Editorials: France’s Election Is Giving the World Deja Vu | Therese Raphael/Bloomberg

Nobody has seriously suggested that Russian hackers are behind the troubles facing French presidential candidate Francois Fillon. But apart from that, if you were anywhere on the planet during the recent U.S. election then you might be wondering if you’ve seen this movie before. Formerly a front-runner in the French presidential race, Fillon has apologized for errors of judgement but denied acting illegally in employing his wife and kids while in office. He has vowed to fight on, very much as Hillary Clinton did last year. We think we know where this is going — it doesn’t look good for Fillon — but in the La La Land of French politics, there are probably more twists and turns to go. Fillon was nearly Filloff on Wednesday. A French news outlet reported wrongly that his wife Penelope had been taken into custody over allegations that he paid her with public funds for work she didn’t do. Fillon cancelled a key campaign appearance — the annual farm fair in Paris is a mandatory campaign stop for candidates wanting to show their support for rural France — and hastily scheduled a news conference.

Editorials: Want Secure Elections? Then Maybe Don’t Cut Security Funding | Dan S. Wallach and Justin Talbot-Zorn/WIRED

Last Week, the House Administration Committee voted on party lines to defund the Election Administration Commission, the leading federal agency responsible for helping states run smooth elections and preventing hacking. Republicans justified the move as a way to save money and shrink the size and scope of government: “We don’t need fluff,” said Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS), the committee chairman, explaining his vote. But the move wasn’t just Capitol Hill budget politics as usual. It’s evidence of a radical disconnect between a handful of influential House Republicans and nearly everyone else—including the scientific community, leading cybersecurity experts, and even the White House—who contend that voting vulnerabilities are a serious problem. On the morning of the election, Donald Trump called Fox News to give his views on the state of voting in the United States: “There’s something really nice about the old paper ballot system—you don’t worry about hacking.” Trump wasn’t going rogue. While his “voter fraud” comments have gotten serious attention of late, he has also, like many conservatives, expressed concern about the vulnerability of voting systems.

Editorials: The Dutch Election Is About More Than Nationalism | Leonid Bershidsky/Bloomberg

It’s almost 10 p.m. on a Monday night but the 100 or so people assembled in a hotel conference room in North Holland are in no hurry to go home. They’re asking a dapper, young politician pointed and thoughtful questions that reveal a hunger for political debate. It would be an idyllic picture of one of the world’s most accomplished democracies if the content of the discussion weren’t evidence of a democratic process gone badly wrong. The March 15 election in the Netherlands is expected to deliver a further strong signal to global political elites that many Western voters no longer accept the way in which they are governed. And that signal won’t be limited to the expected strong showing for Geert Wilders’ far-right Freedom Party (PVV).

Editorials: Fight ID laws one voter at a time | Molly J. McGrath/Wisconsin State Journal

I first met Cinderria, an 18-year-old woman of color, in a library in Downtown Madison. She approached the table marked “Voter ID Assistance” and explained that with the 2016 presidential primary only a few months away, and despite several trips to the DMV, she still didn’t have a valid ID as mandated by Wisconsin’s strict new laws. It turned out she needed a Social Security card but wasn’t sure how to obtain one. Proponents of voter ID laws don’t want to acknowledge that Cinderria’s case is far from unusual. Experts project that in Wisconsin alone, 300,000 eligible voters lack the ID necessary to cast a ballot. Across the country, 32 states have some form of voter ID law, creating a crisis of disenfranchisement not seen since the civil rights era. These ID laws don’t touch all groups equally: Voters of color, like Cinderria, are hit hardest. The elderly, students and low-income voters also are disproportionately affected. (A new study published in the Journal of Politics, for instance, found that strict ID laws lower African-American, Latino, Asian-American and multiracial American turnout.)

