, One Just Napping

"On an otherwise slow Election Day in Chicago, there is now a second election judge who has been ousted from his post for being drunk.
It happened in the 11th Ward. An investigator from the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners went to the fire station at 3509 S Lowe Ave. and ejected a judge who 'smelled of booze.'
Earlier in the day, another judge was yanked for showing up to a polling place intoxicated.
In the 37th ward at the Jorge Prieto Math and Science Academy, another judge apparently spent part of the afternoon napping during voting, according to the board’s reports. Investigators got witness confirmation that the judge spent '45 minutes off to the side and not executing responsibilities.'
The judge was told that napping is not allowed."
This quote is the entirity of the article (second item) at,0,2128756.story

A grateful hat tip to Election Law blog for this eye-opener.


The Independent View: Wisconsin Voters Remorse

"What do voters do when they decide they made a mistake with their vote? RECALL.
The citizens of Wisconsin are granted the authority to perform a recall election by the Wisconsin Constitution, Article VIII, Section 12 to all elective officers after the first year of the term for which the incumbent was elected."
The entire article with commenting is at
The article gives instructions on how Wisconsin citizens may recall a state of Wisconsin elected official.


The Examiner: Florida Attorney General wants to go back on restoring felon rights

"[Florida] Attorney General Pam Bondi said Thursday that recent rule changes have made it too easy for nonviolent felons to get their civil rights [including voting rights] restored after completing their sentences, and she wants to undo them.
Bondi, a former Tampa prosecutor, appears to have the support of at least one other Cabinet member and Gov. Rick Scott. That's a majority of the four-member Board of Executive Clemency. Florida's three cabinet members and Scott, all Republicans, sit on the board, which could revise the existing rules as early as next month in a special meeting."
The entire article with commenting is at 
Floridians: You can contact your own Office of Executive Clemency.


Rock the Vote and National Education Association: First Annual Democracy Day is March 23rd

"Forty years ago, educators and students stood together and fought to give young adults the right to vote. In doing so, they amended the Constitution and empowered millions of American citizens to have a say in our democracy.  To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the 26th Amendment, Rock the Vote, in partnership with the National Education Association, brings you the first annual Democracy Day.   We are kicking off Democracy Day on March 23, 2011, asking educators, principals, school support staff and community organizations nationwide to commit to teaching Rock the Vote’s Democracy Class lesson to students before the end of the school year."
Check out the entire website of 
See if your own school celebrates Democracy Day.

A hat tip to Rock the Vote.


Rose Institute: Redistricting in America

"The Rose Institute of State and Local Government at Claremont McKenna College presents one source to find information on redistricting in all fifty states."
Check out the entire website at
A hat tip to Election Law blog.


Citizens in Charge: As Legislature Attacks, Fdn Releases Five Facts About Amendments to Colorado’s Constitution

"With a constitutional amendment that would make it far more difficult to enact future constitutional amendments – especially through Colorado’s citizen initiative process – already passed by the State Senate and now pending on the floor of the House of Representatives, Citizens in Charge Foundation, a national voter rights group (and a partner organization to Citizens in Charge), today issued a report entitled, 'Five Facts about Amending Colorado’s Constitution. Senate Concurrent Resolution 1 (SCR-1) is quickly moving through the legislature. Senators passed the amendment in a 25-9 vote earlier this week and it could pass the full House as early as tomorrow (Friday, Feb. 25)."
The entire article with commenting, plus a Scribd document titled "Five Facts about Amending Colorado's Constitution", is at 
Coloradans: You can contact your own state representative concerning this bill; remember to mention the bill number "SCR-1".


