Opinion: Obama Resurrects Hope In His Eulogy to John Lewis

During this past week many of us mourned the loss of John Lewis and the kind of greatness he had.  The iconic civil rights leader was a man who refused to give up or give in after being beaten within an inch of his life.  Those who knew him described him as someone you just had to love. Even Moscow Mitch had to take a moment to speak well of John Lewis. read more

Campaign Legal Center: “No, Trump Doesn’t Have the Authority to Delay the Election”

Trump proclaims himself the best president for black Americans since Lincoln

In a statement, Trevor Potter, president of Campaign Legal Center (CLC), and a former Republican Chairman of the Federal Election Commission, responded to President Donald Trump’s suggestion to delay the November election.

“The President does not have the authority to delay the election. Federal law mandates that the General Election take place on the first Tuesday of November. Suggesting the possibility of moving the General Election is an extraordinary statement from a sitting President and is sure to create confusion amongst voters about presidential powers in relation to the election,” Potter said.

He added: “The country has voted in general elections in the middle of a Civil War, two World Wars and the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918, not to mention the Great Depression. Delay of the November election would violate both federal law and the Constitution. It is critical that members of Congress from both parties forcefully condemn Trump’s statement.”

Potter concluded that Congress “has the responsibility to make sure that the election takes place safely and smoothly, and that requires the Senate to include funding for state election activities in the coronavirus bill they are currently debating so that states can be prepared to handle a surge in mail voting for November.”

Earlier today, the president suggested the election should be delayed to halt mail-in ballot fraud.

“With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???”

With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote??? read more

LeBron James’ Nonprofit is Paying Debts for Former Felons Looking to Vote in Florida

Basketball star LeBron James is raising funds to help people in Florida with felony records pay outstanding court debts that prevent them from voting. The initiative is part of More Than a Vote, an organization that has dedicated at least part of its efforts to safeguarding African-American voting rights since James and a team of other black athletes and entertainers formed it last month.

“The right to vote should not come with a price tag,” more than a vote announced on Twitter.

The right to vote should not come with a price tag. #MoreThanAVote @morethanavote is stepping up to help @FLRightsRestore’s efforts to pay these fines and restore our democracy: https://t.co/48p39iS1fA pic.twitter.com/mbhoLeVgii read more

Analysis: Enforcing GOP-Supported Voter ID Laws Have Now Cost Taxpayers At Least $36 Million

White voters abandon Trump and flock to Biden

An analysis of information obtained through open records requests from The Guardian found that enforcing Republican-supported voter identification laws is an extraordinarily expensive endeavor, already costing taxpayers at least $36 million in several states. Expenses pile up because of “the partial costs of litigation, free identification cards, public education and other fees,” The Guardian observed.

Kentucky is one of several states that has spent millions enforcing voter identification laws, even while states make heavy budget cuts to contend with the current economic crisis.

“While the rest of the state was under “stay-at-home” advisories because of coronavirus, the Kentucky legislature convened in early March and April in order to pass its voter ID bill and then again to override the governor’s veto,” The Guardian noted. The law, SB2, requires voters to present identification at the polls as well as when sending in absentee ballots. The mere provision of the law would cost at least $3.6 million per year.

In Indiana, implementing voter identification legislation has cost nearly $30.5 million since January 2006. And in Texas, “the process of implementing a strict voter ID law dragged on for almost seven years, during which the state spent at least $3.5m on attorney’s fees, outside counsel, travel expenses, and expert witnesses.” The case dragged on so long that the state’s attorney-general had to enlist the help of lawyers from other departments. Although the law survived these legal challenges, the state was ultimately ordered to pay plaintiffs $6.8 million in fees.

Public outreach has also added to the expense. For instance, Kansas spent at least $430,000 on its public outreach during the first three years of passing its voter identification laws. Wisconsin spent $631,899 in its first year alone. “Even with heavily discounted rates from TV and radio stations, the critical swing state has spent nearly $1.2m on its “Bring It to the Ballot” campaign, which includes radio spots, brochures, and TV ads,” The Guardian notes.

Voter identification laws have been criticized as both ineffective and discriminatory. For example, an April 2017 study published in The Journal of Politics found that strict identification laws have a differentially negative impact on the turnout of racial and ethnic minorities in primaries and general elections.” Moreover, these laws “skew democracy toward those on the political right.”

