UPDATE: Massachusetts working toward positive electoral reforms

UPDATE: While H 4139 has not moved since it got to the Senate, there is some good news on another front: a short-term agreement has been reached in a lawsuit alleging that Massachusetts violated the National Voter Registration Act. 478,000 public assistance recipients will now receive voter registration forms. Should the state and plaintiffs fail to reach a long-term solution, litigation will resume on December 31, 2012.

UPDATE: Restrictive voter ID laws may impact trans people

Update: On August 15, the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) will release two new resources to help transgender Americans overcome barriers to voting. Voting While Trans: Preparing for the New Voter Suppression Laws will focus on ID requirements. Voting While Trans Check List will educate poll workers and election officials on the voting rights of transgender people. You can sign up here to be among the first to get these resources. NCTE encourages everyone to distribute them among LGBT friends and allies.

Next Up: Leash Laws for Unicorns

The Right’s so-called fight against voter fraud got a bit of airtime on The Daily Show this week, but that doesn’t mean the nationwide attack on voting rights is a laughing matter.

Registration restrictions blocked in Texas

In a ruling last week hailed by voting rights advocates, US District Judge Gregg Costa temporarily enjoined Texas Election Code provisions restricting voter registration, including those implemented by HB 2194, which has ALEC ties in author Larry Taylor and sponsor Mike Jackson.

Citing the Federalist Papers, Judge Costa wrote:

New guidelines hit the free speech bullseye but miss the mark on bullying prevention

On May 22, a coalition led by the American Jewish Committee and the Religious Freedom Project/First Amendment Center released Harassment, Bullying, and Free Expression: Guidelines for Free and Safe Public Schools. While we welcome the opportunity to keep the anti-bullying conversation going, this particular entrée has a problem.

It concludes:

Keeping an eye on Kansas

With Kansas set for its August 7 primary, voting rights supporters are waiting with bated breath to see how severe the suppressive effects of voter ID (sponsored by Representative Lance Kinzer, an ALEC member) will be. KanVote will have volunteers at the polls.

UPDATE: Fight over voter ID heating up in Minnesota

8/6/2012: Voter ID supporters have accused Secretary of State Mark Ritchie of unlawfully altering the ballot measure’s title. In a Senate hearing about Ritchie’s actions, they claimed that the legislature has the exclusive right to draft ballot measures. However, a bipartisan group of law professors pointed out that the state constitution mandates that the Secretary "provide an appropriate title" for ballot questions. The Minnesota Supreme Court reviewed the issue in late July. A ruling is expected later this month.

UPDATE: Right-wing Florida officials win fight for citizenship data

UPDATE: New developments continue to shed light on the purge and its far-reaching impact. An article in the Atlantic details the possibility that it could lead to a 2000-style fiasco. A woman who is most certainly alivewas removed from the rolls twice because the state thinks she is dead. The Guardian has profiled several other voters who are battling to preserve their rights. Thankfully, there is some good news, as despite being granted access to the SAVE database, it now looks like county election supervisors won’t be removing more voters from the rolls before the August 14 primary. Officials are being encouraged to proceed cautiously since the state may not be able to settle its ongoing disagreement with the federal government over the purge. In other news, Congresswoman Corrine Brown has filed a lawsuit to try to stop early voting cutbacks.

UPDATE: Michigan Primary raises citizenship question

UPDATE: With the so-called Secure and Fair Elections package facing an uncertain future, confusion is surely looming for Michigan’s August 7 federal primary election. The vetoed citizenship check box remains, but without legislative force behind it, as Secretary of State Ruth Johnson conceded, checking it remains optional. Left is the question of whether voters know their option or if elections officials will enforce the rule. Elsewhere military access to absentee ballots has been called into questionby DOJ.

UPDATE: Voter ID trial begins in Pennsylvania

UPDATE: In her testimony, Pennsylvania Secretary of State Carol Aichele conceded,"I don’t know what the law says," and could not support her claim that 99 percent of voters have an acceptable ID, while plaintiffs demonstrated that they have not been able to get it. Closing arguments were heard this morning. A ruling should come in the next few weeks. Mayor Michael Nutter of Philadelphia – where up to 43 percent of voters may lack valid IDhas harshly criticized the law, calling it "a bad solution looking for a problem." Click here for more from ACLUBrennan Center, and  League of Women Voters.