Commentary & Community

Sanders Backs Inmate Voting

Restoring the voting rights of ex-offenders has become a cause embraced by both conservatives and liberals in recent years. Now Senator Bernie Sanders, the self-proclaimed socialist who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, wants to expand the franchise even further. This week he came out in favor of allowing currently-incarcerated individuals to vote.


During a CNN town hall, an audience member asked Sen. Sanders what he thought about allowing people in prison to vote, even those who had committed sexual offenses or individuals like the Boston Marathon bombers. Senator Sanders said he supported such voting for all U.S. citizens, with no exceptions.


“Yes, even for terrible people,” said Sen. Sanders, “because once you start chipping away and you say, 'Well, that guy committed a terrible crime, not going to let him vote. Well, that person did that. Not going to let that person vote,' you're running down a slippery slope.”


The state that Senator Sanders represents, Vermont, allows prison inmates to vote, as does Maine. All other states prohibit felons who are incarcerated from voting. Nearly every other state allows either some or all felons who have completed their sentences to vote, depending on meeting certain conditions. Only Kentucky permanently bars someone with a felony conviction from voting.


Do you support allowing people who are serving time in prison to vote?

Buttigieg Touts National Service Plan

South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg is getting a lot of interest from the media and public in his long-shot bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. Now he’s floating an idea that others have proposed, but which has never been enacted – a national service program for young Americans.


Buttigieg discussed the idea recently with MSNBC television host Rachel Maddow. He did not get into specifics on how the program would work, but the general idea he suggested was a program for young adults to serve their nation. This could either be through military or civilian service.


Touting what he saw as the military draft’s positive effects in past generations, Buttigieg said that a national service program could help bring Americans together. He said that people of differing races and backgrounds could work side-by-side, bringing more social cohesion to the nation. He declined to say whether this would be a mandatory program, but did say that it would be a theme of his campaign.


Opponents of this idea say that the government should not coerce people into national service. They point out the many problems caused by the draft, including the ability of people with connections to avoid it.


It remains to be seen what exactly Buttigieg will proposes for his national service plan, and whether other Democratic candidates will back it.


Should young Americans be required to serve in the military or a civilian national service program? Should the military draft be re-instituted? Do you think the nation was more united when the military draft was in effect?

Sweeping Election Law Passes the House

On a party line vote of 234-193, the House of Representatives on Friday passed a major overhaul of election and campaign finance law.


H.R. 1, cosponsored by 236 House Democrats, would make numerous changes to U.S. election procedure and place new restrictions on organizations that engage in political speech. Among other things, it would:

  • Mandate that certain nonprofit corporations engaging in political speech report their donors to the government
  • Mandate that social media companies report the names of those who pay for political ads to the government
  • Require members of Congress to use personal funds to settle employment discrimination suits
  • Require states to implement automatic, online and same-day voter registration
  • Mandate how states remove ineligible voters from the rolls
  • Establish a pilot program to provide government funding for citizens to contribute to candidates


This legislation was part of the Democrats pledge during the 2018 election to reduce what they perceive as barriers to voting and combat what they call “dark money” in elections. Their argument was that states are discouraging people from voting by making it more difficult, so the federal government has a responsibility to step in and standardize how states run elections. They also contended that some nonprofit corporations are engaged in electioneering when they talk about public policy issues, so this spending should be more heavily controlled by the government.


Republicans pushed back against this bill, saying that many of its provisions violated free speech. The American Civil Liberties Union also raised these free speech concerns, saying that parts of H.R. 1 were an unconstitutional restriction on speaking freely. Some members of Congress also objected to the federal government removing much of the ability of states to run elections.


While no Republican voted in favor of the bill, some did offer amendments. One amendment would have expressed the sense of Congress that free speech, including contributing to political speech, was a fundamental right. Republicans also attempted to return the bill to the Judiciary Committee with the instruction to add language expressing disapproval of illegal aliens voting (some localities, such as San Francisco, allow residents to vote in some local elections regardless of citizenship status). None of these Republican attempts was successful. A Democratic amendment to lower the voting age to 16 also failed with broad bipartisan opposition.


The legislation now heads to the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will almost certainly not schedule a vote.


Do you think that nonprofits that engage in political speech should report their donors to the government? Should voter registration be automatic? Should 16-year-olds be able to vote? Are you concerned about cities allowing illegal aliens to vote in local elections, such as for school board?

