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July 22, 2024
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While a major party’s presumptive nominee withdrawing his presidential candidacy is an extraordinary occurrence, rules and procedures are in place to respond to this development. 

Americans can be confident that this situation falls well within existing rules and that their election system continues to allow for a free and fair election. 

A political party has control over how to choose its nominee in accordance with the party’s own governing rules. When a presumptive nominee withdraws before their party makes its nomination official, the party will follow its own rules and procedures to choose an official nominee (typically, but not necessarily, in person at the party’s nominating convention). In this instance, the Democratic Party will determine its path forward and its delegates will vote to approve a nominee at or before the Democratic National Convention this August. Additionally, state ballot access laws are no obstacle to the party choosing a nominee other than President Biden. States have not yet printed ballots for the general election, and state laws across the country provide for the candidate chosen by the Democratic Party at or before the convention to appear on ballots this November irrespective of whether that nominee is the same individual as the party’s presumptive nominee based on the results of the party’s presidential preference primaries.

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July 21, 2024
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Far fewer Floridians have received mail-in ballots this election after a new state law changed how often voters need to request them.

Why it matters: That could spell bad news for Democrats, who are seeing the biggest decline in absentee ballots so far this cycle.

By the numbers: Politico reports that 46% fewer Florida voters are in line to receive a mail-in ballot compared to the 2022 midterms, according to the latest state data available.

  • Just about 2.23 million voters have asked for absentee ballots for this year’s elections, compared to 4.11 million ahead of the 2022 primary, the outlet reported.

Catch up fast: Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an election law in 2021 that requires voters to request new mail-in ballots every election cycle, instead of every two.

  • As a result, all of Florida’s standing mail-in ballot requests expired after the 2022 elections, instead of carrying over to this November’s presidential election.

Stunning stat: About 868,000 fewer Democrats are expected to receive mail-in ballots this year, compared to a drop of about 506,000 requests for the Republican Party, per Politico.

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July 20, 2024
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One core tactic in election deniers’ playbook is making false claims of voter fraud — and these are disproportionately aimed at cities with large populations of people of color. Such lies put the lives of election workers across the country at risk by spurring threats, harassment, and abuse. Election officials who serve communities of color, however, were disproportionately likely to be targeted by such attacks, according to the Brennan Center’s latest annual survey of election officials.

Following the 2020 election, Donald Trump’s campaign team filed dozens of lawsuits contesting the results. These efforts primarily focused on urban centers with larger shares of voters of color than surrounding communities. At a press conference in late November 2020, Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani cast doubt on results in the mostly Black city of Philadelphia by falsely claiming, “Unless you’re . . . stupid, you knew that a lot of people were coming over from Camden[, New Jersey,] to vote. They do every year. . . . And it’s allowed to happen because it’s a Democrat, corrupt city, and has been for years.” Such claims were echoed by outlets like Newsmax and other prominent election deniers, including Trump.

In Michigan, the campaign’s accusations of fraud centered on Detroit, where the population is nearly 80 percent Black, and not on nearby white counties where Joe Biden also won by significant margins. In Wisconsin, Trump singled out Milwaukee, which has the largest percentage of voters of color in the state. He accused the county of counting ballots slowly to perpetrate fraud, even though Wisconsin election officials are legally required to wait until Election Day to count mail-in ballots.

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July 18, 2024
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The allegations were outlandish, but they still shocked Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Julie Marcus when they appeared on a blog in 2022.

Clearwater resident Chris Gleason claimed that Pinellas County was “ground zero” for mail ballot fraud that stole the 2020 election from former President Donald Trump, even though Trump won Florida. To his followers online and at local political clubs, Gleason spread allegations that Marcus erased votes and attempted to hide the evidence, which Marcus said is “categorically false.”

After nearly two years of attacking the county’s handling of ballots and voting machines, Gleason qualified to challenge Marcus, a fellow Republican and 22-year elections professional, in the Aug. 20 primary. He’s one of at least nine candidates running to control county elections offices across Florida with platforms casting doubt about the integrity of those operations.

County supervisors enforce regulations that safeguard elections through testing of voting machines, auditing of results and verification of mail ballots. But the drumbeat of U.S. election fraud claims spawning from the 2020 presidential election are being injected into races to control these agencies that count votes.

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On Wednesday, April 17, 2024, a new uniform vote-by-mail request form (DS-DE 160) for the state of Florida went into effect, and the state has made it available in English and Spanish. However, we would like to call attention to the need for broader resources to assist voters whose primary language is not English during the electoral process; in particular, we would like to call attention to the needs of Haitian voters, which in Polk County, we have estimated the number to be at least 4,197 voters, based on the latest Target Smart1 data by way of Civis Analytics.2

Currently, only the county of Miami-Dade has a local ordinance that requires electoral materials to be available in Haitian Creole. As such, the county has made available a new vote-by-mail request form in the language. Broward County has also voluntarily adopted a similar form. Given the growth of Haitian voters in your county, we kindly ask that your office accept vote-by-mail requests that are made using the Haitian Creole translated version of the form, make printed forms available at the SOE main and branch offices, and establish procedures to ensure voters know how to obtain the form and that the requests are processed.

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July 11, 2024
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A federal court officially rejected Alabama Republicans’ attempt to drastically weaken part of the Voting Rights Act. Thanks to today’s order, a crucial lawsuit fighting for fair representation in the state will continue. Due to prior court rulings, Alabama already has a new congressional map with two Black-opportunity districts for the 2024 elections. 

The order issued Thursday holds that Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act — which is a crucial tool in fighting racial discrimination in voting and map drawing — contains a private right of action. This means voters and organizations have the ability to bring challenges to racially discriminatory maps under Section 2. This is exceptionally important as most cases challenging state’s maps under Section 2 are brought by voters themselves. 

This win is particularly important as Republicans have been relentlessly pushing the theory that only the U.S. Department of Justice — not private citizens or nonprofit organizations — can bring claims under Section 2.  Last year, in a catastrophic 2-1 ruling, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Republicans and ended the ability for voters in those states to bring Section 2 challenges. The 8th Circuit includes Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.

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With concerns about election dis- and misinformation coursing through the election cycle this year, a group of Florida voting rights and social justice groups are calling on every state and county elected official to be aware of election laws and communicate that information accurately to their constituents.

More than two dozen groups — led by All Voting is Local Florida, the NAACP Florida State Conference, Common Cause Florida, and the ACLU of Florida — have written a letter to state legislators and county commissioners stressing the critical role that they play in combating bogus information.

“While dis- and misinformation about our elections have circulated for many years, the 2020 election acted as the impetus for sowing doubt regarding the safety and security of our voting systems, particularly in relation to falsehoods perpetuated around the safety and reliability of vote-by-mail ballots,” the missive begins.

