Editorials: Congo’s fragile steps toward a democratic transition must not be lost | The Washington Post

HAVING NEVER experienced a peaceful transfer of power since independence in 1960, Congo is in a precarious position. The Dec. 30 election, while not conducted in perfect conditions after two years of postponement and uncertainty, nevertheless took place to choose a successor to President Joseph Kabila, a testament to the determination of millions of voters.…

Editorials: Why voters shouldn’t have to, but must be vigilant about their right to vote | Caleb Gayle /The Hill

In the deluge of news during the 2018 election cycle, many might have missed the case of Larry Harmon, a Navy veteran, who had entered his local polling place in 2015 because he wanted to vote on a marijuana legalization ballot initiative to find that he was not on the voter rolls. He had been unimpressed by the candidates during the 2010, 2012, and 2014 elections and had sat out those elections, not realizing that doing so would cost him ability to cast a ballot in 2015. Mr. Harmon’s case made it to the Supreme Court last year, which should put all voters on notice — that their right to vote requires an extra measure of protection. As we recover briefly from the hangover of the 2018 election cycle only to quickly enter the soon-to-be crowded field of the 2020 cycle, our attention will naturally turn to swing states. Mr. Harmon was from one of the most critical swing states — Ohio — and as a result of his case, voters all over the country need to become more vigilant. For people of color, the ability to vote may be under special threat.

Editorials: Russia isn’t out to decide our elections, they want to divide us and damage our country | Eric Wang/USA Today

Like an Internet meme promoting a narrative, many now say Russia’s online propaganda in America was focused on interfering with the 2016 elections. Federal and state lawmakers introduced bills, some of which became law, on this predicate. But two reports recently released by the Senate Intelligence Committee suggest this premise is mistaken. As the 116th Congress and new state legislative sessions convene in 2019, lawmakers and their staff should carefully study these reports before they act. The reports reveal how the Russian efforts go far beyond election interference. The real goal is outright sabotage by tearing apart America’s social fabric.

Editorials: The Congo’s Crooked Contest | Wall Street Journal

A long history of misrule has made the Democratic Republic of Congo one of the world’s poorest and most dangerous countries. The Congolese people had reason for optimism this summer when President Joseph Kabila agreed to step down. This makes the hijinks surrounding Sunday’s election particularly dispiriting. This was only the fourth multiparty election since independence in 1960, and it is the central African nation’s best chance at a peaceful transfer of power. After delaying elections for years, in August Mr. Kabila agreed to abide by the constitution and forgo another presidential run. That left his chosen successor, Emmanuel Shadary, to face off against some 20 candidates. The opposition largely coalesced around Martin Fayulu and Felix Tshisekedi, and Mr. Shadary trailed in polls.

Editorials: The 200-Year History of Using Voter Fraud Fears to Block Access to the Ballot | Pema Levy/Mother Jones

It seemed inevitable after evidence of voting irregularities appeared in the contested race in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District: Republicans used the problems to push for tighter voting laws last month. Voting restrictions in the name of fraud prevention have been at the forefront of Donald Trump’s presidency ever since he claimed in the wake of his election that millions of fraudulent votes had been cast against him and he created a commission to investigate voter fraud. (Never mind that the commission failed to document any evidence of widespread fraud, or that North Carolina’s issues appeared to stem from impropriety on the part of the Republican candidate’s campaign, not voters.) But raising fears of fraud in order to make it harder for people—particularly people fitting certain demographic profiles—to vote didn’t start with this administration, or even in the past 100 years. As Harvard University historian Alexander Keyssar lays out in his 2000 book, The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States, the tactic dates back to the early decades of the 19th century. Throughout US history, politicians and activists ginned up stories about fraud in order to keep their opponents from the polls. “Legislative debates were sprinkled heavily with tales of ballot box stuffing, miscounts, hordes of immigrants lined up to vote as the machine instructed, men trooping from precinct to precinct to vote early and often,” he writes. 

