Editorials: Redistricting reform in Maryland and Virginia: Can the states join forces? | The Washington Post

Democratic legislative leaders in Maryland issued rote rejections of Gov. Larry Hogan’s (R) utterly sensible proposal for congressional redistricting reform last week. In doing so, they were reading from a script that could have been prepared for them by Republican legislative leaders in Richmond, whose equally knee-jerk dismissal of Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s (D) efforts have doomed redistricting reform efforts in Virginia. So here’s a modest suggestion that would have the novel effect of elevating the interests of voters in each state, not to mention good government, above the partisan self-interest of incumbent politicians. Why don’t Maryland and Virginia initiate a mid-Atlantic reform compact whose overriding goal would be to tip the scales in favor of fair elections and against rigged ones?

Editorials: Florida elections imperiled by human error | Daily Commercial

With the 2016 presidential election on the horizon and the ghosts of elections past still haunting it, you would think Florida would have an acute sense for ensuring its voting processes are working smoothly and efficiently. A recent report, though, indicates the state still is operating like a ‘74 Gremlin. The state auditor general, an independent officer hired by the Legislature, recently identified seven weaknesses with Florida’s voter registration system, a computerized database of voter information.

Editorials: Why there’s hope for easing Texas’ voter ID law | Carl P. Leubsdorf/Dallas Morning News

It was ironic but perhaps fitting that the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its ruling challenging the constitutionality of the restrictive Texas voter identification law on the eve of last week’s 50th anniversary of the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act. After all, the 2011 Texas law exemplifies current efforts to undermine that still relevant act. But though the three-judge panel concluded the Texas law has a “discriminatory effect” on the poor and minorities, the nature of the ruling and the prospects for appeal suggest this is less than the sweeping judicial success for which opponents hoped. Indeed, its Republican sponsors made clear that, despite this defeat, they still hope to win the war in the Supreme Court, if necessary. That’s hardly surprising, given the fact that Chief Justice John Roberts has repeatedly questioned the continuing validity of the 50-year-old Voting Rights Act.

Editorials: Direct Elections Won’t Help Russia’s Opposition | Vladimir Ryzhkov/The Moscow Times

One of the few things the mass protests in the winter of 2011-12 achieved was the return of direct elections for State Duma deputies representing single-member districts. They will be held in September 2016, and half of the parliamentary deputies (225) will, for the first time in 13 years, be elected by specific cities and regions. The winners in each of these 225 districts will be the candidates who receive more votes than any of their opponents. Parliamentary parties, non-parliamentary opposition groups and the Kremlin are already hard at work in preparation for these elections. A foundation with ties to the Kremlin, the Institute for Socio-Economic and Political Research (ISEPR), recently released its forecast for the elections, working from the current composition of the Duma. This ISEPR report (“Acting State Duma Deputies in their Districts — 2016”) is important and noteworthy, not only as an expert study, but as a formative one.

Editorials: Happy birthday to the Voting Rights Act | The Washington Post

Just two years ago, it seemed possible the Voting Rights Act would not make it to its 50th birthday. It did Thursday, and on the eve of the anniversary one court handed down a promising decision: Texas’s voter identification legislation violated the 1965 act by discriminating against minorities and the poor. So insidious a law never should have gone into effect. In June 2013, the Supreme Court struck down one of the Voting Rights Act’s most powerful provisions, a requirement that states with records of discrimination — states such as Texas — submit proposed changes in electoral procedure to the Justice Department for review (known as “preclearance”). Texas began enforcing its law the very same day. The legislation looks like bills passed in many other states since the Supreme Court’s decision: It restricts the voting pool to those who present government-issued photo ID at the polls. Those least likely to have the documentation are the state’s poor and minority residents.

Editorials: Why the Voting Rights Act Is Once Again Under Threat | Ari Berman/The New York Times

In his opinion for the majority in the Supreme Court’s 2013 Shelby County decision, which struck down a major section of the Voting Rights Act, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote that “history did not end in 1965.” But the sad truth is that voter-suppression efforts did not end, either. In 2014, the first post-Shelby election, thousands were turned away by new restrictions in states like Texas and North Carolina. A 2014 study by the Government Accountability Office found that voter ID laws in Kansas and Tennessee reduced turnout by 2 to 3 percent during the 2012 election, enough to swing a close vote, with the highest drop-off among young, black and newly registered voters. This could be a disturbing preview for 2016, which will be the first presidential contest in 50 years where voters cannot rely on the full protections of the act. New restrictions will be in place in up to 15 states, which account for as many as 162 electoral votes, including crucial swing states like Ohio, Wisconsin and Virginia.

