Editorials: “Soft” Voter-ID Laws Are Supposed to Make Strict Voting Requirements Constitutional. They Don’t. | Richard Hasen/The Atlantic

A recent lawsuit accuses the state of Wisconsin of disenfranchising an eligible voter who had lost the use of her hands, because she could not sign a government document to get a voter ID. Another voter, who was born in a German concentration camp and could not produce a birth certificate, had to go to extraordinary lengths at the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles in order to vote. Strict state voter-identification laws are proving disconcerting on the ground. So why are the courts bending over backward to uphold them? In 2014, the Wisconsin Supreme Court considered whether Wisconsin’s stringent voter-ID law violated the Wisconsin constitution’s right to vote. The court found that the law would impose severe burdens on voters who could not afford to pay for underlying documents, like an out-of-state birth certificate, to prove identification, and on those voters who, through no fault of their own, could not establish their identity under the exacting rules established by the state.

Editorials: Bribery and the Brokered Convention? | Brian Svoboda/In the Arena

In the industrial Midwest, after multiple ballots, the Republican convention finally chooses its nominee. Operatives for the frontrunner—a nationally known, polarizing figure who has infuriated Democrats with his abrasive rhetoric on the most divisive, racially-charged issue of the day—flood the city “with money to corrupt, with bullies to intimidate and with houries to seduce.” As for his principal opponent, rumors persist that the candidate’s coalition is forged on promises of cabinet appointments in exchange for votes. A journalist rails:

The lesson to the Nation … is the necessity for the abolition of the Caucus System, which, in whatever party organization operative, is a system of swindling, by which the people are defrauded out of the effective exercise of the right of suffrage. There is no honesty in caucuses … The revenues of King Caucus are corruption funds … If a Republican form of government is to be preserved … the people must make a bonfire of his throne.

Editorials: Everything you don’t understand about Australian senate voting reform (and are afraid to admit) | Van Badham/The Guardian

Student politics is brutal but its lessons are thorough; by the age of 19, I’d learned how to pull knives out of my back without wincing, how to count a senate-style multi-candidate preferential ballot and that a true politician will do anything – anything – to be re-elected. I’ve been reminded of these last two valuable lessons in the context of the agreement the Greens and Nick Xenophon have made with the Coalition to change Australia’s senate voting system, and of an admission that Malcolm Turnbull made on radio last week that contained nothing short of a threat to the existence of the Australian senate cross-bench should they not give him his way on some union-busting legislation. One can imagine Canberra has had a most talkative long weekend.

Editorials: Kansas has a serious Voter ID problem, and needs to fix it | Journal Times

We have editorialized in support of the concept of Voter ID. If you want to cast a ballot with regard to the future of your government — at the local, state or federal levels — it doesn’t seem unreasonable to ask that you prove you are who you say you are. Needless to say, we think any state-issued or military-issued form of identification should be sufficient to vote in that state. If you’re 18 and eligible to have that ID, that should be all you need to vote. Which is why the reports out of Kansas are a disturbing affront to citizenship. There, as of September, about 37,000 people were unable to vote.

Editorials: One person, one vote in America? The ideal is often not the practice | David Cole/The Washington Post

In 2008, 57 percent of Americans voted, and Barack Obama became the nation’s first black president. In the 2010 midterms, only 37 percent voted, and Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives, as well as 18 state legislatures. They learned their lesson. The following year, Republican legislators introduced 180 bills in 41 states designed to make it harder to vote. Nineteen states passed 25 laws that limited voting. They included onerous voter-identification laws and registration requirements, restrictions on early voting and increased penalties for volunteers who make mistakes in registration drives. Not coincidentally, the laws all had a foreseeably disproportionate impact on the young, the poor and minority voters — groups that tend to vote Democratic. As conservative strategist Paul Weyrich told the Republican National Convention some 30 years earlier: “I don’t want everybody to vote. . . . Our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.” Such a self-consciously partisan and highly coordinated strategy of vote suppression is, one might think, profoundly un-American. The nation was founded on the “consent of the governed.” “We the people” rejected monarchy for popular sovereignty. Yet as Michael Waldman deftly shows in “The Fight to Vote,” there have long been two competing strains in American politics.

