There is no silver bullet that will save this pandemic-plagued election. When the president calls on his supporters to commit a felony by voting twice, and on the same day his attorney general fabricates a fake election fraud indictment, it's clear the climax of 2020 will be like no presidential race before.
But there's one solution that is so affordable, practical and achievable that it deserves special notice: ballot drop boxes.
For voters too afraid of the coronavirus to turn up at the polls, and worried the Postal Service will be too overwhelmed to deliver ballots on time, drop boxes — secure, locked structures that can be temporary or permanent — offer a relatively simple and confidence-boosting fix. Drop boxes are increasingly popular, may be installed at the discretion of local election officials, and will be used more widely than ever this year.
- Pennsylvania to pay for postage for absentee ballots - The Fulcrum ›
- Florida settles lawsuit on expanded voting - The Fulcrum ›
- Ohio Democrats sue for more election drop boxes - The Fulcrum ›
- Pennsylvania Democrats counter Trump with their own lawsuit - The ... ›
- Proponents give up fight for more ballot boxes in Ohio - The Fulcrum ›
The Supreme Court has extended its unbroken string of rulings against making it easier to be part of the democratic process during the pandemic.
The justices on Tuesday blocked a lower court's ruling that it should be easier for Oregon's redistricting reform advocates to collect signatures during the national health crisis. The decision means there won't be a referendum on the November ballot that would take the power to draw congressional and legislative maps away from the Democratic powers in Salem and turn it over to a new citizens' redistricting commission — the top goal of crusaders against partisan gerrymandering.
It's the latest of seven cases since this spring where the conservative-majority high court has ruled against groups seeking relaxed ballot rules because of the coronavirus. It has not ruled once in favor of such an effort.
- Supreme Court allows Michigan gerrymander to stand - The Fulcrum ›
- The human cost of the partisan gerrymandering decision - The ... ›
- High court to voters: You deal with partisan gerrymandering. - The ... ›
- Judges have no role in evaluating partisan gerrymandering ... ›
Four states are on the cusp of approving anti-gerrymandering petitions for the November ballot, but challenges still remain.
Putting independent commissions, rather than politicians, in charge of drawing district maps is widely regarded as the most effective way to combat partisan gerrymandering. Next year, following the census, 14 states will use such commissions to draw state legislative districts, and eight will do so for congressional districts.
Getting on the November ballot and leaving it up to the voters is the last chance Arkansas, Nevada, North Dakota and Oregon have to make the switch to an independent redistricting commission before maps are redrawn for the new decade. But the Covid-19 pandemic has made gathering signatures to qualify for the ballot especially difficult.
Here are updates on redistricting reform campaigns in those states.
- More states consider anti-gerrymandering efforts - The Fulcrum ›
- Missouri votes may undo latest revamp of redistricting rules - The ... ›
- 2020 is make-or-break time for democracy reform - The Fulcrum ›
- North Dakota court boots gerrymandering reform from ballot - The Fulcrum ›
- Arkansas redistricting reform blocked from November ballot - The Fulcrum ›
Greenwood is co-director for voting rights and redistricting at the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center. Norouzi is deputy director of OneAmerica, an immigrant and refugee advocacy organization in Washington state.
- New Voting Rights Act backed by House majority - The Fulcrum ›
- Virginia could change elections to fulfill Voting Rights Act - The ... ›
- Revival of Voting Rights Act takes first step in Congress - The Fulcrum ›
- Another partisan turn in the standoff over Voting Rights Act - The ... ›
- New York should pass its own Voting Rights Act - The Fulcrum ›