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The latest Priorites USA lawsuit states that a pair of Michigan laws makes it "even more difficult for voters for whom voting is already difficult." This includes seniors, minority voters, the disabled and the poor.

Priorities USA files new lawsuit over ballot access in Michigan

A Democratic advocacy group has filed a lawsuit challenging Michigan laws that ban both rides to the poll for many voters and organized absentee ballot application drives.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court Tuesday by the super PAC Priorities USA, against Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, also a Democrat.

It is the latest in a series of lawsuits filed in recent weeks by Democratic groups challenging laws that they believe make it more difficult for people to vote. One of the laws the new suit challenges makes it a misdemeanor to hire a vehicle to transport voters to the polls unless the voters are not able to walk.

The second law makes it a crime to organize efforts to assist voters in submitting applications for absentee ballots.

The lawsuit states that the two laws make it "even more difficult for voters for whom voting is already difficult." This includes seniors, minority voters, the disabled and the poor.

The two laws contradict federal law and regulations and are also unconstitutional, the suit argues.

Priorities USA asks that the court rule the state laws are preempted by federal law and are unconstitutional and asks for an injunction blocking the enforcement of the state laws.

Last month, Priorities USA filed a separate lawsuit challenging a Michigan law allowing local election officials to discard mail-in ballots when signatures aren't similar enough to the handwriting on file. It is one of several states where signature match laws are being challenged in court.

In addition, Democratic groups have filed lawsuits challenging laws in Georgia, Texas and Arizona that call for Republican candidates to be listed first on the ballot.

And laws that restrict early voting in Texas and North Carolina are also being challenged in court.

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The House on Friday passed legislation to restore a provision of the Voting Rights Act struck down by the Supreme Court in 2013. The bill would require advance approval of voting changes in states with a history of discrimination. Here President Lyndon Johnson shares one of the pens he used to sign the Voting Rights Act of 1965 with civil rights leader the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Passage of historic voting rights law takes a partisan turn

In a partisan vote on an issue that once was bipartisan, House Democrats pushed through legislation Friday that would restore a key portion of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

The Voting Rights Advancement Act passed the House 228-187, with all Democrats voting for the bill and all but one Republican, Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, voting against it.

The bill faces virtually no chance of being considered in the Republican-controlled Senate.

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Big Picture

TV stations fight FCC over political ad disclosure

Broadcasters are pushing back against the Federal Communications Commission after the agency made clear it wants broader public disclosure regarding TV political ads.

With the 2020 election less than a year away and political TV ads running more frequently, the FCC issued a lengthy order to clear up any ambiguities licensees of TV stations had regarding their responsibility to record information about ad content and sponsorship. In response, a dozen broadcasting stations sent a petition to the agency, asking it to consider a more narrow interpretation of the law.

This dispute over disclosure rules for TV ads comes at a time when digital ads are subject to little regulation. Efforts to apply the same rules for TV, radio and print advertising across the internet have been stymied by Congress's partisanship and the Federal Election Commission being effectively out of commission.

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1952 Eisenhower Answers America

On TV, political ads are regulated – but online, anything goes

Lightman is a professor of digital media and marketing at Carnegie Mellon University.

With the 2020 election less than a year away, Facebook is under fire from presidential candidates, lawmakers, civil rights groups and even its own employees to provide more transparency on political ads and potentially stop running them altogether.

Meanwhile, Twitter has announced that it will not allow any political ads on its platform.

Modern-day online ads use sophisticated tools to promote political agendas with a high degree of specificity.

I have closely studied how information propagates through social channels and its impact on political messaging and advertising.

Looking back at the history of mass media and political ads in the national narrative, I think it's important to focus on how TV advertising, which is monitored by the Federal Communications Commission, differs fundamentally with the world of social media.

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