For the Week of 3/30/2018
Democrats in statehouses across the country are fighting to move America forward. In case you missed it, here are some statehouse highlights from this week:
Record numbers of Democrats are filing for state legislative office nationwide. The enthusiasm wave has touched North Carolina and Ohio, where Democrats are running in every single legislative seat on the ballot, and now in Iowa, where a Democrat will be on the ballot in all but eight legislative districts – the highest number since at least 2012. The DLCC has our sights set on Iowa and we have already started laying the groundwork for success in the state. We look forward to working with our Iowa legislators and leaders to grow Democrats’ numbers in both legislative chambers.
Last Saturday’s March For Our Lives protests saw thousands of young Americans (and future voters) take to the streets to demand action nationwide. Protest organizers partnered with nonprofit organization HeadCount to help register voters during the marches and as a result, HeadCount says it had the biggest day of voter registrations in its 15-year history. There are 10 states that have a C+ or worse rating on gun laws where Democrats could flip a chamber this November. In all 50 states, you can register to vote before you are 18. However, in 12 states, you can pre-register as young as 16. By electing more Democrats to state legislatures nationwide, we can ensure students’ voices are heard at the ballot box.
In crucial swing states across the country, state Republicans are trying to nullify court orders they don’t agree with. From trying to impeach State Supreme Court judges to passing legislation to counteract court orders, state Republicans are trying every underhanded tactic to skirt the rules and maintain their power. Since Trump’s election, the DLCC has already flipped 39 legislative seats from red to blue. With at least 1,200 Republicans representing state legislative districts on the ballot in 2018 that are more competitive than the seat Conor Lamb recently won in Pennsylvania, Republicans are right to be worried. We’ve seen how low Republicans are willing to go to attain and keep power, but the DLCC will fight back by electing Democratic representatives that respect and represent our values and institutions.
At least 12 states signaled Tuesday that they would sue to block the Trump administration from adding a question about citizenship to the 2020 census, arguing that the change would cause fewer Americans to be counted and violate the Constitution. Meanwhile, in Illinois and New Jersey, where Democrats lead both state legislative chambers, legislation has been introduced opposing the inclusion of a citizenship question on the 2020 census. Democrats are using their power at the state level to try to influence their congressional delegations to oppose the citizenship question, and to provide state attorneys general and officials with the resources needed to bring the fight to the Trump administration. The DLCC stands against this blatant attempt to undermine the census and prevent our entire population from being counted ahead of critical 2020 redistricting.
If history has anything to say, then the answer is yes. New Jersey lawmakers are considering a package of bills that would make it easier to vote in the Garden State. Reports show that after Oregon Democrats passed similar legislation enacting automatic voter registration, the state saw big hikes in voter turnout among youth and voter registration among communities of color. The evidence points to how automatic voter registration not only increased voter participation, but also voter diversity. The New Jersey Senate will consider legislation enacting automatic voter registration, expand early voting, allowing for online voter registration, and more.
- What’s at play in the 2018 State Legislature Races [New York Magazine]
Of the 99 state legislative chambers in the country, 87 chambers in 46 states will hold elections this November. While 6,066 seats are on the ballot, the DLCC is only 16 seats away from flipping eight chambers from red to blue. The DLCC will continue to partner with state caucuses and legislative leaders to recruit and train strong Democratic candidates to run in legislative districts across the country. We are thrilled by the influx of Democrats stepping up to run; you can check out candidates running in critical races on our Spotlight Races page.
- Walker calls special elections, GOP drops bill to block them [Associated Press]
- Democrats demand investigation into Cambridge Analytica’s role in Colorado election [The Denver Post]
- Maryland lawmakers approve automatic voter registration [The Baltimore Sun]
- Md. Senate approves bill to ban conversion therapy for minors [Washington Blade]
"But a big reality check is in order. Even the strongest blue wave may crash up against a powerful structural force in American politics: extreme gerrymandering."
-- America's Warped Elections, The New York Times
In this opinion piece from the New York Times, Brennan Center for Justice’s senior counsel, Michael Li, and researcher, Laura Royden, breakdown the damage done to our country and democratic system by state Republican’s 2010 gerrymandering. In the past eight years, courts across the country have struck down Republicans’ rigged maps in at least a half a dozen states with some monumental cases (like Wisconsin’s Gil v. Whitford) still pending. The Brennan Center’s recent report on gerrymandering’s effect on the upcoming 2018 midterm elections offers a comprehensive study on how effectively Republican’s extreme gerrymandering has distorted American democracy and silenced thousands of voters. The DLCC is working to elect more Democrats to state legislatures nationwide so Democrats will have a seat at the table when lines are redrawn in 2021. We will continue to fight to restore the democratic principle that voters choose their representatives, not the other way around.
3/30/18: FILING DEADLINE - South Carolina
4/3/18: ELECTION DAY - California HD-39, HD-45, HD-54 Special Elections
4/3/18: ELECTION DAY - Massachusetts HD-02 (Bristol) Special Election
4/3/18: ELECTION DAY - Rhode Island SD-08 Special Election
4/5/18: FILING DEADLINE - Tennessee
4/9/18: FILING DEADLINE - North Dakota
4/10/18: ELECTION DAY - Florida SD-31 Special Election
4/10/18: ELECTION DAY - Iowa SD-25 Special Election
4/13/18: FILING DEADLINE - Oklahoma
4/24/18: FILING DEADLINE - Michigan
4/24/18: ELECTION DAY - New York SD-32, SD-37, AD-05, AD-10, AD-17, AD-39,
AD-74, AD-80, AD-102, AD-107, AD-142 Special Elections