Editorials: Thad Cochran’s victory shows voting rights well protected | Jeff Jacoby/The Boston Globe

Tea Party insurgent Chris McDaniel came tantalizingly close to knocking off Senator Thad Cochran in Mississippi’s Republican primary runoff last week, but a surge in black voter turnout saved the six-term incumbent’s bacon. Cochran’s election to a seventh term in November now seems a foregone conclusion, and boy, are a lot of conservatives mad. “There is something a bit unusual about a Republican primary that’s decided by liberal Democrats,” McDaniel fumed on election night, slamming Cochran and the GOP establishment for “once again reaching across the aisle [and] abandoning the conservative movement.” But whatever else the election outcome meant, Cochran’s “reaching across the aisle” made his victory a noteworthy instance of something that supposedly doesn’t and can’t happen in Mississippi even today: A white GOP politician sought support among Democrats, and particularly black Democrats. And far from being politically powerless, they tipped the election.

Editorials: Contrary to Popular Belief, Libya Still Needs Elections | Foreign Policy

This past Wednesday, Libyans went to the polls to choose the members of a new parliament that is supposed to preside over the rest of the country’s transitional phase amid widening political chaos and deteriorating security. Some 45 percent of the 1.5 million eligible voters registered to vote. That’s a significant drop from the 2.8 million who registered to vote for the General National Congress (GNC) elections in 2012. The drop in turnout offers additional evidence, if anyone needed it, that Libyans are deeply frustrated with the democratic process in their country. It’s easy to understand why many might feel that there’s little point to voting: past elections haven’t brought relief from Libya’s festering problems. Indeed, there’s a case to be made that holding elections in a country already beset with widespread violence and deepening polarization can make things worse. In this view, the election results are almost certain to be ignored by parties who didn’t do well at the ballot box and by those who prefer to see an authoritarian regime.

Editorials: Why the Voting Rights Act Still Matters: The Case of Jasper, Texas | Norm Ornstein/The Atlantic

Fifty years ago last weekend, civil-rights workers James Earl Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner were shot and killed by members of the Ku Klux Klan, including a deputy sheriff, in Philadelphia, Mississippi. Next Wednesday marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, one of the monumental achievements of the 20th century. Three weeks ago, on June 7, we had the 16th anniversary of the murder of James Byrd Jr. in Jasper, Texas, after he was chained to a pickup truck by white supremacists and dragged three miles, mostly while conscious, with his headless body thrown in front of an African-American graveyard. And Wednesday marked the first anniversary of Shelby County v. Holder, the 5-4 Supreme Court ruling written by Chief Justice John Roberts that eviscerated the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The story of the Civil Rights Act has been told vividly and wonderfully in two new books by journalists Todd Purdum (An Idea Whose Time Has Come: Two Presidents, Two Parties, and the Battle for the Civil Rights Act of 1964) and Clay Risen (The Bill of the Century: The Epic Battle for the Civil Rights Act). Purdum brought his book to life a week ago in a talk at the Aspen Institute, weaving the remarkable tale of the miraculous passage of the bill—miraculous not so much in the fact that a bill made it through the labyrinth of the legislative process (after all, we had seen a weak and watered-down civil-rights bill pass in 1957), but that it was a strong bill. Many heroes inside and outside government made it happen. Lyndon Johnson was a towering figure, as were Hubert Humphrey, Martin Luther King Jr., A. Philip Randolph, and others in the civil-rights movement. Joe Rauh and others in the liberal community were also key players, and labor and the faith community were vital as well.

Editorials: We should all be watching Wisconsin’s voter ID law fight | Penda D. Hair/The Hill

Alice Weddle was born at home in Mississippi 59 years ago, delivered by a midwife. She was never issued a birth certificate, a common circumstance for African Americans born in the segregated south. Weddle, who moved to Wisconsin with her family when she was three years old, never had a driver’s license and is a regular voter. But without a birth certificate, she is unable to get the photo ID that was required to vote under Wisconsin’s restrictive voter ID law. Weddle’s access to the ballot, along with hundreds of thousands of others in the state, was cleared when a federal judge struck down the law in April. In a lawsuit brought by Advancement Project and pro bono law firm Arnold & Porter, we showed that, in burdening the right to vote for Wisconsin’s African-American and Latino citizens, the measure violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). In his decision, the judge also rejected the state’s argument that a voter ID law was needed, stating that allegations of voter fraud have absolutely no merit.