Trump Claims Mail-In Voting Will Lead to “Most Corrupt Election” in History

In a tweet earlier this morning, President Donald Trump claimed mail-in voting would lead to the “most corrupt election” in American history.

“Mail-In Voting, unless changed by the courts, will lead to the most CORRUPT ELECTION in our Nation’s History!” he wrote, finishing off his message with the hashtag #RIGGEDELECTION.

The president’s Twitter message come just days after he disparaged mail-in voting during a highly contentious Fox News interview with host Chris Wallace.

“I’m not a good loser. I don’t like to lose. I don’t lose too often. I don’t like to lose,” Trump said at the time. “You don’t know until you see. It depends. I think mail-in voting is going to rig the election, I really do.”

Trump *isn’t* going to accept losing:

TRUMP: "I think mail-in voting is going to rig the election"

FOX: "Are you suggesting that you might not accept the results?"

T: "I have to see”

F: "Can you give a direct answer that you will accept the election?”

T: "I have to see…” pic.twitter.com/jK6MlIZKrj read more

34 National Security Leaders Sign Letter Requesting Congress Approve Increased Election Security Funding

In an open letter, 34 national security leaders requested Congress approve increased election security funding. The signatories include former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and John Kerry, former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

The letter is addressed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

“American elections, the bedrock of our democracy, face two extraordinary challenges this year: Covid-19 and combatting foreign interference. While these twin challenges are first and foremost a test of our democracy, they are also a threat to our national security. We urge you to provide election officials with the resources they need to protect our elections this year,” they write.

“As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, state and local governments face significant and unexpected costs as they prepare to provide safe in-person voting options, meet the increased demand for mail voting, and bolster online systems that have become essential resources for voters at home,” they continue. “Bolstering and securing this infrastructure will require more staff, supplies, and technology. And this increased need for resources is coming at a time when many government budgets are facing a revenue crisis.”

Noting that “hostile foreign actors like China, Iran and Russia seek to cast doubt on the integrity of our electoral system,” the national security experts warn that these “actors influence Americans by exploiting fear and confusion around the voting process.”

“Failing to make sure that all citizens can vote safely and securely will only give them material to further erode faith in our democratic system,” they write.

The experts recommend that Congress provide more funding for election security in the next coronavirus stimulus package because the pandemic has forced state election officials to redirect federal funds that were intended for election security improvements. They note that election security officials from both sides of the political aisle “have expressed the need for more resources to ensure that voters can participate safely in elections this year” in addition to pushing for more funding in the next round of federal coronavirus relief.

“Americans should feel confident that their election officials have the resources needed to provide healthy options for all voters and ensure integrity in electoral outcomes,” they conclude. “We urge you to provide funding to make sure our elections are safe and secure.”

Biden: Team of 600 Lawyers and 10,000 Volunteers is Ready to Fight Trump’s Efforts to Suppress the Vote

Biden suggests Trump has memory loss

Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden says he has assembled a team of 600 lawyers to fight election “chicanery” from President Donald Trump should he continue his efforts to limit voter participation in this year’s general election.

“So here’s what we’re doing, we’re continuing to fight any effort to exploit the pandemic for political purposes, support the countless state and local officials working like hell to make voting safe and accessible for citizens, especially the most vulnerable, or call out local rules that don’t adequately ensure access to vote,” Biden said.

The team of 600 lawyers and 10,000 volunteers will be in every state to figure out if any “chicanery is likely to take place,” he added, noting that it would be “very, very, very difficult” to counter the president’s many false claims that mail-in voting would lead to fraudulent votes being cast.

“The fact is that this is a fella who is literally trying to take away the funding for the post office so they can’t deliver the ballots. Not a joke,” Biden said, pointing out that several states already conduct their elections almost entirely by mail-in vote.

Biden has previously voiced concerns that Trump would try to “steal” the election.

“It’s my greatest concern, my single greatest concern. This president is going to try to steal this election,” Biden said in remarks last month. “This is a guy who said all mail-in ballots are fraudulent, voting by mail, while he sits behind the desk in the Oval Office and writes his mail-in ballot to vote in the primary.”

