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IVN Daily Digest -- July 29, 2014

by Shawn M. Griffiths, published

1. New Mexico's secretary of state refuses to defend the state's closed primary system.

"This week New Mexico Secretary of State Dianna Duran responded to a lawsuit filed by Albuquerque attorney J. Edward Hollington on behalf of DTS (declined to state a party preference) voter David Crum by declining to defend the constitutionality of the state law that prohibits DTS (independent) voters from casting a ballot in the state’s primary elections."

New Mexico's attorney general, Gary King, has filed a motion to intervene with the lawsuit because the secretary of state has not acted (the motion explicitly states this). Hollington and Crum see Duran's response as a positive sign.

2. Pennsylvania op-ed says the state needs to allow voters to have more choices ahead of U.S. District Court ballot access case.

"The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia overturned 2-1 a lower court ruling. Now the U.S. District Court in Philadelphia will hear the case the Constitution, Green and Libertarian parties filed in 2012. The parties challenged a state law that allows judges to fine candidates for office who lose a challenge to their nomination papers."

Currently, state law requires third party and independent candidates to collect a much larger amount of signatures to qualify for the ballot than major party candidates.

3. Lawrence Lessig's Mayday Super PAC began a multi-million dollar campaign to elect lawmakers committed to campaign finance reform.

"Starting Monday, the recently formed Mayday “super PAC” began a $12 million advertising campaign to help elect lawmakers of both parties who support proposals to diminish the influence of big donors. The PAC is the most ambitious effort yet to turn dismay over supersize contributions into a winning political issue."

The PAC does not discriminate based on party affiliation and will endorse candidates of both major parties. While the apparent contrast between the PAC's stated purpose -- to rein in money in politics and the influence of special interest groups -- and its financing has received mixed reactions, Lessig has adopted the slogan: "Embrace the irony."

4. U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) says his new NSA reform bill is a "historic opportunity."

"Similar to legislation that passed the House in May, the Senate bill would end the NSA’s bulk collection and storage of those phone records. Instead, agents would need a court order to be able to search through the databases held by private phone companies such as AT&T or Verizon."

The House passed reform measures in May, but many critics say the final version of the bill would do very little, if anything, to curtail NSA data collection and surveillance programs. Leahy's bill would implement stronger reform measures. It currently has 13 co-sponsors in the Senate, including 3 Republicans.

What news stories have you been following?

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