Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Play

A lawsuit over the funding of Pennsylvania schools is in the hands of a judge, California launches a student loan debt challenge, and texts show former President Trump seeking donations after the FBI raid.

Play

Republicans rally around former President Trump after the FBI searches his home for missing archive documents, President Biden formalizes U.S. support for Finland and Sweden joining NATO, and the FDA expands authorization of the monkeypox vaccine.

Play

People in five rural Kentucky counties are fighting their way back after catastrophic flooding, efforts to preserve Oklahoma's historic buildings in small communities are running up against funding challenges, and more factory-built manufactured homes could help solve the nation's housing shortage.

MA Groups to Lawmakers: Keep Election-Day Voter Registration in VOTES Act

Play

Monday, April 25, 2022   

Massachusetts lawmakers are finalizing the VOTES Act, a bill aimed at increasing access to the ballot box. It includes mail-in voting and extended early voting, which were put in place just for 2020 and helped break turnout records.

The state House and Senate have passed two versions of the bill, which are now in conference committee for reconciliation.

Geoff Foster, executive director of Common Cause Massachusetts, said the key difference is same-day voter registration. The Senate bill includes it but the House one does not. Foster reported groups are now pushing for a compromise.

"What the Senate passed would allow for folks to both register and vote on Election Day or early-voting days," Foster explained. "We're asking for a compromise of Election-day registration, which is a little bit different. Election-Day registration would just be for Election Day. "

Foster noted 21 other states plus the District of Columbia allow eligible voters to register on Election Day, which has proved to increase voter turnout. He pointed to research showing turnout among Black and Latino voters in states with same-day registration is up to 17% higher.

Foster pointed out voters sometimes change addresses and forget to update their registration, or there is an error they missed or do not know about. Under current law, they get turned away at the polls. And he added 65% of Massachusetts voters in a recent survey supported the policy.

"This is a moment where we're looking at how to make democracy as strong as possible in the wake of all these attacks on our democracy," Foster asserted. "To leave Election-Day registration out of the VOTES Act would be really unfortunate."

Kareem Kibodya, senior policy co-lead for the Black Economic Council of Massachusetts, noted Black and brown voters across the nation have longer average wait times to vote, and are more likely to have to call out of work because of it, which he noted affects individuals and the business community. He argued the VOTES Act would increase access for everyone.

"This is something that affects especially Black and brown voters, but it's also something that affects new voters as well," Kibodya contended. "Whether that's people that have just turned 18, or trying to vote for the first time, or people that have sat on the sidelines for most of their lives and are motivated to become active voters."

The bill would also make jail-based voting easier, for people who are incarcerated for non-felony convictions or pretrial and thus eligible to vote. It would make efficiency improvements to automatic voter registration, and also enroll Massachusetts in a voter roll-monitoring program.


get more stories like this via email
A shortage of affordable housing is seen as one reason for a spike in eviction cases in Virginia. According to the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, the state needs 153,415 affordable rentals for people who are extremely low-income. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

With Virginia's Rent Relief Program ending, a flood of eviction cases has emerged. Established during the pandemic, the program was designed to help …


Environment

As Congress debates a bill to fund climate-change solutions, Pima Community College is doing its own work to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and …

Social Issues

In the first six months of this year, the U.S. saw a significant jump in foreclosure filings, coinciding with concerns about the pressure inflation …


The Federal Trade Commission warns that scammers often pretend to be from the Social Security Administration and ask to "verify people's taxpayer ID" numbers in an effort to steal their identity. (Stockphotopro/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Last year, Americans reported losing a record-breaking $5.8 billion to scams, and now, the State of California and AARP are teaming up to try to …

Social Issues

The state has just launched the California Student Loan Debt Challenge, to let public service employees - like teachers, law enforcement, nurses…

People can wait up to three years to get into affordable housing in Spokane, Wash. (Zach/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Washingtonians are feeling the squeeze from high housing prices, but a novel concept launching in Spokane could speed up the creation of affordable …

Social Issues

More officials from South Dakota's health care community are speaking out in support of Medicaid expansion. Voters will decide this fall whether to …

Social Issues

After eight years, the Pennsylvania school-funding lawsuit is in the hands of the judge, creating a waiting game heading into the new school year…

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021