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Left Continues to Go It Alone on HR 1

A broad array of advocacy groups rallied at the Capitol this afternoon in a bid to boost momentum and public awareness for HR 1, the designation for the wide-ranging political system overhaul being advanced by the new House Democratic majority.

The dozen organizations are part of a coalition of 125 groups dubbed the Declaration for American Democracy, formed last year to promote the legislation. Virtually all the organizations, however, are affiliated with progressive and liberal causes – underscoring how the bill is being positioned more as a behemoth political messaging vehicle than as a measure that might make it through a divided Congress.

The groups asserted a shared commitment for mobilizing their networks to build support for the measure. But, while the bill seems foreordained to move through the House on a party line vote this winter, the grassroots on the left show no signs they're going to build a groundswell of support in the Republican Senate.

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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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