Yesterday, the Colorado state legislature approved a bill that will expand voter rights in the state. The bill would provide every voter a mail-in ballot, allow same-day voter registration, create a statewide voter database, and replace assigned precincts with general "voter centers."
The bill which passed in the state Senate with a vote of 20 to 15 and in the state House with a vote 36 to 26, received no votes from Republican lawmakers in either chamber. The bill, called the "Voter Access and Modernized Elections Act," was drafted with help from the bi-partisan Colorado County Clerk Association, which supports it. The Conservatives argued that the bill would allow voter fraud, and a ploy to get more Democratic votes. Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler (R) called the bill a "partisan power play."
State Senator Angela Giron (D-Pueblo) argued in the Senate, "It's a technical bill that was written by the county clerks...They're the ones who know, and they're the ones who are going to be held accountable every day when people come in to register and vote in county elections. I trust that."
Now, the bill will go back to the House to approve minor changes made by the Senate. If the changes are approved, the bill will be sent to Governor John Hickenlooper.
Media Resources: Denver Post 5/2/2013; KDVR 5/2/2013; San Francisco Chronicle 5/2/2013; ThinkProgress 5/2/2013
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .