Author

Zachary Roth

Zachary Roth

Zachary Roth is the National Democracy Reporter for States Newsroom.

A voter on a bicycle drops off a ballot at a drive through drop-off for absentee ballots on Aug. 11, 2020, in Minneapolis. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

GOP backs voting by mail, yet turns to courts to restrict it in battleground states

By: - February 25, 2024

Fearing that Democrats hold a crucial edge in ballots cast before Election Day, national Republicans are working to convince their voters to take advantage of mail and early voting this year. “We can’t play catch up. We can’t start from behind. We can’t let Dems get a big head start and think we’re going to […]

Signage at an early voting center on Sept. 23, 2016, in Minneapolis. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

Are Americans really committed to democracy in the 2024 election?

By: - February 12, 2024

With former President Donald Trump having all but wrapped up the GOP presidential nomination, one issue looks set to be at the center of the general election campaign: the threat to democracy. In a major campaign speech in Pennsylvania in January, President Joe Biden detailed Trump’s lies about the 2020 election, his efforts to use violence […]

Ranked choice voting, which asks voters to rank multiple candidates in order of preference, has seen its profile steadily expand since 2016. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

How a new way to vote is gaining traction in states — and could transform US politics

By: - December 18, 2023

With U.S. democracy plagued by extremism, polarization, and a growing disconnect between voters and lawmakers, a set of reforms that could dramatically upend how Americans vote is gaining momentum at surprising speed in Western states. Ranked choice voting, which asks voters to rank multiple candidates in order of preference, has seen its profile steadily expand […]

The U.S Capitol Building is prepared for the inaugural ceremonies for President-elect Joe Biden as American flags are placed in the ground on the National Mall on Jan. 18, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

One year out: how a free and fair 2024 presidential election could be under threat

By: - November 5, 2023

The last time America elected a president, it led to a deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol and a failed coup that gravely damaged the political system and marred the peaceful transfer of power for the first time in U.S. history. A year from now, the nation’s voters will decide another presidential contest — likely […]

Signage at an early voting center on Sept. 23, 2016, in Minneapolis. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

On Democracy Day, newsrooms unite for pro-democracy coverage

By: - September 15, 2023

It’s no secret: U.S. democracy is under serious threat. Politicians use rigged maps to entrench themselves in power, allowing them to ignore the will of voters. Hundreds of members of Congress, state lawmakers, and top state officials — including chief elections officials — deny the results of the last presidential contest. And a leading candidate […]

David Leist of Columbus, left, a field organizer for Ohio Citizen Action, hands registered voter Richard Hall a flyer with information while canvassing against Ohio Issue 1 on July 25, 2023, in Columbus, Ohio. (Graham Stokes/Ohio Capital Journal)

Ohio voters are deciding if it’s too easy to pass ballot measures. Other states are watching.

By: and - August 2, 2023

CLEVELAND — Ohioans over the last century have used the state’s ballot initiative process to pass constitutional amendments that raised the minimum wage, integrated the National Guard and removed the phrase “white male” from the constitution’s list of voter eligibility requirements. Now, lawmakers want to make it much tougher for an initiative to be approved. […]

Signage at an early voting center on Sept. 23, 2016, in Minneapolis. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

Changes in state election laws have little impact on results, new study finds

By: - July 15, 2023

In recent years, U.S. politics has been consumed by partisan fights over states’ election policies. But a new study by two political scientists is causing a stir by finding that state legislators’ changes to election laws — both those that tighten election rules in the name of integrity, and those that loosen rules to expand […]

A voter shows identification to an election judge during primary voting on May 3, 2022, in Lordstown, Ohio. (Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

Red and blue state divide grows even wider in 2023’s top voting and election laws

By: - June 24, 2023

Next year’s elections are still 16 months away. But for voters, perhaps the most important developments took place during the first half of this year — when states drafted and passed the legislation that will shape how those contests are run. “The rules that will govern the 2024 election are being written today,” said Megan […]

A vote-here sign, pictured on Nov. 8, 2022, at the All Souls Church on Cliff Avenue in Sioux Falls. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)

A top GOP lawyer wants to crack down on the college vote. States already are.

By: - April 30, 2023

A top Republican election lawyer recently caused a stir when she told GOP donors that the party should work to make it harder for college students to vote in key states. But the comments from Cleta Mitchell, who worked closely with then-President Donald Trump to try to overturn the 2020 election, are perhaps less surprising […]

(SDI Productions/Getty Images)

U.S. elections official takes part in secretive GOP conference, sparking backlash

By: - April 14, 2023

A commissioner of a federal elections agency recently spoke at a secretive conference of conservative voting activists and Republican secretaries of state and congressional staff — a step that election experts call highly improper for an official charged with helping states administer fair and unbiased elections.  U.S. Election Assistance Commissioner Donald Palmer, the former chief […]

(Getty Images)

Federal agencies lag in registering voters despite Biden executive order, advocates say

By: - April 11, 2023

Within weeks of taking office in 2021, President Joe Biden issued an executive order — hailed by voter advocates as potentially transformative — that for the first time committed the U.S. government to registering new voters at federal agencies. But just over two years later, most of the 10 agencies examined in a recent report […]

Alabama Secretary of State Wes Allen walks toward a podium during inauguration ceremonies at the Alabama State Capitol on Monday, Jan. 16, 2023, in Montgomery, Alabama. (Stew Milne/Alabama Reflector)

Red-state elections officials balk at voter registration outreach

By: - April 2, 2023

A day after taking office in January, Alabama Secretary of State Wes Allen withdrew his state from the Electronic Registration Information Center, an interstate data-sharing compact aimed at helping states keep clean voter rolls.  Asked about the move a few days later by a conservative radio host, Allen, a Republican, at first talked about privacy […]