Just for members: The latest issue of Ballot Access News covers recent court rulings in Illinois and Georgia and third party petitioning to get on the 2020 presidential ballot in each state.
“Wisconsin Republicans who oppose making it easier for people to vote absentee have taken advantage of the opportunity to vote by mail in recent elections, with more than 80% of GOP members of the state Legislature doing it in April,” the AP reports.
“Republicans fought against making that election mail-in only as Democrats and Gov. Tony Evers proposed.”
Rick Hasen: “We need a 28th Amendment for voter equality around which people can organize and agitate. Organization could emulate the battle for passage of the 19th Amendment, which bars gender discrimination in voting. It took more than generation for that amendment to pass, and along the way activists for equal women’s suffrage got state legislatures to bolster voting rights and the public to change its attitudes about voting.”
“It has been 100 years since passage of the 19th Amendment and 150 since the passage of the 15th Amendment barring racial discrimination in voting. Despite those accomplishments, every national election features endless angst and litigation over assuring people the right to vote, which puts special burdens on those who already face the greatest barriers. We need to bring that struggle to an end and press forward toward a new voting rights amendment that would assure that our representatives truly reflect the will of the people.”
“The Supreme Court declined Friday to force Texas officials to offer mail-in ballots to all voters in the state because of the threat of the coronavirus, not just those over 65,” the Washington Post reports.
“The justices, without comment, turned down a request from the Texas Democratic Party to reinstate a district judge’s order that would affect the upcoming primary election in July and the general election in November.”
“President Trump’s extreme opposition to mail-in ballots is more likely hurting him and down-ballot Republicans than it is helping him,” the Washington Examiner reports.
“Mounting evidence in voter registration data, a survey, and organizer anecdotes shows that instead of preventing the voting method from being a major factor in the November election, his stance is turning Republican voters off from using the method entirely, which could have the effect of depressing Republican votes.”
While numbers are still coming in, Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams (R) predicted record voter turnout following Tuesday’s primary election and said a big part of that strong turnout was early and absentee voting, WHAS reports.
Adams said absentee ballots accounted for about 85% of total votes, with in-person votes coming in at 15%.
“Democrats have opened up a 302,000-voter advantage over Republicans in vote-by-mail enrollment, an edge that could pay big dividends in President Trump’s newly adopted must-win state,” Politico reports.
“Five months before Election Day, more than 1.46 million Democrats have signed up to vote by mail compared to 1.16 million Republicans… By comparison, in 2016, Democrats held an advantage of about 8,800 in vote-by-mail enrollment.”
Washington Post: “If voters remain reluctant to cast ballots in person, November is likely to bring an even more massive wave of voting by mail than what has swept across the country during primary season. That, in turn, means a close race between President Trump and former vice president Joe Biden in a pivotal state could take days, even weeks, to resolve, election officials across the country are warning.”
“Barring a landslide for either candidate, that scenario could invite an unprecedented test of the country’s faith in its elections: an extended period without a declared winner. Amid that uncertainty, few expect Trump, who has said repeatedly that he thinks mail voting could cost him the election, to soothe voter anxieties.”
“Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence voted by mail for this month’s Indiana Republican primary using a home address that they haven’t lived in for nearly four years,” Business Insider reports.
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“Less than 200 polling places will be open for voters in Kentucky’s primary Tuesday, down from 3,700 in a typical election year. Amid a huge influx in requests for mail-in ballots, some voters still had not received theirs days before they must be turned in. And turnout is expected to be higher than in past primaries because of a suddenly competitive fight for the Democratic Senate nomination,” the Washington Post reports.
“The scenario has voting-rights advocates and some local elections officials worried that the state is careening toward a messy day marked by long lines and frustrated voters — similar to the scenes that have played out repeatedly this spring as the novel coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the 2020 primaries.”
“President Trump called mail-in voting the biggest threat to his reelection and said his campaign’s multimillion-dollar legal effort to block expanded ballot access could determine whether he wins a second term,” Politico reports.
“The president’s assertion that mail-in voting will endanger his reelection comes as states across the country are rushing to accommodate remote voting in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Millions of voters could be disenfranchised if they decide to stay home on Election Day rather than risk contracting the virus at crowded polling stations.”
“But Trump and his campaign argue, despite a lack of evidence, that widespread mail-in voting will benefit Democrats and invite fraud. The Republican Party is spending tens of millions of dollars on a multi-front legal battle.”
“Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) took steps to help localities prepare for what could be high voter turnout this year, but stopped short of extending early voting or letting counties consolidate polling places in the battleground amid signs that President Trump’s disparagement of mailed ballots could be resonating with Republican voters,” Politico reports.
“DeSantis called on schools to close during the August primary and November general election to make room for what might be record voter turnout. He also issued an executive order that makes it easier for state employees to work at the polls on Election Day.”
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) “introduced proposals to avoid another election debacle, calling for more voting locations, technical support and poll worker training,” the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.
But Raffensperger also said “he won’t send absentee ballot request forms to 6.9 million Georgia voters again, as he did in the primary. Instead, he’ll create a website where voters can request absentee ballots themselves.”
“The Texas Democratic Party on Tuesday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to expand access of mail-in ballots to all voters in the state, including those afraid of contracting the coronavirus,” the Washington Post reports.
“Texas GOP officials have sought to limit the use of absentee ballots, claiming they are vulnerable to fraud. Currently, Texas allows absentee voting only for voters who are out of state, have a disability or are over age 65.”
“People burned letters informing them that they can vote by absentee ballot in future elections during a protest near Grand Rapids,” WILX reports.
Jonathan Bernstein: “Kudos to the NBC News political team for a very good item about counting ballots in November’s elections. As the team explains, it’s going to take a week or more to get a complete vote tally this year. That’s simply the system that has evolved, and it is now even more complicated thanks to an expected surge in absentee voting during the pandemic. As NBC puts it, we’re likely to have ‘Election Week’ rather than ‘Election Night.'”
“The one thing NBC doesn’t mention is that in most slow-count states, the normal pattern is for Democratic votes to come in late. There’s nothing nefarious about this; it’s just that different groups vote in different ways and in many states Democrats tend to vote late and by mail, meaning that their votes are often underestimated on Election Night. Arizona and Pennsylvania usually exhibit this pattern. Both could easily show a small Republican lead after the initial count that experts know will disappear, and it would boost confidence in the process if more people knew that ahead of time.”
“Georgia’s primary quickly turned into an ordeal for voters who waited for hours Tuesday when it became clear officials were unprepared for an election on new voting computers during the coronavirus pandemic,” the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.
“Poll workers couldn’t get voting machines to work. Precincts opened late. Social-distancing requirements created long lines. Some voters gave up and went home.”
“The primary was a major test of Georgia’s ability to run a highly anticipated election in a potential battleground state ahead of November’s presidential election, when more than twice as many voters are expected. Elections officials fell short.”
New York Times: Georgia’s election descends into chaos.