Dem 51
image description
GOP 49
image description

Democratic-controlled States Are Protecting Voters

See if you can guess which states are trying to make it easier to vote, rather than harder. If you guessed that it was the states where Democrats have a new trifecta, you got it partly right. Now that Michigan and Maryland have Democratic trifectas, they are busy expanding voting rights. But there are other states as well, including Connecticut, Minnesota, New Jersey and New Mexico, that are actively in the process of expanding voting rights.

The states are implementing a variety of new measures. They include prohibiting local governments from changing voting procedures, banning methods used for voter suppression and intimidation, mandating the printing of ballots in more languages, increasing protections for voters with disabilities, making it easier for former felons to vote, and ordering state judges to prioritize election-related challenges.

Different states have different ideas about how to do some of these things. For example, the bill in Maryland mirrors the federal Voting Rights Act, major parts of which were struck down by the Supreme Court. Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) wants to prohibit all firearms in and near polling places. A proposal in New Mexico would make it a felony to intimidate an election official. Connecticut legislators are working to provide assistance for speakers of Asian and Native American languages for languages spoken by at least 2% of the voters. Legislators in Minnesota are working on a bill to automatically restore voting rights to felons when they are released from prison. It would also allow 16- and 17-year-olds to preregister so they could vote as soon as they hit 18.

Naturally, few, if any, Republican-controlled states are trying to make it easier to vote, and many of them are trying to make it harder to vote. (V)

This item appeared on Read it Monday through Friday for political and election news, Saturday for answers to reader's questions, and Sunday for letters from readers.                     State polls                     All Senate candidates