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Half the country buying Trump's unfounded case against mail voting

News

Half the country buying Trump's unfounded case against mail voting

There remains essentially no evidence for President Trump's constant claims that expanded voting by mail will allow the November election to be stolen from him. But a new poll shows his dark warnings are nonetheless resonating with the public.

Mail-in voting is vulnerable to significant levels of fraud, in the view of almost half of respondents to the latest ABC-Washington Post poll, released Tuesday. The share who said so, 49 percent, matches the number from a similar poll by Gallup this spring.

The new finding is important for several reasons: It shows Trump's constant allegations penetrated the national belief system this spring and have stayed there. It offers a political rationale for Republicans, in Congress and the states, to resist spending more or relaxing rules to promote absentee balloting as a healthy and reliable alternative during the coronavirus pandemic.

And it suggests half the country is prepared to listen if Trump refuses to accept the November election results on the grounds they were tainted — which he signaled he might do in an interview that aired Sunday.

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Vows on Hill and in court to stop Trump from keeping immigrants out of House count

Democrats and civil liberties groups are threatening legislation and lawsuits to prevent President Trump from excluding undocumented immigrants from the population counts used to apportion House seats for the next decade.

The president directed the government on Tuesday to provide the states with census numbers that exclude millions of people living in the country illegally — setting up a potential balance of powers fight as well as a constitutional dispute over whether congressional districts should be drawn based on numbers of people, as has been the long-standing practice, or only citizens.

Civil rights groups gave notice in federal court Wednesday that they would fight Trump's effort. The American Civil Liberties Union readied a separate lawsuit. The House Oversight and Reform Committee announced it would convene an emergency hearing next week and may write a bill to thwart the president. And Speaker Nancy Pelosi vowed that Democrats "will vigorously contest the president's unconstitutional and unlawful attempt to impair the census."

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The 11 states that would be subject to federal oversight under a new Voting Rights Act

A growing chorus of congressional Democrats are saying that enacting a new Voting Rights Act is the best way for Congress to honor John Lewis, the civil rights icon and veteran Atlanta congressman who died last week.

The Republicans running the Senate have signaled no interest in debating the bill, designed to revive the racial discrimination protections enshrined in the original 1965 landmark law. The Democratic House passed the measure in December, with Lewis wielding the gavel during the vote.

Many of his colleagues now say the measure should be dubbed the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act. There's talk of pushing it through the House a second time this summer, perhaps with election assistance aid to the states tacked on.

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Court rejects bid to open Arkansas mail voting to all

A lawsuit seeking to require Arkansas to permit everyone to vote by mail has been dismissed after less than a month.

The state is one of 16 that requires people to claim a specific excuse in order to get an absentee ballot. An unusually argued challenge to the requirements was filed four weeks ago, long after the state's primaries but as the number of coronavirus cases was starting to surge across the South.

A state court dismissed the suit Tuesday on the grounds the plaintiffs, led by two prominent former Democratic state officials, could not possibly have been harmed by the rules. But Judge Wendell Griffen did not address their central argument.

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Alabama photo ID requirement for voters upheld by federal appeals court

Alabama's strict photo identification law is not racially discriminatory and can remain in force, a divided federal appeals court has ruled.

The decision is the latest courthouse development in a state with one of the highest volumes of voting rights disputes. The pace has accelerated because of the view that already restrictive election rules will amplify voter suppression during the coronavirus pandemic — concern that just this week prompted the Republican elections chief to allow anyone to vote by mail this fall.

The case, decided 2-1 on Tuesday by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, predates the arrival of Covid-19 but nonetheless reflects the currently familiar narrative: Civil rights groups challenge a law on the grounds it violates the electorate's political rights under the Voting Rights Act and the Constitution, and the state defends the statute as necessary to prevent election fraud.

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Governor's 'normal' election plan could cost Maryland $21 million

Gov. Larry Hogan's decision to move forward with a "normal" general election in Maryland will come at a steep cost to the state, especially if the federal government doesn't lend a hand like it did for the primary.

The State Board of Elections estimated Tuesday that the governor's plan will cost almost $21 million. The amount is not entirely in the state budget because much of the money would go to print and pay postage on a surge of absentee vote applications, ballots and return envelopes — plus cleaning supplies and protective gear at 1,600 polling places. None of that was expected before the coronavirus pandemic.

Democrats, local election officials and voting rights advocates have all raised concerns that the plan by Hogan, the Republican governor of a lopsidedly Democratic state, is setting Maryland up for failure. They worry it costs too much, could confuse voters and will stretch election workers too thin. But Hogan, who's already eying a run for president in 2024, has stood firm despite the pushback, saying his plan will give voters options.

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Debate

It's time to end life tenure at the Supreme Court

Justices should not serve on the Supreme Court for life, and there's a straightforward and widely popular fix that would safeguard judicial independence, according to Fix the Court's Gabe Roth: establishing 18-year term limits for future justices.

Community

Voting Amidst a Pandemic

What are our challenges, how are we meeting them, and what needs to happen today nationwide to safeguard the integrity of our election on Nov. 3? The Association of Former Members of Congress will bring together two current members of Congress from states that conduct their elections using a vote-by-mail system: Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) and Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.).

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