Friday, October 31, 2008

Failed efforts at vote suppression

Continuing the turnout theme, Talking Points Memo has a very helpful compilation of failed GOP vote suppression activities this cycle. It is really striking to see how ineffective these have been, especially in comparison with similar efforts in recent elections. I think the conclusion that Zachary Roth reaches, that this is due in large part to more Democratic Secretaries of State, is correct. But I also think that the implications of such a finding are yet another sign of the problems with partisan election officials, especially those who are state chairs for presidential campaigns (I'm looking your way, Katherine Harris and Ken Blackwell). This isn't a strictly Democrat/Republican issue, either. Some of the actions taken by Ohio's current Democratic Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner have made it harder for McCain supporters. The U.S. is one of the few democracies in the world to use partisan election officials. It seems to me past time to adopt the recommendation of the Carter-Baker report on Federal Election Reform and move towards non-partisan election officials through appointment and confirmation by a supermajority of the state legislature. Will it be perfect? Of course not. Will it be better than the current system? Almost certainly.
UPDATE: Oh, and let's not forget the efforts of Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel (R), who is working hard to suppress the Latino vote.

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