After high turnout in the 2018 midterms gave Democrats big gains, several Republican-controlled states are considering changing the rules around voting in ways that might reduce future turnout.
Democrats passed House Resolution 1 (H.R. 1) Friday, a bill which could be the most sweeping anti-corruption measure passed by the House of Representatives in a generation, by a vote of 234 to 193. The bill focuses on voting rights, campaign finance, and government ethics. But it appears to have no chance in the Senate.
Even as the 2020 race begins in earnest, President Donald Trump is already suggesting that Democrats cannot beat him fairly -- raising the specter that if he loses next November, he will suggest that the election was not legitimate.
The disputed 9th Congressional District will have a new election this year after testimony detailed a fraud scheme during the 2018 midterms.
When Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell silenced Elizabeth Warren last week as she was reading Coretta Scott King's 1986 letter denouncing Jeff Sessions, he jogged the memory of another Massachusetts Democrat, Rep. William Keating.
A federal appeals court on Friday struck down North Carolina’s requirement that voters show identification before casting ballots and reinstated an additional week of early voting, finding that legislators had acted with “discriminatory intent” in imposing strict election rules.
Last Friday, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe restored voting rights to more than 200,000 people with previous felony convictions. It’s a momentous stroke in both scope and effect; with an eye towards the 2016 races, The New York Times estimated its electoral impact as “small but potentially decisive.” But the significance of McAuliffe’s efforts goes far beyond a single election. It instead marks an exorcism for one of Jim Crow’s last vestiges in Virginia’s state charter—and a reminder of how many of its legal aftereffects still linger today.
A federal appeals court struck down Texas' voter ID law on Wednesday in a victory for the Obama administration, which had taken the unusual step of bringing the weight of the U.S. Justice Department to fight new Republican-backed mandates at the ballot box. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the 2011 law carries a "discriminatory effect" and violates one of the remaining provisions of the Voting Rights Act — the heart of which was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013.
“The history of North Carolina is not on trial here,” Butch Bowers, a lawyer for Governor Pat McCrory, told a court in Winston-Salem on Monday. Pace Bowers, that’s precisely what’s on trial over the next two weeks. A group of plaintiffs—including the Justice Department, NAACP, and League of Women Voters—are suing the state over new voting laws implemented in 2013, saying that they represent an attempt to suppress the minority vote.
Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday called for sweeping changes in national voter-access laws aimed at making it easier for young people and minorities to take part in elections, putting her on a collision course with Republicans who say such measures are a political ploy that would lead to widespread abuses. In a speech at a historically black college here, Clinton called for federal legislation that would automatically register Americans to vote at age 18 and would mandate at least 20 days of early voting ahead of election days in all states.
Edward Blum has been trying to take down “one person, one vote” -- a tenet of modern voting rights law -- since 1997. Last week brought him his biggest breakthrough yet, with the Supreme Court surprising many election law experts by taking up a redistricting case that has the potential to redefine "one person, one vote" and fundamentally alter how electoral districts are drawn nationwide. The case also fits into Blum’s undeniably successful crusade to dismantle longstanding civil rights laws and remove race as a factor in governmental decision-making.
The Supreme Court has agreed to consider a major shift in how political districts are drawn nationwide by counting only citizens who can vote, not the total population. If the justices eventually rule for the conservative group that appealed the issue, the decision could dilute the political power of Latinos, especially in large states such as Texas, California and Florida.
Sweeping first-in-the nation legislation making voter registration automatic in Oregon was signed into law on Monday by Governor Kate Brown, potentially adding 300,000 new voters to state rolls. The so-called Motor Voter legislation will use state Department of Motor Vehicles data to automatically register eligible voters whose information is contained in the DMV system, with a 21-day opt-out period for those who wish to be taken off the registry. Supporters say the legislation's goal is to keep young voters, students and working families who move often from losing their right to vote. Republican lawmakers, who unanimously voted against the bill, complain it puts Oregonians' privacy at risk.
With the exception of the early 1960s, the right to vote in the United States is arguably more embattled today than at any time since Reconstruction. In a quick succession of rulings in October, voter-ID laws, residency requirements, and the curtailment of early voting hours and same-day registration were upheld or overturned in states across the country. The Supreme Court permitted restrictions in some states for the midterm elections and prohibited them in others, but it refused to rule on the merits of the laws. Amid the turmoil, voting-rights advocates cheered every small victory, however local or tenuous, and rued the many losses. The movement is still staggering from the body blow of Shelby County v.
Loyola University law professor Justin Levitt tried to quantify the epidemic of voter ID fraud that's forcing so many states to pass restrictive voter ID laws. He looked for not only cases where someone was convicted, but tracked "any specific, credible allegation that someone may have pretended to be someone else at the polls, in any way that an ID law could fix."
Open Facebook today and you’ll see a public service announcement of sorts. “It’s Election Day,” proclaims the text. “Share that you’re voting in the U.S. Election and find out where to vote.” Then Facebook offers you a button to do that sharing: “I’m a Voter.” To entice you to Vote (or, at least, click that button), Facebook listed a couple friends’s names and some profile pictures, and told me that 1.8 million other people had already done the same. (Which is a little staggering, since polls hadn’t even opened on the West Coast yet.)
Over the past decade, Republican legislators have pushed a number of measures critics say are blatant attempts to suppress minority voting, including voter ID requirements, shortened early voting periods, and limits on same-day voter registration. But minority voters are often disenfranchised in another, more subtle way: polling places without enough voting machines or poll workers. These polling places tend to have long lines to vote. Long lines force people to eventually give up and go home, depressing voter turnout. And that happens regularly all across the country in precincts with lots of minority voters, even without voter ID or other voting restrictions in place.
As he seeks to fend off a challenge from Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell has taken to accusing Grimes of perpetrating fraud on Kentucky voters, with the Republican authorizing mailers that warn voters they “are at risk of acting on fraudulent information.” Mailed in envelopes that blare “ELECTION VIOLATION NOTICE” and state “You are at risk of acting on fraudulent information,” the Kentucky Republican Party issued a letter that accuses Grimes of “blatant lies” about McConnell’s advocacy for a local coal plant and his support from “anti-coal activists like Michael Bloomberg.
“The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in 2007, “is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.” Those words as much as any may define the chief justice’s jurisprudential philosophy today. In that 2007 opinion, he wrote for five justices that two urban school systems could not take account of the race of students, even in a small minority of cases, in order to prevent certain magnet schools from becoming racially isolated because of neighborhood housing patterns. “Simply because the school districts may seek a worthy goal does not mean they are free to discriminate on the basis of race to achieve it,” Roberts wrote, in part of the opinion written only for four justices.
It’s soothing to think that this “voter fraud” fraud is a temporary fad among right-wingers desperate to stop the encroaching tide of minority voters — especially when you see silly provocateurs James O’Keefe and company running around the country making fools of themselves as they try to trap people into violating the voting laws. That’s so daft that it’s fair to assume this strategy may have run its course. Unfortunately, that would probably be wrong. “Voter fraud” is just the latest iteration of a fundamental belief among conservatives that if you let the riff-raff vote they will vote to take everything you’ve got.