Editorials: Bitcoin Voting and the Myth of the Un-Hackable Election | The Daily Signal

Bitcoin, the alternative to currency taking the Internet by storm, now may move to another mission. Some advocates want to translate the technology into online voting. Advocates promise a utopian voting scheme driven by smartphones and apps that can overcome all the inherent vulnerabilities to classic e-voting thanks to Bitcoin’s un-hackable code. But the reality is that total security and anonymity online is a virtual impossibility (pun intended) – and both are absolutely crucial to a fair and reliable election. Bitcoin might be the world’s first viable digital currency; it exists entirely in electronic form, and is regulated by a market of online buyers and sellers, rather than a nation and a central bank. As a currency, it is an intriguing experiment. As the foundation of a democratic election, it quickly loses its luster.

Editorials: Where Are the GOP Supporters of Voting Rights? | Ari Berman/The Nation

Last night, Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran narrowly defeated Tea Party challenger Chris McDaniel, in part by courting black voters. “Voting rights has been an issue of great importance in Mississippi,” Cochran said yesterday. Black turnout increased significantly in yesterday’s runoff election, which helped Cochran win by 6,000 votes. “In Mississippi’s twenty-four counties with a majority black population, turnout increased an average of 40 percent over the primary,” reported The Washington Post. In 2006, Cochran was one of ninety-eight Senate Republicans who voted unanimously to reauthorize the temporary provisions of the Voting Rights Act for another twenty-five years. But last year, Cochran applauded the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder invalidating Section 4 of the VRA, which freed states like Mississippi, with the worst history of voting discrimination, from having to approve their voting changes with the federal government under Section 5 of the act. “I think our state can move forward and continue to ensure that our democratic processes are open and fair for all without being subject to excessive scrutiny by the Justice Department,” Cochran said. Cochran was, in effect, celebrating a decision gutting a law that he supported just a few years earlier.

Editorials: Think we don’t need to update the Voting Rights Act? Check out yesterday’s primaries. | Janai S. Nelson/Reuters

The door is open for Congress to repair the nation’s most transformative election law, which was neutered by the U.S. Supreme Court a year ago today. Chief Justice John Roberts, in his majority opinion for Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, issued Congress a written invitation to renew the Voting Rights Act of 1965 after striking down Section 4 of the act and disabling the strongest safety check against racial discrimination in voting.  The Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday on the Voting Rights Amendment Act shows that his invitation did not fall on deaf ears or timid hearts. Swift and dauntless action is needed in both houses of Congress, however, to ensure that voting remains an equal opportunity exercise for all Americans, and that Congress remains a relevant force in the defense of voting rights in places like Mississippi, Texas, Georgia and beyond. On Tuesday, conservative groups marshaled poll watchers for the senatorial primary run-off in Mississippi. Though a court blocked their presence inside polling places, their position just outside threatened to intimidate voters who had come to cast their ballots — echoing the power that poll watchers exercised throughout the Jim Crow South.

Editorials: In Defense of a Voting Rights Act Amendment | Heather Gerken/National Journal

It’s rare to see something new on the Hill these days. Congress is all but paralyzed, everyone is wary of proposing legislation, and members of Congress have never been known for thinking outside the box. And yet the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014 (VRAA)–Cong. James Sensenbrenner’s bipartisan effort to revive Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which was effectively eviscerated by the Supreme Court last summer–was introduced earlier this year. And it offers a new paradigm for civil rights enforcement. Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee will open a hearing where activists, legislators, and other interested parties will share ideas about just what sort of Voting Rights Act changes are sorely needed. Whether the VRAA succeeds, or even manages to become law, is anyone’s guess. But provisions of the bill are worth watching closely because they could reproduce some of the magic of the old Section 5. Section 5 used to require certain jurisdictions (mostly states in the Deep South) to ask the federal government’s permission before making a change in the way they ran elections. Until a rule was “precleared,” it could not be implemented. This unusual provision solved the central problem of voting-rights enforcement during the Civil Rights era–keeping up with the increasingly creative strategies recalcitrant localities used to disenfranchise voters. Every time a court deemed one discriminatory practice illegal, local officials would switch to another. Section 5 allowed the Department of Justice to get one step ahead of local official

Editorials: Restoring the ballot | Washington Post

One of the ugliest stains on democracy in this country is the fact that an estimated 2.6 million Americans who have committed a felony are not allowed to vote — even after they have served their sentence. This mass disenfranchisement disproportionately afflicts minority, especially black, communities. Until recently, almost no prominent Republicans cared to address the problem, seeing little political advantage in registering former inmates — especially minorities — whom they regarded as a largely Democratic electorate. In a dozen mostly GOP-tilting states, some or all felons remain barred from voting even after finishing with parole and probation.