The Colorado Independent: Mountain States Legal Fdn battling Native American voting rights

"Fremont County, Wyoming is home to the sprawling Wind River Indian Reservation, home to about 7500 Native Americans out of a total county population of less than 40,000 people. Until recently no Indian had ever been elected to the county’s five-person board of commissioners.
How could that be? Simple–all five seats were at-large ensuring a white majority of voters in each election.
One Indian was finally elected under that system in 2006. Just before Keja Whiteman was elected, five individual Indians filed suit to force the county to create five individual geographic districts, with one of them centered on the reservation.
The county could have just agreed to do it, but instead fought the suit, bringing in Lakewood’s Mountain States Legal Foundation as counsel for the county.
According to The Washington Post, MSLF, a non-profit public interest law firm, is representing the county at no cost.
Why? We called the MSLF and were told attorney J. Scott Detamore, who is handling the case, would call back. So far, he hasn’t."
The above picture is the Fremont County, Wyoming Board of Commissioners. 
The entire article with commenting is at
All voters within a district should be reasonably represented, without discrimination.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Kentuckians for the Commonwealth: First Pictures and Quotes from the Voting Rights Lobby Day and Rally

"Here are some of the first images and quotes from today's Voting Rights day in Frankfort [Kentucky]. 
We had 250-300 people throughout 6 1/2 hours of citizen lobbying and rallying for HB 70, our bill to restore voting rights to most former felons once they have served their debt to society. 
We had some exceptionally good in-person meetings with key senators and a lot of other good outcomes."
The entire article with images and commenting, is at 
Congratulations to all, on a successful, peaceful protest day!


A New Kind of Third Party: I Support FairVote's Leadership in American Proportional Representation Advocacy

"I encourage others to contribute to FairVote and to target their contribution towards their advocacy for the use of Proportional Representation (or multi-seated elections) in state assembly and city council or other municipal elections in ways that are more in continuity with American Exceptionalism. This probably entails the use of smaller numbers of seats and the use of cumulative voting (as has been used in IL and was recently adopted in Port Chester, NY) or perhaps my personal favorite: 3-seated Hare Largest Remainder."
The entire article, with commenting, is at 
I agree with Proportional Representation (PR)! Please contribute if you can.  PR is a very important and timely issue for our nation. We need more than two "major" political parties sharing the true makeup of our diverse society.


Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights Under Law: Victory in New Mexico Voter Registration Case

"On February 24, 2011, U.S. District Judge Judith Herrera signed a Consent Order resolving litigation brought by the Voting Rights Project challenging the failure of the State of New Mexico to implement the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA) at the State's public assistance offices.  Valdez v. Duran (D. N.M.).   The Order requires the State to implement specific procedures to ensure that thousands of New Mexico citizens will be accorded the opportunity to register to vote when applying for and renewing their public assistance benefits, and also when submitting a change of address for benefits purposes.  The Order further requires that the State conduct voter registration training for public assistance employees and regularly monitor implementation of the Order."
The entire article including related documents, but without commenting availability, is at 
Hat tip to Election Law blog.


U.S. Election Assistance Commission: EAC Standards Board Meeting—Day One

"Hello from Oklahoma City! The EAC Standards Board – made up of election officials from every state and U.S. territory – is meeting here Feb. 24 and 25. This morning's big topic was Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) products and how they impact the quality and functionality of voting systems.This afternoon we discussed cost savings in elections. Election officials from D.C., Georgia, Minnesota and Texas shared cost savings initiatives, including:
• Use of technology to reduce phone calls, emails
• Web sites that feature pertinent, frequently requested info & tools like polling place locators
• Online look-ups for voter registration status & absentee ballots status
• Document management systems for ballots to reduce shipping costs
• Webcast trainings
Visit the Standards Board meeting page to view all the day’s presentations, including COTS and cost savings in elections. Tomorrow we’ll discuss military and overseas voting and delivering accurate election information to the public. More to come…"
The entire article, without commenting availability, is at
You can watch a webcast of EAC’s recent COTS roundtable.


