Editorials: Removing Barriers To Voting For Americans With Disabilities Through Automatic Registration | Rabia Belt/Huffington Post

On the first night of last week’s Democratic National Convention, Anastasia Somoza, a disability rights advocate, stole the show, noting the “invisibility” millions of Americans with disabilities often feel, and reinforcing the need for unity that was the Convention’s intended theme. Hillary Clinton reminded Convention-goers of Somoza’s speech again as she accepted the Democratic presidential nomination. Somoza’s powerful speech was the most prominent of several efforts Convention organizers have made to highlight Americans with disabilities. These efforts may have been in response to Donald Trump’s apparent mockery of a reporter with a disability earlier in the campaign. But they also reflect recognition of America’s changing voter demographics. Voters with disabilities are what I’ve referred to as the “ticking time bomb of the electorate.” They have specific needs that the system currently does not address adequately, yet they are a growing demographic — up to 35 percent of voters in the next 25 years will need some type of accommodation to cast a ballot.

Editorials: Election security as a national security issue | Dan Wallach/Freedom to Tinker

We recently learned that Russian state actors may have been responsible for the DNC emails recently leaked to Wikileaks. As we understand the facts, the Democratic National Committee’s email system was hacked. Earlier this spring, once they became aware of the hack, the DNC hired Crowdstrike, an incident response firm. The New York Times reports: Preliminary conclusions were discussed last week at a weekly cyberintelligence meeting for senior officials. The Crowdstrike report, supported by several other firms that have examined the same bits of code and telltale “metadata” left on documents that were released before WikiLeaks’ publication of the larger trove, concludes that the Federal Security Service, known as the F.S.B., entered the committee’s networks last summer. President Obama added that “on a regular basis, [the Russians] try to influence elections in Europe.” For the sake of this blog piece, and it’s not really a stretch, let’s take it as a given that foreign nation-state actors including Russia have a large interest in the outcome of U.S. elections and are willing to take all sorts of unseemly steps to influence what happens here. Let’s take it as a given that this is undesirable and talk about how we might stop it.

Editorials: Analysis: Trump Not the First to Claim Voter Fraud Will Rig Elections | Zachary Roth/NBC News

Donald Trump, slipping in the polls, has taken to warning that the election is being “rigged.” In an interview with The Washington Post published Tuesday, Trump suggested that recent court rulings against strict voting laws in North Carolina, Wisconsin, Texas and elsewhere could let people vote over and over. “There’s a lot of dirty pool played at the election, meaning the election is rigged,” Trump said. “I would not be surprised. The voter ID, they’re fighting as hard as you can fight so that that they don’t have to show voter ID. So, what’s the purpose of that? How many times is a person going to vote during the day?” Asked whether he thinks people can vote multiple times, Trump continued: “Multiple times. How about like 10 times. Why not? If you don’t have voter ID, you can just keep voting and voting and voting.” Trump made the same case on Fox News Tuesday, warning: “People are going to walk in and vote 10 times maybe. Who knows? They are going to vote 10 times.” Let’s first quickly dispense with the substance of Trump’s claim. For one thing, the statistically tiny amount of double voting that has been detected in elections is almost always the result of people being registered in more than one state. That’s something a voter ID requirement would do nothing to prevent.

Editorials: How vulnerable to hacking is the US election cyber infrastructure? | Richard Forno/The Conversation

Following the hack of Democratic National Committee emails and reports of a new cyberattack against the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, worries abound that foreign nations may be clandestinely involved in the 2016 American presidential campaign. Allegations swirl that Russia, under the direction of President Vladimir Putin, is secretly working to undermine the U.S. Democratic Party. The apparent logic is that a Donald Trump presidency would result in more pro-Russian policies. At the moment, the FBI is investigating, but no U.S. government agency has yet made a formal accusation. The Republican nominee added unprecedented fuel to the fire by encouraging Russia to “find” and release Hillary Clinton’s missing emails from her time as secretary of state. Trump’s comments drew sharp rebuke from the media and politicians on all sides. Some suggested that by soliciting a foreign power to intervene in domestic politics, his musings bordered on criminality or treason. Trump backtracked, saying his comments were “sarcastic,” implying they’re not to be taken seriously.