Editorials: Trump illegally asked Russia to help him win in 2016. He shouldn’t get away with it. | Fred Wertheimer and Norman Eisen/USA Today

Prosecutors triggered a national firestorm last month when they asserted that President Donald Trump conspired with his ex-fixer, Michael Cohen, to commit campaign finance crimes involving hush money payments to two women. But the discussion has overlooked another Trump campaign finance offense — one that is even easier to prove because it occurred in plain sight. On July 27, 2016, Trump called on Russia to find presidential Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s missing emails. “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Trump proclaimed. He added, “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

Editorials: Russia and Republicans attempt to suppress black vote, but Russians are slicker | Joe Davidson/The Washington Post

One difference between Russian and Republican efforts to quash the black vote: The Russians are more sophisticated, insidious and slick. Documents released by the Senate Intelligence Committee, first reported by my colleagues Craig Timberg and Tony Romm, show in previously unknown detail a complex, high-tech, surreptitious strike on American democracy, targeting African Americans. Unlike the Republican sledgehammers used to suppress votes and thwart electorates’ decisions in various states, the Russians are sneaky, using social media come-ons that ostensibly had little to do with the 2016 vote. In fact, the Russians were devoted to supporting the Republican presidential candidacy of Donald Trump, undermining Democrat Hillary Clinton and using black voters as the main vehicle. “Messaging to African Americans sought to divert their political energy away from established political institutions by preying on anger with structural inequalities faced by African Americans, including police violence, poverty, and disproportionate levels of incarceration,” said the report by the Computational Propaganda Research Project. “These campaigns pushed a message that the best way to advance the cause of the African American community was to boycott the election and focus on other issues instead. This often happened through the use of repetitive slogans.”

Editorials: Russia’s support for Trump’s election is no longer disputable | The Washington Post

Two reports prepared for the Senate on Russian disinformation unfold a now-indisputable narrative: The Kremlin engaged in a coordinated campaign to elevate Donald Trump to the presidency, and this country’s technology companies were central to its strategy. The Russia operation is staggering in its scale, precision and deceptiveness. Pages generated by the Kremlin-linked Internet Research Agency elicited nearly 40 million likes and more than 30 million shares on Facebook alone, reeling in susceptible users with provocative advertisements and then giving them propaganda to spread far and wide. The aim was not to toss the country into tumult, but to put the preferred candidate of a foreign adversary in the Oval Office. All the while, Americans were entirely unaware of what was happening: What seemed like local Black Lives Matter activists were actually Russian trolls well-versed in the buzzwords of social justice. Ostensible patriots for Second Amendment rights were broadcasting from St. Petersburg. Republicans have protested over the past year that election interference is neither unusual nor important. This week’s reports comprehensively put both arguments to rest. Russia waged an unprecedented campaign, targeting Americans across all segments of society, on platforms large and small. The studies do not even cover the entirety of Russia’s online tampering: The hack-and-leak operation that led to the release of Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s private emails, orchestrated by the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence agency, was another crucial salvo in a pro-Trump onslaught.

Editorials: Democratic House will address most important civil rights issue in half century | Lawrence Lessig/USA Today

In its first act next January, the new House is scheduled to take up the most important civil rights bill in half a century. The bill signals a profoundly comprehensive understanding of the flaws that have evolved within our democracy. That it is scheduled first screams a recognition that these flaws must be fixed first, if we’re to have a Congress that is free to do the other critically important work that Congress must do. But that the bill is all but invisible to anyone outside the beltway signals the most important gap left in this most important fight to make representative democracy in America possible — if not again, then finally. The bill  —  denominated H.R. 1  —  is a radically comprehensive and practical fix to all but one of the critical failures of our evolved system of representative democracy. Crafted primarily by Representative John Sarbanes (D-MD), the bill recognizes that there are multiple flaws within our democracy and that these flaws must be addressed together.

Editorials: Yes, Russian Trolls Helped Elect Trump | Michelle Goldberg/The New York Times

This year, researchers at Ohio State University tried to measure the impact that fake news had on the 2016 election. They based their analysis on a postelection survey in which they’d asked voters 281 questions, three of which were intended to determine their exposure to online disinformation. Respondents were asked to rate the accuracy of statements claiming that Hillary Clinton was suffering from a serious illness, that she’d approved weapons sales to the Islamic State as secretary of state, and that Donald Trump had been endorsed by Pope Francis. “Belief in these fake news stories is very strongly linked to defection from the Democratic ticket by 2012 Obama voters,” wrote the researchers, Richard Gunther, Paul A. Beck and Erik C. Nisbet. Even after controlling for variables like ideology, education, party identification and dislike of Clinton, they found that believing a fake news story made people who voted for President Barack Obama in 2012 significantly less likely to vote for Clinton in 2016. The study’s authors don’t claim a clear causal link between propaganda and voting; it’s possible that people who rejected Clinton were more open to misinformation about her. It’s hard to believe, however, that at least some of them weren’t affected by a social media ecosystem saturated with deliberate lies.

