The 2020 presidential election was historic for many reasons, among them, the special safety measures that state election administrators had to suddenly implement in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In its effort to ensure voter safety in the 2020 election process, the Nevada legislature passed a law that would require all counties to mail absentee ballots to registered voters during emergency situations. The law aimed to make it easier for Nevadans to vote without having to physically go to the polls. The law also provided some procedural flexibilities in that it permitted the collection of mail-in ballots by third party collectors.
Dying to Vote: Merrill v. People First of Alabama
By: Shelly Vallone
“[S]o many of my [ancestors] even died to vote. And while I don’t mind dying to vote, I think we’re past that – we’re past that time,” plaintiff Howard Porter, Jr. told the District Court when he and his co-plaintiffs, other at-risk Alabama voters and associated organizations, filed suit to compel state officials to make absentee and in-person voting more accessible in light of COVID-19. Mr. Porter suffers from asthma and Parkinson’s disease, placing him at higher risk of contracting COVID-19, especially in a public setting.
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The Will of the People—Who Gets to Decide? Overturning Initiative 77 in D.C.
By: Reeana Keenen
While working in D.C. this summer, I came across flyers on restaurant windows imploring D.C. voters to “Save Our Tips! Vote No on Initiative 77.” Later this summer when D.C. voters passed the Initiative 77 ballot measure, I heard people exclaim that D.C. had voted to eliminate tips for restaurant and other tipped workers. In fact, though, voters approved a ballot measure to increase the minimum wage progressively for tipped workers, while leaving in place the possibility of tips as a source of income. The measure passed with 56% of the votes.
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Continuing One-Hundred Years of Federal Disenfranchisement in Puerto Rico
In 1917 President Woodrow Wilson signed the Jones Act granting Puerto Ricans American citizenship. Last June 11th Puerto Rico held its sixth plebiscite (popular vote) on altering its territorial relationship with the United States. This was Puerto Rico’s fifth plebiscite on this issue in twenty-six years. While 97% voted in favor of Puerto Rican statehood, as a result of political boycotts, only 23% of the eligible voters participated. Voter turnout in previous plebiscites ranged from 60% to 78%. [Read more…] about Continuing One-Hundred Years of Federal Disenfranchisement in Puerto Rico
Voting Laws Are Disabling The Disabled: Easy Nationwide Fixes To Re-Enfranchise Voters With Disabilities
By August Johannsen
Laws affecting voter participation are a current hot topic in the news. Voter identification, early voting, or redistricting laws are all working their way through the legal system almost certainly on their way to the Supreme Court (if they have not reached the high court already). There are mixed opinions on what these laws do. Supporters insist that the laws protect the integrity of elections by preventing voter fraud. Opponents vehemently argue that the laws are simply pretense for stopping poor and minority voters from exercising their rights at the polls. However, one group of minority voters, voters with disabilities, are severely impacted by election administration laws regarding the accessibility of elections. Their story has been largely ignored in the sound-byte thrusts and parries of the politicos and pundits. [Read more…] about Voting Laws Are Disabling The Disabled: Easy Nationwide Fixes To Re-Enfranchise Voters With Disabilities