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5 Reasons Reformers Are Giving Thanks

People in the democracy reform movement, both old and new, must sometimes feel like they are trying to empty the ocean with a slotted spoon.

But while change may sometimes happen slowly, there are plenty of reasons for democracy reformers to be thankful this year. So enjoy that extra turkey leg or slice of pumpkin pie, with the knowledge that progress is being made across the country.

Here are five reasons reformers are giving thanks this holiday season. What did we forget? Email us at

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A third lawsuit has been filed in less than a month by the liberal group Priorities USA challenging voting laws and regulations in Michigan. Above, a voter heads to a polling place in Grosse Pointe Park.

Another day, another lawsuit challenging Michigan voting laws

A Democratic advocacy group has filed a third lawsuit in less than a month challenging Michigan laws and policies it says restrict voting rights.

The focus on Michigan voting laws by the super PAC Priorities USA reflects the importance of the state's 16 electoral votes in the 2020 presidential election. President Trump won Michigan, a swing state, by less than half a percentage point in 2016.

The latest lawsuit, filed Friday in state court, challenges actions taken after a successful 2018 ballot initiative expanded voting options, such as allowing people to register to vote at any time (including on Election Day). It also automatically registered people to vote when they obtained or renewed their driver's licenses.

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Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim's re-election campaign is at the heart of the debate over voting rights legislation in Connecticut.

Connecticut, with its history of dirty elections, intensifies debate over easier voting

Connecticut, already among the easier states for casting a vote, would give its citizens even smoother access to the polls under legislation Democratic legislators are hoping to put on a fast track.

Thirty of the state House's more progressive members are pressing Gov. Ned Lamont, a fellow Democrat, to call the General Assembly back to Hartford this fall to resurrect legislation of his that died under the threat of a Republican filibuster in the state Senate this spring.

Fueling arguments both for and against making it easier to vote in the state are the suspicions of fraud dogging the election for mayor of Connecticut's biggest city, Bridgeport.

GOP legislators say what's happened there shows that a state with a history of corrupt politics is in no position to increase the potential for fraud. But voting rights advocates say expanding the franchise is what really matters. They estimate as many as 250,000 people in the state are eligible to vote but are unregistered — equal to about 10 percent of the 2.4 million who are registered.

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In addition to creating a statewide public financing system, a proposed ballot initiative in Arizona would make it easier for voters to cast ballots.

Crusade begins for ballot initiative overhauling Arizona's democracy

A prominent progressive group in Arizona has launched an effort to put a total overhaul of the state's election system before the voters next fall.

If the initiative is ultimately adopted, it would transform campaign financing and ease access to the ballot box in one of the nation's fastest growing and most politically competitive states. In many ways, the proposal would create in Arizona a system similar to what the congressional Democrats would nationalize under HR 1.

But the business community and Republican elected leaders in Phoenix are already signaling they're intense opposition to the package, suggesting that just getting it on to the ballot could require an expensive and polarizing campaign.

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