Editorials: Why Dutch voters are about to set the stage for Europe’s elections | Cas Mudde/The Guardian

The Dutch will vote in parliamentary elections on 15 March and, whatever the outcome, will set the stage for key elections across Europe this year – starting with the first round of the French presidential election on 23 April. Seldom has Europe followed Dutch elections so closely, and seldom have they been so unpredictable. So what can Europe expect from the Netherlands and what can we learn? For decades Dutch elections were the most boring in western Europe, with the vast majority of people voting for the same party their whole life, creating only small electoral shifts. This changed in 2002, because of the shock effect of the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and the rise of the populist Pim Fortuyn, cut short by his murder nine days before the 2002 general election. Although the political party that Fortuyn founded, the LPF, existed for less than six years, it fundamentally changed the political system. Dutch elections are now more volatile, the tone is harsher, and the issues broader – with immigration and Islam now dominating most campaigns.

Editorials: Russia’s assault on America’s elections is just one example of a global threat | David Ignatius/The Washington Post

One of the most startling allegations in a January report by U.S. intelligence agencies about Russian hacking was this sentence: “Russia has sought to influence elections across Europe.” This warning of a campaign far broader than the United States got little attention in America. We may be missing the forest for the trees in the Russia story: The Kremlin’s attempt to meddle in the 2016 U.S. presidential election is part of a much bigger tale of Russian covert action — in which Donald Trump’s campaign was perhaps a tool, witting or unwitting. This secret manipulation, if unchecked, could pose an “existential threat” to Western democracy, argues Gérard Araud, France’s ambassador to Washington. The investigations begun by the FBI and Congress hopefully will reveal or debunk any connections between the Trump team and Russia’s hidden manipulators. A larger benefit is that these inquiries will bolster transatlantic efforts to reclaim the political space the Kremlin is trying to infiltrate. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said last weekend in Munich that the world is entering the “post-West” era. Unless the United States stands solidly with its allies, Lavrov’s claim may prove accurate.

Editorials: Trump’s Russia Motives | David Leonhardt/The New York Times

The mystery at the core of the Trump-Russia story is motive. President Trump certainly seems to have a strange case of Russophilia. He has surrounded himself with aides who have Russian ties. Those aides were talking to Russian agents during the campaign, and some are now pushing a dubious peace deal in Ukraine. Trump recently went so far as to equate the United States and Vladimir Putin’s murderous regime. But why? It’s not a simple question. In their Russia-related inquiries, the F.B.I. and the Senate Intelligence Committee will need to focus first on what happened — whether Trump’s team broke any laws and whether the president has lied about it. Yet the investigators, as well as the journalists doing such good work reporting this story, should also keep in mind the why of the matter. It will help explain the rest of the story. The United States has never had a situation quite like this. Other countries have tried to intervene in our affairs before, sometimes with modest success. Britain and Nazi Germany, for example, tried to influence the 1940 presidential election, financing bogus polls and efforts to sway the nominating conventions. But never has a president had such murky ties to a foreign government as hostile as Putin’s. I count five possible explanations for Trump’s Russophilia, and they’re not mutually exclusive.

Editorials: Fighting voter ID laws in the courts isn’t enough. We need boots on the ground | Molly J. McGrath/Los Angeles Times

I first met Cinderria, an 18-year-old woman of color, in a library in downtown Madison, Wis. She approached the table marked “Voter ID Assistance” and explained that with the 2016 presidential primary only a few months away, and despite several trips to the DMV, she still didn’t have a valid ID as mandated by Wisconsin’s strict new laws. It turned out she needed a Social Security card but wasn’t sure how to obtain one. Proponents of voter ID laws don’t want to acknowledge that Cinderria’s case is far from unusual. Experts project that in Wisconsin alone, 300,000 eligible voters lack the ID necessary to cast a ballot. Across the country, 32 states have some form of voter ID law, creating a crisis of disenfranchisement not seen since the civil rights era. These ID laws don’t touch all groups equally: Voters of color, like Cinderria, are hit hardest. The elderly, students and low-income voters also are disproportionately affected. (A new study published in the Journal of Politics, for instance, found that strict ID laws lower African American, Latino, Asian American and multiracial American turnout.)

