Voting Law Proposals and Voting Rights Efforts (1 Viewer)

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    Well-known member
    Mar 13, 2019
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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.
    Douglas, Georgia (CNN) — The breach of the Coffee County elections office can seem almost out of place in the 97-page Georgia indictment of former President Donald Trump and associates.

    The sprawling racketeering allegations spread from centers of power with pressure on the vice president to ignore the Constitution, reported calls to secretaries of state to change vote counts, and the creation of slates of fake electors for Congress. They also include the invitation of a tech team to a non-public area of a small-town administration building.

    But to some people in Coffee County, deep in southern Georgia and far from interstates, the alleged crimes were merely the latest chapter in a local history of failing to secure the rights and votes of residents. And they worry it’s a history that will repeat.

    Among the 19 mugshots that flowed from the charges brought 200 miles north in Atlanta were faces that were familiar in Douglas, the seat of Coffee County.

    Prosecutors allege that former county Republican Party chair Cathy Latham and former elections supervisor Misty Hampton helped to facilitate employees from a firm hired by Trump attorneys to access and copy sensitive voter data and election software. Surveillance video captured Latham waving the visitors inside, and Hampton in the office as they allegedly accessed the data. Both have pleaded not guilty……..

    PHOENIX — A proposal by Republican election deniers in Arizona who want to opt out of the state’s government-run presidential primary election in 2024 and instead hold the party’s own one-day, in-person election, with paper ballots that would be counted by hand, has caused anxiety among top Republicans in Washington, who fear being drawn into a messy fight.

    The state party leader rejected the Maricopa County Republican Committee’s proposal shortly ahead of a deadline on Friday after days of frenzied discussions that involved national Republicans and advisers to former president Donald Trump — likely setting up political backlash in 2024 in a state whose GOP has been pulled to the right in recent years by MAGA loyalists and election skeptics.

    Jeff DeWit, chair of the state party, concluded that the party does not have the money, the manpower or the infrastructure to run an election for an estimated 1.4 million eligible voters.

    The fight over management of the state’s nominating contest on March 19 demonstrates most vividly the divide between conservatives who want to radically change voting procedures after Trump’s 2020 electoral defeat and those who have accepted his loss and want to work within institutional election norms during the 2024 contest.

    The battle — which is playing out within the largest voting jurisdiction in a state that will help decide the presidency and control of the U.S. Senate — follows years of vilification of voting norms by Trump and his supporters. It is a consequence of deepening dysfunction within the party on an issue that has accelerated Democratic gains in the newly competitive state…….

    Pennsylvania announced Tuesday that it has implemented automatic voter registration to ease the process of casting a ballot, joining 23 other states and the District of Columbia.

    Residents who are eligible to vote and who obtain or renew a driver’s license or identification card at Pennsylvania’s Department of Motor Vehicles now will be guided through the voter registration process by default. If they don’t want to be added to the voter rolls, they have to actively opt out.

    The change fulfills a campaign promise by Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro (D), whose state is likely to be crucial to the 2024 presidential race. He promoted the new system Tuesday as a “common sense” step to make elections more secure and less costly for taxpayers.

    “Look, this is common sense. You already provide proof of identity, residency, age and citizenship at the DMV — all the information you need to register to vote,” Shapiro said in a video posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

    Democratic incumbent Barack Obama won Pennsylvania in the presidential election in 2012, while Republican Donald Trump picked up the state in 2016. Joe Biden flipped Pennsylvania back to blue in 2020. In each case, the candidate who won Pennsylvania also won the election.

    About 8.7 million of the more than 10.3 million Pennsylvanians who are eligible to vote are registered. Closing gaps like that is a goal of the advocacy group When We All Vote, whose interim executive director, Laura Miller, said integrating voter registration with processes in which residents already engage — like renewing a driver’s license — increases the number of people who sign up…….

    Taylor Swift has influenced the culture, the economy and the internet this summer — and now she’s boosting voter registration.

    On Tuesday, the singer posted an Instagram story in honor of National Voter Registration Day, asking people to register to vote.

    In the following hour, traffic on spiked by more than 1,200 percent, said CEO Andrea Hailey, contributing to a record-breaking number of visits to the voter registration website that day.

    In her Instagram story — posted in the blue-and-white design scheme of her forthcoming album, “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” — Swift directed people to

    “I’ve been so lucky to see so many of you guys at my U.S. shows recently. I’ve heard you raise your voices, and I know how powerful they are,” she wrote. “Make sure you’re ready to use them in our elections this year!”……..

