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Christy McCormick, chairwoman of the Election Assistance Commission, testififying on Capitol Hill in May.

Top U.S. election official opposes  automatic voter registration

The chairwoman of the Election Assistance Commission told the nation's state legislators last week that she's opposed to automatic voter registration.

Adding qualified citizens to the rolls whenever they do business with a state agency, unless they choose to opt out, has quickly become a widely accepted component of most democracy reform agendas. Eighteen states will have so-called AVR in place in time for the 2020 election after a surge of acceptance in state legislatures this decade. And the practice would be nationally mandated under HR 1, the comprehensive campaign finance, election and ethics legislation the House passed in March.

But Christy McCormick argues that registering to vote is a form of speech protected by the First Amendment and that "not registering to vote is a choice – we should respect our citizens' choices."

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Stacey Abrams, who ran an unsuccessful campaign for Georgia governor, is taking her voter protection work to the Midwest and Southeast.

Abrams targets key states to prevent voting problems

Stacey Abrams, who lost her bid for the governorship of Georgia but gained national prominence in the process, is unveiling a multimillion-dollar campaign to support Democrats' voter protection efforts in next year's election.

Abrams planned to announce the initiative, called Fair Fight 2020, during her speech Tuesday at the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades convention in Las Vegas.

The effort is expected to cost between $4 million and $5 million and target 20 states, mostly battlegrounds in the Midwest and Southeast, according to news reports.

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Montana Secretary of State Corey Stapleton

Montana abandons plan to modernize voter registration for '20

The modernization of Montana's voter registration system won't happen in time for next year's elections, because the state's top election administrator has concluded the new software cannot be installed and its security assured in time.

The decision was made by Secretary of State Corey Stapleton, who has something of a vested interest in his decision. He's a leading GOP candidate for the state's singular and reliably Republican seat in the House of Representatives in 2020.

But Stapleton was pressed to make the decision by the association of the state's county clerks, who said the system in place for 15 years was good enough for one more election.

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North Carolina was one of the states partially covered by the Voting Rights Act "preclearance" requirement that was struck down by the Supreme Court.

Purges worst in places Justice Department no longer oversees, research shows

Voters in counties that were once under federal oversight because of past election discrimination are being purged from the registration rolls at much higher rates than other counties, according to new research.

The Brennan Center for Justice, in a report released this week, examined the culling of registered voters by state officials across the country in the previous three years. One aim was to see what had happened in the years since the Supreme Court struck down as antiquated the system for deciding which states and counties would require Justice Department approval before making any changes to election procedures – such as purging of voting lists.

This "preclearance" requirement, a central part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, applied to eight states in the South and parts of six other states where there was a history of racial discrimination in the political process.

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