Skip to content

Latest Stories

Top Stories

The state of voting: Aug. 15, 2022

State of voting - election law changes

This weekly update summarizing legislative activity affecting voting and elections is powered by the Voting Rights Lab. Sign up for VRL’s weekly newsletter here.

The Voting Rights Lab is tracking 2,187 bills so far this session, with 580 bills that tighten voter access or election administration and 1,042 bills that expand the rules. The rest are neutral or mixed or unclear in their impact.

Last week’s major activity occurred outside the legislative arena.

A conservative organization filed a lawsuit seeking to prohibit the use of staffed mobile election units to conduct in-person absentee voting in Wisconsin. And one of the most populous counties in Georgia expanded in-person early voting options for the 2022 general election by adding a day of Sunday voting. Meanwhile, in Arizona, Latino and Indigenous voters are more likely to be dropped from Arizona’s mail voting list, according to a new study.

Looking ahead: Alaska is conducting its first ranked-choice election tomorrow, Aug. 16. Final results from the election will be released no earlier than Aug, 31.

Here are the details:

Cobb County, Ga., expands early voting for the 2022 general election. The Cobb County Board of Elections voted last week to expand early voting hours to include time one Sunday before Election Day. Lengthy public comments took place ahead of the vote, with those in support of Sunday voting citing flexibility for those with work and caregiving obligations. As a result of S.B. 202, which was passed last year, Georgia law allows for up to two Sundays of early voting at the discretion of county elections boards.

Sign up for The Fulcrum newsletter

Litigation once again takes aim at Wisconsin mail voting access. Last week, the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty filed a lawsuit seeking to prohibit mobile election units. During the 2022 primaries, the Racine city clerk used a staffed mobile election unit to conduct in-person absentee voting at pre-scheduled times across the district. The lawsuit asserts that the unit is illegal under Wisconsin statute. It’s the latest in a string of lawsuits WILL has filed to make it more difficult to vote by mail in Wisconsin. WILL previously successfully sued to ban drop boxes and policies permitting assistance for those returning mail ballots and recently filed another lawsuit that seeks to stop clerks from counting otherwise eligible mail ballots when the witness address is missing (but known by a clerk). All of these suits allege noncompliance with the text of Wisconsin’s voting laws, but do not assert that any ineligible voters successfully cast ballots.

In Arizona, nonwhite voters are more likely to be dropped from the mail ballot list, according to a new study. Nearly 340,000 Arizona voters are in danger of being removed from the state's mail-in ballot list due to a new law enacted last year, and almost half of those are nonwhite, primarily Latino and Indigenous voters. Under S.B 1485, which was enacted last year, voters are removed from the mail-in ballot list if they fail to vote using an early ballot for two consecutive election cycles.

Read More

Blurred image of an orchestra
Melpomenem/Getty Images

The ideal democracy: An orchestra in harmony

Frazier is an assistant professor at the Crump College of Law at St. Thomas University. Starting this summer, he will serve as a Tarbell fellow.

In the symphony of our democracy, we can find a compelling analogy with an orchestra. The interplay of musicians trained in different instruments, each contributing to the grand musical tapestry, offers lessons for our democratic system. As we navigate the complexities of governance, let us draw inspiration from the orchestra's structure, dynamics and philosophy.

Keep ReadingShow less
David French

New York Times columnist David French was removed from the agenda of a faith-basd gathering because we was too "divisive."

Macmillan Publishers

Is canceling David French good for civic life?

Harwood is president and founder of The Harwood Institute. This is the latest entry in his series based on the "Enough. Time to Build.” campaign, which calls on community leaders and active citizens to step forward and build together.

On June 10-14, the Presbyterian Church in America held its annual denominational assembly in Richmond, Va. The PCA created considerable national buzz in the lead-up when it abruptly canceled a panel discussion featuring David French, the highly regarded author and New York Times columnist.

The panel carried the innocuous-sounding title, “How to Be Supportive of Your Pastor and Church Leaders in a Polarized Political Year.” The reason for canceling it? French, himself a long-time PCA member, was deemed too “divisive.” This despite being a well-known, self-identified “conservative” and PCA adherent. Ironically, the loudest and most divisive voices won the day.

Keep ReadingShow less
Fannie Lou Hamer

Fannie Lou Hamer testifies at the Democratic National Convention in 1964.

Bettmann/Getty Images

60 years later, it's time to restart the Freedom Summer

Johnson is a United Methodist pastor, the author of "Holding Up Your Corner: Talking About Race in Your Community" and program director for the Bridge Alliance, which houses The Fulcrum.

Sixty years have passed since Freedom Summer, that pivotal season of 1964 when hundreds of young activists descended upon an unforgiving landscape, driven by a fierce determination to shatter the chains of racial oppression. As our nation teeters on the precipice of another transformative moment, the echoes of that fateful summer reverberate across the years, reminding us that freedom remains an unfinished work.

At the heart of this struggle stood Fannie Lou Hamer, a sharecropper's daughter whose voice thundered like a prophet's in the wilderness, signaling injustice. Her story is one of unyielding defiance, of a spirit that the brutal lash of bigotry could not break. When Hamer testified before the Democratic National Convention in 1964, her words, laced with the pain of beatings and the fire of righteous indignation, laid bare the festering wound of racial terror that had long plagued our nation. Her resilience in the face of such adversity is a testament to the power of the human spirit.

Keep ReadingShow less
Kamala Harris waiving as she exits an airplane

If President Joe Biden steps aside and endorses Vice President Kamala Harris, her position could be strengthened by a ranked-choice vote among convention delegates.

Anadolu/Getty Images

How best to prepare for a brokered convention

Richie is co-founder and senior advisor of FairVote.

As the political world hangs on whether Joe Biden continues his presidential campaign, an obvious question is how the Democratic Party might pick a new nominee. Its options are limited, given the primary season is long past and the Aug. 19 convention is only weeks away. But they are worth getting right for this year and future presidential cycles.

Suppose Biden endorses Vice President Kamala Harris and asks his delegates to follow his lead. She’s vetted, has close relationships across the party, and could inherit the Biden-Harris campaign and its cash reserves without a hitch. As Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) suggested, however, Harris would benefit from a mini-primary among delegates before the convention – either concluding at the virtual roll call that is already planned or at the in-person convention.

Keep ReadingShow less