Voting Law Proposals and Voting Rights Efforts (1 Viewer)

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    MT15

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    This is, IMO, going to be a big topic in the coming year. Republicans have stated their aim to make voting more restrictive in just about every state where they have the means to do so. Democrats would like to pass the Voting Rights Bill named after John Lewis. I’m going to go look up the map of all the states which have pending legislation to restrict voting. Now that we have the election in the rear view, I thought we could try to make this a general discussion thread, where people who have concerns about voting abuses can post as well and we can discuss it from both sides. Please keep memes out of this thread and put them in the boards where we go to talk about the other side, lol.
     
    Or lets reminisce about the time (R) pulled out of ERIC (Electronic Registration Information Center)

    ERIC began a decade ago as a partnership between Democratic- and Republican-led states, and it gives its members access to the same federal data Allen cited for Alabama's use.

    The compact also facilitates data-sharing between its two dozen or so member states and crucially does so by matching unique identifiers so election officials can feel confident the reports it produces are good enough to act on.


    He and a number of other Republican secretaries of state abandoned the group earlier this year after the far right began targeting the organization with conspiracy theories. When he vowed to pull Alabama out, Allen himself repeated a conspiracy theory about the involvement of liberal billionaire George Soros in ERIC.

    Nine states — all Republican-led — have now withdrawn from ERIC.

    They all left without a plan to replace it.
     
    Nearly 500,000 people in Tennessee will be barred from voting in the upcoming presidential election, with critics claiming new electoral rules will likely disproportionately affect Black and Latinx people.

    Those convicted of certain felony crimes in Tennessee (tried in any U.S. state) have previously been able to vote only if they had been pardoned or had their voting rights restored. Felons convicted of extremely serious crimes, such as first-degree murder, may or may not have voting rights restored—depending on the year in which the conviction took place, according to the Tennessee Secretary of State.

    Under the Tennessee constitution, a condition of citizenship is the right to bear firearms. But felons, once they have finished their sentences, in Tennessee and elsewhere, are prohibited from purchasing, storing or carrying guns.

    In the summer of 2023, state election officials perceived a Tennessee Supreme Court decision as mandating that anyone with felony convictions seeking reinstatement of their voting rights must either have their complete citizenship rights reinstated by a judge or prove they have been pardoned. Newsweek has contacted the Secretary of State for Tennessee for comment and clarification via the form on its website.

    Before, a Tennessee felon seeking to regain voting rights had to settle all outstanding debts and obtain government officials' approval by submitting a "certificate of restoration" form to confirm their eligibility to vote.

    According to the new requirement, someone with a felony must first obtain a pardon from the governor or have a court reinstate their full citizenship rights—which includes the right to bear arms. After fulfilling this, the person must then proceed with the certificate of restoration process to have their voting rights reinstated.

    A 2022 estimate by the Sentencing Project, which describes itself as a nonpartisan criminal justice nonprofit, puts the percentage of voting-age people who are unable to vote due to a felony conviction at 9 percent, or approximately 471,000 people. The project says the rule change is likely to disproportionately affect Black and Latinx people.

    "Tennessee denies voting rights to 21 percent of Black voting age citizens and 8 percent of Latinx voting age citizens due to system involvement. The rate of disenfranchisement for Black Tennesseans is nearly four times the national average for Black Americans," the Sentencing Project previously reported.

    It is believed to be the first change of its kind in the U.S., according to nonpartisan government watchdog group Campaign Legal Center. Some advocates for voting rights have said the interpretation by officials was misguided.

    "Despite the Tennessee legislature's clear intent to create meaningful pathways for voting rights restoration, the Elections Division, with help from the Attorney General's office, continues to twist the law into tortured knots to prevent the 475,000 Tennesseans, including over 20 percent of voting age Black Tennesseans, with past felony convictions from voting," Blair Bowie, director of Campaign Legal Center's Restore Your Vote, told The Associated Press............


     
    I wonder why the Ohio AG is afraid of this?
    Ohio attorney general rejects voting-rights petition

    Last week, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost (R) rejected language for a proposed constitutional amendment that would expand voting rights in the state, claiming the title and summary were misleading.

