Editorials: The Voting Rights Act: An End to Racism by Judicial Order | The New Yorker

Among the many things that can be gleaned from Tuesday’s Supreme Court decision eviscerating the Voting Rights Act is this: we live in an era of American history which is, if not actually post-racial, then officially post-racism. Race may still exist as a social reality—and so may racism—but no amalgamation of facts, studies, or disparities is sufficient to the cause of proving that there exists a system which produces inequality. In short: we have overcome whether the data agrees with us or not. As Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion:

In 1965, the States could be divided into those with a recent history of voting tests and low voter registration and turnout and those without those characteristics. Congress based its coverage formula on that distinction. Today the Nation is no longer divided along those lines, yet the Voting Rights Act continues to treat it as if it were.

Americans tend to imagine that the racial history of their nation is a steady line sloping upward; in truth, it looks more like an EKG. In that context, it’s unsurprising that a decision hobbling the Voting Rights Act could come in such close proximity to the first Presidential election in which the percentage of eligible voters who went to the polls was higher among blacks than among whites. Peaks in racial progress tend to come in concert with valleys of backlash.

Editorials: The Supreme Court’s Constitutional Hypocrisy | Ari Berman/The Nation

In his dissent in the Defense of Marriage Act case today, Justice Scalia wrote: “We have no power to decide this case. And even if we did, we have no power under the Constitution to invalidate this democratically adopted legislation.” Justice Roberts wrote in his concurrence: “I agree with Justice Scalia that this Court lacks jurisdiction to review the decisions of the courts below… I also agree with Justice Scalia that Congress acted constitutionally in passing the Defense of Marriage Act.” Yet that reasoning didn’t stop Justices Roberts and Scalia from striking down the centerpiece of the Voting Rights Act yesterday, a hugely important civil rights law that has been passed by Congress five times with overwhelming bipartisan approval. Why didn’t the court defer to Congress on the VRA, which has a far more robust Congressional history/mandate than DOMA? And how did Roberts and Scalia reach such contradictory conclusions in the different cases?

Editorials: Justice Scalia Hates Judicial Review, Except When He Doesn’t | Dashiell Bennett/The Atlantic

Earlier today, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote a scathing dissent to the decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act, saying “we have no power under the Constitution to invalidate this democratically adopted legislation.” So why was it okay to take apart the democratically adopted Voting Rights Act just one day earlier? Scalia’s DOMA dissent was a blistering and angry on most of his fellow justices and their “legalistic argle-bargle.” He even went after Samuel Alito, who voted on his side. The crux of his argument was that the law — which passed in 1996 — was a legitimate act of Congress, and it’s not the job of the Supreme Court to tell everyone what every single law means. That’s a mistake that “spring[s] forth from the same diseased root: an exalted conception of the role of this institution in America.”

Editorials: Voting Rights Act Decision Poses a Crucial Test for Republicans | The Daily Beast

If you’ve read a magazine at any point in the last decade, then you’ve probably heard of the Stanford marshmallow test. A young child is placed at a table with a marshmallow and told that she can eat it now or wait a while and get an even better treat. The experiment is supposed to measure a child’s capacity for delayed gratification. The longer she can wait, the more likely it is she has good impulse control, and that is associated with better life outcomes, as measured by health and educational attainment. In overturning Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act—which sets down a formula for identifying which state and local governments have to preclear changes to voting law with the federal government—the Supreme Court has all but placed a huge marshmallow in front of the Republican Party. But instead of a sugary treat, it’s an opportunity to pursue harsh new restrictions on voting—the kinds of policies that would have been blocked under the Voting Rights Act before the court’s ruling.

Editorials: The Chief Justice’s Long Game | Rick Hasen/New York Times

In an opinion brimming with a self-confidence that he hides behind a cloak of judicial minimalism, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for a conservative Supreme Court majority in Shelby County v. Holder, cripples Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. The court pretends it is not striking down the act but merely sending the law back to Congress for tweaking; it imagines that Congress forced its hand; and it fantasizes that voting discrimination in the South is a thing of the past. None of this is true. In the Shelby decision, we see a somewhat more open version of a pattern that is characteristic of the Roberts court, in which the conservative justices tee up major constitutional issues for dramatic reversal. First the court wrecked campaign finance law in Citizens United. On Tuesday it took away a crown jewel of the civil rights movement. And as we saw in Monday’s Fisher case, affirmative action is next in line, even if the court wants to wait another year or two to pull the trigger. Imagine striking down affirmative action and the Voting Rights Act in the same week!

