Our ability to vote is under siege by Trump and the Republican party. It’s critical that we pay attention to what is happening so we can push back when warranted, and celebrate the voting rights wins when they happen.
With that, here’s some recent voting rights news:
Some good and bad news out of South Carolina: The good news is that the state legislature passed a law that will allow all voters to vote absentee this fall. But the bad news is that voters get their ballot witnessed, and no drop boxes will be allowed.
In Pennsylvania, the courts agreed that ballots that are postmarked by Election Day must count, even if they are received after Election Day.
Yesterday, a judge in Ohio said that Secretary of State Frank LaRose’s decision to only allow one drop box per county was “arbitrary and unreasonable.” LaRose vowed to appeal the decision.
In Maine, the governor signed an executive order to extend the voter registration deadline by 7 days to October 19.
New Mexico encouraged each of their 33 counties to install drop boxes and announced that they would spend up to $6 million to reimburse for the expenses.
In a confusing turn of events in Missouri, the state has put all of their drop boxes in storage for the November election, after using them for the primaries. A new law stipulates that mail-in ballots must be returned to local election authorities, while traditional mail-in ballots can be put into a drop box. To avoid confusion, the state decided to take away the drop box option, to ensure that mail-in ballots don’t get invalidated.
In the continued battle to restore the vote to citizens who have served out their sentences in Florida, an appellate court struck down a lower court decision, all but ensuring that former felons will have to pay the modern-day equivalent of a poll tax before being allowed to vote.
A federal judge found that Texas is in violation of the National Voter Registration Act by not allowing residents to register to vote when they update their driver’s license information online. They have until September 23 to fix the online system.
In Arizona, a federal judge has ruled that election officials must give voters who forget to sign their ballots the chance to fix the problem for up to five days after Election Day.
Rhode Island announced that they will send absentee ballot applications to all voters, and will install drop boxes “in every community.”