Nebraska on Monday joined 19 other states that allow citizens to register to vote online. The Cornhusker State is the first state to modernize its system of voter registration since the Presidential Commission on Election Administration recommended it. Said Jennifer L. Clark, counsel in the Brennan Center for Justice's Democracy Program:
“Modernizing voter registration is a critical way to bring America’s elections into the 21st century. It increases the accuracy of the voter rolls, boosts voter registration rates, curbs the possibility of fraud, and saves states considerable time and money. More states should follow Nebraska’s bipartisan lead and enact these common-sense reforms.”The bill modernizing the system was signed by Republican Gov. Dave Heinemen Monday. It had passed the legislature unanimously in February, just a month after the commission released its report.
A website managed by [Secretary of State John] Gale will allow Nebraskans with a valid driver's license or identification card to register to vote or change their registrations.• Oligarchs United: Burt Neuborne, founding legal director of the Brennan Center and now in his 50th year of legal practice, laments the McCutcheon decision:
The online system would link voter registrations to signatures provided to the Department of Motor Vehicles for driver's licenses or state ID cards. The state already allows voters to register at the DMV when applying for driver's licenses, but the new law also will allow the DMV to send registrations electronically to county election officials rather than through the mail.
Help. American democracy is trapped in a sealed box built by the Supreme Court. As the Court’s decision in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission demonstrates, five Justices are slowly but surely pumping the air out of the box. The box has four walls built by the Justices in Buckley v. Valeo—(1) an insistence that spending money in a political campaign is always the exact legal equivalent of “pure” speech, no matter how high the spending goes; (2) a rejection of the idea that preserving a modicum of political equality justifies placing any limit on campaign spending, even at stratospheric levels; (3) an insistence that “direct” campaign spending has more First Amendment protection than “indirect” campaign contributions; and (4) a refusal to admit that unlimited independent spending poses the same risk of “corruption” or the “appearance of corruption” posed by campaign contributions.There's more on the war on voting below the fold.
• A few ounces of the megatons of commentaries on McCutcheon:
°An online, 246-page book by Ronald Collins and David Skover When Money Speaks: The McCutcheon Decision, Campaign Finance Laws, and the First Amendment
° Rick Hasen of the Election Law Blog writes "Does the Chief Justice not understand politics, or does he understand it all too well?"
° "Rerouting the flow of ‘dark money’ into political campaigns," an op-ed by Heather K. Gerken, Wade Gibson and Webb Lyons.
° Dan Backer interviewed by Z Politics. He was lead political counsel in McCutcheon v. FEC.
° Paul Smith at SCOTUSblog writes "McCutcheon opens the door to massive party contributions, but four Justices continue to push back forcefully."
° Alex Pareene at Salon:
Roberts’ specialty is “faux judicial restraint,” in which he achieves his radical desired goals over the course of many incremental decisions instead of one sweeping one. In this case, as many observers have noted, Roberts pointed to our current easily circumvented caps on political spending as justification for lifting yet another cap, without noting that the Roberts court helped create the current system to begin with. Our campaign finance laws have not quite yet been “eviscerated,” but the trend is clear. Roberts and Justice Clarence Thomas, who penned a partial dissent calling for all regulation of political spending to be eliminated, have something close to the same end goal, but Roberts is willing to be patient in getting there.° Matt Taylor concludes "The United States moves one step closer to full oligarchy."
• North Carolina right-wingers are touting voter fraud that isn't: An audit of the records has found that there are thousands of name matches of people registered to vote in North Carolina and other states. This has Republicans in a tizzy. Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer tweeted Wednesday: “N.C. Board of Elections audit finds up to 35,750 instances of ‘double voting’ (voter fraud) in the 2012 election.”
Zachary Roth at MSNBC writes:
The notion that the board found over 35,000 cases of voter fraud—or even one case—is flatly false. With the investigation not yet even underway, the board, headed by Republican Kim Strach, hasn’t come close to concluding that any specific case involved double voting. And there are very good reasons why it’s held off.• Federal court says Florida voter purge of 2012 out of bounds.
First, it helps to understand statistics. The political scientist Michael McDonald and election law scholar Justin Levitt have shown in a detailed statistical study that the number of people who share a name and birthdate is much higher than it might at first appear. (Just for fun, take the RNC’s Spicer. Though his name is less common than many, online records show 20 different Sean Spicers who were born on September 23rd, his birthday.) That statistical reality, McDonald and Levitt conclude, has big implications for how to treat potential cases of illegal voting.