Editorials: Supreme Court and the Voting Rights Act: Goodbye to Section 5 | Heather Gerken/Slate Magazine

The Supreme Court struck down the crown jewel of the Civil Rights movement today. Section 5 was the most powerful tool in the movement’s arsenal. Although I’m a law professor and thus supposed to be opining on the court’s decision and Congress’ potential response, I want to spend a little time mourning Section 5’s passing before hashing out the consequences. To understand why Section 5 was special, you have to know a bit about its history. The brutal attacks on civil rights marchers crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge provided the push needed to pass the Voting Rights Act. When the Voting Rights Act passed in 1965, almost no African-Americans were registered to vote in the Deep South due to brutal repression and sickening legal chicanery.  Civil rights litigators and the Department of Justice were doing their best to help. They filed lawsuit after lawsuit to make it possible for blacks to register. But every time a court deemed one discriminatory practice illegal, local officials would switch to another. Literacy tests, poll taxes, burdensome registration requirements—these techniques were all used to prevent African-Americans from voting. Southern voting registrars would even resign from their positions as soon as a lawsuit was on the cusp of succeeding, thereby sending the case back to square one. The Voting Rights Act aimed to change all of this.

Editorials: Shelby Commentary: What does the Court’s decision mean? | Richard Pildes/SCOTUSblog

I have called the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA) a “sacred symbol” of American democracy.  For that reason, the Supreme Court’s momentous decision holding unconstitutional a part of the Act – Section 4, for short — that had continued to apply, nearly fifty years later, uniquely to the South, is itself laden with deep symbolic meaning.  But what is that meaning? In truth, the decision will express such radically different meanings to different people that we will not be able to forge common ground regarding even the threshold question of what the decision is “about.”  Starting from such irreconcilable symbolic places, any discussion of the actual opinions themselves will be almost beside the point.

Editorials: Turning the political map into a partisan weapon – The GOP’s national effort to control redistricting has cemented its grip on the House | Boston Globe

In the shadow of the Appalachian Mountains, protests and rallies erupt in this city’s downtown square on any given night. Aging hippies and veterans gather at the foot of a granite obelisk known as the monument to tolerance and wave cardboard signs asking motorists to honk against drone warfare and in support of universal health care. Several Asheville preachers openly advocate for gay marriage, a rarity in the South; it is enough to move one GOP state lawmaker to label the entire community a “cesspool of sin.” Asheville has long carried the distinction of being an island of Democratic blue in a sea of Republican red. For six years, the largest city in western North Carolina was represented in the US House by a moderate Democrat who embodied the party’s playbook for the conservative region: a former NFL quarterback named Heath Shuler. But Shuler decided against seeking reelection last year after the playing field shifted beneath him. A state Legislature controlled by Republicans redrew his district — splitting liberal Asheville in two and diluting the city’s voting power. Shuler stood little chance of winning another term under the redrawn map.

Editorials: Albanian election, American style | USAToday

Deep in the Balkans, two of the West’s leading political operatives — John Podesta, architect of Bill Clinton’s two successful campaigns for the White House, and former British prime minister Tony Blair — are going head to head in one of the strangest and most deeply fraught election campaigns in years. At stake here for both sets of lobbyists is not only the promise of millions in consulting fees and ongoing, profitable lobbying contracts, but bragging rights as well — to having stage-managed a winning campaign involving 66 political parties bundled in at least three coalitions, and deep hatreds in all camps. So both sides — center-left Prime Minister Sali Berisha going for his third four-year term, challenged by the socialist Edi Rama — have managed to transform this electoral contest into a curious mélange of non-stop campaign rallies, caravans with blaring loudspeakers, a series of televised debates with both sides shouting at each other, and wall-to-wall television coverage that would not be out of place in Chicago or Houston. On Sunday, voters will decide.