Should Trump refuse to honor the peaceful transition of power, Biden suggested that military members who’ve condemned the president would move to settle the matter themselves.

“I promise you, I’m absolutely convinced they will escort him from the White House with great dispatch,” he said.

Trump Claims Election Would Be “Rigged” If Mail-In Ballots Were Used

Trump responds to Black Lives Matter by defending the Confederacy

President Donald Trump claimed the November election would be “rigged” if mail-in ballots were allowed.

The president claimed without evidence that “MILLIONS” of mail-in ballots “WILL BE PRINTED BY FOREIGN COUNTRIES, AND OTHERS.” He referred to it as “THE SCANDAL OF OUR TIMES.”

RIGGED 2020 ELECTION: MILLIONS OF MAIL-IN BALLOTS WILL BE PRINTED BY FOREIGN COUNTRIES, AND OTHERS. IT WILL BE THE SCANDAL OF OUR TIMES!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 22, 2020 read more

Trump Cites Mail-In Voting As His “Biggest Risk” of Not Winning in November

Trump responds to Black Lives Matter by defending the Confederacy

President Donald Trump cited mail-in voting as his “biggest risk” of not winning reelection this November in an interview with Politico conducted yesterday and published this morning.

“My biggest risk is that we don’t win lawsuits,” Trump said. “We have many lawsuits going all over. And if we don’t win those lawsuits, I think — I think it puts the election at risk.”

Politico asked the president the following two questions: Would a substantial amount of mail-in voting — which is widely expected because of coronavirus — cause him to question the legitimacy of the election? And would he accept the results no matter what?

“Well, you can never answer the second question, right? Because Hillary kept talking about she’s going to accept, and they never accepted it. You know. She lost too. She lost good,” was his response.

Trump and Republicans have repeatedly disparaged vote-by-mail options in response to criticisms from voting rights advocates who’ve expressed safety concerns during the coronavirus pandemic.

But a study from Stanford University’s Democracy and Polarization Lab published in April found that contrary to the widely-held belief among the GOP that vote-by-mail gives Democrats an advantage over Republicans, vote-by-mail options do not benefit one party more than another.

“By comparing counties that adopt a vote-by-mail program to counties within the same state that do not adopt the program, we are able to compare the election outcomes and turnout behavior of voters who have different vote-by-mail accessibility but who have the same set of candidates on the ballot for statewide races,” researchers wrote.

Last month for example, the president made headlines after he threatened to withhold Michigan’s federal funding after its Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) announced that all state residents would receive applications for absentee ballots, allowing them to vote-by-mail.

Additionally, the Republican National Committee (RNC), the National Republican Congressional Committee, and the California Republican Party last month filed a joint lawsuit against California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) over his executive orders to use mail-in ballots for the November election.

“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,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement.

“No state that conducts all-mail elections automatically mails ballots to inactive voters because it invites fraud, coercion, theft, and otherwise illegitimate voting,” the statement continued.

LeBron James and Other Black Athletes and Entertainers Form New Voting Rights Group

NBA player LeBron James has joined a team of other black athletes and entertainers to form More Than a Vote, an organization that will dedicate at least part of its efforts to safeguarding African-American voting rights.

The announcement comes as the nation grapples with a litany of protests against systemic racism and police brutality in response to the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis. The officers involved in the killing have all been charged.

“Because of everything that’s going on, people are finally starting to listen to us — we feel like we’re finally getting a foot in the door,” James told the New York Times. “How long is up to us. We don’t know. But we feel like we’re getting some ears and some attention, and this is the time for us to finally make a difference.”

James added that he would use his social media presence to spotlight voter suppression and other forms of disenfranchisement.

“Yes, we want you to go out and vote, but we’re also going to give you the tutorial,” James said. “We’re going to give you the background of how to vote and what they’re trying to do, the other side, to stop you from voting.”

James’s effort comes just a couple of short months after former First Lady Michelle Obama and her voting rights group When We All Vote dedicated time and energy to advocating for vote-by-mail options amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“There is nothing partisan about striving to live up to the promise of our country; making the democracy we all cherish more accessible; and protecting our neighbors, friends and loved ones as they participate in this cornerstone of American life,” she said in a statement provided to Axios in April.

