News. Debate. Community. Levers for a better democracy.

Voter Protection Corps

Voter Protection Corps was founded by experts in election law to address a stark, urgent reality: The assault on voters' rights will almost certainly increase, intensify and become more insidious in advance of the 2020 Presidential election. Voter Protection Corps is building a state-by-state playbook to combat both intentional voter suppression tactics and disenfranchisement caused by insufficient planning. Early, data-driven solutions identified and implemented by experienced voter protection professionals can reduce barriers to casting and counting the ballots of eligible voters across the country in 2020.
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Erica Racz registers in Fort Myers, Fla., in January 2019 after a referendum restoring voting rights to felons. Now a federal judge has broadened who may register after prison.

Felons may vote while their case against Florida continues, judge decides

An estimated 1.4 million freed Florida felons may start registering to vote, a federal judge has ruled.

Tuesday's decision by District Judge Robert Hinkle is a potential watershed in the two-year fight over the future political rights of those who have been released from prison in the nation's biggest battleground state.

If it survives an appeal, which seems likely given several previous rulings in the dispute, then felons could vote in the Aug. 18 primaries and in the presidential election — capping the biggest single voting rights expansion in American history.

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After a chaotic primary in Wisconsin, officials in Florida and Texas are scrambling to avoid more election disasters.

Moves in three states to avoid another Wisconsin, even as Sanders bows out

Bernie Sanders ending his campaign, obviating the need for more Democratic presidential primaries, is the biggest news of the week about keeping democracy safe during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Vermont senator dropped out Wednesday, hours after the end of a chaotic day of primary voting in Wisconsin that went ahead on schedule even though a federal court is keeping the results sealed until next week.

Florida's local election officials and Democrats in Texas, meanwhile, launched efforts to prevent such a shambolic situation in their states during summertime primaries. New Jersey prepared to become the 16th state postponing partisan contests, while the inability to gather ballot petition signatures put a veteran senator in a bind.

These are the latest developments:

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Big Picture
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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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Coronavirus halts ballot measure progress across the country

Presidential election years are usually the prime time for getting small-d democracy initiatives on the ballot, but the coronavirus pandemic is posing a crippling threat to many campaigns.

Social distancing pressures plus stay-at-home orders in all but a handful of states are making it nearly impossible to secure the tens of thousands of signatures needed to get initiatives on the November ballot. And because no state allows an alternate way of showing broad grassroots support — such as electronic signatures — many campaigns have halted operations.

Others are clinging to hope. Groups promoting six different ballot measures in Arizona filed lawsuits in federal and state court last week asking for permission to gather e-signatures at least during the public emergency, which has resulted in a statewide stay-at-home order through at least the end of the month.

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