Maggie Haberman and Amy Chozick at The New York Times report
The Democrats began last month with lawsuits filed in Ohio and Wisconsin, presidential battleground states whose governors are likely to run for the Republican nomination themselves. Now, they are most likely going to attack a host of measures. They include voter identification requirements that Democrats consider onerous, time restrictions imposed on early voting that they say could make it difficult to cast ballots the weekend before Election Day, and rules that could nullify ballots cast in the wrong precinct.
The effort, which is being spearheaded by a lawyer whose clients include Mrs. Clinton’s campaign, reflects an urgent practical need, Democrats say: to get litigation underway early enough so that federal judges can be persuaded to intervene in states where Republicans control legislatures and governor’s offices.
A similar lawsuit was begun last year in North Carolina. Other potential fronts in the pre-emptive legal offensive, Democrats say, could soon be opened in Georgia, Nevada and the increasingly critical presidential proving ground of Virginia.
The Clinton campaign itself isn't party to the lawsuits. But Marc Elias, who filed the lawsuits in Ohio and Wisconsin this year and North Carolina last year, is general counsel for Clinton's campaign.
Clinton herself will be speaking Thursday at Texas Southern University, a historically black college. Among other things she will be blasting the U.S. Supreme Court's 2013 evisceration of the Voting Rights Act and targeting voter suppression moves in some states, including that of her Texas hosts. The Court's ruling in that case and the unwillingness of Republicans in Congress to repair with amendments the damage it did are all part of various moves in many states to reduce the numbers of African Americans and other people of color who turn out at the polls. Those voters have in the past 50 years been more likely to vote for Democrats.
There is more to read about this below the fold.
The modern, post-Jim Crow effort to suppress the vote got up a head of steam in 2010. But its origins date much further back. In 1980, New Right activist Paul Weyrich, a co-founder of the Heritage Foundation, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the Moral Majority, said: "I don't want everybody to vote. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down." Couldn't be any clearer than that.
Among the suppression techniques are cuts in early voting, reductions in the number of polling stations in minority areas, eliminating Sunday voting, prohibiting ballots cast out of the “precinct-of-residence,” eliminating same-day registration in places where it existed, intimidating election integrity organizations and passing strict voter ID laws that make it tougher in particular on people of color, the poor, the elderly and students.
Fighting voter suppression is among the worthiest of causes in any country calling itself a democracy. But Rick Hasen, an attorney who runs the highly respected Election Law Blog, told the Times that the lawsuits are a "long-shot." Many other such suits have failed.
And in one area in particular—stricter voter ID requirements—the battle seems already lost in most states, and there'll be no succor from the courts given the Supreme Court's 2008 Indiana ruling on the issue.
While many of these ID laws are noxious, it seems unlikely that more than one or two of the worst of these suppressors will be turned back before the 2016 election, and most if not all of them are likely to remain on the books for a long time. Under the circumstances, as they carry on the legal and oratorical fight, Democratic officials in the state and national parties ought to accept reality in this matter and direct some of their resources toward ensuring that everyone who doesn't now have the required voter ID gets one.
ericlewis0 has a post on this subject.