Editorials: Paper ballots still safer than digital vote | The Courier-Mail

It took a month but we got there. Counting for the House of Reps has finished and the last seat, Herbert in north Queensland, has finally been decided. But keyboard critics are already pouncing. Not on Labor or the LNP but on the very system itself. Here we are in 2016, they say, 20 years after the internet entered our lives, and we’re still voting with pencil and paper. We wait for weeks for something a machine could do in seconds. Online voting could do away with postal and absentee votes and the lost ballots that forced a re-run of the 2013 West Australian Senate poll could be avoided. If we can enrol to vote, study and transfer money electronically, surely we can trust online ballots? No, we can’t.

Editorials: Feel The State Tremble | Josh Marshal/TPM

It may not seem terribly important right now with all the stories roiling the campaign. But I think there’s a good chance it’s the most important. Over the last 48 hours Trump’s allies, surrogates and now Trump himself have forcibly injected the topic of voter fraud or ‘election rigging’ into the election. Longtime TPM Readers know this topic has probably been the publication’s single greatest and most consistent focus over fifteen years. The subject has been investigated countless times. And it is clear that voter fraud and especially voter impersonation fraud is extremely rare – rare almost to the point of non-existence, though there have been a handful of isolated cases. Vote fraud is clearly the aim in what is coming from Trump allies. But Trump’s own comment – “I’m afraid the election’s gonna be rigged, I have to be honest” – seems to suggest some broader effort to manufacture votes or falsify numbers, to allude to some broader conspiracy. Regardless, Trump is now pressing this issue to lay the groundwork to discredit and quite possibly resist the outcome of the November election.

Editorials: Take politicians out of election law | Joshua A. Douglas/The Hill

It’s been a good couple of weeks for voting rights. Judicial opinions have struck down or limited strict voter ID laws in several states, showing that politicians cannot be trusted to write laws that effect our elections. In the past two weeks, courts in Wisconsin, Texas, and North Carolina have rooted out partisan abuses by invalidating or limiting strict voter ID laws. These decisions show that politicians do a poor job of crafting election rules. Most often, the main motivation is to discriminate against members of the opposite political party, often with racial overtones as well. Indeed, North Carolina argued (unsuccessfully) that benign politics, not race, motivated its voter ID law. But why should the issue of how best to run our elections turn into partisan warfare? Why must litigants and the courts spend their resources to root out these abuses? Politicians think they can win by rigging the election system in their favor. A Republican staffer in Wisconsin revealed that state Republicans were “giddy” when they passed a new voter ID law that they believed would help Republicans win in the state. A Pennsylvania lawmaker was quoted in 2012 saying that the state’s new voter ID law would help win the state for Governor Romney. Democrats have sued Arizona because they fear that the state’s voting rules will harm their supporters come November.

Editorials: Why the Supreme Court likely won’t revisit Shelby County. | Zachary Roth/Slate

Friday was a great day for voting rights. In fact, it was probably the best day voting rights advocates have had since 2013, when the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act. First, a federal appeals court struck down North Carolina’s voting law—seen by many as the most regressive in the nation—finding that Republican lawmakers intentionally discriminated against black voters in drafting the bill. Hours later, a federal court told Kansas it couldn’t stop people from voting in state and local elections this fall simply because they failed to show proof of citizenship when they registered. Not long after, a federal judge ruled unconstitutional a range of strict voting rules imposed in Wisconsin. Along with other recent decisions against voter ID laws in Texas and Wisconsin, Friday’s rulings suggest a new assertiveness by the courts in fighting off the most egregious state-level barriers to the polls. Even the high court—though unlikely to overturn its disastrous 2013 ruling in Shelby County v. Holder any time soon, even with a fifth liberal member potentially on the court after the election—is poised to join the wave by issuing a ruling significantly strengthening voting rights before too long.