Editorials: Restore voting rights | Rep. John Lewis and Sen. Patrick Leahy/Los Angeles Times

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Voting Rights Act, the bill many historians regard as the most influential legislation passed by Congress in the last half-century. It transformed our nation by opening access to the ballot box to racial and ethnic minorities, the disabled, seniors, non-English speakers, poor and rural voters. On Aug. 6, 1965, our nation took a historic step by creating a more fair, more just democracy. Even though the 15th Amendment, enacted after the Civil War, established that the right to vote should not be “denied or abridged,” state and local laws often nullified that mandate. The participation of millions of Americans in any part of the electoral process was rendered nearly impossible. The journey to the passage of the Voting Rights Act, the legislation that equalized voting access, took almost 100 more years. Throughout the struggle, foot soldiers of the Civil Rights Movement were told to wait and to be satisfied with slow, incremental change. But as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote in his “Letter From Birmingham City Jail,” the word “‘Wait’ has almost always meant ‘Never.'” And so civil rights advocates pushed ahead with courage against enormous odds — organizing, marching, standing day after day in unmovable lines trying to register. Hundreds went to jail in nonviolent protests, some shed blood, and others even died for the precious right to vote.

Editorials: Voting against another Florida election disaster in 2016 | Panama City News Herald

With the 2016 presidential election on the horizon and the ghosts of elections past still haunting it, you would think Florida would have an acute sense for ensuring its voting processes are working as smoothly and efficiently as a Ferrari engine. A recent report, though, indicates the state still is operating like a ’74 Gremlin. The state auditor general, an independent officer hired by the Legislature, recently identified seven weaknesses with Florida’s voter registration system, a computerized database of voter information. … To summarize, the state’s voter database is at risk of failing and/or being compromised. That would make for some potentially chaotic voting scenarios in a high-stakes national election — everything from valid registered voters being denied the opportunity to cast a ballot, to allegations of voter fraud. Hanging chads would seem quaint by comparison.

Editorials: A wealthy oligarchy of donors is dominating the 2016 election | The Washington Post

The United States may be turning a corner in presidential politics. Although the election itself is more than a year away, the latest reports to the Federal Election Commission show that a wealthy oligarchy of donors has come to dominate campaign finance, particularly in the crowded Republican contest. Fewer than 400 families are responsible for almost half the money raised in the campaign so far, according to an analysis by the New York Times. This class of wealthy patrons, some with new fortunes and others of long-standing, is throwing money into campaigns, not of all which will end happily. But the preeminence of this clan of tycoons so early in the season is not a good sign.

Editorials: Automatic Voter Registration: The Next Step in the Battle for Ballot Access | Alex Padilla/Huffington Post

“This most basic right of all is the right to choose your own leaders. The history of this country is in large measure the history of expansion of the right to all of our people.”

President Johnson delivered these words in his eloquent speech to the full Congress on March 15, 1965, a week after African Americans were attacked while preparing to march to Montgomery to protest voting rights discrimination. On August 6, 1965 President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law, empowering millions of Americans to fully participate in our democracy. The progress made possible by the Voting Rights Act is undeniable. Literacy tests, poll taxes and other obstacles used at the time which excluded millions of eligible voters are a thing of the past. In 2012, we saw record turnout by African American and Latino voters. We elected a record number of Asian Americans to Congress, and nearly 10 million more women than men reported casting a vote. That’s progress. But as we commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, we still have work to do. Voting rights are once again under attack.

Editorials: Internet voting a needless threat to voter privacy, election security | David Schultheis/The Colorado Statesman

Colorado is poised to reject the best advice of the Department of Defense, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, U.S. Vote Foundation and almost every nationally known expert as the state expands Internet voting. Although voters read daily headlines of breaches of government and commercial computer systems and emails, Colorado’s email balloting expansion ignores the experts and defies common sense and lawmakers’ directives. Yet Secretary of State Wayne Williams seems determined to use Colorado voters as guinea pigs who will learn what the experts already know — Internet voting is a needless threat to voter privacy and election security. Williams received input from legislators, experts, political parties, non-profit organizations and many individual voters. Feedback has been almost universally negative, except for the Colorado Democratic Party and the Colorado Clerks Association. Scores of voters and organizations, including the Colorado Republican Party, Common Cause, Verified Voting, and the Colorado Voter Group oppose the expansion. Yet proposed Colorado rules will likely permit the expansion of Internet voting for military voters, overseas civilians and military families, regardless of their location or access to mail ballots or polling places. Skiers at Whistler, Air Force Academy professors’ kids at a coffee shop, and officers at the Pentagon could vote over the Internet if they conclude postal mail ballot delivery “is not certain.”