Editorials: Trump’s claim that he didn’t violate campaign finance law is weak — and dangerous | George T. Conway III, Trevor Potter and Neal Katyal/The Washington Post

Last week, in their case against Michael Cohen, federal prosecutors in New York filed a sentencing brief concluding that, in committing the felony campaign-finance violations to which he pleaded guilty, Cohen had “acted in coordination with and at the direction of Individual-1,” President Trump. And this week, prosecutors revealed that they had obtained an agreement from AMI, the parent company of the National Enquirer, in which AMI admitted that it, too, had made an illegal payment to influence the election. The AMI payment was the product of a meeting in which Trump was in the room with Cohen and AMI President David Pecker. This all suggests Trump could become a target of a very serious criminal campaign finance investigation. In response, Trump has offered up three defenses. His first was to repeatedly lie. For quite some time, he flatly denied knowledge about the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels. But now he seems to be acknowledging that he knew (since his personal company reimbursed Cohen for the payment, he ought to). Now Trump and his acolytes have turned to two other excuses: They point to an earlier case involving former senator John Edwards to argue that what Trump did wasn’t a crime; and they say, even if it was a crime, it wasn’t a biggie — there are lots of crimes, so what, who cares.

Editorials: What happened in North Carolina wasn’t voter fraud. Voters were the victims. | Harry Enten/CNN

President Donald Trump and others have long claimed, without evidence, that there is widespread “voter fraud” in America. Some have pointed to the mounting evidence of fraud in North Carolina as proof that voter fraud is a real problem. Yet, I would argue that the situation in North Carolina proves nothing of the sort. There, a political operative who was working for a consulting firm hired by the Republican candidate is accused of directing an illegal scheme involving absentee ballots. What occurred in the Tarheel State wasn’t voter fraud. It was election fraud. And unlike allegations made by the President about voter fraud, there’s actual evidence that election fraud may have occurred in North Carolina.

Editorials: How Alarmed Should We Be About Wisconsin? | David Leonhardt/The New York Times

I called Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, the authors of the recent book “How Democracies Die,” with a question last week. Levitsky and Ziblatt are political scientists, and their book has gotten a lot of attention lately. They argue that the biggest threat to democracy in much of the world today is not a military coup but elected leaders “who subvert the very process that brought them to power.” My question to Levitsky and Ziblatt was: How alarmed should I be about the recent event in Wisconsin, where Republican legislators are trying to strip power from the incoming Democratic governor and attorney general? Their answer: Alarmed.

Editorials: Wyoming led way for female vote | Lew Freedman/Cody Enterprise

Notice the references to the earliest days of the United States all cite the Founding Fathers. No Founding Mothers. The idea of females voting was not on anyone’s radar in 1776. The genesis of women obtaining the vote was rooted in the 1840s, but the prospect gained traction when African-Americans gained that right in the post-Civil War era. Which led to Wyoming granting women the right to vote in 1869, or 150 years ago next year. Amy McKinney, a Northwest College professor, recently described Wyoming’s pioneering status to a rapt audience at the Pahaska Corral of Westerners. While other places were listening to fiery speakers about women’s rights, Wyoming was taking action.

Editorials: The sad truth about Russian election interference | Robby Mook/The Washington Post

New filings by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III on Friday provided fresh clues about where the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election is headed. Mueller’s filing said President Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, was contacted in 2015 by a “Russian national” seeking “synergy” between Trump’s campaign and the Russian government. The special counsel’s team also said Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, lied about meeting with Konstantin Kilimnik, whom the U.S. government has linked to Russian intelligence. The Mueller filings made news, of course. But how much has what we know about Trump and Russia really changed since 2016? Not as much as you might think. On the Friday before the Democratic National Convention in July 2016, Russian agents released, through WikiLeaks, thousands of emails stolen from the DNC. The timing caused maximum harm at a critical moment in the Democratic contest. As campaign manager for Hillary Clinton, I appeared two days later on two Sunday political talk shows, ready for an avalanche of questions about the emails, which I got. But rather than focusing on the content of the documents, I thought it was important to discuss why they were released in the first place.