Editorials: Could Supreme Court’s Arizona Ruling Lead to Voting Messes Down the Road? | Garrett Epps/The Atlantic

On Monday, I wrote that the Court’s 7-2 decision in Arizona v. Arizona Inter Tribal Council gave a strong affirmation to Congress’s power to regulate state voter-registration processes” and “refused to narrow the scope of Congress’s power to supervise federal election procedures in the states.” That remains the general view. (See coverage herehere, and here.) Some commentators I respect find the decision more mixed as an affirmation of federal power over state voting procedures. At SCOTUSblog, Lyle Denistonconcluded that the opinion “assured states that they retain the ultimate power to decide who gets to vote. The apparent bottom line: states cannot now require voters to show proof that they are U.S. citizens, but the Court has given them a plan that could gain them that power.” Also in SCOTUSblog, Georgetown Law Professor Martin Lederman argues that “what appears at first to be a significant victory for the federal government might in fact be something much less than that — indeed, might establish important restrictions on Congress’s authority to determine eligibility for voting in federal elections, in a way that implicates current and potential future federal legislation.” And at the Daily Beast, election-law guru Richard Hasen warns that the decision “may give states new powers to resist federal government control over elections.” It’s hard to think of three smarter people. I continue to think that the decision is a big win for Congress’s power. The storm clouds these commentators discern may be threatening, but also may pass over easily.

Editorials: Gift or Gotcha: What to Make of Scalia’s Arizona Opinion | Janai S. Nelson/Huffington Post

On Monday — just over twenty years to the day that President Bill Clinton signed the National Voter Registration Act (affectionately known as “Motor Voter Law”) into law — the Supreme Court ruled that Arizona’s attempt to tack a proof-of-citizenship requirement onto the federal voter registration form was in violation of the Act. Given Arizona’s racial and ethnic demographics, the burden of this requirement fell heavily upon the state’s Latino and Native American voters. However, Arizona residents were given a reprieve — at least for now — by Justice Antonin Scalia, one of the Court’s staunchest conservatives, who authored the opinion in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc.

Editorials: The Supreme Court Gives States New Weapons in the Voting Wars | Rick Hasen/The Daily Beast

Supreme Court watchers have been waiting each day to see if the Supreme Court is going to strike down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act in a case called Shelby County v. Holder. The court did not issue that opinion Monday, but it did issue another important ruling in an Arizona voting case that could lead to new struggles between states and the federal government—and between Democrats and Republicans—over the rules for running our federal elections. While the opinion is a short-term victory for the federal government, it raises more questions than answers and ultimately could shift some power in elections back to the states. In 2004, Arizona voters passed a law requiring people registering to vote in the state to provide documentary proof of citizenship. At issue in today’s case, Arizona v. Inter-Tribal Council, was a very technical question: must Arizona accept a simple federal form, required by the 1993 National Voter Registration Act (commonly known as “motor voter”), for voter registration even though the form does not require registrants to include documentary proof of citizenship?

Editorials: Pyrrhic victory for federal government in Arizona voter registration case? | Marty Lederman/SCOTUSblog

The Court, by a seven-to-two vote, today held that federal law preempts — that is to say, renders invalid — an Arizona law requiring voter registration officials to reject a voter’s application for registration if it is not accompanied by evidence of U.S. citizenship above and beyond the attestation of citizenship the applicant has made on the federal “Motor Voter” form. Lyle is almost certainly correct, however, that what appears at first to be a significant victory for the federal government might in fact be something much less than that — indeed, might establish important restrictions on Congress’s authority to determine eligibility for voting in federal elections, in a way that implicates current and potential future federal legislation.

Editorials: Opinion recap: One hand giveth…. | Lyle Denniston/SCOTUSblog

In a ruling that might easily be misunderstood if not read very closely, the Supreme Court on Monday simultaneously strengthened Congress’s hand in expanding the ranks of eligible voters, and yet assured states that they retain the ultimate power to decide who gets to vote.  The apparent bottom line: states cannot now require voters to show proof that they are U.S. citizens, but the Court has given them a plan that could gain them that power. The decision in the case of Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona (docket 12-71) had major potential for sorting out the dual roles of Congress and the states in deciding eligibility to vote, and that was even more vital in the midst of a new national controversy over efforts among some states to narrow eligibility.  The end result will give both sides in that controversy encouragement, but perhaps rather confusing legal guidance.

