In Michigan, state Republican officials will not give up their fight to ban straight-ticket voting. Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette announced his intention to appeal a court ruling that reinstated straight-ticket voting after the Republican-controlled legislature passed a law to ban the practice. Earlier this week, a federal appellate court rejected the ban, and U.S. District Judge Gershwin Drain issued a preliminary injunction, finding that the ban would not only create longer lines and waiting times at polling areas, but would also disenfranchise black voters.
In New York, many voters feel that having Donald Trump at the top of the Republican ticket will not help state Republicans maintain control of the New York Senate. According to a poll released by Siena Research Group, 62% of voters believe Trump will hurt the GOP in Senate races in November, while 64% of Democrats believe Hillary Clinton will boost Democratic efforts to retake the Senate. Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg noted, “In their quest to maintain control of the New York State Senate, Republicans – who continue to face a two-to-one enrollment disadvantage to Democrats in New York – have the added burden of following Donald Trump on the ballot.”
With Donald Trump’s downward plummet in the polls, Democrats believe a landslide victory is a possibility for Hillary Clinton, which could bring with it a Democratic wave and Democratic control of the U.S. Senate and state legislatures throughout the country. While Congress has been notably gridlocked, Republican-controlled state legislatures have been active, using their majorities to obstruct elections with the passage of restrictive and unconstitutional voter-ID laws, promoting discriminatory legislation, and more.
In Ohio, Federal Judge Michael Barrett blocked enforcement of a Republican-backed law that would have defunded Planned Parenthood in the state. The law, if enacted, would have stripped more than one million federal dollars for preventative services like HIV tests and cancer screenings. Ohio was one of 12 states where laws were passed by Republican legislatures with the intention to block Planned Parenthood funding but were later blocked in federal court. Iris Harvey, the President of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, said “We’re overjoyed, obviously. It validates our stand that legislation was unconstitutional.”
This week in Illinois, Republican Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed a widely-supported bill that would have created automatic voter registration in time for the 2018 election. Democratic lawmakers announced that they will attempt to override the veto in November and are not buying into Gov. Rauner’s veto explanation, which cited concerns over voting fraud and conflicts with federal law. The legislation, as it was passed by the Democratic-majority legislature, would have not only created an automatic registration process for new voters as early as January 2018, but also would have allowed for an update of an estimated 700,000 existing voters ahead of the upcoming November election. Democrat state Senator Jacqueline Collins said, “Democracy can’t wait… That’s why we call upon the Governor today to work with us to move our state forward and not backward.”