My latest for Slate. Here’s how the piece begins:
Until recently, litigation about voting during the COVID-19 crisis followed a predictable pattern. Voters would complain about states’ restrictive regulations, conservatives would rush to the laws’ defense, and courts would referee the disputes. Powerhouse right-wing lawyers, however, have now opened a troubling new front in the voting wars. They now claim that it’s unconstitutional for states to make it easier to vote while the pandemic rages. Relaxations of voting rules supposedly give rise to fraudulent votes that impermissibly dilute the ballots cast by law-abiding citizens. This novel argument should—but probably won’t—be laughed out of court. As it spreads across the country, it threatens to put states in an impossible position: exposed to liability not just if they ignore, but also if they try to alleviate, the pandemic’s effects on the electoral process.