Patterico's Pontifications

2/23/2021

Confess Your Unpopular Opinion: Clarence Thomas Was Right About the Election Cases

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am



I don’t know anyone who is angrier than I am about the Big Lie that Donald Trump tried to use to steal the election — a lie that motivated a mob to storm the Capitol for the express purpose of disrupting the electoral vote count on Trump’s behalf.

But I see a lot of lazy takes about Clarence Thomas’s dissent (click and scroll to the end) from the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear certain election-related challenges.

This post is not the place to dive into the merits and demerits of the specific litigation. Suffice it to say that I disagree with this take:

That’s not what Justice Thomas says, actually. He says “the risk of fraud is ‘vastly more prevalent’ for mail-in ballots” (my italics) — and it’s hard to disagree.

Mr. Stern’s hot take and mischaracterization of Justice Thomas’s opinion aside, this is a federal constitutional issue. As Justice Alito states in his separate dissent, the cases “present an important and recurring constitutional question: whether the Elections or Electors Clauses of the United States Constitution, Art. I, §4, cl. 1; Art. II, §1, cl. 2, are violated when a state court holds that a state constitutional provision overrides a state statute governing the manner in which a federal election is to be conducted.” Justice Thomas explains: “The Constitution gives to each state legislature authority to determine the ‘Manner’ of federal elections.” I have always said that the one Trump argument that might have had some merit — but which was not enough to swing the election to Trump even in Pennsylvania alone — is the argument that the Pennsylvania state supreme court has no authority to extend the deadline by which ballots could be submitted.

I do not here express an opinion on whether that is a winning argument. Clearly, at a minimum, a state legislature has authority to determine that electors shall be chosen by a vote of the citizens of the state. I don’t believe that necessarily extends to every jot and tittle of how the election is conducted, but I don’t find it to be a frivolous argument that it extends to a hard and fast statutory deadline for the submission of ballots, for example. In the usual situation, a state constitution trumps any legislative action, but in an area where a state legislature is given primacy by the federal Constitution, I don’t think a state supreme court has authority to overrule the legislature. So the only remaining issue is whether such a deadline is part of the “Manner” of the election. Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t. I would not be surprised to find a majority of the Supreme Court saying it is.

My beef with the Court’s majority is its finding that these cases are “moot.” There is an exception to mootness for cases involving situations that are likely to recur but that evade review. This strikes me as exactly such a case. If you think this issue is not going to come up again, you have not been paying attention. Why not get some hard and fast rules about what authority state legislatures have under the federal Constitution — whatever those rules may be — to avoid the potential disaster coming down the road at us?

116 Responses to “Confess Your Unpopular Opinion: Clarence Thomas Was Right About the Election Cases”

  1. Considering that I’ve been a bit of a pain about the current methods of processing mail-in ballots offering little to no actual security and the absence of robust validation, I have to agree with Thomas here.

    It doesn’t have to be that way, of course, but for governmental organizations that have an affinity for obsolete tech (e.g. fax machines) it is not likely they will adopt cryptographic security any time soon.

    My only feeling about these cases is that (given the reporting on them), they make poor test cases for the Supremes. There is too much opportunity for justices to be distracted by the politics surrounding them to achieve a solid consensus about the actual issues.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  2. I do disagree that the only Trump argument that had meaning was the “judicial overreach” one. The equal protection argument, where voters in one jurisdiction were operating under looser (or stricter) rules than others in the same election district, but a different jurisdiction. That the state allowed such differences (I cannot remember whether this was law or judicial opinion) does not make it OK for some voters to have their ballots treated differently than others in the same election district.

    IIRC, the arguments were dismissed due to timing, not due to the underlying issue.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  3. Voters, not lawyers, choose the President.

    nk (1d9030)

  4. The LA Times agrees with Thomas. Or at least did before the election.

    ‘Ripe for error’: Ballot signature verification is flawed — and a big factor in the election

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  5. I do disagree that the only Trump argument that had meaning was the “judicial overreach” one. The equal protection argument, where voters in one jurisdiction were operating under looser (or stricter) rules than others in the same election district, but a different jurisdiction. That the state allowed such differences (I cannot remember whether this was law or judicial opinion) does not make it OK for some voters to have their ballots treated differently than others in the same election district.

    IIRC, the arguments were dismissed due to timing, not due to the underlying issue.

    Kevin M (ab1c11) — 2/23/2021 @ 9:22 am

    From what i remember in the PA case part of the issue was that the remedy requested was to throw out the ballots from the county that allowed for voters to cure them. Had the plaintiffs sued to have the more bureaucratic country allow for defective ballots to be cured the outcome might have been different.

    That was one where I think it’s important because we need to follow the rules as a principle, but it’s hard to get worked up when no one was even asserting that the results of the cured ballots didn’t represent the preference of legal voters.

    Time123 (36651d)

  6. Patterico, I agree, it would be good to get clarity on the rules. what was the remedy requested in this case?

    Time123 (36651d)

  7. The several states are in a better position to figure out vote-by-mail problems than the Supreme Court is on a scanty and very dubious record. If SCOTUS really wants to, though, I wouldn’t mind if they took up the constitutionality of Texas’s just one mail-in ballot drop box in a county of 4,880,000 people. Simple, straightforward, and unimpeachable record.

    nk (1d9030)

  8. I’m not sure I agree with obsession over the legislature’s absolute and exclusive authority.

    State legislatures are creations of, and subordinate to, their state’s constitution. State election code applies to all elections in the state, and there is no question that the state courts have jurisdiction, under the state constitution, in cases and controversies arising from them.

    The absolutist position that the federal constitution deprives state courts of their authority to interpret the state constitution and state election law strikes me as insane.

    Dave (1bb933)

  9. Voters, not lawyers, choose the President.

    nk (1d9030) — 2/23/2021 @ 9:26 am

    No one is arguing about that. It’s about the rules surrounding the voters casting their vote.

    Hoi Polloi (093fb9)

  10. > Clearly, at a minimum, a state legislature has authority to determine that electors shall be chosen by a vote of the citizens of the state.

    Sure.

    But it cannot possibly be the case that the electors clause intended to authorize the state legislatures to adopt processes which violated their own state constitutions. Such authorization would need to have been explicit, for one thing, and would be inconsistent with colonial era understanding of the structure of the system. The federal government only has those powers delegated to it by the states, and if a state doesn’t have the authority to violate its own constitution, it can’t delegate to the federal government the power to authorize the states to violate their own constitution.

    So who determines if the state law is consistent with the state constitution, and provides the remedy if not? That power is allocated by the state constitutions *to the state court system*.

    For the federal courts to arrogate to themselves the power to interpret the intersection of state election law and the state constitutions, and to ban the state courts from doing so, is a breathtaking *theft* of the power of the states, without any justification in precedent or in colonial political theory.

    The cases premised upon this argument should have been thrown out by every court at every level.

    aphrael (4c4719)

  11. I agree that Thomas was right that the risk of ballot fraud is greater for mail-ins but, historically, actual incidences of fraud are only slightly higher than in-person voting fraud, which has been rare. The proof is in the result. No one has unearthed serious numbers of illegal ballots in the last election, not more than the norm.
    It’s an interesting argument, though. The state supreme court granted the three-day extension, not the legislature, at the request of the Dem Party, so there appears to be a conflict between the US and state constitutions but, IMO, it’s not enough for a fascist Senator from Missouri to object to. As I recall, there were only 10,000± mail-ins received in the three-day window after Election Day, in a state where Biden won by 80,000±.
    Going forward, I hope the matter of extensions is codified by the legislature to rid any doubt.

