It's primary season in America and that means League volunteers are out in force, registering voters and providing critical ballot information for this important mid-term election year.
Feel like the month of April just flew by? Here's a quick look at some things happening across the country:
Supreme Court Wraps up 2017 Term
The Supreme Court wrapped up its 2017 term last week and will be issuing decisions as we head into the summer months. Here are a few cases we’re watching:
Gill v. Whitford
A partisan gerrymandering case that challenges the state legislative maps drawn by the Wisconsin legislature. In 2010, the majority party in Wisconsin, secretly drew legislative maps that would ensure that their party had control of the legislature for decades to come. Our brief in this case argues that partisan gerrymandering violates the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Benisek v. Lamone
Another partisan gerrymandering case, this time out of Maryland. The League organized a rally outside the Court as arguments were heard. If the Court declares the state’s maps unconstitutional, the decision could impact congressional maps nationwide.
It’s likely a decision in both these partisan redistricting cases will be announced together. And since the Court holds the biggest decisions for last, those decisions will probably come out in June. The decisions in Gill v. Whitford and Benisek v. Lamone could set a standard for determining partisan gerrymandering, something the court has failed to do in the past. This could launch another round of redistricting court challenges around the country and it will most definitely have an impact on how maps are drawn in the next round of redistricting which starts after the 2020 Census.
Husted v. APRI
This case is a challenge to the process that Ohio uses to purge voters from their registration lists. The League’s amicus argues that the Ohio process is illegal, inaccurate and unreasonable under the provisions established in Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act. The decision by the court in this case will change voter purge methods across the country. The wrong decision would open up egregious purging across the country and could make it so thousands if not millions of voters are unable to vote in the 2018 election.
Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky
A challenge to a Minnesota statute that says a “political badge, political button or other political insignia may not be worn at or about the polling place on primary or election day”. We filed an amicus brief arguing the law is designed to safeguard voting rights and should remain. This law is necessary to protect voters from intimidation in polling places. Voters should have a safe, calm place to vote where they are free from outside influence.
A Citizenship Question is Bad for our Census
The Commerce Department is proposing a question that asks the citizenship status on the 2020 Census. This decision is bad for the census, bad for our communities and bad for America.
Every community relies on Census data — from apportioning our national representatives to making decisions about public safety and neighborhood resources — this information impacts every aspect of our lives. A fair and accurate count lets our leaders and businesses make sound investment decisions that keep our communities thriving.
Including a citizenship question on the Census undermines the rights of eligible voters and threatens a process vital to our democracy. There will be a period for public comment and the League is committed to fighting to keep this question our of the final Census questionnaire. Sign our petition urging Congress to act and correct this issue.
Voting is People Power
Leagues across the country are continuing to engage young voters at recent student walkouts, marches, townhalls, and other events surrounding the March for Our Lives movement. We’re so thrilled by the number of stories and photos that have come in showing the passion our volunteers have for this important work.
Interested in the voter registration work that is going on around the country? Check out this article from Hollywood Life where LWV’s Senior Director of Elections spoke about registering young people to vote. Then check out our blog, where we provide some tips for planning a voter registration drive.