Politics & leadership

NH Officials Reject White House Voter Fraud Claims | 02-17-2017

On ABC’s “This Week” earlier this month, White House Senior Policy Adviser Stephen Miller doubled down on the unsubstantiated claim President Donald Trump made during a private meeting with members of Congress that “thousands”...

NE Legislature Looking A Lot Like Congress This Year | 02-17-2017

Gridlock and partisan bickering have come to be expected of Congress, after years of little else, but those characteristics are a bit more surprising to see in a state legislature with a single, nonpartisan chamber and a pragmatic approach to lawmaking...

Politics In Brief - February 20 2017 | 02-17-2017

MD AG Given Power to Sue Without Gov’s Approval Democratic state lawmakers in MARYLAND gave Old Line State attorney general Brian E. Frosh broad authority to bypass Gov. Larry Hogan (R) to sue the federal government, an unprecedented expansion...

AZ Republicans Take Aim At Initiative Process | 02-10-2017

Republicans who control Arizona’s Legislature are planning to consider several bills this session dealing with the state’s initiative process. One would set higher standards for supporters of initiatives and those who collect signatures to...

GOP Lawmakers Seek Sole Power To Legislate In ND | 02-10-2017

Currently North Dakota’s executive and judicial branches can directly introduce bills in the state’s legislature, the Legislative Assembly. But a bill sponsored by North Dakota Rep. Nathan Toman (R) and several other Republican lawmakers of...

AR Lawmakers Backing Tort Reform | 02-10-2017

Last year supporters of limiting attorneys’ fees in medical lawsuits gathered enough signatures to qualify an initiative for the state’s November ballot. But the measure was blocked by the state’s Supreme Court over issues with the canvassing...

Politics In Brief - February 13 2017 | 02-10-2017

MO Enacts Right-to-Work Law MISSOURI Gov. Eric Greitens (R) signed legislation swiftly passed by the state’s Republican-controlled General Assembly making it the 28th right-to-work state. Supporters say the law, barring unions from making workers...

State Lawmakers Defying Will Of Voters | 02-03-2017

In November South Dakota voters approved a ballot measure revising the state’s campaign finance and lobbying laws to create a public campaign financing program, limit campaign donations, create an independent ethics commission and ban gifts from...

MN, VA Republicans Propose GOP-Friendly Electoral College Reforms | 02-03-2017

After Donald Trump clinched last year’s presidential race while losing the national popular vote to Hillary Clinton by nearly 2.9 million votes , there was a clamor, mainly from Democrats, to do away with the Electoral College . But Republican lawmakers...

Politics In Brief - February 6 2017 | 02-03-2017

AR Revives Voter ID Law ARKANSAS’ Republican-controlled House approved a voter ID bill last week ( HB 1047 ) that is nearly identical to a voter ID law unanimously struck down by the state’s Supreme Court in 2014. Four of the justices in...

Democrats Shift Focus To States | 01-20-2017

With Republicans emerging from last year’s election in control of the U.S. House, the U.S. Senate and the White House, and congressional redistricting approaching in 2020, Democrats are planning to mount a major effort in state legislative races...

MO Supreme Court Clears $15 Min Wage Measure For KC Ballot | 01-20-2017

In 2015 a grass-roots group gathered enough signatures for a public vote on raising Kansas City’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2020. But Judge Justine Del Muro of the 16th Circuit Court in Jackson County blocked the proposal from going on the...

Politics In Brief - January 23 2017 | 01-20-2017

Thousands of Ballots Tossed in KS Thousands of provisional ballots cast in KANSAS in November were thrown out by election officials because no registration could be found for the voters who cast them. But some local election officials are concerned...

New GOP Majorities Push Dem-Unfriendly Agenda: | 01-13-2017

Republicans won control of a few more governors’ offices and state legislative chambers in November, giving them command of both branches of the government in states where Democrats had previously maintained footholds, including Iowa, Kentucky,...

Supreme Court Puts NC Special Election on Hold: | 01-13-2017

The U.S. Supreme Court put on hold a court-ordered legislative redistricting and special election in North Carolina while it considers an appeal from Republican lawmakers in the state to keep the current districts in place through at least 2018. ...

Politics in Brief -January 16 2017 | 01-13-2017

VA Senate Remains in GOP Control: Republicans maintained control of the VIRGINIA Senate after special elections last week to replace two members elected to Congress in November. Democrat Jennifer L. McClellan defeated Libertarian Corey Maurice Fauconier...

