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)
How Serious of a Problem Is Voter Fraud? When the Trump administration launched its presidential task force on election integrity, President Donald Trump put Kobach in charge of finding evidence of widespread voter fraud. The task force clung to a controversial report by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, but we ran the numbers and found that when it comes to vote-by-mail, the likelihood of voter fraud happening is actually pretty slim.
More than 250,000,000 votes have been cast in US elections by mail since 2000, and less than 500 of those votes were proven to be fraudulent. And, one study found that the likelihood of voter fraud is so rare that just 0.02 percent of the total votes cast during the 2012 presidential election were proven to be fraudulent. (read more)
Coronavirus Fears Propel States to Expand Internet Voting Despite Cybersecurity Concerns: Several states are responding to the pandemic by turning to newer and untested internet-based voting systems. Delaware will become the second state after West Virginia to allow individuals with disabilities to send in their votes electronically. Democracy Live, the company responsible for administering the technology, sees this model as the future of voting because of ease of use and software that allows disabled voters to participate.
Still, many cybersecurity experts and election officials have strongly discouraged the use of online voting. Ballots submitted over the internet are vulnerable to hackers and inaccurate results. Ahead of one of the most consequential elections in American history, the underlying risk and uncertainty of this technology may undermine the validity of final election results. (read more)
Lawsuit in Texas Alleges Youth Voter Suppression: A county judge ruled last month that any voter who wants to vote absentee due to fears about the coronavirus may do so, but young voters are hoping to solidify this option in a new federal lawsuit: they’re contending that the state’s election laws surrounding mail-in voting are still in violation of the 26th Amendment — which prohibits voter suppression based on age — because the local judge’s ruling did not lift the age restriction on absentee voting.
Some Democratic-backed groups, like the National Redistricting Foundation, argue that disallowing mail-in ballots solely based on age is especially consequential during the current coronavirus pandemic. (read more)
Absentee Voting Requirement Challenged in North Dakota: One of the most common reasons for absentee ballots to be rejected is if the voter’s signature on the ballot does not exactly match the signature that officials have on file from when that voter registered to vote.
But we know that not everyone signs their name the same way each time. So, the Campaign Legal Center and League of Women Voters filed a lawsuit to challenge this practice. (read the complaint)
WhoWhatWhy and readers’ picks of the week:
Los Angeles County to Send Mail-in Ballots to All Voters (U.S. News & World Report)
Millions Skipped California’s 2020 primary. Will Coronavirus Change Who Votes in November? (Los Angeles Times)
Judge Rejects Conservative Group’s Attempt to Block Planned All-Mail Primary (Nevada Independent)
Report: More Federal Cash Needed for a Safe, Secure 2020 Election (Trib Live)
Steve Bullock, Who Called to Ban Super PACs, Linked to New Super PAC (Washington Free Beacon)
Biden Reaches Deal to Let Sanders Keep Hundreds of Delegates (Associated Press)