Editorials: The Voting Rights Act at 50 | The New York Times

For the first 48 years of its existence,the Voting Rights Act — signed by President Lyndon Johnson 50 years ago this week — was one of the most popular and effective civil rights laws in American history. Centuries of slavery, segregation and officially sanctioned discrimination had kept African-Americans from having any real voice in the nation’s politics. Under the aggressive new law, black voter registration and turnout soared, as did the number of black elected officials. Recognizing its success, Congress repeatedly reaffirmed the act and expanded its protections. The last time, in 2006, overwhelming majorities in both houses extended the law for another 25 years. But only seven years later, in 2013, five Supreme Court justices elbowed in andconcluded, on scant evidence, that there was no longer a need for the law’s most powerful tool; the Voting Rights Act, they claimed, had done its job

Editorials: How to save the Voting Rights Act: Voting rights shouldn’t rely on parsing racism and partisanship. | Richard Hasen/Slate

In 2010, the Simpsons featured a news helicopter emblazoned with the logo: “FOX News: Not Racist, But #1 with Racists.” That slogan might be applied to today’s Republican Party, which in recent years has actively passed voting laws that make it harder for poor and minority voters to vote. Whether to label the Republican Party “racist” isn’t an academic exercise. The question is actually at the heart of lawsuits over the future of voting rights in Texas and North Carolina. It’s also a question with historical resonance, particularly on the eve of the Voting Rights Act’s 50th anniversary this week. The five-decade history of the Voting Rights Act is told masterfully in Ari Berman’s new book, Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America. Berman starts around the time of the Selma, Alabama, marches, but unlike the movie Selma, Berman goes on to give us the rest of the history: the expansion of voting rights protections in 1970 and 1975 to include Latinos, Native Americans, and others over the objections of racists, many in the Democratic Party; the important 1982 rewriting of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, providing additional protections for minority voters nationally, and (now Chief Justice) John Roberts’ key role for the Reagan administration in unsuccessfully fighting against the expansion; hot disputes over voting rights in Florida in the 2000 election; the controversial renewal of the expiring “preclearance provisions” of the act in 2006 that continued to require states with a history of discrimination to get federal approval before changing their voting laws; and the ongoing “voting wars” that accelerated when Roberts led the court’s conservatives in striking down the 2006 preclearance renewal in Shelby County v. Holder.

Editorials: John Roberts has been trying to gut the Voting Rights Act for decades | Scott LEmieux/The Week

In 2013, a 5-4 Supreme Court decision written by Chief Justice John Roberts eviscerated the 1965 Voting Rights Act. In Shelby County v. Holder, the court struck down the most crucial enforcement mechanism in the most important civil rights statute since Reconstruction. How did we get here? A major New York Times Magazine story by Jim Rutenberg provides an invaluable history of the long battle conservatives have fought against the law. And it shouldn’t be surprising that one major player in this movement was John Roberts himself. It’s important to emphasize the spectacular shoddiness of Roberts’ opinion in Shelby County. It fails to make an even remotely coherent argument to justify declaring that Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act — which used a formula to determine which areas of the country required greater federal oversight of voting practices — is unconstitutional. The text of the Fifteenth Amendment explicitly authorizes Congress to pass legislation to address racial discrimination in voting, and the Voting Rights Act does not violate any specific textual provision.

Editorials: Can math solve the congressional districting problem? | Kevin Knudson/The Conversation

Lost amidst the frenzy of coverage of the Supreme Court’s rulings about the Affordable Care Act and same-sex marriage was a case involving the constitutionality of an independent commission to draw congressional districts in Arizona. Through a ballot measure in 2000, the state amended its constitution to create a nonpartisan group to draw up new districts; the ultimate goal is to reduce gerrymandering. Named for the salamander-shaped district drawn by Massachusetts governor Elbridge Gerry in 1812, gerrymandering occurs when a state legislature draws voting district lines in a manner that benefits the ruling party at the expense of the opposition. The goal is to consolidate power for the party in control, making it effectively impossible for the opposition to gain seats. Many state legislatures have engaged in this process recently, prompting grassroots movements advocating independent commissions to draw districts.