Editorials: How to Reverse Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission | The Atlantic

New supreme court opinions have been as controversial as Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the 2010 decision that struck down limits on corporations’ campaign expenditures, finding them to be an abridgment of free speech. Like most of the Court’s recent campaign-finance rulings, the case was decided 5–4, with Justice Antonin Scalia in the majority. Even before Scalia’s death, Citizens United featured significantly in the presidential primaries. Bernie Sanders had made its negation, through a constitutional amendment, a key goal of—and rationale for—his candidacy. Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton had condemned the existing campaign-finance system, and Clinton had vowed to appoint “Supreme Court justices who value the right to vote over the right of billionaires to buy elections.” Now, with a new justice in the offing, the prospect of reversing Citizens United, among other Roberts Court decisions, seems suddenly larger, more plausible: For campaign-finance-reform proponents, the brass ring seems within reach. But the matter is not so simple. Even if Scalia is replaced by a more liberal justice, the Court’s campaign-finance rules will not be easily reversed. The precedents extending First Amendment protection to campaign spending date back to 1976, long before Scalia became a judge. The Court generally follows precedent, and overrules past decisions only rarely, even as justices come and go. A new justice will not be sufficient.

Editorials: The Right to Vote? Don’t Count on It | Michael Waldman/The Daily Beast

Has there ever been an election like this one? The 2016 race is ferocious, rude, ugly, with parties and coalitions fracturing before our eyes. It’s also the first contest in years where public anger is trained on how government works and not just what it does. The state of democracy is on the ballot. Bernie Sanders denounces the “billionaire class” and demands campaign finance reform. Donald Trump snarls, “Washington is broken” and brags that as a self-funder, he cannot be bought. Hillary Clinton, more muted, rolls out detailed plans for campaign finance changes and automatic voter registration. To add to the intensity, the looming Supreme Court nomination fight will tap public anger over Citizens United, the Court’s most reviled recent decision. All just two years after an election in which voter turnout plunged to its lowest level in seven decades.

Editorials: America should make room for third-party candidates | Peter Ackerman and Larry Diamond/The Washington Post

The prospect of a White House run by former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg has reignited a critical debate about whether it’s possible for an independent to be elected president of the United States. Consider this paradox: Two of the leading 2016 presidential candidates — Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders — have no history of loyalty to either major party. Yet both decided to run in the party primaries — Trump as a Republican, Sanders as a Democrat — while pledging to support their the party’s winner should they not win the nomination. That these two very different candidates came to similar conclusions helps illustrate why there is so much dissatisfaction with our nation’s political system. As billionaires, people such as Trump and Bloomberg can self-fund an independent campaign, but without adequate liquid resources, all other qualified candidates have no way to mount a serious bid for the U.S. presidency outside the two major parties. This is the product of collusion between operatives from the Democratic and Republican parties who, through the design of hidden rules, jealously guard their duopoly.

Editorials: Why Is Anyone Still Doing Caucuses? | Evan McMorris-Santoro/BuzzFeed

About a half hour from the Las Vegas Strip, in a large public high school on the day the state’s Democratic nominating contest, a man stepped up onto the gym bleachers and shouted: “Let’s make sure we never caucus again!” “And then,” said Sondra Cosgrove, president of the League of Women Voters of Las Vegas Valley, “the whole room erupted, chanting, ‘No more caucus! no more caucus!’” The man, and Cosgrove, were among the 80,000 or so who sucked it up and made their voice heard during a chaotic Saturday in Nevada last month. Their particular caucus site — El Dorado High School — had all the hallmarks of the process: confusing rules, long lines that seemed to go nowhere, volunteers unprepared to deal with the crush of people who showed up.

Editorials: Kansas’s restrictive voter-ID law keeps citizens from exercising a fundamental right | The Washington Post

The American Civil Liberties Union went to court last month to challenge an egregious Kansas law that requires residents to provide proof of citizenship — such as a birth certificate — to register to vote. The requirement seems contrary to the intent of the federal Motor Voter law, which was supposed to make registration simple. But legal or not, this state law and others like it are truly awful public policy. The case for the Kansas law is that noncitizens might be able to get driver’s licenses and register to vote at the department of motor vehicles, potentially allowing them to skirt the fraud prevention that more conventional voter-ID laws provide. But there is scant evidence of such voter fraud, and certainly not enough to justify demanding that people jump through even more hoops to cast a ballot.

