This op-ed by SPN Executive Vice President Tony Woodlief first published at RealClearPolitics.
Preserving election integrity demands, according to Texas Republicans, that local election officials be charged with a felony if they send any Texas citizen the form to apply for a mail-in ballot without first securing that person’s permission to do so. Likewise, Georgia Democrats declare that voting rights will be trampled if local election officials who fail to follow longstanding state election laws have their operations superseded by Georgia’s secretary of state. Each side in these and many other election-law battles claims the other team is attempting to change the rules of the game in order to benefit itself. Each side is right.
When foxes and hawks argue over how to protect the chicken coop, one thing you can know with certainty is who is on the menu. You can also be certain that no matter what schemes hawks and foxes contrive in the name of poultry reform, they will at no point consult the chickens themselves. This is worth bearing in mind as Democrats cast about for means to push through the U.S. Senate some version of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Recently passed by the House of Representatives, this law would make every jot and tittle of state election rules open to challenge from politically appointed judges and U.S. Department of Justice officials. While no one can predict the precise nature of those challenges, we can be assured that they will be governed by calculations of how one party or the other will benefit from a forestalled reform here, an overturned redistricting decision there.