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Morning Reads: Why Is It So Hard to Vote in Progressive New York?

A roundup of some of the stories we're reading at BillMoyers.com HQ...

Morning Reads: Why Is It So Hard to Vote in Progressive New York?

Hillary Clinton's supporters shout slogans outside the Brooklyn Navy Yard ahead of the CNN Democratic Debate on April 14, 2016, in New York. (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

What a mess! –> There’s truth in Donald Trump’s allegations of a broken, “rigged” election system, The New York Times editorial board writes. A confusing patchwork of election laws and scant resources for the agencies administering them puts a substantial burden on voters — including in New York State, which holds its primaries tomorrow: “New York lags behind more electorally advanced states in its refusal to allow voters the convenience of same-day registration, early voting and easier absentee balloting. The Republican ballot names the candidates while the confusing Democratic ballot asks voters to choose a candidate as well as delegates pledged to either of the two candidates.”

And, at MSNBC, Zachary Roth takes a deeper look at New York’s barriers to voting, writing, “Experts say that unlike in red states that lately have imposed voter ID and other restrictions, the issue isn’t one party rigging the game to try to gain an advantage. Rather, it’s that voting in New York, the nation’s third-largest state, has long been designed for the good of both parties, rather than for the voters… Unlike all but two other states, New York has no secretary of state to run its elections. Instead, county election boards, with members appointed by the two major parties, operate with a high level of autonomy. And there’s a state board, also split between the two parties. As a result, it rarely agrees on much, making reforms all but impossible.”

Immigration before the court –> The Supreme Court today considers whether Obama went too far when he moved to protect millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation. “The case, pitting Obama against 26 states led by Texas that filed suit to block his 2014 immigration plan, is one of the biggest of the court’s current term ending in June,” writes Lawrence Hurley for Reuters. The decision could very likely be headed for another 4-4 split “that would leave in place a 2015 lower-court ruling that threw out the president’s executive action that bypassed the Republican-led Congress.”

Disaster in Ecuador –> A 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck near Muisne, Ecuador Saturday night. More than 250 people were killed, and the death toll continues to rise. “Residents of Portoviejo, about 300km south of Muisne, described being thrown into the air by the force of the earthquake,” Jessica Elgot, Jonathan Watts, Eduardo Varas and Marcela Ribadeneira report for The Guardian.

Turmoil in Brazil –> Reuters: “Brazil’s leftist President Dilma Rousseff suffered a humiliating loss in a crucial impeachment vote in the lower house of Congress on Sunday and is almost certain to be forced from office months before the nation hosts the Olympics. Fireworks lit up the night sky in Brazil’s megacities of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro after the opposition comfortably surpassed the two-thirds majority needed to send Rousseff for trial in the Senate on charges of manipulating budget accounts.”

Bernie and Francis –> For a while scheduling it was on-again, off-again, but Bernie Sanders had a brief encounter with the Pope early Saturday morning. The two shook hands and exchanged words as Francis departed for Greece to address the refugee crisis there. Jason Horowitz and Yamiche Alcindor report for The New York Times: “Aware that his every statement is parsed for deeper meaning, Francis said he was simply being polite, not political. ‘I shook his hand and nothing more,’ [the pope] said. ‘If someone thinks that greeting someone means getting involved in politics,’ he added, laughing, ‘I recommend that he find a psychiatrist!'”

All politics is local –> Matea Gold reports for The Washington Post that voters angry about money in politics are taking their frustration to City Hall. “The focus of the community efforts vary,” Gold writes. “Some are pursuing resolutions condemning Citizens United, hoping to amass enough opposition in the states to be able to eventually secure a a constitutional amendment. Others in states such as Arizona and Arkansas are pushing for fuller disclosure of campaign contributions and stricter ethics rules for lobbyists. The growing number of local campaigns means that politicians at every level of government are contending with voters who believe their voices are being drowned out by those with more resources.”

And, at our site, Kathy Kiely reports from Washington on yesterday’s Capitol Hill demonstrations for campaign finance and voting law reform and today’s plans for civil disobedience and meetings with members of Congress, all part of the Democracy Awakening and Democracy Spring protests.

Read the fine print –> The American Independent party, a far-right political party founded by George Wallace in 1967 when he ran for president on a pro-segregation platform, is the largest third party in California. It is, in fact, bigger than all the state’s other third parties combined. But a new poll indicates that three quarters of its voters may have signed up for the party by mistake. It seems voters thought they were registering as “independent” voters, without a party affiliation; those who did will be unable to vote in the state’s Republican and Democratic primaries.

“Residents of rural and urban communities, students and business owners and top Hollywood celebrities with known Democratic leanings — including Sugar Ray Leonard, Demi Moore and Emma Stone — were among those who believed they were declaring that they preferred no party affiliation when they checked the box for the American Independent Party,” John Myers, Christine Mai-Duc and Ben Walsh report for the LA Times.

Morning Reads was written by John Light and edited by Michael Winship. See a story that you think should be included in Morning Reads? Tell us in the comments!

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