This Week in 200 Words
In state updates, a New Jersey bill restoring voting rights to persons on parole or probation has passed by the assembly. A Wisconsin lawsuit will take on restrictive student ID voting laws. Oregon legislators consider a proposal to limit political spending in state campaigns. New York approved a public campaign finance financing system to limit campaign contributions and establish a small donation matching fund. Ohio takes stock of its current election security measures and considers implementing more.
In national news, NY Rep. Antonio Delgado introduced a bill that would block political contributions by opioid manufacturing companies. And a new article highlights the impact of gerrymandering on Utah’s Navajo community.
New York – NNY360 – New bill would ban campaign donations from opioid makers
Federal political candidates will no longer be able to receive campaign contributions from opioid manufacturers if a new bill introduced by U.S. Rep. Antonio Delgado, D-Rhinebeck, is passed.
Delgado and fellow New York Rep. Max Rose, D-Staten Island, introduced the Save Lives Act on Wednesday to block political contributions from corporate political action committees for opioid-manufacturing pharmaceutical companies. The legislation comes the month after Delgado had an opioid-focused in-district week Oct. 7-11.
In San Juan County, Utah, a recently overturned ballot proposition would have explored changing the form of government in the county in a move supporters said would have given voice to some who felt disenfranchised by recent redistricting. However, opponents said it would cancel gains made by having two Navajo commissioners represent the Navajo majority in the area, and potentially lead to less representation for them.
Wisconsin – The Hill – Foundation for student voters files suit against Wisconsin alleging voter suppression
A foundation that promotes student voters filed a lawsuit against Wisconsin Tuesday alleging the state is suppressing voters with its voter identification law.
The Andrew Goodman Foundation filed the federal suit against six members of the Wisconsin Elections Commission to challenge the state’s 2011 voter ID law that placed restrictions on using student IDs to vote, according to a release from the group. The group is arguing the law discriminates against student voters and violates the 26th Amendment.
Oregon – Blue Mountain Eagle – Proposal to limit money in Oregon politics unveiled
Legislators last week considered a plan intended to impose greater controls on Oregon’s increasingly expensive political campaigns and reduce the influence of money on state politics.
Under the proposal, individuals would be limited to $750 in contributions to any legislative candidate and $2,000 for those seeking statewide office. The limits would apply separately to primary and general election campaigns. Individual contributions to state party committees and legislative caucus committees would be capped at $2,000 annually.
New York – Wall Street Journal – New York State Panel Approves Public Campaign Finance System
The New York State Public Campaign Finance Reform Commission voted Monday to establish a statewide system that matches small political donations with taxpayer funds and makes it more difficult for minor parties to appear on the ballot.
The commission recommended reducing the allowed contribution limits to statewide candidates by more than half and matching donations of $250 or more. The recommendations are set to become law next month.
New Jersey – New Jersey Globe – Assembly passes bill granting voting rights to persons on parole, probation
The Assembly advanced a bill providing voting rights to persons on parole or probation Monday. It passed 46-23. Under current law, New Jersey strips voting rights from incarcerated persons and those on probation or parole. An identical bill introduced on Nov. 18 in the legislature’s upper chamber by State Sen. Ron Rice, who is chair of the Legislative Black Caucus, has not yet had a committee vote scheduled. Gov. Phil Murphy is likely to support the measure if it gets to his desk. He’s previously called on lawmakers to pass a bill granting voting rights to people on parole and probation.
The country is less than a year away from the 2020 presidential election, and concerns about Russian interference in the 2016 election persists. Have Ohio and other states done everything they need to ensure that the vote next time will be safe and secure?
Jen Miller, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio, says the state is in pretty good shape, but there’s still work to be done. Miller says that Ohio’s security is “well ahead of other states.” Ohio’s voting machines are not hooked up to the internet, so they can’t be hacked.