News you might have missed: NBA teams compete to register the most voters
Also: Kansas could elect its first transgender lawmaker, and the Supreme Court upholds a decision to make voting easier in Rhode Island.
This week, three NBA teams joined together to register voters, more Confederate symbols came down, and Joe Biden welcomed Kamala Harris to his team.
Read on to see what else you might have missed this week in the news.
The Atlanta Hawks, the Golden State Warriors, and the Los Angeles Clippers will compete to see which team can register the most voters in the 82 days between Thursday, when the competition was announced, and Election Day, Nov. 3.
The National Basketball Association teams have partnered with the “John Lewis: Good Trouble” campaign and the “I am a voter” platform to conduct the competition, with one of the three teams to be crowned the winner each “quarter” of the competition, roughly 20 days, and the team with the most voter registration commitments receiving the John Lewis: Good Trouble Trophy, named in honor of the late civil rights icon who relentlessly fought for voting rights.
“The right to vote is one of the strongest voices our population has to use,” Rick Welts, president and COO of the Warriors, said in a statement. “We are 82 days away from the November 2020 Election Day and we intend to use every single day to promote voter education and participation efforts.”
The Democratic National Committee is set to include the Equality Act in the party’s national platform when delegates meet for their national convention next week.
The Equality Act, passed by the House of Representatives in 2019, is a nondiscrimination bill that would protect LGBTQ people.
The platform is also expected to include specific mentions of nonbinary people, transgender women of color, and gender nonconforming people.
The convention starts on Monday, Aug. 17, and runs through Thursday, Aug. 20, when Joe Biden will formally accept the party’s nomination for president.
Since nationwide anti-racism protests erupted following the death of George Floyd, at least 38 Confederate statues have been removed from public spaces, the Mississippi state flag has been altered to remove the Confederate battle flag from it, and a police logo that included a Confederate flag in the town of Gettysburg, South Dakota, has been taken out of use, the Southern Poverty Law Center announced on Tuesday.
Parks, schools, roads, and other geographic locations that were named in honor of Confederates have been renamed as well.
Floyd, a Black man, died after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes. His death sparked protests against police brutality and systemic racism, with many protests targeting public symbols celebrating the Confederacy.
Voters in Rhode Island will not have to obtain two in-person witnesses or a notary public in order to vote by mail in November, the United States Supreme Court ruled on Thursday.
Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo removed the existing witness requirement for the June primary, and issued a similar order for the November election, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Rhode Island Republicans challenged the ability of the state to enforce the order, but lost their cases at the district court and appeals court levels before the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear their challenge, keeping the lower court rulings in place.
Retired school teacher Stephanie Byers could become the first transgender lawmaker in Kansas history. Byers ran unopposed in the recent Democratic primary for the Kansas House of Representatives’ 86th District and faces Republican Cyndi Howerton in a district that CNN reported leans liberal.
Byers transitioned while she was a music teacher “with the full backing and blessing of my school board,” she told CNN.
“Stephanie has shattered a long-standing political barrier in Kansas and is poised to join a small but growing number of out trans state legislators across the country,” Annise Parker, former mayor of Houston, Texas, and president of LGBTQ Victory Fund, said in a statement. “Stephanie’s victory, like every victory for a trans candidate, will inspire more trans leaders to run for office in their communities and that will be transformative.”
Democrats have expanded the number of competitive U.S. Senate races since the beginning of the year and have a good chance of retaking control of the chamber this November, according to Nathan Gonzales, editor of Inside Elections.
Gonzales said that a combination of strong fundraising from Democrats and an unpopular president at the top of the Republican ticket gives the party a good shot at overcoming the GOP’s current 53-47 majority.
In July, Inside Elections rated six Republican-held seats in serious danger, including four rated as toss-ups (Iowa, Maine, Montana, and North Carolina) and two rated as “Tilt Democratic” (Arizona and Colorado). Only one Democratic-held seat — Alabama — is in danger of flipping.
Democrats’ ability to raise “ridiculous amounts of money” has created “headaches for Republicans,” Gonzales said during a phone interview on Wednesday, pointing to candidates like Jaime Harrison in South Carolina and Amy McGrath in Kentucky, candidates for two seats that experts had not predicted to be in play this cycle.
Overall, Democrats have a good chance at being in the majority “because there’s not only one path,” Gonzales said. Democrats “can win some and lose some in order to get there.”
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden announced on Tuesday that Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) would be his running mate in the upcoming election.
The next day, Biden released a video of himself asking Harris to join the ticket. After asking her over a video call, Biden put his wife, Jill, on speakerphone and asked Harris to have her husband, Doug Emhoff, join them.
“I’m looking forward to working with you guys every day,” Harris told the Bidens. “We’re gonna get this done.”
When I called @KamalaHarris yesterday to ask her to be my running mate, I wanted to make sure Jill and Doug got to say hello.
You’re honorary Bidens now! pic.twitter.com/IILUjB6WfY
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) August 13, 2020
“Jill, we’re ready to go to work,” Emhoff said.
“This is a team effort,” Biden told the group. “This is team play.”
Assemblywoman-elect Luanne Peterpaul will be first out lesbian in New Jersey Legislature
In January, Luanne Peterpaul will be the first out gay woman to become a New Jersey legislator, a move toward increasing LGBTQ representation in Trenton at a time when the queer community feels increasingly under attack in statehouses nationwide.By Sophie Nieto-Muñoz - November 20, 2023
House Speaker Mike Johnson has long opposed abortion and LGBTQ+ rights
Before the newly elected U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson was in public office, the Louisiana Republican’s restrictive stances on gender identity, abortion and sexuality were honed at the conservative Christian legal group Alliance Defending Freedom, where he served as a senior spokesperson and attorney. Alliance Defending Freedom, or ADF, is the legal force behind dozens […]By Amanda Becker, The 19th - November 02, 2023
Philadelphia mayor signs executive order protecting access to gender-affirming care
Democratic Mayor Jim Kenney said the order is in response to the wave of legislation attacking transgender rights across the country.By Will Fritz - October 19, 2023