These are the key November 2019 elections to watch for voting rights and reform

These are the key November 2019 elections to watch for voting rights and reform
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On Tuesday, voters will go to the polls in states and cities with important elections that could affect the state of voting rights and fair elections. Below, we'll explore some of the key contests and what's at stake.


  • Virginia state legislature: Democrats could flip both legislative chambers for the first time in a quarter century after the state House map was redrawn to remedy Republicans' illegal racial gerrymandering. With the governorship already in Democratic hands, Democrats could pass reforms such as early voting and automatic registration making it easier and more accessible to vote. They could also implement redistricting reform.
  • Kentucky governor: If Democrat Andy Beshear pulls off an upset in this red state, he's vowed to restore voting rights to roughly 140,000 citizens who are banned from voting despite having served out their felony sentences. Kentucky is one of just two states with a lifetime ban on voters with felonies.
  • New York City instant-runoff voting referendum: New York could become the largest U.S. city to adopt instant-runoff voting (aka ranked-choice voting) for all primaries and special elections for city offices.
  • Albuquerque, NM public campaign financing referendum: New Mexico’s largest city could become the second in the U.S. after Seattle to adopt "democracy dollars," where voters in city elections would be given $25 vouchers to contribute to their preferred candidates as a way to empower small donors.
  • Maine disabled voters’ rights ballot initiative: Maine voters could pass a ballot measure that would allow disabled voters to sign ballot petitions via an alternative method when they're physically unable to use traditional methods.
  • Texas state House: Democrats need to flip just nine of the 150 districts in the state House to take a majority, and if they win Tuesday's special election for the 28th District, they’d only need eight more pickups next year, when all seats will be up. A Democratic majority could block a Republican congressional gerrymander in the biggest GOP-run state in the nation following the 2020 census.
  • San Juan County, UT county commission ballot initiative: Navajo-backed candidates won their first-ever majority in this predominantly Navajo county's government after a court struck down racially gerrymandered districts and redrew them last year. But white conservatives have put an initiative on the 2019 ballot to create a "study committee" that would examine whether to expand the three-member county commission, which opponents see as a thinly veiled way to roll back the Navajo majority.

Lastly, Louisiana will hold its 2019 runoffs for governor and state legislature on Nov. 16.

  • Louisiana governor and state House: Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards is locked in a tight contest with Republican Eddie Rispone, but if Edwards prevails and Democrats pull off upsets in a sufficient number of state House runoffs to deny the GOP a supermajority, Edwards could veto new Republican gerrymanders after the 2020 census.

Join Daily Kos Elections for our liveblog of all of these races, starting tonight at 6 PM ET when the first polls close in Kentucky!

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