Daily Kos Elections

Daily Kos's official elections portal.
  1. Voting Rights Roundup: Brian Kemp's Georgia governor win tainted by his own GOP voter suppression

    Leading Off

    Georgia: On Friday, Democrat Stacey Abrams ended her campaign for governor against Republican Brian Kemp, yet she refused to concede and argued his voter suppression efforts had created insurmountable obstacles for her campaign. As ThinkProgress legal expert Ian Millhiser succinctly noted, "There’s no way to know if the result would have been different if [Kemp] didn’t do everything in his power to steal this election, but he did everything in his power to steal this election." Consequently, his victory should rightly be viewed as lacking the legitimacy of a free and fair election.

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    Kemp ran a reactionary campaign of voter suppression and intimidation that harkened back to the dark days of Jim Crow. As secretary of state, he suspended and purged countless voter registrations, removed hundreds of polling places to make voting less convenient for those with limited transportation options, had his allies on local elections boards fail to provide adequate resources to handle high turnout, exposed Georgia's election systems to massive security vulnerabilities, and baselessly claimed Democrats had committed cyber crimes to cover up his own security failures.

    Kemp fought Abrams' efforts to have many rejected absentee ballots counted, a disproportionate number of which had arbitrary or trivial discrepancies like missing birth years and were from counties where Abrams is leading Kemp. Abrams won a few voting rights victories after courts forced counties to count some absentee ballots even if the voter's birth date was incorrect or missing, and another court ordered Georgia officials to take additional steps to count up to 27,000 of the unusually high number of provisional ballots, but it simply wasn't enough.

    Unfortunately for Abrams, the results as of Friday still had Kemp at 50.2 percent of the vote, just about 18,000 votes above the absolute majority needed to avoid a Dec. 4 runoff. This came after many voters faced significant hurdles cast a ballot—indeed, in the Democratic stronghold of metropolitan Atlanta, hundreds of voting machines sat unused in warehouses as voters waited for hours in some precincts to cast their ballots. This was both the result of election administrators' decisions and Kemp's choice to successfully fight an ongoing lawsuit to force Georgia to switch to paper ballots.

    Consequently, the bar was likely very high for Abrams to succeed if she had attempted a to have the election voided despite its glaring flaws. Abrams' campaign chairwoman acknowledged that the campaign didn't have a list of 18,000 disenfranchised voters and would have had to present the testimony of hundreds or thousands who were unable to vote and use statistical analysis to argue the effect was widespread enough to taint the outcome.

    Abrams announced she will file a federal lawsuit over Georgia Republicans' "gross mismanagement" of the election, but the damage to American democracy has already been done. Furthermore, the ultra-partisan Republican majority on the U.S. Supreme almost certainly wouldn't do anything to overturn Kemp's tainted election victory. And as governor, Kemp will have the power to sign new suppressive voting measures and ensure Republicans keep gerrymandering after the 2020 census, locking in a vicious cycle that further undermines any semblance of free and fair elections.

  2. Daily Kos Elections weekly open thread

    Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band — “Out in the Street”

  3. Daily Kos congratulates Arizona Secretary of State-elect Katie Hobbs

    Today, Daily Kos congratulated newly elected Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs. Daily Kos was pleased to endorse her and other Democrats for key posts in August, and the Daily Kos community contributed over $360,000 to Democrats in those races. Hobbs joins Jena Griswold in Colorado and Jocelyn Benson in Michigan in flipping previously GOP-held offices.

    “Hobbs, along with Griswold and Benson, will improve voting in myriad ways, from fighting to stem the tide of dark money, implementing automatic voter registration, improving election security, and increasing turnout among voters of color and other communities often underrepresented at the ballot box,” said Daily Kos political director David Nir. “This is why Daily Kos was pleased to support these Democrats in their bids to expand the voting rights of millions of Americans.

    "Republican secretaries of state have been working to undermine ballot box access and election fairness for years, and under Donald Trump, these assaults are now coming from the very top levels of U.S. government. The election of the Democrats as secretaries of state will prove vital to protecting our democracy.”

    Daily Kos has led the way in supporting Democrats across the country this cycle, raising over $8.7 million for candidates in small grassroots donations in 2017-2018. We will continue this crucial work into the 2020 cycle.