Three Republican Groups Sue California Governor Over Vote-by-Mail Initiative

The Republican National Committee (RNC), the National Republican Congressional Committee, and the California Republican Party filed a joint lawsuit against California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) over his executive orders to use mail-in ballots for the November election.

“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,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement.

“No state that conducts all-mail elections automatically mails ballots to inactive voters because it invites fraud, coercion, theft, and otherwise illegitimate voting,” the statement continued.

President Donald Trump and Republicans have repeatedly disparaged vote-by-mail options in response to criticisms from voting rights advocates who’ve expressed safety concerns during the coronavirus pandemic.

But a study from Stanford University’s Democracy and Polarization Lab published last month found that contrary to the widely-held belief among the GOP that vote-by-mail gives Democrats an advantage over Republicans, vote-by-mail options do not benefit one party more than another.

“By comparing counties that adopt a vote-by-mail program to counties within the same state that do not adopt the program, we are able to compare the election outcomes and turnout behavior of voters who have different vote-by-mail accessibility but who have the same set of candidates on the ballot for statewide races,” researchers wrote.

Last week, the president made headlines after he threatened to withhold Michigan’s federal funding after its Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) announced that all state residents would receive applications for absentee ballots, allowing them to vote-by-mail.

Trump Threatens to Withhold Michigan’s Federal Funding Over Vote-by-Mail

President Donald Trump threatened to withhold Michigan’s federal funding after its Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) announced that all state residents would receive applications for absentee ballots, allowing them to vote-by-mail.

Trump and Republicans have repeatedly disparaged vote-by-mail options in response to criticisms from voting rights advocates who’ve expressed safety concerns during the coronavirus pandemic, and in a tweet earlier this morning, he alleged the step was done “illegally” and would encourage voter fraud.

“Breaking: Michigan sends absentee ballots to 7.7 million people ahead of Primaries and the General Election,” the president tweeted. “This was done illegally and without authorization by a rogue Secretary of State. I will ask to hold up funding to Michigan if they want to go down this Voter Fraud path!”

Breaking: Michigan sends absentee ballots to 7.7 million people ahead of Primaries and the General Election. This was done illegally and without authorization by a rogue Secretary of State. I will ask to hold up funding to Michigan if they want to go down this Voter Fraud path!.. read more

Oklahoma Republicans Move to Reverse State Supreme Court Ruling on Absentee Ballots

After the Oklahoma State Supreme Court ruled that residents casting absentee ballots in the upcoming elections will not have to get their ballots notarized, House Republicans passed an amended bill to reinstate the notary requirement. The amendment, Senate Bill 210, was authored by Representative Chris Kannady (R-Oklahoma City).

Kannady argued that voter fraud would have increased had the amendment not passed.

“I’ve had people tell me that it is absolutely ridiculous that I go and serve my country… and now I want to curtail voting,” Kannady said. “The worst thing you can do is fraudulently vote. To me, it is akin to stolen valor. And this is the way we can prevent that from happening.”

“In light of the COVID-19 crisis, Senate Bill 210 makes exceptions that would be in place for the June 30 primary election,” reports The Oklahoman. “If an emergency declaration is in effect within 45 days of a scheduled election, absentee voters would not have to get their ballot notarized. Instead, a person could sign the ballot and mail it back with a photocopy of their driver’s license.”

The move quickly garnered criticism from vote-by-mail advocates, including the Oklahoma Policy Institute, which said the legislation “places unneeded barriers for our neighbors who want to vote safely via absentee ballot.”

I mean, it fucking figures that @Kannady4OK91Rep would equate voters scared of dying from a fucking pandemic and requesting their absentee ballots as fraud. That whole "exercising democracy" thing is, in fact, unusual in Oklahoma. #SB210formerlySB459formerlySB1779 read more

Biden Warns Trump Will Try to Delay The Election

Biden Trump sign stimulus checks

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee in this year’s general election, says President Donald Trump may want to delay it.

“Mark my words: I think he is gonna try to kick back the election somehow, come up with some rationale why it can’t be held,” Biden said at a virtual fundraiser.

Biden added that the president is “trying to undermine the election with false claims of voter fraud and threatening to block essential COVID assistance if any extra funds go to the U.S. Postal Service.”

“It’s un-American,” he said. “We have to figure out how we are going to conduct a full and fair and safe election in November and no one should have to risk their lives to cast a ballot.”

