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Photo Credit: WUSA9

By Lawrence Lessig

Yesterday, I awoke to the extraordinary news in Georgia — that Mitch McConnell would no longer be Senate Majority Leader. I crafted an email to celebrate, which we were holding for official confirmation of Jon Ossoff’s victory.

Then the darkest images from America’s democracy began spreading across the net.

I join with many in believing that either Congress or the Vice President needs to act now to remove this most dangerous President from a position in which he can do more harm.

But this post is not about that. …


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Photo Credit: ahundt

By Lawrence Lessig

It’s all-but over. Monday, 306 officially appointed presidential electors cast electoral college votes for Joe Biden. As importantly, zero competing electors in key swing states cast votes for Donald Trump under the purported authority of their rogue state legislatures or governors. Though the President’s drumbeat of fraud continues, that means the election is essentially over. Even Mitch McConnell has recognized the victory. Democracy has prevailed.

Thank you for your support to safeguard the election. As many of you know, with your help, we produced a huge volume of op-eds, explainers, and a 10-part podcast with a deep dive into presidential selection, which were relied on by campaign insiders and the media to make sure all routes for undermining democracy were shut. And the Supreme Court case about presidential electors we brought ended with the key idea that, when it comes to presidential elections, “We the People rule.” …


by Michael L. Rosin

Michael L. Rosin is a guest contributor and a constitutional historian. He is the author of amicus briefs in Equal Citizens’ previous Electors’ Freedom Litigation in Colorado and Washington. He can be reached at mlrosin@att.net.

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Photo by Mathyas Kurmann on Unsplash

As Donald Trump spews distrust of “mail in” voting, it would serve us well to make sure we understand what federal law says about absentee ballots and the role of the United States Postal Service.

Start with the basics: In the hierarchy of federal law, the Constitution comes first followed by statutes and then agency regulations. …


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By Evelyn Li

The United States government is predicated on a system of checks and balances. But one such check appears nowhere in the Constitution and is the biggest hindrance to a productive federal government.

The filibuster is a procedural rule in the Senate that allows senators to delay or prevent voting on a piece of legislation, traditionally through a prolonged speech that extends the debate until the filibustering Senator yields the floor — which never actually happens without the vote of a supermajority of other Senators. Senators in opposition to a bill are motivated to filibuster when they know a majority intends to pass it into law. …


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Photo Credit: Doctor Popular/Flickr

By Jason Harrow

This article was original published by The Globe Post.

COVID-19 hit the US big time in mid-March, so we’ve now had about three months to assess how litigants, courts, and election officials are planning to handle upcoming elections. In most of the country, officials have stood up for voting rights, as many states have quickly made voting-by-mail easier and more available. But a few states and some right-wing outside groups have resisted that common-sense change and have insisted that most voting will be done in person, pandemic be damned.

These states — let’s call them the “Intransigents” — are now being forced to defend their refusals in court. Their defenses haven’t gotten much press, but the arguments are disturbing. …


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By Evelyn Li

After the primary election in Georgia on June 9th, we now know what the worst case scenario looks like. A perfect storm created an election meltdown, where voters were subjected to confusion, exposure to the virus, and wait times upwards of four hours.

Georgia voters faced the set of problems present in other states’ elections during the COVID-19 era. People, rightfully, feared gathering at the polls, and the transition to vote-by-mail was messy, to say the least. Instead of automatically sending ballots to every registered active voter, the Secretary of State’s office chose to mail out absentee ballot request forms. Many applied for an absentee ballot but did not receive it in time to mail it back. …


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Photo credit: Mike Licht

By Evelyn Li

Georgia may have been the birthplace of the civil rights movement, but it remains a hotspot of voter suppression. The state’s anti-democratic policies drew national attention during the 2018 midterm elections, when Secretary of State Brian Kemp oversaw the gubernatorial election in which he was competing (and would eventually win).

On June 9th, the state made national headlines again, holding primary elections that experts called disastrous. Voting machines malfunctioned, inexperienced poll workers were in disarray, and wait times were up to five hours long. …


by Jason Harrow, Chief Counsel

An image of the Constitution’s use of “We the People.”
An image of the Constitution’s use of “We the People.”
One day, maybe?

It’s a psychological fact that people are more likely to remember the beginning and end of anything they read than the middle part. So maybe my brain chemistry is what’s making me focus on the last line in Justice Kagan’s opinion for the Supreme Court in Chiafalo v. Washington, the case decided yesterday about presidential electors that Equal Citizens founder Larry Lessig argued. (I argued the companion case, Baca, which got a one-sentence opinion that said: “See Chiafalo.”).

But I don’t think it’s brain chemistry that’s keeping the line in my mind. I think I’m focusing on the last line because I want to put its ideal into reality. …


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By Lawrence Lessig

For three years, we have been pressing the courts to answer a critical question: Who are the Electors? Are they people, with the inherent right of choice? Or are they agents, controlled by the state legislature?

Answering this question before it could decide a presidential election was critical. And today we finally got our answer: They are agents. This is not what we believe the Constitution requires. But it is incredibly important that the Court has resolved this question before it created a crisis.

That first step is now done. So, we are launching step two. The Supreme Court has spoken about what the Electoral College is. Today we launch a project to give the people a chance to speak about what they want the College to become. …


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Photo Credit: Massachusetts Voter Table

By Evelyn Li

The Constitution requires that an enumeration of all individuals living in the United States be conducted every ten years. Even a global pandemic will not stop the Census. But the current health crisis creates obstacles for the collection of an accurate count. And the stakes are high: the Census determines resource-allocation and political representation throughout the next decade.

To better understand how COVID-19 is affecting Census outreach efforts, Equal Citizens Fellow Evelyn Li spoke to Beth Huang.

Beth is the Director of the Massachusetts Voter Table, a statewide coalition of grassroots organizations that uses integrated voter engagement to expand civic access, participation, and representation of communities of color. She convenes MassCounts to prepare the grassroots organizations for the 2020 Census, is a member of the Steering Committee of the economic justice coalition Raise Up Massachusetts, and advocates for increased civic access and voting rights as part of the Election Modernization Coalition. …

About

EqualCitizens.US

Equal Citizens-a nonprofit organization founded by @Lessig-is dedicated to reforms that will achieve citizen equality. #fixdemocracyfirst

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