A top issue on the democracy reform agenda — protecting elections against both disinformation and cyber hacking — is getting some unusual attention this week in the Democratic presidential campaign.
Amy Klobuchar, arguably at the top of the second tier of candidates given her rising support in Iowa, went to Atlanta on Monday to highlight her efforts in the Senate to enhance election security and to unveil some additional proposals.
The choice of location made sense for two reasons. She and nine other Democrats will meet in the city Wednesday night for their latest in a series of debates where the governing system's problems have so far received short shrift. And Georgia has emerged as the most prominent state where bolstering voting rights and election integrity have become a top priority of the Democratic establishment.
The House has rewarded its special "fix Congress committee" for its wholly bipartisan and relatively productive first year by extending its life for another year, giving the panel time to tackle some of the more contentious problems on its watch list.
With polarization, dysfunction and gridlock now Capitol Hill's three defining characteristics, the panel was created in January to set the stage for different behaviors to germinate — by proposing how the House could become a more efficient, transparent and up-to-date place for members to pass bills and conduct oversight, and for staffers to help them.
The idea is that it's essential for Congress to get back some of the capacity, stature and muscle ceded in recent decades to the president and the courts — and thereby recalibrate the balance of powers at the heart of a thriving federal republic.
Two Republicans have been charged with distributing phony sample ballots in an Ohio city. The purported small-town crimes are misdemeanors but still stand as the most prominent allegations of election fraud so far in this off-year election.
GOP officials lambasted the timing of the charges as despicable. But the top prosecutor in the case says the law was clearly violated.
The incident is also a reminder that — while President Trump has made repeated, emphatic and unsubstantiated allegations about widespread voter fraud by the Democrats in 2016 and other contests — election malfeasance is a bipartisan problem and the biggest instance of election tampering in the 2018 midterm was perpetrated by Republicans, prompting the do-over of a North Carolina congressional race.