Citizens in Charge: West Virginia: Confusion Over Parkersburg Recall Petition Deadline

"City officials and activists can’t seem to agree on the rules governing a move to recall the elected officials who voted for a $2.50-a-week user fee in Parkersburg [West Virginia]. The city claims the deadline to submit petitons passed last week while supporters of the recall effort don’t believe the law contains a deadline"
The entire article, with commenting, is at


Barefoot and Progressive: KFTC Voting Rights Rally today

"The good folks at KFTC are making yet another push to restore the voting rights of former felons in Kentucky, as we and Virginia remain the most backward states in the country in this regards. The bill passed easily in the House again this year (77-21), but now it faces David Williams' Senate, which will be a tough climb.And be sure to call your State Senator at 1-800-372-7181 and tell them to do the right thing by voting yes on House Bill 70."
The entire article, with commenting and live video of a rally in Frankfort at 1:00, is at


The Washington Post: The Fix: Mapping the Future [A series on redistricting in the states]

"['Mapping the Future'] is an occasional series that focuses on the decennial redistricting process in key states... The series aims to look forward to how the maps in these states could be drawn and what the best and worst outcomes for each party might be."
Each series article, which has commenting, is at 


Weigel: Wisconsin State Senate Fails to Pass Voter ID Bill

"The gambit failed, for now. The Republican-only state Senate adjourned for the day -- after a 40-minute session -- without passing the voter ID bill.
The reason? Republicans had a problem. The legislation offered reimbursements to pay for IDs for voters who currently lacked them. That was a financial component -- that meant 20 senators needed to be present to pass the bill. There was talk of striking that component from the bill, which would have made it germane to pass by the rump of GOP senators. But failing to include the reimbursement would have inspired instant lawsuits -- likely successful lawsuits -- striking down the law."
The entire article, with commenting, is at 
Hat tip to Election Law blog.


Common Cause: Moneypolitics

"Moneypolitics:  Noun. A political system created in the United States by the Supreme Court circa 2010, whereby wealth has nearly the entirety of the political power. The system is characterized by large numbers of television ads which mislead the people into believing that the candidates who are best for wealthy interests are actually best for the people. This political system only survives as long as the people are distracted, uninformed, and inactive."
The entire article, with commenting, is at 
I believe this is a manifesto for a human being's right of free speech in America.  Fight, for your freedom.


Business and Election Law: California SB 6 / Prop 14 Lawsuit Regarding Candidate/Voting Rights

"A Coffee Party candidate running to succeed departing Congresswoman Jane Harman (CA-36) has filed a federal lawsuit to block the implementation of California’s new “Top Two” open primary.
SB 6 will be used in a special election to replace departing Congresswoman Harman; current Secretary of State Debra Bowen is among the half dozen candidates who have declared their intention to run in the special election. Vote-by-mail ballots in that election could be cast in a matter of weeks.
Unless an injunction is granted, voters will see a “no party preference” on the ballot for plaintiff Michael Chamness because the Coffee Party is not considered a “state recognized” political party. Under SB6, a “no party preference” label is applied to all minor-party candidates like Mr. Chamness and puts him at a disadvantage compared to Democratic or Republican candidates. Previously, minor-party candidates were allowed to use the ballot label of “Independent.”
Mr. Chamness’ lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of Senate Bill 6 (SB 6), the law that implements Proposition 14’s “Top Two” Primary.  The lawsuit argues that SB 6, which was passed by the Legislature in the middle of the night without opportunity for public comment, unfairly discriminates against and deprives minor-party candidates like Mr. Chamness of their fundamental rights."
The entire article, which includes related documents, is at; commenting is not available with the article.
Under State of California Senate Bill 6, candidates preferring minor political parties may not be able to state their preference on the election ballot.  In a democracy, this disenfranchises these candidates, and, just as negatively, it does not disclose the party preference of some candidates to each voter in the polling station.  The lawsuit declares SB 6 unconstitutional.

SB 6, of Proposition 14, has already passed.  However, people may support the legal work of the lawsuit's plaintiff or defendant.

Hat tip to Election Law blog.


Mark Ganzer's Blog: Is Anyone Watching? [Voting rights and the U.S. Supreme Court]

"Two years ago, the Supreme Court looked over a cliff and decided not to jump. The question was whether a core section of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as renewed by Congress in 2006 for another 25 years, was constitutional. A majority opinion by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. strongly suggested that it wasn’t. ...Against this background, the nearly complete absence of attention received by another Voting Rights Act challenge is surprising. The new case was argued earlier this month in Federal District Court in Washington, D.C., and will almost certainly make its way to the Supreme Court."
The entire article is at; no commenting is available there.
There has not been a strong tradition of Americans writing case-related opinions to the U.S. Supreme Court.  However, you may be able to support the legal work of either the plaintiff or the defendant in a case.  Check out the entire article for more information.