Editorials: How the Voting Rights Act Hurts Democrats and Minorities | Steven Hill/The Atlantic

Civil rights are on the nation’s docket in a major way. Sometime this month, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide an important voting-rights case, Shelby County v. Holder, in addition to another case involving racial discrimination in higher education and two potentially landmark cases on gay marriage. By the end of June, the nation’s civil-rights profile may look quite different. In Shelby County, the justices are weighing whether the 1965 Voting Rights Act should continue to apply specially to designated regions of the country with ugly histories of racial discrimination. These regions, including the entire state of Alabama as well as eight other states and more than 60 counties, currently must seek “preclearance” from the Department of Justice for any changes to their voting laws and practices (changes can still be challenged after enactment). Officials in Shelby County, Alabama, say “times have changed,” that Shelby County is no longer the cesspool of Jim Crow racism it once was, and so the high court should overturn the preclearance requirement, known in legal parlance as Section 5.

Editorials: Scalia’s ‘Voter Access’ Case | Spencer Overton/Huffington Post

We are still waiting for a decision about the fate of the Voting Rights Act, but today the U.S. Supreme Court issued an opinion in another voting rights case. In today’s case, the Court ruled in favor of those who support voter access. Arizona must accept federal voter registration forms — even those federal forms that do not comply with Arizona’s restrictive proof-of-citizenship requirements. The opinion was written by Justice Scalia, who stated in February that the renewal of the Voting Rights Act was motivated by “racial entitlement.” Before assuming that Justice Scalia is a recent convert to voting rights protections, recognize that language in today’s opinion could eventually undermine voting rights. The details of the opinion could empower state and local partisans who manipulate voting rules. The opinion’s reasoning could also hamper federal efforts to protect military voters and restore former offender voting rights.

Editorials: The real IRS scandal | Herman Schwartz/The Great Debate (Reuters)

We just had five congressional hearings about the Internal Revenue Service, full of sound and fury, but, we now know, signifying nothing. Despite all the hoopla and headlines about IRS personnel targeting conservative tax-exempt organizations, there is no real scandal here. IRS staffers acted not only legally but, given their impossible task, quite rationally. They forgot, however, that they not only work in a political fishbowl, they swim in a sea of politics. Faced with internally contradictory regulations laid out in vague terms, and with little guidance from higher-ups, they botched it. Republicans may now finally get the chance to pour unlimited amounts of secret money into elections. The Internal Revenue Code provides a tax exemption under section 501(c)(4) for nonprofit groups “operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare” (emphasis added). In classic oxymoronic bureaucratic doublespeak, however, a 1959 regulation decided “exclusively” really meant “primarily.” Though the courts have ruled that a tax-exempt group’s political activity must be “insubstantial,” lawyers have argued this means it can be as much as 49 percent – and the IRS has gone along. Even that has been flagrantly violated by both Democratic and Republican 501(c)(4)s.

Editorials: The Kremlin’s Managed Mayoral Election | The Moscow Times

The most intriguing aspect of the early mayoral election in Moscow is its complete lack of suspense. Almost two weeks have passed since pro-Kremlin Mayor Sergei Sobyanin unexpectedly resigned. He then called for a new election in three months, effectively eliminating any possible competition in the process. The election will be held according to the standard scenario of Russia’s “managed democracy” — that is, by preventing the strongest rivals to Sobyanin from running in the race, guaranteeing low voter turnout and applying the Kremlin’s massive propaganda and administrative resources to manipulate the vote. Civil Platform party leader and billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov was expected to have been Sobyanin’s main rival. During his bid for the presidency in March 2012, Prokhorov received nearly 8 percent of the vote nationally and more than 20 percent among Muscovites.

Editorials: Do we still need the government to end racial discrimination? | MSNBC

With two weeks left in the term, the Supreme Court is set to deliver a series of high profile rulings on civil right cases. As early as Monday, the Court could hand down its decision in Shelby County v. Holder, a case that challenges Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Section 5 mandates that nine states and 56 additional counties receive preclearance by the Department of Justice before making any changes to voting laws which might discriminate against minorities. Seven years ago Congress overwhelmingly reauthorized Section 5 for another 25 years, affirming that the law still plays a critical role in ensuring fair and equal voting rights. Yet, opponents of Section 5 claim that race-based discrimination is no longer present to the extent that justifies such legal protection.

