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Voting rights expansion dies in Connecticut statehouse

In the closing hours if its annual session, the Connecticut legislature killed multifaceted legislation designed to expand voting access.

A threatened Republican filibuster in the state Senate effectively ran out the clock on the bill Wednesday, a week after it passed the state House. It would have restored voting rights to parolees and incarcerated persons in halfway houses, expanded the number of sites permitting registration on Election Day, permitted electronic signatures on some election-related documents and instituted a system for automatically registering voters when they do business with the motor vehicle agency.

Senate GOP leader Len Fasano said his caucus was wary of expanding the DMV's ability to register voters and unified in opposing parolees' right to cast a ballot.

The Democratic majority attempted to make the bill more palatable to Republicans by dropping language that would have permitted registration and voting by people in line when the polls close on Election Day. Hundreds of would-be new voters were turned away in New Haven when nightfall came on Nov. 6.

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Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a trio of democracy reform bills this week.

California governor signs three political reform bills

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law on Tuesday three democracy reform bills focused on local redistricting, voting access and campaign contributions.

The first piece of legislation prohibits partisan gerrymandering at the local level by establishing criteria for cities and counties to use when adjusting district boundaries. While California is the largest state to use an independent redistricting commission to draw its congressional and state district maps, local districts did not have the same regulations.

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Gov. Ralph Northam used his executive authority to restore voting rights for felons, noting that Virginia is among the states that permanently strips such rights after a felony conviction.

Virginia governor restores voting rights to over 22,000 felons

More than 22,000 Virginians with felony convictions have regained the right to vote thanks to executive actions taken by Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam since he took office in January 2018, his office announced this week.

In a statement, Northam's office said he has so far restored the civil rights of 22,205 people who had been convicted of felonies and have since completed their sentences. Those civil rights include the right to vote as well as the right to serve on juries, run for public office and become a notary public.

Northam previously announced in February that nearly 11,000 convicted felons had their voting rights restored under his watch.

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