Three States Pass Sweeping Voting Rights Expansions
November 8, 2018
WASHINGTON — Voting rights activists are celebrating after voters in three states approved sweeping election reforms in this week’s midterm elections.
Voters in Florida, Michigan and Nevada all passed major reforms to their states’ election systems, which will make voting easier and extend ballot access to millions of new voters.
Florida’s Amendment 4, approved by 64 percent of voters, will restore voting rights to more than 1 million residents convicted of certain felonies. About 10 percent of Florida adults will be newly eligible to vote, of which a disproportionate number are African-Americans.
Meanwhile, Nevada and Michigan both passed automatic voter registration measures Tuesday, meaning residents in future elections will be added to voting rolls when they obtain or renew a driver’s license or conduct other business with the state, unless they opt out.
In Michigan, automatic voter registration passed as part of a broader package of reforms intended to make voting easier, including allowing residents to register on the day of an election, request absentee ballots without giving a reason and vote a straight-party ticket.
“Millions of Americans exercised their right to vote in this election. In key battleground states, that right was also expanded so that 2 million additional voters will be able to be cast their ballots in Florida, Michigan, and Nevada in 2020,” Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement. “These reforms enacted by these ballot referenda will have impacts for elections to come.”
The successful Florida referendum is a bright spot for Democrats after the narrow defeat of gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum and apparent unseating of incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson. The former spoke out in support of the measure during his campaign, while Republican Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis said it was “wrong to automatically restore rights to felons who’ve committed serious crimes.”
“Millions of people in the state of Florida have voted to end racism, end Jim Crow in Florida and re-enfranchise millions of people in the state,” ACLU of Florida Executive Director Howard Simon said Tuesday night in a statement to supporters.
Nevada also passed another ballot initiative targeting partisan gerrymandering. The measure will take redistricting out of the hands of the state’s Legislature and instead task an independent commission with redrawing the boundaries of congressional districts.
©2018 CQ-Roll Call, Inc., All Rights Reserved
Visit CQ Roll Call at www.rollcall.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
In The News
In The News
Gil Cisneros defeated Republican Young Kim on Saturday in the last of Orange County’s undecided House races, giving Democrats a clean sweep of the state’s six most fiercely fought congressional contests and marking an... Read More
Georgia’s top election official certified the state’s vote count Saturday, confirming Republican Brian Kemp’s victory in the race for governor against Democrat Stacey Abrams. Kemp led Abrams by 54,723 votes, a 1.4 percentage... Read More
Before there was a spark, there was the wind. On the morning of Nov. 8, as the sun rose over the isolated mountains in the Sierra Nevada, gale-force winds tore through the canyon. A fire outpost on the Feather River... Read More
President Donald Trump said Saturday that he will turn in written answers to questions from special counsel Robert Mueller next week. Trump was speaking as he left the White House for a trip to California. When asked if he... Read More
A key witness at the trial of accused Mexican drug lord Joaquin (El Chapo) Guzman will testify that he paid $6 million in bribes to the country’s current president, lawyers said in Brooklyn Federal Court. Jesus Reynaldo (Ray)... Read More
Hats have been banned from the House chamber of the Capitol for nearly two centuries — 181 years, to be exact. Under a new proposal from Democrats, the rule would be relaxed to allow religious headwear, like a hijab or kippah. Read More