Preventing a Catastrophe

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The presidential primaries are nearly over — Delaware, New Jersey, Louisiana, Puerto Rico, and Connecticut’s elections will take place over the next two weeks — and it would be nice to say in the end that all of the issues we saw have been corrected in time for November.

Unfortunately, and not surprisingly, that is not the case.

It’s simply unrealistic to expect that everyone will cast a mail-in ballot. There have been several attempts to curb absentee voting and to require that photo ID requirements stay in place — despite the fact that offices that issue such IDs have been closed due to COVID-19.

So, there is going to have to be a massive collaboration to ensure every voter has access to the ballot box this November. That means ensuring that every absentee voter clearly understands state requirements when returning their ballot. Voters who want to cast their ballots in person need to know how and where to take advantage of early voting. (read more)

Absentee Ballot Requests Surge in Swing States: Despite President Donald Trump’s unfounded accusations that mail-in voting is ripe with voter fraud, election officials continue to receive applications for absentee ballots.

The Michigan secretary of state’s office, for example, recently shared data that shows an increase of 350 percent in absentee ballots requested for its August 4 Congressional primaries: 1,323,922 applications were received as of June 30, compared to only 378,317 applications during the same time in 2016. (read more)

Supreme Court Delivers Blow to Faithless Electors: The Justices wrote in an 8–1 ruling that states may force Electoral College voters to abide by a pledge to vote for their party’s presidential nominee or the statewide popular vote. This comes after 10 electors went rogue and cast votes for candidates that did not fit either description.

The ruling might have also helped the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which would award the candidate that wins the national popular vote with all of the Electoral College votes. (read more)

More Problems at the FEC: Just when we thought that the Federal Election Commission was back to business as usual, the dysfunction returns. Republican commissioner Caroline Hunter resigned from her post and the agency lost its quorum after less than a month of having regained it. That means no public hearings held, rules made, or fines issued until a fourth commissioner is sworn in.

The White House announced its next nominee, Allen Dickerson, and the reactions have been mixed. Trump allies are praising Dickerson’s nomination, but his past comments and positions on the FEC’s role are coming under scrutiny. (read more)

Fight for Felons’ Voting Rights Faces Setback: Hundreds of thousands of Floridians with prior felony convictions celebrated a May ruling that voting rights could not be conditioned on an individual’s wealth. Now, an appeals court has temporarily blocked the ruling and ordered the entire 11th Circuit to hear the case. The case stems from a 2018 ballot measure that automatically restores voting rights for formerly convicted felons, known as Amendment 4, which Floridians overwhelmingly passed. (read more)

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