“All election disinformation is dangerous; according to POLITICO, ‘disinformation alone has now become the single biggest threat to electoral integrity in many countries around the world, meaning that what election authorities have traditionally seen as their biggest obligation — organizing technically competent free and fair elections — is no longer enough.’”

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June 27, 2024
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With concerns about election dis- and misinformation coursing through the election cycle this year, a group of Florida voting rights and social justice groups are calling on every state and county elected official to be aware of election laws and communicate that information accurately to their constituents.

More than two dozen groups — led by All Voting is Local Florida, the NAACP Florida State Conference, Common Cause Florida, and the ACLU of Florida — have written a letter to state legislators and county commissioners stressing the critical role that they play in combating bogus information.

“While dis- and misinformation about our elections have circulated for many years, the 2020 election acted as the impetus for sowing doubt regarding the safety and security of our voting systems, particularly in relation to falsehoods perpetuated around the safety and reliability of vote-by-mail ballots,” the missive begins.

“All election disinformation is dangerous; according to POLITICO, ‘disinformation alone has now become the single biggest threat to electoral integrity in many countries around the world, meaning that what election authorities have traditionally seen as their biggest obligation — organizing technically competent free and fair elections — is no longer enough.’”

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While dis- and misinformation about our elections have circulated for many years, the 2020 election acted as the impetus for sowing doubt regarding the safety and security of our voting systems, particularly in relation to falsehoods perpetuated around the safety and reliability of vote-by-mail ballots. All election disinformation is dangerous; according to POLITICO, “disinformation alone has now become the single biggest threat to electoral integrity in many countries around the world, meaning that what election authorities have traditionally seen as their biggest obligation — organizing technically competent free and fair elections — is no longer enough.”1

Our organizations want to stress the critical role you play in combating dis- and misinformation. Your role requires you to avoid the amplification of false claims and share accurate and reliable information from trusted sources such as the Supervisor of Elections Office about the election process through all available means.

We want to reaffirm that there are systems in place that guarantee the safety and accuracy of our elections. These include:

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June 20, 2024
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The dramatic plunge in requests for vote-by-mail ballots proves two things: Voter suppression works, and it’s up to every Floridian to protect their access to the ballot box. Local elections supervisors are doing what they can, but Florida voters must look after themselves in overcoming these new hurdles.

Tampa Bay is facing a steep drop in mail ballot requests ahead of this year’s presidential election, thanks to changes in state law under Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and the GOP-led Legislature. The sponsors maintained the shift would make voter rolls more secure.

Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties have far fewer mail ballot requests for this year’s general election cycle than they did in the 2022 midterms, as the Tampa Bay Times’ Nina Moske reported recently. As of last week, fewer than 42,000 Pasco voters had requested mail-in ballots for the general election, compared to more than 124,400 requests two years ago.

Hillsborough reported fewer than 155,500 vote-by-mail requests for elections this year, compared to more than 335,600 requests for the midterms. Pinellas reported about 232,900 requests this year, compared to more than 332,800 requests in 2022.

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June 18, 2024
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BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. (AP) — The Republican National Committee on Friday launched a swing state initiative to mobilize thousands of polling place monitors, poll workers and attorneys to serve as “election integrity” watchdogs in November — an effort that immediately drew concerns that it could lead to harassment of election workers and undermine trust in the vote.

The RNC says its plan will help voters have faith in the electoral process and ensure their votes matter. Yet, as former President Donald Trump and his allies continue to spread false claims that the 2020 election was marred by widespread fraud, the effort also sets the stage for a repeat of Trump’s efforts to undermine the results — a gambit that ultimately led to the Jan. 6, 2021, attackon the U.S. Capitol.

Trump allies already have signaled that they might not accept the results if he loses to President Joe Biden.

The RNC has said its new effort will focus on stopping “Democrat attempts to circumvent the rules.” The party will deploy monitors to observe every step of the election process, create hotlines for poll watchers to report perceived problems and escalate those issues by taking legal action.

The national party says it hopes to recruit 100,000 volunteers — a number some election experts have said would be difficult to achieve even in a high-profile presidential election year.

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June 17, 2024
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Florida Secretary of State Cord Byrd and Attorney General Ashley Moody this week appealed a federal judge’s decision blocking part of a 2023 Florida elections law that placed new restrictions on voter-registration groups.

As is common, a notice of appeal filed Monday did not detail arguments that lawyers for Byrd and Moody will make at the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

But they are challenging a final judgment issued May 15 by Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker involving part of the law that would prevent non-U.S. citizens from “collecting or handling” voter-registration applications. In issuing a permanent injunction, Walker said that part of the law violated the U.S. Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause.

The groups Hispanic Federation and Poder Latinx and individual plaintiffs filed the challenge in May 2023 after Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Republican–controlled Legislature approved the restrictions.

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June 14, 2024
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DENVER — President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign on Thursday called on top Republicans to drop litigation seeking to curtail aspects of mail balloting now that Donald Trump has begun to embrace the method.

Trump for years falsely claimed voting by mail was riddled with fraud, but his 2024 campaign began a program this month to encourage mail voting if convenient for people. It is part of Republicans’ attempt to increase mail voting among their supporters.

At the same time, the Republican National Committee, newly under the former president’s control, has sued or joined lawsuits seeking to limit certain aspects of mail voting. That includes laws in some states, including Nevada, that allow late-arriving mailed ballots to be counted as long as they are sent by Election Day.

“If Donald Trump is serious about finally recognizing that mail voting is a great option for voters to utilize this November, he should demand the RNC and his MAGA allies drop every one of these lawsuits throughout the country,” Biden’s campaign manager, Julie Chavez Rodriguez, said in a statement, referring to Trump’s “Make America Great Again” movement.

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June 12, 2024
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TALLAHASSEE — Florida’s restrictions on medical care for transgender children are unconstitutional, a federal judge ruled Tuesday as he struck down a signature priority of Gov. Ron DeSantis.

U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle’s decision invalidates much of a 2023 law and rules approved by state boards prohibiting children from accessing medical treatments for gender dysphoria, such as puberty blockers and hormones.

“Florida has adopted a statute and rules that ban gender-affirming care for minors even when medically appropriate,” Hinkle wrote in his 105-page order. “The ban is unconstitutional.”

Attorneys that represented the transgender plaintiffs argued that the law signed by DeSantis was an act of discrimination and “animus” against transgender people. The state said it was targeting the treatments, not transgender people themselves.

