US Opinions | The Constitution won’t guarantee that your vote will count
Are 'ballot seflies' legal? Depends where you are voting, it's punishable in some states
California, Colorado and New Hampshire are among more than 20 states where it’s legal to take a ballot selfie. But in Illinois it’s punishable by up to three years in prison. © Rick Bowmer / AP Jennifer Fresques takes a selfie before inserting her ballot into an official ballot drop box Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020, in Salt Lake City. Start the day smarter. Get all the news you need in your inbox each morning.
The Supreme Court ruled in twolast week, with more in the pipeline even as Nov. 3 fast approaches. The decisions allow Pennsylvania to count ballots that arrive after Election Day and to ban curbside voting. The court is also being asked to decide cases in and Wisconsin concerning deadline extensions for counting mail-in and absentee ballots. At issue in all these cases is whose votes count.
Record numbers of Americans have mailed in ballots or are showing up at polling places to, but if they hope to guarantee their votes will count, one thing is clear from these Supreme Court decisions and others: The Constitution is the wrong place to look. If we want to really guarantee our suffrage, we should know true control of the franchise lies with the states.
Many people in jail are eligible to vote. But casting a ballot behind bars isn't easy
Hundreds of thousands of people are detained at local jails across the U.S. While most are eligible to vote, many face 'de facto' disenfranchisement.Greene, who's awaiting trial on burglary charges, is one of the more than 600 voters in New York City's Department of Correction custody who registered to vote this year.
Over and over, the Constitution makes that clear.
Let’s start with what it says about federal voting. When the Constitution took effect in 1789, “we the people” could vote only in U.S. House elections, and that was only if our state legislature let us vote in state house elections. It’s only been since the 17th Amendment in 1913 that we’ve elected senators; before then, state legislatures chose them. As for the presidency, we still don’t vote for it; state legislatures hold a popular vote to choose “electors” — the people who directly vote for president and vice president — andat least some state legislatures chose the electors themselves. Notice a pattern?
Other misconceptions about voting rights concern what the Constitution says, and doesn’t say, about race, sex, age and citizenship.
Fact check: Mail-in ballots arriving after Election Day will count in some states
A viral post on Facebook claims any ballot received after Election Day will not be counted. That's partly false, many states have extensions in place.A recent viral post on Facebook claims that any mail-in ballots arriving after Election Day won’t be counted.
A lot of people assume the Constitution originally didn’t let Black people vote — that instead it was the 15th Amendment in 1870 that gave them that right. Not only is that not the case, but the 15th wasn’t the first amendment to counter Black voter suppression. The 14th Amendment, in 1868, gave citizenship to anyone born in the United States, including Black people, and penalized states for not letting “male” citizens 21 and older, including Black male citizens, vote in federal and state elections. But the penalty — a decreased population basis for apportioning U.S. representatives — wasn’t enough to stop suppression, so the 15th Amendment specified “race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” In other words, “citizens of the United States” can’t have their right to vote “denied or abridged” based on those things, which really means the amendment protects our voting rights only if we already have them.
Polling averages show Trump gaining on Biden in most swing states. Will it be enough?
Trump gained on Biden in polling average in 9 of 12 swing states since Monday, continuing last week's trend. But of those, he is only ahead in Texas.The deadline for early voting ends Friday in several states where the race is tight, including Arizona, Georgia, Nevada and Texas – and on Saturday in the key states of Florida and North Carolina. Though early turnout appears to favor Democrats in many states, Republicans are gaining ground quickly in Florida and other early voting states.
This distinction means everything, because it shows where disenfranchisement has always lived: in state governments. For all its groundbreaking protections, thedidn’t prevent a century of poll taxes, literacy tests and whites-only primaries in Southern states. By not specifying that Black people had the right to vote, the Constitution opened the door for discriminatory state laws. At the same time, the Constitution never said Black people couldn’t vote. While no states let enslaved people vote in 1789, free Black people — sometimes restricted to men or property owners — could in , and . Rhode Island let free Black people vote before 1822, then banned them, and then reversed the ban in 1843. . The point is, the Constitution didn’t ban Black people from voting, but by leaving suffrage up to the states — even in federal elections — states could pass discriminatory laws targeting Black voters. They still do this today with state laws around closures, requirements, “ ” signature registration policies, “ ” stipulations, and the other sorts of challenges the Supreme Court has been considering.
