On the heels of North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) signing a bill to massively limit voting rights, two localities changed their polling places & university residency rules.
On Monday, McCrory signed into law a new bill that includes a strict voter ID law, ending same-day voter registration, cutting down the length of early voting and eliminated a program that encourages high school students to register to vote before they turn 18. The law, deemed the "worst voter suppression bill in the nation," specifically targets low-income, minority and college-aged voters – all of which traditionally vote democrat.
Just after McCrory signed the bill, the Republican majority in the Watauga County Board of Elections voted to eliminate the early voting site and election-day polling place at Appalachian State University, one of the largest universities in North Carolina. The board voted to combine three local precincts into one, which will force about 9,300 residents to vote in a building with only 35 parking spots.
The Republican majority in the Pasquotank County Board of Elections also changed their voting residency regulations. They ruled that students who live on college campuses have not established permanent residency, and therefore cannot run for local office. The county's Republican chairman has promised to challenge the residency of other students in Pasquotank County and across the state.
Media Resources: ThinkProgress, 8/13/2013; The News & Observer 8/14/2013; ThinkProgress 8/15/2013
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. . . .