Editorials: Steve Sebelius: Only drama in Nevada special election comes from court | ReviewJournal.com

This weekend’s Republican Central Committee meeting in Sparks had all the excitement of watching your favorite movie for the 113th time: Sure it’s fun, but you know exactly how it ends.

The selection of former state Sen. Mark Amodei as the nominee for the special election in the 2nd Congressional District was assured the moment Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, Amodei’s only real competitor, announced he would not seek the office.

The only question was by how much Amodei — who stepped down recently as chairman of the state party — would beat two other contenders, appointed state Sen. Greg Brower and former USS Cole skipper Kirk Lippold. As Amodei himself said, if he’d failed to win the nomination (or if he’d won it by a less-than-impressive margin) it would have sent a very strong message. But Amodei did win, and convincingly (221 votes to just 56 for Brower, his closest competitor).

Alabama: No need for a voter ID law | Huntsville Times

The Alabama Legislature is notorious for providing solutions to problems that don’t exist. Requiring photo identification at the polls is one such example. There’s just been no compelling evidence of election fraud by voters who aren’t who they claim to be.

Yet in the waning hours of the 2011 legislative session, the Legislature approved a bill that will require voters to show photo identification at the polls before voting, with some exceptions. The bill takes effect with the 2014 elections.

Editorials: Rev. Jesse Jackson calls photo ID laws for voters in some states a new form of disenfranchisement | chicagotribune.com

The Rev. Jesse Jackson kicked off the Rainbow PUSH Coalition’s 40th annual conference Saturday by warning that photo ID laws in some states impinge on the voting rights of blacks, college students and others who are less likely to carry official identification.

Speaking before about 150 people at Rainbow PUSH headquarters in the Kenwood neighborhood, Jackson said the requirement that voters in Indiana, Georgia and six other states bring photo ID cards to the polls is a new form of disenfranchisement. PUSH remains important four decades after he founded the organization in Chicago, Jackson said, because it brings attention to these issues.

“We’ve come full circle,” Jackson said from the stage, conjuring memories of the civil rights battles he waged alongside the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1960s. “All that Dr. King stood for, fought for, that we now honor him for, is under attack.”

Editorials: A Missed Opportunity in Nevada | Brennan Center for Justice

On June 3, the Nevada legislature passed Assembly Bill 301, and today, Governor Sandoval ignored the bipartisan will of the legislature and vetoed A.B. 301.  By issuing a veto for this bill, Governor Sandoval failed to seize a significant opportunity to expand voting rights and support racial justice in Nevada. The bill had aimed to make the voting rights restoration process more efficient and help Nevada move closer to a fair and fully functioning democratic system.

A.B. 301 was written to streamline and simplify Nevada’s incredibly complicated patchwork of laws governing the restoration of voting rights after a criminal sentence. The bill would have automatically restored voting rights to anyone who honorably completes a felony sentence of imprisonment, probation, or parole.   The Brennan Center, along with key allies including the American Probation and Parole Association and the ACLU of Nevada, worked hard to shape and support this important voting rights bill. Brennan Center attorney Lee Rowland introduced the bill in March 2011 and again gave testimony in support of the bill in May of 2011.

Editorials: Voter ID will pass, but issue not voting | The Clarion-Ledger

Mississippi needs to do more to stop voter fraud. Mississippi needs to make changes in voting procedures to make voting more accessible and convenient. Mississippi should always pursue efforts to ensure voter integrity.

There are a lot of things Mississippi could do to improve voting procedures. Voter ID isn’t one of them.

Requiring voters to show a photo identification at the polls would do little or nothing to achieve any of these admirable goals. Still, thousands of Mississippians have signed petitions calling for a voter ID amendment to be added to the state constitution and, in November, voters will most likely do just that.

Editorials: Voter fraud: Time to undertake complete review | Las Cruces Sun-News

What started out as a review of 37 cases of possible voter fraud has mushroomed into a massive investigation by the State Police of some 64,000 cases. The Secretary of State’s Office, headed by newly elected Republican Dianna Duran, has turned over truckloads of voter records for the State Police to review.

Daniel Ivey-Soto, executive director of the organization that represents New Mexico’s 33 county clerks, has derided the investigation as a “64,000-record fishing expedition.” We disagree.

In fact, we’d like to see the investigation expanded further still, if that’s what it takes to finally bring resolution to an issue that has festered for far too long, casting doubt — justified or not — on our electoral process. And, while Ivey-Soto thinks the clerks would be better positioned to conduct such an investigation, we believe only a thorough and complete review by the State Police will be seen as credible.

