National: Revealed: US spends millions of taxpayer dollars on ineffective voting restrictions | Spenser Mestel/The Guardian

Restrictive “voter identification” laws pushed by Republicans, and widely regarded to be ineffective and discriminatory, have cost taxpayers at least $36m in just a few states, the Guardian can reveal. It’s well documented that restrictive voter ID laws are ineffective and discriminatory. The type of voter fraud they claim to prevent is a myth, and the burden of showing an ID disproportionately lands on students, low-income voters and African Americans. However, these laws are also extraordinarily expensive to implement and defend. Based on information obtained through open records requests, the Guardian has found that the partial costs of litigation, free identification cards, public education and other fees amount to tens of millions across the country. However, even with many states having to slash their budgets due to the economic crisis, one state, Kentucky, has decided to spend millions implementing a new ID law.

Wisconsin: Appeals court reverses Wisconsin voting restrictions rulings | Todd Richmond/Associated Press

A federal appeals court panel upheld a host of Republican-authored voting restrictions in Wisconsin on Monday, handing conservatives a significant win in a pair of lawsuits just months before residents in the battleground state cast their ballots for president. The three-judge panel —all Republican appointees— found that the state can restrict early voting hours and restored a requirement that people must live in a district for 28 days, not 10, before they can vote. The panel also said emailing and faxing absentee ballots is unconstitutional. The state’s photo ID requirement for voters wasn’t in question, although the panel did find that expired student IDs are acceptable at the polls. The court blocked an option to allow people to vote without an ID if they show an affidavit saying they tried to obtain one. Judge Frank Easterbrook, who wrote the opinion, noted that the restrictions don’t burden people in the state, where voters still enjoy more ways to register, long poll hours on Election Day and absentee voting options than in other states. “Wisconsin has lots of rules that make voting easier,” Easterbrook wrote. “These facts matter when assessing challenges to a handful of rules that make voting harder.”

Missouri: Mail-in-voting option tucked into wide-sweeping elections bill | Emily Wolf/Columbia Missourian

An amendment to allow expanded mail-in ballots during the COVID-19 pandemic grew from five pages to 31 overnight, morphing into a piece of legislation that would change Missouri’s voter ID laws, fees for ballot initiatives and running for office. The proposal, passed through the House as part of a larger bill, would allow voting by mail in the August and November statewide elections without voters stating a reason they cannot make it to polls. The bill would expire at the end of the year. Currently, Missouri law only allows people to cast absentee ballots if they say they’ll be unable to make it to the polls for any of six reasons, including absence from the area or confinement due to illness or physical disability. Officials across the state have been split on whether that reason applies to fears of contracting COVID-19. Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft has not released guidance on how counties should set up voting, leaving it in the hands of local election authorities.

Editorials: Trump is holding election security hostage | Brian Klaas/The Washington Post

President Trump is holding American election security hostage in a bid to suppress votes in his reelection campaign. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted that “No debate on Election Security should go forward without first agreeing that Voter ID (Identification) must play a very strong part in any final agreement. Without Voter ID, it is all so meaningless!” In other words, he is explicitly acknowledging that he will allow known vulnerabilities in American election security infrastructure to remain as inviting targets to foreign adversaries of the United States — unless he gets his way on a long-standing Republican priority. But the evidence is clear: Foreign attacks on American democracy are an urgent, ongoing threat to national security that could result in the entire democratic process being rigged or hacked. On the other hand, voter fraud — the problem that voter ID legislation is ostensibly trying to solve — has already been solved. It’s a minuscule problem that poses virtually no threat to American elections.

Editorials: The Myths of Voter ID | Ross Douthat/The New York Times

Usually when some sententious centrist talks about ending partisan polarization and just coming up with “solutions” based on “data” or “studies” or “expert consensus,” the appropriate response is to roll your eyes — the way people have been eye-rolling lately at Howard Schultz of Starbucks and his apparently substance-free vision for an independent presidential campaign. Usually where you find polarization, you also find some issue of great moment, some important conflict of interests or values, that can’t just be turned over to the smart people to solve because any “solution” would inevitably be a victory for one side and a defeat for the other. But there are occasional exceptions: Polarizing issues where you could essentially call a truce without anyone winning or losing, without it affecting the balance of power in America’s political debates and culture wars, without anything disappearing except a lot of nonsense, hysteria and panic.

