DG Roundup: April 9-15, 2014

April 15, 2014, 3:31 p.m.

Colombia: The National Electoral Council of Colombia has received 650 more allegations of fraud regarding the March 9 legislative elections. According to the Electoral Observation Mission, an NGO that monitors Colombian elections, these elections have resulted in the most complaints of any in the country since the organization began its activities in 2007. The organization has received 1,100 reports of voting irregularities, the most common of which are related to vote buying and prohibited publicity. Several major political figures have criticized the level of fraud, including former president Alvaro Uribe, who has gone as far as calling the elections “illegitimate.” Despite these setbacks, armed pressure and violence was notably absent from the election period compared to years past. In addition, the Electoral Observation Mission has expressed confidence that election officials are better trained and better equipped to handle electoral dispute resolution than in years past and has expressed optimism that it can effectively investigate and prosecute instances of fraud.


Egypt: Interim President Adly Mansour has established a committee of judicial officials and law professors to review a law regarding political rights and a law regarding the holding of parliamentary elections to ensure that they are consistent with the new constitution passed in January. The committee, to be headed by Minister of Transitional Justice Mohamed El-Mahdi, will have 15 days to present a draft to political stakeholders and to the public for debate. They will then be sent to the Cabinet and the Legislation Department of the State Council for approval. A law regarding presidential elections recently underwent this process and was approved last month.


United States: Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo has signed the National Popular Vote Compact. This compact requires signatory states to award their votes in the Electoral College to the presidential candidate who wins the plurality of votes nationally. Currently, New York is one of the 47 states that awards its electoral votes to the candidate who wins a plurality of votes it its state alone. However, this system has drawn criticism as presidential candidates have increasingly ignored predominantly Democratic and predominantly Republican states and chosen instead to court “swing” states. For example, while New York has the fourth-most eligible voters of any state, compared to other states presidential candidates spend the least amount of their campaign finances in New York. The compact seeks to increase voter turnout in “blue” and “red” states by increasing the influence of votes in these states on the overall winner. It would also ensure that the winner of the overall popular vote becomes the next president, which was not the case in 2000 to much controversy. New York is now the 11th jurisdiction to adopt the National Popular Vote Compact (10 states and the District of Columbia). However, the Compact will not go into effect until signatories comprise more than half of all electoral votes (270 votes), and current signatories account for only 165 electoral votes.


(Image Credit: darien.patch.com)

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