Editorials: Vote suppression in the Maryland governor’s race? | The Washington Post

“We’re okay. Relax. Everything’s fine.” Those reassuring words phoned to tens of thousands of Maryland residents last year on Election Day were part of a smarmy effort to convince voters that — even though the polls were still open — they need not vote because Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) already had won. “The only thing left is to watch it on TV tonight.” The calls were deceptive and, state prosecutors have concluded, illegal. Their decision to bring criminal charges is a powerful message that such tactics should not be tolerated.

Two political operatives who worked on the gubernatorial campaign of Republican Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., also a former governor, were indicted by a Baltimore city grand jury Thursday on charges of orchestrating robocalls to more than 100,000 Democratic voters as part of a scheme to suppress the African American vote. Paul E. Schurick, top aide to Mr. Ehrlich, and political consultant Julius Henson were charged with multiple counts of conspiracy to violate Maryland election law. Mr. Schurick, a fixture in Maryland politics, was also indicted on a count of obstruction of justice for allegedly withholding documentation that had been subpoenaed. An indictment is an allegation of facts, not proof, and lawyers for both men proclaimed the innocence of their clients. An attorney for Mr. Schurick said the charges were based upon “a fundamental misunderstanding of the facts” and said they would be vigorously challenged.

Editorials: Right-Wing Attempts to Shorten Early Voting Period Are Aimed at Progressive Base | Progressive States Network

The 2008 early vote proved beneficial to progressives, with self-identified Democrats making up a disproportionate share of the early vote. Barack Obama’s success in engaging the Democratic base and, in particular, targeting early voters was especially evident in the fact that, though 80% of first-time early voters in 2008 had voted at a polling place on previous Election Days, nearly half of the same group had never taken advantage of early voting in any of the previous four federal elections.

Certain demographics were more likely to benefit from early voting – for example, urban and African-American voters constituted a larger share of the early vote than the non-early vote, presumably to avoid notoriously long lines that are pervasive in predominantly urban and/or African-American districts on Election Day or to take advantage of the flexibility inherent in early voting by casting a ballot when their work/family schedule permits.

Though non-early voters supported both Obama and John McCain at an even 47%, Obama held the edge among early voters, garnering 52% of the vote. Thus, it comes as no surprise that, with a series of victories on voter ID legislation under their belt, conservatives are now setting their sights on restricting access to early voting in swing states – a move that targets historically disenfranchised communities just in time for the 2012 election.

Editorials: Focus on Charlie White hearing | The Indianapolis Star

Allowing cameras in the Indiana Recount Commission’s hearing on Secretary of State Charlie White’s eligibility to hold that office is the right decision.
Indiana’s Open Door Law clearly gives the public the right to “observe and record” meetings of governing bodies of state and local public agencies. The Indiana Supreme Court upheld that right in its 1989 decision in Berry v. Peoples Broadcasting Corp., where the court said cameras and tape recorders could not be banned from public meetings.

One can appreciate that White and his wife, Michele, may be uncomfortable testifying about where they lived or slept at particular time, but that’s a key element in the question as to where White lived and where he should have voted in the 2010 election.

The public’s right to know whether one of the top elected officials should be removed from office, overturning the election result, trumps the uneasiness witnesses may experience knowing their testimony is being videorecorded.

Editorials: Robert M. Brandon: Have You Checked Your Right to Vote Lately? | Hufffington Post

Over the past few years, many states have attempted to implement restrictive photo identification laws. The debate surrounding this legislation is now familiar — those supporting such laws state that a government-issued photo ID is needed to board a plane, rent a movie, or purchase cold medicine. Opponents point out that none of those activities are fundamental rights protected by the U.S. Constitution, and that certain groups — the poor, minorities, the elderly, the disabled — are far less likely to have the required types of ID.

It is easy to block out both sides of the argument, attributing it to the noise of partisan political bickering, especially if you are part of the fortunate 89% of the country that does have a valid driver’s license.

Colorado: Editorial: Restore Saguache voters’ faith with public recount | The Denver Post

A statewide grand jury’s finding that Saguache County’s controversial elections last fall ultimately were decided correctly should reassure local residents. Members of the panel went through events in minute detail and wrote a report that persuasively explains how procedural problems did not affect the outcome of the election.

It seems that information and transparency can go a long way toward defusing an explosive situation. We wish Saguache County Clerk and Recorder Melinda Myers, who was cleared of any criminal wrongdoing, would fully embrace that message.

