Posted by Shadi Matar on March 25, 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.

Arizona and Utah Voters Face Troubles on Primary Day

This past Tuesday, three key western states (Utah, Arizona, and Idaho) held their presidential primaries and caucuses. Not without issue, voters had to wait in line upwards of five hours to vote in Arizona, and many reported that  Utah’s online ballots were not working. The Sanders campaign called the Arizona primary a “disgrace,” arguing that Sanders lost many voters who did not have the ability to stick around in hours long lines to cast their vote. Some voters in Mesa, Arizona reported that there were only four polling locations in an area of over 500,000 people and that these sites had few public transportation routes. 44 Arizona delegates went to Hillary Clinton, compared to Sanders's 30.  

Prison Gerrymandering Unconstitutional in Florida

A Federal District Court in Florida ruled that “prison gerrymandering” is unconstitutional and it dilutes the voting power of residents in the districts affected. In one example, inmates counted as 43% of the voting population in the third district even though they are not eligible to vote. This is not the first lawsuit that Florida is facing regarding this issue. In September of 2015, State Representative Janet Adkins (R-FL) suggested that prison gerrymandering could be used to unseat rival Represent Corrine Brown (D-FL). Read more about Florida here.

 

 Governor Terry McAuliffe Vetoes Voter Registration Bill

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) vetoed a bill that would add several controversial required fields to voter registration applications. The law proposed requiring that applicants fill out questions that are currently optional on the forms, such as felony and citizenship status. With his veto, Gov. McAuliffe explained that the Voting Rights Act “expressly prohibits denying applications for omissions that are not material to determining voter eligibility.” One of the more problematic sections of the bill would automatically deny applicants who who failed to indicate that they would be at least 18 years old before the next election. Read more about Virginia here.

 

California Republican Have a Big Role in 2016

On June 7th California will have its primaries for both parties, but the Republican race is increasingly looking like it will be decisive in the heated race. With the delegate count for Trump, Cruz, and Kasich unlikely to reach the necessary amount to secure the nomination, California’s late primary and high delegate count might be what the Republican race comes down to. Recent polling shows California Republicans are still not sure who to throw their support behind, with an estimated 22.5% saying they are undecided. California’s unique diversity and large immigrant communities make the race even more interesting, and perhaps indicative of General Election trends.  Read more about California here.

 

Maryland’s Senate Candidates Debate National Security

Both primary races - Republican and Democrat - for the vacant Senate seat in Maryland are hotly contested affairs. This past week both parties hosted the first primary debate, with the Democrats squaring off on a range of issues domestically. Democrats Rep. Chris Van Hollen and Rep. Donna Edwards continued to escalate their attacks on each other, but the debate covered a lot of ground on issues that matter to Maryland voters. The Republican contenders debated national security and terrorism issues as well as economic policy because the debate fell the same day as the terrorist attacks in Brussels. In an electric moment, when asked about the FBI’s right to access cyber data Richard Douglas answered that “Dead terrorists do not have Fourth Amendment rights”. The Maryland presidential and state primaries are on April 26th. Read more about Maryland here