VA Voter ID Law Upheld by Federal Appeals Court | 12-16-2016

Last week a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously upheld a voter ID law passed by Virginia’s Republican-controlled General Assembly in 2013, rejecting a challenge from Democrats that the law suppressed minority voting...

GA Voter Registration Database Targeted by DHS? | 12-16-2016

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R) sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson this month saying the state had discovered an unsuccessful effort to breach computer systems housing its voter registration database by an...

OK Dem Wants to Eliminate Straight-Party Voting | 12-16-2016

Oklahoma Sen. J.J. Dossett (D) has filed a bill ( SB 9 ) that would do away with straight-party voting in the state. “I think it is unnecessary to have the straight-party option,” he said. “I think it is something that might have...

Politics In Brief - December 19 2016 | 12-16-2016

Lobbyist Spending Down in MA Lobbyist spending last year in MISSOURI - which totaled about $690,000 - was down by more than $200,000 from any other year on record, and spending has continued to fall this year, according to analysis of Missouri Ethics...

CA Dems Pick Fight With Trump on Immigration | 12-09-2016

gaveling in a new session last week, Democrats who hold a two-thirds majority in both chambers of the California Legislature drew a line at the state’s border in defiance of President-elect Donald Trump’s proposed immigration policies. The...

Supreme Court Weighing Race Challenges to NC and VA Remaps | 12-09-2016

Last year the U.S. Supreme Court, on a 5-4 vote, struck down a GOP-backed legislative redistricting plan in Alabama that critics say packed black voters into districts in a way that reduced their voting power. Last week the now shorthanded court took...

Politics in Brief - December 12 2016 | 12-09-2016

CO Ballot Measure Raises Bar for Future Initiatives Last month COLORADO voters approved Amendment 71 , raising the bar for passage of constitutional amendments from a simple majority to a vote of at least 55 percent, and requiring signatures from 2...

What Will Trump Presidency Mean For Nation’s Voting Laws? | 12-02-2016

Over 30 mostly Republican-controlled states have passed voting restrictions - including strict voter ID requirements and scaled back early voting periods - in recent years. And although President-elect Donald Trump hasn’t announced any formal plans...

Results Of Nation’s 1st Auto Voter Registration Test Mixed | 12-02-2016

More than 230,000 Oregonians have automatically registered to vote since their state became the first to adopt an automatic voter registration system last year. The automatic registration of those who visited a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office...

ME Will Be First State To Try Ranked Voting | 12-02-2016

Last month Maine voters approved Question 5 , making their state the first to adopt ranked-choice voting. Under that system, instead of voting for just one candidate, voters rank the candidates from first choice to last. If no candidate receives a majority...

Politics In Brief - December 5 2016 | 12-02-2016

WI Remap Struck Down A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit struck down WISCONSIN’s legislative district map last month as illegally partisan. Because the case involves a state redistricting plan, it will now go...

GOP To Have Freer Rein In WI | 11-18-2016

Republicans have controlled the Wisconsin Legislature for the last six years straight, but next year they’ll be more dominant than at any time in the last few decades. It looks as though this month’s election will leave them with a 20-12 majority...

AK Embraces Automatic Voter Registration | 11-18-2016

On the same day that Alaska voters backed Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, they also approved an initiative calling for progressive election reform. The passage of Ballot Measure 1 means that voting-age residents of the state will now automatically...

Politics In Brief - November 21 2016 | 11-18-2016

Western States Ponder Secession Days after the election of Donald Trump as president, two Oregonians submitted a petition for a 2018 ballot initiative providing for OREGON’s secession from the United States. A number of Californians have voiced...

Only The Usual Disruptions On Election Day | 11-11-2016

Election Day didn’t come off entirely without a hitch last week. Among the more consequential occurrences was the breakdown of a computerized voter registration system in some precincts of Durham County, North Carolina, causing long lines in some...

NJ Takes Over Atlantic City | 11-11-2016

A week after deeming Atlantic City’s proposed five-year turnaround plan insufficient to return the struggling resort city to financial stability, the state of New Jersey took over control of the city’s main governmental functions. The state...

Politics In Brief - November 14 2016 | 11-11-2016

HI Senate to be Controlled Exclusively by Dems HAWAII’s sole Senate Republican Sam Slom was defeated by Democrat Stanley Chang on Nov. 8. As a result, the state’s 25-member Senate will become the nation’s first single-party chamber...