    The Secure and Fair Elections (SAFE) amendment, spearheaded by the Ohio NACCP, Ohio Unity Coalition, Ohio Organizing Collaborative and others, would overhaul voting rights in Ohio by allowing same-day voter registration during early voting and on Election Day, implementing automatic voter registration, permitting no-excuse mail-in voting for all Ohioans, allowing voters to vote without ID by signing a declaration attesting to their identity and more
     
    People of color make up nearly 30% of eligible voters in the US, but cast just over 22% of all votes – a significantly smaller share of the vote relative to their representation in the voter population, according to a new analysis.

    As the gap in voter turnout between people of color and white people continues to widen, the study broke down the numbers showing how Latinos, Asian Americans and Black people are persistently underrepresented in the electorate – which, as evidenced by Guardian reporting, is not in small part due to voter-suppression efforts.

    The study shows that between 2010 and 2020, the US saw a 35% rise in the overall numbers of Asian Americans, 23% for Latinos and 6% for Black people, while the white population declined by 2%. Still, election results are shaped by white voters, despite their eligible voter population increasing in that time by less than 3%.


    White people in 2020 accounted for 67.6% of eligible voters, but they made up 75.1% of the share of voters who cast a ballot due to higher turnout, resulting in overrepresentation among actual voters.

    “We know that disparities in turnout by race and ethnicity are entrenched in our electoral system,” Mindy Romero, the lead author of the report and director of the center for inclusive democracy at the University of Southern California, said.

    Voter turnout among Black Americans is higher compared with that of other racial groups, and in the 2012 presidential election, Black turnout surpassed white turnout for the first time.

    “Who’s on the ballot matters,” Romero said.

    Turnout differences when Barack Obama was running for president may reflect how Black voters care more when Black candidates are on the ballot. But between midterm elections, the share of Black people who voted dropped as registration rose, according to the report.

    The year 2020 saw a record number of 154.6 million people turn out for the presidential election, and people of color made up a substantial share of the voters. People of color, especially Black voters, play a pivotal role in the outcomes of presidential elections, but their participation in midterms is notably declining.


    Nearly 40% of eligible Black voters cast a ballot in the 2018 midterm election, but that number fell to 32.2% in 2022. At the same time, voter registration among Latinos and Asian Americans went up, though this did not result in increased voting during midterms.

    “Black voters can vote in really high numbers, but they still face challenges to turnout, and we see those disparities at play now,” Romero said.

    While Black people are projected to account for 14% of eligible voters in the upcoming presidential election, there are significant barriers they face in taking part in the voting process.

    Mississippi has the largest share of Black voters, at 37%, followed by Georgia, a swing state, where they make up a third of eligible voters. But stringent voter ID laws, aggressive gerrymandering and harsher sentences for errors in voter registration in states like those are some of the barriers for Black voters in casting a ballot.

    “There’s outright voter-suppression efforts still happening in the US,” Romero said.……

     
    Republicans are challenging extended mail ballot deadlines in at least two states in a legal maneuver that could have widespread implications for mail voting before the presidential election in November.

    A lawsuit filed last week in Mississippi follows a similar one last year in North Dakota, both brought in heavily Republican states before conservative federal courts. Democratic and voting rights groups are concerned about the potential impact beyond those two states if a judge rules that deadlines for receiving mailed ballots that stretch past Election Day, Nov. 5, violate federal law.

    They say it’s possible such a decision would lead to a nationwide injunction similar to one last year when a Texas judge temporarily paused the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the abortion pill mifepristone.

    “This effort risks disenfranchising Mississippi voters, but we don’t want that to also be precedent for other states,” Abhi Rahman, communications director of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, said in response to the most recent lawsuit.

    Mississippi and North Dakota are among 19 states that accept late-arriving mailed ballots as long as the ballots are postmarked on or before Election Day, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. That includes political swing states such as Nevada and North Carolina. Some states, including Colorado, Oregon and Utah, rely heavily on mail voting.


    Former President Donald Trump has long railed againstthe use of mail voting, in particular when many states expanded its use during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, when the Republican lost his reelection bid to Democrat Joe Biden. Trump has falsely claimed that changing vote tallies after Election Day are an indication of widespread fraud. In the wake of his loss, several Republican-controlled states moved to tighten rules around mail voting.

