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Learn about State Courts

Your State-by-State Guide to Every State Supreme Court

Bolts breaks down the structure, selection procedures, and functions of each state’s highest court.

Learn About Election Administration

Who Counts Our Elections?

Who are the local and state officials who are responsible for counting, canvassing, and certifying elections?

In 2024, Politics Is Local

Bolts covers the nuts and bolts of power and political change, from the local up. We report on the places, people, and policies that shape public policy. We focus on criminal justice and voting rights, and delve further in our vertical What’s on the Ballot.

Rights Restoration

Kentucky Activists Step In to Deliver on the Promise of Voting Rights Restoration

After the governor restored hundreds of thousands of people’s rights in 2019, a coalition led by formerly incarcerated Kentuckians is working to inform people of their rights.

Direct Democracy

‘We Have a Right to Put It on the Ballot’: How Organizers Are Defending Direct Democracy

Bolts invited three organizers in Arkansas, Idaho, and Ohio for a roundtable to discuss the attacks on ballot initiatives they are each fighting in their states, and lessons they’ve learned.

Voter Registration

Michigan Law Is First to Automatically Register People to Vote As They Leave Prison

The legislature passed a bill that will also expand automatic voter registration in other ways, including applying it at Medicaid offices, and likely add many new Michiganders to voter rolls.

Voting in Vermont

Refugee Organizing Helps Spur Noncitizen Voting in Vermont Cities

Three Vermont cities now allow all residents with legal status to vote in local elections, giving them a voice in everything from school boards to the structure of their municipal government.

Policing in Chicago

“I’m Just Another Traffic Stop”

Chicago built a new police team to rebuild community trust. It harassed drivers of color instead.

Parole in Alabama

In Alabama, an “Out of Control Board” Cuts Chances for Parole

After pressure from the governor and attorney general, denials from Alabama’s parole board have skyrocketed, blocking a key mechanism for release from the state’s overcrowded prisons.

Long ReadS

May 5, 2022

A Future for Susanville

Plans to shutter a California prison offer halting glimpses of a different world: an economy that doesn’t revolve around incarceration, a country where losing your job isn’t tantamount to ruin, and an opening for abolition.
Piper French,
June 29, 2023

“Just an Opportunity to Come Home”

Illinois, Minnesota, and New Mexico this year abolished sentences of life without parole for juveniles. Now comes the hard part.
Daniel Nichanian,