The Case for Allowing Felons to Vote – By DANIEL NICHANIAN – NYT

“In the 1870s, the woman’s suffrage movement claimed the right to vote by citing the new 14th Amendment’s promise that no state “shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.”

Their opponents didn’t see it that way. “Citizenship no more carries the right to vote than it carries the power to fly to the moon,” The Rochester Union and Advertiser scoffed in an 1872 editorial.But suffragists insisted. The right to vote, they argued, cannot be carved away from citizenship. “Is the right to vote one of the privileges or immunities of citizens?” Susan B. Anthony asked in an 1873 speech. Her answer: “It is not only one of them, but the one without which all the others are nothing.”

Anthony’s call remains unfulfilled today, as suppressive voting rules in nearly every state deny many Americans their voting rights. Six million otherwise eligible individuals are stripped of the right to vote because of a felony conviction, removing them from a key arena of public life.But Anthony’s words are a reminder that the right to vote is a bedrock of our ability to govern ourselves democratically. While citizenship need not be a necessary condition for enfranchisement — for example, San Francisco has enabled noncitizens to vote in school board elections — it should be a sufficient one.”


For Native Americans- a ‘Historic Moment’ on the Path to Power at the Ballot Box – The New York Times

“SAN JUAN COUNTY, Utah — In this county of desert and sagebrush, Wilfred Jones has spent a lifetime angered by what his people are missing. Running water, for one. Electricity, for another. But worst of all, in his view, is that the Navajo people here lack adequate political representation.

So Mr. Jones sued, and in late December, after a federal judge ruled that San Juan County’s longtime practice of packing Navajo voters into one voting district violated the United States Constitution, the county was ordered to draw new district lines for local elections.The move could allow Navajo people to win two of three county commission seats for the first time, overturning more than a century of political domination by white residents. And the shift here is part of an escalating battle over Native American enfranchisement, one that comes amid a larger wave of voting rights movements spreading across the country.“It’s a historic moment for us,” said Mr. Jones, during a drive on the county’s roller coaster dirt roads. “We look at what happened with the Deep South,” he went on, “how they accomplished what they have. We can do the same thing.” ”

Bravo. Here is a comment I endorse:

DW In the shadow of Monticello 38 minutes ago
it’s about time that the Native American citizens have an equal opportunity to have a proportional vote and to equalize the use of government resources (i.e., tax income) for all – not just for those who control the boundaries of voting districts in their favor.

FlagReply 9 Recommended

On Voting Reforms- Follow Illinois- Not Texas – The New York Times

“In the face of America’s abysmal voter participation rates, lawmakers have two choices: They can make voting easier, or they can make it harder.

Illinois made the right choice this week, becoming the 10th state, along with the District of Columbia, to enact automatic voter registration. The bill, which could add as many as one million voters to the state’s rolls, was signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner, a Republican who had vetoed similar legislation last year.

Under the new law, all eligible voters will be registered to vote when they visit the Department of Motor Vehicles or other state agencies. If they do not want to be registered, they may opt out.”

Strong editorial, excellent comments, such as:
Bruce Rozenblit is a trusted commenter Kansas City, MO 4 hours ago

The right to vote and the requirements thereof should be nationalized. There should be no difference from state to state. Instead of exercising states rights to improve access, deep red states are using the states rights issue increase political power. This is not only un American, it is essentially stripping away the basis of our republican democracy, which is the right to vote. Nothing is more fundamental.

Texas has just experienced a disaster of biblical proportions. The costs to recover will most likely exceed $100 billion dollars. Tens of million have been hurt.

The floodwaters did not discriminate. Rich or poor, black, brown or white, the waters came. They are all in it together, bound up by their suffering and loss.

That’s how voting is supposed to work in a democracy. All are bound up together, regardless or race, creed or income.

If Texas can’t learn that lesson from Harvey, then it’s time to play hardball. I would make federal aid contingent upon Texas accepting the federal motor vehicle registration system. The cost is nil. The pain to do so is nil.

If Texas wants federal dollars to flow to help in the recovery, then the state should accept the voter requirements that allow voting in all elections.

We are all truly in this disaster together. The nation should rally to help Texas. It’s high time Texas started acting like it is part of this nation.

Reply 58 Recommended

The Voter Fraud Fantasy – The New York Times

“…..What once seemed like another harebrained claim by a president with little regard for the truth must now be recognized as a real threat to American democracy. Mr. Trump is telegraphing his administration’s intent to provide cover for longstanding efforts by Republicans to suppress minority voters by purging voting rolls, imposing onerous identification requirements and curtailing early voting.”

Eric Holder to Lead Democrats’ Attack on Republican Gerrymandering – The New York Times

WASHINGTON — As he prepared last week to deliver his farewell address, President Obama convened a trio of Democratic leaders in the White House for a strategy session on the future of their party. The quiet huddle included Senator Chuck Schumer of New York and Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the top Democrats in Congress, and Gov. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia.One topic of urgent concern, according to people briefed on the meeting: how to break the Republican Party’s iron grip on the congressional map.