Editorials: Congress should vote for the right to vote | Miles Rapoport/The Hill

It’s hard to believe. In our sixth year with an African-American president, one-half century after passage of the Civil Rights Act and the bloody “Freedom Summer” of 1964, some Americans are still being denied the right to vote or facing government-erected obstacles to their exercise of the right on account of their race. Some states have adopted voter ID laws imposing unneeded requirements that tens of thousands of qualified voters can’t meet. Some have shortened voting hours or eliminated “early voting” days intended to accommodate people who’ll be out of town or can’t get away from their jobs on Election Day. Some persist in using outmoded, prone-to-malfunction voting machines that force would-be voters to stand in line for hours in order to cast their ballots. Those of us who were around 50 years ago this week, when the landmark civil rights law was passed, knew it wouldn’t be easy for the country to overcome its long, shameful history of discrimination. We were sad, but not surprised, when the hundreds of college kids who went south in that summer of ‘64 to work for civil rights were beaten and spat upon — and in three cases murdered. But we also had plenty of reason for hope, including the presence of a strong, bipartisan coalition in Congress in support of civil rights, and voting rights laws in particular. Where today’s Congress is all but paralyzed by partisanship, Capitol Hill in 1964 was a place where Democrats and Republicans often found ways to compromise on behalf of the public interest. There is a chance this week to advance the difficult work of recapturing that spirit, and a new struggle for voting rights provides it.

Editorials: All not well on voting | Wichita Eagle

With the Aug. 5 primary approaching, the voting rights of more than 18,000 Kansans are snagged on the law requiring proof of citizenship to register as of 2013. Yet Secretary of State Kris Kobach acts as if all is well. As for the governor, attorney general and legislative leaders – cue the crickets. Kobach even described the voters in limbo – 18.5 percent of the total attempted registrations since Jan. 1, 2013 – as “actually a pretty small percentage of the people who have registered since Jan. 1 (2013).” Recall that Kobach persuaded the Legislature of the need to pass a law in 2011 requiring photo ID to vote and proof of citizenship to register though there had been just seven convictions for voter fraud between 1997 and 2009. And although he claimed as a candidate in 2010 that “in Kansas the illegal registration of alien voters has become pervasive,” he recently referred to 20 cases of illegal immigrants registering to vote between 2006 and 2009 in Kansas having been presented in federal court.

Editorials: Scaring Away Black Voters in Mississippi | Juliet Lapidos/New York Times

Several right-wing groups have banded together to form a “voter integrity project’ in response to the news that Republican Senator Thad Cochran is courting black Democratic voters in his runoff with the Tea partier Chris McDaniel. The Senate Conservatives Fund, Freedom Works and the Tea Party Patriots, all political action committees, will “deploy observers in areas where Mr. Cochran is recruiting Democrats,” according to a Times article. Ken Cuccinelli, the president of the Senate Conservative Funds, said these observers would be trained to see “whether the law is being followed.” Does anything think this “project” will actually encourage voter “integrity” as opposed to voter suppression? Misinformation is already circulating as to the details of the law that voters must follow.

Editorials: Do South Carolina pollworkers know the law they’re enforcing? | Cindi Ross Scoppe/The State

I got an email early this morning from John Schafer, who reported that when he asked the poll workers at his Spring Hill precinct in the Richland County portion of Irmo what happened if he didn’t have a photo ID, “The two ladies said, simultaneously, ‘Then you can’t vote.’ ” He continued: “Since I was the only voter in the poll at the time, I let them expand on their answer before I corrected them and they eventually got around to the provisional ballot. I politely told them I had my ID, but I was quizzing them. They told me they were only responding as they were trained. The precinct manager was nowhere in sight, so I did not have a chance to talk with him.” Mr. Shafer had also contacted me two weeks ago to report a similar encounter, and I had heard similar stories from others since South Carolina’s photo ID law took effect last year, so I decided to conduct my own test when I went to the Meadowfield precinct near the VA hospital to vote for Molly Spearman and Henry McMaster.

