Ohio is moving ahead with its second purge of the voter rolls this year, though not before the state's new Republican top elections official helps in a search for people who haven't voted in a while.
Still, Democrats say the purge will wrongly disenfranchise too many – mainly poor people, minorities and students.
Last year the Supreme Court upheld an Ohio law requiring the removal from voter lists of those who have not cast ballots in at least six years or responded to "last chance" notices sent by mail. About 3 percent of the state's 8 million registered voters were dropped in January, and on Monday the elections boards of all 88 counties mailed new last-chance notices to another 3 percent, or almost 236,000 people, setting a Labor Day deadline for updating voter information.
Secretary of State Frank LaRose has promised to turn over the roster of affected voters this week to the League of Women Voters and several religious leaders who say they want to search for voters and encourage them to re-register.
"We want to try to find everyone that we can," he told the Columbus Dispatch, although he predicted most on the lists were duplicate entries, dead or no longer living in the state.
LaRose is also vowing to press the state legislature to make Ohio the 19th state with automatic voter registration, under which all eligible people are added to the voter rolls whenever they get a driver's license or otherwise interact with a state agency. But it seems unlikely that will happen by next year, when Ohio's 18 electoral votes will be a prime target of both presidential candidates.
Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown, who was secretary of state in the 1980s, and several state legislators urged a lenient approach to culling the voter rolls in the interim. Brown is pushing legislation, which stands little chance in the GOP Senate, that would make it illegal for a state to use "failure to vote or respond to a state notice as reason to target" voters for removal from the rolls.
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RepresentUs acquired 8,000 signatures on a petition asking Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez to keep working on a "revolving door" bill. Paula Barkan, Austin chapter leader of RepresentUs, handed the petition to Brandon Simon, Cruz's Central Texas regional director, on July 31.
Remember that tweet exchange in May between Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the one where they discussed bipartisan legislation to ban former members of Congress from becoming lobbyists?
To recap: Ocasio-Cortez tweeted her support for legislation banning the practice in light of a report by the watchdog group Public Citizen, which found that nearly 60 percent of lawmakers who recently left Congress had found jobs with lobbying firms. Cruz tweeted back, extending an invitation to work on such a bill. Ocasio-Cortez responded, "Let's make a deal."
The news cycle being what it is, it's easy to forget how the media jumped on the idea of the Texas Republican and the New York Democrat finding common ground on a government ethics proposal. Since then, we've collectively moved on — but not everyone forgot.
The government reform group RepresentUs recently drafted a petition asking Cruz and Ocasio-Cortez to follow through on their idea, gathering more than 8,000 signatures.
Sixty percent of young adults in the United States believe other people "can't be trusted," according to a recent Pew Research survey, which found that younger Americans were far more likely than older adults to distrust both institutions and other people. But adults of all ages did agree on one thing: They all lack confidence in elected leaders.
While united in a lack of confidence, the cohorts disagreed on whether that's a major problem. The study found that young adults (ages 18-29) were less likely than older Americans to believe that poor confidence in the federal government, the inability of Democrats and Republicans to work together, and the influence of lobbyists and special interest groups were "very big problems."