Editorials: Defend democracy by restoring the Voting Rights Act | Vanita Gupta/The Washington Post

“Now we can go with the full bill.” That was a North Carolina legislator’s promise, just hours after the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision invalidating powerful protections against discriminatory voting rules. Out went the modest proposal. In came a bill designed to shrink the electorate. The legislature passed a law targeting specific practices — including same-day registration and early voting — that had helped drive recent surges in minority voter turnout. The law was aimed directly at the ways that communities of color participated in the electoral process. It took three years, but on Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit struck down the North Carolina law. The court wrote that the law “target[s] African Americans with almost surgical precision” and found that, “because of race, the legislature enacted one of the largest restrictions of the franchise in modern North Carolina history.”

Editorials: Virginia’s Century-Old Mentality on Race | The New York Times

The Virginia Supreme Court erred earlier this month when it ruled that Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s blanket executive order restoring the voting rights of more than 200,000 people who had been barred from voting for felony convictions violated the state Constitution. The poorly reasoned ruling — which holds that the governor can legally restore voting rights only on a case-by-case basis — has no legitimate basis in the state Constitution. To his credit, Mr. McAuliffe has vowed to reinstate voting rights to those Virginians even if it means signing the restoration orders one at a time. When he issued the blanket order in April, Mr. McAuliffe acknowledged what politicians in Virginia and elsewhere have long lacked the courage to admit: The disenfranchisement law was expressly designed to permanently bar as many African-Americans as possible from the polls.

Editorials: By November, Russian hackers could target voting machines | Bruce Schneier/The Washington Post

Russia was behind the hacks into the Democratic National Committee’s computer network that led to the release of thousands of internal emails just before the party’s convention began, U.S. intelligence agencies have reportedly concluded. The FBI is investigating. WikiLeaks promises there is more data to come. The political nature of this cyberattack means that Democrats and Republicans are trying to spin this as much as possible. Even so, we have to accept that someone is attacking our nation’s computer systems in an apparent attempt to influence a presidential election. This kind of cyberattack targets the very core of our democratic process. And it points to the possibility of an even worse problem in November — that our election systems and our voting machines could be vulnerable to a similar attack. If the intelligence community has indeed ascertained that Russia is to blame, our government needs to decide what to do in response. This is difficult because the attacks are politically partisan, but it is essential. If foreign governments learn that they can influence our elections with impunity, this opens the door for future manipulations, both document thefts and dumps like this one that we see and more subtle manipulations that we don’t see.

Editorials: After DNC hack, the case for paper ballots | Glenn Reynolds/USA Today

Somebody — probably, though not certainly, Vladimir Putin’s intelligence apparatus — has hacked the Democratic Committee’s email servers and released some of what it found via the Wikileaks site. As Harvard law professor Jack Goldsmith notes, this is something new: Although meddling in foreign elections is old stuff for intelligence agencies (including our own), this sort of email release is unprecedented. As disruptive as the DNC email release has been, there’s room for something much worse: A foreign government could hack voting machines, shut down election computers, or delete or alter voter registration information, turning Election Day into a snarled mess and calling the results into question regardless of who wins. Worse yet, hackers are already working on this. Voting systems rely on trust. Voters have to trust that their own vote is recorded and counted accurately; they also have to trust that the overall count is accurate, and that only eligible voters are allowed to vote. (When an ineligible voter casts a vote, it cancels out the vote of a legitimate voter every bit as much as if his or her ballot had simply been shredded.) The problem is that electronic systems — much less the Internet-based systems that some people are talking about moving to — can’t possibly provide that degree of reliability. They’re too easy to hack, and alterations are too easy to conceal. If the powers-that-be can’t protect confidential emails, or government employees’ security information, then they can’t guarantee the sanctity of voting systems.

