Wisconsin, Republican National Committee, Us Supreme Court discussed on Amicus with Dahlia Lithwick
I WanNa ask you one last question. That is sort of formed the backbone of so much of the discussions we've had in our election coverage in the last few months and that is just if the net effect of this isn't simply as you've said widespread vote suppression but also massive failure of confidence. The what is the point in voting? The whole system sucks now. We can add to the trash heap. It looks like the Federal Judiciary is completely biased and that both state Supreme Court and the US Supreme Court put a finger on the thumb. Put their thumb on the scale for their own team. I guess I want to ask the sort of Zeitgeist question which is how damaging is it to those norms. You talked about at the beginning when you have voters who witnessed just a spectacular failure of the franchise and just walk away from Wisconsin and everything else just saying. There's just no point the whole thing is cooked in fixed and the courts are in on it too. I think that if that takes hold that will be devastating. I feel like that that narrative has taken hold with redistricting candidly And I think that that's going to have a tremendous effect when it comes to districting After the the twenty The twenty twenty senses Frankly I feel like there's some of that about the census too I mean. The fact is the trump administration couldn't cancel the census. But it was a but but it could defunding away that you have a highly distorted result of WHO's counting. Who's not and in some sense? Wisconsin represents the same thing but in an election which is literally they couldn't cancel the election They wouldn't let it be moved but they could make it so. The voting rules were so hard for people to execute their vote under that. It's a highly distorted rea- result that you get from who voted and who didn't and in both cases you have the US Supreme Court sort of throwing. Its hands up and saying well. I guess there's really nothing for us to do here. In the case of redistricting they literally threw up their hands and said we have no role here in this case. They claimed that there was little that they could do both the but the very little they did. was counterproductive And I said this earlier and I want to repeat it. I I I wish that someone at the Supreme Court would have looked at the caption of this case and said do we really want in an election year in which we know passions are gonNA run high. And there's going to be a lot of quasi-judicial activity around voting. Do we really WANNA case entitled Republican National Committee Versus Democratic National Committee to be the case in which the conservative justices are lined up supporting the Republican National Committee effort to restrict voting rights. And for all that justice that she the chief justice has spoken about. How important it is that the judiciary not be viewed through that Lens. I really think this was just an unforced error in that in that regard in terms of public confidence. I need you to throw us a bone and tell us something happy. Talk about New Hampshire. Yeah I'll tell you a few things that are happy so in the last few weeks You know we. We settled the case with Georgia over signature matching signature matching as a part of absentee balloting. When they compare the signature on the envelope with the signature on on file with registration in many states that matching process is very opaque and does not give voters the opportunity to Have their their signature fairly judged or an opportunity to cure and we sued Georgia and Georgia settled with us. That was a positive The State of Florida settled a longstanding lawsuits that we had had with them over placing early votes centers on college campuses They had the Florida had banned Early vote centers on college campuses. So they were allowed to any public building on college campuses we sued and we won the legislature then came back and passed a new law saying that the couldn't be placed in any in any location that doesn't have a non permitted parking which was a which was a way of again getting back to college campuses and the Secretary of State of Florida settled that case with us. Centigrade issued a new directive saying that law does not prohibit putting a early voting sense on sites on college campuses and so That was a real positive and then just yesterday. Just the other day rather Just earlier this week we settled the case I'm not settled. We WanNA case in federal district in State Court in New Hampshire where the court struck down. Senate bill three which was the domicile law that was passed by Republicans in two thousand seventeen and effort to prevent a college students from voting in New Hampshire so these were all good developments on on the voting rights front and we continue to litigate. You know a number of cases around the country and our yeah having success in a number of them because for the most part at the at the if you if you look at these laws that are that are suppressive You know courts are still the best. Hope we have. Despite what happened in Wisconsin courts are still the best hope. We have to protect voting rights. So I have to have to make two points One is that where the political branches fail and we are seeing. The political branches failed to protect voting rights because Republicans don't want them to succeed. The federal courts have to step in its it is one of the core functions of the federal courts is to protect fundamental constitutional rights of individuals and voting rights are central among them. The second thing is just a caution to the to the audience for the future. If the if the Republican National Committee was willing to spend all of this effort and capital and money over a judicial election in Wisconsin. Just Ask Yourself. What will they be willing to do for November right? So if if if you ask yourself you know why would the RNC of gone to all of this effort for state judicial election? Just imagine what. When we'RE IN SEPTEMBER OCTOBER NOVEMBER. They will be willing to do to affect the presidential and congressional and Senate elections in November. And that's something to be concerned about. I have a few minutes left mark and I feel like what I really want you to speak to is something you scooped up yet a great piece in the Atlantic that