In his ruling, Hinkle, who was appointed to the bench by former President Bill Clinton, said that it was “clear that anti-transgender animus” motivated bill sponsors and some legislators who approved the law.

“Transgender opponents are of course free to hold their beliefs,” Hinkle wrote. “But they are not free to discriminate against transgender individuals just for being transgender. In time, discrimination against transgender individuals will diminish, just as racism and misogyny have diminished. To paraphrase a civil-rights advocate from an earlier time, the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

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June 10, 2024
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With House appropriators set to mark up a spending bill this week that may, or may not, end up including more money for election security, a bipartisan collection of current election administrators and former elected officials is pleading with them to step up before the contentious 2024 presidential campaign gets into full swing. 

The groups, both organized by the nonpartisan government watchdog Issue One, had asked congressional appropriators for at least $400 million in election security grants administered by the Election Assistance Commission. President Joe Biden’s budget requested $96 million.

But the Financial Services and General Government spending bill released Tuesday by House Republicans proposes to cut all funding for election security grants.

“They zeroed out election funding, which is a fundamentally unserious position to take,” said Gideon Cohn-Postar, legislative director for Issue One. 

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June 6, 2024
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TALLAHASSEE — When Gov. Ron DeSantis opted last year to remove Florida from a multistate voter data-sharing agreement, advocates and elections officials feared it would become harder to detect illegal voting.

New data shows they might be right.

DeSantis’ voter fraud unit last year received 93% fewer referrals from other states about double-voters than it did the year before, an analysis by the Times/Herald shows.

The voter fraud unit received 72 tips from other states about people suspected of casting ballots in Florida and another state in the same election, a third-degree felony under Florida law. That’s down from at least 986 in 2022.

Those numbers are minuscule compared to the nearly 7.8 million Floridians who cast ballots in the November 2022 election alone. Far fewer of those tips led to criminal charges.

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May 31, 2024
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WASHINGTON — During the presidential election four years ago, the Equal Ground Education Fund hired over 100 people to go door-to-door and attend festivals, college homecomings, and other events to help register voters across Florida. Their efforts for this year’s elections look much different.

Cut through the 2024 election noise. Get The Campaign Moment newsletter.

A state law passed last year forced them to stop in-person voter registration, cut staff, and led to a significant drop in funding. Organizers aren’t sure how robust their operations will be in the fall.

Genesis Robinson, the group’s interim executive director, said the law has had a “tremendous impact” on its ability to host events and get into communities to engage directly with potential voters.

“Prior to all of these changes, we were able to operate in a space where we were taking action and prepare our communities and make sure they were registered to vote — and help if they weren’t,” he said.

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May 28, 2024
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ORLANDO, Florida — Florida election officials are warning that an obscure new ballot rule being put in place by the administration of Gov. Ron DeSantis could force them to break state law or face removal from office.

A wave of exasperated election supervisors — meeting at their summer conference — vented to top officials from the Department of State about a recently rolled out proposal that they contend would violate the right to a secret ballot. They also said they worried it would put them in the crosshairs of activists who continually question the validity of elections.

“I deal every day with a bunch of wackadoodles in this state,” said Alan Hays, the Republican elections supervisor from Lake County. “We need clarification. These wackadoodles will take one little bitty thing like that and blow it out of proportion.”

The rule is being proposed to create a uniform way of disposing of “spoiled” ballots and prevent them from being tabulated, said Joseph Van de Bogart, who is general counsel for the Department of State and had worked in the past on poll watching and election monitoring for Florida Republicans.

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All Voting is Local Action and the below-signed organizations are deeply concerned about the attached email sent by Director Maria Mathews to supervisors of elections on May 15, 2024, directing them to conduct voter registration list maintenance under Sections 98.045(2), 98.065, or 98.075(6)-(7) of Florida Statutes, using data produced by a private citizen affiliated with EagleAI. Such action would likely violate state and possibly federal law and improperly jeopardize the voting status of thousands of Floridians.

According to the email sent by Director Matthews, a concerned citizen shared a list of approximately 10,000 Florida voters who they asserted should be examined for list maintenance. The email’s sender said the list was generated with the assistance of EagleAI. EagleAI is a list-matching database that relies exclusively on publicly available information, all of which is insufficient to determine whether a voter is eligible to vote at their registration address. According to Georgia Elections Director Blake Evans, “EagleAI draws inaccurate conclusions and then presents them as if they are evidence of wrongdoing.”1

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May 24, 2024
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida wants local elections officials to use data collected by far-right activists, some of whom falsely believe the 2020 election was stolen, to potentially remove people from the state’s voter rolls, according to emails obtained by NBC News.

The network of activists has been collecting voter data in 24 states, and on May 3, one of them emailed the Florida-specific information to a top state election official. It included the names of roughly 10,000 voters from across the state the group insists should be examined for potential removal from the voter rolls, a process commonly referred to as list maintenance.

The state’s chief elections official then forwarded that information to county election supervisors and asked them to “take action.”

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May 24, 2024
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LAKE COUNTY, Fla. – A text message asking voters to update or change their Florida voter registrations may be a scam, warns the Lake County supervisor of elections.

On Friday, Supervisor Alan Hays sent an alert about a potential text scam. The alert said some people may get a text message prompting them to log into a website and click a link to update or change their voter registration.

No supervisor of elections office in Florida will send an unsolicited text message to update voter registration. Hays is urging anyone who gets this text message to not click on any links.

“I caution all citizens to be vigilant this election cycle for political scams that can mislead unsuspecting individuals into a frightful experience that can be difficult to overcome,” Hays said in the news release. “Don’t get caught up by aggressive tactics or emotions.”

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May 23, 2024
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Americans in more than half of the states will face voting restrictions this year that weren’t in place four years ago during the last presidential election, a new analysis finds.

Twenty-eight states – ranging from political battlegrounds such as North Carolina to Republican strongholds such as Alabama and Idaho – have enacted laws since 2020 that make it harder to cast a ballot, according to a report released Friday by the liberal-leaning Brennan Center for Justice at New York University’s law school.

“The most aggressive years for restrictive voting legislation in the last decade have come after the 2020 election,” said Sara Carter, a Brennan Center attorney who analyzed legislation across the country for the new report. “These new laws are making voting harder, really, at every stage of the process – from registration to mail voting to strict voter ID.”

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May 22, 2024
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Florida recently increased criminal penalties for mistakes and possible fraud by groups who work to register voters. The move has led many of the groups to dramatically scale back their efforts to limit their legal risk. That could lead to lower turnout rates for young voters and voters of color in November.

This story was supported by the Pulitzer Center and co-reported with the Center for Public Integrity.

