Trump's campaign against mail-in voting is backfiring by discouraging Republican absentee voters

Trump has been railing against the idea of mail-in voting for a while now, even as he claims that it's fine sometimes, like when he does it, and even though there is no substantial body of evidence that anyone has ever seen to suggest any kind of pattern of rampant individual voter fraud. Of course, reality itself has never been enough to stop the fury of the Great Orange Beast.

But once again, his own steamrolling arrogance may be his undoing. As the Washington Post reports, Trump's frequent tirades against mail-in voting have thus far only succeeded in discouraging Republican voters from using the option:

In Virginia, 118,000 voters applied for absentee ballots for Democratic primaries June 23, while only 59,000 voters did so for the Republican primary — even though Republicans voted in a statewide Senate primary contest, while Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) was unopposed for his nomination.

Mail voting also soared in Kentucky’s June 23 primary; only about 10 percent of Democratic votes were cast on the day of the election, while 20 percent of GOP votes were.

Similarly, in Georgia’s June 9 primaries, about 600,000 voters cast mail ballots in Democratic primaries, while about 524,000 did so in Republican contests, according to the Georgia secretary of state’s office.

This is particularly notable because, as NBC News previously reported:

Until now, the main factor as to whether a state embraced vote-by-mail was not its partisan lean, but its geographical location. West of Colorado, 69 percent of ballots are cast by mail, compared to only 27 percent of ballots nationwide, according to the National Vote at Home Institute.

Read the rest

Wisconsin voters risked their lives last week — and voted out the party that made them risk their lives

Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown that's surrounding us and suffocating every moment of our lives, the GOP-controlled court system in the state of Wisconsin refused to postpone that state's primary election, or to even respect the sudden influx in mail-in ballots from people who didn't want to get exposed to a virus simply for exercising their right to vote. Read the rest

Trump calls mail-in ballots "corrupt" but reiterates that it's fine when he does it

During the White House press briefing on Tuesday, April 7, Trump was asked about mail-in voting. He answered

Early this week, the Supreme Court had rejected a request to extend the mail-in ballot deadline for Wisconsin's primary election. With coronavirus shelter-in-place policies in effect, in-person voting is potentially dangerous, especially for people who are already immunocompromised. As a result of the chaos of the last few weeks, people who requested mail-in ballots may not have received them; and some ballots that were mailed ahead of time may not have reached polling office in time, thanks to the general shipping slowdowns affecting everything right now.

In the Press Room exchange, Trump said:

Mail-in voting is horrible. It's corrupt. […] You get thousands and thousands of people sitting in someone's living room signing ballots all over the place. No, I think that mail-in voting is a terrible thing.

In reality, mail-in voter fraud like the kind that Trump described is only slightly more common than in-person voter fraud, which has by all estimates happened less than 100 times total in the last 20 years. Across all elections, across the entire country. Which makes it pretty much a moot point. Individual people are not directly frauding elections; and considering that only about 60% of people even vote in US Presidential elections, there is absolutely no logical reason to make it even harder to get people to vote, "just in case" these next-to-never instances of so-called voter fraud ever actually occur. Read the rest

Why aren't more conservatives concerned about felon voting rights?

I've been a huge fan of Elizabeth Warren since I saw her yelling at a cop during the 2012 Boston Pride Parade. I generally think that her past history as a Republican should actually be a selling point, as it demonstrates her capacity to examine the available evidence and change her mind. But one place where Bernie still stands out in front is his willingness to extend voting rights to people who are incarcerated.

I'm not surprised that Warren is hesitant to go all the way in allowing people to vote while still incarcerated — after all, unexamined biases against incarcerated people are extremely common — but I am disappointed.

The more I thought about it, however, I began to consider how strange it is that felon voting rights (during or after incarceration) tend to be such a partisan issue. As a progressive, I've come around to understand why it matters, as all human rights matter, particularly in an unjust legal system. As much as I hate it, I can at least understand the true authoritarian racist argument in favor of retaining free labor through a loophole-by-design of the 13th Amendment.

But when I think about the conservatives I know, and the philosophies they claim to adhere to, that's where the contradictions arise. For example, let's ignore the contrived veneer respectability that shines on every deceptive video from PragerU, and take their argumentative claims at face value and in good faith. PragerU pumps out plenty of content defending the Electoral College by rationalizing it around a fear of mob rule, or the "tyranny of the majority." Read the rest

House passes Voting Rights Advancement Act to restore Voting Rights Act of 1965

On Capitol Hill just now, the House of Representatives has voted to PASS the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2019 to restore the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Read the rest

Partisan Gerrymandering Upheld by Supreme Court

Political gerrymandering not an issue for the courts, SCOTUS rules 5-4.

Meet 'Spread The Vote,' a nonprofit helping voters get IDs, rides, support so they can vote

“We believe voting is the sacred right of every American, and every American should be able to exercise it.” — spreadthevote.org.

Here is a thing you can do to help eligible voters vote in 2020

Help a disadvantaged fellow American obtain an ID to get a job, a safe place to live, and so they can vote.

A month after the statutory restoration of expat Canadians' voting rights, Supreme Court says taking those rights away was illegal

In 2015, Stephen Harper's Tory government began enforcing a 1993 law that stripped expatriate citizens like me of our right to vote in Canada; last month, Justin Trudeau's Liberal government restored our voting rights. Read the rest

JOHN WILCOCK: George Wallace, the KKK, and the 1965 Selma Freedom Marches

George Wallace by Ethan Persoff and Scott Marshall
An evening of police brutality in 1965 ushers in one of the most pivotal moments in Civil Rights history. From John Wilcock, New York Years, a history of the 1960s underground press and related events. (Also, Happy MLK Day, Jan 16)