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Democrats must go on the offensive against voter suppression

Democrats must go on the offensive against voter suppression
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Of the 25 states that adopted voter restrictions since 2010, 22 are controlled by Republicans, and their laws target Democratic-leaning voters. Voter suppression is Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpFox News president, top anchors advised to quarantine after coronavirus exposure: report Six notable moments from Trump and Biden's '60 Minutes' interviews Biden on attacks on mental fitness: Trump thought '9/11 attack was 7/11 attack' MORE’s best — perhaps only — chance of winning in November. Democrats need to gear up to fight it or risk another four years of Trump.

Although voter suppression measures have been struck down by the courts in some states, Republicans continue to try them in others. Democrats should focus especially on eight battleground states, plus Texas, Minnesota, and Alabama, all of which have voter suppression measures in place.

In the courts as well as on the ground, Democrats will need to fight the many ways Republicans are trying to render votes for Democrats moot, particularly those of people of color. Their tactics include:

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There are ways to combat these tactics. For example, Trump has tried to engineer delaying the receipt of mail-in ballots and not counting those that arrive after the election. The administration has apparently backed down on this, but we still need to be vigilant and protect voting by mail; 31 states don’t allow ballots received after election day to be counted even if they’re postmarked before then. Democrats should push them to enact laws allowing ballots to be counted as long as they’re postmarked on or before the election. Red states should cooperate. After all, Republicans, like Democrats, want their votes counted.

To re-enfranchise voters, Democrats will not only have to fight Republican legislatures and elected and appointed officials; they will also have to fight the U.S. Supreme Court. Chief Justice Roberts has been lauded for keeping the Court from becoming too political by sometimes siding with liberals. Yet he has broken the promise of the 15th Amendment that the "right … to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color…” Roberts has been the tiebreaking vote upholding Republican voter suppression efforts in nearly every case that has come before his Court. That includes a decision that thwarted the federal Voting Rights Act. The Court ruled its formula for determining which states must first clear any changes in voting laws with the Department of Justice or a federal district court to ensure they wouldn’t disadvantage minorities was unconstitutional. The decision facilitated purging an estimated 16 million voters between 2014 and 2016.

Justice Roberts and Justice Gorsuch, who has joined Roberts in such decisions since being appointed to the court, were both members of the Republican National Lawyers Association (RNLA) – an organization which reportedly has helped states suppress minority voting for decades. There is currently no code of ethics for Supreme Court Justices to help determine whether they should recuse themselves from cases because of their prior affiliations. The late Rep. Louise SlaughterDorothy (Louise) Louise SlaughterDemocrats must go on the offensive against voter suppression House passes bill to explicitly ban insider trading Sotomayor, Angela Davis formally inducted into National Women's Hall of Fame MORE (D-N.Y.) introduced the Supreme Court Ethics Act several times to change that, and Congress should revive and pass it.

Republicans are trying to thwart the core of our democracy: the right to vote. As Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaObama gives Twitter shoutouts to early voters facing challenges: 'You're an inspiration to all of us' Obama highlights Biden's tweet from a year ago warning Trump wasn't ready for pandemic Why childcare must be a priority to restart the economy MORE warned when he eulogized John LewisJohn LewisBrown says Biden's first moves as president should be COVID relief, voting rights Harry Reid: Biden should give GOP three weeks to see if they will work with him NY Times slammed for glowing Farrakhan op-ed: 'You would think he was a gentleman' MORE, “those in power are doing their darnedest to discourage people from voting.” Democrats must stand up to them to defeat Donald Trump and restore integrity to the White House.

Neil Baron advised the SEC and congressional staff on rating agency reform. He represented Standard & Poor’s from 1968 to 1989, was vice chairman and general counsel of Fitch Ratings from 1989 to 1998. He also served on the board of Assured Guaranty for a decade.