Voter rolls in Pittsburgh littered with multiple registrations and the dead, suit claims
The voter rolls in Pennsylvania's second biggest county are a mess and election officials are not doing enough to clean them up, according to a lawsuit filed this week.
Public Interest Legal Foundation, a conservative group focused on election integrity, filed the suit Monday in federal court against David Voye, manager of elections for Allegheny County (which includes Pittsburgh) and members of the county's board of elections.
It is the sixth federal lawsuit filed by the foundation in less than two years highlighting the problems that election officials have in keeping their lists of eligible voters up to date. Other suits have targeted Maryland, Maine, North Carolina, the county that includes Houston and the city of Detroit.
Virginia state lawmakers on Tuesday approved a package of bills to make it easier to register and vote in a state that will likely play a crucial role in deciding the outcome of November's election.
The legislation changes Election Day to a state holiday, allows for "no-excuse" absentee voting, establishes automatic voter registration and repeals a requirement that voters show photo identification at the polls. This would make Virginia the first state to repeal such a law.
Democrats are making two fresh runs at expanding the voting rights of felons, but they face probably insurmountable odds in the Republican legislatures of both Georgia and Missouri.
In Atlanta and Jefferson City, Democrats are pushing legislation this month that would restore the franchise to people convicted of nonviolent crimes as soon as they're released from prison. But GOP majorities are insisting on sticking with the more restrictive status quo in both places.
Enfranchising the formerly incarcerated, who are disproportionately poor and non-white, has become a top priority of civil rights groups. But critics say a convict's debts to society should not be so easy to pay off. Partisan politics infuses the disagreement, because ex-felons are a reliably Democratic voting bloc.
Minority-group voters are so "gullible" they believe fabrications about voter suppression concocted by Democrats, one of the most combatively conservative Republicans in Congress maintains.
"The Democrats lie when they say, 'Oh, this is to suppress votes,' or 'This is to hurt minorities.' It's just a lie," Rep. Doug Lamborn said on a recent conservative radio broadcast getting some decent recirculation on social media, from both fans and foes of his thinking. "They want to stir up minorities who are gullible and believe that garbage."
The comments are a sharp rhetorical escalation in one of the most intense partisan disagreements over how to improve American democracy: Republicans maintain that their interest in strict rules surrounding voter registration and access to the polls is all about preventing voter fraud, and Democrats counter that the GOP sees its easiest path to victories in contests where turnout is held down by such rules.
"The refusal by many voters to censure Trump for his transgressions has a powerful psychological basis to it in the wish to break free of authority," argues Barry Richards of Bournemouth University.
Wednesday's Word of the Week:
Blanket primary: A nominating contest in which candidates from both major parties appear on the ballot. Voters select one candidate. The top Republican and Democratic vote-getters advance to the general election.
You can check out more terms in our glossary.