October 15, 2018

Voter Registration Controversy in Georgia

U.S. voting rights advocacy groups on Thursday sued Georgia’s top election official, Secretary of State Brian Kemp, accusing him of putting more than 50,000 voter registration applications on hold to boost his gubernatorial campaign... It was the latest legal development this week involving voting rights that could influence the Nov. 6 elections in states, including North Dakota, Arkansas and Ohio.”


Georgia’s ‘exact match’ law, passed last year, requires registration application information to match driver’s license, state ID card or Social Security records. Registrations can be stalled for several reasons, including a missing hyphen in a last name, a discrepancy between a maiden name and a married name, or a misspelling in government records...

“[The affected voters] can cast a ballot if they show a government photo ID that substantially matches the registration application... [But] the need to verify voting information creates another step in the process to becoming registered voters.”

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

See past issues

From the Left

The left argues this is just the latest attempt by Kemp to suppress voter turnout, and furthermore that the GOP’s concerns about voter fraud are disingenuous at best.

“Many feel the ‘exact match’ policy has no practical purpose other than complicating the process for minorities. ‘Nearly every other state treats failure to match a database differently than Georgia,’ the Campaign Legal Center, one of the groups filing the lawsuit against Kemp, wrote in a statement."

Rolling Stone

“During [Kemp’s] tenure as secretary of state, his office has canceled more than 1.4 million voter registrations. In August, Kemp was pressured to back down from a proposal by a political ally to eliminate three-fourths of voting locations in a rural county made up of predominantly black voters, but he has still been able to close polling locations in a number of majority-black areas...

"Kemp, in other words, has had an intimate role in shaping the Georgia electorate, and with this attempt to stall tens of thousands of registrations, he has a significant opportunity to benefit from this work by claiming victory in an election he has attempted to rig in his own favor.”


Many note that “voter fraud is extremely rare in the US... A 2012 investigation... [found] just 10 credible cases [of voter impersonation]. But the other types of fraud weren’t common either: In total, the project uncovered 2,068 alleged election fraud cases from 2000 through part of 2012... That represents about 0.000003 alleged cases of fraud for every vote cast."


Finally, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow points out that “past Georgia Secretaries of State who run for governor have stepped down in order to run, because it’s a bad look to be in charge of the integrity of your own election."


The political calendar and Trump's approach could give grounds for optimism. Kim, who has presided over a limited form of economic development inside North Korea, is under pressure to deliver improvements in the lives of his people… So he has an incentive to try to seek economic benefits or aid from the United States and wants punishing economic sanctions lifted — a potential opening for US negotiators… Kim must realize that his chances of basking in this kind of legitimacy with a US President other than Trump are slim. So if he fears Trump could lose in 2020, he may reason the time may be ripe for a deal. And Trump wants nothing more than a big diplomatic breakthrough months before the election.”
Stephen Collinson, CNN

Regarding the Cadillac tax, “high-premium employer-based plans raise the cost of health care for everyone by encouraging the overconsumption of expensive services. This means that even Medicare and Medicaid face higher prices. Quite aside from its benefits for the health-care market, the Cadillac tax would also have the effect of expanding the tax base and making the tax code more efficient. It would raise revenues by about $15 billion a year… Rather than killing or delaying the Cadillac tax, Democrats should be trying to make it operational. The tax would raise revenue, lower costs, increase the efficiency of the tax code and give the Obamacare individual market its best chance at success.”
Karl W. Smith, Bloomberg

“The two issues with which he is most often associated, support for a balanced budget and opposition to free trade, put him at odds with both of our major political parties. An old-fashioned, soft-spoken Southerner, he nevertheless held views on so-called ‘social issues’ that would be to the left of the mainstream of the Republican Party, both then and now. He was a fervent supporter of the Vietnam POW/MIA movement in the late '80s and early '90s, but he was not in any sense a hawk. Never mind 2003. Perot opposed the first war in Iraq in 1990… Perot's death should be mourned by all Americans who regret the fact that it is no longer possible to make reasoned, non-ideological arguments about questions of public import, and by the devolution of our political life into mindless partisan squabbling.”
Matthew Walther, The Week

From the Right

The right dismisses the claims, noting that the voters in question can still cast ballots on election day if they provide ID (which is required of all voters), and argues that the problem of voter fraud should be taken seriously.

From the Right

The right dismisses the claims, noting that the voters in question can still cast ballots on election day if they provide ID (which is required of all voters), and argues that the problem of voter fraud should be taken seriously.