    The Republican National Committee, the Mississippi Republican Party, a member of the state Republican Executive Committee and an election commissioner in one county filed a federal lawsuit on Friday against Secretary of State Michael Watson and six local election officials.


    The suit challenges a Mississippi law that says absentee ballots in presidential elections will be counted if they are postmarked by Election Day and received within five days. It argues that Mississippi improperly extends the federal election beyond the election date set by Congress and that, as a result, “timely, valid ballots are diluted by untimely, invalid ballots.”

    “Federal law is very clear –- Election Day is the Tuesday after the first Monday in November,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement announcing the lawsuit. “However, some states accept and count ballots days and days after Election Day, and we believe that practice is wrong.”………..

     
    Republicans are challenging extended mail ballot deadlines in at least two states in a legal maneuver that could have widespread implications for mail voting before the presidential election in November.

    A lawsuit filed last week in Mississippi follows a similar one last year in North Dakota, both brought in heavily Republican states before conservative federal courts. Democratic and voting rights groups are concerned about the potential impact beyond those two states if a judge rules that deadlines for receiving mailed ballots that stretch past Election Day, Nov. 5, violate federal law.

    They say it’s possible such a decision would lead to a nationwide injunction similar to one last year when a Texas judge temporarily paused the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the abortion pill mifepristone.

    “This effort risks disenfranchising Mississippi voters, but we don’t want that to also be precedent for other states,” Abhi Rahman, communications director of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, said in response to the most recent lawsuit.

    Mississippi and North Dakota are among 19 states that accept late-arriving mailed ballots as long as the ballots are postmarked on or before Election Day, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. That includes political swing states such as Nevada and North Carolina. Some states, including Colorado, Oregon and Utah, rely heavily on mail voting.


    Former President Donald Trump has long railed againstthe use of mail voting, in particular when many states expanded its use during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, when the Republican lost his reelection bid to Democrat Joe Biden. Trump has falsely claimed that changing vote tallies after Election Day are an indication of widespread fraud. In the wake of his loss, several Republican-controlled states moved to tighten rules around mail voting.

    The Republican National Committee, the Mississippi Republican Party, a member of the state Republican Executive Committee and an election commissioner in one county filed a federal lawsuit on Friday against Secretary of State Michael Watson and six local election officials.


    The suit challenges a Mississippi law that says absentee ballots in presidential elections will be counted if they are postmarked by Election Day and received within five days. It argues that Mississippi improperly extends the federal election beyond the election date set by Congress and that, as a result, “timely, valid ballots are diluted by untimely, invalid ballots.”

    “Federal law is very clear –- Election Day is the Tuesday after the first Monday in November,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement announcing the lawsuit. “However, some states accept and count ballots days and days after Election Day, and we believe that practice is wrong.”………..

    In Colorado they have to be delivered by election day or they don't count -- another reason why I prefer leave them in the county drop box instead of the mail box. I don't have a problem with that, as long as everyone is made aware and the rules are equally applied.
     
    In Colorado they have to be delivered by election day or they don't count -- another reason why I prefer leave them in the county drop box instead of the mail box. I don't have a problem with that, as long as everyone is made aware and the rules are equally applied.
    I do the same and I do it well in advance
     
    BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A federal judge in North Dakota has dismissed a lawsuit challenging the acceptance of mail-in ballots after election day brought by a county election official and backed by a legal group aligned with former President Donald Trump.

    In his Friday ruling, U.S. District Judge Daniel Traynor said Burleigh County Auditor Mark Splonskowski lacked standing, did not allege a specific constitutional violation, is not conflicted by his oath of office, and that the state election director named in the lawsuit “is not a potential cause for Splonskowski’s alleged injuries because she has no enforcement authority.”

    North Dakota Republican Secretary of State Michael Howe welcomed the ruling as “a win for the rule of law in North Dakota and a win for our military and overseas voters.”…….


     
    I wonder why the Ohio AG is afraid of this?
    Ohio attorney general rejects voting-rights petition

    Last week, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost (R) rejected language for a proposed constitutional amendment that would expand voting rights in the state, claiming the title and summary were misleading.

