I don’t know about you, but this AAI staffer hates rollercoasters [um, she doesn’t speak for the whole Countdown team]. And I want off of this ongoing voter rights rollercoaster now [ok, nevermind, we ALL want off this one for sure]. In Michigan, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a lower court ruling ordering the state to redraw several congressional and state legislative districts due to partisan gerrymandering. Wait, why would they effectively protect gerrymandered maps? Well, same as with Maryland and North Carolina, the Court decided that gerrymandering is a political question the Court cannot answer. On the bright side, voters approved Michigan’s Proposition 2 in 2018, which institutes a nonpartisan redistricting committee to redraw maps in 2022 (democracy delayed is better than democracy denied?). Realizing the nation’s highest court will continue punting on its duty to protect American voters from manipulative politicians, many voters are employing ballot initiatives to end gerrymandering in their states, which is a good thing. Turning to Florida, a semi-victory was secured in a case relating to former felon re-enfranchisement. In 2018, Florida voters approved Amendment 4, allowing returning citizens the opportunity to vote once they’ve completed all obligations relating to their sentences. The Republican State Legislature passed a law requiring all fees related to the individual’s case be paid before they qualify for re-enfranchisement---a modern day poll tax. A judge just struck down part of this law, but the solution offered won’t make it much easier for returning citizens to vote. Potential voters will need to engage in a multi-step process to have their rights restored that will require them to prove they cannot pay back their fees, which can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Will some returning citizens successfully complete this process? Yes. But the spirit of Amendment 4, which meant to re-enfranchise nearly one million voters, is diluted. I know what you’re thinking, and, “AHHHHHHH,” is, indeed, an appropriate reaction to this rollercoaster.  

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