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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Why We Need Election Reform

Well, here we are twelve days from the general elections, and only now is the political world focusing on the high likelihood of voter supression shananigans. It would have been nice if the persistence of these tactics had led to national legislation to deal with the national problem of wildly varying, arbitrary, and partisan election administration.
A New York Times editorial on voter-list purges and other voter suppression tactics starkly exposed the situation:

Congress and the states need to develop clear and accurate rules for purges and new-voter verification that ensure that eligible voters remain on the rolls — and make it much harder for partisans to game the system. These rules should be public, and voters who are disqualified should be notified and given ample time before Election Day to reverse the decision.
For this election, voters need to be prepared to fight for their right to cast a ballot. They should try to confirm before Nov. 4 that they are on the rolls — something that in many states can be done on a secretary of state or board of elections Web site. If their state permits it, they should vote early. Any voter who finds that their name has disappeared from the rolls will then have time to challenge mistakes.

Americans shouldn’t have to “fight for their right to cast a ballot.” And we can only hope that after this election, finally, the next president and Congress get serious about election reform.

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