    Paul Montagu (77c694)

  12. If not for voting by mail, I would not have voted at all. I did not believe: “It’s just the flu, folks!”

    Trump knew this. He knew that if he, and DeJoy, and Abbott, and sundry, suppressed voting by mail, the intelligent voters would stay home and his supporters would have the edge at the polling places. That is the biggest attempted fraud of this election.

    nk (1d9030)

  13. I don’t want to fight with anyone, but it is very clear to me that the Left likes any form of getting votes that has difficulties with verification. That’s because, historically, the Left has trouble with getting voters to follow verification rules.

    That’s why any attempts to get votes validated is seen as “voter suppression.”

    Heck, I don’t think that there should be ANY kind of remote voting, and I think ALL voters should have to show ID. I also think that no one should be able to vote who cannot name the three branches of government, the names of their Senator and Representative, and the year of the Voters Rights Act.

    But that would get me called racist.

    The problem is simple: fewer and fewer people trust the voting system. Period. So rather than argue with each other, we ought to be building a system that ensures that every eligible voter is able to vote in a fashion that ensures they vote once, and that it is truly them.

    It won’t happen.

    Simon Jester (687366)

  14. …..and the year of the Voters Rights Act….

    Or its correct name-The Voting Rights Act.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  15. @-13:

    I would also require voters to pass the same test taken by would-be citizens. But voters would probably fail.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  16. We could solve a lot of problems with a national ID system. It would make voting easier and more secure. It could cut down on fraud and waster for government programs that require ID. It would make immigration rules easier to enforce. It could cut down on identity theft.

    I can’t any good reason why we don’t institute it, which means it will probably never get done.

    Hoi Polloi (093fb9)

  17. @16-

    Show me your papers.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  18. Rip Murdock, thanks for the correction. Any basic tenet of government would do, including naming how many states are in this nation. I’m being serious.

    I actually adore the idea that every voter pass the Citizenship Test in order to vote.

    Who knew it was racist?

    Simon Jester (687366)

  19. I don’t want to fight with anyone, but it is very clear to me that the Left likes any form of getting votes that has difficulties with verification. That’s because, historically, the Left has trouble with getting voters to follow verification rules.

    That’s why any attempts to get votes validated is seen as “voter suppression.”

    Heck, I don’t think that there should be ANY kind of remote voting, and I think ALL voters should have to show ID. I also think that no one should be able to vote who cannot name the three branches of government, the names of their Senator and Representative, and the year of the Voters Rights Act.

    But that would get me called racist.

    The problem is simple: fewer and fewer people trust the voting system. Period. So rather than argue with each other, we ought to be building a system that ensures that every eligible voter is able to vote in a fashion that ensures they vote once, and that it is truly them.

    It won’t happen.

    Simon Jester (687366) — 2/23/2021 @ 10:25 am

    It’s a zero sum game. At the moment the Dem’s feel they win when more people vote so they’re pushing for that. The GOP feels they win when fewer people vote so they push for that. Both parties would fight half of what you propose.

    The dems will say what you’re doing to fight fraud is burdensome and the GOP will resist efforts to help every eligible voter cast their ballot.

    Time123 (36651d)

  20. We could solve a lot of problems with a national ID system. It would make voting easier and more secure. It could cut down on fraud and waster for government programs that require ID. It would make immigration rules easier to enforce. It could cut down on identity theft.

    I can’t any good reason why we don’t institute it, which means it will probably never get done.

    Hoi Polloi (093fb9) — 2/23/2021 @ 10:43 am

    The 2 biggest objections are

    1. It’s creepy and totalitarian to have a national ID.
    2. It would be expensive to launch and administer.

    Time123 (235fc4)

  21. “The problem is simple: fewer and fewer people trust the voting system. Period. So rather than argue with each other, we ought to be building a system that ensures that every eligible voter is able to vote in a fashion that ensures they vote once, and that it is truly them.”

    What, other than not losing an election, will convince the Trump wing Republicans to trust the voting system?

    Davethulhu (6ba00b)

  22. “Who knew it was racist?”

    Anyone who knows the history of “literacy tests”.

    Davethulhu (6ba00b)

  23. I don’t want to fight with anyone, but it is very clear to me that the Left likes any form of getting votes that has difficulties with verification. That’s because, historically, the Left has trouble with getting voters to follow verification rules.

    That’s why any attempts to get votes validated is seen as “voter suppression.”

    Heck, I don’t think that there should be ANY kind of remote voting, and I think ALL voters should have to show ID. I also think that no one should be able to vote who cannot name the three branches of government, the names of their Senator and Representative, and the year of the Voters Rights Act.

    But that would get me called racist.

    The problem is simple: fewer and fewer people trust the voting system. Period. So rather than argue with each other, we ought to be building a system that ensures that every eligible voter is able to vote in a fashion that ensures they vote once, and that it is truly them.

    It won’t happen.

    Simon Jester (687366) — 2/23/2021 @ 10:25 am

    One other part I wanted to respond to is in bold.

    Many of the people that don’t trust the system do so despite not having any evidence the election was determined by fraud or error. Any system can always be made more secure, more expensive and more exclusionary. But the turmoil about the 2020 election has provided a very good opportunity to find fraud and it’s failed to do so. Why add money and cost and discourage lawful voters to fix a problem that appears to be hypothetical? Since there is no evidence and it’s widely believed by republicans why would i believe that any changes to the process would be assuage their fears?

    The election rules in GA were written by the GOP and administered by the GOP and it’s still being alleged to be fraudulent.

    Time123 (36651d)

  24. But it cannot possibly be the case that the electors clause intended to authorize the state legislatures to adopt processes which violated their own state constitutions. Such authorization would need to have been explicit, for one thing, and would be inconsistent with colonial era understanding of the structure of the system.

    aphrael (4c4719) — 2/23/2021 @ 10:03 am

    The question is whether it would be consistent with the Fourteenth Amendment, which is also part of the Constitution.

    Heck, I don’t think that there should be ANY kind of remote voting, and I think ALL voters should have to show ID. I also think that no one should be able to vote who cannot name the three branches of government, the names of their Senator and Representative, and the year of the Voters Rights Act.

    But that would get me called racist.

    Simon Jester (687366) — 2/23/2021 @ 10:25 am

    I have advanced similar positions before, on this forum…to that exact (implied) reaction, from commenters like Davethulhu.

    “Who knew it was racist?”

    Anyone who knows the history of “literacy tests”.

    Davethulhu (6ba00b) — 2/23/2021 @ 11:01 am

    Whoomp, there it is…

    Demosthenes (1e7dbc)

  25. The ‘Big Lie’ was- and remains: Reaganomics.

    From debt to populism, it is the source of all the rivers from hell swirling around us today.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  26. I have advanced similar positions before, on this forum…to that exact (implied) reaction, from commenters like Davethulhu.

    “Who knew it was racist?”

    Anyone who knows the history of “literacy tests”.

    Davethulhu (6ba00b) — 2/23/2021 @ 11:01 am

    Whoomp, there it is…

    Demosthenes (1e7dbc) — 2/23/2021 @ 11:12 am

    The concept of literacy or subject tests isn’t inherently racist.
    Their historical application as a predicate to vote is overwhelming racist.

    Leaving that aside, Democracy works by the consent of the governed. How does letting me write a test that you have to pass to exercise your franchise seem fair to you?

    Time123 (235fc4)

  27. Guess Thomas should remain in character and just keep his mouth shut. 😉

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  28. How does letting me write a test that you have to pass to exercise your franchise seem fair to you?

