Officials in New Jersey have until June to create a secure website allowing eligible residents to begin registering to vote online.
Work on the site by the secretary of state's office can begin because on Tuesday Gov. Phil Murphy signed a measure that will make New Jersey the 38th state with online registration.
It's the latest in a small wave of recent laws easing access to the ballot box in the 11th most populous state, and the fourth biggest that's reliably Democratic. The measures started advancing after Murphy became governor three years ago, succeeding Republican Chris Christie, and signaled an eagerness to sign voting rights measures written by his fellow Democrats who have solid control of the Legislature.
Republicans hoping to limit the newly restored voting rights of convicted felons in Florida have won the backing of the state Supreme Court. But it's really just a victory in the court of public opinion, because the justices issued only an advisory opinion Thursday while the real decision is up to the federal courts.
At issue is a law passed by the GOP-controlled Legislature last year to implement a state constitutional amendment approved in 2018 with the support of almost two-thirds of the electorate, restoring voting rights to about 1.4 million Floridians with criminal records.
It is the largest single expansion of voting rights in the country since 18-year-olds got the constitutional right to cast ballots half a century ago. But its reach could be sharply limited if Republicans successfully defend the financial curbs they want to impose.
Citizens would be automatically registered to vote, or they could register online or on Election Day, under a comprehensive voting rights proposal unveiled Friday by Mike Bloomberg.
He is the last of the prominent Democratic candidates for president to detail an agenda for making the democratic process work better. The plan was unveiled as Bloomberg took his campaign to Georgia for an appearance with Stacey Abrams, one of the most prominent civil rights advocates in the country.
"The right to vote is the fundamental right that protects all others, but in states around the country it is under attack," Bloomberg said in a statement released by his campaign.
Iowa's Republican governor, Kim Reynolds, is promising to revive her quest to end the state's status as the only place in the country where convicted felons are permanently barred from voting.
She says she is optimistic that when the General Assembly convenes next week, her fellow Republicans in the majority will pass legislation starting a process lasting several years for giving voting rights back to felons as soon as they complete their sentences.
The franchise has been given back to more than 2 million ex-convicts in at least eight states during the past decade, fulfilling a top goal of civil rights groups, who view restoration of the vote as an essential part of making criminals who have done their time productive members of society. Resistance has come mostly from red states. Most freed felons are black or Hispanic and vote reliably Democratic.