Voter turnout lowest since World War II

General election voter turnout for the 2014 midterms was the lowest it has been in any election cycle since World War II, according to early projections by the United States Election Project.

Just 36.4 percent of the voting-eligible population cast ballots as of last Tuesday, continuing a steady decline in midterm voter participation that has spanned several decades.

The results are dismal, but not surprising — participation has been dropping since the 1964 election, when voter turnout was at nearly 49 percent.

The last time voter turnout was so low during a midterm cycle was in 1942, when 33.9 percent of eligible voters cast ballots.

Voter turnout during presidential elections is, as a rule, significantly higher. More than 58 percent of eligible voters submitted ballots in 2012 and nearly 62 percent did so in 2008. By contrast, only 41 percent of eligible voters voted in 2010 and 40.4 percent in 2006.

This year, Maine boasted the highest turnout in the nation, with 59 percent of the eligible population submitting their votes. Indiana had the lowest turnout rate, with 28 percent.

— Jose A. DelReal

Violent crimes drop by 4.4% in the U.S.

The FBI said Monday that the number of violent crimes reported to law enforcement last year dropped by 4.4 percent from 2012.

The crime statistics also showed a longer-term decline, over the last five years, in violent crime and property crime.

The report is based on voluntarily reported statistics from more than 18,000 law enforcement agencies.

It covers crimes including murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault.

The report says the number of violent crimes reported to law enforcement last year was roughly 1.16 million, down significantly from the 2012 estimate.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. called the drop in violent crime a “remarkable achievement” that’s part of a continuing trend.

— Associated Press

Man gets 7 years for stealing Stradivarius

The man who masterminded the theft of a $5 million Stradivarius violin admitted Monday that he used a stun gun to attack a musician carrying the 300-year-old instrument, saying he intended to sell it to help people he believed were wrongly evicted from an apartment building he managed.

A judge rejected that argument from Salah Salahadyn, calling it a “Robin Hood” mentality, and sentenced him to seven years in prison.

“There’s a right. There’s a wrong. Don’t confuse them,” Judge Dennis Moroney told Salahadyn.

— Associated Press

Palestinian activist guilty of immigration fraud: A Palestinian activist was found guilty Monday of immigration fraud for failing to reveal to U.S. authorities that she had been convicted and served time in Israel for a 1969 supermarket bombing that killed two people. After a trial last week in a federal court in Detroit, Rasmieh Yousef Odeh, 67, was convicted of unlawful procurement of naturalization, court officials said. Odeh, who also goes by the spelling Rasmea, faces 10 years in prison and would lose her U.S. citizenship.

New York has new marijuana policy: Thousands of people carrying small amounts of marijuana may no longer be arrested or face criminal charges in New York City under a new policy announced Monday by Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton. Instead of being arrested on a misdemeanor charge for possessing less than 25 grams, many people will get summonses and face non-criminal violations.

— From news services