  4. California Republican concedes defeat in race she said months ago wasn't even competitive

    On Friday, a little more than a week after she launched the briefest of campaigns to head the NRCC, California GOP Rep. Mimi Walters conceded defeat to Democrat Katie Porter in the election for the state’s 45th Congressional District. Walters’ abortive bid to lead the GOP’s House campaign arm was the last, but far from the only, example of how little she understood how much electoral danger she was in—a danger that crescendoed after Election Day.

    Walters may have been lured into a false sense of security because, until this year, she was accustomed to easily beating Democrats in Orange County, which since time immemorial had been the citadel of California conservatism. Walters was elected to the state legislature four times from 2004 to 2012 and never took less than 57 percent of the vote. Even in 2010, when she lost a statewide race for treasurer by a wide 56-36 margin, she carried Orange County 52-41. In 2014, Walters entered the race to succeed retiring GOP Rep. John Campbell in the 45th District, which had backed Mitt Romney 55-43 two years earlier at the same time that Campbell was defeating Irvine Mayor Sukhee Kang 58-42. Democrats didn’t seriously contest the seat when Walters sought it, and predictably, she had no trouble winning.

    It was a similar story in 2016 when Walters beat another little-known Democrat 59-41. However, that victory came as Walters’ seat, like Orange County as a whole, was rejecting Donald Trump. But even though Hillary Clinton became the first Democratic candidate for president to win Orange County since FDR—and in so doing carried the 45th District 50-44—Walters continued to act like she was still representing a solidly Republican seat. She most notably supported Trumpcare and voted for the GOP’s tax bill, even though suburban seats like hers stood to suffer from it.

    With 2016’s impact on Orange County in mind, Democrats were determined that 2018 would be different. A number of Democrats, including Porter, jumped in to challenge Walters and raised credible sums of money. However, Walters just didn’t seem to understand that she was in for a tough fight. In March, when Politico’s Gabriel Debenedetti asked Walters if her race was competitive, she replied with a simple “No,” insisting that Democrats “think just because Hillary Clinton won these districts that they can win.” Insisted Walters, “I don’t subscribe to that same idea. If you look at my race, I got 37,000 more votes than Donald Trump did.”

    Walters continued to underestimate the depth of her predicament even after Porter emerged from the June top-two primary.

  5. New Hampshire Democrats set to oust secretary of state notorious for backing GOP voter suppression

    While the position of secretary of state is directly elected in most states, in New Hampshire it’s chosen by the members of the state legislature. And with Democrats winning back both the state Senate and House in the Granite State last week, lawmakers are now poised to pick an excellent candidate who's devoted to protecting and expanding voting rights, Democrat Colin Van Ostern.

    Indeed, state House Democrats just held an informal party caucus vote where they overwhelmingly said they’d back Van Ostern over incumbent Bill Gardner, who has been in office since 1976. Though nominally a Democrat, Gardner eagerly served on Donald Trump's bogus voter fraud commission and has backed multiple voter suppression laws targeting college students that Republican legislators passed after they took control of state government following the 2016 elections. That betrayal cost Gardner the bipartisan support he had long enjoyed, leading top Democrats to rally around Van Ostern as a far better alternative.

    Now the bill has come due. After flipping both chambers, New Hampshire Democrats now have a 14-10 edge in the Senate and 234 out of 400 seats in the House—the second-largest majority they’ve ever held since the foundation of the Republican Party in the 1850s. As a result, Democrats will have a 248-176 advantage when both chambers vote in a joint session early next month to elect a new secretary of state.

    On the basis of this straw poll, which Van Ostern won 129-23 over Gardner (with a third candidate taking 7 votes), Van Ostern could afford to lose up to 35 Democratic votes and still attain the 213 votes he needs to prevail, since Republican legislators are likely to continue backing Gardner. While that vote total still leaves Van Ostern short of a majority, it doesn't include the Senate. In addition, a number of Democrats didn't participate, and several races are still uncalled, so this demonstration of support shows Van Ostern has a good shot at winning.

    Van Ostern is a strong advocate for policies to make voting easier and more accessible in an effort to boost turnout. He supports automatic voter registration, a bipartisan independent redistricting commission, a ban on corporate donations to state campaigns, and rolling back Republicans' suppression of student voters. By contrast, Gardner fought to implement a GOP-backed anti student voter law even in defiance of a court order this fall, and removing him from office would finally give New Hampshire a chief elections official who is committed to voting rights.