said I I'm summarizing. Folks should just read it but the sad this goes beyond. Just you know no excuse. Absentee balloting and mail in ballots. And you list some other things that have to change and I'm struck by the fact that part of what's happening is the window is closing clearly for either federal changes or state changes to solve the cove problem. We saw In Wisconsin. But I think what you're saying this doesn't necessarily have to be a thing that Congress lashes onto the next Release Bill. This is something that states need to be pressed to do. Am I misreading you are you? Are you saying that in his foot race to get very limited amount of time to get this resolved in time for the two thousand election pushing for massive federal money to do? This may not be our best bet that this is something we should be doing. State-by-state as quick as we can so I think it's too I think it's two different pieces number. One Congress needs appropriate money to the states so that they can fund the elections. The fact is the postal service. Right now is set to run out of money in in June. It plays a vital role in elections and states right now taxed under the pressure of Kovic for as a as a health epidemic and that's taxing their budgets and remember most states have a balanced budget requirement in their state constitutions. So they need money in order to simply be able to do the blocking and tackling to hold elections. But but you're right the the We can't overlook the things that states cannon to do to make sure that not only is there access to vote by mail that there is safe and available access to in person voting. We saw seven and a half hour long lines before covert in Texas. We saw long lines in in In California before cove and we obviously saw debilitating long lines in Wisconsin During covert and are. St- election system is quite rickety and it is not set up to handle the kind of external pressures and shocks that. Come from high turnout or from Covadonga from other other crises so there are some simple things states can do that. Shouldn't be partisan but we'll see like you know making sure that we use that. We recruit a new generation of homework or so in two thousand eighteen More than two thirds of all poll workers over the age of sixty Twenty five percent were over the age of seventy one things. I propose in that. Atlantic piece for example is that colleges and universities give credit give course credit to students who are willing to be trained and work as election workers and that they received pay as well that states turn their civil servants not their political appointees but their civil servants into poll workers have them be trained. We expand curbside voting So that people can vote in their cars right. We set up the voting booth so to speak right out right on the right on the street corner or out on the curb right. The school you get checked in you get a ballot in your car. You voted I. I would note that the national review had an article online That that That endorse this. That I tweeted. I was happy to say that I thought that made sense so so there are things that we that states can do. Now that should be non ideological that don't help Democrats or Republicans. Just help everyone vote. Nobody wins when a city goes from having a hundred eighty some odd polling locations to five. I mean candidate may win or a party may win but but the system really fails and democratic election and and Republican local election officials need to ban together to take these kinds of steps to ensure that everyone wants to vote by mail can do so that ballot counted and not be rejected aronie asleep and people who prefer to vote in person and they're going to be people who prefer to vote in person. They need to be given the opportunity to do so without waiting in lines without jeopardizing their health. So what I'm hearing you say and I. This is my last question I really want to hear. You refine refined. What you just said. Is that folks who are out there who are crestfallen heartbroken about Wisconsin and who are feeling like the fixes in and this is certainly not something that can be remediated by November of two thousand twenty. You're saying yes and call call and make sure that the next bailout package has funds to give the states a chance at having fair elections and also make sure that your state is coming online to do the kinds of things that can be done that materially help and all that stuff is where we should be putting our energy right. Not Get drunk and give up. I'm not pessimistic about about holding free and fair elections in November. I I'm realistic. I'm realistic that. This is not going to be a bipartisan endeavor. I'm realistic that. The Republican National Committee announced a ten million dollar fund to Fight Voting Rights in court. I'm realistic about the fact that they went to the Supreme Court in Wisconsin and I'm realistic. Donald Trump is going to continue to demagogue on this issue in that many. Republican officials are GonNA follow his lead but I'm also realistic that there are many hard-working election officials at the state and local level. Who are Democrats and Republicans who want their elections to succeed? I hear occasionally from local Republican election officials who are upset by what they hear at the national level. Because they don't they they've committed their lives to make sure that election succeed in their communities. So it's going to be a combination of Congress providing the funds and people keeping the pressure on this issue and not letting it fade into the background making it a priority that that this is something that that we need to focus on and then finally I remain optimistic. Notwithstanding Wisconsin that the federal courts in the state courts remain the best chance to make sure that voting rights are protected. And so I and others will be bringing those cases in court And hopefully we will have more results like we recently had an in New Hampshire. Marc Elias is chair of the Perkins Coup Political Law Group. He represents the Democratic National Committee and represented the Democratic Party of Wisconsin in this week's Litigation he is also one of the foremost elections. Experts in this country has been working so hard to make this system work mark. You gave us a lot of your time. We are so grateful for what you do. Thank.