Editorials

Opinion pieces and editorials on voting issues.

Editorials: What happened in North Carolina wasn’t voter fraud. Voters were the victims. | Harry Enten/CNN

President Donald Trump and others have long claimed, without evidence, that there is widespread “voter fraud” in America. Some have pointed to the mounting evidence of fraud in North Carolina as proof that voter fraud is a real problem. Yet, I would argue that the situation in North Carolina proves nothing of the sort. There, a political operative who was working for a consulting firm hired by the Republican candidate is accused of directing an illegal scheme involving absentee ballots. What occurred in the Tarheel State wasn’t voter fraud. It was election fraud. And unlike allegations made by the President about voter fraud, there’s actual evidence that election fraud may have occurred in North Carolina. Read More

Editorials: How Alarmed Should We Be About Wisconsin? | David Leonhardt/The New York Times

I called Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, the authors of the recent book “How Democracies Die,” with a question last week. Levitsky and Ziblatt are political scientists, and their book has gotten a lot of attention lately. They argue that the biggest threat to democracy in much of the world today is not a military coup but elected leaders “who subvert the very process that brought them to power.” My question to Levitsky and Ziblatt was: How alarmed should I be about the recent event in Wisconsin, where Republican legislators are trying to strip power from the incoming Democratic governor and attorney general? Their answer: Alarmed. Read More

Editorials: Wyoming led way for female vote | Lew Freedman/Cody Enterprise

Notice the references to the earliest days of the United States all cite the Founding Fathers. No Founding Mothers. The idea of females voting was not on anyone’s radar in 1776. The genesis of women obtaining the vote was rooted in the 1840s, but the prospect gained traction when African-Americans gained that right in the post-Civil War era. Which led to Wyoming granting women the right to vote in 1869, or 150 years ago next year. Amy McKinney, a Northwest College professor, recently described Wyoming’s pioneering status to a rapt audience at the Pahaska Corral of Westerners. While other places were listening to fiery speakers about women’s rights, Wyoming was taking action. Read More

Editorials: The sad truth about Russian election interference | Robby Mook/The Washington Post

New filings by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III on Friday provided fresh clues about where the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election is headed. Mueller’s filing said President Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, was contacted in 2015 by a “Russian national” seeking “synergy” between Trump’s campaign and the Russian government. The special counsel’s team also said Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, lied about meeting with Konstantin Kilimnik, whom the U.S. government has linked to Russian intelligence. The Mueller filings made news, of course. But how much has what we know about Trump and Russia really changed since 2016? Not as much as you might think. On the Friday before the Democratic National Convention in July 2016, Russian agents released, through WikiLeaks, thousands of emails stolen from the DNC. The timing caused maximum harm at a critical moment in the Democratic contest. As campaign manager for Hillary Clinton, I appeared two days later on two Sunday political talk shows, ready for an avalanche of questions about the emails, which I got. But rather than focusing on the content of the documents, I thought it was important to discuss why they were released in the first place. Read More

Editorials: The GOP is using Republican fraud in North Carolina to try to punish Democrats. | Richard Hasen/Slate

It is easy for Democrats to feel some glee about revelations that a Republican operative may have committed absentee ballot fraud in connection with last month’s election for North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District. Not only does this mean that Democrat Dan McCready may have a chance to beat Republican Mark Harris in a new election that the state election board or the U.S. House of Representatives may order, giving Democrats a chance to pick up a 41st Republican seat this election cycle. The idea of a Republican operative being caught up in election shenanigans after North Carolina Republicans and others have been yelling so loudly in the past decade about the false specter of Democratic “voter fraud” deliciously demonstrates the hypocrisy and disingenuousness of Republican rhetoric about election integrity. But to me, the circumstances surrounding the North Carolina election controversy are profoundly depressing, because they reveal that even incontrovertible facts are not going to get in the way of a narrative used to justify a host of suppressive laws aimed at making it harder for those likely to vote for Democrats to register and to vote, not only in North Carolina, but in Florida, Georgia, Wisconsin, and elsewhere. Read More

Editorials: After Citizens United, a Vicious Cycle of Corruption | Thomas B. Edsall/The New York Times