Bernie Sanders Announces Presidential Run


The Democratic presidential field became a little more crowded today. Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont who caucuses with the Democrats, announced that he was once again running for president.


Sanders, who is 77, is making his second try at the highest office in the land. He campaigned for the Democratic nomination in 2016, an effort that surprised many for how strong it was. Calling himself a democratic socialist, Sanders is aiming at pushing the party to the left on a host of issues that he supports.


During his time in the Senate, Sanders has supported “Medicare for All,” a $15 minimum wage, tuition-free community college, a 77% tax rate on billionaire estates, and the Green New Deal.


In 2016, Sanders offered a progressive alternative to Clinton. His views, far to the left of the eventual nominee, earned him a rabid following. This cycle, however, many of his fellow candidates for the nomination are embracing policy positions similar to his. It remains to be seen what this will mean in terms of primary voter support for Sanders.


What is your opinion of Sen. Bernie Sanders running for president? Do you think that the minimum wage should be $15? Do you support Medicare for All? Should community colleges be tuition-free?

Harris Campaign Focuses on Rent Relief

Senator Kamala Harris is the latest entrant into the 2020 presidential field. The California senator is running on a platform aimed at appealing to the liberal wing of the party, with a platform that calls for bail reform, single-payer health care, and lower-income tax cuts. But she is also championing an issue that may make her stand out in what will surely be a crowded field – rental assistance.


Under Sen. Harris’s plan, renters whose income is less than $100,000 and spend more than 30% of their income on rent and utilities would receive a tax credit. This tax credit would vary based on income, with lower-income individuals receiving a larger credit than those with higher incomes. The credit would also be refundable, meaning that someone who owed no income tax would still receive money from the government. Estimates put the price tag on this program at $76 billion.


According to Sen. Harris and those who support this idea, this is a way to help millions of Americans who struggle with high rent. They say that this will allow people to be more mobile, moving to areas that have jobs but also high rent.


Critics point out that the problem of high rent is often due to the lack of housing in an area. They say that increasing the housing supply by relaxing government restrictions is the best way to help both renters and home buyers. They argue that by subsidizing rent, Harris’s plan will actually increase the cost of rent, with landlords receiving the ultimate benefit.


Do you think the government should subsidize rent in areas with high-cost housing?

Felon Voting Rights Proposal Dies in Virginia

Virginia is just three states permanently bar felons from voting. Thanks to a recent vote in a legislative committee, it won’t be restoring felons’ voting rights any time soon.


On Wednesday, a Senate committee voted down a proposed change to the state constitution that would have removed the ban on felon voting. Currently, the Virginia constitution bars felons from being able to vote unless their rights have been restored by the governor.


This issue has been an area of contention for Virginia in recent years. The state’s former governor, Terry McAuliffe, attempted to use an executive order to restore the rights of felons who had completed their sentences. That effort was stymied by the legislature and the state’s Supreme Court. He then undertook efforts to restore these voting rights on an expedited case-by-case basis. 


Critics of the ban on felons voting note that nearly every other state allows some form of voting rights for felons. Some states even allow those in jail to vote. They say that this van is an impediment to rehabilitation and reintegration into the community. Supporters of the ban note that it is proper to punish those who commit serious crimes by imposing serious penalties.


In the 2018 election, Florida voters overturned their state’s ban on felon voting. Beginning this month, felons in that state have begun to register to vote.


Do you think that felons who have completed their sentences should see their voting rights restored?

Democrats Tee Up Campaign Finance & Ethics Bill

On their first day in control of the House of Representatives, Democrats plan on tackling two issues that they think will be winners for them: campaign finance reform and stricter ethics rules. They know that their legislation has no chance of becoming law, but they think its passage will send a message that they plan on doing things differently.


In the weeks after the 2018 elections when voters elected a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives, Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi announced that the first legislation the House would vote on in January would be a sweeping set of campaign and ethics reforms. This has been introduced as HR 1. Among other things, this bill would:

  • Establish a voluntary system of campaign matching funds at a rate of 6-1 for small donations to qualifying candidates
  • Mandate that certain nonprofits engaged in public policy debate report their donors to the government
  • Mandate that social media companies disclose to the government the source of money being spent on political advocacy ads
  • Require that the president disclose his or her tax returns
  • End the practice where members of Congress can use office funds to pay for sexual harassment suits
  • Prohibit office funds from being used to purchase first-class plane tickets
  • Impose a new ethics code on the Supreme Court
  • Enact a national system of automatic voter registration
  • Prohibit states from removing certain names from their voting rolls


The Democrats pushing this legislation argue that it is needed to restore trust in government and end practices that have allowed politicians to game the system. They say that it will open the door for more people to vote and to curb the influence of big money in politics. Opponents counter that it would enlarge the power of the federal government over elections, something that the Constitution largely gives to states. They also say that this will lead to more government control over what people can say during elections and is an infringement upon the First Amendment.