Editorials: Here Comes Another Super Tuesday With Our Terrible Voting Infrastructure | Brentin Mock/CityLab

Heading into Super Tuesday—the day when presidential candidates hope to rack up delegates from a dozen state primaries—Democratic voter turnout is down. It’s way, way down compared to the 2012 and 2008 elections. There could be multiple reasons for this: Perhaps Democrats just aren’t as excited about their primary choices, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, as they were about electing the first black president. Maybe photo voter ID laws are having the pernicious, dampening effect on Democratic turnout that experts have been saying they could have. It could also be that people are increasingly just over the voting process itself, nonplussed by the inefficiency of the act in an era when many data-collection activities are carried out with digital precision and efficiency. Plenty of evidence of this is shown in a survey released Monday by the market research group Edelman Intelligence. After speaking to roughly one thousand registered voters nationwide between January 28 and February 1, the firm found that a third failed to vote in at least one recent election, even though they intended to. Of that group, 45 percent ended up skipping voting because of time constraints—some actually showing up at the polls but leaving because the lines were too long.

Editorials: Guam needs vote, true representation in Congress| Joseph Babin/Pacific Daily News

“What’s the point?” How many times have you asked yourself a question like this? Perhaps at school, when no matter how hard you study, you can’t seem to pass that exam. Maybe at the office, when you spend hours working on a presentation only to have your boss pass you over again. Not seeing any results from our efforts can be frustrating, irritating and can test the patience of the most resolute among us. Not seeing any results can drive us to seek out new paths. A lack of results demands change. So again, I ask: “What’s the point?” This time, however, my question is directed to Congress. What’s the point of a non-voting member on the floor?

Editorials: Maryland weighs automatic voter registration | The Star Democrat

A Maryland Senate committee recently heard testimony on automatic voter registration, a reform that would register eligible citizens to vote when they do business with the Motor Vehicle Administration and certain social services agencies. Proponents say Maryland could dramatically boost its registration rate by half a million people. If Maryland enacts automatic registration, it would become the first state to extend the reform beyond offices that issue driver’s licenses. The legislation, introduced by Sen. Roger Manno (SB 350) and Del. Eric Luedtke (HB 1007), would put the responsibility on the government to sign up eligible individuals unless they opt out. A hearing on the House bill is set for March 3 in the Ways and Means Committee. Maryland would be at the forefront of a growing trend: overall, legislators in 25 states as well as the District of Columbia have similar legislation pending. Last year, Oregon and California became the first two states in the country to enact this reform.

Editorials: Confusion leads in North Carolina primaries | The Daily News

What a mess in North Carolina.” That’s a direct quote from Richard L. Hasen, a law professor and voting-rights expert. But you certainly don’t have to be an expert to know that, less than a month before the March 15 election, the state’s congressional-elections process is, at best, veiled in uncertainty. Here’s what we know: After the 2010 Census, the N.C. General Assembly redrew the state’s congressional districts, passing the new plan in 2011. In 2013, several state residents filed a lawsuit against Gov. Pat McCrory and the N.C. Board of Elections alleging that congressional Districts 1 and 12 had been drawn in violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. On Feb. 5, a three-judge panel from U.S. District Court sided with the plaintiffs. The ruling said that in drawing the districts, there was “strong evidence that race was the only non-negotiable criterion and that traditional redistricting principles were subordinated to race.”

Editorials: Irish electoral system not fit for a globalised world | Sean Phelan/The Irish Times

At the heart of the question of whether Irish emigrants should be given the right to vote is recognising that we live in a time where people and things circulate globally. Can the Irish State finally recognise that the movement of people to and from countries is something that needs to be integrated into the design of the electoral system, rather than ignored and permanently long-fingered? Can it embrace an idea of citizenship and democratic participation that is not bound to a particular place, and flexible enough to allow for different forms of national and cultural belonging? I live in a country that, on this issue at least, offers a stark contrast to the Irish case. Overseas voting rights were first introduced in New Zealand in 1890 to make special provision for absentee voting by seamen. They have since been extended to a range of people either living or working overseas at election time.