In the eight years since it was decided, Citizens United has unleashed a wave of campaign spending that by any reasonable standard is extraordinarily corrupt. To see how this operates in practice, let’s take a look at how Paul Ryan, the outgoing speaker of the House, negotiated a path — narrowly constructed to stay on the right side of the law — during a recent fund-raising trip to Las Vegas, as recounted in detail by Politico. In early May, Ryan flew to Nevada to solicit money from Sheldon Adelson — the casino magnate who was by far the largest Republican contributor of 2018 — for the Congressional Leadership Fund, an independent expenditure super PAC. Ryan was accompanied by Norm Coleman, a former Republican Senator from Minnesota. The Leadership Fund, according to its website, is “a super PAC exclusively dedicated to protecting and strengthening the Republican Majority in the House of Representatives.” It “operates independently of any federal candidate or officeholder.” Read More

Editorials: Improve Elections, Fully Confirm Election Assistance Commission Before 2020 | Matthew Weil/Bipartisan Policy Center

It’s hard to make progress when you have both hands tied behind your back a third of the time. Voters want more secure and better functioning elections, and Congress can act right now to accomplish that. In the swirl of election security concerns, ballot design problems, and vote counting confusion, the Senate should take up the two pending nominees to the United States Election Assistance Commission (EAC) before adjourning this month. The EAC is the federal government’s main arm for disseminating election administration information to state and local election officials. The Commission sets the guidelines for voting systems and certifies the machines that voters use to cast ballots. Commission staff collect and disseminate vital data about election administration, share best practices, facilitate outreach to language minority voters and those with disabilities, and much more. Read More

Editorials: Good Time To Point Out Voter ID Would Not Stop Republican Election Fraud | Elie Mystal/Above the Law

I believe that people who push voter identification requirements are cynical racists who believe in voter suppression as the best way to ensure Republican control and prop up the policies of white supremacy. But… maybe they’re just stupid. I argue with a lot of people who claim that voter ID laws are just a “common sense” solution the “dangerous” problem of voter fraud. That position is demonstrably ignorant, but centrists tell me that people who believe it need not be self-consciously malignant. Happily, the honest attempt at actual voter fraud by North Carolina Republicans will give us all a chance to test our hypotheses. If I’m right, the racists will ignore this attempt at fraud. If the centrists are right, these pro-voter ID people will actually learn something. Read More

Editorials: Removing obstacles to voting needs to be a national priority | Dorian Warren/The Hill

Since the midterm election, a few things have become clear: Yes, we did have a blue wave. A big one, with 39 pick-ups for Democrats in the House, seven governor’s seats flipped red to blue, and a net gain of 350 state legislative seats. Media reports of lack of enthusiasm among Latinos prior to Election Day were way off — in fact, Latino turnout increased approximately 174% from 2014. And, finally, voter suppression doesn’t start or stop on Election Day. In Georgia and Florida, efforts to ensure that all votes are counted were aggressively challenged by the officials in charge of voting systems in those states — both of whom just happened to be Republican candidates in two of the contested races. Talk about the fox guarding the henhouse. The Democratic candidates in both states conceded their races. Read More

Editorials: Georgia doesn’t need another voter suppressor running its elections | Carol Anderson/The Guardian

Donald Trump wants Brad Raffensperger to be secretary of state overseeing elections in Georgia. That, alone, should give any self-respecting American pause. What the state needs is not more of the voter suppression that put a truly compromised candidate in the White House in 2016 or that allowed more than 1 million Georgians to be purged from the voter rolls and tens of thousands of registrations held in electoral limbo because of a typo, a hyphen, or accent mark. What Georgia needs, instead, is democracy, which is something it hasn’t had in more than a decade. In 2005, Georgia passed the first voter ID law by a state that was under the preclearance jurisdiction of the Voting Rights Act. In the wake of the civil rights movement, states like Georgia, that had a demonstrated history of discriminating against its minority citizens’ right to vote, had to have all of their voter regulations and laws approved by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) or the federal court in Washington, DC before implementation. Preclearance had provided a powerful check on the rampant abuses of the 15th amendment. Read More