Myers remains engaged in a court battle with Secretary of State Scott Gessler over his plan to hold a public recounting of votes in that election.

Editorials: Voting: It’s (Apparently) Not for Everyone | Campus Progress- Campus Progress

Yesterday, Hardball and The Rachel Maddow Show ran segments highlighting the ongoing efforts by  several state legislatures to make it more difficult to vote, blasting lawmakers for disenfranchising younger and older citizens. As Campus Progress has been reporting, state legislatures in Maine, Wisconsin, and numerous other states are working towards passing or have already passed laws that require voters to have ID cards with them at the polls, and end same-day registration for voting.

Both Rachel Maddow and Hardball’s Chris Matthews expressed indignation at this trend. “The people who have the least trouble with the ID cards, the people who drove to the polling station, have an ID right in their pockets called their driver`s license and they are middle class people with enough money to own a car,” said Matthews. “And [if] they`re young enough to drive and old enough to have enough money to own a car, they are probably able to vote. It`s the younger person and older person who might be disenfranchised.”

Editorials: Lions and Tigers and Fraud, Oh My! Secretary of State Kris Kobach Is at It Again | Katie O’Connor/Huffington Post

In a recent column in the Wall Street Journal, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach takes a victory lap trumpeting the passage of his voter ID law. He writes: “You can’t cash a check, board a plane, or even buy full-strength Sudafed over the counter without [a photo ID]. That’s why it’s not unreasonable to require one in order to protect our most important privilege of citizenship.” Voting, however, is not a privilege; it is a fundamental right guaranteed by more constitutional amendments than any other right we have. Cashing a check, getting on an airplane, and buying a nasal decongestant are not similarly enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.

The putative targets of photo ID and proof-of-citizenship laws are alleged perpetrators of registration and in-person voter impersonation fraud. However, voting rights groups have obtained records from Kobach’s own officethat deflate his claims that “[v]oter fraud is a well-documented reality in American elections.” The disclosed report, which covers Kansas elections from 1997 to 2011, shows merely 221 incidents for 14 years of elections, and 200 of these could not have been prevented by the new proof-of-citizenship and photo ID requirements. These include more than 98 fraudulent or erroneous absentee ballot applications, 18 instances of attempted or completed double-voting in different precincts or jurisdictions, 17 instances of felons voting, 16 instances of absentee ballot fraud, as well as reports of electioneering and voter intimidation. Photo ID and proof-of-citizenship laws, which at their best can only confirm identity at the polls and block ineligible noncitizens from registering, simply do not prevent any of the above conduct.

Editorials: Greg Kesich: Maine GOP not alone in trying to lower voter turnout | The Portland Press Herald

Find Maine on a map and you see that we are stuck in the upper right-hand corner of the nation, not on anyone’s way anywhere. But politically we can be right in the middle, and a little home-grown issue can turn out to be an item on someone’s national agenda.

How else can you explain the sudden interest in election reform bills, which have been hotly contested in this year’s legislative session?

It’s certainly not a response to voter fraud, although state Republican Party Chairman Charlie Webster appears to have a gut feeling that it has been widespread since the Muskie era. (How else would all those Democrats win elections?)

Editorials: Opinion: The real victims of election ID laws | Justin Levitt/politico.com

With ballooning deficits and substantial unemployment among the urgent problems confronting the states, many state legislatures spent the first days of their 2011 session attempting to restrict the way that voters prove their identity at the polls.

Five states passed voter ID laws in 2011. The most stringent preclude citizens from casting a valid ballot unless they show specific documents. Opinion polls reveal that the public supports this idea. But those behind this effort have forgotten both their priorities and their obligation to safeguard the vote — the most fundamental of constitutional rights — not just for most U.S. citizens but for all.

The public supports restrictive ID rules because most Americans have ID. We think nothing of showing ID for conveniences, so we think nothing of showing it as a condition for a basic constitutional right. Because we have the correct ID, and our friends have the correct ID, we think every citizen has the correct ID.

Editorials: Von Spakovsky Spreads Falsehoods To Push For Voter ID Laws | Media Matters

In USA Today op-ed, Pajamas Media blogger and former DOJ Civil Rights Division official Hans von Spakovsky employed numerous falsehoods to defend statutes requiring all voters to show identification before casting ballots. In fact, contrary to von Spakovsky’s argument, legal voters have been turned away from the voting booth because they lacked proper identification, the effects of voter ID laws may fall disproportionately on the poor and members of racial minorities, and instances of fraudulent voting are very rare.

