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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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Open Government
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FEC Chairwoman Ellen Weintraub

The struggle is real: FEC stalled on regulations for online political ads

The Federal Election Commission has once again punted on establishing rules for identifying who is sponsoring online political advertisements. Thursday marked the fourth consecutive meeting in which the topic fell to the wayside without a clear path forward.

FEC Chairwoman Ellen Weintraub revived debate on the topic in June when she introduced a proposal on how to regulate online political ads. In her proposal, she said the growing threat of misinformation meant that requiring transparency for political ads was "a small but necessary step."

Vice Chairman Matthew Petersen and Commissioner Caroline Hunter put forth their own proposal soon after Weintraub, but the commissioners have failed to find any middle ground. At Thursday's meeting, a decision on the agenda item was pushed off to a later date.

Weintraub's proposal says the funding source should be clearly visible on the face of the ad, with some allowance for abbreviations. But Petersen and Hunter want to allow more flexibility for tiny ads that cannot accommodate these disclaimers due to space.

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Open Government
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California's Supreme Court is expediting President Trump's challenge to a new state law that would require him to release five years of tax returns in order to get on the state ballot for the 2020 election.

California court expedites Trump challenge to new tax returns requirement

The California Supreme Court is fast-tracking its review of a challenge to a new law that would require President Trump to make public his tax returns in order to get on the state's ballot for the 2020 election.

A lawsuit seeking to block implementation of the law was filed August 6 by the California Republican Party against Secretary of State Alex Padilla. It claims the law violates California's constitution.

Two other challenges, one filed by Trump's personal lawyers, are pending in federal court.

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