    Time123 (235fc4) — 2/23/2021 @ 11:17 am

    It is not unreasonable to require those who hope to exercise their power over the state to demonstrate some knowledge about it first.

    Are you also opposed to people being required to take a basic gun safety course before purchasing a firearm? Because I’m not…

    Demosthenes (1e7dbc)

  29. “Whoomp, there it is…”

    I don’t trust people to administer a test when it’s in their self interest that some people fail the test.

    Davethulhu (6ba00b)

  30. So why didn’t the Court go further in this case? My guess is that it is either the fact that the case is moot (and the Court would rather address the issue in the context of a live case, but with lower stakes) or because the Trump cases are somewhat radioactive at the Court. Given former President Trump’s continued false statements that the election was stolen, the case would become a further vehicle to argue that the election results were illegitimate. It would thrust the Court back in the spotlight on an issue the Justices showed repeatedly they wanted to avoid.

    So the bottom line is that the independent state legislature doctrine hangs out there, as a ticking time bomb, waiting to go off in a future case.

    Rick Hasen

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  31. 22. I was about to add a similar thought. There’s a reason why people call literacy tests racist. Because they were used for most of their history in the U.S. for racist reason and administered by racist election officers in the various states for the purpose of disqualifying undesirables.

    As for the Pennsylvania case, I think it strange that federal courts would have greater authority than state supreme courts to provide binding interpretation of state election laws or state constitutions. And, as note above, peculiar if the federal constitution is interpreted to mean that state legislatures can ignore binding interpretations of state constitutions.

    The basic goal of election law should be to ensure that votes reflect the actual intent of the maximum number of eligible voters, while keeping inevitable fraud and mistakes to a reasonable minimum. The theory of democracy, after all, is that government should be by the consent of the governed, which is harder to achieve when larger and larger swaths of eligible voters are obstructed from voting by artificial and arbitrary restrictions.

    In elections with millions of votes, there are always going to be instances of error or somebody who voted when they shouldn’t have. Trying to eliminate these taints can only end with eliminating broad scale voting.

    Victor (4959fb)

  32. How does letting me write a test that you have to pass to exercise your franchise seem fair to you?

    Time123 (235fc4) — 2/23/2021 @ 11:17 am

    It is not unreasonable to require those who hope to exercise their power over the state to demonstrate some knowledge about it first.

    Are you also opposed to people being required to take a basic gun safety course before purchasing a firearm? Because I’m not…

    Demosthenes (1e7dbc) — 2/23/2021 @ 11:21 am

    Currently only 2 states do this. I don’t think the data shows that it’s helpful

    Time123 (36651d)

  33. I don’t trust people to administer a test when it’s in their self interest that some people fail the test.

    Davethulhu (6ba00b) — 2/23/2021 @ 11:22 am

    But trusting those who would fail the test with co-ownership of the keys to the state is perfectly fine? Hope you don’t work at the DMV…

    The basic goal of election law should be to ensure that votes reflect the actual intent of the maximum number of eligible voters, while keeping inevitable fraud and mistakes to a reasonable minimum. The theory of democracy, after all, is that government should be by the consent of the governed…

    Victor (4959fb) — 2/23/2021 @ 11:24 am

    Then why not require people to vote? On your theory, if they’re eligible, they should vote. If they don’t vote, how do we know that we have their consent?

    Demosthenes (1e7dbc)

  34. OT- In the rough:

    Tiger Woods Injured in Single Car Crash in L.A., Extracted With Jaws Of Life…

    https://www.tmz.com/2021/02/23/tiger-woods-car-crash

    Tiger Woods Injured in Single Car Crash in L.A., Extracted with Jaws of Life. 46; 2/23/2021 11:29 AM PT Breaking News. Tiger Woods was involved in a bad single-car accident in L.A. County.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  35. “But trusting those who would fail the test with co-ownership of the keys to the state is perfectly fine?”

    Everyone who has claimed that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump should lose the right to vote.

    Davethulhu (6ba00b)

  36. Then why not require people to vote?

    Indeed, why not? Twenty-two countries do, including democracies such as Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, and Singapore.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  37. I actually adore the idea that every voter pass the Citizenship Test in order to vote.

    Who knew it was racist?

    It’s not racist. It’s capital “F” Fascist. Americans are born or naturalized citizens of their states and of the United States. They are not required to earn their citizenship.

    nk (1d9030)

  38. aphrael (4c4719) — 2/23/2021 @ 10:03 am

    So who determines if the state law is consistent with the state constitution, and provides the remedy if not? That power is allocated by the state constitutions *to the state court system*.

    For issues related only to state law, yes. There is a federal question in play.

    For the federal courts to arrogate to themselves the power to interpret the intersection of state election law and the state constitutions, and to ban the state courts from doing so, is a breathtaking *theft* of the power of the states, without any justification in precedent or in colonial political theory.

    If this is what was happening this would be true. It’s odd how this works. Murder is usually prosecuted under state law and state law determines the penalty. SCOTUS can get into that anyway. It wasn’t a problem for SCOTUS to stick their nose into that marriage thing either.

    The federal government only has those powers delegated to it by the states

    How does the joke go; the 10th amendment is never the right answer on the bar exam?

    frosty (f27e97)

  39. The absolutist position that the federal constitution deprives state courts of their authority to interpret the state constitution and state election law strikes me as insane.

    For reasonable values of “interpret.” Re-writing clear and specific laws to satisfy some view of “equity” seems to go beyond interpretation.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  40. State GOP lawmakers propose flurry of voting restrictions to placate Trump supporters, spurring fears of a backlash+
    …….
    GOP state lawmakers across the country have proposed a flurry of voting restrictions that they say are needed to restore confidence in U.S. elections, an effort intended to placate supporters of former president Donald Trump who believe his false claims that the 2020 outcome was rigged.

    But the effort is dividing Republicans, some of whom are warning that it will tar the GOP as the party of voter suppression and give Democrats ammunition to mobilize their supporters ahead of the 2022 midterms.
    ……
    States where such legislation is under consideration also include Arizona, Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.

    Proponents say the actions are necessary because large numbers of voters believe Trump’s false assertions that President Biden won the 2020 election through widespread fraud.
    ……..
    Other Republicans in Georgia say making it harder to vote, without evidence of the problem they claim to be fixing, will prompt a dangerous backlash from Democrats and voting advocates. They say the effort is mostly for show, to appease the party’s most ardent Trump supporters, and they are pressing Republican legislative leaders to thwart passage of all but a few of the measures.

    “There’s still an appetite from a lot of Republicans to do stuff like this, but it’s not bright,” said a Republican strategist in Georgia who spoke on the condition of anonymity to candidly discuss internal party debates. “It just gives Democrats a baseball bat with which to beat us.”
    …….
    Some Republicans have made clear that they don’t think enacting voting restrictions is smart politics. In Georgia, House Speaker David Ralston and the Senate’s presiding officer, Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, have both announced that they will not support legislation that curtails eligibility to vote by mail, as some lawmakers there and in other states have proposed.
    ……..
    According to the Brennan Center for Justice, a civil rights think tank, lawmakers in 33 states have crafted more than 165 bills to restrict voting so far this year — more than four times the number in last year’s legislative sessions. The group attributed the surge to “a rash of baseless and racist allegations of voter fraud” and accused lawmakers of a “backlash to historic voter turnout” last year.

