Monthly Archives: March 2013

SCOTUS Hears Arizona Voter Law Today

ariz-birth-cert

It appears that the US Supreme Court will soon resolve several election law conflicts. On the heels of hearing Shelby County, Alabama’s challenge to the Voting Rights Act, America’s top nine Justices today listen to oral arguments in an important case that could lead to major changes in voter registration procedures. Both cases will likely be decided before the court’s current term adjourns at the end of June.

The Arizona voting public, via a 2004 ballot initiative, approved a measure that instituted proof of US citizenship requirements before beginning the voter registration process. The law differs from what many states have instituted relating to proving identity before voting because individuals in Arizona must document their citizenship even before registering.

The voter-passed law requires all registrants to prove their US citizenship either through presenting a driver’s license, passport, birth certificate, naturalization number or tribal card when the individual first registers to vote in the state. Lower courts have partially struck down the measure, ruling that the Arizona law conflicts with the National Voter Registration Act of 1994 because the latter merely requires affirmation of citizenship under penalty of perjury, but does not mandate presenting documentation. Therefore, the lower courts have said that the Arizona requirement cannot apply to federal elections.

The rulings are leading to a system of having separate state and federal registration forms, which has already caused confusion among Grand Canyon State election authorities according to a long Arizona Republic news article describing the situation. The federal registration form,  Continue reading >

Survey Says: Americans Upset With Government

The Gallup organization just reported upon their monthly survey about the issue areas Americans cite as being the most important and, in their analysis reported yesterday, a reading occurred that hadn’t been seen since the Watergate era.

When President Obama took office at the beginning of 2009, according to the regular survey issue project, 86 percent of the respondents said the economy is the “most important problem facing the United States today.” Yesterday, though the economy was still mentioned more than any other issue area, that percentage dropped to 57, the lowest recorded reading since Gallup’s June 2010 polling edition. During the Obama administration, the smallest percentage recorded citing the economy was 55.

The surprising response, however, occurred when the questioners asked the participants to be more specific. The response “economy in general” still topped the charts at 24 percent, down from 25 percent in their February 2013 edition but up from the 21 percent of respondents who answered that way in January. But 20 percent of respondents answered, “dissatisfaction with government” — making it the number two concern; and that type of response factor hadn’t been seen since June of 1974 shortly after Pres. Richard Nixon had resigned. Those answering this way jumped four full points just from last month, and pulled ahead of “unemployment/jobs” (16 percent) and the “federal budget deficit/debt” (13 percent) among the answers most given.

In terms of other issues cited, healthcare dropped to just seven percent and, despite all of the media attention paid to the gun control issue, “guns” was mentioned by just four percent of the respondents, down from six percent in February and returning to its January 2013 level.

Should this trend continue, we could begin to see a new issue discussion come to the forefront in the 2014 election cycle. If — and the Republicans will be the ones most likely  Continue reading >

Booker Cruising in Jersey Senate Poll; Corbett Improves in Pa.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker

Newark Mayor Cory Booker

New Jersey’s Fairleigh Dickinson University, as part of their March 4-10 Garden State survey (702 registered New Jersey voters; 323 Democratic primary voters), studied the upcoming 2014 open Senate race. Their findings present good news for Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) and suggest that both Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ-12) and Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ-6) have quite a bit of ground to close if they intend to enter the race. Of the two, Pallone is likely to run, while Holt’s candidacy is only a possibility.

According to the FDU results, Booker would lead Holt and Pallone 50-7-4 percent, respectively, if a Democratic primary vote were held during the present period. With such a wide spread, either or both of these potential candidates will have to create a negative image of Booker if they are to substantially gain on him. Typically, big city mayors don’t do particularly well in statewide electoral contests normally because the voters not residing in the largest city, and particularly so for rural voters, often have a negative image of big city politics. Therefore, we can expect to see serious questions raised about the city’s government and state of the local economy before Democratic voters go to the polls in June of 2014.

Booker is in equally good shape for the general election. The only potential GOP  Continue reading >

Va., Pa. Gubernatorial Glimpses

Virginia Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling has decided not to enter this year’s gubernatorial campaign as an Independent candidate. In an email communication sent to his supporters that sounded very similar to one he sent on Feb. 28, Bolling indicated that his decision not to run largely revolved around the ability to raise enough money to run a “winning” campaign for Virginia governor, in addition to his distaste for what he terms the “rigid ideology” of today’s modern politics.

“In many ways I fear that the ‘Virginia way’ of doing things is rapidly being replaced by the ‘Washington way’ of doing things and that’s not good for Virginia. As a result, the political process has become much more ideologically driven, hyper-partisan and mean-spirited. Rigid ideologies and personal political agendas are too often placed ahead of sound public policy and legitimate policy disagreements too quickly degenerate into unwarranted personal attacks. This makes it more difficult to govern effectively and get things done,” Bolling wrote as part of his message.

The development should result as a big plus for consensus Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli, the state’s attorney general. Though polling generally indicated that Bolling’s entry really didn’t move the race dramatically toward presumed Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe, over the course of the campaign that would likely have been the result. Without Bolling in the race trying to chip away moderate Republican support from Cuccinelli, the attorney general will have a better chance of unifying his party’s support for the general election campaign.

Polling has shown that the McAuliffe-Cuccinelli race begins as a dead heat and there is a good chance that the campaign will remain in such a mode all the way through Election Day.

Corbett Down

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) appears  Continue reading >

Rogers, Peters Considering Michigan Senate Run; Miller Out

Mike Rogers (R-MI-8) | Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI-14)

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI-8) | Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI-14)

Sen. Carl Levin’s (D-MI) retirement announcement has already set the Wolverine State’s political wheels in motion, and the succession picture is much clearer today than at the end of last week.

Maybe In – House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI-8) and three-term Democratic Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI-14) top the lists of both parties who say they are “seriously considering” entering the Senate race. Should these two meet in a general election, we can expect a tough, hard-fought contest between a pair of strong, veteran campaigners who have both won tough races.

Potential candidates who won’t yet rule out running are Democratic National Committeewoman Debbie Dingell, the wife of Rep. John Dingell (MI-12) who is the Dean of Congress, and second-term Republican Rep. Justin Amash (MI-3). Terri Lynn Land (R), a former secretary of state, also is a possible entrant.

Definitely Out – Republican Congresswoman Candice Miller (R-MI-10), a former two-term Secretary of State who many believe would be the party’s strongest contender, is among a surprisingly large number of potential candidates who have ruled themselves out of joining the open seat contest. In a statement to the Detroit  Continue reading >