Posted by Shadi Matar on December 11, 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.


Rep. Loretta Sanchez Draws Criticism

Representative Loretta Sanchez (D, CA-46) appeared on PoliticKING with Larry King this week and was asked if President Obama should refer to violence in the Middle East and abroad as “Islamic terrorism.” She responded by saying “we know that there is a small group, and we don’t how big that is – it can be anywhere between 5 and 20%, from the people that I speak to – that Islam is their religion and who have a desire for a caliphate and to institute that in anyway possible, and in particular go after what they consider Western norms”. Rep. Sanchez’s comments were quickly drew media criticism and the anger of her constituents; her southern California district includes a large Arab American and American Muslim population. Shortly after her statements the Arab American Caucus of the Democratic State Party issued a statement condemning her remarks  Rep. Sanchez is running for longtime Senator Barbara Boxer’s open seat in 2016. She later issued a statement to clarify her remarks, saying that she “strongly supports the Muslim community in American and believe that the overwhelming majority of Muslims do not support terrorism or ISIS." Read More About California

McGinty gains steam in PA Senate Race

Senatorial candidate Katie McGinty had a great week as she picked up support from Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, Controller Alan Butkovitz, and eight city council members. Although McGinty is the Democratic party’s pick, she will have to battle over votes with former Representative Joe Sestak, who for five years, has waited, and campaigned, for another shot at a senatorial race. Trailing behind both McGinty and Sestak is current Braddock Mayor John Fetterman. Embracing his political beliefs, unconventionality, and Pittsburgh’s distinct slang language, Fetterman released a colorful statement responding to the recent anti-Muslim rhetoric that presidential candidate Donald Trump has been promoting. The FaceBook post received more than 1,700 likes and almost 2,000 shares since Tuesday. Like Fetterman, incumbent Senator Pat Toomey, called Donald Trump out about his xenophobic rhetoric on Twitter, stating, “Trump is wrong. We should not have a religious test for admission to the U.S. We should have a security test, and it should be bullet proof.” While Toomey’s move is in line with other candidates seeking elected office, it seems he has no qualms with allowing Donald Trump to raise money for his campaign. Do actions (or money) speak louder than words for Pennsylvanians? We’ll find out in a little less than 10 months. Read more about Pennsylvania here.

Former Governor Pat Quinn Mulls Run for Governor in 2018

Former Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is testing the waters for a 2018 run for Governor against Republican incumbent Bruce Rauner. The news of Quinn’s intentions comes one year after he lost to Rauner in a heated 2014 race for Governor. Quinn hopes that he will benefit from the budget impasse and financial down turn that has thus far defined Gov. Rauner’s tenure. If Quinn decides to announce his bid for the governorship in 2018 he would bring with him around $473,000 in unused campaign funds from his last election. Other than Quinn, Illinois has a short list of Democratic candidates who they’d like to see pursue the governorship in 2016 including Attorney General Lisa Madigan, and former state senator Dan Kotowski. Read More About Illinois


New York will head to the polls four times in 2016

New York residents will have the opportunity to go to the polls four different times in 2016: April 19th, June 28th, September 13th and November 8th are dates for the presidential primary, congressional primary, state legislative primaries and the general election, respectively. By not combining the congressional and state legislative primaries, it will cost the state $50 million and voters will have to make time to vote in an extra election. If voting was not already important, according to the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics’ “Sabato’s Crystal Ball,” there will be nine close House of Representative races to watch in New York. Rep. John Katko (R, NY-24), Rep. Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1), and Rep. Chris Gibson’s (R, NY-19) open seat are all toss up races, while the remaining six seats are either likely Democratic or Republican wins. Rep. Sean Maloney (D, NY-18) and Rep. Louise Slaughter (D, NY-25) are most likely to be safe Democratic bets, as well as Republican representatives like Rep. Dan Donovan (NY-11), Rep. Richard Hanna (NY-22), Rep. Tom Reed (NY-23), and Elise Stefanik (NY-21). Read more about New York here.

Pennsylvania Online Voter Registration Beats Expectations

On August 27th, Pennsylvania became the 22nd state to modernize its voter registration system. Residents may now register to vote, change their party affiliation, update their address or make additional changes in a much more efficient way: online. When the registration period ended on October 5th, over 32,400 people used the new website, with 20,375 new registrations and more than 12,000 registration changes. It is important to note that these staggering numbers occurred in an off-year election, which are historically known for low voter turnout and engagement. Election officials expect an even larger number of Pennsylvanians to register to vote or change their registration information leading up to next year’s April 26th primary. Read more about Pennsylvania here.

Ohio Ballot Measure Challenges Voter Roll Purging

In a move questioned by Ohio Democratic lawmakers, Secretary of State Jon Husted defended the State of Ohio removal of 2million names from voter rolls over the past five years. State Representative Kathleen Clyde  pushed back asserting that the number is too aggressive and will likely make people ineligible to vote in the 2016 elections, when turn out is usually much higher. Clyde has offered a bill in the Ohio House that would limit the removal of names from the voter roll to those who have moved out of state. Currently, Ohio cleans the voter roll by removing names of voters who did not voter in 2009 or 2010 and has not responded to a requests to update their status. Husted argues that over 400,000 of the names removed over the past five years are deceased people – which keeps in line with  the requirements of the National Voter Registration Act. Clyde insists that the state is interpreting the law incorrectly and that people would be purged based on inactivity rather than ineligibility. Read More About Ohio