Project Vote, a national, nonpartisan, nonprofit that has spent recent years focusing its attention on improving voter registration, especially the enforcement of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) will officially close its doors on May 31. Michael Slater, executive director since 2003, cited the lack of funding as the reason for the closure. “[F]unding for voter registration programs declined precipitously after 2008, and the number of funders supporting voting rights advocacy and litigation slowly decreased as well,” Slater said. “At the same time, more organizations created voting rights programs, which resulted in more competition.” Slater also pointed to the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision to strike down the pre-clearance provisions of the Voting Rights Act which resulted in the donor community focusing available voting rights resources on VRA enforcement, which had the effect of reducing funds for other work, such as Project Vote’s work enforcing the NVRA.
Articles about voting from the blogosphere.
Voting Blogs: Hawaii Open Primary Case – The Political Parties and Their Problems | More Soft Money Hard Law
The Supreme Court has refused to review a Ninth Circuit ruling denying political parties the right to exclude nonmembers from participation in their primaries. Hawaii law requires an open primary, and under the Ninth Circuit decision, parties would bear the burden of showing that this requirement severely burdens their rights of association. In other words when parties must open their candidate selection processes to non-members, the infringement of that associational right is not, apparently, self-evident.
Following numerous claims by members of the Republican Party, including the including the President of the United States, that the election system is “rigged”, there have been numerous studies released following the election cycle that have debunked those claims. One of the most notable instances of voter fraud accusations include President Trump accusing residents from Massachusetts traveling over to New Hampshire and voting a second time in the Presidential election (and New Hampshire Senatorial election). However, a new study done by the Brennan Center for Justice and the Washington Post, concluded that there was no credible evidence for those claims. The two studies reported both on the claim that President Trump made about New Hampshire (the Washington Post’s study), although the study produced by the Brennan Center for Justice focused on nation wide voter fraud allegations.
Voting Blogs: What To Look for When the Supreme Court Decides the North Carolina Redistricting Case | Richard Pildes/Election Law Blog
The Court has already decided one major racial redistricting case this Term, Bethune-Hill, from Virginia. The other major racial redistricting case, Cooper v. Harris, from North Carolina, is now one of three cases outstanding the longest since argument. Cooper involves two congressional districts, CD 1 and CD 12 (by now, CD 12 must have been litigated before the Supreme Court more times than any congressional district in history). I want to untangle the various issues at stake and provide perspective on which legal issues are the key ones to focus on when this opinion finally comes down. To begin, the issues concerning CD 1 and CD 12 are quite different – and the ones involving CD 1 have the broadest legal significance (that makes it a bit unfortunate that most of the oral argument focused on CD 12).
Six months after the election, there’s still discussion about the extent to which voter fraud exists and whether the White House will follow through with an investigation. In the meantime, election officials across the country have been quietly doing their jobs and are wrapping up investigations from the last election while preparing for the next. The reviews to date confirm what most election officials have been publicly stating for some time – that while the amount of actual voter fraud is not zero, it’s very close, with only an infinitesimal number of cases of potential voter fraud nationwide. Several states have released the results of their inquiries. One of the most comprehensive analyses was conducted by Secretary of State Jon Husted (R) in Ohio. After comparing voter data to files from the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles, Secretary Husted’s office found that 385 non-citizens were registered to vote, and identified 82 of these non-citizens as possibly having voted, referring those cases for further investigation to confirm whether they voted and if fraud occurred.
In an effort to get more young people involved in the democratic process, many states are attempting lowering the voting age to 17 to get young people active. “A lot of young people last year wanted to make their voices heard but were unable to do so because the rules prevented them,” said Jonathan Brater of the Brennan Center for Democracy. Since 1971, the legal voting age in the United States has been 18, lowered from 21. Today like then, the numerous states across the U.S are attempting to lower the voting age in the General Election to 17 tend to have strong Democratic majorities in their State senators and House legislatures. Among them, California, Minnesota, and Nevada are the most prominent states in this effort, with California leading the way. If constitutional amendment 10 passes in California, 17-year old’s, would be allowed to vote in the general election during a Presidential election.
