Author

Zachary Roth

Zachary Roth

Zachary Roth is the National Democracy Reporter for States Newsroom.

On Democracy Day, newsrooms unite for pro-democracy coverage

By: - September 16, 2023

It’s no secret: U.S. democracy is under serious threat. Politicians use rigged maps to entrench themselves in power, allowing them to ignore the will of voters. Hundreds of members of Congress, state lawmakers, and top state officials — including chief elections officials — deny the results of the last presidential contest. And a leading candidate for 2024 talks openly […]

Not just Ohio: Biased language is the hot new tactic to thwart ballot measures

By: - September 1, 2023

Abortion-rights supporters filed a lawsuit Monday against what they call “deceptive” ballot language produced by Ohio officials for the state’s closely-watched upcoming referendum on the issue. But it isn’t just the Buckeye State that’s lately seeing fierce battles over the once-obscure topic of ballot language. In recent weeks, officials in Missouri — where another abortion-rights measure is […]

Americans are worried about democracy. You wouldn’t know it from the GOP debate.

By: - August 24, 2023

There’s a growing feeling, among both experts and ordinary Americans, that our democracy isn’t functioning well — and even that it’s under threat. “American democracy is cracking,” the Washington Post reported August 18. “I’m terrified,” one democracy expert told the paper. “I think we are in bad shape, and I don’t know a way out.” […]

As states hunt for new voters, Massachusetts adds thousands via Medicaid applications

By: - July 6, 2023

Massachusetts saw a more-than-five-fold jump in voter registration applications through social service agencies in the last election cycle, new federal data shows. The striking increase comes after the state implemented an automatic voter registration system that includes Medicaid applicants. Any eligible voter in the state who applies for Medicaid is automatically added to the rolls, […]

Federal health insurance website lags in voter registration assistance, Democrats charge

By: - July 5, 2023

A group of U.S. Senate Democrats is pressing the Biden administration to make it easier for the millions of Americans who sign up each year for health insurance through a federal website to register to vote. The lawmakers, led by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., wrote in a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary […]

Red and blue state divide grows even wider in 2023’s top voting and election laws

By: - July 4, 2023

Next year’s elections are still 16 months away. But for voters, perhaps the most important developments took place during the first half of this year — when states drafted and passed the legislation that will shape how those contests are run. “The rules that will govern the 2024 election are being written today,” said Megan […]

States with low election turnout did little in 2023 to expand voting access

By: - June 20, 2023

This year’s state legislative sessions are almost all wrapped up. And on voting and elections policy, the headlines have largely focused on a new wave of restrictive voting laws passed in big Republican-led states like Florida, Texas, and Ohio, as well as expansive laws approved in Democratic-led states like Michigan, Minnesota, and New York. But another development […]

Ruling in Alabama case could boost suits increasing Black voters’ power in other states

By: - June 9, 2023

In one sense, the Supreme Court’s surprise ruling striking down Alabama’s 2022 congressional maps maintains the legal status quo. By 5-4, the justices rejected the state’s attempt to restrict the ability of the Voting Rights Act to block gerrymanders that suppress the power of minority voters. But that dramatically understates the impact of the case, […]

GOP-led states plan new voter data systems to replace one they rejected. Good luck with that.

By: - June 6, 2023

So far this year, seven states, all Republican-led, have left the Electronic Registration Information Center, an interstate compact for sharing voter registration data, and more could follow. Amid the exodus, some states, including Texas and Virginia, have said they plan to create their own data-sharing networks to replace ERIC. Pledging to build a new system […]

A GOP claim that Michigan purposely tried to encourage voter fraud doesn’t fit with facts

By: - May 5, 2023

Updated, 3:32 p.m., 5/5/23 Republicans at a recent congressional hearing accused Michigan’s chief election official of deliberately leaving tens of thousands of dead voters on the rolls in order to encourage illegal voting. Even at a time of intense partisan conflict over election policies, it was a strikingly direct charge against a sitting official — […]

A top GOP lawyer wants to crack down on the college vote. States already are.

By: - May 2, 2023

A top Republican election lawyer recently caused a stir when she told GOP donors that the party should work to make it harder for college students to vote in key states. But the comments from Cleta Mitchell, who worked closely with then-President Donald Trump to try to overturn the 2020 election, are perhaps less surprising […]

U.S. elections official takes part in secretive GOP conference, sparking backlash

By: - April 17, 2023

Updated, 12:10 p.m., 4/18/23 A commissioner of a federal elections agency recently spoke at a secretive conference of conservative voting activists and Republican secretaries of state and congressional staff — a step that election experts call highly improper for an official charged with helping states administer fair and unbiased elections. U.S. Election Assistance Commissioner Donald […]