    The Secure and Fair Elections (SAFE) amendment, spearheaded by the Ohio NACCP, Ohio Unity Coalition, Ohio Organizing Collaborative and others, would overhaul voting rights in Ohio by allowing same-day voter registration during early voting and on Election Day, implementing automatic voter registration, permitting no-excuse mail-in voting for all Ohioans, allowing voters to vote without ID by signing a declaration attesting to their identity and more

    More info about the situation above ^
    It was his second time declining to certify the group’s petition summary

    The coalition behind the amendment — which includes the NAACP’s Ohio chapter, A. Philip Randolph Institute and Ohio Organizing Collaborative — filed suit Thursday.

    Their complaint asks justices to direct Yost to certify their petition and send it along to the state Ballot Board, on the grounds that he had no reviewing authority over its title, let alone the power to reject it based on that.
     
    A bill to criminalize some kinds of absentee ballot voter assistance – creating a felony on par with statutory rape or involuntary manslaughter – sped out of an Alabama state senate committee Wednesday.

    The proposed legislation on senate bill 1 initially prohibited people other than close family members or co-habitants from helping any voter request an absentee ballot, filling out that application or ballot or returning that ballot to elections offices. The bill carves out exceptions for people with disabilities and those who cannot read or write. Receiving or giving money for these activities could be prosecuted as Class B or Class C felonies, respectively, under the proposed law.

    The legislation addresses instances of voter fraud, said Garlan Gudger, an Alabama senator and author of the bill, before a packed capitol hearing room at the senate state governmental affairs committee. Counties with unusual proportions of absentee ballot activity demonstrate evidence of fraud, he said.


    “There is a website in the secretary of state’s office,” he said. “They have different counties that have shown the percentages.”

    Alabama’s ACLU questions that assertion.

    “We would challenge the senator to publicly release that data,” said Laurel Hattix, staff attorney with the Alabama ACLU. “We have not seen that data. There has been no evidence provided to organizations, to other policy makers that this idea of ballot harvesting or problems with absentee ballots is a widespread problem in Alabama.”

    She noted that a Heritage Foundation analysis found only 20 instances of fraud between 2000 and 2023. “This is a bill that is proposing incarceration and criminal penalties for a problem that doesn’t exist.”……..

     
    When Juliana Buonaiuto moved from New York to attend Kent State University in 2020, she had her heart set on voting in her college community in Ohio.

    “I wanted my vote to count where I was living,” Buonaiuto said.


    Four years later, Buonaiuto is planning to vote absentee in New York, in part because of an Ohio elections law championed by Republicans that can make it more challenging for out-of-state students to cast ballots.

    The legislation, which was signed into law by Republican Gov. Mike DeWine last January, introduced significant changes to Ohio’s election laws, most notably establishing a photo ID requirement that is considered among the most restrictive in the nation. DeWine argued the bill would improve “election integrity,” and a federal judge shot down a Democratic attempt to block it, saying the law “imposes no more than a minimal burden, if any, for the vast majority of voters.”


    But some Ohio college students say that they are the exception, and that the legislation fits within a nationwide Republican effort in recent years to restrict their voting rights.

    After voting rules were loosened in many states for the 2020 election, which was held in the depths of the coronavirus pandemic, GOP lawmakers have sought to tighten restrictions for 2024. Although the efforts have been ostensibly aimed at curbing fraud, elections experts say voter fraud is already exceedingly rare.

    Democrats say they believe the real objective is to limit voting among college students, who voted in historic numbers in 2020 and overwhelmingly supported Joe Biden, helping to power his victory.

    “We need to be seeing this law for what it really is,” said Katie Seewer, president of the Ohio State College Democrats. “It’s an attack on students and an attack on their ability to vote.”


    College campuses have become sources of strength for Democratic candidates. Some allies of former president Donald Trump have bemoaned the ease with which students can vote and advocated making it more difficult.


    “What is this young people effort that they do? They basically put the polling place next to the student dorm so they just have to roll out of bed, vote, and go back to bed,” longtime Republican lawyer and strategist Cleta Mitchell told GOP donors last spring.


    Liz Avore, a senior policy adviser tracking election-related legislation at the nonpartisan organization Voting Rights Lab, said she has seen “a divide develop and deepen between states” when it comes to voting policy during the last four years.

