It’s Friday, and in today’s Briefing: Where is early voting making strides, and is Brazil’s president in political trouble?
US Election News
|Kentucky Making Progress on Early Voting Reform|
Kentucky’s Senate passed legislation earlier this week to institute some level of early voting in the state. Though the calendar would allow for just three days of it, this would make permanent early voting in the commonwealth. It received both Republican and Democratic votes as it moved down to the House of Representatives.1 The GOP has veto-proof majorities in both houses of the Kentucky General Assembly, so it won’t matter what Gov. Andy Beshear (D) wants if the legislature wants it, but as it appears bipartisan in nature, he’d likely sign it.
|New Jersey Not Making Progress on Early Voting Reform|
The Garden State is one of the few heading to the polls for its general election in 2021. New Jersey would like to institute early voting to get with the national trend, however, local election officials have thrown up red flags. Some board of elections officials interviewed on the matter found that getting an infrastructure in place in time for the NJ gubernatorial race would be too robust of a timeline and that the 2022 midterms are a more attainable goal. However, Democrats, who are in charge of the legislature, are moving the bill along.2
|Special Election Declared in New Mexico-01|
With the confirmation of Deb Haaland as Secretary of the Interior earlier this week, the 1st District of New Mexico is finally vacant. A special election has been called for June 1 to elect a new member of Congress.3 With Haaland’s resignation from the House, the Democrats now have 219 seats to the Republicans’ 211. Democrats will be looking to hold this seat and secure a little more breathing room in a narrowly-divided Congress. Though it was a swingier district earlier in the 21st Century, Joe Biden won the 1st District comfortably in 2020. The seat has been blue since 2008.
International Election News
|Bolsonaro Vulnerable in Brazil’s 2022 Election|
Brazil does not vote for a president until next year, but the election is already taking shape. Incumbent president Jair Bolsonaro won on a populist wave in 2018 much like Donald Trump, and his term has been regarded as a replicating act of the 45th American presidency.
Now, with word that recently-exonerated former president Lula is seriously considering another bid, the 2022 Brazilian campaign may soon be set off in earnest. Bolsonaro’s approval ratings are sinking as COVID-19 cases in the country spike, and the president’s attitude has (to be fair and honest) lacked in concern. Lula, who was a two-term president, could prove a difficult general election foe for Bolsonaro.4
|Armenia to Have Snap Election in June|
Voters in the small Asian republic of Armenia will head to the polls in June after Nikol Pashinyan, the prime minister, called a snap election. Pashinyan has been in office since 2018 but suffered politically for the effects of the 2020 war with Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh. That war is seen as a triumph for Azerbaijan, which has been very damaging for the prime minister and his premiership has been under persistent scrutiny.5
Today’s Further Reading
- Associated Press, “Kentucky lawmakers advance bipartisan election reform bill,” WBNG-TV, 17 March 2021.
- Colleen O’Dea, “Election officials warn NJ isn’t ready for true early voting,” NJ Spotlight, 18 March 2021.
- Matthew Reichbach, “Special election to fill CD1 vacancy set for June 1,” The NM Political Report, 17 March 2021.
- Reuters Staff, “Polls show Brazil’s Bolsonaro faces record disapproval, pressure from Lula,” Reuters, 17 March 2021.
- Ann M. Simmons, “Armenia’s Prime Minister Calls Snap Election After Nagorno-Karabakh Losses,” Wall Street Journal, 18 March 2021.