Editorials: The GOP is using Republican fraud in North Carolina to try to punish Democrats. | Richard Hasen/Slate

It is easy for Democrats to feel some glee about revelations that a Republican operative may have committed absentee ballot fraud in connection with last month’s election for North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District. Not only does this mean that Democrat Dan McCready may have a chance to beat Republican Mark Harris in a new election that the state election board or the U.S. House of Representatives may order, giving Democrats a chance to pick up a 41st Republican seat this election cycle. The idea of a Republican operative being caught up in election shenanigans after North Carolina Republicans and others have been yelling so loudly in the past decade about the false specter of Democratic “voter fraud” deliciously demonstrates the hypocrisy and disingenuousness of Republican rhetoric about election integrity. But to me, the circumstances surrounding the North Carolina election controversy are profoundly depressing, because they reveal that even incontrovertible facts are not going to get in the way of a narrative used to justify a host of suppressive laws aimed at making it harder for those likely to vote for Democrats to register and to vote, not only in North Carolina, but in Florida, Georgia, Wisconsin, and elsewhere.

Editorials: After Citizens United, a Vicious Cycle of Corruption | Thomas B. Edsall/The New York Times

In the eight years since it was decided, Citizens United has unleashed a wave of campaign spending that by any reasonable standard is extraordinarily corrupt. To see how this operates in practice, let’s take a look at how Paul Ryan, the outgoing speaker of the House, negotiated a path — narrowly constructed to stay on the right side of the law — during a recent fund-raising trip to Las Vegas, as recounted in detail by Politico. In early May, Ryan flew to Nevada to solicit money from Sheldon Adelson — the casino magnate who was by far the largest Republican contributor of 2018 — for the Congressional Leadership Fund, an independent expenditure super PAC. Ryan was accompanied by Norm Coleman, a former Republican Senator from Minnesota. The Leadership Fund, according to its website, is “a super PAC exclusively dedicated to protecting and strengthening the Republican Majority in the House of Representatives.” It “operates independently of any federal candidate or officeholder.”

Editorials: Improve Elections, Fully Confirm Election Assistance Commission Before 2020 | Matthew Weil/Bipartisan Policy Center

It’s hard to make progress when you have both hands tied behind your back a third of the time. Voters want more secure and better functioning elections, and Congress can act right now to accomplish that. In the swirl of election security concerns, ballot design problems, and vote counting confusion, the Senate should take up the two pending nominees to the United States Election Assistance Commission (EAC) before adjourning this month. The EAC is the federal government’s main arm for disseminating election administration information to state and local election officials. The Commission sets the guidelines for voting systems and certifies the machines that voters use to cast ballots. Commission staff collect and disseminate vital data about election administration, share best practices, facilitate outreach to language minority voters and those with disabilities, and much more.

Editorials: Good Time To Point Out Voter ID Would Not Stop Republican Election Fraud | Elie Mystal/Above the Law

I believe that people who push voter identification requirements are cynical racists who believe in voter suppression as the best way to ensure Republican control and prop up the policies of white supremacy. But… maybe they’re just stupid. I argue with a lot of people who claim that voter ID laws are just a “common sense” solution the “dangerous” problem of voter fraud. That position is demonstrably ignorant, but centrists tell me that people who believe it need not be self-consciously malignant. Happily, the honest attempt at actual voter fraud by North Carolina Republicans will give us all a chance to test our hypotheses. If I’m right, the racists will ignore this attempt at fraud. If the centrists are right, these pro-voter ID people will actually learn something.

Editorials: Removing obstacles to voting needs to be a national priority | Dorian Warren/The Hill

Since the midterm election, a few things have become clear: Yes, we did have a blue wave. A big one, with 39 pick-ups for Democrats in the House, seven governor’s seats flipped red to blue, and a net gain of 350 state legislative seats. Media reports of lack of enthusiasm among Latinos prior to Election Day were way off — in fact, Latino turnout increased approximately 174% from 2014. And, finally, voter suppression doesn’t start or stop on Election Day. In Georgia and Florida, efforts to ensure that all votes are counted were aggressively challenged by the officials in charge of voting systems in those states — both of whom just happened to be Republican candidates in two of the contested races. Talk about the fox guarding the henhouse. The Democratic candidates in both states conceded their races.