Kemp stated, “The 53,000 Georgians on our ‘pending’ list can vote in the Nov. 6th election. [Abrams’s] dark money voter registration group submitted sloppy forms. Now, they are faking outrage for political gain."


All Georgia residents with pending applications are still able to vote during the midterm elections in November — if the issue is not resolved prior to Election Day, pending applicants can present identification at the polls to receive a regular ballot, otherwise, they can still vote using a provisional ballot...

“The Democratic hopeful’s own voting initiative is responsible for a large portion of the flagged applications... Since the [online registration] system prohibits a ‘pending’ status, if the New Georgia Project registered voters online [rather than with paper forms], 40 percent of the 53,000 would not currently be pending, according to the Georgia GOP.”

Daily Caller

Candice Broce, a spokeswoman for the secretary of state's office, added that “this so-called 'exact match' law was passed by the legislature and signed by Governor [Nathan] Deal... It mirrors a Florida law recently upheld in the 11th Circuit."

NBC News

Dated but relevant: In response to claims that voter fraud is rare, many note that in the 2008 Minnesota Senate race, which former Democratic Senator Al Franken won by 312 votes, “177 people have been convicted -- not just accused, but convicted -- of voting fraudulently,” and a conservative group identified “1,099 felons -- all ineligible to vote -- who had voted.”

Washington Examiner

“Not only did [Trump] attack the ‘squad,’ he managed to do it in a way in which no other prominent Democrat can continue to criticize them publicly, lest they be perceived as echoing the president’s contention that they should go back where they came from. At the exact moment the accusations and counter-accusations were set to do lasting damage, Trump just had to jump in and give them an attack that would unify them all. It often seems like Trump would rather have a bad news cycle that focuses on him than a beneficial news cycle that focuses on someone else… Everyone around the president can read a poll and knows that his rage-tweeting is a liability; it is perhaps the biggest liability in a presidency that, with prosperity and a perception of peace, ought to be comfortably cruising to reelection.”
Jim Geraghty, National Review

“If Joe Biden can win his way through the primaries, he’s almost lab-engineered to beat Trump. He doesn’t cause Republican panic, he has the potential to connect with white working-class voters in a way that Hillary couldn’t in 2016, and he has a potential to connect better with black voters than Hillary did… if Biden emerges from [this] crucible, Trump will face a very different challenge than he faced in 2016.”
David French, National Review

“NBC and MSNBC embraced Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts in the first debate of Democratic presidential candidates Wednesday night, treating her like the star of the show. The debate led off with Warren, who had a huge popularity advantage from the start… NBC anchor Savannah Guthrie started it off sounding more like Warren’s press secretary. ‘You have many plans – free college, free child care, government health care, cancelation of student debt, new taxes, new regulations, the breakup of major corporations,’ Guthrie said, before teeing up an economy question. Guthrie even used Warren’s plan to break up tech companies as the foundation for a question for Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey… the round-robin final comments also ended with Warren, as Maddow asked her for the ‘final, final statement.’ That let NBC bookend the entire debate with Warren and Warren.”
Dan Gainor, Fox News

President Trump should be happy. As much as Warren is articulate, obviously intelligent, and energetically supported by Democrats, she would also be far easier to defeat than Joe Biden… Considering Trump's economy, the president is well placed to defeat Warren.”
Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner

A libertarian's take

“The fans who avidly followed the men’s tournament certainly weren’t doing anything wrong. And it’s hard to argue that each of them had a moral obligation to be exactly as interested in women’s soccer. Even if we could stop them from watching the men more than the women, should we?…

“It’s tempting to answer that the fan choices aren’t innocent, they’re sexist. But since we can’t peek into their hearts, to say that definitively, we’d have to assume that men’s greater speed, strength and endurance definitely make nodifference to the sport’s quality. Fair enough, but then why do fans prefer to watch Megan Rapinoe play instead of the sedentary elderly who could presumably use some exercise? Alternatively, maybe pay should be equalized precisely because biology is unfair. But that seems to be an argument for curbing the pay of all top-level athletes, who have to hit the genetic lottery just to get on the field. It might be easier to focus on the distributions across society at large, rather than every individual industry, especially when fundamental biology is in play.”
Megan McArdle, Washington Post

On the bright side...

US embassy apologises after mistakenly sending Cookie Monster cat invitation.

The Guardian

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