Editorials: Did Putin Try to Steal an American Election? | Nicholas Kristof/The New York Times

Some foreign leaders settle for stealing billions of dollars. Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, may have wanted to steal something even more valuable: an American presidential election. As our election takes a turn that could be drawn from a Cold War spy novel (except it would be too implausible), Putin has an obvious favorite in the race: Donald Trump. “It’s crystal clear to me” that Putin favors Trump, says Michael McFaul, a Stanford professor who was ambassador to Russia until 2014. “If I were Putin, I would rather deal with Trump, too, given the things he has said about foreign policy.” Look, Democratic Party leaders exchanged inappropriate emails showing bias for Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders, and a hacker’s disclosure has properly triggered a ruckus. But that scandal pales beside an effort apparently by a foreign dictatorship to disrupt an American presidential election. It also seems scandalous to me that Trump on Wednesday effectively invited Russia to hack into Clinton’s computers for deleted emails from when she was secretary of state, saying at a press conference, “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.” Yes, Trump is entertaining. But increasingly, the antonym of “gravitas” is “Trump.” Clinton could have responded by inviting Russia to hack into Trump’s computers and release his tax returns; she didn’t because the hack would be illegal and her plea would be unpresidential.

Editorials: Why Make It So Hard to Vote, New York? | The New York Times

In the last few years, many states have tried to make it easier for people to vote. New York is not one of them. As a result, millions of New Yorkers fail to make it to the polls on Election Day. In 2014, barely more than one in four eligible voters actually voted — the fourth-lowest rate in the country. Voters did a little better in this year’s presidential primary, but the numbers were still abysmal. Here are some of the ways New York’s lawmakers make it harder than necessary to cast a ballot. In New York, there is no early voting in person — elections are held on one workday, usually a Tuesday, and that’s it. Absentee ballots are a pain — voters have to claim they will be out of town or unable to appear “because of illness or physical disability.” The boards that run elections have barely acknowledged the arrival of the computer, let alone the internet. Anyone who votes in New York City, for example, must first sign a large paper ledger that looks like something from the Smithsonian archives. Attempts to move to computerized voting lists — like other efforts to modernize the system — have too often stalled in Albany because incumbents want to preserve the system that got them elected.

Editorials: Lawmakers should loosen North Dakota’s Voter ID law | Grand Forks Herald

As North Dakota’s Republican-controlled government has in effect admitted, North Dakota Democrats were right about the need for a special session. The governor rejected the Democrats’ call earlier this year, but the state’s deteriorating finances prompted him to change his mind. The special session begins next week. But North Dakota Democrats now have been proven right on a second key issue: the claim that North Dakota’s new Voter ID law is too restrictive. The verdict on that question is in, having been rendered by federal courts in both Texas and Wisconsin and forcing both states to put new procedures in place before November. News flash: North Dakota’s Voter ID law is more restrictive and allows for fewer options than either the Texas or Wisconsin laws. That means it almost certainly violates federal law, and will unconstitutionally block voting among key groups of North Dakotans in November—unless it is changed.

Editorials: Election fraud: Voter ID can’t fix the real problem with Texas elections – gerrymandering | Houston Chronicle

The Texas state motto is friendship, and even across the political divide in our state Legislature, Texans should hope that everyone is acting in that sense of good faith. It’s hard to maintain that political optimism after reading last week’s opinion by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit explaining how Texas’ voter ID law violates the Voting Rights Act. The Legislature passed SB 14, the law in question, in 2011 allegedly with the intent of combatting in-person voter fraud by creating strict limits on the types of identification that can be accepted at voting locations. Before this law, Texans had to present their voter registration card or sign an affidavit while showing one of multiple forms of identification, such as a driver’s license or bank statement. Was there rampant fraud under this system? No, and Texas legislators knew it. “Ballot integrity is undoubtedly a worthy goal,” Justice Catharina Haynes wrote for the court. “But the evidence before the Legislature was that in-person voting, the only concern addressed by SB 14, yielded only two convictions for in-person voter impersonation fraud out of 20 million votes cast in the decade leading up to SB 14’s passage.”

