A federal judge in Wisconsin is hearing arguments Wednesday afternoon that next week's primary must be either postponed altogether or made much more permissive for voters since it would happen near the peak of the coronavirus pandemic.
The battle is by far the most prominent story this week at the intersection of public health and electoral democracy. While Wisconsin remains in conflicted limbo, however, Republican officials are taking modest steps to make it easier to vote in Iowa and North Carolina until the Covid-19 outbreak has subsided, while prominent Republicans in Georgia asked the state to delay its primary a second time. At the same time, the GOP went to court as soon as most of New Mexico announced plans to conduct the June 2 primary by mail.
These are the latest developments:
Iowa has taken a small but significant step toward ending its status as the only state where all felons are prohibited from voting, but returning the franchise to some 60,000 former convicts remains at least several years away.
The state Senate gave bipartisan passage Tuesday to a measure that would require felons to fully pay restitution to their victims to regain the right to vote. One-third of the chamber's Democrats voted "yes" and the bill has been endorsed by GOP Gov. Kim Reynolds, increasing chances the state House will go along.
But that measure would come into play only if the General Assembly votes in two successive legislative sessions to amend the state Constitution to allow felon voting and then voters ratify the idea in a statewide referendum.
Fearing a repeat of the disastrous Iowa caucuses, Nevada Democrats scrapped their plans to use similar apps to tabulate results. Instead, party officials will use a mix of old and new tech: paper ballots and Google Forms.
The Nevada State Democratic Party announced new procedures on Tuesday, just four days before early caucusing begins. Officials will check in early birds using an online Google Form that they say will track participants and streamline the process. Then early voters will fill out paper ballots ranking their top three presidential candidates, which will be scanned, organized by precinct and counted on Caucus Day.
Although Nevada is pivoting away from the apps that caused chaos in Iowa, these new procedures will hardly guarantee smooth sailing in the Silver State. Many concerns have been raised over the security of using Google Forms and whether the early caucus ballots will be accurately counted.
The first question that will go through the minds of millions of Americans at 8 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, when the polls close in the New Hampshire primary, will likely be a version of this:
We aren't going to have a repeat of the Iowa caucuses, are we?
This week's historic collapse of the system for reporting those results has thrust the mechanics for conducting the rest of the Democratic presidential contest under a spotlight of national anxiety and skepticism. And a bit of it is already justified, even before the next state votes.