Posted by Shadi Matar on June 10, 2016 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. You can read previous editions of our 2016 Election News Roundup right here at its headquarters.
Ohio Voter Suppression Knocked Down in Court
Ohio Democrats are celebrating after two rulings from U.S. District Court Judges who have said Ohio’s current voting setup is unconstitutional and a violation of the Voting Rights Act. One ruling comes as a response to a 2014 law requiring absentee ballots be thrown out if voters made technical errors including misspelling their name, address, or date of birth. The law also shortened the time that it would allow for voters to fix such errors from ten days to seven days. The second decision ruled that the elimination of “Golden Week”, which allowed Ohio voters to register and cast an absentee ballot on the same day, discriminated against racial minorities. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted plans to appeal the ruling adding it will produce “chaos”. Read more about Ohio here
California Voter Turnout Surpasses 2012 But Falls Short of 2008
More Californians voted in the presidential primary this week than in the 2012 primary. However, despite a record number of nearly 18 million registered voters only about 6 million cast their ballots across the state. Although the number of people who turned out to vote this year was higher than the number in 2012, it still fails to surpass the nine million who voted in the 2008 primary. Many attribute the record registration numbers to excitement in the lead up to the primary when both Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders made multiple campaign stops throughout the state. California state law gives counties 30 days to finish counting votes. Read more about California here
A Florida Power Couple in the Making?
Florida Congressman Alan Grayson and his new wife Dr. Dena Grayson announced their candidacies for U.S. Senate and Florida’s 9th U.S. congressional district, respectively. The couple made their announcement on a tele-conference town hall focusing on health care and the spread of the Zika virus. Dr. Grayson is running for her husband's seat against former Grayson District Director Susannah Randolph, State Senator Darren Soto, and Businesswoman Valleri Crabtree. Congressman Grayson is seeking the Democratic nomination for Marco Rubio’s seat against Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-18). Floridians will head to the polls on August 30 to cast their primary ballots. Read more about Florida here
Massachusetts Preps for Early Voting Amid Cost and Fraud Concerns
Massachusetts passed an early voting measure in 2014 which goes into effect for the first time this November. The early voting period starts October 24th lasts 10 days. State and local elections officials are still working out the guidelines, cost and other details. Secretary of State William Galvin points out that besides mandating 10 days for early voting, local officials will have the options of deciding how many early voting sites are available and what times they are open, how they staff their sites, and whether they choose to include police officers. Galvin is concerned about funding the mandate. Only $400,000 was set-aside in Governor Charlie Baker’s 2017 fiscal budget proposal. In Boston, Mayor Marty Walsh pledged $670,000 for early voting; the city will open nine early voting locations with night and weekend hours. For smaller towns, officials may run into funding issues, but they will have the flexibility to implement what they can. While Galvin does not believe there will be rampant voter fraud, the state will create deterrents, such as an electronic polling book or some type of supervisory authority.Read more about Massachusetts here
Pennsylvania Leaning Dem for Now, but Reagan Democrats Could Swing It
Politico has rated Pennsylvania as one of eleven states that will likely decide the outcome of the general election. With 20 electoral votes up for grabs,the state’s role this year is significant. Last August, Pennsylvania was categorized as a “toss up” after being labeled as leaning democratic. More recently, ABC, the Washington Post, NBC News, the Cook Political Report and CNN have put Pennsylvania back in the “lean Democratic” column. ABC News’ John Kruzel and Ryan Struyk pointed out Pennsylvania has reliably voted Democratic in every presidential race since 1992. Yet,some voters are swayed by the hope that Trump will bring back manufacturing jobs to the area. Perhaps not surprisingly, these same voters are Democrats – who also voted for Reagan. The presumptive Republican and Democratic nominees, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, will have their work cut out for them ahead of November 8th to persuade voters one way or the other.Read more about Pennsylvania here
Supreme Court Takes on Gerrymandering in Virginia, Again
TheSupreme Court will review Bethune-Hill v. Virginia Board of Elections, regarding whether Virginia state districts are racially gerrymandered. This is the second time this year that the justices weigh in on gerrymandering in Virginia. During redistricting in 2011, Virginia House Republicans and Senate Democrats struck an informal deal regarding district lines: Republicans would keep the Senate lines drawn by the Democrats and Democrats would do the same with House lines drawn by Republicans. Marc E. Elias, who is general counsel to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, brought this case against the state’s Board of Elections. Virginia House Republicans are welcoming the review, believing the highest court will affirm them, just as a lower court did by a vote of 2-1. Although there was support from black legislators for the bargain at the heart of the case, the court may still find African American voters were illegally packed into districts. In October, the Court will begin to review whether or not race played a significant role in the redistricting.Read more about Virginia here