California Republicans sue to stop mail-in voter ballots

In a continuation from Trump's Do-As-I-Say-Don't-Say-As-I-Do approach to mail-in voter ballots, the Republican National Committee has sued the state of California in an effort to stop their vote-by-mail outreach ahead of November's election.

From CNN:

The suit comes after California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, announced this month that the state would move to encourage all voters to cast their ballots by mail in November -- the most widespread expansion of vote-by-mail that has been announced as a result of the pandemic and in the nation's most populous state.

The RNC's lawsuit challenges that step, marking a significant escalation in the legal battles between Republicans and Democrats that are currently being waged in more than a dozen states.

"Democrats continue to use this pandemic as a ploy to implement their partisan election agenda, and Governor Newsom's executive order is the latest direct assault on the integrity of our elections," said RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel in a statement.

"Newsom's illegal power grab is a recipe for disaster that would destroy the confidence Californians deserve to have in the security of their vote."

To be clear: encouraging people to vote is not a power grab. Nor is it illegal. It is, in fact, a core tenet upon which the foundation of a functioning democracy — even a Representative Democracy! — is built. Curiously, it's also one of the only issues that make Republicans err on the side of extreme caution, infringing on clearly-stated Constitutional rights just in case a single vote ever goes awry. 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

The Get the Vote Out Humble Bundle: dozens of DRM-free ebooks to benefit ACLU

The latest Humble Bundle features up to 26 DRM-free ebooks (including In Real Life, the graphic novel Jen Wang and I created) at prices ranging from $1 (for 8 titles) to $18 (for all 26), with all proceeds to the ACLU to benefit voting rights litigation and action. Read the rest