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May 21, 2024
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Generative artificial intelligence is already being deployed to mislead and deceive voters in the 2024 election, making it imperative that voters take steps to identify inauthentic images, audio, video, and other content designed to deceptively influence their political opinions.

While election disinformation has existed throughout our history, generative AI amps up the risks. It changes the scale and sophistication of digital deception and heralds a new vernacular of technical concepts related to detection and authentication that voters must now grapple with. 

For instance, early in the generative AI boom in 2023, a cottage industry of articles urged voters to become DIY deepfake detectors, searching for mangled hands and misaligned shadows. But as some generative AI tools outgrew these early flaws and hiccups, such instructions acquired greater potential to mislead would-be sleuths seeking to uncover AI-generated fakes.

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May 20, 2024
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We know it is coming. The array of contestants in four-times indicted former president Donald Trump’s vice-presidential beauty pageant have repeatedly refused to say they unequivocally will accept the election results. Trump has already begun to lie about Democrats enlisting illegal immigrants to vote. If the MAGA forces do not win, Americans can expect an enhanced replay of 2020 election denial — amplified by Truth Social, Elon Musk’s X and China’s TikTok. Americans must collectively prepare for it — and for any violence MAGA forces (from the gang who argued Jan. 6, 2021, was “legitimate political discourse”) might incite.

Democrats can certainly sound the alarm. For starters, they can underscore that only one side is planting the seeds of election denial. President Biden and other top Democrats can talk about it at the convention this summer when they will have the largest national audience of the campaign. But Democrats cannot do it alone. It’s an all-hands-on-deck moment both to ensure all legal votes get counted and to counter expected election denial.

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May 16, 2024
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Top Justice Department leaders promised Monday to respond swiftly to threats against officials overseeing this year’s elections and to combat the increasing use of sophisticated technology to disguise the origins of any disruptions.

With a close-fought presidential campaign looming in November, high-ranking federal officials convened at DOJ headquarters to warn that threats of violence related to the election will be pursued aggressively and prosecutors will seek extra punishment in cases involving artificial intelligence and other digital advances.

“If you threaten to harm or kill an election worker, volunteer or official, the Justice Department will find you and we will hold you accountable,” Attorney General Merrick Garland told reporters at the outset of the meeting. “The public servants who administer our elections must be able to do their jobs without fearing for their safety or their families. We will aggressively investigate and prosecute those who threaten election workers.”

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May 15, 2024
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MIAMI – The City of Miami is fighting back against a judge’s ruling that said commissioners drew a voting map based on race and ethnicity. 

In 2022, voting rights activists sued Miami over the new map

Last month, a judge agreed and invalidated the boundaries of the city’s five districts calling the map unconstitutional. CBS News Miami partner The Miami Herald cited comments from the commissioners themselves in which they said the map was drawn to ensure the commission had three Hispanic, one white, and one Black commissioner. 

The city was set to approve a new map as part of a settlement with minor changes and a payout of one point six million dollars in legal fees to the voting rights activists but they pushed off the decision for another two weeks. The settlement map would be in effect for next year’s local election.

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May 14, 2024
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Less than six months out from the presidential contest, leading Republicans, including several of Donald J. Trump’s potential running mates, have refused to commit to accepting the results of the election, signaling that the party may again challenge the outcome if its candidate loses.

In a series of recent interviews, Republican officials and candidates have dodged the question, responded with nonanswers or offered clear falsehoods rather than commit to a notion that was once so uncontroversial that it was rarely discussed before an election.

The evasive answers show how the former president’s refusal to concede his defeat after the 2020 election has ruptured a tenet of American democracy — that candidates are bound by the outcome. Mr. Trump’s fellow Republicans are now emulating his hedging well in advance of any voting.

For his part, Mr. Trump has said he will abide by a fair election but has also suggested that he already considers the election unfair. Mr. Trump frequently refers to the federal and state charges he is facing as “election interference.” He has refused to rule out the possibility of another riot from his supporters if he loses again.

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May 13, 2024
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On the afternoon of May 3, Roger Fortson opened the door of his Florida apartment with a gun in his hand and was immediately shot six times by a sheriff’s deputy responding to a complaint about an argument.

Fortson’s supporters point to the deputy’s rapid decision to open fire and his mere presence at the apartment — where the Air Force senior airman was apparently alone and FaceTiming with his girlfriend — as proof that it was a blatantly unjustified killing and the latest tragedy involving a Black American being shot at home by law enforcement. Authorities, meanwhile, have seized on Fortson holding a gun when he answered the door to cast the shooting as a clear-cut case of self-defense for a deputy confronted with a split-second, life-or-death decision.

Investigators will consider these factors when deciding whether to charge the deputy in a case that also reflects the realities officers face every day in a country where millions of people carry guns, including in Florida, one of the largest gun ownership states.

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May 9, 2024
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An influential left-of-center donor’s charity launched an initiative compelling other philanthropies to pour money into voter mobilization efforts ahead of the 2024 elections.

Democracy Fund, which was founded and is funded by liberal philanthropist Pierre Omidyar, has rallied a group of 174 organizations and individuals pledging to expedite their disbursement of grants related to efforts including get-out-the-vote operations. The pledge calls on its signatories to either make the bulk of their election-related donations by the end of April, to “move up” disbursements scheduled for later in the year or to streamline their grant approval processes.

Alex Soros’ Open Society Foundations, the liberal dark money giant Arabella Advisors, Tides and Democratic megadonor Susan Pritzker are among the major left-of-center philanthropic players who have signed the pledge.

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May 3, 2024
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Hours after Florida enacted a strict six-week abortion ban, Vice President Kamala Harris spoke in Jacksonville against it — and against similar efforts across the country to restrict the procedure. 

Harris tied the bans to former President Donald Trump who she said has “bragged” about ending national abortion protections through his appointments of three conservative Supreme Court justices.

“Here’s what a second Trump term looks like: more bans, more suffering, less freedom,” Harris said during her campaign speech in Jacksonville Wednesday. “But we are not going to let that happen.”

Her speech against what she called “Trump abortion bans” came as the Southeast grapples with how to provide abortion care not just to Florida residents, but to the surrounding region that had come to rely on the state’s access. 

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April 30, 2024
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Vice President Kamala Harris will travel to Jacksonville, Florida, on Wednesday, to focus on abortion access — the same day the state’s six-week abortion ban goes into effect.

During her remarks, Harris plans, again, to tie the state’s ban to former President Donald Trump and blame him for the other bans currently seen in much of the country, according to excerpts obtained by ABC News.

Harris will also respond to Trump’s latest comments on abortion, from a Time magazine story, where he said he would leave it up to the states to decide whether or not they want to monitor women’s pregnancies to determine if someone gets an abortion after their state’s legal ban and then prosecute them.