    Student voting access changes have been part of that, she said. The legislation has come from “states that are looking to remove barriers to student voting and by states that are looking to restrict access to voting by students.”…….


     
    don't mean to harsh Jason Palmer's mellow after his great upset victory out there in American Samoa, but while most of the elite political media was at the track handicapping the increasingly irrelevant horserace, the traditional Republican ratfcking of the eventual 2024 election has begun in earnest, and voter-suppression is already working smoothly and according to plan.

    For example, the gutting of the Voting Rights Act — aka John Roberts' Day of Jubilee — is operating in the real world precisely the way it was meant to. From NPR:

    A new study by the Brennan Center for Justice, a think tank that advocates for expanded voting access, measured the impact of the Shelby County decision between 2012 and 2022. The researchers looked at nearly a billion voter records and compared the rate at which white and nonwhite Americans vote in elections. The study refers to the difference between white voters and other groups as the "turnout gap." The gap can be wide: In three elections from 2018 to 2022, 43% of eligible white voters cast their ballots every time, while that figure for Black voters was 27%, 21% for Asian American voters and 19% for Hispanic voters, according to the Pew Research Center...the think tank found that the turnout gap was growing faster in places formerly covered under Section 5 and that it was growing fastest between white and Black voters in those areas. "What we found was that these jurisdictions fell back into their pattern of adopting laws and policies that made voting difficult for people of color," says Kareem Crayton, the center's senior director for voting rights and representation.
    Yes, there are the perpetually cited "other factors" that may play into this situation, but the fact is that the destruction of the Voting Rights Act was central to the decades-long conservative project to roll back the achievements of the civil rights movement. Hell, it was the Chief Justice's reason for living from the time he was a baby reactionary. And we are now seeing how successful that project has become.

    The study compared the turnout gap between white and nonwhite voters in areas once covered under Section 5 with estimates of the turnout gap in places that were never part of Section 5 but had similar demographic and socioeconomic characteristics. It found that between 2012 and 2022, the turnout gap between white and nonwhite voters in counties once covered under Section 5 grew by 9 percentage points, while the gap in noncovered counties went up by 5 points. Similarly, the gap between white and only Black voters in Section 5 areas grew by 11 points, while the gap in noncovered comparable areas rose by 6 points since the Supreme Court ruling.
    And, as a rather overlooked story in the New York Times reported on Sunday, there are forces at work to shore up the famous victory over voting rights that the Supreme Court handed to the conservative movement and to its public manifestation, the Republican Party.

    Calling themselves election investigators, the activists have pressed local officials in Michigan, Nevada and Georgia to drop voters from the rolls en masse. They have at times targeted Democratic areas, relying on new data programs and novel legal theories to justify their push. In one Michigan town, more than 100 voters were removed after an activist lobbied officials, citing an obscure state law from the 1950s. In the Detroit suburb of Waterford, a clerk removed 1,000 people from the rolls in response to a similar request. The ousted voters included an active-duty Air Force officer who was wrongly removed and later reinstated.

    Round up the usual suspects.

    The Michigan activists are part of an expansive web of grass-roots groups that formed after Mr. Trump’s attempt to overturn his defeat in 2020. The groups have made mass voter challenges a top priority this election year, spurred on by a former Trump lawyer, Cleta Mitchell, and True the Vote, a vote-monitoring group with a long history of spreading misinformation. Their mission, they say, is to maintain accurate voting records and remove voters who have moved to another jurisdiction. Democrats, they claim, use these “excess registrations” to stuff ballot boxes and steal elections. The theory has no grounding in fact. Investigations into voter fraud have found that it is exceedingly rare and that when it occurs, it is typically isolated or even accidental.



     
    Guess this can go here
    =============

    A Massachusetts man who threatened to blow up the secretary of state of Arizona in 2021 has been sentenced to three and a half years in prison, one of the most severe federal punishments yet handed down for the wave of violent threats against election officials unleashed by Donald Trump’s stolen election lie.

    James Clark, 38, was sentenced in federal district court in Phoenix on Tuesday to 42 months of imprisonment, to be followed by three years on probation. Judge Michael Liburdi said that his online bomb threat had inflicted “emotional and psychological trauma” on government employees and required a deterrent sentence to protect democracy.

