Standing up to racism and intolerance is a moral imperative, and those who do, like Heather Heyer, the young woman who died as she challenged the thugs in Charlottesville last Saturday, are champions of American principles. In an era when so many bedrock values are under attack, it’s important to think strategically and prioritize the ones worth fighting for. … In statehouse after statehouse where Republicans hold majorities, the playbook is well established, and the tactics are becoming increasingly aggressive. Mr. Trump’s voter fraud commission is at the vanguard of this crusade, and the fix is in. Its vice chairman, Kris Kobach, is the nation’s most determined, litigious and resourceful champion of voter suppression. Under his tutelage, the commission is likely to recommend measures whose effect will be that new obstacles to voting would be taken up in state legislatures.
Last week, the U.S. Solicitor General took the unusual step of reinterpreting a 24-year-old federal statute specifically designed to convenience voting in order to switch sides in a pending Supreme Court case that centers on Ohio’s aggressive purging of voter rolls. The Trump Justice Department now sides with Ohio, which contends that not voting for six years — and then not responding to a single mailing asking the voter to confirm his or her registration — is sufficient to remove that person from state voter rolls. That should cause no small amount of alarm. It’s part of a broader effort by the Trump administration to restrict voting rights under the guise of fighting fraud, which is nearly non-existent. The true purpose is to keep from the polls individuals who are less likely to support Republican candidates or causes. And it’s a potential stake through the heart of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, also known as the “Motor Voter Act,” which was meant to expand, not shrink, the nation’s voter registration rolls.
How Ohio maintains its voter registration rolls has been under legal attack for well over a year. The war of interpretation is approaching its end before the U.S. Supreme Court. For decades Ohio has maintained its voter rolls the same way, under both Democrat and Republican leadership. When someone uses the US postal service for a change of address, is convicted of a felony or files a death certificate, appropriate action is taken to adjust the voter’s registration to prevent fraud.
With President Trump’s poll numbers slipping, a group of the president’s former campaign aides is beginning an effort to encourage new voters in parts of the country that supported him in the election, and to stop what they contend are illegal votes in Democratic areas. The former aides are starting a group called Look Ahead America to identify “disaffected” rural and working-class Americans who either do not vote or are not on the voter rolls, in order to register and mobilize them ahead of future elections, according to a prospectus being distributed to possible donors. Look Ahead America also seeks to discourage or invalidate “fraudulent” votes by deploying poll watchers with cameras, and through what it called a forensic voter fraud investigation to identify “votes cast in the names of the deceased, by illegal immigrants or non-citizens,” according to the prospectus, which was shared with The New York Times.
Vice President Mike Pence, leader of President Trump’s shady “Elections Integrity” commission kicked off its first meeting last month with a promise that it would have “no preconceived notions or preordained results.” But like many of its other members, commissioner J. Christian Adams has done little to hide what has been his end-game: bullying state and local election officials into aggressive voter registration purges that civil rights groups worry will end in eligible voters getting kicked off the rolls. Now he will be joining on the commission several other figures known for their efforts to make it harder — not easier – to vote in an endeavor that many in the voting rights community believe will be used to justify tougher voting laws, including measures that will prompt sloppy voter purges. For more than half a decade, Adams has been on his own private sector crusade to pressure election officials to agree to voter purge protocols beyond what are required by law.
Reversing the position it took during the Obama administration, the U.S. Department of Justice under President Trump last week asked the Supreme Court to uphold a procedure the state of Ohio wants to use to purge some voters from its election rolls — a practice that disproportionately disenfranchises poor and minority voters. The court should decline the invitation and rule that Ohio is violating the 1993 National Voter Registration Act. That landmark law prohibits states from purging registered voters from the rolls just because they failed to vote. Ohio argues that its procedure is justified by language added to federal law in 2002. But the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the state’s interpretation last year. The appeals court said that using a lack of voter activity as a “trigger” for beginning the purge process made a “paper tiger” of the law’s ban on purges for not voting.
Georgia: Fulton County reverses controversial changes to polling sites | Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Fulton County officials on Monday reversed a decision that would have changed polling locations in several majority African-American precincts, effectively bowing to the wishes of community advocates concerned about voter confusion ahead of municipal elections in November. The decision came after the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia sued the county Board of Registration and Elections claiming it did not give the public enough notice about the changes before it initially voted in mid-July to approve them. “We heard from members of the public that they would be very inconvenienced and disrupted by certain changes,” said Mary Carole Cooney, the chairwoman of the elections board. “We decided that we would not change anything prior to the November election. We can always revisit that” after the election is complete, she said.
It’s been called a faulty, error-prone failure. But that might not stop this system for rooting out vote fraud from getting a national debut. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the vice chair of President Donald Trump’s vote fraud commission, is looking to expand the “Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program” that he’s developed in his state to sweep possible illegal voters off the rolls. Crosscheck is a computer system designed to detect fraud by finding matches in voter registration lists shared by dozens of states and thereby detecting suspected double voters.
The Trump administration moved deeper into the politics of voter suppression this week by reversing the federal government’s opposition to Ohio’s effort to purge tens of thousands of voters from the rolls simply because they vote infrequently. A federal appeals court blocked Ohio’s move last year as a violation of voting laws, in a case brought by civil rights advocates and backed by the Obama administration’s Department of Justice. Now that an appeal has been accepted for this term by the Supreme Court, Trump appointees at Justice — not career professionals — have changed the government’s position to side with Ohio, in effect endorsing the purge and asking that it be allowed to go forward.
Arizona: Voter fraud in Arizona: How often does it happen, how is it stopped? | The Arizona Republic
President Donald Trump has called voter fraud an issue that may have swayed the outcome of the 2016 popular vote. Without proof, he claimed that millions of people voted illegally in the election. Through an executive order in May, he created a Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. The commission likely could replicate work done in Arizona since 2008. Since that year, state officials have examined hundreds of thousands of cases where someone might have voted twice in an election. After scrutinizing those cases, 30 were sent to the Arizona Attorney General’s Office. Twenty resulted in convictions. The path to those convictions started with the work of the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program, now run by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.