Editorials: Studies Back Up That Few Elections Are Swung by Voter ID Laws | Nate Cohn/NYTimes.com

Last week, I wrote an article arguing that voter ID laws don’t swing many elections. This week, the Brennan Center for Justice says I have it “wrong” on voter ID. Yet, oddly, it’s hard to find a place we disagree. As the Brennan Center puts it in the second sentence of their article: “Yes, it is likely rare for an election to be close enough for voter ID laws to swing the outcome.” The Brennan Center instead disputes my contention that studies tend to “overstate the number of voters who truly lack identification.” My position on the matter, setting aside whether the laws are a cynical attempt to disenfranchise Democratic voters, is based on these facts: Many studies do not use robust matching techniques when comparing state voter registration and licensing databases (and robust matching, even when used, isn’t perfect); and many studies fail to match voter registration files with alternative forms of identification, like United States passports or military identification. The studies with the most sensational and widely publicized findings have generally failed to do these things. The most famous of these was a studyfinding that 758,000 of Pennsylvania’s registered voters lacked identification. It caused liberals to wonder whether voter ID laws could steal elections. The result was publicized by the Brennan Center, but more rigorous studies have since cut that figure nearly in half.

Editorials: GOP operatives had outsized role in Florida redistricting | Aaron Deslatte/Orlando Sentinel

To hear Republican operative Pat Bainter tell it, he’s a victim of voters’ anti-gerrymandering zeal. When Florida in 2010 passed reforms barring the intentional re-crafting of legislative and congressional districts to help candidates or political parties, it theoretically benched highly paid brains such as himself behind politicians such as Mike Haridopolos and Daniel Webster. In the witness testimony from last summer’s redistricting trial, the Gainesville consultant whose firm banked $2.9 million in 2011-12, declares himself a “second-class” citizen, unable to openly participate in Florida’s historic and flawed first stab at carrying out the Fair Districts reform. “The amendments themselves created a second class of citizen, including myself,” Bainter said in court testimony previously sealed. “They basically made it impossible for someone like me, that was interested in the process, to participate in that process without fear of some retribution, such as this.”

Editorials: Catalonia wants a definitive vote on its future in a referendum like Scotland’s | Artur Mas/The Irish Times

The right to vote is one of the most prized rights in any democracy. All the other rights are more or less a direct consequence of the opportunity that citizens are granted to express their opinion on important subjects through their votes. In Catalonia there is a broad majority of citizens who want to vote and decide the political future of this territory in terms of it remaining a part of Spain or becoming an independent state. For this reason, on November 9th, 2,305,290 people voted in a singular and exemplary participatory process. It was singular because it took place despite the clear opposition of the Spanish government. It was also singular because it took place in the midst of a professional cyber-attack with clear political intentions, which also placed at risk the basic services provided to citizens by the Catalan government. And singular because the Spanish government tried by every means possible to scare citizens away from voting with legal threats.

Editorials: Congratulations, Tunisia! | Stefan Ehlert /Deutsche Welle

Congratulations Tunisia! No matter who is officially announced as the winner in a few days’ time, the second peaceful vote in four weeks has shown that this country is headed in the right direction – and it looks like it’s the only one in the Arab region. Libya is falling apart in a clan war, Syria is embroiled in a civil war, Egypt has reverted to a military dictatorship and Yemen is sinking into chaos. Only one small nation in North Africa got its act together, and that’s Tunisia. The appalling example of its Arab neighbors may have helped: almost everyone in Tunis has recognized the value of compromise for a democracy, even Tunisia’s moderate Ennahda Islamists. They realized, though late, that they can’t push through their idea of an Islamic state with a supreme religious authority in Tunisia any time soon.

Editorials: Gerrymandering is a Texas tradition whose time has come and gone | Micahel Li/San Antonio Express-News

Texas gets a new set of statewide elected officials next year — but one thing that won’t have changed is that the state will find itself embroiled in complicated and expensive redistricting litigation, just as it has in each of the last four decades. In fact, it is very likely that sometime next year, the Supreme Court will take up yet another major Texas redistricting case. In some ways, Texas’ penchant for breaking ground in redistricting law isn’t surprising. Texas long has been among the nation’s fast-growing states — one with a complicated ethnic mix, and lots of jockeying and jostling for power and representation. The fights over district lines often have been no-holds-barred, with the leaders of the day, be they Democrats or Republicans, pressing for maximum advantage and letting the courts decide if they went too far. The result has been frequent, head-spinning map changes.