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April 29, 2024
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In other disability rights news from Merrick Garland, Kristen Clarke, and friends at the Department of Justice (DOJ), the federal agency issued a press release earlier this month wherein it shared a slew of “new and updated voting rights resources for voters and election officials.”

According to the DOJ, part of the update includes two new information guides, along with updates to five others, published by the Civil Rights Division. The DOJ notes this work is in accordance with its “longstanding practice” to update resources in election years. The sharing of new information is done with the intention of “[ensuring] that all qualified voters have the opportunity to cast their ballots and have their votes counted free of discrimination, intimidation, or criminal activity in the election process, and to ensure that our elections are secure and free from foreign malign influence and interference.”

More resources will be provided in the coming months, the DOJ said.

“The right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy, the right from which all others flow,” Attorney General Garland said in a statement for the announcement. 

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April 26, 2024
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Vote.org is launching its largest-ever voter registration campaign, aimed at adding 8 million voters for the 2024 cycle, the nonpartisan voter engagement organization announced Friday. 

“With near daily reporting about young people and people of color feeling disillusioned with this year’s elections, a nationwide movement to engage and help them register to vote has never been more important,” said Andrea Hailey, CEO of Vote.org, in a statement. 

The group is “putting our full might behind this effort for one reason: the stakes for our democracy have never been higher,” Hailey said. 

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April 25, 2024
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Vote.org is launching its largest-ever voter registration campaign, aimed at adding 8 million voters for the 2024 cycle, the nonpartisan voter engagement organization announced Friday. 

“With near daily reporting about young people and people of color feeling disillusioned with this year’s elections, a nationwide movement to engage and help them register to vote has never been more important,” said Andrea Hailey, CEO of Vote.org, in a statement. 

The group is “putting our full might behind this effort for one reason: the stakes for our democracy have never been higher,” Hailey said. 

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April 24, 2024
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Vote.org is launching its largest-ever voter registration campaign, aimed at adding 8 million voters for the 2024 cycle, the nonpartisan voter engagement organization announced Friday. 

“With near daily reporting about young people and people of color feeling disillusioned with this year’s elections, a nationwide movement to engage and help them register to vote has never been more important,” said Andrea Hailey, CEO of Vote.org, in a statement. 

The group is “putting our full might behind this effort for one reason: the stakes for our democracy have never been higher,” Hailey said. 

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April 23, 2024
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In 2018, Kenia Flores, who is blind, voted by mail in North Carolina because she was attending college out of state. Had she been able to vote in person, she could have used an accessible machine. But voting absentee, her only option was to tell another person her choices and have them fill out her ballot. She had no way to verify what they did.

Dessa Cosma, who uses a wheelchair, arrived at her precinct in Michigan that year to find that all the voting booths were standing height. A poll worker suggested she complete her ballot on the check-in table and got annoyed when Ms. Cosma said she had a right to complete it privately. Another worker intervened and found a private space.

That night, Ms. Cosma — the executive director of Detroit Disability Power, where Ms. Flores is a voting access and election protection fellow — vented to the group’s advisory committee and discovered that “every one of them had a story about lack of ability to vote easily, and we all had different disabilities,” she said. “It made me realize, ‘Oh wow, even more than I realized, this is a significant problem.’”

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April 22, 2024
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ORLANDO, Fla. – A new form streamlines vote-by-mail ballot requests across Florida, and should now be available at all county supervisors of elections offices.

The Orange County Supervisor of Elections office said it had the new form available on Friday ahead of the state’s April 17 deadline to have the form available for voters. Before this form, different counties had different forms or ways to request.

The new form includes prompts for all the information you will need to make that request, including a voter’s Florida driver’s license number, identification card number or last four digits of their social security number.

If you have not requested a vote-by-mail ballot yet, you must fill out the new form through your county’s elections office, you can’t use an old version. The request is good for all elections this year and in 2025.

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April 17, 2024
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More than two years after lawmakers redrew the state’s legislative maps, a group of Tampa Bay-area residents Wednesday challenged the constitutionality of two Senate districts that they say “dilute” the power of Black voters.

Attorneys for five residents of Tampa and St. Petersburg filed a lawsuit in federal court in Tampa alleging that Senate District 16 and Senate District 18 are gerrymandered and violate constitutional equal-protection rights.

District 16, which is represented by Sen. Daryl Rouson, a Black Democrat from St. Petersburg, crosses Tampa Bay to include parts of Pinellas and Hillsborough counties. White Republican Nick DiCeglie of Indian Rocks Beach represents District 18, which is made up of part of Pinellas County.

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April 17, 2024
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WASHINGTON, D.C. — A federal judge in Florida yesterday struck down Miami’s city commission districts for being unconstitutional racial gerrymanders and ordered the implementation of a new map for future elections. 

The ruling stemmed from a federal lawsuit filed in 2022 by local organizations and individual residents alleging that the districts for Miami’s five-member city commission were “drawn along racial lines for the predominant purpose of maintaining racially segregated districts.” As the city’s governing body, the commission has the power to pass local laws, adopt regulations and more. 

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April 15, 2024
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Voting in Michigan will be easier for many people this fall than it was four years ago. There will be nine days of early voting. All mail ballots will have prepaid return postage. And every community will have at least one drop box for absentee ballots because of a measure adopted by voters with the support of the state’s top Democrats.

Those casting ballots in North Carolina, where Republicans enjoy a veto-proof legislative majority, will see dramatic changes in the opposite direction. For the first time in a presidential election, voters there will have to show an ID. More votes are expected to be thrown out because of new absentee ballot return deadlines. And courts will soon decide whether to allow a law to go into effect that would reshape the state’s elections boards and could result in fewer early-voting sites.

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April 5, 2024
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Floridians Protecting Freedom gathered petitions to put the constitutional amendment on the ballot.

Abortion rights will be on the Florida ballot in November.

The Florida Supreme Court has approved ballot language for a proposed constitutional amendment. The measure will appear as Amendment 4 on the ballot.

Of note, the court on the same day it approved the ballot language also upheld a state law barring most abortions 15 weeks into pregnancy, and then also triggered a new state law that, beginning in 30 days, will bar most abortions six weeks into a term.

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April 3, 2024
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Donald Trump’s takeover of the Republican Party has eviscerated the mail-in voting advantage party leaders spent two decades developing. Now, with the presidential primary season nearing its end, we have evidence that GOP legislators’ efforts to appease their king by making it more difficult to vote by mail aren’t helping their party and are hurting him. 

So, I wonder: Is this all part of Trump’s endgame? 

