Skip to content

Latest Stories

Top Stories

The state of voting: March 28, 2022

election law changes - Voting Rights Lab

The Fulcrum is debuting a new feature, summarizing the latest legislative activity affecting voting and elections. This weekly update is powered by the Voting Rights Lab. Sign up for VRL’s weekly newsletter here.

The Voting Rights Lab is tracking 2,418 bills so far this session, with 561 bills that tighten the rules governing voter access or election administration and 1,083 bills that expand the rules.

The biggest actions took place in Arizona, where the Senate passed a bill that would require documentary proof of citizenship for voter registration, sending it to the governor for signature. Kentucky enacted a law prohibiting private funding for elections. And the U.S. Supreme Court struck another blow against the Voting Rights Act, throwing out state legislative districts in Wisconsin.

Looking ahead: The Georgia Senate Ethic Committee is taking public comment on the elections omnibus. The latest amended adjournment resolution for Georgia provides that the final legislative day is April 4.

Here are the details:

Georgia election officials oppose elections omnibus. A number of election officials have spoken out in opposition of the elections omnibus, identifying the authority it gives to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to initiate election investigations as the most troubling aspect of the bill. Under current law, the secretary of state’s office and State Election Board have jurisdiction over election investigations. H.B. 1464 would also allow for public ballot inspections, limit private donations for election administration, establish restrictive chain of custody requirements for ballots (voted and unvoted), and reduce the minimum number of voting booths that counties must offer on Election Day. The bill is scheduled to be heard by the Senate Ethics Committee on Monday.

Sign up for The Fulcrum newsletter

Arizona voter registration bill advances through the Senate. H.B. 2492, a bill that would require documentary proof of citizenship for voter registration, passed the Senate and is headed to Gov. Doug Ducey’s desk. Meanwhile, H.B. 2289 passed the Senate Government Committee. Among its provisions, this highly restrictive piece of legislation would eliminate in-person early voting and no-excuse mail voting and would prohibit the use of electronic tabulators, requiring election officials to count all ballots by hand. Last week was the final week for committees to meet except the appropriations and rules committees. Members may offer additional strikers – proposals to delete all of the bill text and substitute with new language – on bills that will be heard in appropriations committees this week.

Missouri House committee hears bill requiring hand tabulation and video surveillance. The Missouri House Elections and Elected Officials Committee heard H.B. 2633, a bill requiring all ballots to be counted by hand with video surveillance. This bill would prohibit the use of electronic voting systems, including electronic tabulators, and would require paper ballots and hand tabulation in all races beginning in January 2023. All testimony provided was opposed to the bill. The committee did not vote on the bill following the hearing. Prohibiting electronic tabulators is a trend VRL has seen emerge this year, with 12 bills introduced in six states in January and February.

Connecticut pandemic excuse passes the General Assembly. Legislation that would expand existing excuses to vote absentee has passed both chambers of the legislature and will head to the governor for signature. This legislation would allow voters who are concerned about their health or the health of their family members, caretakers, and those who will be absent from their municipality to vote at any point during voting hours.

Wisconsin legislative districts in doubt. The U.S. Supreme Court threw out state legislative districts in Wisconsin, arguing that a Republican justice on the Wisconsin Supreme Court had created a “racial gerrymander” in approving maps that added another state assembly district with a majority of Black voters. The Wisconsin Supreme Court must now revisit the maps, likely before April 15.

Kentucky bill prohibiting private funding for elections, including most in-kind donations, becomes law without governor’s signature. Kentucky’s H.B. 301 became law without Gov. Andy Beshear’s signature last week. Bills restricting or prohibiting states from accepting private grants to help fund elections became a legislative trend last year, with 11 states passing this type of legislation. The trend is continuing this year, with five states passing similar legislation so far in 2022. The new Kentucky law is one of the more extreme versions of this bill in that it prohibits nearly all monetary or in-kind donations.

Read More

Thomas Main

"I think the roots of racism run deep in this country. This means that the potential audience for illiberal racialist movements is much deeper than the potential audience for anarchism and communism," said professor Thomas Main

Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation

Illiberal ideas are having a negative effect on our political culture

Berman is a distinguished fellow of practice at The Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, co-editor of Vital City, and co-author of "Gradual: The Case for Incremental Change in a Radical Age." This is the first in a series of interviews titled "The Polarization Project."

In a 2022 speech at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, President Joe Biden issued a dramatic warning: Democracy in the United States is “under assault,” he announced. Biden declared that the dangers of rising extremism, particularly from “MAGA Republicans,” posed a “clear and present danger” to the country.

In making this claim, Biden was echoing the sentiments of countless pundits, think tanks, and editorial pages that have been warning of a “coming crisis.” According to Rachel Kleinfeld of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, "Ideas that were once confined to fringe groups now appear in the mainstream media. White-supremacist ideas, militia fashion, and conspiracy theories spread via gaming websites, YouTube channels, and blogs, while a slippery language of memes, slang, and jokes blurs the line between posturing and provoking violence, normalizing radical ideologies and activities."

Keep ReadingShow less
People walking out of a polling station

Two people leave a polling station in London after voting in July 4.

Hugh R Hastings/Getty Images

Watching the U.K. election gives a feeling of electoral envy

Sheehan Zaino is a professor of political science and international studies at Iona University, Bloomberg political contributor and senior democracy fellow at the Center for the Study of the Presidency & Congress

Many Brits were perplexed when Rishi Sunak called for general elections, particularly given polls suggesting his party would lose. The results prove their concerns were valid.

As an American, I questioned the timing of the election as well, although for a very different reason.

Was the choice of a rare summer poll, on our Independence Day, meant to stick it to us? By choosing our nation’s birthday to go to the polls, perhaps the Brits were trying to rub our nose in the fact that for all our Framers got right (and there’s a lot!), there are a few areas where they faltered, primary among them our electoral process.

Keep ReadingShow less
People seated ina  large room

Attendees at the Braver Angels convention watch the presidential debate.

Jeff Sevier

Building civic hope through Braver Angels

Boyte is co-founder and senior scholar of public work philosophy at the Institute for Public Life and Work.

Last month’s Braver Angels convention in Kenosha, Wis., began with perhaps the largest debate watch party in the nation. Around 700 delegates observed the exchanges between Donald Trump and Joe Biden on a giant screen in the chapel of Carthage College on the shore of Lake Michigan. Equal numbers of Republicans wearing red lanyards and Democrats wearing blue ones, roughly 300 of each, with 170 independents and “others” identified by yellow and white, mingled together.

To emphasize the BA mission of bridging America’s toxic polarization, the site for the convention was chosen because Kenosha is midway between Milwaukee, host of the Republican convention, and Chicago, where the Democratic convention will take place.

Keep ReadingShow less
Fifty years later, I'm still a dreamer
The American tragedy of the Trump assassination attempt
The American tragedy of the Trump assassination attempt

Fifty years later, I'm still a dreamer

Nevins is co-publisher of The Fulcrum and co-founder and board chairman of the Bridge Alliance Education Fund.

When I was a young man, I thought our country was more divided than it had ever been and couldn’t possibly get worse.

I was a young teen when John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, and a college student in 1968 when Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy were senselessly assassinated. I witnessed the near-fatal shooting that almost ended the life of President Ronald Reagan just three months into his first term in 1981.

And now the attempt on former President Donald Trump's life in 2024.

Keep ReadingShow less