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States grapple with compressed redistricting timelines

A lawsuit filed this week over Illinois' new legislative district lines is a preview of what's sure to be a litigious and tense second half of the year for mapmakers.

While Illinois has made more progress than most states, the redistricting process in the Prairie State is far from over. Full census data has not yet been released due to delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, many states are facing impossible redistricting deadlines — some of them constitutionally mandated. If adjustments aren't made soon, courts will have to step in and draw temporary maps for upcoming elections.

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Maine takes bipartisan step toward open primaries

Maine has taken a big step toward making its primaries more politically inclusive.

State lawmakers voted in overwhelming bipartisan fashion on Wednesday to allow voters not registered with a major party to cast a ballot in a primary election. While the bill requires another vote in both chambers before it goes to Democratic Gov. Janet Mills' desk, the previous votes indicate passage is very likely.

While many state legislatures remain divided on election reform issues, Maine and nearby Vermont presented rare examples of bipartisan collaboration this week.

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Voting rights advocates gather outside the Supreme Court on Wednesday for a rally in support of the For the People Act.

West Virginia voting rights advocates turn up heat on Manchin

Since proclaiming his opposition to the For the People Act, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin has drawn a lot of ire from voting rights advocates, including some from his home state of West Virginia.

Former Secretary of State Natalie Tennant and five other West Virginia advocates vowed during a press call Wednesday to keep the pressure on Manchin in the coming weeks. The the sweeping election reform bill is scheduled to be brought to the Senate floor later this month.

In an opinion piece published over the weekend, Manchin did not say he was opposed to specific elements of the For the People Act. Rather, he said he wouldn't vote for the bill unless Republicans were also on board — a nearly impossible standard. The moderate Democrat also reaffirmed his opposition to weakening or eliminating the filibuster, dealing another critical blow to the bill's chances of success.

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