The House of Representatives plans to vote on this after new members are sworn in on January 3. The Senate is unlikely to consider the legislation if it passes the House.


Do you think that the federal government should enact automatic voter registration in every state? Should nonprofits that engage in political advocacy have to report their donors’ names to the government? Do you support a program that gives federal matching funds to candidates for small political donations?


Trump, Senate Exploring Russian Sanctions


Punishing Russia is the hot topic under consideration at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.


President Donald Trump is considering signing a new Russian sanctions order while the Senate Banking Committee is looking at the effectiveness of sanctions. As evidence of Russian misdeeds continues to emerge, both the president and Congress face pressure to increase U.S. punishment on this nation.


Through legislation and executive orders, Russia already faces a variety of sanctions. President Trump may sign an order today aimed at punishing individuals or companies that interfere in U.S. elections. Intelligence agencies would be empowered by this order to act if they determined that Russians or other foreigners were attempting to influence the electoral process.


In the Senate, the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee held a hearing to assess the various tools used by the federal government are working to counter Russian activities. Experts testified about how sanctions should be shaped to exert maximum pressure on Vladimir Putin or other officials responsible for anti-U.S. actions.


These actions come on the heels of increasing amounts of information from U.S. intelligence agencies about Russian activities attempting to influence the 2016 U.S. election. With the 2018 mid-term elections approaching, there is a strong desire among some government officials to ensure that such meddling cannot occur once again.


Do you think that the U.S. should impose stronger sanctions on Russia for trying to influence the 2016 election? Are you worried that Russian or other foreign entities will attempt to meddle in this year’s election?



New Hampshire Says Students Must Be Residents to Vote


College students who come to New Hampshire from other states will now find it a little more difficult to vote. Under new legislation, they must become state residents if they want to cast a ballot in New Hampshire. Proponents say this will restore integrity in the state’s voting process, while opponents liken this new requirement to a poll tax.


There has long been concern in New Hampshire over the votes of out-of-state college students. In 1972, a federal court invalidated a New Hampshire law that only allowed college students to vote if they intended to stay in the state. That court said that the Constitution protected someone’s right to vote where they lived. In 2015, the state Supreme Court overruled another law that told potential voters that they could register only if they intended to live in the state indefinitely.


During that time, the standard for voting in New Hampshire depended on whether you domiciled in the state, which is defined as living in New Hampshire more than any other state. Under the law recently signed by Governor Chris Sununu, now someone must establish residency in New Hampshire in order to register to vote. That residency process involves obtaining a state driver’s license and registering one’s car in New Hampshire (which means paying a state fee).


Because of constitutional concerns over the law, legislators asked the state Supreme Court for an advisory opinion on its legality. By a 3-2 vote, the court issued an opinion that the new laws was legal under the state’s constitution.


The legislators who backed this law say that it is necessary to prevent out-of-state students who aren’t state residents from influencing New Hampshire’s elections. Opponents say that since establishing residency would trigger state fees, this amounts to a poll tax that is illegal under the U.S. Constitution. They say that this is an attempt to squelch the votes of liberal-leaning college voters.


Once this measure goes into effect, there will likely be a court case challenging its legality.


Do you think that New Hampshire is right to make students establish residency in order to vote in the state?


Minnesota Candidates Call for Refugee Resettlement Suspension


Minnesota has a long history of taking in refugees who flee their home countries to live in the U.S. Two candidates for governor want to pause this effort, however, citing their concerns over cost.


There is a large refugee community in Minnesota, with many refugees from Somalia settling there in recent years. The federal government funds part of these resettlement efforts, but there are also costs that Minnesota bears, too. However, efforts to calculate those costs have proven difficult to do, since many state programs do not ask about refugee status.


A Republican candidate running for governor, Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, has said he wants to work with the federal government to suspend the refugee program until the state can figure out how much it costs taxpayers. Another Republican in the race, former Governor Tim Pawlenty, agrees.


These candidates contend they are not opposed to refugees coming to Minnesota, but simply want to ensure that tax dollars are being used wisely. They say that if the program can become more cost-effective, they would support it.