Rhode Island: Brown University study on Rhode Island voter ID law raises questions | Providence Journal

Opponents of Rhode Island’s eight-year-old voter ID law cheered this week when research showing the law stifled voting by low-income residents appeared to confirm their long-held fears. The study from Brown University academics published by the National Bureau of Economic Research [NBER] found that the photo ID law passed in 2011 and used for the first time in 2014 resulted in a “significant decline in turnout, registration, and voting conditional on registration (for more vulnerable groups of voters) in presidential elections after the law was implemented.” After making the rounds among national election law watchers Monday, the study was cited in a General Assembly press release Wednesday promoting Sen. Gayle Goldin’s package of voting reform bills, including one to repeal the voter ID law.

Mississippi: Proposal would make voter ID law stricter | Associated Press

A proposal would set a shorter deadline for Mississippi voters to show photo identification if they forget it on Election Day. Since 2014, the state has required people to show government-issued identification, such as a driver’s license, before voting. Anyone who forgets an ID may cast an affidavit ballot at the precinct but must go to a courthouse within five days to show the identification. If they don’t show up, their ballot is rejected. Senate Bill 2242 would shorten the five days to three days.

Wyoming: Bill would require voters to present photo I.D. at the polls | Casper Star-Tribune

The Wyoming House of Representatives will debate a bill that would require voters to present photo identification at the polls. Sponsored by Casper Republican Chuck Gray, House Bill 192 seeks to prevent voter fraud in Wyoming. The bill passed a legislative committee Tuesday, even after a representative from the Secretary of State’s office told lawmakers that she was unaware of any recent reported cases of voter fraud in Wyoming. In addition to requiring identification to verify one’s identity at the polls, the legislation also grants authority to the secretary of state to set parameters for acceptable forms of photo I.D., something not currently outlined in state statute. Currently, 35 states require some form of photo I.D. to vote. Wyoming is not among them.

Iowa: Voter ID: Judge strikes rule on absentee ballots as ‘irrational, illogical and wholly unjustifiable’ | Des Moines Register

An Iowa judge struck down part of a 2017 voter ID law dealing with absentee ballots — a decision opponents of the law say will make it easier for voters to get ballots and Secretary of State Paul Pate said will make it “easier to cheat.” Polk County District Court Judge Karen Romano called the rule unlawful and blocked it from taking effect in a Wednesday ruling. The rule had prevented county auditors from using an existing statewide voter database to look up missing voter information when processing absentee ballot requests. Romano wrote that limiting auditors’ use of the database was “irrational, illogical, and wholly unjustifiable.” The decision was part of the larger legal fight over Iowa’s 2017 voter ID law, which went into full effect this year. A separate lawsuit seeks to overturn the entire law.

Wisconsin: State midterm report: Issues reported at Racine, other polls | Journal Times

With record turnout for the 2018 midterm election in Wisconsin, voting across the state went smoothly, according to a report released Thursday. But some issues were reported, including issues in Racine County. The report, compiled by the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Election Protection group, found problems in voting to be site-specific and limited, while issues around accessible voting equipment, staffing levels and questions about separate addresses for IDs and voter registration were observed at similar levels to the 2016 presidential election. The League of Women Voters had 217 volunteer observers submit observations from 388 polling sites across the state, consisting of 331 urban polling locations, 57 rural locations, 31 locations with a student population and eight locations that served tribal communities.

North Carolina: Legislative leaders want to be part of voter ID lawsuit | WRAL

Lawyers for Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore filed a motion in federal court Monday to intervene in a lawsuit challenging rules to implement North Carolina’s new requirement that voters present photo identification at the polls. Voters approved adding the ID requirement to the state constitution in November, and lawmakers adopted rules last month outlining what IDs would be accepted. The NAACP quickly sued to block the legislation, naming Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and the State Board of Elections as defendants. Cooper vetoed the voter ID rules, and the elections board has since been dissolved by a court order in a separate case, Berger and Moore noted. Also, both parties would be represented in court by Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein’s office, they said.