    Liburdi remarked that there had been so many recent threats in Arizona against election officials that people were quitting their jobs. “If we do not have good people to fill these positions who are committed to the delivery of fair elections, we lose our ability to govern ourselves,” the judge said.


    The prosecution was handled under the auspices of the election threats task force, a specialist unit within the justice department. The task force was set up in 2021 in response to the plague of intimidation of election officials that has erupted since the former president made his baseless claim that the 2020 presidential election was rigged.

    Tuesday’s sentence of three and a half years in prison is on a par with the previous harshest sentence secured by the task force. In August, Francis Goetz from Texas was given a similar punishment for posting several threats against Arizona election officials on far-right social media platforms.

    Clark made his bomb threat a week after the January 6 attack on the US Capitol. In his plea agreement he admitted to logging into the website of the then secretary of state, Katie Hobbs, who is now Arizona’s governor.

    He demanded that she resign within two days or an “explosive device impacted in her personal space will be detonated”. Within minutes of sending the threat, Clark searched online for Hobbs’s home address and put her name against the search term “how to kill”.

    Four days after the bomb threat, he searched for details of the 2013 Boston marathon bombing.……

     
    ……..Two years later, in the midterms, armed vigilantesdressed in tactical gear stalked drop boxes in a vain hunt for “mules” stuffing fraudulent ballots into them. Amid the furore, election officials found themselves assailed by online harassment and death threats.

    No longer faceless bureaucrats, they had become public enemy No 1.

    With the likely presidential rematch between Trump and Biden just eight months away, Fontes, as the top elections administrator, is facing a formidable challenge. He is preparing for it like the marine veteran that he is.

    The secretary of state is staging tabletop exercises in which officials wargame how to react to worst-case scenarios. What would they do if a fire broke out at the ballot-printing warehouse, or if a cargo train spilled its toxic load on to the facility storing voting equipment?

    “Tiger teams” have been assembled to be quickly dispatched across the state to fix software or other voting problems. To anticipate bad actors using artificial intelligence to create malicious deepfakes of candidates, his office has done its own AI manipulations, making videos in which individuals speak fluently in languages they do not know such as German and Mandarin. “They were very, very believable,” Fontes noted.

    Specialists from the Department of Homeland Security have been deployed to advise counties on physical and cyber security. Active-shooter drills have been rehearsed at polling stations.

    As the Washington Post reported, kits containing tourniquets to staunch bleeding, hammers for breaking glass windows and door-blocking devices have been distributed to county election offices. “These are not things we would ever want to train anybody on,” Fontes said. “But given the environment … ”

    With all this under way, Fontes insists he’s ready for anything. “We will prepare as best we can for any contingencies,” he said. “And then we have no choice but to march forward, hopefully.”
    A single statistic underlines the looming danger hanging over the 2024 presidential contest. More than half – 53% – of Arizonans are currently represented in the state legislature by Republicans with a proven track record of election denial.

    That arresting figure comes from the election threat index, a database compiled by the voting rights organization Public Wise. The directory is designed as an accountability tool, tracking local and state officials who spread misinformation and participate in legislation undermining democracy.

    “This is a race to the bottom,” said Reginald Bolding, a Public Wise adviser and former Democratic minority leader in the Arizona house. “We are seeing the Republican party reward whoever’s most extreme about elections.”…….

     
    Guess this can go here
    =================

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Warnings about deepfakes and disinformation fueled by artificial intelligence. Concerns about campaigns and candidates using social media to spread lies about elections.

    Fears that tech companies will fail to address these issues as their platforms are used to undermine democracy ahead of pivotal elections.

    Those are the worries facing elections in the U.S., where most voters speak English. But for languages like Spanish, or in dozens of nations where English isn’t the dominant language, there are even fewer safeguards in place to protect voters and democracy against the corrosive effects of election misinformation.

    It’s a problem getting renewed attention in an election year in which more people than ever will go to the polls.

    Tech companies have faced intense political pressure in countries like the U.S. and places like the European Union to show they’re serious about tackling the baseless claims, hate speech and authoritarian propaganda that pollutes their sites.

    But critics say they’ve been less responsive to similar concerns from smaller countries or from voters who speak other languages, reflecting a longtime bias toward English, the U.S. and other western democracies.……

     

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