Elections: Does the GOP fear democracy?
North Carolina Republicans are no longer interested “in what the voters think, because they don’t have to be,” said Andrew Reynolds in Politico.com. As the state’s population becomes younger, browner, and more liberal, the GOP is “clinging to power” by eroding democracy itself. Republicans there stripped authority from a new Democratic governor in 2016 and have drawn outrageously gerrymandered districts and imposed voting rules designed to suppress turnout of minorities. And now they just literally tried to steal a congressional election, “with malice aforethought and planning.” The state’s elections board is refusing to certify Republican Mark Harris’ narrow victory in the 9th House district, after it emerged that the Harris campaign paid a contractor with a criminal record to go door-to-door collecting absentee ballots—a felony in its own right. The contractor, L. McCrae Dowless Jr., allegedly filled out “an unknown number” of blank ballots for Harris and destroyed others cast for Democrat Dan McCready. Harris then supposedly won the election by 905 votes out of 283,317 cast.
Lo and behold: Democrats have discovered that election fraud is real, said Rich Lowry in NationalReview.com. After years of fighting reform by “insisting that voter fraud didn’t exist,” Democrats are predictably up in arms about the North Carolina race, where a new election now appears likely. “The larger lesson” is that people will exploit vulnerabilities in the election system, whatever they are. That’s why rules governing voting should be as rigorous as possible. Another lesson is that expanding “ballot access” through absentee and remote voting can corrode “ballot integrity,” said The Wall Street Journal in an editorial. “Voter fraud may be rare, but there’s no reason to make it so easy.”
“Ballot integrity” is Republican code for “artificially preserving the power of their aging, white, rural voters,” said Dana Milbank in The Washington Post. When all else fails, Republicans simply negate the results of elections. After Wisconsin’s voters elected a Democratic governor and attorney general, the Republican state legislature just voted to strip the incoming officials of much of their power. In Michigan, meanwhile, said Jason Sattler in USAToday.com, the Republican-controlled legislature is frantically weakening the incoming Democratic governor and blocking ballot initiatives that would guarantee paid sick leave and raise the minimum wage. “All of this reveals a party that’s terrified of voters. As it should be.”