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Elections Briefing, March 2, 2021: Voting Rights, Redistricting, Sarkozy

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Elections Briefing 3-2-21 SCOTUS Redistricting Sarkozy

What’s going before the Supreme Court today, and where did a prominent former president go to jail? If Tuesday’s Briefing can’t answer, we’re doing it wrong.

US Election News

SCOTUS Heating Voting Rights Case

Today, the Supreme Court of the United States is going to get involved in an Arizona case involving voting rights, one that could end up as a landmark decision for election law in the country. At issue is the practice of “ballot harvesting” as well as a law which prohibits a vote from being counted if it is cast in the incorrect precinct.1 Republicans claim that these state laws are designed to protect the integrity of the electoral process, while Democrats say this will disproportionately affect minority voters due to frequent precinct changes. You will not hear about any ruling for a while, because the wheels of SCOTUS justice turn very slowly, but keep an eye on this one as the Voting Rights Act hangs on by a thread.

Redistricting Debacle Due to Census Delays

We should have known the 2020 Census results already, and shortly thereafter, the decennial Congressional reapportionment results. However, due in large part to COVID-related delays, it’s now March 2021 and the release date continues to get pushed back. The Census Bureau now thinks the end of Q3 2021 is realistic.2 This is going to hamper redistricting efforts in a serious way; instead of having already gotten underway, they will not begin in earnest until the end of this year. This could result in delayed 2022 primaries in some states.

Elections Today In United States

Here are a handful of elections coming up today across America:


International Election News

French Ex-President Sarkozy Sentenced to Prison

It’s not every day a former head of state gets sent to prison for something, but for the people of France, today was that day. Nicolas Sarkozy, the president of the Fifth Republic from 2007 to 2012, was convicted on a corruption charge on Monday and was sentenced to a year in prison (plus two suspended years in case he is naughty in the interim).3 There are two things to note about this: one, he is appealing the ruling, and two, it is unlikely he will ever see the inside of a cell because the French court can sentence him to house arrest. Still, an ex-president with an ankle bracelet is not a good look.

Dutch Election Silenced by COVID

If you read Electionarium and the Briefing (and why wouldn’t you?), you may know that the Dutch general election is coming up in a few weeks. Mark Rutte, prime minister from the right-leaning People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), has been in office for over a decade. Well, there was a child benefits scandal in January and his government resigned en masse, but other than that, COVID-19 has been the dominant issue. In fact, according to The Guardian, such an issue has it been that it has completely smothered the rest of the campaign’s issues.4 It’s hard to run a campaign in a pandemic, and it’s harder in lockdown. If you are Rutte and the VVD, the good news is that the voters so far seem very willing to return his party to power.


Featured Election

Alabama Senate 26th District Special Election 2021

One of the two state legislative special elections going on today is the Alabama State Senate special in the 26th District. This is an urban seat, contained within Montgomery County, and where the Democrats have done very well over the years. For more on all state legislature special elections in the United States this year, go to our page.

Today’s Further Reading

  1. Pete Williams, “Supreme Court to hear major test of voting rights law,” NBC News, 1 March 2021.
  2. Zach Montellaro and Ally Mutnick, “Census data snafu upends 2022 elections,” Politico, 1 March 2021.
  3. Aurelien Breeden, “Ex-President Sarkozy Gets Jail Sentence for Corruption in France,” New York Times, 1 March 2021.
  4. Jon Henley, “Covid has ‘taken wind out of Dutch politics’, analysts say as elections loom,” The Guardian, 1 March 2021.

Now For Your Commentary

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United States Elections

Connecticut Senate 27th District Special Election 2021

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