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Using Data to Comply With the Voting Rights Act Webinar

Organizer: National Conference of State Legislatures

The 2020s will (likely) be the first redistricting cycle in decades without the Voting Rights Act's "preclearance regime" in effect. Learn about the other sections of the law, how to comply with them (Section 2) and how to avoid being subject to them (Section 3).

Location: Webinar

Big Picture
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6 of the most important democracy books of the past 6 months

"Groaning bookshelves about our divisive times" are one of the main features of the publishing world these days, Kirkus Reviews notes. So we identified six books, all published since last summer, that are particularly worthy of note in a campaign season when the faulty functionality of American democracy is getting discussed more than in any previous modern election.

The authors come from the political left, right and center — but they all have a broadly similar panoramic view of the dysfunction plaguing our democracy. And their prescriptions for reversing the decline have more in common than not. What they all agree on: The principles of our Constitution are under assault and the citizenry's only chance at a successful counter attack is by embracing a broad array of plans for strengthening democratic institutions.

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Arizona 'ballot harvesting' ban is discriminatory, court rules

An Arizona law banning a third party from returning another person's mail-in ballot was contrived to suppress minority voting in violation of the Voting Rights Act, a federal appeals court ruled Monday.

The practice of so-called ballot harvesting — often practiced by campaign volunteers and staff — was banned by the state's Republican-controlled Legislature in 2016 but later challenged in court on the grounds it was a deliberate attempt to stifle minority voters.

The lawsuit, filed by state and national Democratic party committees, also challenged Arizona's policy of discarding votes cast in the wrong precinct. The committees claims that is another voter suppression tactic.

On Monday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed, ruling 7-4 that discarding out-of-precinct votes and banning ballot collection violated federal law and were a continuation of the state's long history of voter discrimination.

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Alabama is one of just nine states that doesn't offer in-person early voting.

Democrats will try again to expand voting options in deep red Alabama

An uphill drive is being revived to make casting a ballot easier in Alabama, which has been at the center of the struggle for voting rights in the United States for more than half a century.

Thomas Jackson, one of the longest serving Democrats in Montgomery, is already gathering support for bills to permit absentee voting without an excuse as well as mandate early voting in every county in the state, one of the few places where neither provision is on the books.

He'll introduce the bills when the Legislature convenes in two weeks. But he's proposed them before and they've never received so much as a committee vote in the lopsided Republican legislature. And Alabama's top elections official, GOP Secretary of State John Merrill, says he's confident both measures will die again this year.

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