"I’m Sam Polstein, an undergraduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I am the Chair of Legislative Affairs for the Associated Students of Madison (ASM), UW-Madison’s student government. I’m also an out-of-state UW student who would be adversely affected by a proposed change to electoral law in Wisconsin expected to be voted on within days.
The issue at hand is Senate Bill 6 [news article], which is quickly moving through the newly inaugurated Wisconsin State Legislature. Wisconsin Republicans, with majorities in both houses and the Governor’s office, introduced S.B.6 right before the Governor’s controversial Budget Repair Bill became headline news. S.B.6 – or the so-called “Voter ID Bill” – is a measure that will make it significantly harder to vote in Wisconsin. Currently, an eligible Wisconsin voter can register at the polls on Election Day with a lease, bank statement, or utility bill that has their name and current address. Alternatively, under current law residents can vote if someone vouches for them. S.B.6, as currently amended, would eliminate the vouching process and require every voter to have a Wisconsin State ID/Driver’s License, Passport, or military ID. Student IDs are conspicuously absent."
The entire article, with commenting, is at
Wisconsonians: You can contact your own state senator concerning Senate Bill 6.


Freedom Foundation: Court: Washington state’s voter registration practices do not violate federal election law

"The [State of Washington] Court of Appeals (Div. 2) ruled today that the Office of the Secretary of State is not violating federal election law by accepting voter registrations from underage applicants. The case was brought by the Freedom Foundation (formerly the Evergreen Freedom Foundation) on behalf of Washington resident and voter Robert Edelman."
Commenting is available below this article.
The Freedom Foundation states that "Records submitted with the complaint showed 127 votes cast by underage voters over an eight year period, including four votes in the February 2008 presidential primary. Mr. Edelman’s complaint also argued that the state’s voter registration application forms failed to advise underage applicants against completing the form."

Hat tip to Election Law.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Hattiesburg American: Critics say Mississippi House voter ID bill is too weak

"A bill advancing in the Mississippi Legislature would expand early voting and require voters to show identification at the polls.
The bill passed the House Elections Committee [sic] on Tuesday and is expected to come up for a vote of the full House by next week.
A separate voter ID bill passed the Mississippi Senate in January. The two chambers eventually could try to write a compromise bill. Or discussions about voter ID could fail, as they have done for more than a decade." 
Commenting is available for this article.
Mississippians: You can contact your own state representative [Google Document or webpage] concerning this bill.
Nota bene: I could not locate the bill text on the Mississippi Legislature website.

Thanks to the Hattiesburg American.


Daves Redistricting: Do your own redistricting

"Redistricting is the process of creating or changing district boundaries for congress, for a state legislature or for local elected offices.
Every 10 years after the U.S. census is taken, the seats in the House of Representatives are reapportioned among the states based on population. The 2010 census numbers are out. See the Census Bureau widget(Apportionment tab) to see which states gained or lost seats. Each state has its own process for drawing the boundaries; some are fairly non-partisan; others highly partisan.
Check out Swing State Project for a lot of good information on political races around the country. You can find a lot of diaries on redistricting, including many where people have used my redistricting app (see below).  My Swing State page has the diaries I've written there.
Do Your Own Redistricting:I've created a free web application so you can create your own congressional districts. With this app you can select a state and the number of congressional districts and then create your districts by sweeping the mouse across the map. More on Daves Redistricting App."
Commenting is not available for this webpage. 
Additional information on this app, including how to use it, is at this Not Larry Sabato blog post.

Thanks to Daves Redistricting.



"This election will go down as one of the hottest local races of 2011, and young Chicagoans made a big impact at the polls. Although exact turnout by age group will take a few more days to process, Chicago’s five most youth dense precincts experienced a significant 14% increase in turnout, well above the city-wide increase of 8.6 percentage points (33% overall turnout in 2007 vs. 41.6% in 2011).  Chicago’s most youth dense ward, the 44th, includes the Lakeview neighborhood and saw almost twice as many ballots cast yesterday than it did in 2007."
Commenting is below the article. 
Thanks to Rock the Vote.


