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A multifaceted proposal to revamp Pennsylvania election law is moving ahead in the state House in the form of a bill backers say will make needed improvements and standardize procedures. Democrats on the State Government Committee were dead-set against it Tuesday. They insist that many of its purported upgrades are unworkable or would, in practice, make voting more difficult. The vote to advance it to the House floor was on party lines. The bill's prime sponsor sees it as a way to ensure security around elections and rebuild trust, along with modernizing procedures. His proposal would change deadlines, adopt new rules for early voting, alter mail-in ballot procedures and mandate IDs for in-person voters.

An opposition center-right party has come on the top in Sunday’s local election in Finland, ahead of Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s ruling Social Democratic Party in the first election for the popular young leader who took office 18 months ago. With all votes counted in the Nordic nation’s municipal election, initial results Monday showed that the conservative National Coalition Party had taken 21.4 percent of votes nationwide, while the Social Democrats took 17.7 percent and the centrist, Cabinet  member  Center Party 14.9 of the votes respectively. The vote to renew local councils in Finland’s more than 300 municipalities is viewed as a key indication of parties’ popularity ahead of the country’s 2023 parliamentary election.

Countries in Central and Eastern Europe are anxious about the coming summit meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Some worry that Washington could scale down support for its allies in the region in order to secure a more stable and predictable relationship with Russia. Ukraine is especially wary, fearing that agreements between Biden and Putin could weaken its strategic importance. Moscow has rejected allegations that it is trying to destabilize those former Soviet and Warsaw Pact nations. It has accused them of “Russophobia” and cast them as key instigators of Western sanctions that limit Moscow’s access to global capital markets and restricted imports of modern technology.

A moderate Islamist party has claimed victory Sunday in Algeria’s legislative election even though results were not expected for several more days. Less than 24 hours after polls closed in the North African country, the head of the Movement for a Peaceful Society said the party “leads results in the majority of wilayas (regions) and overseas.” Party chief Abderazak Makri also denounced alleged fraud attempts “to change the results.” The party did not provide the basis for its victory claim on Sunday. The chief of Algeria's election authority says a third or less of the country's 24 million eligible voters cast ballots in Saturday's election. 

The leader of Mexico's governing party says the group suffered setbacks in the capital in last weekend's elections because it has lost touch with the middle class. Mexico City was once an unquestionable stronghold for President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. But in Sunday's mid-term elections his Morena party lost in nine of the city's 16 boroughs. López Obrador blames the results on what he calls a “dirty war” by traditional media against his administration. He claims Mexico City residents were more influenced by media than those in other parts of the country, where Morena did better. But Morena leader Citlalli Hernández said Friday that the party has failed to make contact with the city's huge middle class. 

Boosted by President Biden's win and two U.S. Senate victories, high-profile Democratic candidates in Georgia are running for statewide office in a way unseen in years. Seven sitting Democratic lawmakers have already declared candidacies for one of Georgia’s eight statewide offices — a full nine months away from the 2022 qualifying deadline. Republicans currently hold all such offices. The GOP hardly intends to concede. Most incumbents are gearing up for reelection and prominent Republican state lawmakers also are planning statewide runs. The party knows it may not be an easy ride, what with another expected gubernatorial run by high-profile Democrat Stacey Abrams and the state's rapidly changing demographics.

AP

A Latino civil rights organization says in a new federal lawsuit that Illinois Democrats used inadequate data and an opaque process to draw new legislative districts. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund is suing top Democrats and state election officials on behalf of five Latino residents of Illinois. They want to block the maps from being used for statehouse elections over the next decade. The lawsuit says the new maps could result in Latinos and other minority groups not being accurately represented in the Illinois General Assembly. Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the new boundaries into law last week, saying they protect voting rights of diverse communities. 

Republican lawmakers have voted with majority Democrats in the Oregon House of Representatives to take the historic step of expelling a Republican member who had let violent, far-right protesters into the state Capitol on Dec. 21. Legislators said on the House floor that this could be the most important vote they ever cast. They then proceeded to expel an unapologetic Rep. Mike Nearman with a 59-1 vote. The Capitol has been closed to the public to protect against spread of the coronavirus. Nearman said he let the protesters in because he believes the Capitol should have been open. 

A half-year after a Republican legislator let violent, far-right protesters into the Oregon Capitol, a special committee will examine his role and could recommend he be the first member of the House to be expelled in its 160-year history. Ahead of the inaugural meeting Monday afternoon of the House Special Committee On December 21, 2020, more than 200 people sent written testimony. Some excoriated Rep. Mike Nearman as a seditionist. Others praised him for letting people into the Capitol, which was closed to the public because of coronavirus safety protocols. 

A divide among Nevada Democrats has deepened as top Democratic officials opted to bypass the state party and set up an alternate party organization in Washoe County ahead of next year’s election. Tuesday's decision to shift the coordinated Democratic campaign to reach voters, organize and fundraise for 2022 comes after progressive leaders took over the state party earlier this year. The move has the backing of U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and Gov. Steve Sisolak, who are Democrats seeking reelection next year. The new state party chair Judith Whitmer decried the move as “profoundly dangerous” and says it puts Democratic incumbents at risk. 

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