Editorials: Death to the Gerrymander: Paul Smith might defeat unconstitutional redistricting. | Mark Joseph Stern/Salon

It has become painfully clear in recent years that partisan gerrymandering is one of American democracy’s worst illnesses. Although the Supreme Court held decades ago that the purpose of redistricting was to ensure “fair and effective representation for all citizens,” legislators often use the process to lock the minority party out of power. Both Democrats and Republicans deploy partisan gerrymandering to dilute votes for their opponents, creating one-party rule and, arguably, greater polarization. That’s bad for the body politic and a clear contravention of the Constitution. But as long as the courts refuse to step in, gerrymandering will continue to plague the country. Now Paul Smith, one of the greatest legal minds in the country, is asking the Supreme Court to finally put a stop to it. And here’s the exciting part: He might actually succeed.

Editorials: The harmful myth of widespread voter fraud | Christoper Seaman/Roanoke Times

The 2016 election has been thrust back into the headlines with President Trump’s unsupported claim of “massive” voter fraud and promise to conduct a “major investigation.” But academics who have studied this issue, election administrators, and even President Trump’s own lawyers already agree: There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud. We have been down this road before. During the administration of President George W. Bush, the Justice Department conducted a wide ranging, five-year investigation into claims of voter fraud after the hotly contested 2000 election, but ultimately ended up with little to show for it. This inquiry did not turn up any instances of widespread conspiracies of voter fraud, nor did it find any evidence that fraud impacted congressional or statewide elections. Instead, only a few dozen individuals — out of hundreds of millions of votes cast nationwide — were charged with election-related violations, most of which involved mistakes regarding voter registration forms or voter eligibility rules.

Editorials: The redistricting formulas in Ohio that serve the parties, not the people | Thomas Suddes/Cleveland Plain Dealer

In 1980, when Ronald Reagan carried Ohio, he drew about 51.5 percent of the state’s vote, and Ohioans sent 23 people to the U.S. House of Representatives. Thirteen (or 57 percent) were Republicans, 10 (or 43 percent), Democrats. A few months ago, Donald Trump carried Ohio. He drew about 51.7 percent of the state’s vote, and Ohioans sent 16 people to the House. Of those 16 House members, 12 (or 75 percent) are Republicans, four (or 25 percent) are Democrats. Anyone wonder why most General Assembly Republicans (i.e., 66 of 99 state House members, 24 of 33 state Senate members) aren’t in any rush to reform how Ohio draws congressional districts? The legislature draws districts now. And it appears that Republicans don’t want good-government busybodies gumming things up. (In fairness, though, Sen. Frank LaRose, a Hudson Republican, has called for districting reform. So has state Rep. Kathleen Clyde, a Kent Democrat. Clyde and LaRose are considered likely 2018 candidates for secretary of state, Ohio’s chief election officer.)

Editorials: Keeping the Kremlin’s Hands Off France’s Elections | The New York Times

With the United States engulfed in questions about Russia’s role in the 2016 presidential election, France is determined to head off any such meddling in its coming presidential election. On Monday Richard Ferrand, the director of Emmanuel Macron’s campaign, claimed that the Russians had unleashed “hundreds and even thousands” of hacking attempts against Mr. Macron, and that RT and Sputnik, government-controlled news outlets, are spreading fake news, as they were said to have done during the American election cycle. The stories about Mr. Macron range from allegations that he is engaged in a secret extramarital gay affair to accusations that he used state funds to pay for foreign travel.

Editorials: Russia, Trump and the 2016 election: What’s the best way for Congress to investigate? | Jordan Tama/The Conversation

Exactly how will the U.S. conduct a fair and accurate investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and links with President Donald Trump’s campaign? U.S. congressional leaders are discussing options. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, said that the Senate intelligence committee is best suited to investigate any concerns related to Russia. Senator Lindsey Graham, a leading Republican voice on foreign policy, suggested Congress should establish a select, or special, committee of lawmakers to probe the matter. Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader in the House of Representatives, urged the creation of “a bipartisan, independent, outside commission” to investigate it. Each of these alternatives may seem reasonable, but there are key differences between them. My research on more than 50 government investigations reveals that independent commissions, like the one Pelosi is advocating for, are more likely than regular or select congressional committees to achieve consensus about controversial events.

