It seems that the flavor of the year for conservatives is the “cleaning up” of voter rolls, and now they appear to have their sights on swing states that are considering mail-in voting this November.
It started with a removal of more than 500,000 “ineligible” voters at the end of 2019. The North Carolina State Board of Elections is required to, among other things, maintain the state’s voter registration database. So, the conservative self-described “election integrity” group Judicial Watch claims to have found nearly 1 million more names that need to go and filed a federal lawsuit earlier this month.
But that number has been disputed by voting-rights groups. The League of Women Voters of North Carolina filed a motion to intervene in the case, so we’ll be keeping an eye on this and other voter purge efforts leading up to November. (read more)
New Poll Out on Mail-in Voting: Nearly two-thirds of voters now support voting by mail, according to a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll. What stands out about the findings is that President Donald Trump’s baseless voter fraud claims appear to have resulted in a sharp partisan divide on support for mail-in voting. (read more)
No New Election Funding in Latest Stimulus Bill: Voting experts say that it could cost up to $4 billion to carry out the 2020 election with the coronavirus front and center, but Congress included no additional funding for election assistance in its latest stimulus package.
“This package does nothing to provide states with the resources they need to expand vote-by-mail, early voting, and online registration,” Sean Eldridge, founder and president of the progressive group Stand Up America, said in a statement. “We are running out of time — and if Congress doesn’t immediately provide election assistance to the states, then the chaos voters experienced in Wisconsin will be the tip of the iceberg.” (read more reactions)
Voting Victory in Indian Country: Perhaps one of the most underreported and disenfranchised populations when it comes to US elections is Native Americans living on reservations. In North Dakota, a 2013 voter ID law required a “valid” residential address on it — something most individuals living in a tribal community lack.
But finally, the Spirit Lake Nation and Standing Rock Sioux Tribe reached an agreement with the state of North Dakota last week, and Native American voters can use their tribal ID card during the general election. (read the agreement here)
Another Win for Fair Maps: There are a number of states that still practice “prison gerrymandering,” which means they count inmates in the districts where they are incarcerated instead of their last residence.
There’s a lawsuit in Connecticut that could serve as the starting point for ending this practice nationwide, but in the meantime, Virginia became the latest state to ban prison gerrymandering as part of a number of election reforms signed into law last week. (read more)
Trial on Felons Voting Rights to Begin: Florida could play a major role in the outcome of the 2020 election, and we’ll soon know the fate of the roughly 1.4 million former felons whose right to vote was restored by the state’s voters in 2018. The ACLU is presenting its case before a federal court today, arguing that the state cannot impose fines and fees on felons before they can vote. (read more)
ICYMI: A report last year found that the average Floridian on probation, parole, or community supervision owed an average of $8,195 in restitution. Voting-rights groups have called the effort to impose financial obstacles to voting a “modern-day poll tax.” (read more)
WhoWhatWhy and readers’ picks of the week:
- After Wisconsin, These Four States’ Supreme Court Elections Are Key for Stopping GOP Gerrymandering (Daily Kos)
- Vote-by-Mail Lawsuits Have Become ‘Nuclear Arms Race’ for Both Parties Ahead of 2020 Election (Newsweek)
- How Hard Will It Be to Vote During the Coronavirus? It Depends on Where You Live (Philadelphia Inquirer)
- Voting Machine Manufacturers Pushed to Provide Ways to Sanitize Products (The Hill)
- Georgia Voters Push for Free Postage to Mail Absentee Ballots (Courthouse News)