Editorials: Fix this ridiculous map | Cincinnati Inquirer

The fed-up, frustrated mood of Ohio voters in this year’s elections can be traced in large part to an issue that voters themselves have traditionally ignored: gerrymandering. It’s largely why all 16 of Ohio’s U.S. representatives were easily re-elected earlier this month despite near-record-low approval ratings of 14 percent for a body frozen by gridlock. The 15 who had an opponent won with an average of 66 percent of the vote. While Republicans have seemingly benefited the most from districts last drawn in 2011 – holding three-quarters of U.S. House seats and a super-majority of General Assembly seats in a politically balanced state – they realize change is needed. “Gerrymandering is the leading cause of dysfunction in both state and federal legislatures,” state Sen. Frank LaRose, an Akron-area Republican, told The Enquirer. “Reforming this is one of the most impactful things we can do for the future of our democracy.” We agree, and there’s no question that change is needed before district lines are redrawn in 2021.

Editorials: Why Voter ID Laws Don’t Swing Many Elections | Nate Cohn/NYTimes.com

Many people have understandably blamed low turnout for the Democratic Party‘s misfortune on Nov. 4, but some have gone a step further. They argue that turnout was so low because of voter suppression, particularly laws requiring voters to present photo identification. They assert that these laws disenfranchised enough voters to decide several elections, even a Kansas governor’s contest where a Republican won by four percentage points. Voter ID laws might well be a cynical, anti-democratic attempt to disenfranchise voters to help Republicans, as Democrats claim. But that doesn’t mean that voter ID laws are an effective way to steal elections. They just don’t make a difference in anything but the closest contests, when anything and everything matters. This may come as a surprise to those who have read articles hyperventilating about the laws. Dave Weigel at Slate in 2012 said a Pennsylvania voter identification law might disenfranchise 759,000 registered voters, a possibility he described as “an apocalypse.” Pennsylvania’s voter ID law was reversed before the election, but it is not hard to see why so many thought it could be decisive when Mr. Obama won the state with a 309,840 vote margin. But the so-called margin of disenfranchisement — the number of registered voters who do not appear to have photo identification — grossly overstates the potential electoral consequences of these laws.

Editorials: 2016: How digital balloting opens doors to election thieves, voter fraud | John P. Warren/Human Events

The constant kerfuffle about voting rights does get your attention, doesn’t it? To the left, it seems that attempts to embed a sense of order and integrity to our voting process is the right’s way of disenfranchising minorities and the elderly. To the right, every attempt to make voting easier and more remote—that is, you don’t have to be “there” to do it—represents just one more dilution what some say is our most precious right: to have our say at the ballot box. … With at least nine different kinds of voter fraud available—as defined by The Heritage Foundation (“Does Your Vote Count?”)—it seems there’s no dearth of opportunity for those with initiative to cheat the rest of us out of our voice at the polls. Some say there’s very little evidence of voter fraud, so what’s the big deal? …  The ninth kind of vote fraud outlined by The Heritage Foundation is “Altering The Vote Count,” and of all of different ways our votes can be stolen, this one is the most understated, threatening, invisible, and probable. For those who might challenge that statement, my answer is that our own life experience shouts an affirmative.

Editorials: Here’s how to clean up messy voter rolls | Reid Wilson/The Washington Post

When Virginia’s Board of Elections said it would remove tens of thousands of names from its voter rolls this year, voting-rights advocates cried foul, and went to court. But while Republicans criticized Democrats for opening elections to fraud, and Democrats complained Republicans were disenfranchising thousands of voters, the spat brought up a very real concern states across the nation face: Voter rolls are messy, and someone has to clean them up. People move. People die. People get married and re-register under new names. Election administrators across the country face the tightrope of making sure their voter rolls are accurate while avoiding erasing a valid record. Seven states believe they have the answer: The Electronic Registration Information Center, or ERIC. Developed by the Pew Charitable Trusts and IBM, ERIC uses several databases to compare voters across state lines. The system compares voter list data with Department of Motor Vehicle records, Social Security Administration records, the Postal Service’s national change of address registry and other databases to match voters across state lines; if the system concludes with a high degree of confidence that a John Doe on one state’s voter roll is the same John Doe in another state, the record is flagged. “You match enough of [the data points] across records that you have a lot of confidence ,” said David Becker, Pew’s director of election initiatives. “It’s impossible for [states], based only on a name and birth date, to keep their lists up to date and identify when someone has died, for example.”