Biden added that as president he would restore the Voting Rights Act and would work to support same-day voter registration, passing the Safe Elections Act. He also promised to address Russian interference, which helped tilt the scales for Trump in 2016.

“I guarantee, I promise you the Russians did interfere in our election and I guarantee you they are doing it again with two other major actors,” he said.

Biden’s statements prompted Tim Murtagh, the Trump campaign’s communications director, to respond. Murtaugh said Biden’s comments are “the incoherent, conspiracy theory ramblings of a lost candidate who is out of touch with reality. Perhaps he also missed the news that the infamous Steele Dossier, central to the Russian Collusion Hoax, was likely compiled with Russian disinformation. That’s the real Russian collusion.”

Study Finds Vote-by-Mail Doesn’t Benefit One Party More Than Another, Striking Down GOP Talking Point

President Donald Trump and Republicans have repeatedly disparaged vote-by-mail options in response to criticisms from voting rights advocates who’ve expressed safety concerns during the coronavirus pandemic.

But a new study from Stanford University’s Democracy and Polarization Lab has found that contrary to the widely-held belief among the GOP that vote-by-mail gives Democrats an advantage over Republicans, vote-by-mail options do not benefit one party more than another.

“By comparing counties that adopt a vote-by-mail program to counties within the same state that do not adopt the program, we are able to compare the election outcomes and turnout behavior of voters who have different vote-by-mail accessibility but who have the same set of candidates on the ballot for statewide races,” researchers wrote.

The study abstract also highlights the following conclusions:

“We collect data from 1996-2018 on all three U.S. states who implemented vote-by-mail in a staggered fashion across counties, allowing us to use a difference-in-differences design at the county level to estimate the causal effect of vote-by-mail programs. We find that: (1) vote-by-mail does not appear to affect either party’s share of turnout; (2) vote-by-mail does not appear to increase either party’s vote share; and (3) vote-by-mail modestly increases overall average turnout rates, in line with previous estimates. All three conclusions support the conventional wisdom of election administration experts and contradict many popular claims in the media.” read more

Virginia Governor Replaces Day Honoring Confederate Generals With State Holiday on Election Day

Virginia has abolished a day honoring Confederate generals in favor of a state holiday on election day. The move is part of a raft of measures to make voting easier.

Governor Ralph Northam signed legislation on Sunday to expand access to the ballot across his state. The Democrat abolished the need for voter ID and expanded early voting.

Voters will now be able to vote up to 45 days before the election without stating a reason and election day will be a state holiday.

I have signed legislation that repeals Virginia’s voter ID law, makes Election Day a state holiday, and expands access to early voting. Voting is a fundamental right––these laws strengthen our democracy by making it easier to cast a ballot, not harder.https://t.co/Uvaocr1pHH read more

Michelle Obama and Her Organization Throw Support Behind Vote-by-Mail Amid Pandemic

Michelle Obama book tour

Former First Lady Michelle Obama and her voting rights group When We All Vote have thrown their support behind vote-by-mail options amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“There is nothing partisan about striving to live up to the promise of our country; making the democracy we all cherish more accessible; and protecting our neighbors, friends and loved ones as they participate in this cornerstone of American life,” she said in a statement provided to Axios.

The announcement comes as Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.) and Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) in the House and Senator Ron Wyden (Ore.) in the Senate put forth The Resilient Elections During Quarantines and Natural Disasters Act of 2020, legislation to address the impact of COVID-19 on the democratic process.

“The Resilient Elections During Quarantines and Natural Disasters Act of 2020 addresses the serious threat to our democracy posed by COVID-19 by requiring states and localities, within 30 days, to create and publish a plan to operate their elections in the event that large numbers of voters or poll workers have been subjected to a mandatory quarantine or a self-quarantine at the advice of government officials or health experts,” according to a memo on Senator Wyden’s website detailing the goals of the legislation.

Valerie Jarrett, the board chair of When We All Vote, said the recent controversy in Wisconsin, where the Supreme Court struck down the governor’s attempt to cancel the election and forced people to brave the dangers of the outdoors to exercise their civic duty, “was just deeply, profoundly concerning.”

“Our goal is to just try to make sure we maximize the number of citizens who can participate in that most fundamental and important responsibility,” she said.