Editorials: Money can’t buy Jeb Bush the White House, but it still skews politics | Rick Hasen/The Washington Post

It is easy to dismiss as overblown the concern about the outsize role of ultra-rich donors in the American political scene. Exhibit 1: Jeb Bush. Bush’s $100 million in super PAC fundraising was supposed to be part of a shock-and-awe campaign that would scare away competitors and give him a smooth path to the Republican presidential nomination. Well, it hasn’t worked out that way. Bush has been polling toward the bottom in the Republican race despite the war chest, and Donald Trump, who has spent little on his campaign despite his billionaire status, has been on top. “Hurrah for Citizens United ,” Politico’s Jack Shafer wrote in one representative piece. He asserted that worries about the 2010 Supreme Court ruling have been proved wrong. “Expectations that big money would float the best-financed candidate directly to the White House have yet to materialize this campaign season.” But this overly simplistic analysis misses the key role of money in contemporary American politics. In spite of the rhetoric of some campaign reformers, money doesn’t buy elections. Instead, it increases the odds of electoral victory and of getting one’s way on policies, tax breaks and government contracts. And the presidential race is the place we are least likely to see money’s effects. Looking to Congress and the states, though, we can see that the era of big money unleashed by the Supreme Court is hurtling us toward a plutocracy in which the people with the greatest economic power can wield great political power through campaign donations and lobbying.

Editorials: After thorough process, Colorado chose best possible voting system | Wayne Williams/The Denver Post

Accessible. Accurate. Clean. Fair. Transparent. Integrity. These are key values that guide my decision-making as Colorado’s chief election official and that guided my selection of a new uniform voting system for our state. Colorado’s election equipment is at or near the end of its useful life. Operating systems are no longer supported by Microsoft. National studies have warned about the major risks of failing to replace election equipment. Continuing to use a hodgepodge of inconsistent and incompatible systems across the state poses a grave risk that jeopardizes Colorado elections. For more than three years Colorado has been engaged in the most open and thorough election equipment review in our nation’s history. This past November we tested four different vendors’ equipment in real elections. As noted by federal Elections Assistance Commissioner Matt Masterson: “Colorado has set a model for the nation with its voting system selection process. Requiring field demonstrations and an independent review board are best practices that the commission will share with other states.”

Editorials: Florida needs open primary | Tampa Bay Times

First the good news: Tens of thousands of voters in Florida are rushing to register as Democrats or Republicans to have their voices heard in the upcoming presidential primary. But these voters don’t identify with the two major parties, and forcing them to pick sides only reinforces an antiquated and disenfranchising elections system. Florida needs to adopt an open primary to fully and fairly bring these voters into the political process. As the Tampa Bay Times’ Steve Bousquet reported Wednesday, nonpartisan voters scrambled to meet Tuesday’s registration deadline to vote in the state’s presidential primary March 15. Florida is the largest of 13 states that still have closed primaries, meaning that only Democrats and Republicans can vote in those parties’ nomination races.

Editorials: DMV Voter Registration Great — If Agency Can Handle It | Hartford Courant

In theory, Secretary of the State Denise Merrill’s proposed legislation to set up an “automatic, permanent” voter registration system in Connecticut sounds great — if the state is ready to take it on. In a democracy, the more people registered and voting, the better. Under Ms. Merrill’s plan, eligible people who interact with the Department of Motor Vehicles would be automatically registered to vote unless they don’t want to be. With 600,000 eligible but unregistered citizens in Connecticut, there is a fertile field to plow. As Ms. Merrill explains, the information a person gives at the DMV would automatically “populate” a voter registration form. An “e-signature” program would permit an electronic signature to be collected so that the person could certify U.S. citizenship, accept or refuse to register to vote (it’s an opt-out system), and affiliate with a political party, or not. The registration applications would then be electronically transmitted to the appropriate registrars of voters.

Editorials: The rise and fall of public campaign funding | Kathy Kiely/Washington Post

Sometimes, prosperity can be a sign of failure. Take the $292 million pot of taxpayer dollars that politicians are refusing to touch. For years after the public fund for presidential candidates was established in 1974, the biggest worry for its minders at the Federal Election Commission was whether there would be enough money for all the candidates. Now, despite a sharp decline in the number of people participating in the $3 tax return check-off that funds the program (down from a high of 28 percent in 1977 to less than 6 percent last year), the fund has been growing steadily – because candidates don’t want the money anymore. Former president George W. Bush began the exodus from the public finance system in 2000, when he refused to take matching funds for the primaries and caucuses. In 2008, Barack Obama became the first candidate to decline public financing in the general election. This year, only one presidential contender sought and qualified for public financing: Martin O’Malley, who has already dropped his bid for the Democratic nomination. Even Bernie Sanders, who has made limiting the political influence of the wealthy a central tenet of his campaign, has no intention of taking public financing. Under questioning by NBC’s Chuck Todd at a debate in New Hampshire last week, he called the program “a disaster,” adding: “Nobody can become president based on that system.”

