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Battles Over Voter ID Requirements Loom Large in 2009 Sessions

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.

Battles Over Voter ID Requirements Loom Large in 2009 Sessions

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  were met with defeat. But the proponents of voter ID have apparently not been deterred.

Rising Unemployment Highlights Need for Federal Expansion of Unemployment Insurance Funds

While the financial crisis has received more of the headlines, there has been a growing unemployment crisis over the last year.  With unemployment at a five-year high, nearly 10 million Americans were officially unemployed last month, with nearly 500,000 workers applying for benefits each week.  And the problem doesn't stop there, with long-term joblessness rising:

Reforming the Ballot Initiative Process: Making Direct Democracy Work

Direct democracy through popular intiatives and referenda began a century ago as a grassroots, progressive reform aimed at circumventing corrupt legislatures and increasing civic involvement.  The long history of this reform indicates that in the whole this experiment in direct popular participation in the legislative process has been successful as an avenue for passing populist policies that maintains the favor of the public over time.  However, throughout this history there have also been attempts, sometimes successful, to manipulate the process and the electorate into passing legislation that would not garner majority support had voters possessed an accurate conception of its content and effect. 

Ballot Initiatives 2008

This Dispatch is a roundup of what ballot initiatives will appear on state ballots across the country this November.  Whether it's workers rights, energy policy, education, transit, abortion or health care, ballot initiates give voters a chance to directly vote on an issue.

Reports Find Election Administration in Swing States Not Significantly Improved

Common Cause and The Century Foundation have released the new version of their joint biennial report on election administration in 10 swing states and the findings are not very encouraging: while voters' desire to participate is growing, states have only made fitful progress improving the voting process, and in many instances things have moved backward since the last federal election in 2006.  Examining the most recent election experiences of Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Colorado, New Mexico, and Virginia the report details serious problems in every major aspect of the voting process, along with a handful of bright spots where individual states are moving important reforms.

2008 Session Roundups: Missouri

Missouri's legislative session was largely a repeat of last year - the best that can be said is that some particularly bad bills failed to pass. Unfortunately, others did.  The state passed a particularly regressive immigration bill, but failed to take action on voter ID legislation.  Beyond those issues the session mostly played out as a

The New Voter Suppression and the Progressive Response

Voter suppression is growing rapidly in America today.  Over half of states now have voter ID requirements more stringent than that required for first time voters in federal elections.  Several states are clamping down on voter registration drives or are considering proof of citizenship requirements.

Corporate Influence on State Supreme Courts Show Need for Reform

Over the past decade, elections for state high court seats have gone from sleepy, mildly partisan affairs to major political battles with huge campaign spending, millions in independent special interest advertising, and misleading and negative attacks in the forefront.  TV advertising is now apart of virtually all (91%) contested state supreme court elections, up from about one in five elections in 2000.  And in 2006 business groups were the source of more than 90% of those ads.  Business groups are also the source of almost half of all campaign contributions in these races.