DC Statehood Battle Reignited by the Federal Response to Protests: George Floyd’s murder and its aftermath re-energized efforts to achieve DC statehood, in part because of the Trump administration’s activation of federal law enforcement operations against peaceful demonstrators.
Washington, DC, is unique because its mayor lacks the authority to do many things that governors can — like keeping federal law enforcement and other states’ National Guards out of their states.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) has renewed his promise to bring a DC statehood bill up for a vote before the year ends. The effort was already under consideration, as Hoyer had intended on addressing the matter before the end of the summer, but the coronavirus stalled his plan. The Trump administration’s “dangerous and callous will” to use force on peaceful protesters, Hoyer said, underscores the need for DC statehood. (read more)
The Mystery of Republicans and Voter Fraud: One would think that President Donald Trump and his staff would be careful about not committing voter fraud. Oops.
The president, a native New Yorker, changed his residency to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida last year. Then, officials in Florida denied Trump’s first voter registration application because he listed the White House as his primary residence.
But it’s not just the president that has made mistakes while trying to obtain an absentee ballot. White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany appears to have used her parents’ address in Florida to vote in 2018, despite living in Washington, DC, and having a New Jersey ID. As the Huffington Post noted, committing voter fraud in the Sunshine State is a felony that could come with a five-year prison sentence. (read more)
Fear of Potential Fraud Sparks Clashes Between Voting-Rights Groups: Americans are more likely to be struck by lightning than commit voter fraud, but that hasn’t stopped critics of mail-in voting. The president and his allies claim that voting by mail is “is the most vulnerable form of voting,” but a growing number of registered voters — in both parties — say that they want the option of voting by mail this November.
Last week, Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams reminded a Congressional panel about the Wisconsin primary election — which she watched “in horror” as voters stood for hours amid a pandemic to cast a ballot in person. (read more)
Purges Threaten Election Integrity in Georgia: Election officials regularly clean voter rolls, but in Georgia they may have taken this routine maintenance too far.
Thousands of voters will brave the pandemic to cast a ballot in person tomorrow for the state’s presidential primary election, but a new state law allows officials to purge voters that have been “inactive” for the past five years. (watch here)
More Money, More Problems: Campaign finance reform is often overlooked when we talk about election integrity. Political candidates need money from individual donors to raise their profile and reach prospective voters, but that’s just a fraction of the cash seen in US elections. Now, the floodgates have been opened for outside spending by political action groups and so-called ‘dark money’ groups.
Now, the Treasury Department and IRS are allowing 501(c) nonprofit organizations, like the National Rifle Association and labor unions, to stop disclosing their major donors’ personal information. A number of campaign finance watchdogs are raising concerns about the rules change, because the original rules were intended to prevent foreign influence in US elections.
“We’re in the midst of a global pandemic and a once-in-a-lifetime economic crisis,” said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, in a statement after the rules change. “The Trump administration is prioritizing boosting the president’s political prospects with shady cash.” (read more)
Oh, the Irony in Kentucky: Republican Secretary of State Michael Adams told NPR last month that he wanted voters in his state to have the option of voting absentee if they want to this November.
Adams refuses to lift certain restrictions that could prevent thousands of eligible voters from having this opportunity. A coalition of civil rights groups filed a federal lawsuit last week to lift voter ID and witness signature requirements to cast a mail-in ballot. (read more)
Advocates Reject Trump’s Vote-by-Mail Conspiracy Theories: The president’s at it again, and voting-rights groups are done playing nice. The battle for truth and democracy is heating up.
Voting-rights groups denounced Trump and his allies last week for spreading false claims about voter fraud, accusing his administration of attempting to subvert the 2020 election with disinformation. (read more)
WhoWhatWhy and Readers’ Picks of the Week:
- Size of Some Ballots Causing Problems at Polling Places (Levittown Now)
- Trump’s Attacks on Vote-by-Mail Worry Some Election Officials (Nextgov)
- Voting Rights Advocates in Texas Fear Suppression in COVID Era (Courthouse News)
- US Supreme Court Asked to Rule on Kobach’s Signature Kansas Voter Registration Law (Wichita Eagle)
- Report Highlights Voting Inequities in Tribal Communities (Associated Press)