Editorials: Making Voting White Again: The Trump administration’s continued repetition of bogus claims of voter fraud has a very specific purpose. | Jamelle Bouie/Slate

Birtherism, the conspiracy theory that Barack Obama was born abroad and thus ineligible for the presidency, served a very specific purpose. It was a tool of delegitimization, a means to drive xenophobic suspicion and racial hostility. It’s why Donald Trump, its chief advocate, never truly dropped the crusade—not after wide condemnation from critics and fact-checkers; not after wide ridicule from much of the public; and not after Obama released his long-form birth certificate, debunking the charge outright. “A lot of people question it,” said Trump in a 2015 question-and-answer session with Fox News’ Sean Hannity a few months before he announced his bid for the White House. Trump’s birtherism didn’t just feed anti-Obama distrust and paranoia among conservative voters. It helped feed a sense of grievance—a feeling that their country had been hijacked by nefarious forces, and they needed to take it back. And whether Trump realized it or not at the time, it also helped till ground for his eventual presidential campaign and its message of nativist anger and racist hostility. It is now important to remember all of this, as Trump and his backers stoke another conspiracy theory, aimed at delegitimizing a different set of opponents.

Editorials: The president lays the groundwork for a nationwide voter intimidation program | Sherrilyn Ifill/The Washington Post

White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller argued Sunday that President Trump was the victim of voter fraud in the election. “Voter fraud,” Miller insisted, “is a serious problem in this country.” This statement is untrue. He also said that “the White House has provided enormous evidence” of this fraud. This is also untrue. The president himself has repeatedly made unsubstantiated claims, from last week’s allegation that then-Sen. Kelly Ayotte lost her race in New Hampshire because thousands of voters were bused in from Massachusetts to his fact-free insistence that he lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes because of 3 million to 5 million votes cast by “illegals.” And when he called for a “major investigation,” he was hardly opaque about his aims, with his press secretary, Sean Spicer, saying that the probe would be focused on “urban areas,” the same areas Trump told his supporters to “watch” on Election Day. Let’s dispense with the easy part. This issue has been studied, and every credible academic review has concluded that widespread voter fraud does not happen in this country. There are isolated incidents, such as the Iowa woman accused of voting twice for Trump. But there is no evidence that millions, thousands or even hundreds of instances of in-person voter fraud occur in the United States. One of the most reliable studies found only 31 instances of fraud in more than 1 billion votes cast over nearly 15 years. A person is more likely to be struck by lightning than commit voter fraud.

Editorials: Meet the creator of ‘alternative facts,’ Kris Kobach | The Hutchison News

When the White House accused the press of actively covering up millions of illegal votes cast in the 2016 election, they suggested a conversation with the country’s most reliable source for overblown fears about illegal voting. America, meet the not-so-illustrious Kris Kobach. While you might come to know him as a Trump fan and a talking head on national news shows, in Kansas we’ve long known the Secretary of State in a quite different capacity: As a questionable administrator of the state’s elections who has an unquenchable thirst for the power to prosecute those who dare run afoul of his enhanced registration and identification requirements for voting. He didn’t really make his case, despite appearances on both CNN and the Kobach-friendly Fox News. Oh, and he’s not so good at the record-keeping required by the office he runs. The Kansas Legislature granted Kobach the power to prosecute people who double voted, or failed to comply with voting laws. And after making so much hay about the issue, Kobach produced a total of nine cases worthy of bringing to court – in most cases elderly voters who misunderstood some of the laws.

Editorials: The Latest Voter-Fraud Lie | The New York Times

“It is a fact and you will not deny it.” That unnerving remark — made on Sunday by Stephen Miller, a senior policy adviser to President Trump — sums up the new administration’s attitude toward the truth: We Decide, You Report. Mr. Miller made the comment at the end of a heated back-and-forth with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, who had asked him to defend Mr. Trump’s latest claim of voter fraud — that his narrow loss in New Hampshire was due to voters who had been bused in illegally from Massachusetts. When Mr. Stephanopoulos pressed him for even a single example of fraud, Mr. Miller responded: “George, go to New Hampshire. Talk to anybody who has worked in politics there for a long time.” O.K., why don’t we? Start with New Hampshire’s secretary of state, Bill Gardner, who has been in office for four decades. “We have never gotten any proof about buses showing up at polling places,” Mr. Gardner told The Boston Globe. Or how about Tom Rath, the state’s former attorney general and a Republican, who tweeted on Sunday that “allegations of voter fraud in NH are baseless, without any merit — it’s shameful to spread these fantasies.” Even New Hampshire’s governor, Chris Sununu, who shortly before the election floated his own evidence-free claim about buses of illegal Democratic voters, has backed off.

