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2024 Legislative Sessions Primer: Voting Rights Preview  

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Anti-democratic attacks on our electoral system have been a Republican favorite lately when elections don’t go their way. In fact, Republicans have attacked voting rights on a level we haven’t seen since the Jim Crow era. Voter suppression laws need to be stopped, voting rights restored, and access to the ballot expanded. Democratic legislatures are fully committed to making elections more accessible so every American can vote and make their voice heard.

Here are important things to note as the 2024 legislative sessions begin:

DEMOCRATS’ AGENDA:

Expanding Access to the Ballot

In Michigan, Democrats are expanding voter registration and election safeguards in an effort to overhaul regressive election laws, which previously made it a misdemeanor to pay for a Lyft or Uber to a polling place because the law stated that “a person shall not hire a motor vehicle” to take them to vote unless they could not walk. 

In Wisconsin, Democrats recently introduced a bill to ready young voters by allowing 16 and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote.

Recap: In Minnesota, the Democratic legislature passed a historic election law creating automatic voter registration, the largest voter expansion in the state since it adopted same-day registration five decades ago. 

Restoring Voting Rights

In Virginia, Democrats introduced legislation to restore voting rights to ex-felons. 

REPUBLICANS’ AGENDA: 

Politicizing Election Administration 

In Wisconsin, Republican legislators introduced a bill that would abolish the bipartisan body that supervises elections across the state, the Wisconsin Elections Commission. The GOP proposal would transfer election oversight from the bipartisan commission to Wisconsin’s secretary of state – a partisan position – who would be empowered to influence state elections in consultation with the Republican-controlled legislature. 

Recap: In North Carolina, Republicans enacted election changes over the Democratic governor’s vetoes, giving more power over elections to the Republican-controlled legislature and making new allowances for partisan poll observers.

Suppressing the Youth Vote

In Wisconsin, the GOP-controlled legislature has seized every opportunity to block students from voting.

Recap: In New Hampshire, Republicans pushed legislation to ban college students who pay out-of-state tuition from voting and require colleges to provide the secretary of state with a list of eligible voters.

With legislative sessions beginning next year, it’s important to remember that while Democratic-controlled legislatures are expanding the right to vote and defending our democracy, Republican-controlled legislatures are scheming up ways to throw the election to Donald Trump.

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