Editorials: Does a voting-rights case threaten experimentation? | Michael McGough/Los Angeles Times

Suppose a state adopts a traditional approach to voting – only one day on which voters can cast their ballots at polling places, with limited opportunities for absentee voting. Yet legislators in this state are intrigued by innovations in other states, such as Oregon’s system of voting by mail or Sunday voting, which allows churches to organize “souls to the polls” programs that shepherd parishioners directly from services to a polling place. If this hypothetical state adopts such alternative methods but then finds them unduly expensive or susceptible to fraud, can it repeal them? On first blush, the answer seems obvious: What the legislature can do it can undo. But what if there is evidence that voting by mail or Sunday voting results in a higher turnout of racial minorities? Would doing away with those methods violate the federal Voting Rights Act?

Editorials: John Doe Decision – After Doe investigations, a chance for sensible reform | Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

A 4-2 state Supreme Court decision last month ended a controversial investigation into coordination between Gov. Scott Walker’s recall election campaign and conservative groups and left a broad swath of Wisconsin’s long-standing campaign finance law unconstitutional. The court’s decision halted the second of two criminal investigations into Walker led by Milwaukee County prosecutors using the state’s powerful “John Doe” statutes. The first led to the convictions of six Walker aides, associates or appointees but the second was stalled by litigation for more than a year amid bitter complaints from conservatives about prosecutors’ tactics and theory of law. Even if the final chapter of these investigations is now at hand, many questions remain. Among the most important: Should two of the justices whose campaigns received heavy support from the groups under investigation and involved as litigants before the court have heard the cases?

Editorials: Canadian ex-pat voting law built for another era | Darren Thorne/Toronto Star

Recently over a million Canadians lost their ability to vote. This was the result of an Ontario Court of Appeal decision, Frank V. Canada, which held that Canadian citizens living abroad for more than five years would no longer have the right to vote. The decision restored sections of a 22-year-old law previously struck down as unconstitutional. The court’s majority essentially decided that the exclusion of non-residents was ultimately permissible as it reinforced a “social contract” dictating that those who vote should be those subject to the resulting laws. Since few Canadian laws are enforced outside of our borders, the court reasoned that the limitation on the voting rights of the non-residents was justifiable.

Editorials: Why Republicans Should Worry About Restrictive Voting Laws | Jim Rutenberg/The New York Times

When The Times released its joint poll with CBS on race last week, its most eye-catching finding was that a majority of Americans have a negative view of race relations, a sharp reversal of expectations following Barack Obama’s election in 2008. But deeper in the results was a telling data point relating to the recent proliferation of state laws and policies having to do with access to voting, the topic of the cover story I wrote for this week’s magazine. One question in the poll asked respondents whether they believed laws and policies that restrict absentee and early voting — overwhelmingly championed by Republicans — were devised to save money or to make it harder for minorities to vote. Nearly 80 percent of the black respondents who had an opinion on the new voting rules said they were devised to make it harder for minorities to vote; only about 20 percent of them said the changes were devised to save money. Among whites who had an opinion on the new rules and regulations, the split was fairly even: 45 percent said the rules were to save money, while 46 percent said they were to make it harder for minorities to vote. (Whites were more likely than blacks to say they had not heard enough to have an opinion, at 53 percent compared with 40 percent.)

Editorials: Kansas election officials should welcome voting audit | Emporia Gazette

Secretary of State Kris Kobach and election officials in Sedgwick County should welcome an audit that would compare election results reported by voting machines in that county with the paper backup that records each ballot cast on the machines. If these election officials are concerned with protecting the accuracy and integrity of Kansas elections, they should want to know for sure whether the voting machines they are using are accurately recording the votes being cast. That’s why it’s hard to understand why the election officials are forcing a Wichita State University mathematician to go to court to obtain the paper records that would allow her to audit the performance of the voting machines. Beth Clarkson, the WSU mathematician, said her statistical analysis revealed patterns in the November 2014 voting that raised suspicions that “some voting systems were being sabotaged.” It’s possible that there are other explanations for the patterns, she said, which is why she wanted to compare the results produced by the voting machines with the paper records.