Outside Interests Pour Money Into State Judicial Races | 11-04-2016

More than $14 million has been spent on state Supreme Court races this election cycle by individuals and groups acting independently of the candidates, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. That total has already surpassed the record $13.5 million...

CA Cities, Counties Ban Pot Sales Ahead Of Legalization Vote | 11-04-2016

San Jose, California’s third-largest city by population, and dozens of other cities and counties across the state, have banned sales of marijuana ahead of a Nov. 8 vote on whether to legalize pot for recreational use. If passed - which appears likely...

States Reject Russian Request To Monitor Election | 11-04-2016

Back in September Alexander K. Zakharov, the Russian consul general in Houston, wrote letters to officials in Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas, requesting permission to monitor polling locations in those states on Nov. 8 “for a short period of time...

Obama Taking Active Role In Statehouse Races | 11-04-2016

During President Obama’s time in office, over 800 Democratic state legislators have lost their seats to Republicans, which is reportedly one of the Democratic Party’s worst records under any president in over a century. But due in part to...

Politics In Brief - November 7 2016 | 11-04-2016

Atlantic City Recovery Plan Rejected by State The state of NEW JERSEY has rejected Atlantic City’s recovery plan, setting up a possible takeover of that city by the state. New Jersey Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Charles Richman...

Purged OH Voters Can Vote In November | 10-21-2016

Ohio voters who were removed from the state’s voter rolls due to inactivity will be allowed to vote in the November general election by provisional ballot, according to a U.S. District Court ruling last week. That decision comes a little less than...

Gambling Ballot Measure Disqualified In AR | 10-21-2016

Arkansas’ Supreme Court has disqualified a measure aimed at legalizing casinos in Boone, Miller and Washington counties from the state’s November ballot and ordered election officials not to count any votes cast for the measure ( Issue 5 ...

Politics In Brief - October 24 2016 | 10-21-2016

VA Voter Registration System Slowed to Crawl by ‘Unprecedented Activity’ VIRGINIA’s online voter registration system slowed down last Monday - the last day to register to vote in time for the Nov. 8 election - to the point of being...

Renewable Energy Company Offers VT Voters Cash | 10-14-2016

On Nov. 8, voters in Grafton and Windham, Vermont will consider whether to approve a wind project that would install two dozen 500-foot-tall turbines capable of generating enough power to light 42,000 homes for a year on a tract of private forestland...

Judge Criticizes State Over Voter ID Confusion | 10-14-2016

A federal judge who has been weighing a challenge to Wisconsin’s Voter ID law harshly criticized state officials at a hearing last week for failing to provide DMV workers adequate training about the proper procedures for obtaining alternative voting...

Politics In Brief - October 17 2016 | 10-14-2016

Effort to Reverse Gun Control Laws Fails in CA An effort to qualify referendums for the November 2018 ballot on six gun control laws passed in CALIFORNIA this year has failed. Organizers only managed to collect an average of about 166,000 signatures...

Voting Machines In Some States Susceptible To Hacking | 10-07-2016

As the Cap J reported last week President Obama’s homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco said last month that it would be difficult for hackers to actually change the outcome of a national election because U.S. election systems generally aren’t...

Judge Orders Investigation Of WI Voter ID Procedures | 10-07-2016

A federal judge has ordered the state of Wisconsin to investigate reports that employees of the Department of Motor Vehicles have been misleading people trying to obtain state-issued identification to vote. U.S. Western District Judge James Peterson issued...

Politics In Brief - October 10 2016 | 10-07-2016

Federal Appeals Court Blocks KS Voter Registration Requirement The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit has upheld an order blocking KANSAS Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) from requiring voters to show proof of citizenship when registering...

‘Motor Voter’ Could Have Big Impact On Elections | 09-30-2016

Voter ID laws have drawn a lot of attention in recent years, but “motor voter” laws could have a much bigger impact on elections, given that at least 35 million eligible voters are not registered. “Registration is one of the biggest...

Hard For Hackers To Change Outcome Of Election | 09-30-2016

Amid growing concern about the prospect of hackers breaching America’s voting systems, President Obama’s homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco said at a Justice Department event last month that it would be difficult for hackers to actually...

MI Blocks Flint’s Power To Sue Over Water Crisis | 09-30-2016

Back on March 24, Flint, Michigan mayor Karen Weaver served notice that the city might file a lawsuit against the state over the lead contamination of the city’s water supply. Weaver and other city officials reportedly had no immediate plans to...