Editorials: The Racist Origins of Felon Disenfranchisement | Brent Staples/New York Times

The state laws that barred nearly six million people with felony convictions from voting in the midterm elections this month date from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when Southern lawmakers were working feverishly to neutralize the black electorate. Poll taxes, literacy tests, grandfather clauses and cross burnings were effective weapons in this campaign. But statutes that allowed correctional systems to arbitrarily and permanently strip large numbers of people of the right to vote were a particularly potent tool in the campaign to undercut African-American political power. This racially freighted system has normalized disenfranchisement in the United States — at a time when our peers in the democratic world rightly see it as an aberration. It has also stripped one in every 13 black persons of the right to vote — a rate four times that of nonblacks nationally. At the same time, it has allowed disenfranchisement to move beyond that black population — which makes up 38 percent of those denied the vote — into the body politic as a whole. One lesson here is that punishments designed for one pariah group can be easily expanded to include others as well. The history of disenfranchisement was laid out in a fascinating 2003 study by Angela Behrens, Christopher Uggen and Jeff Manza. They found that state felony bans exploded in number during the late 1860s and 1870s, particularly in the wake of the Fifteenth Amendment, which ostensibly guaranteed black Americans the right to vote. They also found that the larger the state’s black population, the more likely the state was to pass the most stringent laws that permanently denied people convicted of crimes the right to vote. These bans were subsequently strengthened as the Jim Crow era began to take hold.

Editorials: The SCOTUS Should Reject Alabama’s Legislative Districts | Jim Sleeper/The Washington Monthly

With roughly 80% of Alabama whites voting Republican and 90% of African-Americans voting Democrat, it’s been easy for the state’s legislative leaders to deny they had any explicitly racial intent in compressing black voters into a few electoral districts and “whitening” the neighboring districts to elect more Republicans. Districting along party lines is the prerogative of whatever party controls the process, and if citizens are voting in racial blocs, what can a loyal Republican or Democrat line-drawer do but follow that pattern — and perhaps even intensify it when “voting rights” laws facilitate the design of “majority-minority” districts to enhance non-white voters’ opportunities to elect “candidates of their choice”? That’s the gist of Alabama’s defense this week in a suit brought by the state’s Legislative Black Caucus. The Supreme Court must decide whether the line-drawers acted racially, and therefore unconstitutionally, or for purely partisan purposes. But poor leadership on both sides of this question has intensified racial polarization even when voters have tried to transcend it, even in the Deep South. The Court should rebuff line-drawers in a way that points beyond both racialism and partisanship in districting.

Editorials: ‘Sweet Spot’ Elusive in Voting Case | Marcia Coyle/National Law Journal

Race and voting once again appeared to badly divide the U.S. Supreme Court as it struggled on Wednesday over what to do with an Alabama legislative redistricting plan challenged as an unconstitutional racial gerrymander. The justices heard expanded arguments in two consolidated cases in which the Alabama Legislative Black Caucus and the Alabama Democratic Confer­ence contend that the Republican-led Legislature packed black voters into districts in which minority voters already comprised a majority to make other districts more white and Republican. Under Supreme Court voting rights decisions, state lawmakers cross a constitutional line if race is the predominant motive in their redistricting plans. And the Voting Rights Act of 1965 — before a high court ruling last year — prohibited so-called covered states, including Alabama, from drawing plans that impede minority voters’ ability to elect candidates of their choice. The combination of both directives, Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. said, requires legislatures to “hit the sweet spot” between using some race in redistricting but not too much. Some justices appeared sympathetic to Alabama’s argument that it was attempting to comply with the Voting Rights Act and other requirements for drawing constitutional lines. Others said the number of black voters shifted into majority-black districts told a very different story. And some suggested the case ought to be sent back to the district court to determine the motive behind each legislative district.