Editorials: The Trump Administration’s Lies About Voter Fraud Will Lead to Massive Voter Suppression | Ari Berman/The Nation

After falsely alleging that 3 million to 5 million people voted illegally in 2016, Donald Trump debuted a new lie about voter fraud in a meeting with senators on Thursday, saying, according to Politico, that “thousands” of people were “brought in on buses” from Massachusetts to “illegally” vote in New Hampshire. Trump claimed that’s why he and former GOP senator Kelly Ayotte lost their races in the state. White House Senior Adviser Stephen Miller repeated Trump’s latest lie in an interview with ABC’s This Week on Sunday. “This issue of busing voters in New Hampshire is widely known by anyone who’s worked in New Hampshire politics,” Miller said. “It’s very real. It’s very serious.” When pressed for evidence by George Stephanopoulos, Miller said, “This morning, on this show, is not the venue to lay out all the evidence.” “For the record, you have provided absolutely no evidence,” Stephanopoulos responded. Miller could provide no evidence for Trump’s claim because there is none.  “We have never gotten any proof about buses showing up at polling places,” New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner, who’s been in office since 1976, told The Boston Globe. “I will pay $1000 to 1st person proving even 1 outofstate person took bus from MA 2 any NH polling place last ElectionDay,” tweeted former New Hampshire GOP chair Fergus Cullen.

Editorials: Elections need oversight, not GOP deceit | NJ.com

Russian hackers tried to destabilize our election, and even if the actual damage is undetermined, it is a national security crisis that requires all patriotic hands on deck. The president says there were 3 to 5 million fraudulent votes in the last election, and even if it is an assertion that makes strangers back away warily, he has the power to set up a commission to look into it. And all this happened 21/2 years after a commission warned of “an impending crisis” in voting technology. So exactly what sense does it make for a congressional committee to terminate the only federal agency that is responsible for testing and certifying our voting system? Pause here for cognitive dissonance.

Editorials: Why do Virginia lawmakers want to make our elections hackable? | Dale Eisman/Richmond Times-Dispatch

When all 17 agencies in the federal government’s worldwide intelligence network agree that Russian cyber-spies penetrated voter registration and record-keeping systems in at least four states last year, you’d think that state legislators would shy away from embracing new, expensive, and vulnerable-to-hacking election technologies. And when the Department of Defense — which, despite billions of dollars invested in protecting its own computers — has fallen victim to hackers and concluded it can’t guarantee the integrity of ballots cast online by troops stationed overseas, you’d think online voting would be totally off-the-table. But in Virginia, you’d be wrong. State senators ignored warnings from a non-partisan group of computer scientists and voted 36-4 last week for an internet voting “pilot program” pushed by Sen. William DeSteph, R-Virginia Beach. SB 1490 may be the worst bill you’ve never heard of in the 2017 legislative session and it’s now halfway to passage.

Editorials: Blue skies over Somalia | Akbar Arman/Al Jazeera

The stage seemed set for a ceremonial rubber-stamping of the status quo. Some of the new parliamentarians, many of who came through a corrupt process supported by domestic and foreign elements, started to arrive late and, at times, act unprofessionally on the floor. Key officials, including the speakers of both chambers of the Federal Parliament, were awkwardly seated under the stage where ballots were being cast for the most important election in Somalia’s history. And the event itself was being conducted in Halane district, a geographical space that is physically located in Mogadishu, but in reality is entirely a different world – it is a type of a “Green Zone” for UN agencies, diplomatic missions, and private security. But, we now know that bad optics don’t always result in bad outcomes.

