Posted by Joan Hanna on February 26, 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.

Democratic Candidates Stump in Michigan Ahead of Key Primary

Both democratic presidential candidates Senator Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have been ­­making rounds in Michigan this month in the hopes to secure voters in this key state where the Arab American vote is potential decisive. Sanders recently met with the labor union United Auto Workers Local 600 in Dearborn on the February 15th in a packed room of about 700 people. The Arab American community in Dearborn mad a strong appearance with high attendance and praised Sanders on many issues. Secretary Clinton has been no stranger to Michigan, is scheduled to have a few speeches and fundraisers across the state before the next Democratic  debate in Flint on March 6th with many in the Arab American community in attendance. Former President Bill Clinton and her daughter Chelsea have also stumped for the Secretary at fundraisers in metro Detroit and Grand Rapids.  Read more about Michigan here


Virginia’s Strict Voter ID Law is on Trial

Earlier this week, the trial between the Virginia Democratic Party and the state of Virginia began regarding the voter identification requirements under the 2013 state law. One witness wha was called to testify shared that she tried to meet the requirements of Virginia’s voter ID law, bringing several forms of ID: her birth certificate, social security card, voter registration card, a bank statement, even her North Carolina driver’s license and an expired Virginia drivers license. Although she brought six forms of ID, including two with pictures, she was asked to vote with a provisional ballot, which she reported caused embarrassment in front of other voters. The other side argued that this law was created to curb voter fraud and promote confidence in the election process. The trial is expected to at least a week and could have major implications in this important swings state. Read more about Virginia here.


Redistricting Updates in Maryland

In December, the US Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that a case involving Maryland’s heavily gerrymandered districts should be tried in front of a three-judge panel. The lawsuit cites Maryland’s third district as a good example of Democratic gerrymandering. The third district looks like a pterodactyl with broken wings, which encompasses slivers of Montgomery County, Silver Spring, Columbia, Annapolis, parts of Baltimore city and Baltimore County. Last month, Governor Larry Hogan announced that he would present a proposal for a non-partisan Apportionment Commission to recommend new congressional and legislative district lines. Gov. Hogan’s proposal has been met with great support. Read more about Maryland here.


Early Voting Begins in Florida

Early voting for the Florida Primary has begun in a few counties throughout the state and more counties will start by March 5th. Florida law requires counties to offer early voting at least 10 days before the election but many have opted to begin earlier. Voters also have the option to vote by mail or absentee ballot through their local elections office at any time up to the election date on March 15th. Candidates in the 2016 presidential elections view both Florida and Ohio as extremely vital states because of their winner take all primary system and count on many early voters to set the tone for the March primary date. Candidate Marco Rubio’s deputy campaign manager commented saying that the campaign is “treating February 15 to March 15 as one long Election Day in Florida.” Read more about Florida here


Early Voting Begins in Texas

With the Texas Primaries only a few days away candidates in the 2016 Presidential Elections are trying to figure out ways to win over voters of the Lone Star State. The problem for the candidates has been the large size and diverse populations of the state which have led to most of the GOP candidates have focusing their time and efforts on other early voting states like South Carolina and Nevada ahead of their primaries and caucuses. As the Texas primary nears, all the candidates are zeroing in on Texas’ high delegate count. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote against President Obama in 2008 but the energy and buzz behind Bernie Sanders may be enough to make it a close contest. With a tightly contested GOP race in the works the 155 Texas delegates may be enough to shift the tides on super Tuesday. Read more about Texas here


Pennsylvania’s Online Voter Registration System is Popular with Youth

Since it’s debut last August 27th, online voter registration has been a big hit in Pennsylvania. In the past six months alone, the online voter system has seen almost 60,000 new registrations and 40,000 updates to the voter information of current registrants. The group that benefited the most from this voter modernization tool was young people, almost astoundingly so. About 40% of those who used the website were between the ages of 17 and 24. When combined with the 25-34-age crowd, the under-35 crowd accounted for two-thirds of total registrations or updates. The deadline to register to vote or to update current registration information is March 28th for the April 26th Presidential Primary. Read more about Pennsylvania here.