    ……..The legal action is the first of its kind after a supreme court ruling in June affirmed federal protections enshrined by the 1965 Voting Rights Act, the crowning achievement of the civil rights movement, against racial discrimination in voting laws. It is being closely watched nationally as a vital test case.

    At stake is whether Black and other minority voters can continue to rely on the Voting Rights Act amid a rash of Republican racial gerrymandering sweeping the country. Has the legislation already been eroded beyond usefulness?

    The lawsuit challenges new electoral maps that have been introduced by the Republicans who control Galveston county – the three Republican commissioners and a fellow Republican county judge. Tied to the 2020 census, their new maps reshape Holmes’s majority-minority district out of existence.

    Under their redistricting plan, the district turns from having 58% of voters who are African American and Latino, into a majority-white entity with only 28% Black and Latino voters.

    Galveston county would lose its lone district, known as Precinct 3, which for more than three decades has given minority voters, who overwhelmingly lean Democratic, the ability to elect a representative of their choice.

    Lucille McGaskey, a longtime resident who was involved in the push to create Precinct 3 as a crucible of Black political power and who testified at the redistricting trial, said that people had struggled hard “so that we would have a seat at the table. We lose Precinct 3, we lose that seat – we lose our identity.”

    The federal court case is local in essence – it involves just 350,000 residents of Galveston county. Unusually, though, it has drawn the national spotlight.

    The Department of Justice has joined local African American and Hispanic plaintiffs to sue the county Republicans. They are collectively seeking to block the plan to eviscerate Precinct 3 as a majority-minority district by invoking section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which prohibits intentional discrimination in voting laws and procedures on the basis of race or color.

    They argued in court that the new maps were a textbook example of “cracking”. That’s the technique often used in racial gerrymandering in which minority voters are split up and parceled out evenly among multiple districts, depriving them of a majority stake in any one.

    Supporting the Republicans are several leading conservative groups that promote measures to make voting more difficult, including the Public Interest Legal Foundation. They argued that the new maps were race-neutral and motivated by politics rather than race.…….

    In North Carolina, Local Labs wanted obscure voter records that would take weeks, or even months, to prepare.

    In Georgia, the company requested a copy of every envelope voters used to mail in their ballots.

    And in dozens of counties across the US, Local Labs asked for the address of every midterm voter.

    Local election offices across the country are struggling to manage a sharp rise in the number of public records requests, and extensive requests coming from a little-known conservative effortcalled Local Labs in at least five states have stymied election officials, according to a Votebeat review of hundreds of records requests, as well as interviews.

    The requests are broad and unclear, and the purpose for obtaining the records is often not fully explained, leaving officials wondering in some cases whether they can legally release the records.

    Local Labs is known for a vast network of websites that rely mainly on aggregation and automation, blasting out conservative-leaning hyper-local news under names such as the Old North News, in North Carolina, and Peach Tree Times, in Georgia.

    Local Labs’ CEO, Brian Timpone, told Votebeat the company was using records requests in an attempt to expose election fraud that he is sure exists.

    The company was sometimes getting paid by GOP-backed clients to do so, Timpone acknowledged, characterizing the work simultaneously as both political research and journalism.

    “We’re just trying to push for more free speech and more transparency,” Timpone said. “And no one else is doing it.”……..

    But election officials have questions.

    It’s unclear from the requests when the company is doing the work for a third party or for their news websites, or both, and if the election offices can legally provide the records.

    One recent Local Labs project offers a clue of what might be to come.

    After the midterm election, Local Labs was paid by America First Policy Institute (AFPI), a national thinktank that pushes the former president Donald Trump’s agenda, to send public records requests to 100 counties in the US asking for a record of each voter who voted, along with their address and other information.

    AFPI published the first results of that work in June, in a misleading report that insinuated that thousands of fraudulent ballots were cast in Arizona’s midterm election.

    “Voter Discrepancies Found in the Arizona 2022 General Election,” the AFPI headline read. But most, perhaps all, of the more than 8,000 discrepancies found were because Local Labs had compared two sets of voter lists from different time periods and including different voters.

    Yavapai county officials, for example, showed Votebeat emails in which an elections official tried to convince Local Labs not to publish the broad findings because they were misleading, taking time over days to explain the source of the discrepancies. The warnings went ignored.…….