North Dakota: Attorney General asks judge to dismiss tribe’s voter ID lawsuit | Associated Press

North Dakota has asked a federal judge to dismiss a Native American tribe’s lawsuit challenging the state’s voter identification requirements, saying in part that tribal members named in the complaint weren’t impeded from voting on Election Day. The attorney general’s office in a Monday filing also argued that the state is immune from such lawsuits in U.S. District Court and that the Spirit Lake Sioux tribe doesn’t have standing to sue for several reasons, including that it’s unclear how the tribe might be affected by the inability of any members to vote. Even if that were clear, attorneys said, the tribe “is not representing the interests of all of its members, merely a select few.”

Virginia: Northam proposes repeal of Virginia’s voter ID requirement, reform campaign finance laws | WTVR

In an effort to remove barriers to voting, Governor Ralph Northam is proposing a repeal of the law that requires Virginians to show a photo ID when they vote. “Participation makes our democracy strong—we should encourage every eligible voter to exercise this fundamental right, rather than creating unnecessary barriers that make getting to the ballot box difficult,” said Governor Northam. The legislation will be patroned by Senator Mamie Locke and Delegate Kaye Kory. Kory said lawmakers should protect the constitutional right of every American citizen, not inventing ways to keep voters away from the polls. “The photo ID requirement prevents the most vulnerable Virginians from voting and silences the voices of those who most need to be heard,” said Kory.

North Carolina: New voter ID law immediately challenged in North Carolina court | Associated Press

he North Carolina law detailing a new voter photo identification requirement got challenged in court Wednesday mere moments after the Republican-led General Assembly completed the override of Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of the measure. Six voters filed the lawsuit in Wake County court less than 15 minutes after the state House finished the override in a mostly party-line 72-40 vote. The Senate already voted to override Tuesday. The photo ID law implements a constitutional amendment approved in a referendum last month that mandates photo identification to vote in person, with exceptions allowed. Still, the plaintiffs contend the law violates the state constitution and should be blocked, saying it retains requirements within a 2013 photo ID law that federal judges struck down.

North Carolina: Senate overrides Gov. Roy Cooper’s voter id veto | News & Observer

The state Senate voted Tuesday to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of a voter ID bill, one of the final steps needed before the state requires voters to show photo identification at the polls. The Senate voted 33-12 to override. In order to enact the law over Cooper’s objection, the House will also have to vote to override his veto. The House and Senate passed the bill with veto-proof majorities before the Democratic governor vetoed it. The measure would require certain forms of photo ID to vote in person. Republican legislative leaders said Cooper’s veto defied the will of the voters. Photo voter ID was added to the state constitution this year with support from 55 percent of voters.

North Carolina: Battle over voter identification law moves ahead | The Hill

Voter identification has been a longstanding goal for North Carolina Republicans. In 2013, just after the Supreme Court struck down parts of the Voting Rights Act, the state legislature controlled by Republicans passed a bill substantially rewriting election laws. It included a voter identification requirement that was among the strictest in the nation, accepting only a narrow set of government issued identification. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit struck down the law. Instead of enacting another bill, Republicans placed a constitutional amendment on the ballot this year. The measure simply stated that a photo identification would be required to cast a ballot in North Carolina elections but left the details up to the legislature. Voters approved the measure 55.5 percent to 44.5 percent, so the question is not if there will be voter identification in North Carolina, but rather how it will look.

North Carolina: Voter ID rules one override vote away from taking effect | WRAL

The Senate voted 33-12 Tuesday to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of legislation to implement the state’s new requirement that voters show photo identification at the polls. The House is expected to complete the override process on Wednesday, and if that does indeed happen, voters would have to start showing IDs during municipal elections next fall. Cooper issued his veto last Friday, calling the bill “a solution in search of a problem.” He said the whole voter ID effort had “sinister and cynical origins,” citing a 2013 state voter ID law that federal courts later threw out after determining it was targeted at suppressing minority voting. “The cost of disenfranchising those voters or any citizens is too high, and the risk of taking away the fundamental right to vote is too great, for this law to take effect,” Cooper said in his veto message.