Editorials: Republicans Hold On to a Myth to Hold On to Power | The New York Times

Given the increased political power Republicans won in the last elections, from Washington to red-state legislatures, voters might expect the party to feel that the nation’s voting procedures are working quite well. Yet this is far from the case, as triumphant Republicans are using their enhanced clout to continue their campaign playing up the mythical threat that voter fraud abounds in the nation. The newest and loudest zealot in this cause is, of course, President Trump, with his scurrilous claim that millions of illegal ballots cost him a popular vote majority. His baseless claim only encourages the renewed efforts at voter suppression reported to be underway in a score of Republican-dominated statehouses intent on making it harder for citizens to register or vote. Mr. Trump is trying to sell the false idea that he was fraudulently denied a clear mandate. Republican state legislators, in turn, are no more convincing but just as cynical in insisting that elaborate new ballot protections are needed — protections that effectively target poor people, minorities and students, who tend to favor Democratic candidates.

Editorials: The next GOP assault on voting rights | E.J. Dionne Jr./The Washington Post

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 R. Keating. “I went to bed that evening seeing what was occurring,” Keating said in an interview, “and when I woke up in the morning, my mind immediately went back to the outrage of an amendment that had been passed in the House,” almost entirely with Republican votes. The amendment, introduced by Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) and approved on May 9, 2012, was aimed at preventing the Justice Department from using its funds “to bring any action against any state for implementation of a state law requiring voter identification.” In other words, even if the Department of Justice thought a voter ID law discriminated against African Americans or Latinos, it could not sue to protect them.

Editorials: Why We Need the Election Assistance Commission | Matthew Weil/Bipartisan Policy Center

On Tuesday, the House Administration Committee considered a bill to eliminate the only federal agency tasked with improving the voting process for all Americans. If this seems like a strange response to an election marked by allegations of voter fraud, voter suppression, and election rigging—from both sides of the political aisle—you’re not wrong. While there are legitimate concerns about the role of the federal government in elections, eliminating the United States Election Assistance Commission will lead to less secure and more costly elections in the future. And all Americans will lose. Regularly over the last decade, lawmakers have argued that the EAC intrudes on state and local election administrators who bear the responsibility for actually running American elections, and that it costs too much for the services it provides. But there are real and vital reasons for the EAC to exist.

Editorials: Time for Act II of the MOVE Act | Susan Dzieduszycka-Suinat/U.S. Vote Foundation

Rarely does the first iteration of a law translate legislative intent into implementation flawlessly and durably. The legislative process allows us to correct, improve or update laws as needed in our changing times. It’s an ongoing process, and one we should embrace! A new round of legislative reform is needed to ensure that the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) and its progeny continue to play a vital role. In 2009, the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act (MOVE) was passed as a much-needed, bipartisan reform to UOCAVA; and it has served as a mechanism to modernize key aspects of UOCAVA. The MOVE Act’s creation was informed by years of research, including work by U.S. Vote Foundation’s (US Vote) Overseas Vote initiative (formerly Overseas Vote Foundation), and it has been demonstrably successful in accelerating the transition to online methods for most overseas and military voting processes across all states.

Editorials: Sessions tried to jail me for helping people vote | Evelyn Turner/USA Today

While my husband and I were trying to help black people vote in Alabama, Jeff Sessions was trying to put us in jail. Perry County in the 1960s was a hostile place to be black. To register to vote, a black resident needed to have a white “well to do” citizen to vouch for them. To enter the county courthouse, blacks had to use the back door. And to fight for our basic rights as Americans, we had to gather in the woods because so many black residents were afraid to be seen meeting in town. Despite vicious segregation and this climate of fear, civil rights leaders and ordinary black residents organized to seek the right to vote. My husband, Albert Turner, served as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Alabama field director and helped to lead voter registration efforts in Marion and Perry County. The U.S. Department of Justice and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy helped to support our voter registration efforts and secure our basic rights. Federal registrars sent by Kennedy worked out of the Marion post office basement and helped to register hundreds of black voters.