    Arizona leads the nation in restrictive proposals, followed by Pennsylvania and Georgia, the group said. Those proposals include eliminating no-excuses absentee voting, which Americans across the country embraced during the pandemic, as well as requiring voters to request mail ballots every year and blocking election administrators from sending a ballot application without a request from the voter.
    …….
    Even some Republican proponents of the measures have acknowledged that there is no evidence that widespread fraud or irregularities tainted the 2020 elections. Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, a state Trump won by more than three points, said as much Friday as he announced a broad new proposal to curtail ballot drop boxes and limit so-called ballot harvesting, when third parties are permitted to collect and turn in absentee ballots.
    …….
    And in Georgia, state Rep. Alan Powell of Hartwell suggested that it didn’t matter whether fraud actually occurred on a grand scale last year.

    “I’m not getting into the part about, you know, widespread voter fraud,” Powell said during a televised committee hearing about the proposed bill. “It wasn’t found. It’s just in a lot of people’s minds that there was.”
    ……..
    At least the voting restrictionists are transparent about their motives.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  41. Everyone who has claimed that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump should lose the right to vote.

    Davethulhu (6ba00b) — 2/23/2021 @ 11:42 am

    If you’re looking for a disagreement from me, you’ll have to look somewhere else.

    Indeed, why not? Twenty-two countries do, including democracies such as Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, and Singapore.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8) — 2/23/2021 @ 11:42 am

    Over eighty countries have some sort of official or state-preferred religion, including democracies such as Denmark, England, Greece, Iceland, Norway…and, just for the sake of a little overlap, Liechtenstein. And like we always say, if it’s good enough for Liechtenstein, it’s good enough for us. (Or rather, U.S.)

    It’s not racist. It’s capital “F” Fascist. Americans are born or naturalized citizens of their states and of the United States. They are not required to earn their citizenship.

    nk (1d9030) — 2/23/2021 @ 11:45 am

    The discussion was over voting rights, NOT citizenship. One can be a citizen without having the right to vote.

    Demosthenes (1e7dbc)

  42. So who determines if the state law is consistent with the state constitution, and provides the remedy if not?

    How is a state law that says “Mailed ballots shall be signed by the voter to be valid” (or other requirements clearly necessary to determine provenance) in violation of a state constitution? The law would have to be one that disenfranchised through difficulty, cost or other impermissible filter before a court could make up, or waive, rules.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  43. But trusting those who would fail the test with co-ownership of the keys to the state is perfectly fine? Hope you don’t work at the DMV…

    The basic goal of election law should be to ensure that votes reflect the actual intent of the maximum number of eligible voters, while keeping inevitable fraud and mistakes to a reasonable minimum. The theory of democracy, after all, is that government should be by the consent of the governed…

    Victor (4959fb) — 2/23/2021 @ 11:24 am

    Then why not require people to vote? On your theory, if they’re eligible, they should vote. If they don’t vote, how do we know that we have their consent?

    Demosthenes (1e7dbc) — 2/23/2021 @ 11:32 am

    Some places do.
    Personally I think that would infringe on people’s right to refuse to participate. But I’ve seen reasoned arguments otherwise.

    The fact that I can’t pass your fancy book test/SJW PC Test/Racist Hurdle/Jingoistic Loyalty Test/whatever doesn’t have any bearing on my rights as a citizen. Why do you get to decide what I need to know to express my preference in our government? So what if I can’t articulate the details of CRT or whatever. My voice still matters. Unless you’re saying it doesn’t. In which case why should I support a government that refused to let me vote?

    Time123 (36651d)

  44. Demosthenes (1e7dbc) — 2/23/2021 @ 11:21 am

    It is not unreasonable to require those who hope to exercise their power over the state to demonstrate some knowledge about it first.

    Are you also opposed to people being required to take a basic gun safety course before purchasing a firearm? Because I’m not…

    It’s either a natural right or it isn’t. The 2nd isn’t a right the government “gives” to citizens. The same justification for a test for the 2nd or to vote would apply to the other individual rights.

    Are you also in favor of a test for the 1st? It’d also be handy if we had a test for people to exercise 4, 5, 6, or 8?

    frosty (f27e97)

  45. Trump knew this. He knew that if he, and DeJoy, and Abbott, and sundry, suppressed voting by mail, the intelligent voters would stay home and his supporters would have the edge at the polling places. That is the biggest attempted fraud of this election.

    As it turns out, Trump LOST because of this. His attacks on mail voting, while unsuccessful legally, made it “wrong” for a Trump voter to vote by mail. So it amounted to a Don’t-get-out-the-vote campaign for the Trump voters, while Biden laughed himself silly.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  46. Demosthenes (1e7dbc) — 2/23/2021 @ 11:21 am

    It is not unreasonable to require those who hope to exercise their power over the state to demonstrate some knowledge about it first.

    Are you also opposed to people being required to take a basic gun safety course before purchasing a firearm? Because I’m not…

    It’s either a natural right or it isn’t. The 2nd isn’t a right the government “gives” to citizens. The same justification for a test for the 2nd or to vote would apply to the other individual rights.

    Are you also in favor of a test for the 1st? It’d also be handy if we had a test for people to exercise 4, 5, 6, or 8?

    frosty (f27e97) — 2/23/2021 @ 12:02 pm

    I think we have that for the first now. Bezos wrote the test. 😀

    Time123 (36651d)

  47. @13

    I would be happy with a free standardized test (with varying questions like a driver’s test), that anyone could take or retake at any age, which must be passed before one is granted the franchise for life.

    This would eliminate those who won’t take the time or effort to pass it, or those who are so deficient as to be unable to make an informed choice. We require the same thing for naturalization, I see no reason one gets a pass just for being born here.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  48. @15, 18. Oh. Never mind.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  49. Over eighty countries have some sort of official or state-preferred religion, including democracies such as Denmark, England, Greece, Iceland, Norway…and, just for the sake of a little overlap, Liechtenstein. And like we always say, if it’s good enough for Liechtenstein, it’s good enough for us. (Or rather, U.S.)

    At least with voting you have a choice. The Almighty, not so much.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  50. I would favor mandatory voting as long as there is a “None of the Above” choice.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  51. 1. It’s creepy and totalitarian to have a national ID.
    2. It would be expensive to launch and administer.

    3. Politicians would find a way to abuse it.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  52. Time123 (36651d) — 2/23/2021 @ 12:02 pm

    In which case why should I support a government that refused to let me vote?

    The keyword here is support and what you mean by it. For most practical examples of support, you might mean tolerate and for those cases the answer is simple, to avoid the consequences of doing otherwise.

    Try deciding you don’t want to “support” the state by not getting a DL, tag, or insurance and see how that works at a traffic stop.

    frosty (f27e97)

  53. @30: See the last line of #1.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  54. RIP Lawrence Ferlinghetti (101). Defender of free speech.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  55. How does letting me write a test that you have to pass to exercise your franchise seem fair to you?

    Time123 (235fc4) — 2/23/2021 @ 11:17 am

    Well, I don’t know you well enough. But even if I did, I would suggest that a court-reviewed test (which it would be) is a better option.

    How about:
    “What year is this?”
    “What city are you in?”
    “Who is President of the United States?”

    I’d expect only a 90% pass rate.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  56. (National ID) would be expensive to launch and administer.

    We already have one-your Social Security Number.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  57. In which case why should I support a government that refused to let me vote?

    So, non-citizens should feel free to engage in revolution?

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  58. I would favor mandatory voting as long as there is a “None of the Above” choice.

    “GFY” would work, too.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  59. Rip Murdock (d2a2a8) — 2/23/2021 @ 12:11 pm

    I would favor mandatory voting as long as there is a “None of the Above” choice.

    None of the above isn’t functionally different from “I don’t care” unless the rule is we revote until we get someone who wins a majority. Now, that would be a crazy election process.