Editorials: GOP’s voter fraud humiliation: Turns out Wisconsin’s worst case is a Republican | Joan Walsh/Salon

It’s always seemed strange that Wisconsin Republicans like Reince Priebus and Scott Walker would insult their own state by claiming that it has a problem with voter fraud and needs tougher laws to prevent it. Wisconsin has traditionally been known for an uncommonly clean political culture (until recently, anyway), and I’ve never quite understood why conservatives would want to impugn it. Can you say “projection”? Now we learn about the curious case of Robert Monroe, a 50-year-old health executive who is accused of voting a dozen times in 2011 and 2012, including seven times in the recalls of Scott Walker and his GOP ally Alberta Darling. Wisconsin officials say it’s the worst case of multiple voting in memory. Oh, and, did I mention he’s a Republican? Monroe got my attention because he’s from the Milwaukee suburb of Shorewood, where I went to high school. Television coverage of the case focused on Shorewood’s quaint Village Hall, where I registered to vote at 18, and where Monroe allegedly filled out an absentee ballot for his son, who voted in person a few towns away, which helped trigger the investigation. Monroe lives six blocks away from where I grew up.

Editorials: Give Voters a Bill of Rights | Bloomberg

When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a key formula in the Voting Rights Act last year, Chief Justice John Roberts had a constructive but not entirely practical suggestion: “Congress may draft another formula based on current conditions.” Against all odds, this Congress — on track to be the least productive in modern history — actually came up with a new formula. Unfortunately, it could do more harm than good. The old formula dictated which states and counties were subject to more stringent requirements under the Voting Rights Act, now almost half a century old. The law protects the voting rights of all Americans but — until the court’s decision — paid special attention to election rules and practices in eight states and parts of seven others, mostly in the South. Because of their history of disenfranchisement, those districts were required to get “preclearance” from the federal government for any changes to election practices, including ID requirements and polling hours.

Editorials: Do people know what Voter ID means? | Charles D. Ellison/Philadelphia Tribune

In recent months, a slew of polls have asked one of the more critical questions in electoral politics: Do you support Voter ID? The answers are as controversial as the topic itself. An ongoing stream of debate over Voter ID laws easily gives the impression of a highly charged polarizing tug of war between competing parties. And the assumption, especially among pundits battling over it, is that the larger public knows what that is. Lawmakers, particularly on the state level, continue to litigate or pass some form of Voter ID law, with Republicans pushing a statistically questionable voter fraud narrative and Democrats pushing back with accusations of voter suppression. National polls from sources such as Fox News, Rasmussen and others suggest the issue, at least in the minds of voters, is resolved. The most eye-raising was an early June Fox News survey, which showed 51 percent of African Americans actually supported Voter ID laws — despite clear campaign trail and advocacy angst to the contrary.

Editorials: California’s jungle primary: Tried it. Dump it. | Harold Myerson/Los Angeles Times

Though county registrars are still tallying the votes in several close contests, the memory of California’s June primary has already begun to fade from the state’s collective consciousness — assuming, that is, that it ever made an imprint there at all. Before it vanishes altogether, though, Californians should take away one lesson from June’s balloting: The state’s new method for conducting primary elections is an asinine idea that can lead to perverse and anti-majoritarian consequences. The most obvious effect the jungle system has had is to convey a clear advantage to the party that runs fewer candidates for an office. Under the so-called jungle primary system, which came into being through a 2010 ballot measure that voters narrowly ratified, primary voters can cast their ballot for any candidate in the June election, and the top two finishers, regardless of party, advance to the November runoff. Both the 2012 and the 2014 primaries were conducted under these rules, so we can now look at the effects this new process has had on California politics.

Editorials: Reduce polarization with mandatory voting | Christopher Flavelle/Miami Herald

Data showing Americans’ increased political polarization breathes new life into an old cause: mandatory voting. If the connection between the two isn’t clear, then bear with me. A new report from the Pew Research Center shows that a growing share of Americans hold increasingly strident ideological views; those views are increasingly far apart; and the people who hold those polarized views are the most likely to vote. It seems self-evident that this is a problem. Increased polarization means voters elect lawmakers who are increasingly unwilling to compromise, which in turn means Congress can’t react to new problems or deal with old ones. It also means that whichever party wins the White House is all but guaranteed to infuriate the half of the country whose votes it didn’t get, as the demands of each party’s most strident supporters become increasingly irreconcilable.

