The strength and integrity of the American electoral process are under tremendous strain, but the worst may be yet to come. In just the past few weeks, we learned that in the midst of the 2016 campaign the president’s eldest son, Donald J. Trump Jr., was willing to meet with a woman described to him as a “Russian government attorney” to get dirt on his father’s opponent. Voters across the country asked election officials to remove their names from voting rolls so that their personal information would not be turned over to the Orwellian Election Integrity commission that the president established to try to substantiate his outrageous and false charge that there were three million or more illegal voters in 2016. The president has stacked this commission with a rogues’ gallery of people with reputations for false and exaggerated claims of voter fraud. Democratic and Republican state officials have resisted the commission’s call to turn over voting lists.
And yet as bad as things are, the health of our electoral process is likely to deteriorate further, with some of the threats striking at the very basis of democratic society: our confidence that votes have been fairly and accurately counted. What’s worse, we cannot count on the courts, the president, Congress or state legislatures to save us. It will take bipartisan cooperation among state and local election officials, facilitated by nongovernmental organizations committed to sound principles of election administration, to get us past this dangerous point.
Let’s start with new concerns about the courts, which have in recent years served as a backstop against the most egregious efforts to make it harder to register and to vote. Since 2005, I have tracked the rate of election litigation, which tells us how often plaintiffs go to court to fight over election rules. My latest research demonstrates that election litigation in the 2016 election season is up 23 percent over 2012. This follows a rapid increase of such litigation in the period after the disputed presidential election of 2000, when it more than doubled.
Full Article: Don’t Let Our Democracy Collapse – The New York Times.