    And “I don’t care” is probably the best interpretation for why someone didn’t vote. Those people are consenting to either option.

    frosty (f27e97)

  60. In which case why should I support a government that refused to let me vote?

    So, non-citizens should feel free to engage in revolution?

    Kevin M (ab1c11) — 2/23/2021 @ 12:19 pm

    If they’re not citizens it’s not revolution.

    Time123 (235fc4)

  61. And “I don’t care” is probably the best interpretation for why someone didn’t vote. Those people are consenting to either option.

    And they have no right to complain.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  62. I would favor mandatory voting as long as there is a “None of the Above” choice.

    “GFY” would work, too.

    Kevin M (ab1c11) — 2/23/2021 @ 12:20 pm

    Classy.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  63. It’s either a natural right or it isn’t. The 2nd isn’t a right the government “gives” to citizens. The same justification for a test for the 2nd or to vote would apply to the other individual rights.

    If it is limited to CITIZENS it is, by that simple fact, not a “natural right.”

    The 1st, 4th, 5th, etc amendments are not restricted to citizens. Presumably the 3rd is not either. Only the 2nd Amendment is, since it seems tied up in some way with militias, or potential militias.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  64. Kevin M (ab1c11) — 2/23/2021 @ 12:19 pm

    So, non-citizens should feel free to engage in revolution?

    Jurisdiction like the rain falls on citizens and non-citizens alike.

    But, technically, I think when non-citizens do it it’s called a war.

    frosty (f27e97)

  65. The fact that I can’t pass your fancy book test/SJW PC Test/Racist Hurdle/Jingoistic Loyalty Test/whatever doesn’t have any bearing on my rights as a citizen. Why do you get to decide what I need to know to express my preference in our government? So what if I can’t articulate the details of CRT or whatever. My voice still matters. Unless you’re saying it doesn’t. In which case why should I support a government that refused to let me vote?

    Time123 (36651d) — 2/23/2021 @ 12:02 pm

    There are three branches of government — executive, legislative, and judicial. By typing out that sentence, I just did something that (apparently) three-quarters of Americans can’t do off the tops of their heads. And I have taken, and passed a citizenship test…something which only about a third of American adults who were BORN citizens can do. Maybe you should try directing some of your unrighteous indignation at them. Because some of those people actually do vote.

    Or you can just keep implying that I’m some unspecified flavor of bigot. I mean, whatever makes you happy. It’s still a free country.

    It’s either a natural right or it isn’t. The 2nd isn’t a right the government “gives” to citizens. The same justification for a test for the 2nd or to vote would apply to the other individual rights.

    Are you also in favor of a test for the 1st? It’d also be handy if we had a test for people to exercise 4, 5, 6, or 8?

    frosty (f27e97) — 2/23/2021 @ 12:02 pm

    Fortunately, I don’t have to address the questions in your second paragraph, because the reasoning in your first is faulty. The Second Amendment, IIRC, comes with the introductory caveat that a well-regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free state. The First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments — though they have a few words that admit of some interpretive room — really have no similar caveats that apply to citizens at large. Therefore, there is plenty of room for me to say that it is reasonable for someone to be required to take a gun safety class to own a firearm (“well regulated,” remember) without saying that they should have to take a speech test, or any other similar silliness you want to cook up.

    Demosthenes (1e7dbc)

  66. Kevin,

    Everything’s on a spectrum. A country where every citizen is forced to vote and where every adult resident is forced to become a citizen or leave would still have children governed without their consent, and/or people in comas. It’s unavoidable. The question is to what extent you push in the direction of the maximum number of people who wish to vote being able to, or not. If you exclude too many adults, allow large numbers of non citizens to remain in the country, disenfranchise the residents of territories or your capital city, you head in the direction of oligarchy, and shouldn’t be surprised if you do get more dissent from those who are taxed and otherwise ruled without representation.

    It’s not clear to me why a literacy test would be particularly helpful in improving government since I’ve seen no evidence that the illiterate are necessarily worse citizens, or with worse opinions than any other.

    As for forcing people to vote, I’m generally of the opinion that the fewer opportunities of the government to force you to do things, the better. But I absolutely would make eligibility and registration to vote automatic at age 18, and not require tests, or requiring active efforts to register, and further bureaucratic obstacles, and then let people decided what to do with their power.

    Victor (4959fb)

  67. The fact that I can’t pass your fancy book test/SJW PC Test/Racist Hurdle/Jingoistic Loyalty Test/whatever doesn’t have any bearing on my rights as a citizen. Why do you get to decide what I need to know to express my preference in our government? So what if I can’t articulate the details of CRT or whatever. My voice still matters. Unless you’re saying it doesn’t. In which case why should I support a government that refused to let me vote?

    Time123 (36651d) — 2/23/2021 @ 12:02 pm

    There are three branches of government — executive, legislative, and judicial. By typing out that sentence, I just did something that (apparently) three-quarters of Americans can’t do off the tops of their heads. And I have taken, and passed a citizenship test…something which only about a third of American adults who were BORN citizens can do. Maybe you should try directing some of your unrighteous indignation at them. Because some of those people actually do vote.

    Or you can just keep implying that I’m some unspecified flavor of bigot. I mean, whatever makes you happy. It’s still a free country.

    My point is that I don’t see much reason to to trust people that write the tests to be as fair and even handed as you want them to be. Even if i did, why is knowing that a pre-req to know who I want to be the town sheriff?

    Time123 (36651d)

  68. At least with voting you have a choice. The Almighty, not so much.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8) — 2/23/2021 @ 12:10 pm

    Sure you do. Even in many countries that have state churches, one does not HAVE to be a member. (Plenty of non-Anglicans in England, for example.) Andf of course, I’m not arguing for an American state church…I was just making the point that “other countries do it” is not actually a sufficient reason to say “we should, too.”

    I would favor mandatory voting as long as there is a “None of the Above” choice.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8) — 2/23/2021 @ 12:11 pm

    I still wouldn’t favor mandatory voting even if there were both a “None of the Above” option, and a write-in line, included for every office.

    However, I concede that I would grumble a lot less (though still a non-zero amount) about mandatory voting if I had those two outs.

    Demosthenes (1e7dbc)

  69. Kevin M (ab1c11) — 2/23/2021 @ 12:24 pm

    Only the 2nd Amendment is, since it seems tied up in some way with militias, or potential militias.

    Gun ownership and possession aren’t limited to US citizens under federal law. It’s not as simple as citizen=yes and non-citizen=no.

    I’m also not sure why this milita thing is coming up after Heller. The 2nd is an individual right.

    frosty (f27e97)

  70. Pat, I think I disagree that (for instance) the Pennsylvania situation is likely to occur again. It was an emergent situation that feels very unlikely to ever repeat.

    nate (1f1d55)

  71. Demosthenes (1e7dbc) — 2/23/2021 @ 12:30 pm

    Maybe you should try directing some of your unrighteous indignation at them. Because some of those people actually do vote.

    Why should they get to vote when you had to jump through hoops? Is that about the size of it?

    frosty (f27e97)

  72. A federal voter ID would solve almost all voter fraud problems with mail in and in person voting, not that there have been been prosecutions for fraudulent voting. The republican party however does not want a federal voter id because it would be given to all citizens of the united states and too many democrats would be allowed to vote. They want state voter id laws than can be manipulated to keep as many democrats from voting as possible. See paul weyrich’s views on keeping democrats from voting.

    asset (6833ba)

  73. My point is that I don’t see much reason to to trust people that write the tests to be as fair and even handed as you want them to be. Even if i did, why is knowing that a pre-req to know who I want to be the town sheriff?

