State of Elections

William & Mary Law School | Election Law Society

Tag: Tea Party

Two Letters, The National Voter Registration Act, and Voter-ID in Nebraska

By: Eric Sutton

On September 22, the Omaha World Herald published a story about two letters sent to seven Nebraska counties threatening lawsuits for voter registration irregularities. In particular, the letters alleged that the Nebraska counties of Wheeler, Loup, Kimball, Thurston, Hooker, Keya Paha, and Thomas have more registered voters than individuals of voting age. While the groups behind the letters argue that the threat of suit is designed to prevent voter fraud through effective maintenance of voter registration records, an examination of the Nebraska Legislature’s most recent session, and the past of the two organizations responsible for the letters, indicates that these letters may provide the foundation for a renewed push for voter-ID in Nebraska.

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Can a Tempest, a Tea Party Make?

The teapot is still boiling briskly in the City of Falls Church, a Northern Virginia suburb of Washington, D.C., over recent changes in the regulations governing municipal elections. By a 4-3 vote in January 2010, the then Mayor and City Council was successful in changing city elections from even-numbered years in May to odd-numbered years in November. Appropriately, the City submitted the change to the United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, for review and clearance as required by the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Department subsequently reviewed and approved the change. The result is that, during the transition years, Council-Member terms will be shortened by six months. Then, in the May 2010 election, a major shakeup in the government occurred. The new Mayor, Nader Baroukh, a former City Council member who opposed the change, along with re-elected City-Council-members who were also opponents, is making efforts to “undo” the changes and to submit the matter to the citizens of the City in a referendum. Predictably, many residents of the City are hopping mad.  Continue reading

The Tea Party and Voter Fraud

In anticipation of the impending midterm elections, officials from various Tea Party affiliated groups are concerned that Republicans are losing elections because of voter fraud. Dick Armey, former Republican Congressman, recently asserted that up to 3% of the votes Democrat’s received in 2008 was illegitimate.

Ignoring for a moment that most voting experts refute these claims, the debate is interesting for several reasons. First, it shows the ever-increasing role the Tea Party plays in the Republican Party, a dynamic certain to have a huge impact in November. This broad discussion, however, has been extensively covered by the national news media, so we don’t need to get into it now.

Second, it illustrates the importance of conducting fair and open elections. If these claims have any basis in fact, the implications would be staggering.  The 2008 election cycle fundamentally altered the direction of local, state and national politics, as Democrats dominated, even in traditionally Republican districts. If for some reason that move was illegitimate, it would change our view of the direction American politics. Perhaps that is what these claims are really all about – the Tea Party questioning whether 2008 was really an indication that the country moving to the political left. Continue reading

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