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 →
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 →
“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.”
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 →
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 toFiveThirtyEight. Continue reading →
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 →
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 →
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 toThe 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 →
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 →
Makeshift Fence Memorials to Capitol Police Officers Brian D. Sicknick and Howard Liebengood o January 12, 2021. Photo: Elvert Barnes/Wikimedia/CC
To mark the one-year anniversary of the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and demand free and fair elections, more than 200 grassroots-organized candlelit vigils are planned for Thursday in cities and towns across the United States.
The vigils will be held in nearly every state in the country, with some gatherings including voter registration drives and voter outreach events to counteract what organizers say is an effort by “the same faction that attacked our country on January 6” to restrict voting rights and attack fair voting districts all while “quietly preparing future attempts to sabotage free and fair elections and with [them] our democracy.” Continue reading →
As a report published Wednesday revealed that political consulting firms raked in $1.4 billion while simultaneously working for campaign committees and purportedly independent groups during the 2018 and 2020 election cycles, progressives renewed calls for Congress to pass the Freedom to Vote Act to protect and strengthen democracy.
The report—entitled Dual Agents—was published by Public Citizen and further discredits Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission, thehighly controversial 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling which affirmed that corporations are legal persons and that they, labor unions, and other outside groups could spend unlimited amounts of money to influence the outcome of American elections—as long as they don’t coordinate with candidates or campaigns. Continue reading →