Editorials: Playing With Fire in Afghanistan | New York Times

At this pivotal moment for Afghanistan, one of the two candidates for president, Abdullah Abdullah, is creating a political crisis by trying to interrupt the vote-counting in Saturday’s runoff. On Wednesday, he demanded that the election commission stop counting ballots and withdrew his election observers from the process. This could be catastrophic for Afghanistan, which is still very fragile and under grave threat from the Taliban. If no winner is decided, there is likely to be a protracted political struggle along ethnic lines that could make it impossible to transfer power democratically. The uncertainty would paralyze government decision-making and prevent the signing of a security agreement that would allow the United States to leave a residual force in Afghanistan after combat troops depart later this year.

Editorials: Does Supreme Court Want Truthier Elections? | Noah Feldman/Bloomberg

Was a vote for the Affordable Care Act a vote for “taxpayer-funded abortion”? Sounds like a question of opinion, doesn’t it? But when a pro-life advocacy group called the Susan B. Anthony List said as much about then-Congressman Steve Driehaus’s vote during the 2010 election cycle, Driehaus filed an action charging them with making a false statement about his voting record, a crime under Ohio law. Driehaus lost the election, and the case was never decided. But the SBA folks still wanted the federal court to strike down the Ohio law as unconstitutional. Yesterday, the Supreme Court allowed their challenge case to go forward — and that tells us something important about the future of election law. Because the Ohio court never got a chance to find SBA guilty or not guilty of making a false statement about Driehaus’s voting record, no court has yet addressed the question of whether Ohio can outlaw such false statements altogether. The Supreme Court restricted its unanimous decision, written by Justice Clarence Thomas, to the threshold question of whether SBA could go to court seeking to have the law overruled when there were no present charges against it. The court held that the answer was yes.

Editorials: Why Ghana Has Probably the World’s Worst Voters’ Register | GhanaWeb

On Thursday, June 5, 2014, the Chairman of Ghana’s Electoral Commission, Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, took a potentially dangerous and indefensibly stubborn position by insisting that the electoral management body would not bow to pressure from political parties and civil society groups to commission an independent audit of the biometric voters’ register. To him, there was no evidence that the register was bloated or not credible. Looking cursorily at Ghana’s 2012 voters’ list, having 56.2% of the population certified as eligible voters, may appear pretty normal. But, the picture becomes evidently disturbing upon closer scrutiny of the statistics and when compared to figures across the globe. What comes out is that Ghana has one of the most abnormal, if not the worst, electoral roll in the entire world. It is certainly the worst in democratic Africa.

Editorials: Missouri GOP: If Polls Are Open Too Long, Voters Will Commit Fraud | Mother Jones

Missouri Republicans are pushing for a measure to expand early voting in the state. The move seems like a departure from the nationwide, GOP-led effort to shrink the window of time voters have access to the polls, but Democrats say it’s more of the same. The measure from Missouri’s Republicans, who in May failed to amend the state’s constitution to implement stricter voter ID requirements, comes at the same time as a citizen-led ballot measure that would expand early voting significantly. State GOPers say their version, which expands early voting by a much smaller amount and includes restrictions, will combat voter fraud and help voters make up their minds. But critics say the Republican-backed measure excludes days when working families and African American voters are more likely to hit the polls. The hullabaloo started after Martin Luther King Jr. Day, when volunteers such as Greg Oelke, a retired pipefitter in Missouri, gathered signatures to place an initiative on the ballot that would give voters six extra weeks to get to the polls at multiple locations and provide time to vote on the weekends. Oelke, who often worked overtime on construction projects both in and out of Missouri, collected signatures around Springfield because he said it was hard for him to make it to the polls on Election Day. “Early voting is an issue that really means a lot to me,” he told Missouri Jobs With Justice, a group that helped organize the petition drive.

Editorials: Eric Cantor’s Last, Legacy-Burnishing Task: Update the VRA | Ron Chistie/The Daily Beast

As the fallout from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s stunning primary defeat continues, the departing number two in the House should burnish his legacy by pushing through a bill to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA). The Voting Rights Act prohibits discriminatory actions that had largely denied blacks the ability to vote in the South since Reconstruction following the Civil War. Congress has reauthorized the provisions of the VRA four times—most recently in 2006, under the leadership of George W. Bush and with bipartisan support from Congress. The House supported the measure 390-33 and the Senate unanimously approved the legislation 98-0. So why reauthorize the VRA now, and why should Eric Cantor be the driving force?