One Democrat running for governor, Erin Murphy, says she vigorously disagrees with this proposal. Other groups in the state have also pushed back, saying that the state should welcome those fleeing war or persecution in their home countries.


Refugee resettlement is done by the federal government. If either Johnson or Pawlenty is elected, he would have to obtain federal cooperation to suspend the placement of refugees in Minnesota.


Do you think that refugee resettlement in Minnesota should be suspended until the state figures out the cost? Or do you think that it is unfair for state officials to deny homes to refugees over cost issues?


Automatic Voter Registration Coming to Massachusetts


Massachusetts residents will no longer have to make an effort to register to vote. Thanks to a new law, registering to vote will take place automatically when they interact with some state agencies. Supporters hail this is a progressive way to improve voter turnout. Others see it as a solution in search of a problem.


Under this legislation, when someone goes to the state’s Registry of Motor Vehicles to do something like get a driver’s license, or when someone seeks medical care through the state’s MassHealth program, their voter information will be updated. If they are not registered to vote, they will be. If they are already registered, then their address or other information will be updated if it has changed. A person who is automatically registered will then be sent a letter to determine if he or she wants to register with a political party or opt-out of the registration.


Supporters of this bill say that there are hundreds of thousands of eligible Massachusetts voters who are not registered. Automatically registering them will help boost election turnout by making the voting process easier. Opponents say that it is not difficult to register to vote, so this bill is not solving any real problem. They also worry about whether this would make it easier for non-citizens to vote.


This law will take effect for the 2020 election.


Do you support automatic voter registration?


Pennsylvania Looks to Change Judicial Elections


Voters elect legislators by districts, so should they elect appellate judges by district, too? That is the question that Pennsylvania legislators are currently considering.


As part of a larger anti-gerrymandering constitutional amendment, state senators in mid-June inserted a provision that would require appellate judges (including state Supreme Court justices) to run by district. Currently, these judges are elected statewide.


The senators who support this concept point out that most of the state appellate judges come from a few areas of the state (generally around Pittsburgh or Philadelphia). Electing them by districts, according to these legislators, would provide much-needed geographic diversity for the judicial branch.


Opponents say this is a Republican attempt to attack the Democratic-controlled state Supreme Court. They contend that there is no good reason to divide up judicial seats by geographic area, since these judges decide on statewide issues.


This proposed change to judicial elections came during consideration of a constitutional amendment that would establish a nonpartisan commission to draw election districts. The state Supreme Court recently invalidated the districts drawn by Republican legislators.


The state House of Representatives must now consider this proposed amendment. To go before voters, both houses of the General Assembly must pass an identical version of the amendment during two consecutive legislative sessions. If the House rejects the Senate’s idea, it would doom the overall nonpartisan redistricting effort.


Do you think that state Supreme Court justices should be elected statewide, or should they be elected by districts that would give more geographic diversity?


Supreme Court Allows Political Attire at Polling Places


When you go to vote this year, you are now free to wear a t-shirt proclaiming your support for your favorite candidate or political cause. The Supreme Court recently ruled that states cannot prohibit a person from wearing attire with a political message when they vote. Observers see this as a major victory for free speech.


In 2010, a man wearing a t-shirt that said “Don’t Tread on Me” and had the logo of a national Tea Part group tried to vote in Minnesota. Election officials said that his clothing violated a state law banning political attire in polling places. In Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky, the high court ruled that this law was a violation of the First Amendment.


The court’s vote was 7-2, with Chief Justice Roberts writing the majority opinion. He noted that the state may indeed ban some kinds of electioneering inside a polling place, but that the Minnesota ban on political apparel was overly broad. Justices Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Samuel Alito, and Elena Kagan joined him in his finding.


Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer dissented from this ruling. Justice Sotomayor wrote that the Supreme Court should not have made a sweeping First Amendment ruling on this case; instead, the court should have sent it to the Minnesota Supreme Court to make a more narrow judgment.


Many states have bans on political apparel or signs in polling places. Chief Justice Roberts noted that some of those laws have more specific bans than Minnesota did, so they may be permissible. However, this ruling does lay the groundwork for anyone to challenge these laws under the First Amendment. Thanks to this ruling, there is an expectation that states should favor free expression, not restrictions on political attire.


Do you think that people should be able to wear clothes and buttons with political messages when they vote?


