Category Archives: Voting

‘Wildly Lawless’: Ohio Set to Use Map Deemed Unconstitutional by State Supreme Court

“Ohio Republicans have chosen to pass unconstitutional maps again and again and blatantly ignore the will of voters in order to protect their seats.”

By Kenny Stancil  Published 5-27-2022 by Common Dreams

Former President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump are greeted by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019, Photo: Trump White House Archives/flickr

When Ohio voters head to the polls on August 2 for a special primary election, the state legislative candidates on the ballot will be running under districts deemed unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court.

Ohio’s high court struck down proposed state legislative districts as illegal Republican gerrymanders on five separate occasions, but a federal court is poised to implement a previously rejected set of maps as its Saturday deadline is expected to pass without action from right-wing lawmakers in charge of the redistricting process. Continue reading

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‘Dangerous and Unprecedented’: Florida GOP Gives DeSantis Power to Draw Congressional Map

“The Florida Legislature’s decision to cede this decennial process of redrawing lines for congressional districts to Gov. DeSantis is undemocratic,” said the ACLU.

By Jake Johnson  Published 4-12-2022 by Common Dreams

Ron DeSantis speaking with attendees at the 2018 Student Action Summit hosted by Turning Point USA at the Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach, Florida.. Photo: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons/CC

Florida’s GOP-controlled Legislature on Monday effectively handed Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis control over the process of drawing the state’s congressional map for upcoming U.S. House elections, a move that voting rights advocates decried as an “unprecedented and dangerous” abdication of responsibility.

Caving to pressure from the right-wing governor’s office, Florida’s state Senate President Wilton Simpson (R-10) and state House Speaker Chris Sprowls (R-65) said in a joint statement that “at this time, Legislative reapportionment staff is not drafting or producing a map for introduction during the special session.” Continue reading

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Citing Likely Racist Motives, Federal Judge Blocks Florida GOP’s Voter Suppression Law

“At some point, when the Florida Legislature passes law after law disproportionately burdening Black voters, this court can no longer accept that the effect is incidental.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 3-31-2022 by Common Dreams

Civil rights defenders on Thursday welcomed a ruling by a federal judge who struck down parts of a Florida voter suppression law, calling racism “a motivating factor” in the GOP-backed legislation’s passage.

In a 288-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Mark Walker blocked provisions of Florida’s Senate Bill 90, a massive attack on voting rights signed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis in 2020. The law empowers partisan poll watchers, imposes strict voter ID requirements, criminalizes so-called “ballot harvesting,” limits ballot drop boxes, and bans advocacy groups from handing out food or water to voters waiting in long lines. Continue reading

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Critics Blast ‘Absolutely Shocking’ Supreme Court Decision on Wisconsin Voting Maps

Journalist John Nichols called it “a stunning decision that confirms just how extreme the U.S. Supreme Court’s majority has become.”

By Jessica Corbett.  Pubished 3-23-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Wally Gobetz/flickr/CC

In a move that shocked progressive political observers, the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected Wisconsin legislative districts drawn by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and sent the case back to the state’s highest court, which previously approve the voting maps.

Wisconsin-based journalist John Nichols called it “a stunning decision that confirms just how extreme the U.S. Supreme Court’s majority has become.” Continue reading

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Critics Warn Florida GOP Bill Designed to ‘Criminalize’ the Voting Process

“American exceptionalism and denial means that no one will admit it, but between book burning, abortion bans, criminalizing trans kids, the Supreme Court’s attack on voting rights, and now this, we are truly veering on fascism.”

By Julia Conley.  Published 3-10-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: ACLU

Florida is poised to establish a first-of-its-kind police force dedicated to stopping and investigating so-called “voter fraud” following the passage on Wednesday of a bill further overhauling the state’s voting system, a year after sweeping changes to election laws sparked outcry among voting rights advocates.