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    don't know how accurate this is but interesting if true

    PHOENIX — If the 2024 presidential election is close in Arizona, a newly enacted state law will mandate a ballot recount that will probably cause the state to miss crucial deadlines for certifying the vote, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post and interviews with elections officials.

    Arizona was central to attempts by Trump and his allies to change the outcome of the 2020 election, and many Republican primary voters in the state continue to be fixated on election denialism, a movement stoked by Trump and others who refuse to accept the results.

    The battleground state is expected to play a pivotal role in the next presidential election and any holdup in counting votes there could cause chaos.

    In a Sept. 11 letter to the County Supervisors Association of Arizona and the Arizona Association of Counties, an organization representing election officials from all of the state’s 15 counties wrote that the new law — passed after President Biden’s narrow win in Arizona in 2020 — will “put in jeopardy” immovable deadlines on the election calendar, including those that are part of the electoral college process and those that confirm the winners of August primaries so that general-election ballots can be mailed to military and overseas voters.

    Worst-case scenario, more than half a dozen election officials told The Post, Arizona could delay pivotal steps in the process for sitting a president.

    The prospect of triggering an electoral crisis has led voting administrators, their lawyers and organizations that represent them to demand immediate solutions from Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs (D) and leaders in the GOP-controlled legislature.

    One major proposal would move Arizona’s primary election earlier in the summer.

    Other ideas to buy more time during the general election include speeding up the proofreading of ballots and allowing local officials to more quickly transmit results to the state…….

    This is the case Rs are threatening to impeach the newly elected justice over

    Wasn’t sure where to put this

    Also for what it’s worth, remember that Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post
    Amid concerns the rise of artificial intelligence will supercharge the spread of misinformation comes a wild fabrication from a more prosaic source: Amazon’s Alexa, which declared that the 2020 presidential election was stolen.

    Asked about fraud in the race — in which President Biden defeated former president Donald Trump with 306 electoral college votes — the popular voice assistant said it was “stolen by a massive amount of election fraud,” citing Rumble, a video-streaming service favored by conservatives.

    The 2020 races were “notorious for many incidents of irregularities and indications pointing to electoral fraud taking place in major metro centers,” according to Alexa, referencing Substack, a subscription newsletter service. Alexa contended that Trump won Pennsylvania, citing “an Alexa answers contributor.”

    Multiple investigations into the 2020 election have revealed no evidence of fraud, and Trump faces federal criminal charges connected to his efforts to overturn the election.

    Yet Alexa disseminates misinformation about the race, even as parent company Amazon promotes the tool as a reliable election news source to more than 70 million estimated users.

    Amazon declined to explain why its voice assistant draws 2020 election answers from unvetted sources.

    “These responses were errors that were delivered a small number of times, and quickly fixed when brought to our attention,” Amazon spokeswoman Lauren Raemhild said in a statement. “We continually audit and improve the systems we have in place for detecting and blocking inaccurate content.”

    Raemhild said that during elections, Alexa works with “credible sources” like Reuters, Ballotpedia and RealClearPolitics to provide real-time information.

    After The Washington Post reached out to Amazon for comment, Alexa’s responses changed.

    To questions The Post had flagged to the company, Alexa answered, “I’m sorry, I’m not able to answer that.” Other questions still prompt the device to say there was election fraud in 2020.

    Jacob Glick, who served as investigative counsel on the Jan. 6 committee, called Alexa’s assertions nearly three years after the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol “alarming.”

    “If major corporations are helping to give life to the ‘big lie’ years after the fact, they’re enabling the animating narrative of American domestic extremism to endure,” said Glick, who now serves as a policy counsel at the Georgetown University Law Center’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection. “They should be doing everything they can to stop the ‘big lie’ in its tracks, lest we see history repeat itself.”……..

    This is the case Rs are threatening to impeach the newly elected justice over

    R state legislators asked 3 former R state Supreme Court justices to review and give their opinion on impeaching the newly elected D justice. At least 2 of the 3 flat out told them there was no justification for impeachment.

    WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (AP) — The polls had just opened for last year’s midterms in Pennsylvania when the phones began ringing at the election office in Luzerne County.

    Polling places were running low on paper to print ballots. Volunteers were frustrated, and voters were getting agitated.

    Emily Cook, the office’s interim deputy director who had been in her position for just two months, rushed to the department’s warehouse. She found stacks of paper, but it was the wrong kind — ordered long ago and too thick to meet the requirements for the county’s voting equipment.