Editorials: The redistricting case: Dump the districts, but not until after elections | Winston-Salem Journal

North Carolina’s congressional map belongs in the trash. But practical necessity argues for keeping it for one more election. A panel of federal judges ruled Friday that the legislature violated the U.S. Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause when it, in 2011, drew the 1st and 12th congressional districts [the latter of which takes in a large part of our area]. It ordered the legislature to fix them by Feb. 19. With absentee voting already begun ahead of the March 15 primary, and because changes to one district affect districts that border it, the remedy is disruptive. Yet the judges were right to point to the harm done by partisan politicians’ cynical manipulations. “Unfettered gerrymandering is negatively impacting our republican form of government,” Judge Max O. Cogburn Jr. wrote in a concurring opinion. “Elections should be decided through a contest of issues, not skillful mapmaking.”

Editorials: A Victory for Voting Rights in Maryland | The New York Times

The state laws that will bar nearly six million people with felony convictions from voting in this year’s presidential election are the shame of the democratic world. Virtually all disenfranchised Americans would be free to vote were they citizens of countries like Australia, Spain, France, Ireland or Germany. Indeed, many nations around the world view voting rights as so fundamental to citizenship that they bring the ballot box right into prison. By contrast, three quarters of this country’s disenfranchised voters live outside the prison walls: Some have actually completed their sentences, while others are on probation or parole.

Editorials: Racial Gerrymandering and North Carolina’s Tainted 2016 Primary Election | Brentin Mock/CityLab

Voters in North Carolina are caught in a heap of confusion as they approach their state’s March 15 primary election. A federal court ruled on February 5 that congressional district lines drawn in 2011 are invalid because they packed African American voters into two districts without just cause. A three-judge panel for the U.S. District Court in North Carolina has since charged the state’s general assembly with creating new district lines by February 19. Problem is, thousands of ballots have already been mailed out for the upcoming primary, which include both U.S. House and Senate races. Some of those ballots have already been cast under the state’s early absentee voting rules. The state filed an emergency appeal today asking the court to suspend the ruling until after after the primary elections, and is expected to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.

Editorials: Delayed elections in Haiti present opportunity for real change | Jacques Jonassaint/The Hill

The runoff presidential elections in Haiti, originally scheduled for Dec. 27 and then pushed to Jan. 24, have now been postponed indefinitely. A group of eight presidential candidates, supported by many other politicians and civil society groups, refused to participate in the elections due to irregularities in the first round that took place in October. As violent protests mount, Haiti’s electoral council, or CEP, determined it would be too dangerous to hold elections and canceled them without announcing a new date. This is likely for the best, as Haiti can now take the time to prepare more adequately for the elections and take steps to restore the Haitian people’s faith in the process. The United States, the U.N. and the Organization of American States (OAS) have continued to push for elections to take place as soon as possible, operating under the mantra of “bad elections are better than no elections,” but this is not wise; it is far better to have a transitional government for a short period of time than to be stuck with an illegitimate government for five years that does not reflect the will of the Haitian people.

Editorials: Kobach gets assist on voter registration | The Wichita Eagle

After years of trying, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach just got the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to do what he wants. All it took was an edict from the EAC’s new executive director, Brian Newby – who just happens to be the former Kobach-backed elections commissioner of Johnson County. Kobach had been fighting with the EAC in and out of court over whether Kansans who use the federal voter registration form, which only asks applicants to swear they are U.S. citizens, should be compelled to prove U.S. citizenship, as state law has required since 2013 of those using the state form. He believed he could consider federally registered voters to be partially registered, and throw out their votes for local and state elections.

Editorials: New Hampshire Voter-ID Law Could Lead to Longer Lines, Voter Intimidation | Ari Berman/The Nation

O’Brien is now the New Hampshire co-chair for Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign. He failed to block election-day registration and student voting, but New Hampshire Republicans did succeed in passing a new voter ID law—which will be fully implemented for the first time in Tuesday’s primary. New Hampshire is one of 16 states with new voting restrictions in place for the first presidential election cycle in 2016, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, accounting for 178 electoral votes. New Hampshire voters will be asked to show government-issued ID when they cast a ballot. Those without the required ID can still cast a regular ballot by signing an affidavit, but they will have to let poll workers take their pictures, which is raising alarms among voting-rights activists. “This is meant to intimidate people, there’s no question about that,” says Joan Flood Ashwell of the New Hampshire League of Women Voters. “It’s saying to voters, ‘We suspect you of being a criminal. It may seem to some like a mug shot,” says Devon Chaffee of the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union.