The Republican-led state House passed the new legislation, S.B. 524 in a vote of 76-41 on Wednesday, days after the state Senate approved the bill in a vote of 24-14. Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who had requested even more spending on an election police force than that $3.7 million plan that was passed, is expected to sign the bill. Continue reading

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Just 6% of US House Seats Expected to Be Competitive Thanks to Rigged Maps

Gerrymandered congressional districts come alongside a wave of GOP voter suppression laws.

By Kenny Stancil. Published 2-17-2022 by Common Dreams

A ‘Vote Here’ sign outside an election polling place at Woodbury City Hall in Woodbury, Minnesota during the 2020 general election. Photo: Tony Webster/flickr/CC

In a major blow to the democratic principle that lawmakers are accountable to voters who can remove them from office, the vast majority of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are becoming non-competitive—a trend that critics say threatens to exacerbate GOP extremism as incumbents in solidly red districts shift further right to fend off more reactionary primary challengers.

Several months into the decennial redistricting process, 335 congressional districts have been redrawn as of Thursday. Just 27 of them are considered competitive—meaning neither Democrats nor Republicans have an advantage of more than five points—according to FiveThirtyEight. Continue reading

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‘Egregious’: Pennsylvania Court Strikes Down Mail-In Voting Law

The ruling was stayed pending an appeal to the state’s Supreme Court and as one voting advocate put it: “The fight’s not over yet, folks.”

By Julia Conley Published 1-28-2022 by Common Dreams

Screenshot: ABC

A sweeping Pennsylvania voting rights law that won praise from across the political spectrum when it was passed in 2019 was struck down by a state court Friday after Republican lawmakers—several of whom had voted for the law—claimed it unlawfully helped President Joe Biden to win the state in 2020.

The conservative-leaning Commonwealth Court ruled 3-2 that Act 77 is unconstitutional, reasoning that an 1838 amendment to the state constitution says Pennsylvanians must vote in person on Election Day unless they meet certain criteria. The rule must be overturned by the adoption of a new amendment, said the court. Continue reading

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Poor People’s Campaign Readies ‘Massive, Nonviolent’ Effort to Save Democracy

“We are not in this for a moment, but for a movement,” said Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II. “Our deadline is victory.”

By Jake Johnson.  Pubished 1-16-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Becker1999/flickr/CC

Don’t call it a day of action.

On June 18, the Poor People’s Campaign and its partners in organized labor, the civil rights movement, and religious communities are planning to mobilize their members and allies from across the U.S. to Washington, D.C. for what they hope will be the “largest mass assembly of poor people and low-wage workers in this nation’s history.”

But Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, cautioned against viewing the impending “massive, nonviolent” march on the nation’s capital as a singular event, one whose energy and demands will fade as soon as that June Saturday ends. Continue reading

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Half of Mail-In Ballot Requests Rejected in Key Texas County

Democracy defenders contend that Texas’ newly enacted restrictions on mail-in ballots are part of a nationwide pattern of Republican efforts to disenfranchise minority voters.

By Brett Wilkins.  Published 1-14-2022 by Common Dreams

Voting rights advocates responded with alarm to reports this week that around half of the mail-in voting applications in Texas’ fifth-largest county have been rejected as a result of a recently enacted voter suppression law that experts say is part of a nationwide Republican effort to restrict access to the polls.

According to The Texas Tribune, election officials in Travis County—home of the state capital, Austin—said they have rejected around half of the 700 requested vote-by-mail applications they’ve received so far ahead of the March primaries. The officials say they are complying with S.B. 1, a controversial law signed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott last September. Continue reading

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NYC Enacts Law Allowing Over 800,000 Immigrants to Vote in Local Elections

“New York City must be seen as a shining example for other progressive cities to follow.”

By Jessica Corbett.  Published 1-9-2022 by Common Dreams

A NYC polling place. Photo: John Morton/flickr/CC

A New York City law granting more than 800,000 lawful permanent residents the right to vote in local elections took effect Sunday after the recently elected mayor, Democrat Eric Adams, declined to veto it.

The New York City Council had voted 33-14—with two abstentions—for the measure to allow noncitizens who have resided in the city for at least 30 days to vote for mayor, council members, and other municipal offices beginning next year. Continue reading

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