Point of View: North Carolina no longer a democracy | News & Observer |

“In the just released EIP report, North Carolina’s overall electoral integrity score of 58/100 for the 2016 election places us alongside authoritarian states and pseudo-democracies like Cuba, Indonesia and Sierra Leone. If it were a nation state, North Carolina would rank right in the middle of the global league table – a deeply flawed, partly free democracy that is only slightly ahead of the failed democracies that constitute much of the developing world.”

Source: Point of View: North Carolina no longer a democracy | News & Observer

The GOP’s Stealth War Against Voters – Rolling Stone

There was a link to this story fro August 2016, in a recent comment by Sophocles to the NYT editorial on voter suppression. I am looking for an update, on its level of success.

“When Donald Trump claimed, “the election’s going to be rigged,” he wasn’t entirely wrong. But the threat was not, as Trump warned, from Americans committing the crime of “voting many, many times.” What’s far more likely to undermine democracy in November is the culmination of a decade-long Republican effort to disenfranchise voters under the guise of battling voter fraud. The latest tool: Election officials in more than two dozen states have compiled lists of citizens whom they allege could be registered in more than one state – thus potentially able to cast multiple ballots – and eligible to be purged from the voter rolls.

The data is processed through a system called the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program, which is being promoted by a powerful Republican operative, and its lists of potential duplicate voters are kept confidential. But Rolling Stone obtained a portion of the list and the names of 1 million targeted voters. According to our analysis, the Crosscheck list disproportionately threatens solid Democratic constituencies: young, black, Hispanic and Asian-American voters – with some of the biggest possible purges underway in Ohio and North Carolina, two crucial swing states with tight Senate races.”

Source: The GOP’s Stealth War Against Voters – Rolling Stone

Why Does Donald Trump Lie About Voter Fraud? – The New York Times

“The long-running Republican war against the right to vote has now gone national at the instigation of President-elect Donald Trump, who has promoted the lie that millions of illegal votes were cast in the presidential election.

There is not a scintilla of evidence for this claim, and Mr. Trump’s own lawyers have admitted as much, stating in a court filing opposing a recount in Michigan that “all available evidence suggests that the 2016 general election was not tainted by fraud or mistake.”Yet one after the next, leading Republicans are spreading this slander of American democracy, smoothing the way to restrict voting rights across the country.”

Source: Why Does Donald Trump Lie About Voter Fraud? – The New York Times

Good comments, especially by Sophocles. with the link to Rolling Stone  which I have posted after this one.

I wonder if the voter recount by Jill Stein can be expanded to include voters not allowed to vote due to this dirty tricks campaign descibed in the Rolling Stone article?

Judges Find Wisconsin Redistricting Unfairly Favored Republicans – The New York Times

“A panel of three federal judges said on Monday that the Wisconsin Legislature’s 2011 redrawing of State Assembly districts to favor Republicans was an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander, the first such ruling in three decades of pitched legal battles over the issue.

Federal courts have struck down gerrymanders on racial grounds, but not on grounds that they unfairly give advantage to a political party — the more common form of gerrymandering. The case could now go directly to the Supreme Court, where its fate may rest with a single justice, Anthony M. Kennedy, who has expressed a willingness to strike down partisan gerrymanders but has yet to accept a rationale for it.”

Source: Judges Find Wisconsin Redistricting Unfairly Favored Republicans – The New York Times

Top comments:


san francisco 13 hours ago

“Lots of commenters are pointing out – correctly – that gerrymandering has no direct effect on Presidential elections, or Senate races.

However, this ignores the impact that GOP control of state legislatures has had on voter registration/identification laws, and the distribution and open hours for polling places. When elections hinge on a few thousand votes and tenths of a percentage point, these factors should not be discounted.

NYT Pick


Madison 12 hours ago

Even in this most recent election, which saw Wisconsin go for a Republican presidential candidate for the first time in 32 years, the vote was split nearly 50-50 Republican-Democrat. And yet somehow our state Assembly has a two-thirds Republican majority; the state Senate is almost as lopsided. This is unprecedented in the more than 30 years I’ve lived here, even though we’ve had a Republican governor for all but eight of those years. It’s entirely the product of the blatantly undemocratic districts drawn by the Republicans after 2010–in secret, with the aid of high priced consultants paid with tax dollars. It’s about time a court called them on it.”

Paul King

USA 11 hours ago

All drawing of districts should be done by bi-partisan panels.

I’m more to the left but I don’t favor this kind of cheating by left or right.

It’s a perversion of democracy if districts are drawn to set them in concrete for one party.

It’s so obvious it’s an embarrassment.”


The Troubling Reason the Electoral College Exists | TIME

“The Founding Fathers had something particular in mind when they set up the U.S. presidential election system: slavery

As Americans await the quadrennial running of the presidential obstacle course now known as the Electoral College, it’s worth remembering why we have this odd political contraption in the first place. After all, state governors in all 50 states are elected by popular vote; why not do the same for the governor of all states, a.k.a. the president? The quirks of the Electoral College system were exposed this week when Donald Trump secured the presidency with an Electoral College majority, even as Hillary Clinton took a narrow lead in the popular vote.”

Source: The Troubling Reason the Electoral College Exists | TIME