Editorials: Romania’s Election Surprise Came From Abroad | Leonid Bershidsky/Bloomberg

The unexpected victory of the opposition candidate Klaus Johannis in Romania’s presidential election yesterday  is an important development — not just for Romania, but for the European Union as a whole. Migration within the union, which has led to the rise of anti-EU political groups in some wealthier nations, including the U.K., is paying off: It is helping nations on the periphery such as Romania adopt the best practices of  the older, core democracies. In the first round of the vote, Prime Minister Victor Ponta beat Johannis, the center-right mayor of the Transylvanian town of Sibiu. Johannis, an ethnic German, didn’t appear likely to prevail in the run-off. He is Lutheran, and not Orthodox Christian like most Romanians, and he ran a rather boring campaign. The election, however, was marred by complaints from Romanians abroad who had trouble casting their ballots. There were long lines at polling stations in Italy and Spain, where Romanians are the biggest immigrant group, as well as in France and the U.K., which also have large Romanian populations.

Editorials: Voting in North Dakota wasn’t ‘as easy as pie’ | Bismarck Tribune

No eligible, valid voter in the state of North Dakota should be turned away from the polls. Unfortunately, that happened to a small percentage of people on Election Day. In some cases, individuals had not taken the steps necessary to be able to prove residency with a valid ID. Some had recently updated their driver’s licenses, but failed to change their address with the North Dakota Department of Transportation soon enough to show they had been a resident for at least 30 days. In some parts of the state, students were turned away from the polls because they lacked an ID with the current address or an official student certificate. In these instances, it appears the individuals lacked knowledge of the deadlines and proper procedures to be able to prove their residency and vote on Election Day. However, in other instances, voters who say they took all of the proper steps were still turned away from the polls.

Editorials: Texas should learn from states that led in voter turnout | Elaine Ayala/San Antonio Express-News

Secretaries of state across the country have begun to report their voting statistics, and the United States Elections Project out of George Mason University is eagerly awaiting them. It will be deep into January, however, before its analysis will be completed. Already, however, indications are that history has repeated itself — the states that historically have done the best job of getting voters to the polls were on top again. Think Oregon, South Dakota, Alaska, Wisconsin and Maine. Texas is expected to come in at the bottom again with one of the lowest voter participation rates in the country. What do the best voting states do? It’s not too surprising. They’re liberal in their openness, having instituted same-day registration, or voting by mail, or in one of the most interesting cases (North Dakota) no voter registration at all. These high-turnout states share some characteristics. They have higher educational and income levels. They’re whiter and older, and many of them have had highly competitive elections in which no one party dominates. They’re states that UTSA political scientist Patricia Jaramillo has called “moralistic states,” which encourage participation, as opposed to “traditionalistic individualist states” that don’t encourage voting beyond those already engaged.

Editorials: Voter suppression laws are already deciding elections | Catherine Rampell/The Washington Post

Voter suppression efforts may have changed the outcomes of some of the closest races last week. And if the Supreme Court lets these laws stand, they will continue to distort election results going forward. The days of Jim Crow are officially over, but poll-tax equivalents are newly thriving, through restrictive voter registration and ID requirements, shorter poll hours and various other restrictions and red tape that cost Americans time and money if they wish to cast a ballot. As one study by a Harvard Law School researcher found, the price for obtaining a legally recognized voter identification card can range from $75 to $175, when you include the costs associated with documentation, travel and waiting time. (For context, the actual poll tax that the Supreme Court struck down in 1966 was just $1.50, or about $11 in today’s dollars.) Whatever the motivation behind such new laws — whether to cynically disenfranchise political enemies or to nobly slay the (largely imagined) scourge of voter fraud — their costs to voters are far from negligible.

Editorials: The Supreme Court Hears an Alabama Case on the Voting Rights Act | New York TImes

As long as politicians are entrusted with drawing legislative maps, they will use their pen to gain partisan advantage. Courts generally do not interfere with that process, but there are limits to this where race is involved. The problem is figuring out which motive — race or partisanship — underlies the redistricting. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court considered this issue in a thorny case that could have significant implications for the future of the Voting Rights Act. The main legal question before the justices was whether Alabama lawmakers had paid too much attention to race when they redrew the state’s district lines. The 1965 voting law requires states to create districts where minorities can elect candidates of their choice, specifically in places where whites and blacks tend to pick different candidates. That’s clearly the case in Alabama, where, in 2008, Barack Obama received 98 percent of the black vote and 10 percent of the white vote. The Constitution also requires that state legislative districts contain roughly equal populations.

