Thanks again to Josh and the TPM community for the chance to blog about my new book, The Voting Wars. I’ve posted on the fake epidemic of voter fraud, the problem of having partisan and local officials running our national elections, and what we might do to make things better or at least avoid another Bush v. Gore and Florida-style meltdown.
You can follow 2012 election law developments at my usual home, the Election Law Blog. Thanks and take care!
Too many U.S. jurisdictions allow our elections to be run by political partisans. Local officials have too much control, and often lack adequate training and resources. Political rhetoric has been ratcheted up and mistrust has been building thanks to spurious and exaggerated claims of voter fraud (and in some cases voter suppression) by political provocateurs. Social media inflames partisan passions and could push the next election meltdown into the streets.
What can be done to end the voting wars? Read More
Over the weekend, Doug Preisse, chair of the Republican Party in Franklin County, Ohio, explained that he had no interest in “contorting” early voting rules in his county to “accommodate the urban–read African-American — voter turnout machine.”
The sentiment was not unusual coming from a partisan Republican but the context was: Preisse also serves as a member of the county’s election board, along with another Republican and two Democrats. He had voted against extending early voting. The board sets many of the rules for the counting and casting of votes and resolves election disputes. Ohio Secretary of State, Jon Husted, a Republican elected official, breaks election board ties throughout the state.
The battle over voter identification laws is only one front in the voting wars. Today, we turn our attention to the issue of who runs our elections and how they do it. We are one of the only mature democratic nations to allow partisans to run our elections, and to give local officials, often underfunded and sometimes incompetent, control over key aspects of the voting process. Read More
Of all the developments in The Voting Wars since 2000, the lead story has to be the successful Republican effort to create an illusion of a voter fraud epidemic used to justify a host of laws, especially tough new state voter identification requirements, with the aim to suppress Democratic turnout and to excite the Republican base about “stolen” elections. Democrats sometimes have exaggerated the likely effects of such laws on turnout–we won’t see millions of voters disenfranchised by state voter id laws, for example. But in a very close presidential election, as we are likely to see in November, new voter id rules, voter purges in places like Colorado and Florida, cutbacks in early voting in Ohio, and other technical changes have the potential to suppress Democratic turnout enough to swing the election from Obama to Romney.
Thanks so much to Josh and the TPM crew for the opportunity to guest blog this week about my new book, The Voting Wars: From Florida 2000 to the Next Election Meltdown.
The book explains how and why the battles over election rules and ballot counting have become much so worse since the 2000 Florida debacle.
As TPM readers well know, election time brings out inevitable accusations by political partisans of voter fraud and voter suppression.
But that’s only part of the story. Read More