Ballot Access News: Kansas Bill, Suspending Presidential Primary in 2012, Passes

"On February 22, the Kansas Senate tentatively approved SB 128, the bill to suspend the presidential primary in 2012. No roll call vote was taken. The bill will receive a final vote on February 23. The Secretary of State asks for the suspension because he estimates the primary will cost the state $1,321,122 and the money is not in the state budget. UPDATE: as expected, the Senate passed the bill on February 23." 
Thanks to Ballot Access News.


Ballot Access News: South Dakota Bill Dies, Would have Required Political Parties to Let Independent Voters Vote in Their Primaries

"On February 17, the South Dakota Senate State Affairs Committee defeated SB 175. This is the bill that would have provided that independent voters may vote in any party’s primary. Current law lets each qualified party decide for itself whether to let independents vote in its primary." 
Commenting is below this article.
Thanks to Ballot Access News.


Brennan Center for Justice: Was New York Ready for Paper Ballots?

"When New York made its long drawn out phase away from ancient lever machines to electronic voting machines, it opted for a system of paper ballots counted using optical scanners. Among the main benefits of a paper ballot system, is the ability to have paper trail in case there is a need for a recount. The only problem seems to be that Albany forgot to tell us when there is a need for a recount. ...
Legislators in Albany must make the necessary changes in Election Law that will create rules for mandatory recounts." 
Commenting is not available for this article.
New Yorkers: if you feel you need a mandatory recount law to perform reviews of your own elections, you can contact your own New York state assembly members and senators.


Ballot Access News: National Popular Vote Plan Bill Passes Vermont Senate on Second Reading, 20-10

"On February 22, the Vermont Senate passed SB 31 on second reading, by a vote of 20-10. The bill will probably receive third reading in the Senate on or by February 25."
Commenting is below this article.
Related information:
Journal of the Senate, p 1-4: Vermont state senate bill SB 31 [Google Doc]
Nota bene: I was not able to locate the full text of the bill on the Vermont State Legislature website.

Vermonters: You can contact your own Vermont state senator concerning this bill; please include the bill number SB 31.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Rightardia: ACLU sues Florida governor Rick Scott to implement voter approved Amendments 5 and 6

"Dear Floridan: Two weeks ago, I sued Governor Rick Scott in federal court. I sued to stop the governor from blocking and delaying the clear will of Florida voters. The conflict is over the Fair District Amendments which passed last year to set standards for drawing fair legislative and congressional district boundaries. Floridians demanded fair districts with the passage of Amendments 5 and 6.Urge Governor Scott to swiftly implement Fair Districts in Florida." 
Commenting is below the article; an RSS feed for the comments is available.
The above quote is from an article attributed to Rightard Whitey of Rightardia.


Verified Voting: GOP raises the stakes: Voter ID Bill Coming to Wisconsin Legislature in Dems' Absence?

"In a move meant to lure boycotting opposition [state] senators back to Wisconsin, the Republican leader of the state Senate threatened Monday to force a vote soon on a bill that is abhorred by Democrats: requiring people to show an ID at the polls. The push on the photo ID bill by Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (Republican-Juneau) is the latest example of Republicans pressuring Democrats in hopes of ending the standoff over the bill on union rights. Senate Democrats disappeared to Illinois on Thursday to prevent a vote on that bill, and they’ve been there ever since." 
Commenting is below this article.

Related information:
State of Wisconsin Senate bill SB-6 [PDF]; Relating to: requiring certain identification in order to vote at a polling place or obtain an absentee ballot, verification of the addresses of electors, absentee voting procedure in certain residential care apartment complexes and adult family homes, identification cards issued by the Department of Transportation, creating an identification certificate issued by the Department of Transportation, requiring the exercise of rule−making authority, and providing a penalty.

Wisconsonians: Your own Wisconsin state senators can be contacted regarding this bill; please include the bill number SB-6.

Thanks to Verified Voting for the above quote referring to an Milwaukee, Wisconsin Journal-Sentinel article.