League of Women Voters in Kansas and nonprofits halt voter registration drives to avoid being jailed under new law
For more details on the story, including response, see this article in the Kansas Reflector newspaper on July 1, 2021.
The League of Women Voters of Kansas and other nonprofits are suspending voter registration drives for fear of criminal prosecution under a new state law. The groups filed a lawsuit over new election-related restrictions enacted by the Legislature this session, and a judge has yet to act on a request for a temporary injunction to block enforcement of the laws until the case is resolved. One of the provisions makes it a crime to engage in activity that “gives the appearance of being an election official.”
Without clarity from the court, the organizations argue in court filings, there is a “serious risk” that someone will mistake people who are knowledgeable about voter registration as election officials.
Jacqueline Lightcap, co-president of the League of Women Voters of Kansas, says she has asked the organization’s nine local leaders to temporarily suspend their voter education and registration efforts.
“It’s very disheartening,” Lightcap said. “We’re not happy about it. We’re not pleased. We don’t want to do it. But at the same time, it needs to be known that this is not a good law.”
The League of Women Voters Kansas, Loud Light, Kansas Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, and the Topeka Independent Living Resource Center filed a lawsuit June 1 in Shawnee County District Court challenging the constitutionality of the two bills. The groups on June 17 asked Judge Teresa Watson to issue a temporary injunction before the laws went into effect, but the judge has yet to rule on the request.
Text adapted from https://www.cbsnews.com/news/john-lewis-voting-rights-advancement-act-bill-passes-house/
The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act passed the House on Tuesday, with the 219-212 vote going along party lines. All Republican House members voted against the bill.
The bill, named after the late Georgia representative, would restore a provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that was gutted by the Supreme Court. It would require certain jurisdictions with a history of racial discrimination in voting to receive approval, known as preclearance, from the Justice Department before making changes to their voting rules.
The bill, also known as H.R. 4, now heads to the Senate, where it faces stiff GOP resistance.
Source: Capital News Illinois, printed in the Pantagraph.
Lawmakers will head back to the Capitol on Tuesday, August 31, to consider changes to the legislative maps that Governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law earlier this year.
Those maps – which set the new boundaries for the 118 state House and 59 state Senate districts for the next decade – were passed based on survey data in May, as the full U.S. Census block-level numbers were not made available until Aug. 12. The release of that data, however, appears to show population deviations far exceeding the 10% threshold allowed under Supreme Court precedent, so some changes are necessary to put the maps in compliance.
For more information, see the original Pantagraph news story.
Additional Option for Voting by Mail Announced by Champaign County Clerk: Continuing Vote by Mail List
This announcement was adapated from an email sent by County Clerk Aaron Ammons on 8/20/2021.
Ilinois registered voters will soon have a second option if they want to vote by mail. In addition to the current option of requesting a mail ballot each time there is an election, Public Act 102-0015 of 2021 created a permanent, also called "continuing," vote by mail list. Those who sign up once will receive a mail ballot for all elections, primary and general. Click here to see the complete County Clerk's announcement and to sign up to receive continuing updates about this new option for voting.
lllinois lawmakers passed an Omnibus Election bill this spring which was signed into law by Governor Pritzker on June 17. Public Act 102-0015 makes major changes to the state's election code to strengthen cybersecurity measures, cope with delays to 2020 U.S. Census data, and further expand access to the ballot box for Illinoisans across the state.
Illinois Extension's Local Government Education program hosted this recent one-hour webinar, which featured a summary of key portions of the new law (see the slides). It also featured four county clerks, who shared their takes on what the changes will mean administratively and for voters. A recording is available at https://youtu.be/vnHvtEi40cw, and slides may be accessed at https://uofi.box.com/s/eg1jnjn0cflz4a0m6xqlevhrylaba3sv.
Source: Bend the Arc newsletter. The webinar is sponsored by the Secure Elections Network.
Join the Brennan Center for Justice’s Turquoise Baker on August 15 at 6:00 pm for a webinar discussing the current raft of verbal, physical, and legislative attacks on election officials and how these attacks may affect upcoming elections.
From Alaska to Arizona, election officials, including volunteer election judges, have endured everything from doxxing to fistfights from voters who think that election results they don’t like are fraudulent. The official and unofficial intimidation has become so severe that, according to a recent survey, more than one in six election officials plan to retire before the 2024 election (https://bit.ly/2X9YgeT).
The webinar on this danger to future elections is sponsored by the Secure Election Network. Sign-up is at https://bit.ly/3xvmEUK.
Related content - report, fact sheet and audio recording) can be found on the Brennan Center's website: https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/policy-solutions/election-officials-under-attack
The following is adapted from this WAND-TV storyt on the search for a new Police Chief for the City of Champaign. Also see this announcement from the City of Champaign.
The public is invited to attend community meetings where they can give their thoughts on the important priorities, professional qualities and leadership the city should look for, which a successful candidate needs to have to best serve community needs.
Public comment schedule:
Responses must be received by August 20.