Posted by Kristin McCarthy on September 25, 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. You can read previous editions of our 2016 Election News Roundup right here at its headquarters.

It’s National Voter Registration Day – but Where are the Young Voters?

This week we celebrated the annual National Voter Registration Day (Sept. 22nd this year) by hosting #YallaVote registration drives on college campuses and community centers across the country. Voter registration and mobilization campaigns are more needed than ever. It seems like commonplace awareness that civic education courses are failing to reach and mobilize young voters, but the litany of campaigns targeted at getting out the young vote are not making up the difference according to a new study.  The 2014 election season fielded the lowest voter turnout of 18-29 year olds in the past 40 years. It’s worth noting that voter participation dwindled across the board for last year’s mid term elections, but the steepest decline was in the youngest demographic bracket, 18-29 year olds. We’ve noted that political apathy is a key characteristic of the up and coming Arab American generation – for a host of reasons. So we hope that everyone joins us in stressing the importance of participation and voting. Read more about #YallaVote!

California Senate Off to the Races

With the retirement of longtime California Senator Barbara Boxer, California voters are going to the ballot box to pick a replacement in what is likely to be one of the most contested Senate races in the State’s recent history. Solidly, predictably, and somewhat boringly democratic, the Democratic state party is warring with itself to fill the seat. First to enter the race was State Attorney General Kamala Harris, followed by Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D, CA-47). While the two represent the same party, and have vastly similar policy agendas, Harris came out to a strong start, quickly raising money and press attention. But Rep. Sanchez, who announced in May five months after Harris, has been slowly gaining ground, causing some in the party to reflect on changing demographics as related to the vastly different backgrounds of the candidates. The primary is in June, and one third of voters polled as “undecided”, replacing Boxer is likely to be an expensive endeavor for the both candidates, which may take resources away from the Democratic party who would prefer to spend money fighting off Republicans in purple states.

Voting Technology Crisis Gets National Attention

We’ve covered the voting technology battles being fought in Virginia and Ohio in the past few months, but the widespread nature of outdated voting machines is a national problem finally getting a small bit of attention. Make sure to check out this feature in The Atlantic for a great read about the problem and possible solutions.

Sununu running for New Hampshire Governor

Executive Councilor of New Hampshire’s 3rd district, Chris Sununu officially announced his bid to be Governor for New Hampshire. Sununu, who is the son of former Governor and Congressman John H. Sununu and brother of former Senator John E. Sununu, is eyeing a take down of the current Democratic Governor Maggie Hassan, who is highly expected to make a run for a seat in the U.S. Senate. Hassan has yet to announce her candidacy, but if she does it is not sure thing. She will be facing incumbent Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte. New Hampshire – ever the political peculiarity – currently has a democratic governor, a republican controlled House of Representatives, a Republican majority Executive Council and one U.S. Senator from each party (Sen. Jeanne Shaheen serves alongside Sen. Kelly Ayotte). So while a Republican looking to take over the governorship while the governor looks to take over a republican senate seat seems counter intuitive, New Hampshire has never played by the party rules most state electorates adhere to. While the match ups are fascinating, we’ll continue to monitor Chris Sununu’s campaign, because we love to see Arab Americans on the ballot. Read more about Arab Americans on the ballot.

Trouble in Florida Senate Race Primaries

With Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) all-in for the 2016 presidency, replacing him in the U.S. Senate is yet another intra-party showdown for both the Democrats and Republicans. A Florida Senate seat, and potentially a few seats in the House of Representatives, will be a steep price to pay for disunity. For the Republicans, the Tea Party wing is running candidate Rep. Ron Desantis (R, FL-6), while the establishment is backing Lieutenant Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera. The Democrats, as we previously covered, are watching their base split in a primary race pitting Rep. Alan Grayson (D, FL-9) against Rep. Patrick Murphy (D, FL-18), Murphy being the establishment backed centrist candidate, and Grayson being a stridently liberal candidate who has been hosting events for presidential candidate and progressive Senator Bernie Sanders. Grayson has not been holding back, either, having called Murphy a “closet Republican” and insisting that he is more in touch with the democratic base. Competitive primaries on both sides of the aisle will force undesirably large monetary investments before candidates face the opposing party in the general election. Read more about Florida.