Editorials: Virginia’s voting rights debacle | The Washington Post

The Virginia Supreme Court ruling that Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) overstepped his powers in restoring voting rights to 206,000 felons who have completed their sentences is a model of pretzel-twisted reasoning that glosses over the plain language of the state’s constitution and elides recent state history to arrive at a conclusion whose effects are as heedless of national trends as they are racially retrograde. Writing for the majority in a 4-to-3 decision, Chief Justice Donald W. Lemons upended the governor’s executive order — challenged by political rivals whose legal standing to sue is shaky at best — mainly on the basis of history and tradition. Yet in doing so, he failed to cite any constitutional language that would contravene Mr. McAuliffe’s power to issue his directive. And while acknowledging that its analysis was rooted more in history than the constitution, which explicitly empowers Virginia governors to restore voting rights, the court seemed oblivious that the state’s history — tainted as it is by profound racial injustice — has evolved radically.

Editorials: What is Old, and New, and Scary in Russia’s Probable DNC Hack | Jack Goldsmith/Lawfare

While there is nothing new in one nation using its intelligence services to try to influence an election in another, doing so by hacking into a political party’s computers and releasing their emails does seem somewhat new. The combination of pilfering sensitive information and then “weaponiz[ing] Wikileaks” or some similar organization will surely recur. The possibilities do not end there. Foreign governments could “hack a voting machine,” “shut down the voting system or election agencies,” “delete or change election records,” “hijack a candidate’s website,” “dox[] a candidate,” “and target campaign donors.” (See also here.)

Editorials: With crucial election looming, voting rights are even more important | Los Angeles Times

It’s been nearly three years since the U.S. Supreme Court stuck its gavel in where it didn’t belong and gutted a key part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Predictably, states with histories of vote-suppression quickly adopted fresh laws that have made it harder for the poor and for minorities — groups that often overlap — to exercise their right to vote. Some states now require costly or hard-to-obtain voter IDs, while others have reduced the days and hours during which voters can register or cast their ballots. A welcome decision Wednesday by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals buttresses the argument that the Supreme Court underestimated the willingness of some states to abridge the right to vote. The 5th Circuit held that Texas’ law requiring IDs discriminated against African Americans and Latinos, who were less likely to have ready access to the narrow list of accepted forms of identification (including passports and driver’s licenses), and ordered a lower court to find a fix before the November election. It also asked the lower court judge to consider anew whether Texas legislators crafted the law intentionally to suppress minority voting; if the court finds it did so, Texas could be forced back into the ranks of jurisdictions that require the federal Justice Department’s permission before changing or adopting voting laws.

Editorials: Putin’s suspected meddling in a U.S. election would be a disturbing first | The Washington Post

Credit for the internecine furor that disrupted the Democratic Party on the eve of its convention should go to Vladimir Putin. As The Post has reported, cybersecurity experts say Russian intelligence operatives were likely responsible for the hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s computer network, as well as for leaking to the Moscow-friendly WikiLeaks website some 20,000 emails. The trove appeared online Friday, just in time to create discord between supporters of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders as they headed to Philadelphia. To no one’s surprise, the emails showed that DNC staffers opposed the attempt of the socialist Mr. Sanders to take over the party. Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz was forced to announce her resignation, and — as Russia likely intended — Ms. Clinton’s campaign took a hit. Mr. Putin’s regime has tried to intervene in the internal politics of numerous European countries, from Ukraine and Moldova to Italy and France. But the evident attempt to meddle in a U.S. presidential election is a first. That may reflect the reckless aggressiveness Mr. Putin has embraced in foreign affairs since returning to the presidency in 2012. It likely also reveals Moscow’s judgment that it stands to reap a geopolitical windfall if Donald Trump is elected president.

Editorials: Why this GOP-controlled court couldn’t stomach Texas’ voter-ID law | Scott Lemieux/The Week

The Republican Party fares much better in state and midterm national elections than in presidential election years. There’s an obvious reason: Fewer people vote in state and off-year elections, and these electorates tend to be whiter and more affluent. So it’s really no surprise that at the state level, Republicans have been passing laws that attempt to suppress the vote in all elections, so that every electorate looks like the whiter, richer off-year electorate. On Wednesday, however, a major Fifth Circuit decision dealt a serious blow to these efforts. Much of Texas’ particularly draconian voter-ID law was struck down, and the decision will almost certainly remain in effect in November. Even more important, the court identified the core problem with these laws: Their vote suppression is racially discriminatory.