Editorials: Argument analysis: Hitting the “sweet spot” on race, party, and redistricting? | Richard Hasen/SCOTUSblog

By the end of Wednesday’s oral argument in Alabama Legislative Black Caucus v. Alabama and Alabama Democratic Conference v. Alabama, it was not clear whether the state of Alabama or challengers to its state redistricting plan would be likely to win the racial gerrymandering claim currently before the Supreme Court. Nor was it clear how the Court would separate permissible partisan gerrymanders from impermissible racial gerrymanders. But the argument left little doubt that, one way or another and sooner or later, Alabama is likely to have a legislative districting plan which helps the state’s Republican legislators and minimizes the voting power of the state’s Democrats and African Americans. The legal landscape and factual background of this case are exceedingly complex and laid out more fully in this argument preview. The case concerns a challenge to state legislative districts drawn by the Alabama Legislature after the 2010 census. The legislature, newly controlled by Republicans, drew a redistricting plan that contained the same number of majority-minority Senate districts and one additional majority-minority House district compared to the 1990s plan drawn by a court and the 2000s plan drawn by a Democratic legislature. Because of population shifts and declines, as well as the composition of the original 2001 districts, the African-American districts were the most underpopulated of all the districts, meaning that many voters had to be shifted into these districts to comply with “one person, one vote” requirements.

Editorials: We need to amend constitution over vote issue | The Des Moines Register

Eligible voters in Iowa had the opportunity to exercise a privilege of democracy when the polls opened on Election Day, Nov. 4. Some of them chose not to participate, but thousands of others were denied the right to participate by a disputed provision in the Iowa Constitution. That provision excludes otherwise eligible voters who have been convicted of “any infamous crime,” which has generally been interpreted to mean felonies. Which also means that literally tens of thousands of people who have served their time and paid their debt to society are denied one of the fundamental rights of citizenship in a democracy. The latest effort to end this denial of a fundamental right came in a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa three days after the election. The lawsuit on behalf of a woman with a felony record from a drug conviction seeks have her voting rights restored by a Polk County District Court judge. She argues that her criminal conviction does not meet the definition of an “infamous” crime. Beyond that, the lawsuit asks the district court to specifically define which felonies fall under the broad definition of infamous crimes for voting rights purposes.

Editorials: GOP reaps North Carolina victories from its redistricting maps | News Observer

North Carolina Republicans cheered the come-from-behind victory of their U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis, but they’ve been relatively silent about their overwhelming success in the state’s congressional districts. Perhaps they’re sheepish about how they arranged the big win. They should be. Republicans won the General Assembly in 2010 and with it the right to redraw the state’s election districts. They, like the Democrats before them, drew the lines to make a majority of districts tilt in their favor. But they overdid it. The results from the 2014 general election look more like an indictment of Republican manipulation of the election process than an endorsement of Republican policies. More than 2.7 million votes were cast in the Senate race, with Tillis beating U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan by fewer than 47,000 votes, or less than 2 percent of the vote. That statewide result would suggest an almost even split between Republicans and Democrats, but the political competition evaporates in the congressional districts.

Editorials: Did legislators redraw district lines to hurt Democrats or to disenfranchise black voters? | Richard Hasen/Slate

As Democrats struggled last week to salvage control of the Senate, they pushed to get as many black voters to the polls as possible, especially in the South. It’s no wonder: Blacks are the most reliable Democratic voters, and 89 percent of them ended up supporting Democratic candidates in the 2014 elections (a mark that was actually down from 2012). White voters, in contrast, came out heavily for Republicans in the South. In North Carolina, where incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan lost to Republican Thom Tillis, the GOP candidate got just 3 percent of the black vote. But as we all know, the black turnout was not high enough to beat back the Republican wave in North Carolina or elsewhere. In North Carolina in particular, black turnout was down compared with 2012. Recognizing this major overlap of race and party in the South is key to understanding Wednesday’s Supreme Court case involving a constitutional challenge to Alabama’s legislative redistricting. No one disputes that the Alabama Legislature packed black voters into a few legislative districts, thus strengthening Republican control in the majority of districts throughout the rest of the state. But whether or not that action is constitutional depends a great deal on whether the court views this as a case about race (in which case Alabama may have acted unconstitutionally) or one about party (in which case Alabama’s actions are constitutional, if unsavory politics as usual). Given current realities, this “race or party” determination is a wholly artificial exercise, but one that puts the justices in a very interesting spot.

