With just over a month before the crucial midterm elections, Americans in some states will return to the polls two years after the election of Donald Trump to face new laws that could make it harder to vote.
Since a landmark supreme court ruling in 2013, which repealed key provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, over a dozen states, mostly Republican controlled, have imposed a swathe of laws that critics argue are intended to suppress the franchise among often vulnerable, Democratic leaning, groups.
The measures range from complex voter ID laws to restrictive voter registration procedures as well as efforts to cut back on polling places and bids to exclude more former felons from casting a ballot.
By the 2016 presidential election 14 states had enacted voter suppression laws, according to the Brennan Centre for Justice, which also notes that in 2017 three other states – Arkansas, North Dakota and Missouri – also passed voting restriction laws.
Here are some of the important recent developments in the most critical midterm jurisdictions ahead of the election on 6 November.
Last week the supreme court allowed the state to keep a voter ID law in place that will likely bar thousands of Native Americans from voting in November. The law, brought in by state Republicans after Democrat Heidi Heitkamp won a tight US Senate race in 2012, requires voters to present identification that includes a current residential address.
It has been challenged by a collective of Native American voters who argue the law will disproportionately disenfranchise the state’s 30,000 American Indians many of who live on reservations without standard addresses.
The North Dakota Senate race, between Heitkamp and Republican Kevin Cramer, is one of the most pivotal battles in the Democrats’ bid to retake the US Senate. Heitkamp is already significantly behind, recent polls indicate, after she voted against Donald Trump’s supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
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