Editorials: Beware of Robots Telling You How to Vote | Mark Buchanan/Bloomberg

Voting is partially a social endeavor, in which people consider the opinions of others when making up their own minds. Increasingly, though, they’re being influenced by an inhuman force: software robots specifically designed to deceive them. Lest democracy be undermined, humans need help in distinguishing their brethren from the bots. Two years ago, in a report filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the social networking site Twitter estimated that more than 23 million of its active user accounts were being run by “bots” — software agents or bits of code that act on their own to respond to news and world events. They interact with real users, never revealing their true nature.

Editorials: Restoring Voting Rights to the Disenfranchised | Hill Harper/NBC News

As the Republican National Convention comes to a close and the Democrats gear up for next week, there is one looming question about the focus each party will place on voting rights—an issue that was not front and center during the presidential debates but should be at the forefront of national discussion as we approach the general election. If and when they do turn to voting rights, there is much to address—most especially concerning the restoration of voting rights for returning citizens. Our democracy is strengthened when as many eligible citizens as possible are able to freely participate in elections. However, in 2016, many states are holding firm to laws that deny Americans the right to vote because of a prior criminal conviction from their past. So-called “felony disenfranchisement” laws hurt people with criminal histories and their home communities. Publicly available data demonstrates that an estimated 5.85 million Americans are currently disenfranchised as a result of these arcane laws.

Editorials: Political Reality Smacks Down Texas’ Voter ID Law | Noah Feldman/Bloomberg View

In time for the presidential election, an appeals court has determined that Texas’ voter identification law is discriminatory. Those without a government-issued photo ID will therefore have their votes counted on the basis of other evidence of residency. If Texas turns out to be in play in November, the result could have a small but meaningful effect in Hillary Clinton’s favor. More important, the decision has great symbolic significance in an election in which Donald Trump has focused on illegal immigration. In 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a voter ID law in Indiana as a permissible way to avoid voter fraud. The different result in Texas — a state with distinctly different demographics — highlights how much things have changed in the last eight years. A federal district court had previously found that the Texas law, S.B. 14, violated both the Voting Rights Act and the Constitution, and a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit upheld part of the decision. Texas then asked the entire court to sit and reconsider the result. In the meantime, the 5th Circuit issued a stay that kept the law in place. The plaintiffs asked the Supreme Court to reinstate the lower court decision and block the law. In an unusual move, the justices told the 5th Circuit that if it didn’t decide the case by July 20, 2016, the court would be willing to consider a motion to block the law. The Fifth Circuit got the message — and issued its carefully crafted opinion on July 20.

Editorials: Judge provides a necessary safety net for voters | Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Wisconsin’s voter ID law was a mistake from the start; a political talking point dressed up as policy, aiming to fix a problem that doesn’t exist. And although the law isn’t particularly onerous for most people, there are some for whom obtaining the necessary ID is substantially difficult. So difficult that some won’t — or won’t be able to — go through the hassle of getting one. On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman threw those people a lifeline, or “safety net,” as he called it. Adelman issued a preliminary ruling allowing Wisconsin voters without photo identification to cast ballots by swearing to their identity. Good for Adelman; allowing people to use affidavits to vote opens the ballot door to those who otherwise might not cast a ballot.

Editorials: The 5th Circuit left an opening for Texas to lose control of its discriminatory voting laws. | Rick Hasen/Slate

This week’s decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit—holding that Texas’ strict voter identification law violates the Voting Rights Act—is good news for those who believe such laws are discriminatory and do nothing to prevent voter fraud. But there is potentially much better news buried within the eight separate opinions of the 203-page ruling, which comes from one of the most conservative courts in the nation. There you’ll find a road map for returning Texas’ voting rules to the supervision of the federal government. That’s something that states like Texas—which has passed laws that handicap a portion of its voting-age population—have proved they still need. Let’s start with the most straightforward part of the 5th Circuit decision. Texas passed one of the strictest voter identification laws in the nation in 2011—a law notorious, for example, for allowing citizens to show a concealed weapons permit but not student identification in order to vote. The suit challenging the law argued, among other things, that members of protected minority groups in Texas, who are more likely to be poor, are also more likely to lack the right kind of identification and to face extra hurdles (such as traveling 100 miles or more) to get a “free” piece of identification from the state.