Editorials: The dirty secret of vote counting | Paul Mitchell/The Sacramento Bee

If there’s one thing elections officials pray for, it’s wide margins on Election Day. A clear and convincing election result allows final tallies to be announced. Winners receive congratulations, losers give concession speeches and everyone else returns to work. But that’s not what’s happening this year. In the state controller’s race, we find an incredibly close result that has changed leads repeatedly throughout the counting period. Republican Ashley Swearengin is solidly in first place, nearly guaranteed a spot in the runoff. But the vote differential between second and fourth is a mere four-tenths of a percent, with hundreds of thousands of votes to count. This easily could go to a recount if the margins remain this narrow.

Editorials: Restructuring Maine elections has key support | Douglas Rooks/Sun Journal

Now that the primary elections are behind us, the debate returns to what was always the main subject – the race for governor. The battle between incumbent Paul LePage and challenger Mike Michaud, with Eliot Cutler again in the mix, has an epochal quality to it. Whatever happens, it won’t be one of those elections where you wonder how much difference it would have made had the other guy won. So it’s time to dust off the modest proposal I raised back in March – whether we could create a grand bargain to reform what are some of the oddest and least useful parts of Maine’s political system. Those would be legislative term limits – unnecessary in a citizen legislature whose powers are already limited – and the indirect election of the attorney general, secretary of state, and treasurer, something practiced by no other state, and not in federal elections, either, since the 17th Amendment provided for direct election of U.S. senators a century ago.

Editorials: The Next Afghan President | Wall Street Journal

Some 60% of Afghan voters went to the polls Saturday for the second round of presidential elections. Former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani was in a tight race with former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah, and it will be weeks before we know the final outcome. But the fact that both men are pro-Western moderates should put to rest the notion that the Afghan people and their leaders are not ready for democracy. The election marks an improvement over the 2009 ballot that re-elected Hamid Karzai, which was marred by low voter turnout and credible allegations of widespread fraud. The turnaround is a testament to the success of the U.S. surge in routing the Taliban from their old strongholds, and of the ability of Afghan security forces—army and police—to maintain security at thousands of polling places.

Editorials: Eric Cantor’s Defeat Is Bad News for the Voting Rights Act | Ari Berman/The Nation

Eric Cantor’s primary defeat last night offers a good explanation for why so many Republicans are no longer willing to back efforts to protect voting rights. After the Supreme Court’s decision invalidating a key section of the VRA last year, Cantor vowed to “find a responsible path forward that ensures that the sacred obligation of voting in this country remains protected.” He was the only member of the GOP leadership to take such a position. Supporters of the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014 were counting on his support (even though he remained noncommittal to date).

Editorials: Congress mustn’t leave Alaska out of voting rights act reform | Alaska Dispatch

In an important Alaska voting rights case being tried in U.S. District Court this month, the state has asserted it isn’t required by law to translate all election materials into Native languages and that in general its language program is adequate. U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason overruled the state, saying the constitutional right to vote requires Alaska to translate all election materials into Native languages. The Alaska Federation of Natives has long endeavored to protect Alaskans’ right to vote. While the state has been slow to recognize the challenges facing Alaska Native voters, the federal government – including our Alaska Congressional Delegation and the federal Department of Justice – has been quickening its pace.

Editorials: Some Kansas voters less legitimate? | Wichita Eagle

Hard as it is to believe, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is making good on his threat to implement a two-tiered voting system in which some registered voters are treated as less legitimate than others and only some of the votes on their ballot will count. Kobach told the Associated Press on Tuesday that those who registered to vote using the federal form without providing proof of citizenship will be given full provisional ballots for the Aug. 5 primary but that only the votes cast in federal races will be counted. Imagine the hassle local election officials will have trying to carry out that mandate.

Editorials: Election laws that prevent elections | Joshua Spivak/Reuters

After a half-century in the House of Representatives, Representative John Conyers (D-Mich.), now the second longest serving member of Congress, may be an unsympathetic victim to show how election laws can be unfairly used to keep potential challengers off the ballot. But recent court rulings on Conyers as well as a New Jersey recall attempt highlight how election laws are frequently designed to benefit those in power — and block potential challengers. Due to its mix of an embarrassing level of incompetence and Conyers’ long service, his failure to get enough signatures got attention. Conyers needed 1,000 valid registered voters in his district to sign his petition in order to get on the ballot. His supporters collected enough raw signatures, but many people either didn’t live in the district or weren’t registered voters. After striking these and other nonconforming signatures, Conyers only had 455 valid signatures. The county clerk struck Conyers from the ballot.