    Time123 (36651d) — 2/23/2021 @ 12:36 pm

    If you were only a citizen of a city or town, and not a state and a country as well, I might agree with you.

    ********************

    Who was the first President of the United States? a) John Adams b) Benjamin Franklin c) Thomas Jefferson d) George Washington

    How many seats does each state have in the U.S. Senate? a) One b) Two c) Three d) It depends on the state’s population.

    Members of the House of Representatives are elected for terms of how many years? a) Two b) Four c) Six d) Life tenure

    The American Revolution was ended with the ratification of the Treaty of _______. a) Appomattox b) Ghent c) London d) Paris
    These are the level of questions I’m talking about…the ones so many Americans can’t answer. I wrote them off the top of my head. I see nothing unfair or biased about them. Come up with, say, twenty such questions — get, say fifteen right to receive a passing score. Provisions to be made for the tests to be administered in multiple languages, and read to the illiterate. Or not. I doubt I’m changing any minds.

    I’m also not sure why this milita thing is coming up after Heller. The 2nd is an individual right.

    frosty (f27e97) — 2/23/2021 @ 12:48 pm

    Predicated on an individual responsibility. I have zero problems with private gun ownership, and significant issues with “regulations” that make gun ownership a practical impossibility (like the ones that were knocked down in Heller). But if you’re going to pick up a gun to defend yourself and/or others, I do think the phrase “well regulated” gives the state an interest in ensuring that you know how to use a gun properly.

    Demosthenes (1e7dbc)

  74. Show me your papers.
    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8) — 2/23/2021 @ 10:45 am

    Sure. I have to show my papers to do a multitude of things, at the local, state and federal level. The trope that “show me your papers” is just something totalitarian societies do is risible.

    Hoi Polloi (b28058)

  75. Why should they get to vote when you had to jump through hoops? Is that about the size of it?

    frosty (f27e97) — 2/23/2021 @ 12:56 pm

    I didn’t HAVE to jump through hoops. I was born in this country. When given the opportunity, I sat a written 100-question citizenship test (which used to be the full citizenship test bank, until recently — actual candidates for naturalization get asked ten questions orally) because I wanted to. But yeah…given how many Americans are ignorant of this country’s history, geography, and politics, even on the most basic levels, I think I should actually have to sit the real test, or something like it, in order to vote. And I think you should too.

    Demosthenes (1e7dbc)

  76. For what it’s worth, here’s Justice Stevens in Bush v. Gore as for the theory of State Legislature Supremacy:

    [Art. II] does not create state legislatures out of whole cloth, but rather takes them as they come—as creatures born of, and constrained by, their state constitutions.

    Demonsthenes – Why do you think knowing in which city the treaty that ended the Revolutionary War is correlated in any manner to the ability to intelligently choose among those who should, currently, be the leadership of the country? Why the need to set up obstacles to voting by making it depend on possessing the special knowledge you just happen to have at your fingertips?

    Victor (4959fb)

  77. Demonsthenes – Why do you think knowing in which city the treaty that ended the Revolutionary War is correlated in any manner to the ability to intelligently choose among those who should, currently, be the leadership of the country? Why the need to set up obstacles to voting by making it depend on possessing the special knowledge you just happen to have at your fingertips?

    Victor (4959fb) — 2/23/2021 @ 1:14 pm

    In other words, why do I think knowing a little American history should be required for people who are helping to write it? For what it’s worth, here is the current study guide for the U.S. citizenship test. 46 out of a possible 128 questions deal with American history. Though I admit, the Treaty of Paris isn’t covered. Still, I find it interesting that we think immigrants should know something about American history when so many of us natives have such a scanty knowledge bank.

    You know what, though, Victor, you’ve convinced me. You’re right. Knowing American history isn’t necessary. Neither is knowing all that stuff about how many years people serve, or who does what in the government, or what powers the different levels of government have. We should probably just skip teaching it in school, too. It’ll save time for the really important things, like prom and dodgeball. MSNBC/CNN/Fox News/Newsmax can just tell us who to vote for whenever we reach whatever the voting age is, which I think is defined somewhere in the Constitution…possibly Article XII.

    Demosthenes (1e7dbc)

  78. The question is simple when you strip away the self serving B.S. Do conservatives want to prevent more people voting democrat or less? You know the answer to this.

    asset (6833ba)

  79. Patrick. I am in complete agreement.
    (I just realized that I don’t think I’ve written those words here in about 5 years. Sorry I let it go for that long)

    At times I compare voting and the border. The last thing I want to see is disorder at either.

    steveg (43b7a5)

  80. I still wouldn’t favor mandatory voting even if there were both a “None of the Above” option, and a write-in line, included for every office.

    Agreed. Part of having the right to vote is the right to not vote, although I’ll pick the former every time. I’d rather not have the government take a freedom away by requiring me to show up on a given day at a given place to do a given thing.

    Paul Montagu (77c694)

  81. Revising Guidance on Naturalization Civics Educational Requirement

    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is updating policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual regarding the educational requirements for naturalization to demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of the history, and of the principles and form of government, of the United States (civics) under section 312 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

    In general, applicants for naturalization must demonstrate a basic understanding of the English language and a knowledge and understanding of civics. Applicants have two opportunities to pass the related English and civics tests. On December 1, 2020, USCIS implemented a revised naturalization civics test (2020 civics test) as part of a decennial test review and update process.
    In addition to making changes to the test content, the 2020 civics test updated the number of questions for applicants to study (from 100 possible questions in the prior 2008 civics test to 128 possible questions in the 2020 civics test) and updated the number of questions applicants must answer correctly to pass from six out of 10 to 12 out of 20 questions.

    USCIS received approximately 2,500 comments from the public regarding the 2020 civics test and the policy. Multiple commenters noted that there was little advance notice before implementation of the 2020 civics test, which raised concerns about limited time for study and preparation of training materials and resources. Due to the comments and in keeping with the Executive Order on Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans, USCIS will revert to the 2008 test.
    ……..

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  82. but in an area where a state legislature is given primacy by the federal Constitution, I don’t think a state supreme court has authority to overrule the legislature

    I woudld say that state legislature must state is is doing this in spite of the state constitution for the state constitution not to apply (fr choosing presidential electors)

    Sammy Finkelman (125d6f)

  83. notwithstanding any provision in

    Sammy Finkelman (125d6f)

  84. 78.The question is simple when you strip away the self serving B.S. Do conservatives want to prevent more people voting democrat or less? You know the answer to this.

    Desperate times; desperate measures.

    ‘Don’t sell the steak, sell the sizzle.’- Elmer Wheeler

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  85. Everyone who has claimed that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump should lose the right to vote.

    Sure. Along with everyone who claimed:

    * W planned 9/11
    * The 2004 election was stolen by Ohio voter suppression
    * W made up the story about WMD in Iraq
    * Gore deserved an Oscar
    * Obama deserved the Nobel Peace Prize.
    * Cutting taxes is spending government funds.
    * Real communism hasn’t been tried yet.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  86. I actually favor giving people $5 not to vote.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  87. I’m also not sure why this milita thing is coming up after Heller. The 2nd is an individual right.

    The idea of a militia is wound up in the amendment. But if “the militia” is all persons capable of bearing arms, then it is fundamentally an individual right as well.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  88. Sure. I have to show my papers to do a multitude of things, at the local, state and federal level.