Before we get there, remember the 2022 Georgia Senate run-off, when Trump kept arguing that the election was rigged? Republican turnout dropped, and early and absentee ballots helped Democrats flip the seat with Raphael Warnock’s election.

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April 2, 2024
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Floridians Protecting Freedom gathered petitions to put the constitutional amendment on the ballot.

Abortion rights will be on the Florida ballot in November.

The Florida Supreme Court has approved ballot language for a proposed constitutional amendment. The measure will appear as Amendment 4 on the ballot.

Of note, the court on the same day it approved the ballot language also upheld a state law barring most abortions 15 weeks into pregnancy, and then also triggered a new state law that, beginning in 30 days, will bar most abortions six weeks into a term.

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April 2, 2024
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Plaintiffs and legal experts are previewing the status of the Hispanic Federation v. Byrd trial 

A federal trial is underway for a case that alleges Florida’s voter registration law infringes on political speech and civic engagement. 

The law, Senate Bill 7050, was passed in 2023, and it bans non-U.S. citizens from working or volunteering for third-party voter registration organizations(3PVROs).

The lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Florida, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, Dēmos, and Arnold & Porter on behalf of Hispanic Federation, Poder Latinx, and individual clients.

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April 2, 2024
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The 5-2 decision on Monday could open up a recreational marijuana market.

Eight years after Florida voters approved medical marijuana, they will have a chance to weigh in on recreational adult use.

The Florida Supreme Court gave its approval Monday to theAdult Personal Use of Marijuana citizen initiative, which could expand the current retail model beyond medical necessity, allowing visitors to the state and residents without qualifying conditions access to the product.

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April 1, 2024
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Floridians Protecting Freedom gathered petitions to put the constitutional amendment on the ballot.

Abortion rights will be on the Florida ballot in November.

The Florida Supreme Court has approved ballot language for a proposed constitutional amendment. The measure will appear as Amendment 4 on the ballot.

Of note, the court on the same day it approved the ballot language also upheld a state law barring most abortions 15 weeks into pregnancy, and then also triggered a new state law that, beginning in 30 days, will bar most abortions six weeks into a term.

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April 1, 2024
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On a special episode (first released on March 31, 2024) of The Excerpt podcast:

At the State of the Union, President Biden called on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. This bill would update the Voting Rights Act of 1965, strengthening legal protections against discriminatory voting policies and practices. The act has since been hampered by Supreme Court cases that removed pre-clearance provisions and made it harder to sue to stop discriminatory practices. Marc Elias, an attorney with Elias Law Group and an outspoken advocate of voter protection and fair elections, joins The Excerpt to talk about the challenges voters across the country are facing and describe his efforts to guarantee equal access to the ballot.

Hit play on the player below to hear the podcast and follow along with the transcript beneath it. This transcript was automatically generated, and then edited for clarity in its current form. There may be some differences between the audio and the text.

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March 29, 2024
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WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Monday, April 1, a bench trial will begin in a federal legal challenge to Florida’s latest omnibus voter suppression law, which was signed into law last May by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).

Among many so-called “election integrity” provisions, the challenged law places limitations on voter assistance options for requesting a mail-in ballot and imposes burdensome requirements and penalties on third-party voter registration organizations (3PVROs) that engage and turn out eligible Floridians to vote.  

Immediately following the enactment of the sweeping anti-voting statute known as Senate Bill 7050, voting and civil rights groups filed three separate federal lawsuits challenging various aspects of the legislation.

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March 27, 2024
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Wisconsin for the first time this year will begin requiring political advertisers to disclose the use of content generated by artificial intelligence or face financial penalties. But the battleground state, one that played a critical role in the last two elections, is not alone. 

An increasing number of states have advanced A.I.-related legislation to combat attempts to mislead voters during the 2024 election, according to a new analysis by the Voting Rights Lab, a national voting rights organization. 

Voting Rights Lab said it was tracking over 100 bills in 40 state legislatures, amid some high-profile cases of “deep-fake” video technology and computer-generated avatars and voices being used in political campaigns and advertisements.

One of the more glaring examples happened in New Hampshire, where a criminal investigation was opened after voters there received robocalls mimicking President Biden’s voice and urging Democrats to not vote in the state’s primary in January.

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March 26, 2024
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The guidelines were first established in 2022 after reports of election worker threats and potential poll worker interference.

The Brennan Center for Justice, along with the group All Voting is Local, has updated its guides for election officials in swing states aimed at blocking “rogue” poll workers from interfering in elections.

The new guide is an updated version of guidance issued in 2022 created in response to reports that election deniers who believed falsehoods about the outcome of the 2020 election were being recruited to work as poll workers across the country.

The updated guidance, which explains laws preventing intimidation, harassment and improper influence over voters, focuses on Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Each guide is specifically written to include applicable state laws and other information aimed at ensuring a smooth, fair and free election process.

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March 25, 2024
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Georgia, with its long history of the suppression of Black voters, has been ground zero for fights about voting rights laws for decades. The state has often seen stark differences in turnout between white and nonwhite communities, with the latter typically voting at a much lower rate.

But not always: In the 2012 election, when Barack Obama won a second term in the White House, the turnout rate for Black voters under 38 in Lowndes County — a Republican-leaning county in southern Georgia — was actually four percentage points higher than the rate for white voters of a similar age.

It proved to be temporary. According to new research by Michael Podhorzer, the former political director of the A.F.L.-C.I.O., by 2020, turnout for younger white voters in Lowndes was 14 percentage points higher than for Black voters of the same age.

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March 21, 2024
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TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday signed into law a ban on homeless people sleeping in parks, on sidewalks and in other public spaces, calling it a solution to communities “plagued” with homelessness.

During a news conference in Miami Beach, which recently started arresting homeless people who refuse to go to a shelter, DeSantis touted the legislation as furthering his “law and order” agenda.

“You should not be accosted by a homeless (person),” DeSantis said. “You should be able to walk down the street and live your life.”

The legislation, House Bill 1365, forbids cities and counties, beginning Oct. 1, from allowing people to sleep or camp in public spaces.

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March 19, 2024
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The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights’ Voting Record, which reflects the recorded votes taken by every senator and representative on the legislative priorities of The Leadership Conference and its coalition members, found that last year was one of the few first sessions of a Congress in recent history in which neither chamber passed meaningful civil rights legislation as scored by our Voting Record. This troubling finding is, in large part, due to a deeply divided Congress lacking in bipartisan support for civil rights legislation. It comes as our democracy faces a consequential year and amidst ongoing attacks on the hard-won rights and protections — and the diversity and inclusion policies and programs — that make us a more cohesive, effective, and fair society for everyone.
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March 18, 2024
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Since the Supreme Court handed down its Shelby County v. Holder decision in 2013, striking down a key part of the landmark Voting Rights Act, scholars and voting rights advocates have tried to capture the impact of the decision on voters of color.

