Posted by Joan Hanna on March 11, 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.

17 year-olds Potentially Disenfranchised Ahead of Ohio Primary

17 year-old voters in Ohio who previously have had the right to vote in primaries if they turn 18 on or before the date of the General Election, may face difficulty ahead of Tuesday’s Primary election in Ohio. The Ohio Secretary of State John Husted recently changed this rule in the 2016 election manual.  Bernie Sanders’ campaign sued Husted earlier this week, believing that Husted is trying to disenfranchise likely Sanders supporters. On Friday, March 11th, a judge ruled in favor of the Sanders campaign, and those who will turn 18 before the General Election will be able to cast their votes in the Ohio primary next week.. On the other hand, in Union City, New Jersey, election officials have sought to include more young people in the political process. This week, County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi announced a new mobile app to modernize voter registration for 17 year-olds. The app walks unregistered voters through the eligibility requirements to register to vote and, if they meet the requirements, may request a registration form. Upon properly fill it out, they will be automatically registered to vote on their 18th birthday. Read more about New Jersey here and more about Ohio here


Grayson’s Support for Sanders Worries DNC

Grayson (D, FL-9) has had a rough relationship with the Democratic National Committee ever since he was elected in 2013. His decision last year to run for the vacant U.S. Senate against the Party’s pick for the challenge – Rep. Patrick Murphy (D, FL-18) - basically made him a Party outcast. Two weeks ago, Grayson finally announced he is endorsing Bernie Sanders for president after polling his supporters about his decision. Grayson has since aggressively stumped for the Bernie Sanders campaign ahead of the Florida primary next week, another move which likely ruffles the DNC’s feathers as many assume Clinton is the establishment’s preferred candidate. Grayson is also facing criticism from his Republican opponent Florida Businessman Carlos Beruff who is running for the Republican nomination in the Florida Senate race. This comes after comments by Senator Bernie Sanders during a debate in which he praised Cuba for its universal health care and education systems. Sanders also criticized the United States role in trying to overthrow the Nicaraguan government. Beruff said that “Congressman Grayson, has demonstrated complete ignorance by agreeing with Bernie Sanders, and refusing to condemn Sander’s praise for Communist dictators.” Beruff is running for Senator Marco Rubio's vacant senate seat in November. Read more about Florida here


Reasons for Party Affiliation Changes in Lebanon County, PA Are Questioned

Election officials at the Lebanon County Voter Registration Office are reporting a significant increase in requests to change party affiliations. Upwards of 1,600 voters have switched their prior affiliation to Republican and the same is happening for the Democrats, but at a lesser rate, of only 1,100 voters. Around 500 voters have chosen to avoid either major party and move their affiliation to Independent, Libertarian or the Green parties. There are various motives behind these changes in party affiliation, with some suggesting voters wanting to swing the primaries in the rival party. The Director of Elections in Lebanon County, Lori Oliver, has heard from many voters who are switching affiliations that they will vote for Trump because they believe in him. Ultimately, though, Democratic and Republican Committee officials believe all these changes will even out the playing field. New voter registrations and changes in party affiliation must be done before March 28th, giving Lebanon County voters just over two more weeks to switch things up, if they so choose. Read more about Pennsylvania here.


New York Judge Dismisses Petition to Remove Cruz’s Name from Primary Ballot

Recently, some citizens have petitioned or brought about lawsuits in a number of states against the inclusion of Senator Ted Cruz’s name on the Presidential Primary ballot. Specifically, they are questioning whether or not he is a “natural born citizen,” a requirement to become a United States President. Donald Trump has fueled this sentiment by statements he has made, referencing Cruz being born in Canada to an American mother. However, on Tuesday, one New York judge, David A. Weinstein, dismissed the petition to remove Cruz’s name from the ballot, because the petitioners, Barry Korman and William Gallo, failed to present timely objections to the court. Read more about New York here.


Texas Appellate Court Will Rehear Voter ID Case

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Texas unanimously agreed to rehear a case on Texas’s voter-ID law which requires voters to present a government approved form of identification before voting. The law was signed in 2011 and a three judge panel ruled last August that the law violated the Voting Rights Act of 1965 which banned racial discrimination in election laws. Other Texas courts have also ruled that these voter ID laws have a discriminatory intent toward African-American and Hispanic voters who likely have a more difficult time securing one of the required identification cards. The court will begin hearing arguments for the case before the November elections and might even make a ruling before then, but it’s reported that both parties would likely seek an intervention if a decision comes down too close to when people start casting ballots. Read more about Texas here.


Sanders' Not So Surprising Upset in Dearborn, Michigan

Senator Bernie Sanders' upset victory in Michigan is rightly producing headlines. However, some of the narrative includes tired and old assumptions about the fact that Senator Sanders won the city of Dearborn, home to the largest concentration of Arab Americans in the country. So when you read the 'Arabs vote for Jew' headlines, please pause for a moment and think about the following three takeaways from the Michigan results. Keep reading…