Mr. Newby’s defense of his action is hard to take seriously. He said that his reversal of the commission’s precedent was merely an administrative fix and therefore did not need a vote of the commissioners.
In February, several voting rights groups, including the League of Women Voters, sued in federal court to stop Mr. Newby’s unilateral action. The Justice Department, which usually sides with federal officials, refused to defend Mr. Newby, saying that he had violated federal law. A decision in the case is pending.
For years, Republicans in statehouses have been trying to block voting rights. Now, the federal agency whose mandate is to make voting easier is also being hijacked by Republican ideologues.