Before the decision, counties and states with a history of discriminating against voters of color, as determined by a formula in the law, had to submit proposed changes to their voting laws and procedures to the U.S. Department of Justice for approval, a process known as preclearance. The provision was interpreted to cover changes big and small, ranging from the relocation of a polling place to new voter ID laws or political redistricting.

In the Shelby County case, the court struck down the formula, leaving those jurisdictions free to enact changes. Congress has so far failed to put a new formula in place.

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March 14, 2024
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For those looking to raise doubts about American elections, it’s becoming clear that a key 2024 voting boogeyman will be immigration. The false notion that undocumented immigrants are affecting federal elections has been floating around for over 100 years, experts say, but this year, due in part to an increase in migrants at the southern U.S. border, the idea could have new potency. The narratives are being pushed by prominent right-wing figures including Cleta Mitchell, a former adviser to Donald Trump, along with the presumptive Republican presidential nominee himself. NPR acquired a two-page memo Mitchell has been circulating laying out “the threat of non-citizen voting in 2024.”
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March 12, 2024
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Voters in particular states will encounter stricter voter ID requirements when they head to the polls as part of a wave of in-person voter ID laws enacted across the country during the last four years. Eight states have enacted voter ID laws since the 2020 election, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures: Arkansas, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio and Wyoming. The rash of new laws affects 29 million adults. One in 6 voters live in anticipated 2024 battleground states — Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — with new ID requirements.
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March 11, 2024
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State lawmakers across the U.S. concerned about the integrity of elections ahead of the 2024 presidential vote are proposing and enacting an unprecedented number of laws to restrict — and, in some cases, expand — voting rights and ballot access.

State lawmakers across the U.S. concerned about the integrity of elections ahead of the 2024 presidential vote are proposing and enacting an unprecedented number of laws to restrict — and, in some cases, expand — voting rights and ballot access.

In the shadow of the 2020 presidential election, states enacted more restrictive and expansive laws related to voting in 2021 and 2023 individually than in any other years in the last decade, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, a New York-based civil rights group. Because of this, voters in 27 states will face new requirements that weren’t in place when they voted in 2020.

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TALLAHASSEE —  All Voting is Local’s Florida State Director Brad Ashwell issued the following statement in response to Wednesday’s vote by Hillsborough County commissioners to cut the county’s election budget by $200,000, despite the budget already being approved:

“This sizable cut to the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections budget sets a dangerous precedent for elections in Florida if county officials can arbitrarily slash necessary funding whenever they want. County commissioners are making a very short-sighted decision by justifying the budget cut due to outreach by the supervisor of election to inactive voters. 
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March 6, 2024
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TALLAHASSEE, Florida — Florida is legally blocked from enforcing a key portion of the high-profile 2022 law restricting what Gov. Ron DeSantis called “woke” workplace trainings about race after a federal appeals court ruled Monday that the policy “exceeds the bounds of the First Amendment.”

A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dealt a blow to the DeSantis administration by deeming one of the Republican governor’s signature laws — the “Stop Woke” Act — unconstitutional, upholding a previous ruling that prevented it from taking hold. DeSantis officials, meanwhile, disagreed with the decision, signaling that the governor could ask the Supreme Court to weigh in.

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February 29, 2024
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. — Eric Fey is bracing for Election Day snarls because of a decision his state made last year.  Missouri pulled out of a collaboration known as the Electronic Registration Information Center, or ERIC, which helps states keep voter rolls accurate — such as flagging when people move. Fey, the Democratic director of elections in St. Louis County, expects delays when people discover at the polls that the address on their voter registration record is incorrect. “More people will be doing change-of-address forms at polling places and at the election office on Election Day,” said Fey, who is also president of a statewide local election authorities group. “At least for those voters, it takes longer, and there is a longer line.” 
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February 28, 2024
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The Legislature last year started awarding inmates free calls based on good behavior.

Calls home to family can offer the incarcerated a lifeline to the outside world. Now, the Senate wants more opportunities for prisoners to earn phone time for good behavior.

The latest offer from the Senate Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations Committee budgets $2 million to a phone call savings pilot program for prison inmates’ families.

The Department of Corrections last year launched a pilot program that would make a limited number of phone calls free and to dole those out to inmates demonstrating good behavior.

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February 27, 2024
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Alabama has a long history of incarcerating Black children. For generations, Black youth have been overly criminalized, pushed out of school without due process, and given harsher punishments than their white counterparts. However, today youth incarceration has evolved into a lucrative business in Alabama, as for-profit youth detention facilities maximize profit margins while subjecting children to abuse and harm. Our report, Only Young Once: Alabama’s Overreliance on School Pushout and For-Profit Youth Incarceration, details how a narrative of youth crime contributes to overly punitive school discipline, racial disparities, and an expensive youth legal system that is not designed for rehabilitation. Only Young Once also recommends opportunities that would be more productive for Alabama’s youth and more cost-effective for taxpayers.
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February 21, 2024
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In the conspiracy-soaked aftermath of the 2020 election, far-right activists clamored to inspect ballots based on elaborate — and false — theories. In Georgia, election deniers pushed for a review that might detect counterfeit ballots because they were not folded, appeared to be marked by a machine or were printed on different card stock. In Arizona, auditors were on the hunt for bamboo fibers in ballots to prove that they had fraudulently came from Asia. Those theories were roundly rebuked, without a shred — or fiber — of evidence to support them. National attention from voters and the mainstream news media eventually shifted to the 2024 election.
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Tallahassee, FL – A State Affairs Committee elections bill filed Monday introduced legislation that would prohibit drop boxes for people to turn in their absentee or vote by mail ballots unless they are in the physical offices of county supervisors of elections or at an early voting polling place during hours when early voting can occur. If passed, PCB SAC 6 would ban almost all drop boxes that have worked effectively and safely in previous Florida elections.