Editorials: Georgia doesn’t need another voter suppressor running its elections | Carol Anderson/The Guardian

Donald Trump wants Brad Raffensperger to be secretary of state overseeing elections in Georgia. That, alone, should give any self-respecting American pause. What the state needs is not more of the voter suppression that put a truly compromised candidate in the White House in 2016 or that allowed more than 1 million Georgians to be purged from the voter rolls and tens of thousands of registrations held in electoral limbo because of a typo, a hyphen, or accent mark. What Georgia needs, instead, is democracy, which is something it hasn’t had in more than a decade. In 2005, Georgia passed the first voter ID law by a state that was under the preclearance jurisdiction of the Voting Rights Act. In the wake of the civil rights movement, states like Georgia, that had a demonstrated history of discriminating against its minority citizens’ right to vote, had to have all of their voter regulations and laws approved by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) or the federal court in Washington, DC before implementation. Preclearance had provided a powerful check on the rampant abuses of the 15th amendment.

Editorials: Aha! North Carolina voter fraud does exist. (Just not the kind you think) | Charlotte Observer

As news continues to break about possible voter fraud in North Carolina’s 9th District congressional election, we’re seeing emails and comments with a similar theme: Aha! Voter fraud! Don’t voter ID opponents (and you, the Observer editorial board) say that fraud is almost non-existent? No, we don’t say that. But the voter fraud that exists is the one Republicans in Raleigh don’t much want to talk about. First, what we’ve said: Voter ID laws primarily deal with protecting elections from in-person voter fraud, meaning someone going to a precinct and attempting to vote as someone else. That kind of voter fraud is rare — in 2016, the state Board of Elections found that 4,769,640 votes were cast in November and that one (1) would probably have been avoided with a voter ID law.

Editorials: Stacey Abrams’ New Lawsuit Against Georgia’s Broken Voting System Is Incredibly Smart | Richard Hasen/Slate

Defeated Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams and her allies are taking on Georgia’s shoddy election system in the right way: through a big and bold lawsuit. At the very least, the lawsuit will shine the light of day on how Georgia makes it much harder than many other states to register and successfully cast a ballot. If the lawsuit achieves its more ambitious aims, a court could put Georgia’s voting system back under federal supervision for up to 10 years. Rather than how a typical voting lawsuit works with a singular focus on a problematic aspect of Georgia’s electoral process—like overexuberant voter purges or its shoddy voting machinery—the lawsuit makes an argument that the cumulative effect of Georgia’s system is to deny voters, especially voters of color, the opportunity to easily cast a ballot which will be fairly and accurately counted.

Editorials: 4 ways North Carolina lawmakers can make a voter ID bill less than awful | News & Observer

Voter ID laws are an awful way to protect the integrity of elections. They address a problem that isn’t a problem — the North Carolina board of elections found one case in 4.8 million votes cast in 2016 that photo ID would have addressed — and they disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of potential voters who don’t have the documents, money or time to obtain an ID. Voter ID is even more troublesome in the hands of North Carolina’s Republican legislators, who have shown a remarkable capacity to craft voting laws that are unconstitutional, racially discriminatory and inevitably slapped down by federal judges. Still, NC voters decided this month to give the legislature another try, approving an amendment to the NC Constitution that allows lawmakers to draw up a new voter ID law without having to get the governor’s approval.

Editorials: Brian Kemp’s Win In Georgia Is Tainted by Voter Suppression | Ari Berman/Mother Jones

India Owens, a 22-year-old African American woman, voted in the 2016 presidential election at Union Grove Baptist Church in Auburn, Georgia, an exurb of Atlanta. Two years later, she hadn’t moved or changed her address, but when she returned to her polling place on the morning of November 6, 2018, she was told by poll workers that she was not registered to vote. She was not offered a provisional ballot and left without voting. She returned later that day and demanded a provisional ballot, but she does not know if it was counted. Owens’ story was not an isolated incident in Georgia this election. There were a multitude of voting problems in the gubernatorial race between Republican Brian Kemp and Democrat Stacey Abrams. Eligible voters didn’t show up on the registration rolls or were purged by the state. Thousands of Georgians had their registrations put on hold and weren’t sure if they’d be able to vote. Some voters were wrongly flagged as non-citizens; others had their ballots rejected because poll workers told them they had the wrong ID. Hundreds of polling places were shuttered before the election, and other precincts had four-hour lines. Absentee ballots were rejected because of signature mismatches or other minor errors. One Abrams adviser described it as “death by a thousand paper cuts.”

