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June 1, 2020

Understanding Where We Are Now

Understanding Where We Are Now: The entire country is on edge. We are in the middle of a pandemic. Demonstrators are risking their lives to protest the death of George Floyd. And, the president of the United States is still offering wild conspiracy theories about widespread voter fraud despite voting by mail himself.   How will all of this impact the 2020 election?   We saw what happened during the Wisconsin primary, where state health officials attributed dozens of coronavirus cases to in-person voting. Will election officials learn from that disaster and prevent another nightmare scenario from happening in their...

May 25, 2020

The FEC is Back in Business

Happy Memorial Day! We’ll be brief so you can enjoy the rest of your holiday. The FEC is Back in Business: At least, it should be in the coming weeks. Texas Republican Trey Trainor was confirmed as commissioner last week, albeit along party lines. It’s a major development nevertheless, because the Federal Election Commission has been effectively shut down since it lost its quorum of four commissioners in September. The agency will finally be able to take on the backlog of over 300 pending cases. (read more) The Battle to Protect the 2020 Election: One would think that the concept of carrying out the November election without...

May 18, 2020

Republicans Are at It Again

A growing number of Americans want the option of voting by mail this November, especially as scientists fear a second wave of COVID-19 cases may hit the US in the fall, but conservative groups appear to be doing everything they can to stop that from happening. Nevada officials announced earlier this year that the state would conduct an all-mail election for its June 9 primary due to fears of the coronavirus. True the Vote, a right-wing group based in Texas, is now asking a federal court to block their plan. (read more) What stands out about this complaint is that the group...

May 11, 2020

Republicans Restrict Mail-in Voting Amid Pandemic

Oklahoma’s GOP-led state legislature quickly reinstated a requirement for absentee voting that the state Supreme Court struck down due to the coronavirus pandemic. The state Supreme Court ruled last Monday that absentee voters would not have to include a notarized signature on their ballot. However, by the end of the week, Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) signed the legislature’s bill reinstating the requirement. Oklahoma is one of the few states that still has this kind of requirement for mail-in voting. (read more) States Grapple With Germ-Ridden Voting Equipment: Scientists say the coronavirus could survive for days on voting machines, and local election officials are worried that...

May 4, 2020

Federal Court Deals Another Blow to Kobach

Former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) made a name for himself among conservative circles as the go-to person for voter suppression strategies and pushing catchy yet unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud. In 2013, Kobach successfully pushed for a state law requiring people to provide proof of citizenship before they can register to vote. But late last week, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals delivered perhaps the final blow to Kobach’s effort to “stop” voter fraud from happening. A two-judge panel sided with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and ruled that the 2013 law is unconstitutional. (read more)...

April 27, 2020

GOP Responds to Mail-in Voting With Voter Roll Purges

It seems that the flavor of the year for conservatives is the “cleaning up” of voter rolls, and now they appear to have their sights on swing states that are considering mail-in voting this November. It started with a removal of more than 500,000 “ineligible” voters at the end of 2019. The North Carolina State Board of Elections is required to, among other things, maintain the state’s voter registration database. So, the conservative self-described “election integrity” group Judicial Watch claims to have found nearly 1 million more names that need to go and filed a federal lawsuit earlier this month....

April 20, 2020

Voting During a Pandemic

Republicans have spent decades making it more difficult for core Democratic constituencies to vote by implementing things like voter ID, “exact-match” signature requirements, voter purges, poll closures, and other election rules that voting-rights groups say disenfranchise millions of Americans every year. Now, their efforts are facing a much tougher test than a Supreme Court that usually lets them have their way: a pandemic that highlights the need for making voting easier. However, instead of putting voter safety first, many Republicans seem more willing to double down — regardless of the cost to democracy and the health of Americans — and...

April 13, 2020

Impose Campaign Finance Restrictions on Our Opponents, Not Us

In a move that is stunningly hypocritical even for Washington standards, Citizens United, the group eponymous with destroying the few meaningful campaign finance rules the United States once had, now wants to get the money out of politics. Well, at least money that goes to Democrats.  On Wednesday, the group sent a petition to its sworn enemy, the Federal Election Commission (FEC), asking the agency to place limits on how much money a candidate can give to their party. Candidates for office can send as much money as they want from their campaign to national, state, or local party. But...

April 6, 2020

Will They Vote or Won’t They?

The games appear to be over for now, and Wisconsin will carry on with its primary election tomorrow. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers tried to postpone the state’s primary and put in place vote-by-mail, but each effort was blocked by the Republican state legislature. The nation is in the midst of a public health crisis, so the GOP legislators have unsurprisingly come under criticism for their refusal to postpone the primary election. (read more) Poll Worker Crisis Exacerbated by Coronavirus: Local officials in Wisconsin are almost certain that their cities will suffer from a poll worker shortage this year. Stay-at-home orders...

March 30, 2020

Coronavirus and the 2020 Election — an Update

There are a lot of moving parts at the moment, but election officials are scrambling to keep elections going amid the coronavirus. Here’s what happened this past week: Congress included $400 million for elections in its emergency $2 trillion stimulus package last week. It’s a step in the right direction, but a drop in the bucket, say voting rights and election security groups. (read the Brennan Center’s cost estimate here) At least 10 states and one territory have rescheduled their presidential primaries: Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Puerto Rico. (find new election...