This Week in 200 Words

In national news, many Native Americans living on reservations do not have a traditional address, making voter registration difficult. The U.S. Supreme Court threw out a challenge to its newly drawn congressional maps. Voting machines are more vulnerable than previously believed. Black Lives Matter is launching an initiative to improve voter turnout in 2020.

In state updates, a year after Florida restored previously incarcerated individual’s right to vote many still are ineligible. Illinois has taken steps to improve its election security before 2020. The effect of money in the Michigan political system continues to grow. Native American leaders have been fighting against discriminative proposed Voting ID laws in Arizona. Parolees in Louisiana have their voting rights restored.

National News

The Salt Lake Tribune: For some Native Americans, no home address might mean no voting

At the end of a labyrinth of red dirt roads and surrounded by the rusty cliffs of nearby mesas, Marthleen and Shuan Stephenson live on an isolated desert homestead on the sprawling Navajo Nation.

Until last month, you couldn’t find their home using a traditional address. Instead, the directions went like this: “Turn off U.S. Highway 191 between mile markers 1 and 2. It’s a blue house with a tan roof.”

The couple felt like they were living in the dark, separated from modern times.

Reuters: U.S. Supreme Court tosses challenge to Republican-drawn Ohio congressional maps

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday threw out a challenge to Republican-drawn congressional districts in Ohio that Democrats said were drawn to unlawfully diminish their political clout, a move that follows a major ruling by the justices in June that foreclosed such lawsuits.

The court’s action in the case involving a practice known as partisan gerrymandering means that 16 U.S. House of Representatives districts will no longer be reconfigured, as a three-judge panel had ordered in May.

The Hill: Voting Machines Pose A Greater Threat to Our Elections Than Foreign Agents

As the election security conversation widens beyond Russia, to include countries like Iran and China, it’s important to examine how security flaws in our country’s voting equipment increase the vulnerability of our elections.

In 2010 a university cyber team conducted a test attack on an internet voting pilot project in Washington, D.C. The team successfully picked the winner of the election remotely from its Michigan lab. Writing about the attack, computer science professor J. Alex Halderman said, “Within 36 hours of the system going live, our team had … the ability to change votes.”

Atlanta Daily World: Black Lives Matter launches nationwide voter registration initiative for 2020

Every vote counts and Elections have consequences!

The 2020 presidential elections will definitely have consequences and it will be important that every vote is counted and accounted for.

Everyone and everything in this country is impacted by someone in a position of political leadership who shapes public policy and who makes decisions regarding the very legislation that we must all adhere to, in one way or another.  This includes city councilmembers, mayors, governors, judges, county, state and federal representatives, and even our President.

WhoWhatWhy: Voter Suppression in Indian Country: ‘A Little Bit Insulting’

Native American voters could tip the scales in several key races across the country next year, but as Democratic presidential hopefuls work to increase turnout in Indian Country, Republican-led state legislatures have passed measures to suppress those votes.

In states such as Arizona, Wisconsin, and North Carolina, a higher turnout among Native American voters could help Democratic candidates — but restrictions placed on reservation communities could significantly lower turnout. The far-reaching consequences of more discriminatory voting laws have indirectly, and in some cases directly, suppressed the electoral power of reservation communities.

The Fulcrum: Missouri’s voter ID law challenged as unfair, defended as badly written

Is a central piece of the Missouri voter identification law in line with the state’s constitution? The Missouri Supreme Court is on course to deciding.

The provision at issue permits those who arrive at the polls without a photo ID to substitute another form of identification, like a utility bill, and then sign an affidavit saying they are who they purport to be — under penalty of perjury.

The justices heard arguments last week on a challenge brought by Priorities USA, a Democratic-aligned voting rights group, which says the language on the affidavit is so vague and confusing that it results in a form of unconstitutional voter suppression. A lower court agreed.

Nola: Convicted felons out of prison on parole, probation now allowed to vote in Louisiana, but not all do

Bruce Reilly, 46, cast his first Louisiana ballot on Saturday, thanks to legislation that he helped to craft, which was passed by the Legislature last year and signed into law as Act 636.

Because Reilly is on probation, he was barred from voting until the law took effect on March 1.

Unlike some other states, Louisiana does not disenfranchise all convicted felons. But until March, state law did not allow them to vote if they were “on paper” — serving either probation or parole.

State Updates

Florida-Reuters: Restoring felon voting rights a ‘mess’ in battleground Florida

Clifford Tyson wants to help choose America’s next president. But the Florida resident fears his vote might return him to jail.

Tyson, 63, owes court-ordered fines and fees for three felony convictions, one for robbery, two for theft, all decades old. Under a Florida law that went into effect July 1, he must pay those penalties before casting a ballot or risk being prosecuted for voter fraud.

Illinois-The Daily Northwestern: Illinois improves election security for 2020 election

Following widespread foreign interference in the 2016 election, cities and counties across the United States — including Cook County — are actively working toward preventing election security breaches in preparation for the 2020 presidential election.

According to the Senate Intelligence Committee, Russian actors compromised the personal information of 76,000 Illinois voters in 2016. Still, the Illinois State Board of Elections found no data was “added, changed, or deleted” in the voter registration system, according to a press release on Aug. 31, 2016. Vote counting, which is a separate process during an election, was not affected. Still, this incident brought election security to the forefront of the political conversation.

Michigan-The Blade: Money in Michigan politics has crossed the line

Money, as the saying goes, is the mothers’ milk of politics. That’s always been the case. But in recent years, spending in Michigan campaigns has gone berserk. And sadly, there’s no easy way to track much of it, to see who may be influencing whom.

But one lonely reporter is working full-time to bring the facts to any citizen who cares to know. Craig Mauger is the executive director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to getting out the truth about money in politics.

Arizona-Fronteras Desk: Native American Leaders Push Against Arizona Voting ID Proposal

On Tuesday, U.S. representatives held a field hearing on voting access in Arizona. This is one of several remote hearings the House Subcommittee on Elections has held in the wake of changes in regulations under the Voting Rights Act. Previously, states with a history of voting discrimination had to approve changes to voting regulations with the Department of Justice, and Arizona was one of those states.

“Voting by mail is one of the many options available in Arizona,” State Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita said at the hearing. “It is easy and convenient to vote in the state of Arizona. If you are not voting, it is because you have chose not to.”