Structural barriers have created a "cost to voting" that disproportionately affects low-income Americans and reduces their participation in the electoral process, according to a report issued Tuesday by a group of academics.
"Those with fewer resources — time, money, information — are 'priced out' of participating due to factors such as election timing, voter identification requirements, felony disenfranchisement, and inefficient election management," the report concludes. "The result is that wealthier people vote at much higher rates than others."
Narrowing the pool of voters, in turn, produces consequences on society, such as increasing inequality, hindering economic growth and weakening public health, according to the report, which draws on existing social science research to summarize the problem. It also offers seven recommendations to lower the "cost of voting" as well as ensure more secure and fair elections.
Along with the candidates and the issues, the 2020 presidential election is also going to be about the voting process itself.
Russian efforts to hack into the voting systems of 2016 have boosted election security to a critical concern this time, prompting states to spend tens of millions buying new equipment, hiring cybersecurity wizards and installing software that warns of intrusions — among numerous other steps. More purchases of hardware, software and expertise are coming in the months ahead.
Whether enough money gets spent, and wisely, won't be known for sure until Nov. 3, 2020 — when the system will be subject to the one test that really matters. And whether the country decides the presidential election result is trustworthy will likely come down to how reliably things work in the relatively small number of states both nominees are contesting.
With 11 months to go, The Fulcrum reviewed information from state elections officials, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Election Assistance Commission and news reports to get a sense of the election security landscape. Here's the state of play in the 13 states likeliest to be presidential battlegrounds.
The most important legal challenge in decades to a basic tenet of open government — laws should be available to public to read for free — went before the Supreme Court on Monday.
The justices heard arguments in a dispute over whether Georgia may have copyright protections on its annotated legal code books, which means they're not available to the public without cost. It appears to be the first time in more than a century the court has considered the limits of the "government edicts doctrine," which bars copyrights on statutes and legal decisions.
Open records proponents, civil rights groups and the news media say it's unconstitutional to limit the peoples' access to the law books most widely in use. The Trump administration has taken Georgia's side.
Organizer: Citizen University
The Civic Collaboratory is a national network of catalytic leaders, from across the political spectrum and many domains – immigrant rights, veterans advocacy, civics education, voting reform, tech in government, arts and culture, worker organizing, corporate citizenship, and more. We meet quarterly and provide a common platform and project incubator for this diverse community of civic innovators.
Location: National Center for Civic and Human Rights, 100 Ivan Allen Jr Blvd NW, Atlanta, GA