Report Alleges Voter Suppression in Alabama

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Since the Supreme Court gutted a key part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Alabama lawmakers have taken a string of actions that disproportionately disenfranchise African American voters, according to a recent report by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The report states that the Republican-controlled state legislature implemented a voter ID law that targets minorities, closed polling places in predominantly minority communities, and made little effort to educate voters about a new felon re-enfranchisement law.

“Alabama’s political leaders have instead promoted the myth of voter fraud, particularly in-person voter fraud — despite numerous studies finding that such fraud is virtually nonexistent,” the report said. (read more)

Silver State Takes Front Stage: Following the botched Iowa caucuses at the start of the month, there were major concerns that Nevada’s primary contest would also be marred by glitches and irregularities. However, there were only a few fairly minor issues:

The Nevada Democratic Party (NDP) was going to use iPads with a pre-downloaded app after scrapping the same mobile app used in Iowa, but decided on “scannable paper ballots” at the last minute. (read more)

Pete Buttigieg’s campaign sent a letter to the NDP demanding that it make public all early and in-person vote totals, citing errors in the data, according to Nevada Independent. (read more)

It also turned out that about 1,000 early voters in Nevada had their ballots voided because they weren’t complete, so the NDP notified and encouraged them to participate on caucus day. (read more)

Tech Fails and Internet Trolls: Are States Prepared for Either? Maybe. Quite a few states have moved toward low-tech solutions, like hand-marked ballots, but election security experts continue to raise concerns about vulnerable touchscreen voting machines that are prone to programming issues and have been proven to be hackable.

In Georgia, for example, voters will use these voting machines. And, because elections are run by the secretary of state’s office instead of the Georgia Democratic Party (GDP), it will be a test for how ready state election officials are for the general election. Last election, the GDP received nearly 80,000 calls about voting issues.

Maggie Chambers, spokesperson for the GDP, told WhoWhatWhy in a statement that the party is beefing up its voter protection hotline and its voter protection operation will “ensure that the hotline is fully equipped to help with any issues voting on Election Day.” (read more)

Bloomberg’s ‘Paid Social Media Army’: Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg continues to make a splash in the Democratic presidential primary race. The multibillionaire reportedly has paid hundreds of social media influencers to copy and paste content supporting his campaign.

The spending has raised concerns about “whether posts by campaign employees constitute sponsored content, how social media platforms should regulate nontraditional political advertising, and whether hiring temps with no particular affinity for a candidate is an effective form of electioneering in the first place.” (read more)

Major Victory for Felon Voting Rights Activists: A federal appeals court blocked a Florida law that requires former felons to repay fines or fees they can register to vote. It’s likely that GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis will appeal the ruling, but more than one million Floridians are one step closer to casting a ballot during the 2020 election.

The Republican-controlled state legislature passed SB 7066 last year after two-thirds of Florida voters passed Amendment 4, a ballot initiative that automatically restores voting rights for the vast majority of felons who completed their sentence. (read more)

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