An initiative on voting rights in Ohio failed to get enough signatures: Advocates of an amendment to the Ohio constitution that would guarantee specific voting rights said Tuesday that they fell far short of the 385,000 signatures they needed to get the "Ohio Voters Bill of Rights" onto the November ballot. They only had obtained about 100,000 signatures. A spokeswoman said they had done well considering being constrained by a 90-day deadline and shortage of funds.
Opposing forces have been battling in the courts and legislature for more than two years over early voting and other rules. If passed, the amendment would have guaranteed expanded early voting times on weekends. A federal court recently reinstated early voting on the three days before the election for all voters because active military personnel have that option. But that ruling might fade away if the legislature changes the rules for military personnel.
According to the Associated Press, on Monday, the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio filed a motion requesting the judge to order the restoration of the state's "golden week" and to require that Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted establish standard set early voting hours on weekday evenings and multiple Sundays.
• Freepress:Shedding New Light on Dark Money. Timothy Karr writes:
On Tuesday, every major broadcast television station in the United States is required to post online information about the political ads that they air. These broadcasters were already required by law to keep a "political file" on site at their stations. Now this file will also be maintained at the Federal Communications Commission website with stations posting copies of contracts showing who these political advertisers are, how much they're spending on ads, and where and when their ads air. [...]There's more about the war on voting below the orange butterfly ballot.
While its not likely to stifle the flood of money being spent on political ads, the FCC's online file will help shed light on the groups that are spending so much -- giving voters more clarity on who's trying to influence their choices at the ballot box.
This is critical in this age of rampant dark money. While the Federal Elections Commission has a limited ability to identify the shadowy political advertisers that have emerged in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, the FCC has a clear legal path to transparency. Broadcasters are obliged by law to disclose who pays for political ads in exchange for using the airwaves. It’s a public interest bargain stretching back almost a century, and one that forms the foundation of U.S. communications law.
• Same-day voter registration coming to Illinois, but... the legislation making this and other changes in voting only applies to the Nov. 4 election. Because of that, some Republicans are calling it a scam to improve Democrats' chances in already-blue Illinois come the autumn election:
Some advocates of loosening restrictions on voter registration have complained the measure doesn't go far enough by limiting same-day registration to selected sites within each election authority.
But many election authorities lobbied against opening same-day registration in every state election precinct, fearing that they would be technologically unable to make sure someone didn't register and vote in one precinct, and do the same later in another.
That was one factor in making same-day registration a one-time program for Nov. 4, said Jim Allen, spokesman for the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners. The city's election board is using electronic poll books.
• New rules could make it harder to vote in 22 states: That's how many have passed new restrictions on voting since 2010 when a bunch of new, conservative state legislators took office. According to Erik Opsal and Myrna Pérez at the Brennan Center for Justice, race and partisanship played a big part in laws requiring specific kinds of photo I.D.s, cutting early voting hours and reducing opportunities to register.
Eighteen of those 22 states have GOP-controlled legislatures. Seven of the 11 states with the highest African-American turnout in 2008 passed new restrictions. Nine of the 12 states with the largest growth in the Latino population between 2000 and 2010 add restrictions.
Social science studies support these findings. A University of Massachusetts Boston study showed states with higher minority turnout and more GOP legislators were more likely to restrict voting. Another from the University of Southern California suggested racial bias motivated support for such laws. Research also shows the laws hurt minorities.• Norway gives up on e-voting for now:
Norway is ending trials of e-voting systems used in national and local elections.Opinion
Experiments with voting via the net were carried out during elections held in 2011 and 2013.
But the trials have ended because, said the government, voters' fears about their votes becoming public could undermine democratic processes.
Political controversy and the fact that the trials did not boost turnout also led to the experiment ending.
For those watching what’s unfolding in Mississippi, there’s more going on than fiery partisan intrigue. What’s increasingly at stake is election transparency and specifically how far election officials should go in letting outside groups pore over election materials to satisfy themselves that outcomes are correct. On one hand, democracy will not function if elections are not fully transparent. Especially in a country in which partisan officials often preside over election administration, any attempt to hide how elections are run will certainly delegitimize outcomes. On the other hand, we may be deeply worried about outside groups accessing election information when they have strong political agendas of their own. When it comes to contesting election outcomes, such groups and individuals invariably populate the losing side and are therefore single-minded in their goal: delegitimizing the outcome. Since the point of transparency in the election context is to ensure legitimacy, this could be a problem.• Former NAACP head Benjamin Todd Jealous writes:
We proved it 50 years ago during Freedom Summer. We proved it again in Florida in 2012, when NAACP activists registered 115,000 people in a year when legislature effectively made traditional voter registration strategies illegal.
We have proven over time that we have the antidote to voter suppression: massive voter registration.
It’s time to prove it again this summer. As we prepare for November’s midterm elections our focus should be on the stretch of heavily Black-populated states and counties below the Mason-Dixon Line that make up the “Black Belt.”