    Outside of the newer airport scrutiny, most of those circumstances involve wanting something that is conditioned on age or behavior. Pointing at the camel’s nose to justify the entire camel isn’t all that convincing to me.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  89. It was an emergent situation that feels very unlikely to ever repeat.

    See the link in #4, printed BEFORE the election by the liberal LA Times, where voting professionals talk about a problem that, after the election, was called “remote.”

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  90. “Sure. Along with everyone who claimed:”

    I think my post went over your head.

    Davethulhu (6ba00b)

  91. Demosthenes (1e7dbc) — 2/23/2021 @ 1:11 pm

    Sorry about the smarta$$ quip. I’m still not on board with the tests for voting. I’m on the side of making voting matter less because the government has less influence on our daily lives. In my utopia being a citizen and not having the right to vote wouldn’t be as crazy as it sounds.

    frosty (8b29e9)

  92. I think my post went over your head.

    Or off to my left.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  93. “Or off to my left.”

    Having made one arbitrary barrier to voting means you now have precedent to make more.

    Davethulhu (6ba00b)

  94. #85
    Don’t forget Greta and Cuomo

    steveg (43b7a5)

  95. I have a photo ID for Costco that I’ve used in a pinch.
    There are several videos out there of interviewers asking african americans about photo ID and if they have one.
    99% are insulted that someone thinks black people don’t have photo ID

    steveg (43b7a5)

  96. Inflating the voter rolls is as old as America, with dogs and horses voting, and the town with the most dogs and horses getting to be the county seat.

    nk (1d9030)

  97. And we do have national ID with the Real ID Act of 2005. Thanks, Osama!

    nk (1d9030)

  98. And it’s always the left that thinks minorities can’t find a way to get an ID. Same as Biden who thinks they aren’t smart enough to manage to use the internet and that’s why they aren’t getting the Moderna or Pfizer shot.

    NJRob (eb56c3)

  99. 98 and it always the right trying to prevent minorities from voting. The right wants to stop as many minorities as possible from voting. By the way the 2020 election was stolen from trump! Republican legislators in their never ending attempt to keep the libertarian party off of the ballot to stop them siphoning off republican votes failed in 2020 ;but their tough ballot access laws did allow the democrat party to prevent the green party from getting on the ballot in swing states like az, ga. and wi. Example in 2016 trump wins wisconsin by 22,000 votes with green party getting 38,000. In 2020 trump loses wisconsin to biden by 20,000 votes with no green party to siphon off democrat votes. Republican legislatures stole the election for joe biden!

    asset (7f28f5)

  100. Demosthenes,

    I would be more interested in ensuring that the people we elect as president have a current functional understanding of how democracy works than whether they’ve memorized some dates.

    Knowing dates and the names of treaties is not the same thing as knowing history. It helps, it’s related but it’s not the same thing. Somebody who understands the impact of slavery on the U.S. but thinks the first Africans arrived in 1629 or 1639 is better equipped than somebody who knows the date is 1619 but is clueless about the significance. A history major should know dates as hooks on which to hang the real history.

    As for the citizenship test, I’d prefer something like (what I heard, haven’t looked it up) was true about the Netherlands – a test of how the immigrant would treat people currently, gays, women, Jews etc. , and not exactly when the Netherlands won independence from Spain and in which battle.

    Victor (4959fb)

  101. Everyone who has claimed that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump should lose the right to vote.

    Sure. Along with everyone who claimed:

    * W planned 9/11
    * The 2004 election was stolen by Ohio voter suppression
    * W made up the story about WMD in Iraq
    * Gore deserved an Oscar
    * Obama deserved the Nobel Peace Prize.
    * Cutting taxes is spending government funds.
    * Real communism hasn’t been tried yet.

    Kevin M (ab1c11) — 2/23/2021 @ 2:56 pm

    Kevin, for your 6th point; Cutting taxes is spending government funds. do you accept the formulation that cutting taxes while running a deficit is functionally equivalent to increasing spending?

    Time123 (b87ded)

  102. Demonsthenes – Why do you think knowing in which city the treaty that ended the Revolutionary War is correlated in any manner to the ability to intelligently choose among those who should, currently, be the leadership of the country? Why the need to set up obstacles to voting by making it depend on possessing the special knowledge you just happen to have at your fingertips?

    Victor (4959fb) — 2/23/2021 @ 1:14 pm

    In other words, why do I think knowing a little American history should be required for people who are helping to write it? For what it’s worth, here is the current study guide for the U.S. citizenship test. 46 out of a possible 128 questions deal with American history. Though I admit, the Treaty of Paris isn’t covered. Still, I find it interesting that we think immigrants should know something about American history when so many of us natives have such a scanty knowledge bank.

    You know what, though, Victor, you’ve convinced me. You’re right. Knowing American history isn’t necessary. Neither is knowing all that stuff about how many years people serve, or who does what in the government, or what powers the different levels of government have. We should probably just skip teaching it in school, too. It’ll save time for the really important things, like prom and dodgeball. MSNBC/CNN/Fox News/Newsmax can just tell us who to vote for whenever we reach whatever the voting age is, which I think is defined somewhere in the Constitution…possibly Article XII.

    Demosthenes (1e7dbc) — 2/23/2021 @ 1:37 pm

    There are really 2 reasons to test someone.

    1. To confirm they have requisite knowledge to perform a task.
    2. To confirm their participation is appropriate, in effect, are they worthy of participation/inclusion.

    In both cases whoever defines the test is making value judgements about what is required and who is appropriate. The only way that doesn’t become highly contentious is if the test has a 100% pass rate. If you have 100% pass it’s a pointless activity. If you want to make the test meaningful it will need to differentiate based on some criteria. So what are those criteria? Knowledge of dates and names in US history isn’t actually very useful and it’s easy to game. A deeper understanding of US history might be useful, but once you start talking about why things happened (or in some cases how) you get political. Just think about “why did we fight the civil war?” or “how did slavery impact the growth of our country?”

    Once you start excluding people from the democratic process they’re going to start asking how much of a stake do they have in the government. That’s less patriotisms, less common goals, less acceptance that even when the process produces specific results they don’t like they have as fair a shot at influencing the outcome as any other voter.

    I have a friend in his 40’s. He designs industrial tools for a living. He’s not dumb. He’s a better mechanic, outdoorsman, and handyman then I am. He goes to church more, and he’s a disorganized scout leader who takes his son’s pack on camping trips. He has little interest in politics and has told me in the past that he votes for whichever Christian is more in support of the 2nd amendment, unless they’re a giant a-hole. His words, spoken before Trump was a thing. We don’t talk about politics for the same reason we don’t talk about making pipes by hand with a pocket knife; Only one person in the conversation would be interested in it. I know him pretty well and I don’t think being unable to quickly recall specific details about US history or having a vague grasp on how the federal government is structured makes my friend’s voter participation any less valuable then mine.

    Best explanation I can give you on why i think poll tests aren’t a good or useful thing.

    Time123 (b87ded)

  103. And it’s always the left that thinks minorities can’t find a way to get an ID. Same as Biden who thinks they aren’t smart enough to manage to use the internet and that’s why they aren’t getting the Moderna or Pfizer shot.

    NJRob (eb56c3) — 2/23/2021 @ 10:17 pm

    You’re confuses capability with access. It’s about 11 million citizens and it’s not evenly distributed by demographic. Additionally access isn’t the same for all communities and there’s a history of the GOP trying to make it harder for people to vote, if they think those people aren’t going to vote for them.