Editorials: Here’s how Kansas can reverse some of the damage Kris Kobach did as secretary of state | The Kansas City Star

Kansas has a great opportunity to undo some of the damage caused by Secretary of State Kris Kobach during his two terms in office. Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Scott Schwab, the incoming secretary of state, have taken the first step. They’ve announced a proposal to end the secretary of state’s ability to prosecute voter fraud cases. Instead, the responsibility would return to local prosecutors or the attorney general’s office. “It will be more efficient for our professional prosecutors to handle voter fraud cases … than for the secretary of state to maintain separate prosecution capacity,” Schmidt said in a statement. Well, yes. It was never efficient for Kobach to have the power to prosecute voter fraud. It was a stunt, designed to enhance Kobach’s national profile for political purposes. Happily, it was a failed experiment. Kobach’s office has filed a mere handful of voter cases, mostly against Kansans who improperly voted in multiple jurisdictions. We’re pretty sure Schmidt’s prosecutors will not be overburdened with work if lawmakers return enforcement powers to the right place.

Editorials: Don’t use voter ID to make voting harder in North Carolina | Colin Campbell/News & Observer

I’ve got a confession to make: Back in 2006, I didn’t vote. It’s not that I didn’t want to. I’m one of those people who feels strongly that it’s a basic duty of citizenship to vote in every election. I judge people who don’t vote. My excuse was that I was a UNC-Chapel Hill student still registered to vote in my Virginia hometown. The absentee voting deadline slipped by me, as I’m sure it did for other busy college students. The following year, I moved my voter registration to North Carolina to make sure it wouldn’t happen again. But under the state’s 2013 voter ID, that switch would have been a lot harder. That’s because the legislature refused to allow student ID cards at the polls. It didn’t matter that IDs issued by public universities are effectively government-issued IDs. There had been no reports of fraudulent student IDs. GOP legislators didn’t include student IDs because they know the majority of college students tend to vote for Democrats.

Editorials: Replace aging voting machines in South Carolina | Charleston Post and Courier

If your smartphone battery dies, it’s frustrating, but you can find a land line somewhere. Or if your car’s backup camera goes down, you can always turn around and look out of the rear window — the way it was done in the early 2000s. But if the vintage 2004 voting machine on which you cast your vote goes haywire or, worse, records your vote wrong, your options are much more limited, especially in South Carolina where electronic votes are not backed up by a paper trail. And with foreign powers eager to interfere with our elections and some U.S. politicians casting doubts on the integrity of our elections, South Carolina must not put off any longer replacing its aging, trouble-prone voting machines with new ones that use the most sophisticated security capabilities and efficiency available.

Editorials: Why Democrats Should Not Call the Georgia Governor’s Race “Stolen” | Richard Hasen/Slate

Many Democrats are understandably angry about efforts to suppress the vote in Georgia and elsewhere in the 2018 midterm elections. In the Peach State, there is no question that Gov.-elect Brian Kemp, while secretary of state, made it harder for minority and other voters to register and vote, through a combination of deliberate efforts and gross incompetence. He administered what I consider to be the most egregious partisan action by an election official in the modern era when he falsely accused the Georgia Democratic Party of hacking into the state election system, and a few days before Election Day, posted that false accusation on the website that Georgia voters used to get polling information. But for three reasons, Democrats should stop with the rhetoric that the race was “stolen,” as Sherrod Brown, Democratic senator from Ohio has said, and they should not follow the lead of Kemp’s Democratic opponent Stacey Abrams, who repeatedly refused to acknowledge Kemp as the “legitimate” winner of the election when questioned Sunday by CNN’s Jake Tapper.

Editorials: What’s the matter with Florida? | Ronald A. Klain/The Washington Post

As the general counsel of Al Gore’s 2000 recount effort in Florida, I’m often asked this question about the Senate and gubernatorial recounts now going on there: Why does “this” keep happening in Florida? Part of what we are seeing now in Florida, as we did in 2000, is the product of factors specific to the state: persistently weak election administration in key counties, perennially close and hard-fought elections, and a colorful group of political players that seems ripped from the pages of a Carl Hiaasen novel. But the most important thing to know about what’s happening in Florida is that it has little to do specifically with Florida at all. Take a step back and look at the big issues playing out in Florida, and what you’ll see, instead of Florida’s foibles, are three critical challenges to American democracy as a whole. First, we allow interested parties — not neutral officials — to oversee the electoral process. It may seem absurd that Florida’s chief law enforcement officer, Gov. Rick Scott, who is also the Republican nominee in the Senate recount, is in a position to allege crimes by election officials, attempt to seize voting machines and dispatch state troopers to try to intervene in the post-election dispute. But a similar spectacle has been unfolding for months next door in Georgia.