February 7, 2011 •
Democratic Party says it won’t use corporate money for their national convention.
Here is a campaign finance news item from last Friday. According to an article in the New York Times, the Democratic Party has announced it will not use corporate money for their national convention. The article said there will still be a chance for corporate in-kind contributions, and they can still pay for parties on the periphery of the official event.
For the full story, see “Democrats Promise No Corporate Money for Convention” by Michael Shear in the February 4 issue of the New York Times.
Photo of the 2008 Democratic National Convention by Qqqqqq on Wikipedia.
January 28, 2011 •
There Must Be a Special Election for Governor in 2011
The state supreme court has declared a special gubernatorial election must be held this year. Under West Virginia law, if a Governor vacates the office, the President of the Senate becomes “acting Governor” but may only do so for one year or less.
Last year, after the passing of Senator Byrd, then-Governor Manchin won a special election for the vacant Senate seat. Current “acting Governor” Earl Ray Tomblin and Secretary of State Natalie Tennant have each indicated they will be candidates in the October 4, 2011 election.
November 1, 2010 •
Secretary of State’s office sends reminder
Secretary Bowen reminds employees they must provide two days’ notice to their employers in order to exercise this privilege.“California’s time-off-to-vote law ensures all voters, regardless of their work schedules, will be able to vote on November 2″, said Bowen.
Photo of the California Secretary of State Building by Mav on Wikipedia.
October 29, 2010 •
For those of you who have the upcoming elections on your mind, here are some great Web sites to visit.
VOTE411.org, hosted by the League of Women Voters Education Fund, has everything you could possibly need regarding voting and the coming elections. With VOTE411.org, no one can use the excuse that they did not have enough information to vote. Not sure about where to go to vote? VOTE411.org can tell you where your polling place is. Overseas during the elections? No problem, they have a Military and Overseas Voter page. You can learn about absentee voting, early voting, election dates, information about candidates, and ID requirements tailored to your state!
My favorite thing on VOTE411.org is the “Build Your Ballot” feature. Just type in your street address, city, and zip code, and Build Your Ballot will tell you all about your U.S. Congress District and your State Upper and Lower House Districts. From there it will tell you exactly what races will be on your ballot.
If you are the type who likes to see into the future, Google 2010 U.S. Election Ratings has map overlays showing the predictions of CQ Politics, Rothenberg Political Report, Real Clear Politics, Sabato’s Crystal Ball, and the Cook Political Report. All in one place. You can look at the trends for the U.S. races as well as drill down into the states.
You can always go to Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight blog. Silver not only gives you a color-coded map of the states, but also a set of percentages for the probabilities of race outcomes.
You say you want more? How about trying a search of “U.S. 2010 election predictions” on YouTube? YouTube serves up a mix of serious television news coverage clips, to the silly Politizoid animated video.
There. That should keep even the most election-obsessed people busy… lots of hand-wringing to do.
Vote sign photo by Tom Arthur on Wikipedia.
October 28, 2010 •
It has become a tradition for State and Federal Communications to send a GOTV (Get Out the Vote) card each October.
It is our way of saying hello and thank you to our clients and friends across the country.
We have fun each year deciding where to gather for the photograph. This year, the staff had a treat when they rode the Akron trolley to the University of Akron.
We gathered at the Polymer Building, in front of the beautiful Dale Chihuly sculpture. How should we pose? Our instructions were to make one serious pose, and one fun pose.
So from all of us at State and Federal Communications, we wish you a healthy and prosperous year and say:
Exercise your right to vote! It is your personal opportunity to be heard across the nation!
Elizabeth Z. Bartz
President and CEO of State and Federal Communications, Inc.
Thank you to Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic for the use of the trolley and to the University of Akron President Luis Proenza for allowing us on campus for the photos.
October 4, 2010 •
Improper Collaboration Alleged in Kansas Gubernatorial Race
The Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission has decided to move forward with an investigation against Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Holland and the Kansas Moderate Majority, an unaffiliated PAC supporting Holland’s candidacy. A complaint filed with the commission alleges improper collaboration between Holland and the committee on an ad campaign targeting Republican nominee Sam Brownback’s support of a controversial tax reform.
If the Holland campaign and the Kansas Moderate Majority did illegally work together on these advertisements, it could be considered an in-kind contribution.The limit on this type of in-kind contribution is $2,000, a figure the advertisements likely exceeded.
Photo of Tom Holland from the Kansas Legislature Web site.
July 22, 2010 •
Maryland Lawmakers Regulate Social Media Activity
Lawmakers adopted rules for candidates using social networking Web sites, making Maryland one of the first states to regulate such activity.