Editorials: A vote of confidence for mail elections in Colorado | The Denver Post

While Colorado’s 2014 election was primarily about the candidates and initiatives on the ballot, it was also a test of the state’s all-mail ballot and vote center system. Our verdict: It was a success. Not only did Colorado buck a national trend of declining voter participation compared to the 2010 midterm election, there were no scandals involving voter fraud, which was a concern expressed by critics of mail balloting. This year, roughly 2 million voters cast ballots, an increase over the 1.8 million in 2010. That’s a significant increase in participation. Of course, the number of registered voters increased by more than 350,000 during that time, too.

Editorials: Dark Money Helped Win the Senate | New York Times

The next Senate was just elected on the greatest wave of secret, special-interest money ever raised in a congressional election. What are the chances that it will take action to reduce the influence of money in politics? Nil, of course. The next Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, has long been the most prominent advocate for unlimited secret campaign spending in Washington, under the phony banner of free speech. His own campaign benefited from $23 million in unlimited spending from independent groups like the National Rifle Association, the National Association of Realtors and the National Federation of Independent Business. The single biggest outside spender on his behalf was a so-called social welfare group calling itself the Kentucky Opportunity Coalition, which spent $7.6 million on attack ads against his opponent, Alison Lundergan Grimes. It ran more ads in Kentucky than any other group, aside from the two campaigns.

Editorials: Ending voter suppression ahead of 2016 | Benjamin Jealous/MSNBC

For far too many Americans, voting became more difficult or, in some cases, impossible in 2014. In Texas, Imani Clark, a Black state college student and client of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in the lawsuit that declared Texas’s strict voter ID law unconstitutional, was unable to vote with her student ID as she had in the past. Thousands of other students like Imani were also disenfranchised. In Alabama, a 92-year-old great-grandmother was disfranchised by the secretary of state’s last-minute determination that a photo ID issued by public housing authorities is not acceptable ID for voting. She had previously voted with a utility bill. These were familiar stories in each of the 14 states with restrictive voting laws that took effect for the first time during this election season. The new laws include strict photo ID requirements, significant reductions to early voting, limits on same-day registration, and more. All had two things in common: They were reactionary responses to changing demographics and had a disproportionate impact on communities of color. If it were not for the U.S. Supreme Court’s devastating June 2013 decision in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, many of these changes likely would have been blocked by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Indeed, Texas’s photo ID measure was previously blocked from going into effect for the 2012 elections by Section 5.

Editorials: Did Voting Restrictions Determine the Outcomes of Key Midterm Races? | Ari Berman/The Nation

Bryan McGowan spent twenty-two years in the US Marine Corps, including four tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. When he was stationed at Camp LeJeune in North Carolina from 2005 until 2010, McGowan used same-day registration to register and vote during the early voting period in the state. He relocated to Georgia in 2010 because of his military service and returned to North Carolina in 2014. On the first day of early voting this year, McGowan arrived at his new polling place in western North Carolina to update his registration and vote, like he had done in the 2008 presidential election, but this time he was turned away. North Carolina eliminated same-day registration as part of the sweeping voting restrictions enacted by the Republican legislature in the summer of 2013. The registration deadline had passed, and McGowan was unable to update his registration and vote. “All I want to do is cast my vote,” the disabled veteran said. After fighting for his country abroad, McGowan felt betrayed by not being able to vote when he returned home. Sadly, McGowan’s story was not atypical this election year. Voters in fourteen states faced new voting restrictions at the polls for first time in 2014—in the first election in nearly fifty years without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act. The number of voters impacted by the new restrictions exceeded the margin of victory in close races for senate and governor in North Carolina, Kansas, Virginia and Florida, according to the Brennan Center for Justice.