Editorials: Here’s How the 2018 Midterm Elections Could Be Fatally Undermined | Natalie Reed/The Nation

If you’ll permit an understatement, these have been frightening and uncertain times. Every day, it seems, we wake up to find a new addition on the list of doomsday scenarios. Facing a dangerously intemperate president, backed by white nationalists, with vast powers at his disposal and a clear willingness to dispense with all conventions of proper conduct, it’s vital that we maintain a sober understanding of what’s at stake, and how much could go wrong. In trying to rally ourselves to prevent these catastrophic possibilities from becoming reality, many of us have found it useful to visualize the opposite: success. Perhaps Senate Republicans will ultimately break away from their own party and vote for impeachment. Maybe a constitutional amendment will be passed providing for some kind of no-confidence vote that would force an early election. Maybe Steve Bannon will be sidelined in a power struggle inside the White House, convinced, somehow, to retire, perhaps to go raise sheep in the countryside. Others are training their hopes on the 2018 midterm elections. Given the mobilization of left-leaning Americans since the election and the unpopularity of Trump—likely only to increase—it’s tempting to imagine a Democratic sweep that would reclaim control of the House of Representatives, providing crucial political leverage to push back against Trump and his policies. The danger that voter-suppression strategies pose to the Democrats’ chances in 2018 must not be underestimated.

Editorials: Why the North Carolina voter ID case matters | J. Christian Adams/Washington Times

They may never admit it, but the civil rights industry is tired of spending millions of dollars only to lose most voter ID fights in court. Instead of declaring defeat, the strategy has shifted to changing the rules of engagement, and trying to transform the Voting Rights Act into something it isn’t. The Supreme Court can now stop this transformation of the Voting Rights Act into a partisan political weapon, if it accepts an appeal from North Carolina. The civil rights industry, which includes swarms of career employees in the Justice Department, has been losing voter ID fights for the better part of a decade. They have been foiled by laws which take into account that some voters may not be ID-ready, but provisions are made to service them, like in South Carolina. Judges have also noted where states extended timelines for enforcement so citizens can prepare for the change. Most important, courts have acknowledged that such laws do not target minorities and are equally applied to all. It certainly does not hurt that federal judges are aware that polling shows how voter ID is more popular among poorer minorities than wealthy liberal whites.

Editorials: There’s a Simple Step North Carolina’s New Governor Could Take to Strengthen Voting Rights | Richard Hasen/Slate

he future of voting rights in the medium to long term is not rosy. President Donald Trump is making false claims that millions of voters fraudulently cast ballots in the 2016 election, perhaps as a predicate to a round of federal laws making it harder to register and vote. His administration seems poised to do a 180 in a case challenging Texas’ strict voter identification law, abandoning the Obama administration’s position that the law was discriminatory. Judge Neil Gorsuch, if confirmed, is likely to restore the Supreme Court to a Scalia-era status quo, a 5–4 court skeptical of broad protection for voting rights. But in the short term, there’s one simple action that could make voting rights a bit more secure: Roy Cooper, the new Democratic governor of North Carolina, and the state’s new Attorney General Josh Stein should withdraw a petition for writ of certiorari pending at the Supreme Court to review the 4th Circuit’s decision striking down North Carolina’s strict voting law.

Editorials: How ‘voter fraud’ crusades undermine voting rights | Jesse Rhodes/The Conversation

President Donald Trump has “voter fraud” on the brain. Bizarrely, after winning the 2016 presidential election, Trump has raised questions about the legitimacy of his own victory by claiming that the election was tainted by widespread voter fraud. Indeed, the president recently suggested that as many as 3,000,000 people voted illegally in the election. Reports suggest that Trump’s obsession with voter fraud is due to his outrage at losing the popular vote to Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton. As Trump himself alleged in a recent interview, “of those [illegal] votes cast, none of ‘em come to me. None of ‘em come to me. They would all be for the other side.” … Trump’s comments are extraordinary – and, at best, profoundly misinformed. I’ve studied voting rights politics for years and have recently finished writing a book on the political erosion of the Voting Rights Act. My book – and the research of many other social scientists outlined below – flatly contradicts Trump’s claims about the prevalence of fraud in American elections. Put bluntly, there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud by impersonation in the United States. “Impersonation” is what we call the deliberate misrepresentation of identity by individuals in order to manipulate election outcomes.