Friday, March 25, 2016

Voting problems ahead in November

Posted By on Fri, Mar 25, 2016 at 7:17 AM

If the presidential election didn't already appear tumultuous enough, Arizona illustrated Tuesday the potential for cataclysmic voting problems in the fall.

Budget cuts and other factors contributed to an enormous breakdown in voting in Arizona. Not enough polling places. Lines were hours long, particularly in the minority-majority major population areas.

The New York Times notes:

But beyond the electoral breakdown here, many observers saw Arizona as a flashing neon sign pointing toward potential problems nationally at a time that 16 states will have new voting restrictions in place for the first time in a presidential election. The presidential election will be the first since the Supreme Court dismantled a crucial section of the Voting Rights Act in 2013, freeing nine states, including Arizona and parts of seven others, to change their election laws without advance federal approval.

Wisconsin, which holds its primary elections April 5, is one of nine states with strict photo ID requirements. Thirty-three states have some form of voter ID. Kansas has enacted proof-of-citizenship requirements for all voter registration, a move that has disproportionately affected young voters and those attempting to register for the first time. North Carolina allows a registered voter to challenge the identity and eligibility of any voter casting a ballot in the same county.

On March 9, Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, signed a law that made it a felony to collect ballots for others in Arizona and bring them to the polls.

“It’s worrisome what the states are doing without these protections,” said Allegra Chapman, director of voting and elections for Common Cause, a watchdog group.

The Arkansas Constitution and an Arkansas Supreme Court willing to obey it saved Arkansas for the time being from the  vote suppression that has been a national Republican Party strategy by overturning a Voter ID law here. But we now have a dramatically different Supreme Court, its members already exhibiting  a disdain for precedent and an intention to be obedient to the wishes of the Republican majority legislature.  There will be few bars here to the hordes hurrying to vote for Donald Trump.

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