October 15, 2018

Voter Registration Controversy in Georgia

We're officially on Insta! Did I throw on a blazer at 5 am for all you lovely people? You bet I did!

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.”

Reuters

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.”

Slate

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."

Vox

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."

Salon

Trump's “goal, it seems, is to put so much pressure on Tehran that it has no choice but to completely change its behavior — but he could end up leading the countries to the brink of war in the process… Now is typically the time when cooler heads prevail, but it’s unclear if there are cooler heads around… It’s hard to overstate how avoidable this situation was.”
Alex Ward, Vox

“In theory, there’s no reason why a bad businessman can’t go on to become a good president. But a commander-in-chief whose signature legislative achievement expanded tax loopholes that he himself describes as grossly unfair is pretty much a bad president, by definition.”
Eric Levitz, New York Magazine

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."

Twitter

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

Some argue, “It stands to reason that if Kim is willing to starve his own people, deprive his economy of any growth, and pour billions of dollars into missile tech, he will, at some point, develop weapons America and its allies mastered decades ago. And short of an invasion or a diplomatic agreement, under the present circumstances, there is very little we can do to stop him… Taking a hardline approach—what many call the ‘big deal’—or only granting sanctions relief after full denuclearization and the end of Kim’s missile programs is completely impractical and something North Korea would never agree to… only a step-by-step process of disarming Pyongyang, where each side gets a benefit for making a concession, will work.”
Harry J. Kazianis, The American Conservative

Others posit that “the reason Kim is developing missiles that can strike Seattle or LA is that 28,000 U.S. troops are in South Korea… If we cannot persuade Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons in return for a lifting of sanctions, perhaps we should pull U.S. forces off the peninsula and let China deal with the possible acquisition of their own nuclear weapons by Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan…

“After an exhausting two weeks [between North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, and others], one is tempted to ask: How many quarrels, clashes and conflicts can even a superpower manage at one time? And is it not the time for the United States, preoccupied with so many crises, to begin asking, ‘Why is this our problem?’”
Pat Buchanan, Townhall

“The Democrats want to talk to Don McGahn, and maybe they will ultimately prevail in court to get his testimony, but what’s the point? McGahn talked extensively to Mueller, and surely everything remotely damaging is already in the report

“Congress has the report, and now it is up to it to decide. But it doesn’t want to. It’s too painful to admit that the Mueller report was a bust on Russia and that the obstruction material, while damaging to Trump, is hardly a slam dunk; that the public doesn’t support impeachment; that if the House goes through with it anyway, it will end with a whimper in the Senate; and that it’s better for Democrats to focus on beating Trump in 2020 than a forlorn impeachment.”
Rich Lowry, National Review

A libertarian's take

“The scoop reflects poorly on Trump, who willfully misled the public for a decade in hopes of fraudulently representing himself as a man with a Midas touch. But he could not have succeeded without the assistance of many Americans, some mercenary, others over-credulous, who helped to spread the deceit and deception, generating countless newspaper articles, magazine stories, and TV segments that misinformed the public about the publicity hound’s record in business. New evidence of his staggering losses in that decade therefore provides an apt occasion to reflect on the media’s complicity in Trump’s brazen deceit and deception… Let [this] be a lesson for today’s tabloids, gossip columnists, over-credulous or mercenary journalists, and reality-television producers.”
Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic

On the bright side...

US embassy apologises after mistakenly sending Cookie Monster cat invitation.

The Guardian

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