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Action Under the Dome for Monday, November 23

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Monday, November 23, 2020
Jennifer Lancaster

Happy Thanksgiving week! We hope everyone will stay safe and healthy this holiday. Here is some news, some things you might have missed, and some upcoming events.

 

NEWS:

A big development in the battle for an accurate Census. Last week, The U.S. Census Bureau announced that it cannot meet its December 31st deadline for delivering the data that will be used to apportion Congressional seats and electoral votes among the states. The projected deadline has been moved to January 26, 2021: six days after the new administration takes office.

This small delay has huge implications. The Trump administration has been rushing to complete the apportionment data while it is still in power, deaf to arguments that the count must be delayed to make up time lost due to the pandemic. Advocates for an accurate count believe that an anti-immigrant agenda is behind this push. In July, the president ordered that undocumented residents be excluded from the apportionment data, which would likely cost California, Texas, and Florida a seat in the House of Representatives while favoring states with larger non-Hispanic white populations. Lower courts have ruled against the order, but Trump has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which will hear oral arguments in the case on November 30th.

We’ll continue to closely follow the saga of the 2020 Census. Delays in data reporting will likely affect the timeline for Maine’s legislative redistricting next year. And there’s more at stake than political power: the count will impact how federal aid, including COVID relief, is allocated for the next decade.

 

 

We've just released the new Impact on Issues.

  DOWNLOAD

Impact on Issues briefly traces significant actions and achievements of the League of Women Voters of Maine and includes the official statements of positions and priorities that formed the basis for action. Click here to check it out!

 

 

We're excited to announce our top priorities for the next Legislative session, endorsed by our board just this last weekend.

The LWVME state board has adopted the following long-term advocacy priorities: Voting Rights, Clean Elections & Campaign Finance Reform, Election Administration, Ethics & Disclosure, Freedom of Information, and Good Government. The following issues will be taken up if a special opportunity presents itself: Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, Climate Change, and Racial Justice.

For the 130th Legislature, 2021 - 2022, we aspire to testify on all bills in our high-priority areas, defending against bills that run counter to our positions or our principles. Our highest priority legislative initiatives are these two:

  • National Popular Vote
  • Corporate Contribution Ban

We will actively promote legislation in the following additional areas:

  • Online Voter Registration 
  • Constitutional amendment for RCV 
  • ERIC (Electronic Registration Information Center) 
  • Election Audits
  • Study Commission on Election Jurisdictions and Coordination
  • Post-COVID voting package 

 

The race to fill the Maine Secretary of State seat. Well, it's not exactly a race in the traditional sense, since the election happens in a joint session of the Legislature, not at the ballot box. But as you might expect, the League is following along closely. We're meeting with each of the candidates and recently co-hosted an online candidate forum. If you missed it, you can read a quick recap here and watch the full forum. Contact your legislators and encourage them to support your preferred candidate. The parties will nominate their candidates on December 1, and the Legislature will vote on December 2nd. 

 

Other news: Maine will certify its election results today, November 23, twenty days after the election, as required by law. Two recounts in state legislative races were completed on Friday, November 20, with no change in the outcomes. While the results in the presidential election are evident, the schedule for certification varies by state. Read more about which states certify when. The Electoral College meets on December 14.