Von Spakovsky Falsely Suggests Voter ID Laws Did Not Prevent People From Voting

Von Spakovksy: Plaintiffs Challenging Voter ID Law “Couldn’t Produce Anyone Who Would Be Unable To Vote Because Of The Voter ID Requirements.”

Editorials: Rosa Scarcelli: Maine Voting Rights Under Attack | Huffington Post

Following a disturbing national trend, Tea Party Republican Gov. Paul LePage and his allies in Maine’s Legislature have used questionable tactics to push through legislation to make it harder for people to vote.

Late on Friday afternoon, Republicans in the Maine State Senate gave the governor his wish and sent to him a bill that will end Election Day registration.

Maine has allowed voters to register to vote on Election Day for 38 years. In that time, there have been only two cases of voting fraud related to same-day registration.

Editorials: Opposing view: ID laws ensure election integrity | Hans A. von Spakovsky/ USAToday.com

Why are states such as Texas and Kansas passing voter ID laws? Quite simply, to ensure the integrity of our election process.

Our ViewRepublican ID laws smack of vote suppression

All Americans who are eligible to vote must have the opportunity to do so. But it’s equally important that their ballots are not stolen or diluted by fraudulent votes. That is one of the reasons that Americans — by an overwhelming margin, across all racial and ethnic lines — support such common-sense reform.

Voter ID can significantly defeat and deter impersonation fraud at the polls, voting under fictitious names, double-voting by individuals registered in more than one state, and voting by non-citizens. As the Supreme Court has pointed out, “flagrant examples of such fraud … have been documented throughout this nation’s history.”

Editorials: A nationwide assault on voting rights | Elisabeth MacNamara/The Washington Post

The June 5 news article “La. redistricting seen as a crucial test” missed a crucial point: what our democracy would look like without the critical protections afforded by the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

By all accounts, a nationwide assault on voters’ rights is underway. State laws are being passed at an alarming rate that make it harder for millions of eligible voters to cast ballots by shortening early-voting periods, requiring photo IDs and erecting burdensome barriers to voter registration efforts.

Editorials: Our view: Republican ID laws smack of vote suppression | USAToday.com

Except, that is, when Republicans want to impose tighter rules for their political benefit. A case in point is the flurry of states —six so far this year— rushing to pass laws requiring voters to bring government-issued photo IDs to polling places. All have Republican governors and GOP-controlled legislatures.

Opposing View: ID laws ensure election integrity

Supporters say this is necessary to prevent voter fraud. But the operative question is: Why, at a time of economic distress and state budget shortfalls, is this such a priority? The answer has less to do with prevention than with suppression.

Editorials: Dems, GOP, Each See Upper Hand in Voter ID Debate | PoliticsPA

It’s been put off for this week, but when lawmakers return from recess they’ll likely take up debate on a law requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls. We took a look at arguments for and against the bill when it was introduced. Today, we take a look at the politics.

Each party is digging in, and each sees itself with the upper hand in the battle for public opinion.

The measure, introduced by State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe and most popular among conservatives and tea partiers, aims to tackle voter fraud. Proponents say the bill would eliminate voting by people not registered, people voting multiple times, illegal immigrants voting and most of the horror stories they hear about elections in inner-city Philadelphia.

Editorials: Voters need to be able to register at polls | NJ.com

Gabriela G., Annalee S. and Ed V. are Rutgers University students who eagerly went to the polls to vote in the November 2008 general election. All three had registered to vote, prior to the 21-day deadline, from their college addresses.

However, when they went to cast their ballots, they were surprised to find that their names were not on the voting lists. They were directed to either leave the polling place or to vote by paper provisional ballots, which are checked post-election against the voting rolls. However, they were not informed of the strong likelihood that their provisional ballots would be thrown out, since their names were not in the system.

 

Editorials: A vote here and a vote there | Idaho Mountain Express

It’s not news that the people with political power do their best to maintain it. Making sure people vote is democracy at work. Erecting barriers to keep others from voting is called voter suppression, and that’s exactly what the Republican right is up to in 2011.

To date, 23 states—including Idaho—have passed or are considering new requirements that voters produce picture identification when they come to the polls. Without such proof, a voter in Idaho must sign a document swearing to his or her identity. The penalty for swearing falsely is perjury, a felony.

Delaware: Don’t toy with the US Constitution | delawareonline.com

Once again, the Delaware General Assembly is tinkering with a new way of picking presidents. And, once again, we still say it is a bad idea.

House Bill 55 follows something called the National Popular Vote. It would swing Delaware’s three Electoral College votes to whoever wins the popular vote across the nation.

