ScotSkim: Georgia voter restrictions, California cash bail, vaccine eligibility
April 1, 2021
Georgia recently passed a new voting restriction law that many claim disproportionately affects minority voters. Some changes include new ID requirements for requesting mail-in ballots and the prohibition of giving food or water to voters in line.
Many prominent Democrats, including President Joe Biden, claim that these new measures will suppress minority voters by making it harder for them to vote. For example, working-class people are more likely to not have an ID, making it harder for them to use mail-in ballots.
Many worry that this voting law signifies the start of the partisan battle over voting rights as Georgia is not the first state in the Biden era to pass new voting restriction laws, and other states are expected to follow suit.
California Supreme Court ends cash bail for some who can’t pay
A unanimous vote in the California Supreme Court declared that judges must consider a defendant’s ability to pay bail.
More specifically, some lower-income defendants will no longer be able to be detained purely for their inability to afford bail. Instead, judges can require other forms of release like electronic monitoring or regular check-ins with authorities. Prosecutors can still argue for detainment if they believe the arrestee is likely to flee or dangerous.
However, this ruling doesn’t completely eliminate the cash bail. In fact, 56% of California voters voted against Proposition 25, a ballot measure focused on eliminating cash bail. Still, California Public Defenders Association President Jennifer Friedman said she hoped that this ruling would be a “major sea change, and that no one will be in custody unless it has been shown by clear and convincing evidence there are no alternatives that will ensure the person returns to court.”
California soon to open up vaccine eligibility
Starting April 1, all Californians 50 or older will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccination shots. For those 16 and older, vaccine eligibility will begin on April 15.
Currently, the only Californians eligible for the vaccine are those 65 and older, people aged 16 to 64 with underlying health conditions or disabilities, homeless and incarcerated people, those living in long-term care facilities, and essential workers. Family members that accompany eligible relatives to their vaccination appointment can be vaccinated as well, provided they live in certain lower-income areas.
Although more people will become eligible for the vaccine, Gov. Gavin Newsom cautioned people about limited doses. As the weeks progress, vaccine supply is projected to increase; however, officials still expect a shortage.