Editorials: A Dream Undone | The New York Times

On the morning of his wedding, in 1956, Henry Frye realized that he had a few hours to spare before the afternoon ceremony. He was staying at his parents’ house in Ellerbe, N.C.; the ceremony would take place 75 miles away, in Greensboro, the hometown of his fiancée; and the drive wouldn’t take long. Frye, who had always been practical, had a practical thought: Now might be a good time to finally register to vote. He was 24 and had just returned from Korea, where he served as an Air Force officer, but he was also a black man in the American South, so he wasn’t entirely surprised when his efforts at the registrar’s office were blocked. Adopting a tactic common in the Jim Crow South, the registrar subjected Frye to what election officials called a literacy test. In 1900, North Carolina voters amended the state’s Constitution to require that all new voters “be able to read and write any section of the Constitution in the English language,” but for decades some registrars had been applying that already broad mandate even more aggressively, targeting perfectly literate black registrants with arbitrary and obscure queries, like which president served when or who had the ultimate power to adjourn Congress. “I said, ‘Well, I don’t know why are you asking me all of these questions,’ ” Frye, now 83, recalled. “We went around and around, and he said, ‘Are you going to answer these questions?’ and I said, ‘No, I’m not going to try.’ And he said, ‘Well, then, you’re not going to register today.’ ”

Editorials: Is the Federal Election Commission’s voting procedure unlawful? | Jonathan H. Adler/The Washington Post

Does the Federal Election Commission utilize an unlawful voting procedure to initiate enforcement actions under the Federal Election Campaign Act? A decision yesterday by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Combat Veterans for Congress Political Action Committee v. FEC raises (but does not resolve) this question. Here is how Judge Pillard’s opinion for the court summarizes the issue and the case: The basic facts are few and not in dispute. The Federal Election Commission in October of 2011 imposed an $8,690 fine on the Combat Veterans for Congress Political Action Committee and its treasurer, David Wiggs, in his official capacity. Combat Veterans incurred the fine for failing to meet three required reporting deadlines under the Federal Election Campaign Act. Combat Veterans sued the Commission, contesting the fine and charging that the Commission’s procedural errors deprived it of the power to act.

Editorials: Top Six Ways Hackers Could Disrupt an Election | Michael Gregg/Huffington Post

Could hackers swing a U.S. election? With the 2016 presidential race already well underway, it’s time for us to take cyber threats to our electoral process much more seriously. Over the years, a number of security researchers, ‘ethical hackers’ and government agencies have warned about the risks, but little has been done to prevent these attacks. Hacking just a few electoral districts could allow an attacker to swing an election in a close race. The U.S. has had close elections multiple times in the past. In 1960, John F. Kennedy squeaked out a victory over Richard Nixon by just 0.1%. In the 2000 presidential election, the decision came down to just a few votes in Florida. In the end, the Supreme Court had to determine the winner.

Editorials: The new look at “one person, one vote,” made simple | Lyle Denniston/SCOTUSblog

In a rare meeting with reporters in early July 1968, Chief Justice Earl Warren answered readily when asked which of the Court’s decisions in his momentous years on the Supreme Court were most important. The series of rulings, he said, that created the constitutional idea of “one person, one vote.” That is a basic theory of democratic representation: no individual’s vote may be weighted more heavily than any other’s. Election districts, for Congress and state legislatures, must be drawn as close to equal in population as can practically be done. The clearest expression of that idea came in the 1964 decision in Reynolds v. Sims. Now, a half-century later, the Court has assigned itself the task of deciding — remarkably, for the first time — how to get to that goal. What, it will answer in one case, population measure should be used: total people in a district, total citizens, total citizens of voting age, total numbers of registered voters? And, in a second case, the Court will answer whether it violates the equality principle if districts are drawn in a way that favors one party’s candidates. Both cases involve cross-currents of political theory, and both have the potential to directly change election outcomes and the election fortunes of the two major political parties. There is considerable complexity here, so let’s try to make this simple.

Editorials: The I.R.S. Gives Up on ‘Dark Money’ | The New York Times

The federal government has all but surrendered to the powerful, rich donors whose anonymous contributions threaten to undermine the 2016 elections. The commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, John Koskinen, signaled as much on Thursday when he told a House committee that there would be no change in the tax code in 2016 to end its growing abuse by political operatives using nonprofit “social welfare” institutions to disguise the identities of affluent campaign contributors. “I don’t want people thinking we are trying to get these regs done so we can influence the election,” Mr. Koskinen declared later to reporters. The statement was remarkable for blessing further procrastination at the I.R.S., whose clear obligation is to enforce existing law in a way that would end the current flood of “dark money” financing politics.