    Conspiracy theories swiftly began to spread: Republican polling places were being targeted; Democrats overseeing elections were trying to disenfranchise Republicans.

    “The feeling early on in the day was panic — concern — which grew to overwhelming panic,” said Cook, a 26-year-old native of Luzerne County. “And then at some point throughout the day, there was definitely a feeling of people are starting to point fingers — before the day was over, before things were even investigated.”

    The paper shortage, corrected later in the day, turned out to be an administrative oversight by a new staff but has had consequences that are still rippling through the county of 200,000 voters, sowing doubt about how elections are run and leading to a congressional hearing.

    It also serves as a cautionary tale about the perils of a change that has been largely hidden from public view but has transformed the election landscape across the U.S. since the 2020 presidential election: an exodus of local election directors and their staff.

    Election offices have been understaffed for years. But 2020 was a tipping point, with all the pandemic-related challenges before the presidential vote and the hostility afterward driven by false claims of a stolen election.

    A wave of retirements and resignations has followed, creating a vacuum of institutional knowledge across the country. Experts in the field say widespread inexperience creates risk in an environment where the slightest mistake related to voting or ballot counting can be twisted by conspiracy theorists i nto a nefarious plot to subvert the vote.

    “People growing weary of dealing with the constant criticism, the unending workload, the inability to have any sort of work-life balance at all, and then finding themselves constantly in the spotlight and under scrutiny has, I think, put us in a national crisis,” said Jennifer Morrell, a former local election official in Utah and Colorado. “This feels like a really precarious spot.”……..

    Since taking office in 2019, Governor Ron DeSantis and the Republicans who control the Florida legislature have led one of the most aggressive efforts to restrict voting – particularly in Black communities – in the United States.

    It’s an attack that has unfolded on many fronts. The state has prosecuted people confused about their eligibility to vote. DeSantis’s administration has levied significant fines against voter registration groups, in some cases for minor errors.

    Republicans have rewritten Florida’s election laws to create new voting barriers, weakened Black political power in the state, and used a new state agency to intimidate voters.

    The Guardian has been investigating Ron DeSantis’s attack on voting rights. Here are a few of the most consequential actions DeSantis, who is running for president, has taken to restrict voting.

    He created an agency to crack down on voter fraud with troublesome results

    Voter fraud is exceedingly rare, both in Florida and across the United States. But in 2022, DeSantis and the Republican-controlled legislature created a new agency, the Office of Election Crimes and Security, to crack down on it.

    The agency was one of the first of its kind in the country. DeSantis initially proposed funding it with $6m and filling it with 52 staffers.

    The proposal prompted outrage, with some noting it would have more manpower than some local law enforcement agencies have to investigate murder.

    The legislature eventually funded it with $1.1m in 2022 for 15 positions and increased the budget to $1.4m this year. Voting rights advocates saw the move as a thinly veiled effort to intimidate people into not voting.

    He’s prosecuted people confused about their eligibility to vote

    In August 2022, DeSantis held a press conference flanked by uniformed law enforcement officers announcing he was arresting 20 people and charging them with illegally registering and voting.

    They were the first charges filed under the Office of Election Crimes and Security and each charge carried a maximum of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Fourteen of those charged were Black, and at least two of the men were arrested by armed officers.

    It quickly emerged that all of those charged were confused about whether they could vote, partly because of a new state law. All 20 had prior criminal convictions that made them ineligible to vote, but said they had not been told that.

    All of them had received voter registration cards in the mail. Voting advocates said the prosecutions were thinly veiled efforts to discourage people with felony convictions from trying to vote after Florida changed the rules around their eligibility with bipartisan support.

    Judges have dismissed several of the cases so far, noting that statewide prosecutors exceeded their jurisdiction in bringing them. The state is appealing those dismissals.

    He’s intimidated groups trying to register voters

    Since 2021, DeSantis and the Florida legislature have consistently made it harder for third-party groups to try to register voters in Florida. Voters of color are about five times more likely to register with such groups in the state.

    The legislature has changed the law so that groups now have to turn in forms in the county where the voter lives (previously they could return them anywhere in the state).

    It imposed steep fines for errors: $500 for each form that was turned in to the wrong place. The state has raised the maximum a group could be fined from $1,000 to $250,000.

    As of mid-July, at least 26 groups had racked up more than $100,000 in fines for registration errors. In some cases, the voter lived at the county border, just hundreds of feet away from the county line, and had listed the wrong address on their own registration form.…….


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