California Governor Jerry Brown has signed legislation that will allow for automated voter registration at the DMV for citizens obtaining or renewing a driver’s license or state ID. The law is being referred to as the New Motor Voter Act. California lawmakers are attempting to combat historically low voter turnout rates in the state by removing barriers to registration. The law will go into effect on the first of 2016, but it may not be immediately implementable. The goal is to have the system functional by the June 2016 primaries.
By: Hayley Steffen
The stakes were high at oral argument for Shapiro v. McManus on November 4, 2015. Justice Breyer said Shapiro and his co-plaintiffs “want[ed] to raise about as important a question as you can imagine . . . And if they [were] right, that would affect congressional districts and legislative districts throughout the nation.” It was clear that the justices struggled with the serious implications that their decision could have for future redistricting and partisan gerrymandering cases.
By: C. Rose Moore
Round two of the “drive-by voting” battle in New Hampshire ended on September 16th, 2015 when the New Hampshire Senate failed to override Governor Maggie Hassan’s veto of Senate Bill 179. That proposal would have required potential voters to be domiciled in the state for at least thirty days prior to an election. This was the second initiative purportedly aimed at combatting this type of fraud, which can be illustrated by the actions of Vice-President Joe Biden’s niece. While “she didn’t break the letter of the law… many people think she violated the spirit of it” by voting in the 2012 elections in New Hampshire after only working on the campaign there for a short time.
By: Lauren Coleman
In 2014, Republicans filed a complaint against Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy, alleging that he and the Democratic Party used state contractor funds in violation of state law for Malloy’s campaign. A legal battle has ensued, raising questions about the interplay between state and federal campaign finance laws, as well as the jurisdictional reach of the State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC) to conduct investigations. ‘
By: Kelsey Carpenter
On Election Day 2015, Ohio voters implemented ballot initiative Issue 1. This initiative creates a bipartisan redistricting commission to draw the state legislative district lines following the 2020 census, as opposed to the current system that allows the majority party to elect five partisan members to the redistricting commission. According to Issue 1, a seven-member panel that includes representatives from both the majority and minority parties will redraw the lines. The redistricting plan will pass for four years if four members of the panel accept the lines, while it will last for ten years if at least two of those votes come from members of the minority party. It is an interesting plan that attempts to eliminate partisan politics by incentivizing bipartisanship and cooperation.