    Time123 (d1bf33)

  104. We should beware too much social engineering. If a comrade knows when Barack Obama’s birthday is, that should tell us everything we need to know.

    nk (1d9030)

  105. Things like this make it hard to believe the GOP cares about election fraud. There’s not much in here that would make fraud harder. There’s plenty in here that would make voting harder. Even if you’re worried about the possibility of absentee voter fraud there’s no reason to shorten the early voting period or to close the polls earlier.

    A bill shortening Iowa’s early voting period, reducing Election Day voting by an hour and creating a stricter deadline for returning absentee ballots is a step closer to becoming law after it passed the Iowa Senate on Tuesday.

    The Senates approved the measure on a party-line vote of 30-18, with every Republican in support and every Democrat opposed, following a lengthy debate about voter fraud and voter suppression.

    The legislation would shorten Iowa’s early voting period by nine days, taking it from 29 days to 20.

    It would prevent county auditors from mailing absentee ballot request forms to voters unless the voter asks for one and from setting up satellite voting sites unless petitioned. And the bills would create new criminal charges for county auditors who disobey state rules.

    Time123 (d1bf33)

  106. Time123 (d1bf33) — 2/24/2021 @ 6:48 am

    I’ve got a general dislike of early voting that is probably irrational and isn’t related to fraud but I don’t agree with a shorter window for Election Day voting. So, that just seems like making it harder for no reason.

    Absentee, as in people actually absent like service members, aren’t an issue for me but it should be on request. Mail-in ballots for people in the district are garbage and should be dropped outright.

    frosty (f27e97)

  107. @20

    The 2 biggest objections are

    1. It’s creepy and totalitarian to have a national ID.
    2. It would be expensive to launch and administer.

    Time123 (235fc4) — 2/23/2021 @ 10:58 am

    Too late.

    States have to comply with REAL ID law when issuing state IDs (ie, drivers/non-driver ID).

    At the end of 2023 (I think?), you must have a REAL ID compliant to board planes and certain federal buildings.

    Since almost everyone as a state ID, it shouldn’t be too hard to leverage the REAL ID compliant IDs as one of the identification documents in order to vote.

    whembly (e2380c)

  108. Time123 (d1bf33) — 2/24/2021 @ 6:48 am

    I’ve got a general dislike of early voting that is probably irrational and isn’t related to fraud but I don’t agree with a shorter window for Election Day voting. So, that just seems like making it harder for no reason.

    Absentee, as in people actually absent like service members, aren’t an issue for me but it should be on request. Mail-in ballots for people in the district are garbage and should be dropped outright.

    frosty (f27e97) — 2/24/2021 @ 8:03 am

    There’s a reason, they think they lose when too many people vote so they’re making it harder. It’s a corrupt reason, but there it is.

    Time123 (d1bf33)

  109. @73

    I’m also not sure why this milita thing is coming up after Heller. The 2nd is an individual right.

    frosty (f27e97) — 2/23/2021 @ 12:48 pm

    Predicated on an individual responsibility. I have zero problems with private gun ownership, and significant issues with “regulations” that make gun ownership a practical impossibility (like the ones that were knocked down in Heller). But if you’re going to pick up a gun to defend yourself and/or others, I do think the phrase “well regulated” gives the state an interest in ensuring that you know how to use a gun properly.

    Demosthenes (1e7dbc) — 2/23/2021 @ 1:03 pm

    Not really.

    “we regulated” meant in good working order. NOT some government sanctioned rules to the handling of the firearms.

    whembly (e2380c)

  110. @101

    Kevin, for your 6th point; Cutting taxes is spending government funds. do you accept the formulation that cutting taxes while running a deficit is functionally equivalent to increasing spending?

    Time123 (b87ded) — 2/24/2021 @ 5:32 am

    I’m not Kevin.

    But, no I don’t accept that. Because that statement ignores a very real option: that is to cut spending.

    whembly (e2380c)

  111. What makes you think your definition of “well regulated” is superior to some other’s? When the Framers were drafting the 2nd Amendment, over numerous drafts, it was pretty clear their concern was with making sure the federal government couldn’t take away militia’s guns, but at the same time were aware some of the existing militias were disorganized and not particularly useful.

    Victor (4959fb)

  112. @101
    Kevin, for your 6th point; Cutting taxes is spending government funds. do you accept the formulation that cutting taxes while running a deficit is functionally equivalent to increasing spending?
    Time123 (b87ded) — 2/24/2021 @ 5:32 am

    I’m not Kevin.

    But, no I don’t accept that. Because that statement ignores a very real option: that is to cut spending.

    whembly (e2380c) — 2/24/2021 @ 8:40 am

    That seems like a non-sequitur. If you’re running a deficit and you cut taxes or raise spending in both cases you increase the deficit. Maybe I should have said “cutting taxes while not cutting spending a compensatory amount”?

    My point is that from a fiscal discipline stand point tax cuts need to be offset by spending reductions. You say that’s a real possibility but I’ve never seen it. Can you tell me where to look for this mythical “Reduced spending”?

    Time123 (d1bf33)

  113. “But, no I don’t accept that. Because that statement ignores a very real option: that is to cut spending.”

    In 2017 the Trump administration passed a bunch of tax cuts. The deficit went up, and it went up by more than it would have had the tax cuts not been passed. What was the cause of the deficit increase?

    Davethulhu (6ba00b)

  114. Paul Montagu (77c694) — 2/23/2021 @ 10:09 am

    . As I recall, there were only 10,000± mail-ins received in the three-day window after Election Day, in a state where Biden won by 80,000±.

    And only a small number of them, something like 600, were missing postmarks, and so could have been submitted after the polls closed. How many? Well, it should be a more or less random sample, so you take the number with postmarks that were postmarked after Election Day and multiply that fraction by 600 or so.

    It is, I think, a rule set by Congress that no part of the process of choosing Electors can take place after the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. Earlier seems to be tolerated, perhaps on the premise that the vote does not become valid until Election Day. That would raise a question of what to do with a vote that has been cast by a voter who did not live until Election Day. Some states take pains not to count them.

    Going forward, I hope the matter of extensions is codified by the legislature to rid any doubt.

    The problem is, the Pennsylvania state legislature, controlled by Republicans who wanted to minimize the amount of by mail voting because Donald Trump was fuming against it, and did not want to take any account of the pandemic, did not want to make any changes. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court, majority Democrat, in a judgement in a lawsuit, made some changes on the basis of general language in the state constitution, none of which was forced.

    Sammy Finkelman (c95a5a)

  115. 4. Signature verification isn’t very good, and isn’t done much any more in commercial transactions – banks don;t rely in it, and it’s a joke when it comes to Master Card and Visa, but the need to sign a specific name on a ballot delivered to a specific address and perhaps the need for a signature not completely different from the one on file without having a signature as a model and the difficulty of creating a fraudulent ballot without many real voters discovering that and complaining is a significant preventative.

    It is very discoverable when done on an an organized basis – and I mean by that once it amounts to 30 to 60 votes.

    The question would be would courts and others that would have to pass on the election take cognizance of it.

    Sammy Finkelman (c95a5a)

  116. @113

    “But, no I don’t accept that. Because that statement ignores a very real option: that is to cut spending.”

    In 2017 the Trump administration passed a bunch of tax cuts. The deficit went up, and it went up by more than it would have had the tax cuts not been passed. What was the cause of the deficit increase?

    Davethulhu (6ba00b) — 2/24/2021 @ 9:52 am

    The cause was maintaining (or exceeding) current spending levels.

    Yes, they’re related, but it’s the height of laziness to claim that the tax cuts (a net good thing) 100% caused the deficit to increase, as if Congress doesn’t have any agency to cut spending.

    whembly (a23745)


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