Editorials: Kansas Zealot Helps Shape the G.O.P.’s Right-Wing Platform | The New York Times

One of the most fervid ideologues expected at the Republican convention this week — the Kansas secretary of state, Kris Kobach — has been busy shaping extremist positions in the party platform to suppress immigration, gun controls and same-sex marriage. But he also found time last week to do actual damage to Kansans with a devious, 11th-hour policy that would disqualify 17,000 of them as state voters, even though they are allowed by law to vote in federal elections. At issue is Mr. Kobach’s zealous enforcement of a notorious law he urged Kansas Republicans to pass that requires new voters to prove their citizenship with a passport, birth certificate or naturalization papers. Federal law imposes no such burden. But Mr. Kobach continues to try to force the state requirement onto the books — brazenly persisting in the face of recent federal and state court findings that these legitimate voters are being suppressed and must be allowed their full ballot rights.

Editorials: Virginia Needs to Fix Its Racist Voting Law | Dale E. Ho/The New York Times

The Virginia Supreme Court will hear arguments on Tuesday in a lawsuit that aims to strip the right to vote from more than 206,000 people, including one in five African-American adults in the state. If state lawmakers win, they will keep Virginia trapped in a shameful part of history: when former Confederate states passed felon disenfranchisement laws after Reconstruction to suppress black political power. Under Virginia’s Constitution, a person with a single felony offense can’t vote unless the governor restores his or her voting rights. This wasn’t always the case. Virginia’s 1870 Constitution, passed during Reconstruction, barred voting for those convicted of corruption or treason. But delegates to Virginia’s 1902 constitutional convention adopted new voting restrictions, including a ban on voting for all felons, poll taxes and a literacy test. They were not shy about their intentions. Virginia’s new constitution would “eliminate the darkey as a political factor,” explained Carter Glass, a convention delegate and, later as a United States senator, an author of the Glass-Steagall banking law. Their goal was to ensure “complete supremacy of the white race in the affairs of government.”

Editorials: Potential Arizona voter data hack gets whimper of an explanation | News-Herald

Arizona voters deserve to know if their personal information on file with the state of Arizona remains safe from identify thieves. If there is any threat to the security of the voter registration database, it deserves not only an investigation but full disclosure of the outcome. Right now, every voter in the state has legitimate reason to at least wonder if their personal information has been compromised. A couple of weeks ago, the FBI investigated a hacking threat against the state’s voter registration database and deemed the threat credible, labeling it an “8 out of 10” on the severity scale. The database contains not only names and addresses but also driver license numbers, partial Social Security numbers and other personal information that identity thieves can match with other partial personal information and commit fraud. As the investigation progressed, the state shut down its voter registration website.

Editorials: Why the rush? In defence of Australia’s slow election count | Ben Raue/The Guardian

Bill Shorten has expressed interest in moving to electronic voting to prevent delays in future Australian election results. Malcolm Turnbull agrees with this sentiment. Electronic voting would not actually speed up a very close result, and it carries the risk of undermining trust in our electoral system. Electronic voting in most cases is unnecessary, expensive and impractical. It also has numerous problems that shouldn’t be underestimated. Firstly, any voting system needs to be anonymous, secure and transparent – and this is difficult to do using an electronic system. There are numerous objections to the anonymity, security and transparency of electronic voting (in particular, voting over the internet) on technical grounds that I won’t go into here. The majority of voters cast a vote at a local polling place on election day. This system works pretty well – votes are counted quickly and the system is well understood. It would come at a tremendous cost to set up electronic voting facilities in every school and church hall across the country for a single day of voting. It would be more practical to introduce electronic pre-poll voting at booths in capital cities, as currently happens for Australian Capital Territory elections and New Zealand elections, but these votes are already counted on election night, so this wouldn’t do much to speed up a result.