Posted by Kristin McCarthy on August 07, 2015 in Blog

AAI compiles a weekly roundup of election news tracking key races across the country as well as legislation that will impact voting rights ahead of the 2016 elections. For AAI’s coverage of presidential candidates and races, make sure to check out our profiles over at#YallaVote’s Election Central. And for more state specific information, head over to our election map and click on your state.

Illinois Senate Race Is One to Watch

Republican Senator Mark Kirk is up for reelection next November and the race is an important one in the much-hyped Democratic battle to reclaim control of the U.S. Senate. Kirk won his seat from a Democrat in 2010, when then Senator Barack Obama moved to the White House. Rising Democratic star Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D, IL-8) has already announced her intention to run against Kirk and has scored the support of Illinois’ other Senator Dick Durbin. Duckworth isn’t alone though, Urban League President Andrea Zopp has announced and popular African American Cook County Commission Richard Boykin recently announced an exploratory committee. Both of Duckworth’s rivals could pose problems securing the African American vote, which is crucial. While the Democrats sort themselves out, Republicans are not overlook this race, and there have already been rumbles of concern regarding Kirk’s ability to run hard following a massive stroke and tough recovery. More news from Illinois.

Minorities Impact Presidential Elections, Are Impacted By New Voting Rights Restrictions

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, and many excellent articles of decried the ongoing battle of U.S. citizens to freely and fairly exercise their right to vote. The literature all agrees that the legislative bills that have limited the right by shortening early voting, requiring identification, and more have disproportionate effect on minority communities. And while the growth of minorities will eventually minimize the impact these restrictions (minority communities account for 95% of the U.S.’s population growth), there is short-term concern that minorities in swing states will be impacted. And that might spell doom for the Democratic Party, who in 2012 won eight important swing states thanks in large part to minority voter turnout which overwhelmingly voted in favor of Obama. Those states include Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florid, and Virginia.

Virginia and Swing States Are Not So Sweet On Clinton Anymore

Polls last week have Hillary Clinton trailing behind no less than three of her Republican rivals – BushRubio, and Walker – in key swing states including Virginia. The polls show a dip in her favorability rating since April, and while she still edges out her Democratic rivals, “Battleground Virginia” will likely live up to its name next November and once again be a decisive state in the general election. Last time around, Virginia saw a whopping $151 million spent on tv ads by the Obama and Romney campaigns, making Virginia second only to Florida in that category. More news from Virginia.

Democrats Set Debate Schedule, Finally

On the eve of the first Republican presidential debate, the Democratic Party has finally announced it’s primary debate plan. It has been a long time coming, too. Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley have both publically criticized DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz previously announced plan to host only six debates – compared to the Republican’s 10 - pretty late in the primary season. Only four debates actually occur before the all-important Iowa straw poll next February. Both Sanders and O'Malley quickly derided the DNC's debate schedule, O'Malley saying the DNC is "facilitating a coronation" and Sanders expressed that he is "disappointed but not surprised."