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While paper ballots are seen as a good way to prevent election fraud, advocates for the disabled say voting machines are necessary to assure accessibility.

Disabled voters push against the revival of paper ballots

While electronic voting equipment offers the most accessibility to the disabled, paper ballots are the preferred method in this moment of heightened worries about election security. Reconciling the disconnect before the 2020 election is becoming a top priority of disability advocates.

"Between security and accessibility, one is not more important than the other," Michelle Bishop, a voting rights expert at the National Disability Rights Network, told Stateline. "We have to be able to do both if we really want to make democracy work."

Two blind voters and the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland filed a federal lawsuit against the Maryland Board of Elections last month to force the state to make electronic machines the default voting method in the state because that's the only way to prevent the effective political segregation of many disabled people.

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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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