3 Voting-Related News Items You Need to Read

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In Pennsylvania, it is easy to think the fight for fair elections was won when a judge recently struck down the Keystone State’s voter ID law, saying it was unconstitutional.

But then there are access issues. And issues related to expanded voting hours, no-excuses absentee ballots, antiquated voting machines and more.

Bottom line: It’s just as important to stay educated on voting reform issues now as it was before the voter ID law was spiked.

That said, here are five voting-related news items you need to know about:

1. Politico is reporting that U.S. Sen. Rand Paul is proposing a plan that would expand voting rights for some nonviolent ex-cons.

Here’s an excerpt from the story:

“I believe in these issues. But I’m a politician, and we want more votes,” (Paul) conceded in an interview. “Even if Republicans don’t get more votes, we feel like we’ve done the right thing.”

Nearly 8 percent of the black population currently cannot vote, compared with 1.8 percent of the non-black population, according to The Sentencing Project. And incarcerations for nonviolent offenses that lead to a loss of voting rights fall more heavily on African-Americans and Latinos than whites, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

To read the full story, click here.

2. You’ve heard of Rock the Vote, right? The organization launched in 1992 that aims to engage young people in the political process? Well, the organization has undergone a relaunch of sorts. Its new goal? To register 1.5 million voters prior to the 2014 midterm election. The organization also debuted a newly designed website.

The whole story from Rolling Stone can be viewed by clicking here.

3. By this point, you’ve likely heard about legislation introduced last year to amend the Voting Rights Act – one that has been languishing since.

Aljazeera America reports:

In January, (legislators) sponsored a bill that created a new coverage formula for which states would have to submit future voting law changes to the federal government for pre-approval. Under the new criteria, if a state has more than five violations of federal law pertaining to voting rights in the past 15 years, it would have to obtain clearance from the Justice Department to implement new ordinances.

But as the November elections rapidly approach, the House Judiciary Committee has not moved to schedule a hearing or a markup on the legislation, to the dismay of voting rights groups that have been pushing for Section 4 to be reinstated.

 

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