Editorials: Ohio’s chief justice offers intriguing suggestions for improving the way we elect the state’s judges | Toledo Blade

Ohioans continue to insist on the right to elect the state’s judges. We demand accountability, even though many of us don’t bother to vote in judicial elections and complain that we know next to nothing about the candidates. The Blade has long believed that Ohio would do better to select judges on the basis of professional merit rather than popular election. But because that won’t happen soon, if ever, Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor suggests the next best thing: strengthening the way we elect judges. Justice O’Connor is inviting Ohioans to consider and debate eight issues related to judicial elections. Several of the proposals would require changes in state law or the Ohio Constitution. She notes that judicial elections in Ohio get 25 percent less voter participation, on average, than races at the top of the ballot. She suggests two ways to combat this decline: moving judicial races higher on all ballots, and holding state and county judicial elections in odd-numbered years (when elections for municipal judgeships already occur), so they would be less likely to compete with more attention-grabbing contests and ballot issues.

Editorials: Why permanent residents should get the vote in Toronto | Metro

When activists started tossing around the idea of giving permanent residents in Toronto the right to vote in municipal elections, I came to the issue as a skeptic. Citizenship as a natural prerequisite to voting rights is one of those things that just seems intuitive. But by the time Toronto City Council got around to approving a formal request to the provincial government to extend the municipal vote to non-citizens, three things had changed my mind. The first was the work of writer and activist Desmond Cole, who selflessly championed the issue all the way up to last week’s council vote. His relentless drive and super convincing arguments in favour of the idea made him into a kind of city hall rock star, proof that all you need to affect change at city hall is an advocate who isn’t prepared to back down.

Editorials: In Shelby County v. Holder, Supreme Court Will Decide Integrity Of Future Elections | Forbes

When the United States Supreme Court decides Shelby County v. Holder later this month, it will decide the constitutional limits of federal power over the states.  The Court will also determine the integrity of future elections. At issue in Shelby are the preclearance provisions of the Voting Rights Act. Every change regarding elections in fifteen states, even moving a polling place from school gym to a school library, must be approved in Washington D.C. by the federal government.  The mandate was enacted almost a half-century ago as “emergency” legislation in response to Jim Crow. If these “preclearance” provisions, commonly called “Section 5,” are struck down by the court this month, voter fraud will be harder to commit. If the Supreme Court ends Section 5, American elections will be more secure.

Editorials: How Art Pope killed clean elections for judges in North Carolina | Facing South

On the afternoon of Tuesday, June 11, as the North Carolina House jousted over details of the state budget, Rep. Jonathan Jordan, a Republican attorney from the state’s mountain region, decided to help the legislature reach a compromise on a thorny problem. At issue was the N.C. Public Campaign Fund, a popular program launched in 2003 to help free judges from relying on deep-pocketed — and potentially compromising — special interest donors to get elected. Eighty percent of eligible judges — conservatives and liberals — used the voluntery program, which awarded candidates a grant to help run their campaign if they raised at least 350 small donations and agreed to strict spending limits. Ideologues hated the public financing option, but judges and even many conservatives thought it boosted public confidence in the courts. In May, members of the state’s Court of Appeals took the unusual step of publicly calling on legislative leaders to keep the program. A dozen newspapers praised its success, and two Republican officials from West Virginia came to explain why their state had just adopted the North Carolina model.

Editorials: Wyoming ballot access should be fair, but not easy | Star Tribune

The recent failed effort to repeal a new state law limiting the duties of the state superintendent of public instruction reiterated a long-held belief: Wyoming’s referendum laws are among the most stringent in the nation. State lawmakers should consider whether the laws are too stringent. At the same time, let’s not go too far. California’s proposition system is a prime example of direct democracy run amok, where, as a result of unintended consequences, public power has often rendered the state’s Legislature ineffective. Wyoming’s is a republican form of government in which we elect — and therefore trust — our citizen Legislature to make decisions for us. This isn’t a pure democracy where we get a say on every issue. Imagine how messy state government would become if every issue were put to a vote. Trouble is: Where do we begin to ease the restrictions? It appears to be the proverbial chicken-and-egg issue.

Editorials: Venezuela’s election audit: Beside the point | The Economist

After Nicolás Maduro narrowly won Venezuela’s presidential election on April 14th, his chief opponent, Henrique Capriles, immediately disputed the result. Two months later, the government is still struggling to put the issue of its legitimacy to rest, both at home and abroad. The latest attempt came this week from the president of the National Electoral Council (CNE), Tibisay Lucena. She claimed that a laborious audit of the tallies produced by electronic voting machines against the paper receipts that correspond to each vote had confirmed that Mr Maduro had indeed won by 1.49 percentage points.

