Monthly Archives: August 2007

“Court reverses prisoner vote ban”

This news report begins: “IN A landmark decision supporting Australians’ right to vote, the High Court has struck down a Federal Government ban on all prisoners voting at elections. A majority on the bench accepted a claim by a Victorian Aboriginal prisoner, Vickie Lee Roach, that the ban was unconstitutional. The ban on all prisoners was imposed by the Howard Government in changes to the Commonwealth Electoral Act in 2006. Previously, only prisoners serving sentences of more than three years were prevented from voting.” The High Court issued this release, but the opinion is not yet released: “The court did not explain its reasoning. That is expected to come with a full judgement in the next few months. In recognition that an election is looming, it issued orders saying the ban was unconstitutional because it was contrary to requirements that Parliament be directly chosen by the people.”

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Tova Wang Speaks!

Freed of her EAC gag order, Tova Wang has written a Washington Post oped, “A Rigged Report on U.S. Voting?” For those following the controversy, it is good to finally hear Wang’s perspective on the issues. She concludes:

    Even without a smoking gun showing political motives in the handling of the draft, the results are disappointing. This is not the way an institution created to promote democracy should function. A government entity that seeks democratic progress should be transparent. It should not be in the business of suppressing information or ideas. Such an institution must be thoroughly insulated from political interference from outside operatives or other parts of the executive branch.
    We need an institution like the Election Assistance Commission to provide guidance and research information to the states, election officials, elected leaders and voters. But this agency’s structure and procedures need to be seriously reexamined in light of this episode. I support a strong, well-funded EAC that can help our country find reforms to the election system that will make voting more accessible, fair and accurate. But only after it finds some reforms for itself.

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U.S. District Court Upholds Arizona Voter ID Law Against Constitutional and Statutory Challenges

I have posted the court’s order in Gonzalez v. State of Arizona here. This is the case on remand from the Supreme Court, then named Purcell v. Gonzalez. The Arizona Republic story is here. UPDATE: Jon Greenbaum writes: “To be clear, the court’s decision does not reach plaintiffs’ claims that Proposition 200 is an undue burden that violates the fundamental right to vote under the 14th Amendment and that Proposition 200 violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.”

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“FEC To Collect $775,000 Civil Penalty From America Coming Together”

The FEC has issued this press release, which begins: “The Federal Election Commission (FEC/Commission) announced today that it has reached a settlement with America Coming Together (ACT) regarding violations of federal campaign finance laws during the 2004 Presidential election. ACT, a federal political action committee (PAC) that also has a non-federal account registered under section 527 of the Internal Revenue Code, agreed to pay $775,000 to settle charges that it used funds raised outside federal limits and source prohibitions to pay for expenses that should have been paid with funds raised within the federal contribution limits and prohibitions. This settlement represents the third largest civil penalty in an enforcement matter in the Commission’s thirty-three year history. The Commission unanimously approved the conciliation agreement.”
Another important aspect of the press release: “The Commission is also releasing a separate Factual and Legal Analysis addressing allegations of illegal in-kind contributions made by ACT to the DNC and John Kerry for President. The Commission investigation of these allegations uncovered no evidence of coordination between those organizations and ACT.”
See also Soros-Linked Group Hit with Huge Fine in The Politico.
UPDATE: ACT has released statements that I’ve posted here and here. You can find here the Statement of Legal Center Executive Director J. Gerald Hebert and Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer on FEC Action Taken on Complaint Filed Against ACT.

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