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Fight over purging vs. accuracy of voter rolls arrives in battleground Pa.

Two prominent voting rights groups are attempting to formally intervene so they can fight a Pennsylvania lawsuit that threatens thousands of names on the voter rolls in that marquee battleground state.

The suit filed two weeks ago by Judicial Watch, a conservative advocacy group, maintains the state and three bellwether counties are not following federal law requiring regular maintenance to cull registration rosters of people who have moved, died or are no longer eligible to vote for some other reason.

It is the latest skirmish over voter rolls that could alter the course of the 2020 election. Republicans argue that properly maintaining the lists is not only a federal mandate but also helps prevent election fraud. Democrats generally oppose these efforts, which they say are too often partisan crusades to suppress the vote and end up improperly disenfranchising eligible voters.

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LatinoJustice

Meet the reformer: Juan Cartagena, a leading voice on Latino voting rights

This month Juan Cartagena marks nine years as president and general counsel of LatinoJustice PRLDEF. It advocates for Hispanic civil and voting rights, and his interests include the effects on those rights of mass imprisonment, language barriers and gerrymandering. After Columbia Law School he spent seven years in the 1980s as a junior attorney for the same organization, then called the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund. He later worked for the government of Puerto Rico, as a municipal judge in Hoboken, N.J., as general counsel of the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey and as a top official at the Community Service Society, which litigates on behalf of the poor. He also lectures at Rutgers. His answers have been edited for clarity and length.

What's democracy's biggest challenge, in 10 words or less?

Easing the way for the unregistered to vote.

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Democracy Madness: On to the Elite Eight (Voting Division)

How low does a seed have to be to officially be a "Cinderella" team? Banning straight-ticket voting and promoting so-called STAR voting have scored big upsets, but otherwise the top seeds in the Voting division of our Democracy Madness bracket are through to the Elite Eight.

The next round starts Wednesday and continues Thursday.

Automatic voter registration and ranked-choice voting blew away their opponents in the first round, while felon voting rights and early voting both snuck through. AVR and felon voting rights are going head-to-head now. Will felon voting rights be able to pull off the upset? Or will AVR continue to crush its opponents?

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No sports on TV? Here’s democracy bracketology (Voting Division)

Democracy reform is a really broad topic — with many more ideas for fixing the system than the long list of reasons why Americans say the government's not working for them.

So which is the most transformative proposal for ending the dysfunction and putting voters back at the center of things? Since you may have more time to think during this season of social distancing, it seems a good time to ask: If you had to pick a single reform, what would it be?

We're calling this Democracy Madness.

The NCAA tournament never happened, baseball hasn't started and pro basketball and hockey are in limbo. But we all love competition, so we've seeded 64 proposals and divided them among four topical "regions."

We'll tackle a quarter of the draw at a time. Your votes on voting reforms today and tomorrow will turn the top 16 ideas into eight — two days later we'll be down to four, and so on. (Future brackets will contest ideas for reforming campaign finance, elections, civic life and Congress.)

You can click the matchups, then each label, for more about the proposals. Click the Vote Now button to get started.



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