Fred Hiatt, in a recent Op-Ed, likens voter suppression legislation pending or passed in state legislatures around the country to termites eating away at the foundations of democracy (Wash. Post, June 13, A21). His focus is on measures that would strip election officials of their power to certify presidential election results or expose them to criminal penalties if they fail to certify results to the legislature’s liking.
The measures he describes are like the underwater parts of an iceberg. They are buried within voter suppression packages dealing with things like mail-in ballots, drop-boxes, the location of polling places, voter verification requirements and the like that are designed to make voting more difficult.
The tip of the suppression iceberg may draw your attention. But what’s below the surface is the ultimate, fail-safe killer. If making it more difficult to vote fails to deliver the desired results, the legislature will simply take over. The lifeboats are being set adrift.
Authored by Stan Marcuss
Former Counsel to the U.S. Senate’s International Finance Subcommittee
Retired partner, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner
Board member, Lawyers Defending American Democracy