North Carolina: Governor Roy Cooper vetoes voter ID bill | News & Observer

Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed a bill that would require voters to show a form of photo identification before voting in person, calling it “a solution in search of a problem.” The bill passed this month largely along party lines. A handful of Democrats voted for it, and the bill passed with veto-proof margins in both the state House and Senate. House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger said in separate statements that the legislature will override Cooper’s veto. “We are disappointed that Gov. Cooper chose to ignore the will of the people and reject a commonsense election integrity measure that is common in most states, but the North Carolina House will override his veto as soon as possible,” Moore’s statement said. Voter ID has been a years-long goal for Republicans. A 2013 law that included a photo ID requirement to vote was overturned by federal courts in 2016. The GOP moved to add photo ID to the state constitution this year, and the amendment passed with 55 percent of the vote. In late November, Cooper said voter ID was “wrong for our state.”

North Carolina: Latest voter ID bill tries to address absentee ballots | Associated Press

A voter photo identification bill won state House approval Wednesday, a proposal now also altered to try to improve absentee ballot security in North Carolina in light of fraud allegations in a congressional district. The House version of legislation detailing how a new constitutional amendment mandating photo ID to vote in person is carried out starting in mid-2019 also directs the state elections board next year to figure out how people requesting mail-in absentee ballots also must offer ID. The measure now returns to the Senate, which approved an earlier version last week that didn’t address the mail-in requests. That was before attention to absentee ballots soared with word that election officials and prosecutors are investigating claims of fraudulent absentee ballot activities in the 9th Congressional District.

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.

Australia: Coalition pushes for voter identification laws and launches attack on GetUp | The Guardian

Coalition MPs and senators have called for voter identification laws but Labor has warned such a push would amount to “a pathway to voter suppression”. The recommendation is contained in joint standing committee on electoral matters report on the 2016 election, which also calls for a higher bar to register a minor party and consideration of higher penalties for non-voting and tax deductibility of political donations. The Liberal chair, James McGrath, also used his foreword to the report to launch a stinging attack on GetUp, accusing it of providing “misleading information”. He said this was a “potential contempt of the parliament”, a claim rejected on Wednesday by the Speaker of the House. The Coalition-controlled committee recommended voters be made to verify their identity or their address at polling places by producing documents such as a driver’s licence, Medicare card or utilities bill.

United Kingdom: Government faces legal challenge over voter ID checks at local elections | The Independent

Government plans to introduce voter ID checks are to be challenged in court on the basis they deter people from voting. Neil Coughlan, 64, has launched a legal case – backed by a £10,000 online fundraising campaign – to prevent the scheme being piloted at next year’s local elections. He said he wants “to stand up against a government that is taking our democracy down a very dangerous path.”Mr Coughlan, who does not have any form of photo ID, has received support from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and the Electoral Reform Society (ERS), who claim the government’s plans are “undemocratic” and a waste of taxpayer’s money.

North Carolina: Senate gives final approval to voter ID rules | WRAL

The Senate gave final approval Thursday to legislation setting the rules for the recently approved constitutional amendment requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls. Sens. Joel Ford, D-Mecklenburg, and Don Davis, D-Pitt, joined the Republican majority in the 30-10 vote. Those two Democrats and Sen. Ben Clark, D-Hoke, also voted for the new rules in Wednesday’s 32-11 preliminary vote. The measure now heads to the House. There was little debate in the Senate on Thursday, but several Democrats repeatedly called Wednesday for slowing down the process, noting dozens of changes have already been made to the draft legislation that was first rolled out a week ago and suggesting people will be wrongly blocked from voting if IDs are required starting next year.

North Carolina: Senate gives preliminary approval to voter ID rules | WRAL

The Senate gave preliminary approval Wednesday to legislation setting the rules for the recently approved constitutional amendment requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls. Sens. Joel Ford, D-Mecklenburg, Ben Clark, D-Hoke, and Don Davis, D-Pitt, joined the Republican majority in the 32-11 vote. A final vote is scheduled for Thursday morning before the measure heads to the House. Other Democrats repeatedly called for slowing down the process, noting dozens of changes have already been made to the draft legislation that was first rolled out a week ago and suggesting people will be wrongly blocked from voting if IDs are required starting next year. “A rollout period of five months is just too short,” said Sen. Mike Woodard, D-Durham, noting some municipal primaries will be held in the spring. “Sometimes we don’t do a real good job as a state implementing big systems.”

