This Week in 200 Words
In state updates, Pennsylvania could spearhead the movement against gerrymandering. Georgia voters got to test out new voting machines. Ohio released the names of voters that were to be removed from their rolls and it was discovered many of the names listed were incorrectly listed. Virginia Governor Ralph Northam restored voting rights to 22,000 previously incarcerated individuals. Wisconsin’s new election security council is set to hold its first meeting next week.
In other news, Washington state is taking election security very seriously. Kansas’ roll out of its new Vote Anywhere Act is being delayed. Burlington, Vermont passed a measure to allow non-citizens to vote in its elections. The release of the Senate Intelligence report has led to calls for more election security. Also, a Judge has decided to renew 165,000 “inactive” voters in Kentucky.
The warning from former special counsel Robert Mueller III came through loud and clear earlier this year: Since 2016, foreign actors have continually tried to interfere in U.S. elections, Mueller told Congress in July, and election officials should be on guard for the same kinds of attempts in 2020.
Amid similar warnings from U.S. intelligence officials, members of the U.S. House and Senate have continued to debate legislation aimed at shoring up the nation’s elections infrastructure.
With the general election just three weeks away, the Kansas Secretary of State is in Wichita talking about election security.
Scott Schwab is meeting with the Sedgwick County Commission on how to put the new Vote Anywhere Act into effect without jeopardizing your vote.
Burlington, Vermont lawmakers voted 10-2 Monday to allow a change to the city’s charter that will allow non-citizens to vote in the city’s elections, according to WHDH and WCAX-TV.
Councilman Adam Roof, who wrote the resolution in the aim of creating a more inclusive and engaged community, argued that since local government impacts every citizen, then every citizen within the community should have voting rights. He argued that this was in step with Burlington’s values, and pointed out that it was in line with the already-approved Diversity and Equity Strategic Plan.
Democrats are renewing their calls for Senate action on election security measures following the release of a Senate Intelligence Committee report that found the Kremlin directed Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.
The party has repeatedly gone after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for imposing obstacles to action on election security, a point underscored once again in the wake of the bipartisan Intelligence report.
Wausau Daily Herald: Marshfield will host anti-gerrymandering Fair Maps for Wisconsin Summit in November
A group of passionate Wisconsinites are hoping to take on partisan gerrymandering next month.
The Fair Maps for Wisconsin Summit will be held Nov. 9 in Marshfield and aims to teach Wisconsin residents how partisan gerrymandering, or re-drawing of political districts by politicians to give their party a partisan advantage, affects them and the resources available to them. The summit is sponsored by several nonprofit and grassroots organizations, including the Fair Elections Project, the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin and The Madison Institute.
Telegraph Herald: Jones: Tennessee voter-suppression law must not stand
Tennessee is trying to expand upon the tactics used by Republican-controlled states to encourage voter suppression.
A new state law would limit the ability of third-party groups to register voters in Tennessee. Third-party voter registration occurs when a person, entity or organization solicits or encourages others to register people to vote.
A Franklin Circuit Court judge issued an emergency injunction on Monday restoring 165,000 citizens who had been placed on Kentucky’s inactive voter rolls to Kentucky’s regular voter rolls.
Judge Thomas Wingate heard heated arguments Monday morning in the case, in which the Kentucky Democratic Party asked for an emergency injunction taking the citizens off the inactive rolls.
The controversy comes amid nationwide scrutiny of election integrity and just one year after many statewide elections were settled with a handful of votes.
Stacey Abrams has made it her mission to elevate the issue of voter suppression in the national political conversation, but she told Yahoo News there’s also a big challenge in convincing those who doubt that it’s a problem in the first place.
“It’s incredibly incumbent upon me and anyone else who wants to solve the problem to win over skeptics,” Abrams said in an interview on “The Long Game,” a Yahoo News podcast. “The existence of skeptics is one of the reasons that voter suppression continues.”
Some 21% of LGBTQ adults aren’t registered to vote, according to a study released this week by the University of California, Los Angeles’ Williams Institute. That’s compared to an estimated 17% of non-LGBTQ adults.
The finding, part of a larger poll of 2,237 people that measured LGBTQ voters’ demographic characteristics and political attitudes, came as LGBTQ rights have taken center stage in the national conversation. Meanwhile, Friday marked National Coming Out Day.
Pennyslvania-90.5 WESA: Pennsylvania Could Lead The Way In Addressing Gerrymandering
Pending lawsuits in at least eight states claim that congressional district maps were unconstitutionally gerrymandered to benefit one political party. Most of the suits are in federal court, but in North Carolina, voting fairness advocates are following the course Pennsylvania plaintiffs set, claiming the map violates the state constitution.
“I think their constitution [is] very similar to our state constitution; it’s more protective than the federal constitution,” said James Lieber, a Pittsburgh attorney and author of “Victory: How Pennsylvania Beat Gerrymandering and How Other States Can Do the Same.”
Georgia-The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Voters critique Georgia’s new voting machines as test run begins
The first Georgia voters to test the state’s new voting machines cast their ballots Monday, with some voters in Paulding County praising the addition of a paper ballot and others saying the voting equipment was more cumbersome than what they’re accustomed to using.
Election officials rolled out the new voting system in six counties for local elections as in-person early voting began Monday. The $107 million system, which combines touchscreens and computer-printed paper ballots, will be used by all voters statewide on March 24 for the presidential primary.
Ohio-The New York Times: Ohio Was Set to Purge 235,000 Voters. It Was Wrong About 20%.
The clock was ticking for Jen Miller.
The state of Ohio had released names of 235,000 voters it planned to purge from voter rolls in September.
Ms. Miller, director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio, believed thousands of voters were about to be wrongly removed.
Over the summer, the Ohio secretary of state had sent her organization and others like it a massive spreadsheet with the 235,000 names and addresses that would be purged from the state’s voter rolls in just a month — a list of people that, state officials said, some part of the bureaucracy flagged as deceased, living somewhere else or as a duplicate. The League of Women Voters had been asked to see if any of those purged qualified to register again.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) announced that his administration has restored the right to vote and other civil rights for more than 22,000 people with felony convictions.
The other rights include the right to serve on a jury, run for public office and become a notary public, his office said in a statement on Wednesday.
Wisconsin-News 8000: Election security council to hold first public meeting
A new council formed to coordinate election security will hold its first public meeting next week.
The Wisconsin Elections Security Council will advise the state Elections Commission and serve as a meeting point for federal, state and local officials.
Members include representatives of the FBI, the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, Gov. Tony Evers’ office, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Legislature’s elections committees, the Wisconsin County Clerks Association and the Wisconsin Municipal Clerks Association.