Editorials: Are States Delaying Voter ID Enactment to Duck Federal Racial Review? | Brentin Mock/Colorlines

In March, Virginia passed a strict photo voter ID law that won’t go into effect until 2014. It’s the second voter ID law they’ve passed in as many years — the first one enacted last year only after a review by the federal government made sure that it would not disenfranchise voters of color, even by mistake. The U.S. Department of Justice reviewed and cleared it just in time for the November elections last year. The much stricter version of Virginia’s voter ID law passed this year may not enjoy the same federal scrutiny given its 2014 start date. Reason being, if the U.S. Supreme Court rules that Section 5 is invalid — and a ruling is expected within weeks — then the voter ID law would go into effect regardless of its impact on people. Over 870,000 Virginians, mostly people of color, may lack the appropriate ID to vote, according to a letter sent from the ACLU to Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell asking him to veto the new voter ID law. So, it has to be asked: Is Virginia holding the new law to escape racial discrimination review? It’s tough to think of Virginia in that context given its governor just went through the trouble of lifting voting bans on citizens formerly incarcerated for nonviolent felon charges. But if those who’ve left prison are unable to get government ID or a driver’s license — not uncommon for many formerly incarcerated, as pointed out by the Legal Action Center, due to missing vital documents like birth certificates — then they may suffer disenfranchisement under the new law next year anyway.

Editorials: A Modest Early Voting Rise in 2012 | Michael P. McDonald/Huffington Post

The percentage of voters who cast their ballot before Election Day modestly increased from 29.7 percent to 31.6 percent from 2008 to 2012, according to a Census Bureau survey. The Current Population Survey, November Voting and Registration Supplement asks respondents if they voted on Election Day or before Election Day. Thus, the Census Bureau counts persons who voted by any means of “early voting” as voting prior to Election Day, be it by a mail ballot or in-person at an election office or special early voting polling place. The increase of 1.9 percentage points in early voting rates in the past two presidential elections is in stark contrast to the sharp rise of 9.7 percentage points from 2004 to 2008, from 20.0% to 29.7%. The rate of increase in early voting over the past two presidential elections may have slowed since some states have nearly maxed out the pool of people who may wish to vote early. Also, fewer new states came online to offer an early voting option to their voters, beyond the traditional excuse-required absentee ballot.

Editorials: Virginia’s Restoration of Voting Rights: An American Issue | Orlando Sentinel

If we want to understand the importance of Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell’s recent voting rights reform, we need to look back all the way to the 1901-1902 Virginia Constitutional Convention. The setting was Richmond, Virginia, June 1901. The Virginia Democratic Party had decided that African-Americans were gaining too much political clout after the Civil War. They forced a constitutional convention to reset the balance of power. Virginia Delegate Carter Glass, a newspaper magnate and future United States senator, took to the podium to promote his plan for the new constitution. It was a classic example of the Jim Crow black codes, and it included a “felony disenfranchisement” law that barred people convicted of a felony from voting in the state. Delegate Glass’s words that day still echo one hundred years later: “This plan will eliminate the darkey as a political factor in this State in less than 5 years, so that in no single county…will there be the least concern felt for the complete supremacy of the white race in the affairs of government.” That plan eventually became part of Virginia’s Constitution and systematically disenfranchised voters of color for over a century. Until last week, the law still impacted more than 350,000 Virginians who were no longer incarcerated, including 190,000 black would-be voters.

Editorials: New York’s Clueless Election Board Drags Out Ancient Machines | New York Times

New York City voters should be prepared to cast their ballots once again this fall on voting machines invented in the 19th century. State legislators were apparently close to a deal on Wednesday afternoon to allow New York City’s clueless board of elections to use the old mechanical machines for the city’s September 10 primary. This is happening because New York City officials can’t figure out how to use newfangled machines with paper ballots and scanners — a system used with success across the country.

Editorials: Sheldon Silver and Assembly must okay return to lever voting machines | New York Daily News

New York’s mayoral candidates on Tuesday began collecting the petition signatures needed for their names to appear on the September primary ballot — for an election that promises to be a botch of infamous proportions. This, right now, is the moment for the Legislature to rescue the city from a near-certain nightmare by authorizing the Board of Elections to press the old, clunker, mechanical voting machines back into action. At Washington’s orders, the board mothballed the contraptions in favor of electronic ballot scanners. But these devices are functionally useless up against the quick succession of elections that are likely this fall: first a primary, then a runoff if no candidate gets more than 40%, then the November general election.