Here are two articles for further reading:
“Candidates Must Adhere to New Social Media Rules,” by Julie Bykowicz in the Baltimore Sun
“Maryland Lawmakers Pass New Election Law Restricting Facebook Today,” by Chet Dembeck in the Baltimore Examiner
July 20, 2010 •
The West Virginia legislature worked quickly over the weekend and Monday late into the night to make changes to the state’s election code.
With the passage of House Bill 201, a special election has been authorized to fill the vacant Senate seat long held by U.S. Senator Robert Byrd, who passed in June. Governor Manchin signed the bill late Monday night.
There will be a special primary election on August 28th and a special general election on November 2nd in conjunction with the mid-term congressional contests. Joe Manchin, a popular two-term governor has announced his intentions to run for this senate seat.
In a political compromise, this legislation declares November’s special election a “legally separate” contest from the general election, meaning Rep. Shelly Moore Capito, considered the top Republican candidate for the seat, may run for Byrd’s seat without giving up her seat in the House. The filing period for the special election begins Tuesday morning and will last through 5 p.m. Friday.
July 16, 2010 •
The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued two separate decisions in regards to the case of Green Party of Connecticut v. Garfield on July 13, 2010, one decision affecting the Connecticut Campaign Finance Reform Act (CFRA) and another affecting the state’s Citizens Election Program (CEP).
In the first decision, the court affirmed the U.S. District Court’s decision upholding the CFRA’s ban on contributions by state contractors, prospective state contractors, and the principals of contractors and prospective state contractors, as well as the spouse and dependent children of these individuals. However, in a reversal of the lower court’s decision, the Second Circuit struck down the ban on contributions from lobbyists and their families.
In the second decision, the court overturned a prior U.S. District Court decision which had declared the Citizens Election Program’s public financing for qualifying candidates as unconstitutional on the basis it discriminated against minor parties and their candidates. The court, however, agreed with the earlier decision in finding the CEP to unconstitutionally infringe upon the First Amendment rights to free speech of privately funded wealthy candidates when the state’s program required extra public funds be distributed to publicly funded candidates when certain financing “triggers” had been achieved. The Connecticut State Elections Enforcement Commission is expected to meet with the attorney general to determine the next course of action.
(Image from the National Atlas of the United States)
July 15, 2010 •
New Jersey elections agency will be holding a meeting.
The Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) will have a meeting at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, July 20, 2010 at the Commission’s office located at 28 West State Street, 12th floor, in Trenton. Executive Director Jeff Brindle will be on hand to chair the meeting. The agenda is expected to include recent staff activities, campaign financing, and other matters of concern and interest to the Commission. There will be an opportunity for public comment.
July 13, 2010 •
Legislature May Change the Election Code in Special Session This Month
Attorney General Darrell McGraw issued a statement suggesting a special primary election be held in November to begin the process of filling U.S. Sen. Robert Byrd’s seat despite the fact current law does not allow for it. Byrd, who served in the Senate for more than 50 years, passed away on June 28, 2010. The initial ruling from Secretary of State Natalie Tennant says the election may not be held until November, 2012 because the filing deadline to be a candidate has passed. McGraw says Tennant’s ruling does not give enough weight to the Seventeenth Amendment of the Constitution, which provides for popular election of Senators and only temporary appointments. Under McGraw’s plan, the legislature would actually change the state election code to allow for an election this year under these circumstances. Governor Joe Manchin has indicated he will speak with legislative leadership about changing the election code at the special session scheduled to convene on July 19, 2010.
July 6, 2010 •
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has signed House Bill 292.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has signed House Bill 292, a measure which will switch the state’s congressional elections to an open primary system, effective for the 2012 congressional elections.
Instead of the currently utilized three-tiered election cycle, wherein there is a party primary, followed by a party runoff, and culminating with the general election, HB 292 now advances the candidates with the top two vote totals from the primary to the November general election, regardless of party affiliation.
Jindal was under pressure from both political parties to not sign the bill into law, but he noted that the measure will potentially save the state more than $13 million during each congressional election cycle.
July 1, 2010 •
There will be no special election this year in West Virginia to fill the seat of the late Sen. Byrd.
West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant has announced a special election will not be held this year to fill the seat of Senator Robert Byrd, who passed away on June 28, 2010. Under West Virginia law, Governor Joe Manchin will appoint someone to serve until a replacement is elected at the next possible election. Senator Byrd’s replacement cannot be elected in the November, 2010 election, however, because the filing period for candidates has long passed. This means there will be two elections for the same Senate seat in November 2012. One will be a special election for the remaining five weeks of Byrd’s term, and the other will be for a full six-year term since Byrd was due to stand for re-election in 2012 regardless.
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