“A raft of legislation intended to better secure United States election systems after what the special counsel, Robert Mueller, called a ‘sweeping and systematic’ Russian attack in 2016 is running into a one-man roadblock in the form of the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky,” the New York Times reports.
“On a 37-22 party line vote, the Democratic majority in the Oregon House sent Senate Bill 870 to the desk of Democratic Gov. Kate Brown, who has indicated her support.”
“The Maine House of Representatives on Thursday rejected plan to allocate the state’s four electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins the popular vote, instead of the candidate who wins the Electoral College,” WMTW reports.
“It now appears Maine will not sign on to the pact of 14 other states that would allocate their electoral votes based on the candidate who wins the popular vote.”
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) “has issued his first veto out of the 2019 legislative session, rejecting a proposal that would have pledged Nevada’s six electoral votes to the winner of the popular vote for the presidency,” the Nevada Independent reports.
Explained Sisolak: “Once effective, the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact could diminish the role of smaller states like Nevada in national electoral contests and force Nevada’s electors to side with whoever wins the nationwide popular vote, rather than the candidate Nevadans choose.”
FiveThirtyEight: “The effort to bypass the Electoral College and choose the president via the national popular vote has historically seemed like a long shot. But after an impressive string of legislative victories this year, maybe it should be taken more seriously.”
“But the compact has still only enlisted states where Democrats have had free rein to pass legislation… If the compact passes in Maine, Nevada and Oregon, every single state where the legislature and governorship are currently controlled by Democrats will have joined. And assuming that most Republican lawmakers continue to oppose the National Popular Vote movement, Democrats will have to sweep state elections in some tricky states in upcoming cycles for the compact to reach 270.”
Jonathan Bernstein: “In 2016, an unusual number of ‘faithless’ electors did not vote for the candidate they were supposed to. Five Democrats failed to support Hillary Clinton and two Republicans didn’t vote for Donald Trump. Three more Democrats attempted to defect but were blocked by state laws.”
“Although the 2016 election was abnormal in several respects, individual electors have defected six different times over the past 40 years. Most of them were likely engaging in symbolic protests, and would’ve acted differently had the contest been close. But it’s certainly possible that faithless electors could change a future election result, either deliberately or accidentally if enough of them in a close contest all think that they’re casting harmless protest votes.”
“There’s no justification for any of it. Whether one supports the Electoral College or not, personal choices by the electors simply aren’t part of the system – and never have been, despite the Framers’ intentions, basically since the Constitution was adopted.”
“Nevada has six electoral votes, which go to the candidate who gets the most votes in our state. If the bill gets Governor Sisolak’s signature, the votes would go to the candidate who got the most votes, nationally.”
Daytona Beach News-Journal: “Voter registration records are public, as are felony criminal records. But a last-minute insertion into a bill that passed with overwhelming support on the final day of Florida’s legislative session aims to keep the public from seeing felon voting restoration records.”
“Lawmakers say the amendment protects felons from being singled out and harassed. But the change also makes it difficult, if not impossible, to track the progress of a November constitutional amendment that restored voting rights to more than 1 million felons.”
“An explosive, 150-page WhatsApp chat leaked to Miami New Times appears to show members of Miami-Dade County Commission District 5 candidate Alex Diaz de la Portilla’s 2018 campaign team discussing destroying or stealing absentee ballots from voters who selected one of Diaz de la Portilla’s opponents, Zoraida Barreiro.l
“South Carolina Republicans on Saturday will be asked to take a stand for the Electoral College — the constitutional mechanism President Trump called ‘a disaster for a democracy’ four years before it cemented his White House win,” the Charleston Post & Courier reports.
“When an estimated 1,200 party faithful gather for their state convention near Columbia, they will consider a resolution urging state lawmakers ‘to preserve and defend the Electoral College,’ as the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact gains momentum in other states.”
“Maine’s lawmakers passed a bill that would give the state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who won the national popular vote, taking a step toward becoming the 15th state to enact such a law,” CNN reports.
“The Maine Senate voted 19-16 Tuesday to join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which would give all committed states’ electoral votes to the winning popular vote candidate should the group accrue the 270 votes necessary for a majority.”
“Maine is currently one of two states, along with Nebraska, that splits its electoral college votes instead of adhering to the winner-takes-all policy most states follow. Should the Maine House pass and Gov. Janet Mills sign the bill, Maine would contribute another four votes towards the 270.”
A new Gallup survey found that 55% of Americans favor eliminating the Electoral College and going with the popular vote, while just 43% opposed the idea.
“Arguments against the Electoral College have been around for decades, but became louder in 2000 when Al Gore lost to George W. Bush despite winning the national popular vote by more than 500,000 ballots. The arguments again ramped up when Donald Trump was elected in 2016, but lost the national vote to Hillary Clinton by nearly 3 million ballots.”
Joe Davidson: “Among the worst practices are those that rob Americans of the franchise because of errors, overly aggressive attempts to clean voting lists and voting roll manipulation designed to influence elections and political power.”
“Between 2014 and 2016, states removed almost 16 million voters from the rolls. That’s almost 4 million more than between 2006 and 2008. And it should be obvious that that is a rate that outstrips the growth rate of total registered voters and the growth rate of total population.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) “met with the FBI and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security last week to discuss the revelation in the Mueller report that ‘at least one’ Florida county had its election information accessed by Russian hackers in 2016,” the Tampa Bay Times reports.
“On Tuesday, DeSantis told reporters that he had been briefed on that breach — which actually happened in two counties in Florida — but that he couldn’t share which counties had been the target.”
A federal judge is requiring 32 of Florida’s 67 counties to provide election materials and assistance to Spanish-speaking voters before the 2020 presidential primary, NBC News reports.
The decision “comes after several civic engagement groups and individuals sued the state secretary of state and elections supervisors last year for what they say was a violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 for not making available bilingual voting materials and assistance to the state’s growing number of Spanish speakers.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) “said he will sign a bill that would require ex-felons in the state, who were granted the right to vote in a referendum last fall, to pay all financial obligations before they can head to the polls,” CNN reports.
A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds that “53% of Americans support a move to a popular vote, while 43% believe the country should continue to elect its presidents using the Electoral College.”
“But an overwhelming 78% of those who voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 believe the country should adopt a national popular vote… And an equally overwhelming 74% of those who voted for Donald Trump say the existing system should stay in place.”
“In November, Florida voters approved a groundbreaking ballot measure that would restore voting rights for up to 1.5 million people with felony convictions. But the Republican-led Legislature voted on Friday to impose a series of sharp restrictions that could prevent tens of thousands of them from ever reaching the ballot box,” the New York Times reports.
“In a move that critics say undermines the spirit of what voters intended, thousands of people with serious criminal histories will be required to fully pay back fines and fees to the courts before they could vote. The new limits would require potential new voters to settle what may be tens of thousands of dollars in financial obligations to the courts, effectively pricing some people out of the ballot box.”