The Texas Legislature is considering online voter registration legislation - SB 315 by Sen. Uresti (D-San Antonio). The bill passed the Senate on April 23rd (21-10) and is now in the House, where they have until May 26th to send it on to the Governor. If it becomes law, voters with a valid driver’s license or identification card can register online.
There are currently 18 states who have passed online registration legislation, and another 15 states are considering it - including Texas (Source). Arizona was the first state to adopt online registration in 2002, and their Secretary of State says that over 70 percent of voter registrations are completed online.
You can read more about Arizona and Washington’s online voter registration program here [pdf].
Colorado is considering changes to it’s election laws, including same-day registration, mailing ballots to all registered voters, and removing the “inactive voter” label (applied to voters who do not vote in the prior election). This bill, which has not been introduced yet, comes after large increases in the state’s voter registration and mail ballot returns. County clerks reported that 74 percent of Colorado voters returned mail ballots during the 2012 election. That figure alone suggests changes in conducting future Colorado campaigns; chasing mail ballots will be a much more important factor in campaigns.
The RNC’s Growth and Opportunity Project report’s primary process recommendations have drawn my interest. Particularly, the prospect of an earlier convention and how that will affect the primaries. The RNC wants the convention to be held in late June, early July - “allowing our nominee more time to begin the general election phase.” This will necessitate chances in some state laws, such as Texas’. In addition, the RNC insists the eventual nominee will still need 60-90 days to prepare for the convention, making the last primary date April 30th or May 15th. So, everyone must move up their primary date. However, they still maintain the special status of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and S. Carolina - anyone going before them would presumably be penalized.
Frontloading HQ has a great review of the recommendations: Thoughts on the Growth and Opportunity Project Recommendations
The conclave has chosen Pope Francis (formerly Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio) to succeed Benedict XVI. Zenit has a profile of Pope Francis. He is a conservative, as was always the likely choice. However, he is not from the Curia, which could be a sign that some reforms are coming. And according to a profile in the National Catholic Reporter, he is a critic of “clerical privilege.” Also, at age 76, he is 2 years younger than Benedict XVi when he was chosen in 2005. This begs the question of how long he may be able to serve, and if Benedict’s resignation may be repeated.
The speculation can end. George P. Bush is running for Land Commissioner (Sources: CNN, Dallas Morning News, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post). I honestly can’t remember a Land Commissioner race getting this much national attention (which would be any).
This office isn’t exactly known as a launching pad for higher office, but it’s going to be an open seat that will probably not see much competition in the primary. The only commissioner since 1900 to successfully achieve higher office was David Dewhurst (elected Lt. Gov. in 2002); a couple others tried and failed. The current occupant - Jerry Patterson - is planning to run for Lt. Gov. in 2014.
You can check out his website and announcement video here.