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Progressives' final indictment of gerrymanders cites voting curbs

Manipulating district lines is just one way politicians stay in power. Another is by making it harder for the electorate to vote them out. A new report by a liberal think tank concludes that partisan gerrymandered legislatures have led to more voting restrictions — "a power grab on top of a power grab."

The Center for American Progress study, released Wednesday, found that Republicans in four states used map-guaranteed statehouse majorities to enact voting restriction (such as photo ID laws) and block easements to the ballot box (like longer early voting periods) — efforts that have proven particularly burdensome for communities of color, which usually vote Democratic.

The report is the fourth and final in a series designed to show why the cause of redistricting reform — turning district map drawing over to independent commissions — should be more of a priority for the left. The first, in December, blamed partisan gerrymandering for an absence of new gun controls this decade. The others cited the system for limiting Medicaid expansions and curtailing government spending on child care and education.

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A legal fight over the fate of thousands of names on Wisconsin's rolls is now likely to linger beyond November. Here, Milwaukeeans waiting to vote in the Covid-troubled April primary.

One Midwest win for each side in the voter purge wars

The partisan fight over how to maintain voter registration lists has delivered one victory for each side this week — both in Midwestern states central to the November election.

The top court in Wisconsin decided against fast-tracking a decision about removing from the rolls more than 100,000 people with potentially out of date registrations — a delay that benefits the cause of voting rights advocates. But in neighboring Michigan, a conservative group claimed victory and dropped its lawsuit against Detroit after the city took a group of dead people and duplicate names off the rolls.

The cases capture a debate that pitches those (mostly Democrats) who believe aggressive attempts to remove, or "purge," names from voter rolls are an attempt at voter suppression against those (mostly Republicans) who believe poorly maintained voter lists clogged with the names of the mortally or physically departed provide an opportunity for fraud.

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The ruling could limit prospects for several lawsuits filed surrounding the April primary, when last-minute court decisions compelled thousands to stand in long lines during a surge of Covid-19 cases.

Tight voting curbs in bellwether Wisconsin upheld by federal appeals court

Many of the most severe restrictions on voting in Wisconsin may remain on the books, a federal appeals court has decided, concluding a nine-year partisan battle in time to shape the presidential election in one of the most hotly contested battleground states.

The unanimous decision Monday also likely reduces the chances of success for a wave of fresh lawsuits, filed surrounding the state's nationally notorious April primary. Plaintiffs hope to ease the path to the November polls in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

The sweeping and multifaceted ruling from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upholds laws restricting early in-person voting, requiring Wisconsinites to live in their neighborhood for a month before voting, and prohibiting the use of email or faxes to deliver absentee ballots.

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Wisconsin's new election maps will almost certainly be disputed in court after the Democratic governor vetoes the GOP-led Legislature's proposal.

Partisan fight over Wisconsin's next maps gets a head start

Wisconsin's next election maps will almost certainly be drawn by judges, and deciding which ones could have a profound impact on the dynamics of redistricting and the state's political balance of power for a decade.

Conservatives launched a bid Wednesday to steer the task to the state Supreme Court, which has a reliably right-leaning majority, and away from the less predictable federal courts that have refereed the process in the past.

The coming dispute will be watched closely by critics of partisan gerrymandering. They are keen to prevent a repeat of a successful Republican line-drawing effort a decade ago that has preserved outsized GOP power in the decidedly purple state.

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