Posted by Joan Hanna on December 04, 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.

Florida Supreme Court Rules on Redistricting Case

In a 5-2 decision the Florida Supreme Court ruled this week on the legality of the districting map that lawmakers and groups have been fighting about over the last four years. The court approved a new map drawn that will change the congressional lines of seven southern Florida districts, three of which are likely to cost incumbent Representatives their seat. Notably, Arab American Congresswoman Gwen Graham’s (D, FL-2) is now comprised of mostly Republican voters which will make her re-election in 2016 unlikely The previous map, drawn in 1992 by a federal court, was seen as the epitome of political gerrymandering in the country and prompted groups to sue the state in 2012. This week’s decision is the conclusion of three years spent hearing the case and redrawing the districting map. Read More about Florida Here


Governor Christie Overruled on Refugees 

Last month, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie took a stance on Syrian refugees, which left many of his constituents feeling less than thrilled: he vowed that New Jersey would not be accepting any Syrian refugees. Unfortunately, that decision is not up to him or the other two-dozen governors opposing the resettlement of Syrian refugees in their states. On Monday evening, a Syrian family of seven began to settle into their new home – in Paterson, New Jersey. What once was a welcoming and supportive relationship has become strained and frustrating to Governor Christie’s Arab American and American Muslim constituencies. Many New Jerseyans have taken notice of the Governor’s shift since 2012, conceding that his rhetoric and actions have a striking resemblance to the majority of Republican presidential candidates and, more generally, the national Republican platform as whole. Read more about New Jersey here.   


Kamala Harris Replaces Campaign Manager Over Spending Issues

California Attorney General Kamala Harris (D) replaced her campaign manager Rory Steele this week after week of criticism over her campaigns spending habits. Harris is the favorite to take over the seat of retiring Senator Barbara Boxer’s (D-California) in 2016. Many believe that Harris’s huge spending may cause her campaign to fizzle out by the election day, but Harris is hoping her spending will help her secure the Democratic nomination over her competitor Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D, CA-47) in the primary. Steele will be replaced as Campaign Manager by Juan Rodriguez who formerly served as a senior advisor on the campaign. Read More About California Here



Texas Sues Federal Government over Immigration

The Supreme Court granted Texas and 25 other states an extension to file briefs in a case concerning the Obama administration’s executive action on immigration. The move indicates that the court may be likely to hear the case in the next few weeks. If the Supreme Court decides to hear the case, it will be a decisive moment for President Obama’s immigration reforms announced last summer. The President’s reforms have been put on hold by cases brought against the White House by states refusing to implement Obama’s programs that would make undocumented immigrants eligible for work and some benefits. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced he is officially suing the federal government over their refugee resettlement program as well as  the International Rescue Committee, a non-profit which assists refugees in Texas through the resettlement process. Paxton released a statement claiming, “the federal government’s stated inability to run effective background checks on these refugees, entering the United States from one of the world’s most potent hotbeds of terrorism, puts all Texans at risk.” The move comes after Texas Greg Abbott joined 31 other governors who said they would stop or oppose resettlement of refugees in their states, though they lack the legal authority to do so. Read More About Texas Here


Baltimore’s Upcoming Mayoral Race

This week the Freddie Gray trial is front page news again as the jury selection gets under way, reminding us of the uncertain future of Baltimore politics following a surprising political move by incumbent Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake who announced this past September that she would not seek re-election in 2016. Last April, Freddie Gray died while in police custody, sparking citywide protests and wide spread criticism of the Mayor’s handling of the tragedy. Since her announcement, thirteen candidates, twelve Democrats and one Republican, have declared their bid for Mayor Rawlings-Blake’s position, including Sheila Ann Dixon, Baltimore’s former mayor who was forced to resign over a 2009 scandal. Dixon currently has leads the race by a significant margin, however,  a quarter of Maryland voters are undecided according to the latest polls. The Freddie Gray case and the events of Mayor Rawlings-Blakes short tenure will loom large as the candidates continue to fight for votes. Read more about Maryland here.