Voting Blogs: Social Media in Politics-and The Problem of What (or Not) to Do About Fake News | More Soft Money Hard Law
Nate Persily of Stanford Law is emerging as the leading authority on the effect of the internet and social media on political campaigns. His recent article in the Journal of Democracy displays Persily’s strengths: deep research, clarity of exposition and a grasp of what is significant in the messy world of facts. He is unmistakably alarmed: indeed, in interviews, he has said so. Persily fears that a ruthless marriage of technology to “fake news” can destroy the prospects for responsible democratic deliberation. Where does this discussion of fake news go from here, and what are the pitfalls? Professor Persily notes that the dominant Internet platforms are moving toward policies to help readers locate the bona fide news items. Facebook now works with traditional media organizations and fact-checking enterprises to “flag” dubious stories.
Given Lebanon’s tenuous political and sectarian balance, no wonder that the choice of an electoral system is among the most contentious topics. After all, it is the electoral system that determines how votes are translated into seats and therefore, how the sectarian/political elite predetermine their shares. Lebanon’s electoral laws have been amended several times since the country’s independence in 1943. The last time was in 2008 as part of a political settlement, the Doha Agreement, following a deep political crisis. Yet, all of Lebanon’s postwar electoral laws are based on the majoritarian “Block Vote” system and the same deficiencies persist, such as malapportionment, gerrymandering, the lack of pre-printed ballots, a flaw-ridden counting process, along with other grave defects in the administrative aspect of the process.
It is difficult to follow Linda Greenhouse’s reasoning that the Court has been “broken” because it has been made into an electoral “prize.” Presidential candidates campaign on promises to support the nomination and confirmation of Justices who will move the Court’s jurisprudence in a desired direction. Why should they not? The Court does not decide only abstruse legal issues of interest primarily to learned commentators. If electoral competition necessarily features arguments about–to name a few– reproductive rights, or voting rights, or the role of money in politics, then it will require candidates to take a stand on the Court. And in some elections, the issue will be right in the thick of the fight. Donald Trump made as much as he could of the critical importance to Republicans of a Court molded in the image of the late Justice Scalia. Secretary Clinton told the Democratic Convention that: “We need to appoint Supreme Court justices who will get money out of politics and expand voting rights, not restrict them. And we’ll pass a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.” No one doubted that the election would be consequential for the Court. Voters were entitled to know how much of a priority each party attached to the issue and what the candidates would look for in their nominees. The parties and their candidates obliged–as they should have.
Early last month, someone reportedly hacked into the voting records database at Kennesaw State University’s Center for Election Systems, which is contracted to maintain and program all of Georgia’s 100% unverifiable touch-screen Diebold voting systems and electronic poll books. The state still uses the same unverifiable 2002 voting systems that, as we reported more than a decade ago, were hacked in a minute’s time by researchers at Princeton University, where they were able to implant a virus that could pass itself from machine to machine and flip the results of an election with little or no possibility of detection. The recent hack at Georgia’s KSU, which the Atlanta Journal-Constitution described at the time as possibly compromising some 7.5 million voter records, resulted in a quiet FBI investigation, and comes as special elections are about to be held in a number of states to fill U.S. House seats vacated by Republican members of Congress tapped to serve in the Trump Administration. … Longtime computer scientist and voting systems expert Barbara Simons of VerifiedVoting.org joins me today to explain the ongoing concerns about the still-mysterious Georgia hack, Verified Voting’s effort to get answers about it from GA’s Republican Sec. of State Brian Kemp; the group’s request to have him to offer paper ballots to voters in the wake of the reported “massive data breach”; and this weekend’s similarly cryptic news that the FBI has now concluded its investigation.