In other words, if the total popular vote from every state across the nation picked Donald Trump to be president, then Delaware’s Electoral College votes would go to him even if Barack Obama won the vote here.

Editorials: Big voter turnouts and perceptions of fraud | NewsObserver.com

Since North Carolina Republicans introduced a Voter ID bill in February that would require all citizens to show a photo ID before voting, one thing has become crystal clear. State efforts are part of a nationwide drive to tighten rules on voting. In the past two months no less than 13 state legislatures, all of them controlled by Republicans, have advanced Voter ID legislation.

Sponsors in North Carolina and elsewhere claim showing driver’s licenses or a similar card will eliminate voter fraud and, as the North Carolina bill is named, “Restore Confidence in Government.” Democrats have countered that there has been no wave of election fraud that needs fixing. Instead, they insist, Republicans are trying to make it harder for the elderly, the poor and the transient – those who often lack driver’s licenses – to vote. They compare the measure to historic poll taxes that once disfranchised thousands of North Carolinians.

Editorials: Maine Voices: Legislature should not revoke Mainers’ voting rights | The Portland Press Herald

The Maine House and Senate are poised to limit the most fundamental democratic process — voting. L.D. 1376, “An Act To Preserve the Integrity of the Voter Registration and Election Process,” will eliminate Maine’s nearly 40-year tradition of Election Day registration. It is a very bad deal for Maine voters. Election Day registration means that voters can register and vote on the same day. It works well.

Eliminating Election Day registration will disenfranchise the thousands of Maine citizens who rely on it. And to what end? There have been only two cases of voter fraud prosecuted in Maine in 30 years. In addition to Maine’s tradition of election integrity, we have a tradition of vibrant civic engagement. In fact, Maine has one of the highest rates of voter participation in the country.

This move will turn back the clock on our democracy. It will turn back the clock on voting rights.

Editorials: Electronic voting offers possibility of “cloud democracy” | Novaya Gazeta

For us in Russia, democracy in and of itself is a miracle: the simplest and most understandable democracy, based on the most average European templates, where no one pressures anyone else, there is no irreplaceable leader, and there is an independent court. One would think that if one were to dream, then it would be only of this: when the time comes, for this desired end to come!

Meanwhile, all the rest of progressive humanity continues to move forward, and while we are admiring the facades of classical democracy, an incredible transformation is being readied behind them, and in some places is already happening.

Editorials: Can’t we do better? Voter ID legislation isn’t needed here | PennLive.com

If Pennsylvania has a voting issue, it is that not enough people go to the polls. It isn’t with people trying to pass themselves off as someone else at the voting booth.

Nonetheless, lawmakers are expected this week to rigorously debate legislation aimed at stopping voter fraud, which is not a problem, by requiring all registered voters to present valid photo ID when going to the polls.
Presently, an ID is required when you vote at a new voting precinct for the first time.

Editorials: They Want to Make Voting Harder? | NYTimes.com

One of the most promising recent trends in expanding political participation has been allowing people to vote in the weeks before Election Day, either in person or by mail. Early voting, which enables people to skip long lines and vote at more convenient times, has been increasingly popular over the last 15 years. It skyrocketed to a third of the vote in 2008, rising particularly in the South and among black voters supporting Barack Obama.

And that, of course, is why Republican lawmakers in the South are trying desperately to cut it back. Two states in the region have already reduced early-voting periods, and lawmakers in others are considering doing so. It is the latest element of a well-coordinated effort by Republican state legislators across the country to disenfranchise voters who tend to support Democrats, particularly minorities and young people.

The biggest part of that effort, imposing cumbersome requirements that voters have a government ID, has been painted as a response to voter fraud, an essentially nonexistent problem. But Republican lawmakers also have taken a good look at voting patterns, realized that early voting might have played a role in Mr. Obama’s 2008 victory, and now want to reduce that possibility in 2012.

Editorials: Grant Petty: Real ‘wake-up call’ is for ballot security | Wisconsin State Journal

Despite the title of Wednesday’s editorial — “It’s a wake-up call, all right” — the editors appear to be asleep at the wheel.

Referring to the Kloppenburg versus Prosser election mess, they make the valid narrow point that judicial elections should be abolished, but they fail to acknowledge the far broader ramifications of a tainted election system that is now used in all Wisconsin elections — not just judicial ones.

In view of the fiascoes in Waukesha, Verona and elsewhere, mere failure to prove that election fraud and/or incompetence might have tipped a very close election will not be enough to restore voters’ confidence in this and future outcomes.