Editorials: North Carolina’s Messy Voting Laws Restrict Voting and Support Gerrymandering | AllGov

A federal court in North Carolina is now hearing testimony in a case that could have an impact on the rollback of voting rights across the country. At the start of this decade, North Carolina’s voting laws were a model of inclusion. The state allowed 17 days of early voting, teenagers who were approaching voting age could pre-register to vote, there was same-day registration and voters could even cast ballots outside their assigned precinct. The state’s Department of Motor Vehicles was also required to contact drivers about being registered when they reported an address change. Then, three things happened. First, a Republican tide swept through the North Carolina legislature in 2010. Next, after the 2010 Census, the legislature drew a congressional district map that some have called the most gerrymandered in the country. The gerrymandering worked; most of the state’s Democratic voters were packed into a few odd, snake-like districts. Democrats won only four congressional seats in 2012, when the state’s registration and voting numbers indicated they should have won seven.

Editorials: Message on prisoner voting rights ‘unequivocal’ | Andrew Geddis/NZ Herald News

Because New Zealand has an unwritten, largely informal constitution, it can change in quite major ways without generating much fanfare. One such development took place last Friday with the delivery of the High Court’s judgment in Taylor v Attorney-General. This case involved a challenge by five prisoners to a 2010 law that prevents all sentenced prisoners from voting. (Before 2010, only prisoners sentenced to three or more years in jail were stopped from doing so.) After hearing this challenge, Justice Heath concluded that the 2010 law limits prisoners’ right to vote as guaranteed under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act, and does so in a way that cannot be “demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.” That finding was no real surprise; the Attorney-General already had warned Parliament about the problem before the law was passed.

Editorials: The Millions of Marginalized Americans | Frank Bruni/The New York Times

Not long ago I had separate chats with two political insiders who offered to fill me in on Jeb Bush’s strategy, if he prevails in the primaries, for winning the general election. In each instance I braced for a lengthy exegesis but got only one sentence: He picks John Kasich as his running mate. That was the playbook. It presumed that Bush would collect Florida’s electoral votes, having once governed the state. It presumed that Ohio could be delivered by Kasich, its current governor, who announced his own presidential bid on Tuesday. And it presumed that tandem victories in Florida and Ohio would seal the deal, because so much of the rest of America was dependably Republican — or Democratic. Just a handful of states decide the country’s fate. Shortly after my chats with those two insiders, a third described Hillary Clinton’s supposed plan for victory. “Cuyahoga County,” this operative said.

Editorials: Kobach gains power to intimidate voters | Michael A. Smith/The Hutchison News

I am a white male, but most Americans are not. For many, even everyday encounters with public authority, law enforcement for example, can be terrifying. This makes me especially alarmed about a new law giving Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach the power to prosecute voter fraud, passed by the Kansas Legislature last month in the frenzy of last-minute legislation. The law is strange. First, because prosecution power is typically vested in federal authorities, state attorneys general, and local county prosecutors and district attorneys, not secretaries of state. Second, even Kobach himself cannot find voter fraud in Kansas. For example, his office publicly named a Wichita voter who they claimed was deceased. Wichita Eagle reporters found the man raking leaves in his yard. … Kobach’s new law may have chilling effects on voting.

Editorials: The Only Realistic Way to Fix Campaign Finance | Lawrence Lessig/New York Times

For the first time in modern history, the leading issue concerning voters in the upcoming presidential election, according to a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, is that “wealthy individuals and corporations will have too much influence over who wins.” Five years after the Supreme Court gave corporations and unions the right to spend unlimited amounts in political campaigns, voters have had enough. Republican candidates, including Chris Christie, Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham, and the main Democratic candidates, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders, all acknowledge the problem, with some tying it to the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United, which unleashed virtually unlimited “independent” political spending. The solution proposed by some, notably Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Graham and Mr. Sanders, is amending the Constitution. It sounds appealing, but anyone who’s serious about reform should not buy it. For a presidential candidate, constitutional reform is fake reform. And no candidate who talks exclusively about amending the Constitution can be considered a credible reformer.