The final week in polls: Trump eats into Biden's leads in Arizona, North Carolina, Nevada and Pennsylvania
The final polls show the race between Trump and Biden has tightened since mid-October, both nationally and in the critical battleground states.Biden's lead in USA TODAY's average of averages, which is based on data from RealClearPolitics and FiveThirtyEight, reached double-digits on Oct. 12, but has since fallen back to a 7.5-percentage point lead. That leaves him back roughly in the same position USA TODAY found him in its first poll roundup on Sept. 28, when his polling average lead over Trump was 7.2 points.
I’m 82 years old, and Texas is hellbent on making it harder for me to vote
Similarly, we tend to think of women getting the right to vote with the 19th Amendment in 1920, but that’s also not true. The 19th is written like the 15th in that voting rights for citizens can’t be “denied or abridged” based on sex; but this didn’t give women the right to vote, it just protected their right if they already had it. In many states,could vote long before the 19th Amendment: New Jersey allowed to vote between 1789 and 1807, and between 1869 and 1887, five territories that later became states granted women full voting rights. , and 14 others followed — as well as 12 more that restricted female voting to presidential elections — before the 19th Amendment. While the Constitution does mention “male” around voting, in the 14th Amendment, it wasn’t an actual restriction. The 19th Amendment, in any case, effectively applied only to White women, since many states prevented from voting until the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
Misconceptions apply to how Native Americans are viewed by the Constitution, as well. On two occasions, the Constitution said Native Americans who didn’t pay taxes were excluded from a state’s population totals for the purpose of apportioning its U.S. representatives — but it never mentioned voting. It wasn’t until the Snyder Act of 1924 thatreceived U.S. citizenship, which meant the 15th Amendment applied to them, too — but several states resisted. A pair of court cases in 1948 affirmed the 15th Amendment for in Arizona and New Mexico, and in became the 50th state to remove legal barriers to voting for Native Americans. So again, by making voting rights a state issue, the Constitution let individual states disenfranchise a segment of the population. States still do this today with voting laws requiring a that isn’t just a post office box; many Native Americans don’t possess such an address.
Police, experts monitoring extremist groups to see if poll watchers try to disrupt voting
The states with the highest risk for election-related violence by armed extremist groups are Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Georgia and Oregon.President Donald Trump, who has falsely claimed voter fraud is widespread, has called for an army of poll watchers to ensure the election is fair. Right-wing extremist groups have signaled they plan to heed the call. Left-wing groups have vowed to confront people they believe are engaged in voter suppression.
Nor is the Constitution specific about restricting the vote by age. Like the 15th and 19th Amendments, the 26th Amendment in 1971 protected the voting rights of citizens from being “denied or abridged” if they were 18 or older. Until then, the Constitution cited age once (next to “male” in the 14th Amendment), but again, it wasn’t a restriction. Today, dozens of states let votersThe missing Black voters , and a third of states let 17-year-olds vote in primary elections if they’ll be 18 by the general election. in Maryland — Greenbelt, Hyattsville, Riverdale Park and Takoma Park — let 16-year-olds vote in all local elections, and in Berkeley, Calif., 16-year-olds can vote in . There’s also no federal law requiring people to be 18 to vote, but in , the Supreme Court said Congress can set a uniform voting age for federal elections.
As for citizenship status, not only is there nothing in the Constitution that restricts voting to citizens, but for its first 137 years, at least 40 states also letvote in federal, state and local elections. Only , have noncitizens been prevented from voting in federal and state elections in every state. It was not until 1996 that a federal law banned from voting in federal elections. Today, 10 cities and in Maryland — Barnesville, Chevy Chase, Garrett Park, Glen Echo, Hyattsville, Martin’s Additions, Mount Rainier, Riverdale Park, Somerset and Takoma Park — let noncitizens vote in all local elections, while lets noncitizens vote in school board elections.
So why didn’t the Constitution specify who can vote? If it had, some states most likely wouldn’t have ratified it, and nine of the 13 states were needed. But while the framers punted the issue of voting rights to the states, they also gave Congress the power to “make or alter” certain voting laws. In other words, for our 231 years under the Constitution, voter discrimination on behalf of property ownership, race, sex, age and citizenship has existed almost exclusively at the state level, which means your state legislators, governor and secretary of state are crucial in guaranteeing you voting rights.
While, the only way to guarantee the franchise is through a “right to vote” amendment. On Aug. 5, Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) . Needless to say, it won’t sort out 2020 for us.
USPS Service blows deadline to check for missing ballots. About 300,000 can't be traced .
Fearless Forecast Week 9: 3 Rec, 30 Yds Projected Points: 6.4