Automatic Voter Registration Efforts Face Setbacks

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Automatic Voter Registration Efforts Face Setbacks: The Massachusetts state legislature passed a bill in 2018 that would automatically register eligible voters once they interacted with the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV). But once voting rights advocates learned that the RMV was working to implement a more confusing version of what the legislature passed, they urged lawmakers to reinforce the language of its automatic voter registration bill.

So the legislature included language in its budget bill that would have delayed implementation until April 1. But GOP Gov. Charlie Baker vetoed that section because state agencies “have worked diligently to prepare for its January 1, 2020 roll-out — the date originally set by the Legislature.” (read more)

Thousands Denied Absentee Ballot ApplicationsOhio passed no-fault absentee voting in 2005 to increase turnout, but thousands of eligible voters couldn’t vote during the 2018 midterm elections because they were denied an absentee ballot due to what’s known as “exact-match” laws. For example, an application can be denied if a voter has a hyphenated last name on their voter registration application but forgets to include a hyphen when they apply for an absentee ballot.

An investigation by the Associated Press found that dozens of counties in Ohio rejected applicants, and in some cases, county officials didn’t track the number of applications that were denied — raising questions about how many voters were actually disenfranchised from last year’s midterm elections. (read more)

GOP 2020 Playbook — Purge the Voter Rolls: Despite admitting that his office made “clerical errors” in screening for inactive voters to remove from the voter rolls, Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger may proceed to purge more than 300,000 voters from that list, a federal judge ruled.

Via Washington Post: “Georgia is the second state in four days to announce the deletion of hundreds of thousands of names from its rolls, alarming voting rights advocates, who fear the removals will disenfranchise swaths of the electorate — particularly low-income voters, young people and people of color, who tend to lean Democratic.” (read more)

Caught on Mic: Trump campaign advisor Justin Clark admitted last month to a group of Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin that voter suppression has been a key part of Republican candidates’ election strategies — and to expect more in 2020.

Clark told the Associated Press that he was misquoted, but the audio file obtained gave a glimpse into what the Trump re-election campaign sees as a pathway to victory in 2020: focus on the swing states and spend big bucks to ensure the “right” voters turn out. (read more)

Voting Machine Parts Made Overseas Raise Concerns: Nearly half of all American voters will cast a ballot on voting machines provided by Election Systems & Software LLC (ES&S) next year, but an NBC investigation calls into question the safety of their machines after they found that a majority of ES&S’s parts are made in China and the Philippines. (read more)

ICYMI: Foreign interference in the 2016 election put ES&S in the spotlight, and cybersecurity experts vehemently disagree that the company is taking election security seriously. Earlier this year, hackers went to town on their voting machines, electronic poll books, and more — with each piece of equipment being hacked in under eight hours. (read more)

The Movement for a National Popular Vote: We know that Americans are increasingly frustrated with the Electoral College, considering two of the past four presidents first got elected without winning the popular vote. But, what to replace it with?

Advocates of scrapping the system, like 2020 presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), say that the next president should win through a direct mandate of the voters — just a direct popular vote. Others, like the nonpartisan organization National Popular Vote, argue that there’s still a way to have a national popular vote without getting rid of the Electoral College. (read more)

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