Category Archives: referendum

“The next voting rights battleground is Michigan”


Michigan Republicans want to pass a blitz of legislation that restricts the right to vote in the key battleground state — and they have an audacious plan to get their ideas enacted, even though they have to contend with a Democratic governor who could ordinarily veto their bills….

[E]arly this month, the state’s Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R) announced that Republicans plan to invoke a process that could allow them to bypass the governor’s veto and pass a package of “half a dozen” election-related bills. Under the state constitution, a relatively small group of voters can propose legislation through a petition and then this legislation can be enacted by the state legislature. Using this process, the GOP-controlled legislature could enact this package by a simple majority vote in both houses, and Whitmer would be powerless to veto it — although Democrats could potentially force a voter referendum on the GOP package.

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“A question to repeal national popular vote compact in Colorado is poised for 2020 ballot”

Advocates say they’ve got the signatures.

An extra note of significance:

If certified for the ballot, it would be the first time since The Great Depression that Colorado voters would decide whether to repeal or reaffirm a law approved by the General Assembly and signed by the governor. In 1932, voters repealed a law that increased the tax on oleomargarine.

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Census Bureau Gears Up to Provide Citizenship Data to States, Which Could Be Used to Draw District Lines after 2020

Evenwel v. Abbott left open the constitutional question about whether states or localities could draw districts containing equal numbers of voters.

 Now, as expected, if the citizenship question remains on the next census, some states or localities could try to draw lines in this way, which would have profound effects on representation in some places.

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“Ohio Voters Pass Gerrymandering Reform Measure”


Ohio voters approved a ballot measure on Tuesday that changes the congressional mapmaking process, a move proponents say will rein in excessive partisan gerrymandering.

By passing the ballot measure, called Issue 1, Ohioans amended their state Constitution to create four different pathways to draw congressional districts. The new process will go into effect in 2021, when the next round of redistricting takes place.

The complex process still leaves redistricting primarily in the hands of lawmakers, but it also builds in significant safeguards intended to prevent one party from shutting the other out of the process and drawing a severely unfair map….

However, some in the state were uncomfortable with the recently passed ballot proposal, saying it would still allow lawmakers complete control of the redistricting process. The Ohio chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, for example, did not take a position on the ballot measure, and its senior policy director expressed concern the process would encourage deals that are advantageous to politicians but not in the best interests of their constituents.

The ACLU worries that the minority party can still be coerced into agreeing to a map that egregiously benefits the party in power, despite this complex process.

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“Redistricting Petitioners in Maryland in Final Push for Names”

If this petition drive succeeds, it would put Maryland’s congressional map up for referendum.  The only other such referendum over new redistricting lines that I’m aware of is the referendum over California’s state Senate lines (there was an earlier drive to put Ohio’s new lines to a referendum, since abandoned).  Anyone else know of any others?

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News and Commentary on Knox v. SEIU

NPRLA Times, and MSNBC report on yesterday’s decision holding that a public-sector union violated the First Amendment by imposing a special assessment for referendum-related expenses without consent.  Heritage praises the decision here, Think Progress criticizes it here.

Update:  Ben Sachs offers his thoughts on the decision here, arguing that it could post an “existential threat to public sector unions.”

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