Editorials: Midterm Election Results 2014: Did Voter ID Laws Help Republicans Win The Senate Majority? | Howard Koplowitz /International Business Times

Thousands of voters in Texas, North Carolina and Georgia said they were unable to cast ballots in Tuesday’s midterm elections amid growing efforts by Republicans to stamp out voter fraud. The complaints suggest that a slew of laws passed in recent years by GOP lawmakers and blasted by critics as a modern-day poll tax aimed at suppressing Democratic turnout may have influenced the results in some of the nation’s most contested contents. In states that recently passed election reform laws, voters said they were turned away because they didn’t have photo identification or after they showed up at the wrong precinct. Voters also complained of long lines, faulty voting machines, language hurdles and confusion over voter requirements, according to the nonpartisan coalition Election Protection. In all, the nonprofit fielded 18,000 complaints, a 30 percent increase from 2010, according to the Seattle Post‑Intelligencer. Republicans have led efforts in recent years to require photo identification and reduce or eliminate early voting or same-day voter registration because of alleged incidents of voter fraud. But critics argue that the laws suppress voter turnout of key Democratic demographics, including low-income, black, Hispanic, female and young voters.

Editorials: Online voting rife with hazards | Barbara Simons/USA Today

Today Americans are voting in an election that could shift control of the U.S. Senate and significantly impact the direction our nation will take in the next few years. Yet, 31 states will allow over 3 million voters to cast ballots over the Internet in this election, a practice that computer security experts in both the federal government and the private sector have warned is neither secure nor trustworthy. Most states’ online voting is limited to military and overseas voters, but Alaska now permits all voters to vote over the Internet. With a hotly contested Senate seat in Alaska, the use of an online voting system raises serious concerns about the integrity of Alaska’s election results. Alaska’s State Election Division has even acknowledged that its “secure online voting solution” may not be all that secure by posting this disclaimer on its website: “When returning the ballot through the secure online voting solution, your are [sic] voluntarily waving [sic] your right to a secret ballot and are assuming the risk that a faulty transmission may occur.” Unfortunately, faulty transmission is only one of the risks of Internet voting. There are countless ways ballots cast over the Internet can be hacked and modified by cyber criminals.

Editorials: Why we don’t have online voting (and won’t for a long while) | Michael Cochrane/World Magazine

Society deems the voting process so important that it must be 100 percent reliable. We may tolerate failures with our cars and computers, but not our elections. The degree to which an election is free and fair is the very heart of our representative form of democracy in the United States. Technological advancements that might make the voting process more efficient or convenient could also chip away at that integrity, which requires a voting system that is available, secure, and verifiable. At an early October panel discussion on internet voting hosted by the Atlantic Council, Pamela Smith, president of Verified Voting, addressed voting system availability. “If the equipment should happen to break down, you need something else to vote on to replace it. Otherwise people are disenfranchised by that malfunction,” she said. … “Any voting system that you use has to be able to demonstrate clearly to the loser and their supporters that they lost,” Smith said. “And to do that, you need actual evidence. Voters need to be able to see that their votes were captured the way that they meant for them to be and election officials need to be able to use that evidence to demonstrate that votes were counted correctly.”

Editorials: Dangers of Internet Voting | Kurt Hyde/New American

Yesterday’s USA Today had an article entitled “Internet Voting ‘not ready for prime time.'” The story quotes Verified Voting as saying that there are about three million people eligible to vote online in today’s elections, most of them members of the military. Numerous security risks are cited that are inherent in Internet voting. Readers of The New American have often been warned about the dangers of Internet voting. For instance, the October 9, 2000 issue carried an article entitled “Voting on the Web,” in which readers were told of the dangers to electoral integrity due to the inherent insecurity of the Internet. … There are a great number of security weaknesses in Internet voting: no voter-verified paper audit trail, denial of service attacks, spoofing, eavesdropping by servers along the way capturing people’s passwords and enabling verification of vote selling, just to name a few. There are also security weaknesses in the user devices such as laptops or smart phones. They include key-stroke monitors, stored passwords, and many others. There are numerous special interests in both the United  States and foreign counties for whom the outcome of our elections is of major importance. They have the resources to exploit these security weaknesses, and it’s well worth their investment.