Editorials: Haiti avoids crisis at the last minute, but what happens next? | The Washington Post

In Haiti, it has too often been the case that what can go wrong does go wrong. That’s why it’s such a relief that Haitian leaders, with a critical assist from the Organization of American States, were able to agree on an 11th-hour deal, just before President Michel Martelly was to leave office Sunday with no successor in place, to avert a power vacuum. It’s also why there remains cause for concern, and the pressing need for international vigilance, as the impoverished Caribbean nation embarks on what is likely to be a volatile interregnum under the auspices of a caretaker government. Under the agreement struck Saturday, on the eve of the expiration of Mr. Martelly’s term, Prime Minister Evans Paul will remain in office until Haiti’s parliament selects a new president. That’s expected to take place in the next few days. Once it does, the accord calls for a new prime minister to be chosen by consensus and for a verification commission to review October’s botched elections. It was those elections that yielded weeks of escalating protests and violence, culminating in the cancellation of a scheduled presidential runoff vote last month.

Editorials: Will you have the right to vote in 2016? | Ari Berman/Los Angeles Times

As Iowa voters headed to their caucus sites Monday, 94-year-old Rosanell Eaton sat in the first row of a federal courtroom in Winston-Salem, N.C., to witness the closing arguments of a trial challenging North Carolina’s new voter identification law. Eaton, who is African American and grew up in the Jim Crow South, had to recite the preamble to the Constitution from memory to register to vote. She had been participating in elections for 70 years when North Carolina passed its strict voter ID law in 2013. Lawyers for the North Carolina NAACP played a videotaped deposition during the trial of Eaton recounting how the names on her driver’s license and voter registration card did not match. To get her paperwork in order, Eaton had to make 11 trips to different state agencies in 2015, totaling more than 200 miles and 20 hours. “I’m disgusted,” Eaton told the Raleigh News & Observer as she left the courtroom. North Carolina is one of 16 states that have new voting restrictions in place since the last presidential contest, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, accounting for 178 electoral votes, including in crucial swing states such as Ohio, Wisconsin and Virginia.

Editorials: Making validly cast absentee ballots count in Ohio | Cleveland Plain Dealer

A recent directive to Ohio’s county boards of elections by Secretary of State Jon Husted, Ohio’s chief election officer, should reduce the possibility that mailed-in absentee ballots might not get counted because of confusion or questions over postmarks. During the 2015 general election, an unusually large number of absentee ballots were not counted in Summit County and other counties because they lacked a postmark. Ohio’s 88 county boards of elections must count absentee ballots returned by mail for up to ten days after Election Day. But such ballots must have been postmarked no later than the day before Election Day. Trouble is, the U.S. Postal Service doesn’t necessarily postmark envelopes much larger than a No. 10, or “letter size,” envelope. And some elections boards use bigger courtesy-reply envelopes. Meanwhile, it’s been unclear whether barcodes the post office adds during mail-sorting or Postage Validated Imprint (PVI) postage — imprinted, label-like postage, sold at post office counters and kiosks — are postmarks. PVI postage and barcodes include dates (although a scanner is needed to read barcodes).

Editorials: Something smells in the Democratic Party | Des Moines Register

Once again the world is laughing at Iowa. Late-night comedians and social media mavens are having a field day with jokes about missing caucusgoers and coin flips. That’s fine. We can take ribbing over our quirky process. But what we can’t stomach is even the whiff of impropriety or error. What happened Monday night at the Democratic caucuses was a debacle, period. Democracy, particularly at the local party level, can be slow, messy and obscure. But the refusal to undergo scrutiny or allow for an appeal reeks of autocracy. The Iowa Democratic Party must act quickly to assure the accuracy of the caucus results, beyond a shadow of a doubt. First of all, the results were too close not to do a complete audit of results. Two-tenths of 1 percent separated Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. A caucus should not be confused with an election, but it’s worth noting that much larger margins trigger automatic recounts in other states. Second, too many questions have been raised. Too many accounts have arisen of inconsistent counts, untrained and overwhelmed volunteers, confused voters, cramped precinct locations, a lack of voter registration forms and other problems. Too many of us, including members of the Register editorial board who were observing caucuses, saw opportunities for error amid Monday night’s chaos.