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Clean & Fair Elections Update - Election Reform: What's Moving in 2009
Clean & Fair Elections Update
Election Reform: What's Moving in 2009
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Election Reform: What's Moving in 2009
Only a month into most legislative sessions, and facing devastating budget crises, election bills are just starting to move around the country. Here are the notable legislative actions so far.
Felon Reenfranchisement - Kentucky's automatic restoration bill has advanced out of committee, as has a bill allowing absentee voting or inmates in Hawaii. A Virginia House committee killed legislation there, but subsequently the full Senate passed a restoration bill. In Alabama, however, a bill backed by the attorney general seeking to codify a list of 70 disenfranchising offenses has passed out of committee.
A Roundup of Recent Election Reform Dispatch Items
February 12, 2009
The Republican National Committee has filed a lawsuit against the Federal Elections Commission, hoping to prevent restrictions on donations to political parties designated for spending on state-level campaign work and congressional redistricting, among other things. The RNC has teamed up with James Bopp, the country's top crusader against campaign finance regulations, who has had substantial success of late. He argued the Wisconsin Right to Life case that eviscerated McCain-Feingold's ban on corporate and union spending on advertisements in federal elections. (He is also himself a member of the RNC and counsel to the rightwing, socially conservative group Focus on the Family). Previously his mission has been to tear down all restrictions on independent groups, but in this case Bopp is expanding his goals to include the political parties themselves. And while new Democratic National Committee Counsel Bob Bauer, late of the Obama campaign and an election law scholar in his own right, thinks the law and the constitution are on their side, the Robert's Supreme Court is clearly on a path toward dismantling the campaign finance regime we have now.
January 29, 2009
Despite a dearth of recent successes and mounting fiscal crises in most states, rightwing voter ID legislation designed to suppress voter turnout continues to be pressed around the country. So far this year at least 17 states have seen bills introduced to institute or enhance ID requirements for voting or registration (AL, CO, GA, IN, MD, MN, MS, MO, NY, OK, RI, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, WY). It appears we now know enough to predict the landscape of the voter ID battles in this legislative session.
January 15, 2009
Early Voting Shows Big Gain Nationally, Hits Majority in Ten States
January 8, 2009
Last year we saw the incredible wave of voter ID legislation promoted nationwide by rightwing activists seem to peter out. High profile campaigns for restrictive photo ID and proof-of-citizenship requirements, which limit the voting of many legal citizens (see here and here), were met with defeat. But the proponents of voter ID have apparently not been deterred. The good people at Project Vote, who have been monitoring voter ID legislation across the country, are finding that rightwing lawmakers in key states continue to place voter ID at the top of their to-do list. This is despite the passing of another election without any evidence of the type of fraud that voter ID requirements would help prevent - someone attempting to register and vote twice in the same state.
Electoral College Killed Auto Industry Aid Bill - And Michigan House Approves NPV Bill to Kill Electoral College
December 15, 2008
When the U.S. Senate killed the auto industry rescue bill last week, some conservative commentators saw it as payback for Michigan voting the wrong way in the November election. William D. Zeranski at the popular rightwing American Thinker site argued, "We know which way those 17 Electoral College votes will go. So, how does helping bailout the Big Three help the GOP?" Local Michigan Republican leaders themselves began worrying that national party leaders would begin ignoring state concerns after McCain lost the Great Lakes states. As Republican pollster Steve Lombardo said after the election, "It's a matter of worry...It may be that Republicans begin to write off Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota." Of course, the writing off of all Michigan voters only makes sense politically because of the Electoral College.
Universal Voter Registration: A New Initiative to Increase Electoral Participation and Reduce Voter Suppression
December 1, 2008
The elections of 2008 served as a critical test of the nation's election systems. With changes in voting machines and procedures, coupled with expectations of record voter turnout, election administrators held their breath and hoped their system wouldn't fail.
We can do better. Read more...
November 14, 2008
In last Tuesday's election, there was a dramatic demographic and geographic shift in who supported progressives all the way down the ballot. These changes could lead to long-term electoral support for progressives if they deliver on the promises they made to voters.
November 14, 2008
This year election administrators, many of whom were fielding new voting equipment for the first time, faced record turnout. After the pervasive problems with the previous two presidential elections and the fears of more election problems, both real and imagined, voters across the political spectrum faced the election with deep skepticism about its fairness and integrity. Today we give a brief overview of whether the expectations for the election were born out, and what election day tells us about where to focus reforms. Read more...
The Clean & Fair Elections Update is written by Election Reform Policy Specialist Christian Smith-Socaris. Please feel free to contact Christian if you have feedback, resources, or for more information.
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