North Carolina: Voter ID: NAACP protests, new bill out in legislature | News & Observer

The election is over but the battle over voter ID continued Tuesday as hundreds of people gathered to protest in front of the state Legislative Building. Legislators are drafting a voter ID bill after it passed as a constitutional amendment during the midterm elections earlier this month with more than 55 percent of the vote. A previous voter ID bill from 2013 was struck down in 2016 by a panel of judges who said it targeted African Americans with “discriminatory intent.” The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the decision. Some of the top questions that legislators will have to answer in the coming days include whether student IDs will be accepted at the polls, whether expired IDs will be allowed, and what the state will do to help people without an acceptable photo ID get one in order to avoid being disenfranchised.

North Carolina: After Referendum, North Carolina GOP Tries Voter ID Again | Associated Press

Emboldened by a referendum voters approved this month, North Carolina’s soon-dwindling Republican majorities at the legislature will scramble to approve their preferred voter identification law before Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper can stop it. The GOP-dominated General Assembly returns to work Tuesday to decide how a new amendment to the state constitution requiring photo ID to vote in person will be carried out. The amendment passed with more than 55 percent of the vote, giving Republicans confidence to move ahead despite years of controversy in the state over such a mandate. Meeting now is strategic. Democrats won enough legislative seats Election Day to end the Republicans’ veto-proof control come January. So Cooper, a longtime opponent of voter photo ID laws, won’t be able to stop any lame-duck session bills as long as Republicans remain united. New restrictions, on which courts probably will weigh in, would affect over 7 million voters in the anticipated 2020 presidential battleground state, which will also feature races for governor and U.S. Senate that year.

Editorials: 4 ways North Carolina lawmakers can make a voter ID bill less than awful | News & Observer

Voter ID laws are an awful way to protect the integrity of elections. They address a problem that isn’t a problem — the North Carolina board of elections found one case in 4.8 million votes cast in 2016 that photo ID would have addressed — and they disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of potential voters who don’t have the documents, money or time to obtain an ID. Voter ID is even more troublesome in the hands of North Carolina’s Republican legislators, who have shown a remarkable capacity to craft voting laws that are unconstitutional, racially discriminatory and inevitably slapped down by federal judges. Still, NC voters decided this month to give the legislature another try, approving an amendment to the NC Constitution that allows lawmakers to draw up a new voter ID law without having to get the governor’s approval.

Editorials: Don’t use voter ID to make voting harder in North Carolina | Colin Campbell/News & Observer

I’ve got a confession to make: Back in 2006, I didn’t vote. It’s not that I didn’t want to. I’m one of those people who feels strongly that it’s a basic duty of citizenship to vote in every election. I judge people who don’t vote. My excuse was that I was a UNC-Chapel Hill student still registered to vote in my Virginia hometown. The absentee voting deadline slipped by me, as I’m sure it did for other busy college students. The following year, I moved my voter registration to North Carolina to make sure it wouldn’t happen again. But under the state’s 2013 voter ID, that switch would have been a lot harder. That’s because the legislature refused to allow student ID cards at the polls. It didn’t matter that IDs issued by public universities are effectively government-issued IDs. There had been no reports of fraudulent student IDs. GOP legislators didn’t include student IDs because they know the majority of college students tend to vote for Democrats.

North Dakota: Few voters verify ID under North Dakota’s new ‘set aside’ ballot system | Grand Forks Herald

Less than a fifth of North Dakotans who marked a “set aside” ballot during last week’s midterm election followed up with a valid identification and had their vote counted, a state election official said Friday, Nov. 16. Under state law, voters who don’t have sufficient identification on Election Day may mark a ballot that’s separated from the rest. If a voter returns with an adequate ID within six days, the ballot would be included in the tally. The new procedure was introduced in the latest iteration of North Dakota’s voter ID law, which passed the Republican-controlled Legislature and was signed by Gov. Doug Burgum in 2017. Across the state, 1,110 voters marked a set aside ballot, Deputy Secretary of State Jim Silrum said. Only 141 of them, or 13 percent, returned to verify their ID, but several counties had not yet reported their figures to state officials by 8 a.m. Friday. At most, 219 people returned to verify their ID.