The drop boxes have not gotten the attention of other aspects of the bill. But State Voices Florida condemns the banning of drop boxes and urges all legislators in the House and Senate to oppose it.  It will make it harder to vote in Florida, but won’t make our elections more secure.
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February 14, 2024
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When Americans head to the polls this year, voters in 38 states — more than ever before — will have to confront a maze of voter ID laws that request or require a specific form of identification to cast a ballot that counts. Throughout my career as a voting rights litigator, I’ve repeatedly seen the impact of tightening ID restrictions on voters. The myth perpetuated by some legislators that “everyone has an ID” is simply not based in reality. I’ve advocated for students who couldn’t vote using their student ID, people who lack transportation to access an ID-issuing office and those who can’t afford to obtain the underlying documents like a birth certificate that they need to secure an ID. During one trial I litigated, we actually had to request special permission from the judge for a witness to even be able to enter the courthouse because they lacked the ID required
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February 7, 2024
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) – Florida laws currently require residents to provide an extensive amount of information to register to vote. Some activists say those requirements are voter suppression, and they’re pushing state lawmakers to change those rules. Hundreds turned out at the Florida Capitol on Wednesday to support HB 1035 and SB 1522, which aim to remove some of those expansive requirements. Protesters listened to Civil Rights leaders speak near the steps of the Capitol Building. The advocates said they are hoping to change laws that currently limit who can drop off ballots and when ballots can be turned in. Other laws advocates are targeting impose fines on some voters who miss certain deadlines.
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February 4, 2024
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The disagreement has kept potentially 26,000 kids from getting state-subsidized health insurance. Gov. Ron DeSantis is suing to toss new federal guidelines that require kids to keep their state-subsidized health care insurance even if their parents skip premium payments. If parents don’t pay premiums and kids are allowed to stay on the state-subsidized insurance, as the feds are requiring, the new rules would be costly, the state contends. Estimates are that it could add up to nearly $30 million in unpaid premiums under the current system and nearly $50 million under the state’s expansion of Florida KidCareapproved last year, according to a 411-page complaint the state filed in federal court.
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February 1, 2024
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TALLAHASSEE – With Florida’s Republican-controlled Legislature continuing its decade-long opposition to Medicaid expansion, advocacy groups now have launched an effort to get the idea before voters in two years.  Raising at least $12 million to collect the almost 1 million signatures needed to qualify for the November 2026 ballot is a goal of Florida Decides Healthcare, whose organizers say it could bring health care to some 1.4 million lower-income residents.  If approved for the ballot and passed by no less than 60% of voters statewide, the measure would create an amendment to the state’s constitution.
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What: An Invitation from Equal Ground, Florida Rising, SPLC  Action Fund, All Voting is Local, ACLU Florida, and the NAACP to a Press Conference and Voting Rights Rally calling for the passage of the Harry T. and Harriette V. Moore Voting Rights Act (Senate Bill 1522 and House Bill 1035). When: February 7, 2024 at noon. Where:  House Plaza (north side) at the Capitol, Tallahassee, FL. Featured Speakers: Senator Geraldine Thompson and Representative Lavon Bracy-Davis, sponsors of the legislation. Please RSVP here.
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January 30, 2024
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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A federal appeals court on Tuesday declined to reconsider its decision that would prevent private groups from suing under a key section of the Voting Rights Act, prompting a potential fight before the U.S. Supreme Court over a ruling that civil rights groups say erodes the law aimed at prohibiting racial discrimination in voting. The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of appeals denied the request for the case to go before the full 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals after a panel ruled 2-1 last year that only the U.S. attorney general can enforce Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. The Arkansas Public Policy Panel and the Arkansas State Conference NAACP, which are challenging Arkansas’ new state House districts under the law, have argued last year’s ruling would upend decades of precedent and would remove a key tool for voters to stand up for their
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January 28, 2024
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High turnout in previous elections has caused states like Florida to take steps to reduce access to voting. As the 2024 election approaches, organizers are working hard to preserve voting rights in states that have made it drastically more difficult to vote.  After record voter turnout in 2020, several states, including Georgia, Florida, and Iowa, took steps to make voting more difficult. Some reduced drop box access, and others limited vote-by-mail or shortened voting times. Voting rights organizations across the country are fighting to curb the impact of these laws by challenging them in court while also trying to help voters navigate obstacles that keep them from exercising their democratic right.
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A federal judge stopped the enforcement of a Florida law in July that bans non-U.S. citizens from collecting or handling voter registrations. Now, the voting rights advocates are preparing to defend their temporary victory in an appellate court on Thursday. Florida Secretary of State Cord Byrd and Attorney General Ashley Moody filed an appeal of U.S. Chief District Judge Mark Walker’s decision to stop the enforcement of the law just days after it went into effect. The appeal is set to be heard on Jan. 25 in the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta, Georgia.
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – As democratic ideals and values continue to face attacks from extremist politicians, Senator Geraldine Thompson (D-Orlando) and Rep. LaVon Bracy Davis (D-Orlando) proudly announce legislation to protect democracy and ensure equal access at the ballot box: the Harry T. & Harriette V. Moore Florida Voting Rights Act (SB 1522/HB 1035).
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November 30, 2023
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A majority of Florida voters — including more than half of Republicans surveyed — told pollsters they support a proposed amendment that would add a right to abortion to the state Constitution. The poll from the University of North Florida’s Public Opinion Research Lab, released Thursday, found 62% of state voters said they would vote “yes” if the measure appears on the November 2024 ballot. UNF also said 67% of Florida voters are “yes” on a proposed state constitutional amendment that would allow adults in Florida to purchase and possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use. The poll results suggest the measures could pass. Referendums require a 60% “yes” vote to become part of the Florida Constitution.
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Today is Giving Tuesday, a global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities, and that is what we hope to do, transform communities. State Voices Florida is a  statewide civic engagement organization committed to bringing together progressive Non Partisan organizations to work together in building power around civic issues.  If the progressive movement works together and speaks with one voice, great things will happen. We believe everyone should have the right to vote, and voting should be simple and easy. We also support reproductive rights, environmental justice, criminal justice reform, economic justice and affordable housing for everyone. Along with our partner organizations, we use data and technology, people-powered campaigns, and coalitions to collectively build a multiracial democracy that allows every Floridian to thrive and live in their full dignity. We are a member of the State Voices Affiliated Network, a network of state-based coalitions,
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November 21, 2023
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CRETE, Neb. — This is what the future of American democracy looked like for Sierra Edmisten one evening this fall: a block of modest, single-story homes; the lights from the Crete High School football stadium glowing in the mist; families gathering for dinner after a day in the meatpacking plants. Edmisten was collecting signatures for a cause associated with liberals in a red part of one of the country’s reddest states. The ballot initiative she was seeking to put before voters would, if passed, require Nebraska employers to guarantee their workers at least five days of paid sick leave each year.
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November 5, 2023
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At first Salanda Benton didn’t think enough people were paying attention to what she felt was the unraveling of civil rights happening in Florida. It angered her, then saddened her as state officials banned books and restricted the teaching of Black history. ‘I can’t believe it’s 2023 and we’re going through this,’ said Benton, executive director of the Florida Coalition on Black Civic Participation.
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