“Sore Loser” Law Keeps Blankenship off West Virginia Ballot


Coal magnate Don Blankenship’s words and actions focused national attention on West Virginia during his race for U.S. senator. Thanks to a state law, however, he will not be able to take his unique style into the general election. That has led some to call for changing how the state treats losing primary candidates who want to run for general election.


Blankenship may have lost the Republican primary for U.S. senator, but he still wants to run for office. The Constitution Party wants to give him their nomination. The only thing standing in their way is West Virginia’s “sore loser” law that prohibits candidates who have lost in a primary election from running an independent or third-party candidacy in the general election.


Forty-five other states have similar laws. These ensure that candidates can choose only one path to be on the general election ballot – a major-party nomination or an independent or third-party candidacy. They cannot try their luck in the Republican or Democratic primary and then run on a smaller party ticket in the general election.


Blankenship, who finished third in the state’s Republican primary, is aware that the state law blocks his path to a Constitution Party nomination. He has said he would challenge the law in court, seeking to invalidate it so he can challenge the two major-party nominees in November.


Supporters of “sore loser” laws say they are necessary to prevent losing candidates from circumventing the primary process to get on the ballot. They contend this could lead to numerous losing candidates cluttering up the ballot, confusing voters. Opponents of these laws say that voters should have the ultimate choice as to whom they elect, regardless of whether someone lost a major party’s nomination. They also point out that primary voters tend to reflect the party’s base and may choose more extreme nominees, so sore loser laws may keep more moderate candidates off the ballot.


Do you think that states should bar candidates who lost their party’s primaries from running in the general election as third-party or independent candidates?


Supreme Court Tackles Partisan Gerrymandering


Should politicians be able to draw congressional districts to favor members of their own party? That is the question considered by Supreme Court justices in late March. If they decide that partisan gerrymandering is unconstitutional, the ramifications for politicians and voters across the nation will be large.


The case at question in March’s deliberation involves a lawsuit over a Maryland congressional district. The district in question was represented by Republican Rep. Roscoe Bartlett in the last decade. However, after the 2010 census, Democrats redrew the district to give their party’s voters a large advantage. This is something that Martin O’Malley, the Democratic governor of the state at the time, admitted during a deposition for the case. He said that the new district “would be more likely to elect a Democrat than a Republican, yes, this was clearly my intent.”


In the past, the Supreme Court has ruled against efforts to draw congressional districts in ways that disenfranchise minority voters, but it has upheld congressional districts drawn with partisan ends in mind. This time, however, some justices appeared to think that the Maryland gerrymander was so partisan that it may have crossed the line into discriminating against Republicans based on their political views.


Some observers point out that if the courts get involved in determining how much partisan gerrymandering is too much, it will lead to many more lawsuits over district lines at not only the state level, but will also involve legislative and local election districts. They say that partisanship is the norm in redistricting, and that the only way to cure it is through the ballot box, not the courtroom.


Others say that there are ways to reduce partisanship, such as using independent commissions for redistricting. Governor O’Malley, no longer in power, said that he now favors such a commission to draw congressional and legislative lines.


The Supreme Court will announce a decision in this case, as well as a similar case involving Wisconsin, later this year.


Do you think that the Supreme Court should rule extreme partisan gerrymandering unconstitutional? Or is it wrong for the courts to get involved in political disputes over election lines? Is an independent commission a better way to draw congressional districts than leaving it to politicians?



Northam Inaugural Features Promises on Obamacare, Abortion, and Gun Control


On Saturday, January 13, Ralph Northam took office as Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia. He did not waste any time in discussing hot-button issues. His inaugural address touched on three issues that will be hotly contested during this year’s session of the Virginia General Assembly – Obamacare expansion, access to abortion, and gun control.


Here is what he had to say on these topics when he addressed the inauguration crowd:


  • Obamacare: “It is past time for us to step forward together and expand Medicaid to nearly 400,000 Virginians who need access to care.”


  • Abortion: “We should also resolve together today to refrain from any effort to curtail a woman’s constitutional right to make her own decisions about her health.”


  • Gun Control: “If we are going to build a healthier Virginia for everyone, we must address the public health crisis of gun violence. Gunshots kill more people in Virginia every year than car accidents, but if you walk into the right gun show, it’s easier to get a firearm than it is to rent a car. I am ready to work with you to make Virginia safer by passing smart reforms that keep guns away from people who shouldn’t have them.


Governor Northam’s stances on these issues put him at odds with the General Assembly. While the 2017 elections narrowed their majority in both chambers, Republicans still control the legislature. As their track record under Governor McAuliffe shows, they are not hesitant to pass conservative legislation in spite of gubernatorial veto threats.


