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Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis

Governor's 'ballot integrity' proposal would limit Florida voting by mail

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has proposed a slew of election changes mostly aimed at restricting mail voting, which he and other Republicans erroneously claim is riddled with fraud.

During a Friday news conference, DeSantis said his proposal would protect the state's election integrity, and at the same time touted Florida's election system as the most "transparent and efficient" in the country.

In last year's election, more than 9 million Floridians cast their ballot early, either in person or by mail — a 41 percent increase from 2016. And former President Donald Trump, who instigated the attacks on mail voting, won the state and its 29 electoral votes by 3 percentage points.

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Virginia's bill to ban guns at polling locations now awaits Gov. Ralph Northam's signature.

Virginia on the verge of banning guns at the polls

Following significant incidents of voter intimidation in the 2020 election, Virginia is poised to enact a law banning people from carrying guns near polling stations.

The measure would prohibit anyone from knowingly possessing a firearm within 40 feet of a polling location beginning an hour before polls open to an hour after they close. With approval from the House of Delegates last month and the state Senate on Thursday, the bill is now headed to Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam's desk for his signature.

Heightened activity and heated rhetoric from partisan extremists led to major concerns about armed conflict at the polls during the early voting period and on Election Day last year. As a result, Virginia and other states are considering rules to improve voter safety.

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Courtesy Kirk Bangstad

Minocqua Brewing Company says its new Fair Maps IPA is "balanced and unrigged."

Hate gerrymandering? This beer is for you.

Wisconsinites will soon get a taste of fair redistricting — literally. A local brewery is launching a beer next week to promote anti-gerrymandering efforts in the state.

Because he sees partisan mapmaking as the root of political dysfunction in Wisconsin, Minocqua Brewing Company owner Kirk Bangstad has created the "balanced and unrigged" Fair Maps IPA.

While "gerrymandering leaves a bitter taste in your mouth," Bangstad has said, the Fair Maps IPA won't. It has floral and citrus notes and the classic hoppiness of an IPA.

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Some Republicans are seeking to eliminate the use of ballot drop boxes in future elections, among other restrictions.

Restricting vote by mail won't combat fraud, per conservative report

Restricting no-excuse absentee voting and banning drop boxes won't actually improve election integrity, despite the claims of many conservatives, according to a new study.

R Street Institute, a right-leaning public policy research organization, released a five-page report this week arguing against various state proposals aimed at restricting voting access. While the report says some proposed reforms deserve serious deliberation, others will only make it harder for people to vote.

More Americans than ever cast a ballot by mail in the 2020 election due to the Covid-19 pandemic, prompting some states to consider making no-excuse absentee voting and other ballot expansions permanent policies. However, 33 state legislatures are also considering more than 165 bills that would restrict voting access.

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