“FBI should clean up its interactions with online platforms, DOJ watchdog says”

Washington Post:

Weeks after the Supreme Court rejected a conservative-led push to block contacts between the U.S. government and social media companies, a new report from the Justice Department’s inspector general found that intelligence agencies’ communications with the companies have sometimes been undisciplined.

The 53-page report, published Tuesday by Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz, affirmed that U.S. law enforcement agencies need to communicate with tech firms about foreign influence operations, such as Russia’s campaign to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. But it warned that officials need to be more systematic and careful about the nature of those communications to ensure they don’t cross the line into government censorship.

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“Vance once advocated that children get votes that parents could cast”

Washington Post:

A year before J.D. Vance was elected to the Senate, he advocated for a novel way to enhance the political strength of families — by giving parents the ability to cast tens of millions of additional votes on behalf of their children. . . .

“When you go to the polls in this country as a parent, you should have more power,” he told the conservative Intercollegiate Studies Institute. “You should have more of an ability to speak your voice in our democratic republic than people who don’t have kids. Let’s face the consequences and the reality. If you don’t have as much of an investment in the future of this country, maybe you shouldn’t get nearly the same voice.”

The idea Vance floated was fleshed out this month in a law review article titled “Give Parents the Vote” by Northwestern University law professor Joshua Kleinfeld and Harvard law professor Stephen Sachs. Giving parents the chance to vote on behalf of their children would “profoundly alter the incentives of American parties and politicians,” they wrote. . . 

Joshua Douglas, an election law professor at the University of Kentucky, said he was intrigued by allowing parents to vote for children but questioned whether it would pass muster in court. . . .

Edward Foley, an election law professor at Ohio State University, agreed such a system would face a tough road in court.

He expressed doubts about the merit of the proposal. Democracy is built on the idea that all voters get an equal say and are responsible for thinking about what’s best for the entire community, not just themselves, he said.

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“Election officials continue to face threats, harassment ahead of November”

ABC News:

“Election workers are still dealing with a lot of lies that are being told about the elections, and are in many ways bearing the kind of the consequences of those lies with harassment, abuse and sometimes threats,” said Lawrence Norden, senior director of the Elections and Government Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, a bipartisan public policy think tank.

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“Shouldn’t Officials Who Oversee Their Own Elections Be Able to Recuse Themselves?”

Kevin Johnson in Governing:

….State and federal laws, codes of conduct, and judicial training provide substantial guidance on recusal, and court systems are ready to provide needed replacements.

But what about a secretary of state overseeing his own race for governor, or a county clerk running for the state legislature? Shouldn’t they also recuse from decisions that could impact their own races? The answer is … no one really knows. Few states have laws for such circumstances, and none has a roster of qualified replacements to take over a recusing official’s responsibilities. Polls show that most voters support restrictions on such conflicts of interest. Election officials say they want to do the right thing but lack guidelines explaining what the right thing is.

A new report by our organization, the Election Reformers Network, aims to meet that need. 

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“Trump-friendly panel shapes Georgia’s election rules at long, often chaotic meetings”

ABC News:

ATLANTA — The Georgia State Election Board, which once toiled in relative obscurity, now hosts raucous meetings where public comment spans several hours and attendees regularly heckle its members.

The shift highlights how election administration has become increasingly scrutinized and politicized. . .

Georgia’s board, which has no direct role in determining election results, writes rules to ensure that elections run smoothly and hears complaints about alleged violations. Democrats and voting rights groups fear that a recently cemented majority of Republican partisans on the board could push the limits of state law with rules hindering the effective administration of elections and the swift certification of results.

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“Newbern, Alabama Will Hold First Election Since 1965”

Democracy Docket:

A federal judge signed off Tuesday on the settlement agreement reached in Newbern, Alabama in Mayor Patrick Braxton’s case, officially giving him all mayoral powers and privileges after being blocked from office by the previous white town leaders. . . 

In addition to forcing Braxton’s predecessors to give him access to official documents and allow him into the town hall, which they physically locked him out of, the settlement agreement establishes that the town will hold its first election since 1965 next year . . .

Newbern, a small majority-Black town, has not had a mayoral election in almost 60 years and instead has the current mayor appoint the next mayor. 

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