With courts looking skeptically at voter ID laws, Mississippi’s top elections official is holding his state’s ID measure up as a fair and balanced model, saying the Magnolia State “wanted to do it right.”
Alabama lawmakers have approved a bill that could allow thousands of felons to regain their right to vote. The measure is now before Gov. Kay Ivey, a Republican, who hasn’t yet said whether she’ll sign it into law.
Texas’s latest restrictive voting bill, a ban on straight-ticket voting, was approved by the state Senate Wednesday in a 20-10 vote. Straight-ticket voting allows voters to select every candidate from their preferred party by pressing one button.
For a while this week, it looked like Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle might be about to replace Sean Spicer as White House Press Secretary, or take another top White House communications post. President Trump reportedly discussed the idea with allies, and Guilfoyle herself said she’d talked to White House aides about taking over from Spicer.
– Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the commission’s vice chair and likely driving force, gave an interesting hint about the kind of policies the panel might recommend. “The federal government has a database of all known non-citizens residing in or visiting the United States, “Kobach told Breitbart News. “Never before has that database been used to run [checks] against the databases of voter rolls in each state.” Kobach is referring to a Department of Homeland Security database which officials from several states have tried to use for verifying voting eligibility, but been denied access by the federal government. DHS itself has made clear the database isn’t a fool-proof way to check citizenship.
In a big win for voting rights, the Supreme Court on Monday announced it won’t take up a case involving a challenge to North Carolina’s strict voting law. The news means last year’s federal appeals court ruling blocking the 2013 law as racially discriminatory will stand.
President Trump on Thursday signed an executive order creating a commission to study voter fraud and illegal voting.
Voting rights advocates and many independent experts in election administration immediately condemned the move as a deeply troubling effort to lay the groundwork for new voting restrictions.
And a look at some of the names reported as members of the commission underscores that concern. One was described in a congressional report as making Katherine Harris, who notoriously suppressed Democratic votes in Florida to help throw the 2000 election to George W. Bush, look like “a cupcake.” Another, one of two Democrats so far named to the panel, was sued just days ago for allegedly disenfranchising disabled voters. And a third is Kris Kobach.
Trump’s order, which can be read here (scroll down) directs the new panel to study “vulnerabilities” in the election system that could lead to “fraudulent voter registrations and fraudulent voting.”