With an increased number of Democrats in the legislature than during Gov. McAuliffe’s term, Gov. Northam will have more allies in his legislative fights. Even so, it is difficult to see how the governor will convince legislators to expand Medicaid, refrain from passing abortion restrictions, or enact gun control measures.


Do you think that Virginia legislators should work with Governor Northam to expand Medicaid eligibility, preserve access to abortion, and place more limits on gun ownership?


Voters Make Policy Decisions in 2017 Elections


The 2017 elections are over. In Virginia and New Jersey, Democrats scored big victories. Voters also selected people to fill a variety of other offices in states across the country. The men and women elected will be busy making policy decisions once they take office, implementing what they view as the will of the people. But voters also made some decisions about policy directly through ballot initiatives on Tuesday:


  • Maine voters approved an initiative that would expand Medicaid coverage in line with the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. The state’s Republican governor, Paul LePage, said he would not implement this expansion until the legislature finds money to pay for it.


  • Voters in Ohio rejected an initiative that would impose price controls on what the state could pay for prescription drugs.


  • New Yorkers voted in favor of a proposal that will allow judges to end pension payments to public officials convicted of a crime.


  • An advisory ballot measure on whether Washington legislators should raise the state property tax was rejected by voters.


In Douglas County, Colorado, voters did not vote directly on education policy. However, they elected a slate of school board candidates that opposed private school vouchers and a program that paid teachers based on performance. This reverses the school board’s policies over the past eight years.


What do you think of voters’ decisions in this year’s elections?


New Hampshire House Resolution 7


Check out this key bill voted on by elected officials in New Hampshire, check-in to the VoteSpotter app to see how your legislators voted, and comment below to share what you think!


House Resolution 7, Restrict Political Contributions of Those Not Eligible to Vote: Passed 210 to 74 in the state House on February 9, 2017.


To call on the US Congress to consider a constitutional amendment prohibiting campaign contributions unless the donor is eligible to vote in that federal election.


Comment below to share what you think of New Hampshire House Resolution 7!



Trump a Big Factor in Virginia Governor’s Race


Donald Trump may not be on Virginia’s ballot this year, but he is certainly making his presence felt in the commonwealth’s gubernatorial race.


During a recent debate between Republican candidate Ed Gillespie and Democratic candidate Lt. Governor Ralph Northam, the president and other national issues played a large role in the discussion. In fact, moderator Judy Woodruff led off the questioning by asking about President Trump.


Lt. Governor Northam did not hold back, saying:


“I believe that our president is a dangerous man. I believe that he lacks empathy. You need to look no further than his mocking of the journalist. That’s all that I needed to see. And he also has difficulty telling the truth. And it happens again and again. As we say on the Eastern Shore, he lies like a rug.”


Gillespie countered by saying that it would do Virginia no good to have a governor who insults the president: “When you hear the lieutenant governor, he calls his campaign the resistance. Resistance 2017. What are you going to do as our governor? Call the White House and say, ‘please put me through to the narcissistic maniac?’”


While promoting good ties with the Trump White House, Gillespie did make it clear that he has differences with the president. For instance, Gillespie supports funding for the Chesapeake Bay cleanup, which Trump’s budget proposal slated for elimination.


During the debate, Northam stressed his opposition to hydraulic fracturing, his support of gun control, his desire to see Medicaid expanded to cover Virginians with higher incomes, and his opposition to restrictions on birth control. Gillespie discussed his plans to cut taxes, his support for gun rights, and said that he would work to end “sanctuary cities.”


This was the first in a series of three gubernatorial debates.


Do you think that gubernatorial races should focus on what President Trump is doing? Or do you think that governors and gubernatorial candidates should focus on state-level issues?


Virginia Senate Bill 872


Check out this key bill voted on by elected officials in Virginia, check-in to the VoteSpotter app to see how your legislators voted, and comment below to share what you think!


Senate Bill 872, Override Veto of Requirement for Photo ID for Absentee Ballots: Failed 20 to 19 in the state Senate on April 5, 2017.


To overturn the governor’s veto of legislation that requires that anyone requesting an absentee ballot by mail to include a copy of his or her photo ID with the request. Exempt from this requirement are military and overseas voters as well as voters with disabilities.


Comment below to share what you think of Virginia Senate Bill 872!


Copyright © 2018 Votespotter Inc. All rights reserved.