Organizers of voter registration drives and civil rights advocates are furious over a new Tennessee law that could lead to fines for groups submitting too many erroneous registration forms.
They say the measure signed last week by GOP Gov. Bill Lee, likely the first of its kind in the country, discourages minorities and college students from taking part in democracy. A federal lawsuit filed immediately after the signing said the statute, which makes it a misdemeanor to submit more than 100 incomplete forms, could force registration groups to scale back or shut down those services in the state.
But some also say they won't let it turn them around. "I just can't see us saying, 'Well, we're not going to any longer register people to vote,'" Terri Freeman, president of the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, told The Associated Press.
Republican Secretary of State Tre Hargett argued that tacking on penalties would be crucial for election security. His office said many of the 10,000 registrations submitted in and around Memphis last year by the Tennessee Black Voter Project on the last day for registering were filled out incorrectly.
In this decade 25 states have passed voting restrictions, according to The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU's School of Law. Experts say the pace accelerated in some states after the 2013 Supreme Court decision set aside a key provision of the Voting Rights Act that compelled states and counties with a history of discrimination to get advance Justice Department approval for any changes to election law
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RepresentUs acquired 8,000 signatures on a petition asking Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez to keep working on a "revolving door" bill. Paula Barkan, Austin chapter leader of RepresentUs, handed the petition to Brandon Simon, Cruz's Central Texas regional director, on July 31.
Remember that tweet exchange in May between Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the one where they discussed bipartisan legislation to ban former members of Congress from becoming lobbyists?
To recap: Ocasio-Cortez tweeted her support for legislation banning the practice in light of a report by the watchdog group Public Citizen, which found that nearly 60 percent of lawmakers who recently left Congress had found jobs with lobbying firms. Cruz tweeted back, extending an invitation to work on such a bill. Ocasio-Cortez responded, "Let's make a deal."
The news cycle being what it is, it's easy to forget how the media jumped on the idea of the Texas Republican and the New York Democrat finding common ground on a government ethics proposal. Since then, we've collectively moved on — but not everyone forgot.
The government reform group RepresentUs recently drafted a petition asking Cruz and Ocasio-Cortez to follow through on their idea, gathering more than 8,000 signatures.
Sixty percent of young adults in the United States believe other people "can't be trusted," according to a recent Pew Research survey, which found that younger Americans were far more likely than older adults to distrust both institutions and other people. But adults of all ages did agree on one thing: They all lack confidence in elected leaders.
While united in a lack of confidence, the cohorts disagreed on whether that's a major problem. The study found that young adults (ages 18-29) were less likely than older Americans to believe that poor confidence in the federal government, the inability of Democrats and Republicans to work together, and the influence of lobbyists and special interest groups were "very big problems."