Ezra Klein of the Washington Post writes about coal, corruption, campaign finance reform and yesterday's mining tragedy in West Virginia. Klein says Blankenship, leader of the Massey coal mine "has more or less purchased the state's government. He's certainly bought the state Supreme Court...." Klein says that some sort of reform is needed in this case...Citizens in Clay County Kentucky are waiting to see who is arrested next in the long running vote buying scheme that has corrupted local government. At least another dozen high profile arrests are expected. The federal action to clean up the vote buying has increased public confidence in elections....
All this and more in today's voting news below....
AL: Elections bill now goes to voters
A constitutional amendment that would give voters the chance to elect candidates to fill vacancies in DeKalb offices rather than an appointment by the governor has passed the Legislature and will appear on the November ballot for voter consideration
CA: Saturday Voting Initiative - Intended to Increase Voter Participation
http://tiny.cc/jiiel An election reform measure being proposed for the November ballot in San Francisco would add the Saturday before the traditional Tuesday election day as an alternate day for voters to cast their ballots
CA: Voting really isn't that hard (LTE in San Francisco)
CA: San Leandro Council Deadlocks on Ranked Choice Voting Ordinance
CO: All Briefs Now Filed in Colorado Lawsuit Over Independent Candidate Ballot Access http://www.ballot-access.org/2010/04/06/all-briefs-now-filed-in-colorado-lawsuit-over-independent-candidate-ballot-access/
CO: Web-based voter registration unveiled
Citizens with a Colorado driver's license or identification card can surf to GoVoteColorado.com on the Internet to get registered for the ballot.
CO: Lawmakers consider election reform (video available)
House Speaker Terrance Carroll (D-Denver) has submitted what he calls a "first draft" of proposals that among other things, give counties more flexibility in holding mail-ballot elections during even years. The proposals would also eventually allow for voter registration on Election Day.
FL: Obscure political committees nudge Legislature's agenda
http://tiny.cc/enuuw Little-known political committees benefit from industries trying to influence legislation.
FL: Call Crist to Veto HB 1207. Why Leadership Funds are Bad.
...the bill which would legalize leadership funds by creating a new type of shady political committee which would be controlled by those legislators already in leadership and could raise an unlimited amount of money year round, even during legislative session, which is currently prohibited for lawmakers.
GA: Voter fraud website launched
http://tiny.cc/c9nux Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp today launched a new website to prevent election and voter fraud in Georgia elections.
KY: In Clay, residents wonder: "Who’s next?"
http://tiny.cc/zxfq7 In the past five years, more than a dozen local officials have been convicted of crimes that included extorting kickbacks from a contractor, laundering money for a drug dealer and buying votes on a grand and pernicious scale.
What has people holding their breath, though, is that more than a dozen other current or former public officials also allegedly took part in vote fraud, according to witnesses, prosecutors and court documents.
MN: Is instant runoff voting right for Duluth?
The City Council may ask voters to weigh in, and give IRV backers a chance to make their case to the public.
NY: A Step in the Right Direction for Voter Registration
...order recently issued by the Northern District of New York in U.S. v. N.Y., in which disability offices at state colleges and universities are declared--once again--voter registration agencies...
SC: District 2 election on hold until feds grant preclearance
...the federal judges blocked today's District 2 election because, they said, it violated Section Five of the federal Voting Rights Act.
TN: Benton County, Tennessee Voter Registration Uproar
TX: Sanchez: Take advantage of technology
As demonstrated by Travis County's silly electronic voting devices, the eSlate, something is not necessarily better, and can be quite inferior, when it's digital.
WI: Editorial: Why the rush on election changes?
...The linking of driver's license renewal and voter registration, as proposed for Wisconsin, has the potential to compromise sensitive personal information because much of the data would have to be available in more than one database.
WI: Voting bill would reduce fraud risk
WV: West Virginia Mining Tragedy: The Caperton v. Massey/Campaign Finance Connection? http://electionlawblog.org/archives/015641.html
WV: Coal, corruption and campaign finance reform
Blankenship has more or less purchased the state's government. He's certainly bought the state Supreme Court, spending millions to unseat a justice who had ruled in favor of mine workers. The court, including the new justice Blankenship had elected, soon thereafter reversed a $50 million judgment against Massey.
My new Slate Jurisprudence column begins:
http://electionlawblog.org/archives/015639.html ...Opponents of reasonable regulation have a new target: trying to keep the flow of campaign money secret.
Canada: How online, phone voting might work this fall (Sarnia)
...Intelivote Systems will bid to deliver online and phone polling if city council opts next week to investigate an alternative to traditional paper ballots, company president Dean Smith said.
Internet Voting: Technology and Policy Issues
By David Wagner of UC Berkeley. A DoD project for overseas voters; Register & vote from abroad ... Internet voting is a danger to democracy; No voting system will ever be perfectly secure [powerpoint presentation addresses impt of secret ballot, contrasts absentee by mail to internet, issues of foreign interference in election]
Philippines: Comelec way behind in preparations for elections, say watchdog groups
Voting News by Joyce McCloy.
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