Wyoming officials are facing mounting pressure to audit the 2020 election from pro-Trump activists asserting, without evidence, that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from the former president through widespread voter fraud. Activists across the state have flooded state lawmakers’ inboxes and voicemails with demands to investigate the state’s elections. These calls align with partisan efforts to relitigate election results in swing states like Arizona, Pennsylvania and Georgia. Activists have also repeatedly implored staffers of Gov. Mark Gordon and Sec. of State Ed Buchanan to pursue policies to bolster “election integrity.” County-level post-election audits are already commonplace in Wyoming, and are required by statute. That has not stopped the activist tide; State Sen. Mike Gierau, D-Jackson, said he’s received “dozens” of emails calling on lawmakers to pursue an election audit. “I’ve gotten to a point now that when people write about [voter fraud], I’d say they’d have to tell me that you understand that it’s not true, it didn’t happen, and that all you’re trying to do is trying to help frame your candidate for future elections,” Gierau said. “I want them to tell me they know that [Trump] did not win, that there was no substantive proof of election fraud anywhere in this country.” The “Wyoming First Audit” chatroom on the online messaging app Telegram has attracted more than 1,000 members — though some are organizing a wide-ranging effort to combat perceived voter fraud.
Pennsylvania: Despite infighting, GOP senators push 2020 election audit | Katie Meyer and Sam Dunklau/WHYY
A week after the most powerful Republican in Pennsylvania’s Senate promised a full “forensic audit” of the 2020 election, there’s little clarity among those in the legislature — including on the senator’s own staff — about exactly what that means, or how it will work. But based on conversations with GOP staffers and members on both sides of the aisle, one conclusion appears widespread among those watching the Senate’s audit drama unfold: Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, generally seen as a by-the-books pragmatist, is making a political calculation. “I think Senator Corman and other Republicans are responding to political pressure from the national party,” said Sen. Sharif Street (D-Philadelphia). “The national Republican party, led by the former president, has ginned up a lot of anxiety about whether the election process happened fairly, which we know it did.”
Democratic Gov. Tony Evers said Monday that it was “outrageous” that Republicans planned to spend $680,000 on an investigation into the 2020 election in Wisconsin, accusing Assembly Speaker Robin Vos of “drinking the Kool-Aid” after meeting with former President Donald Trump. A Republican-controlled Assembly committee gave approval Monday, on a 5-3 party-line vote, to designating former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman as special counsel to lead the investigation ordered by Vos, assist the Assembly Elections Committee and hire investigators and others as needed. Vos said on Friday that the contract will allow for spending up to $680,000 on the probe. That is more than nine times as much as the original contract with Gableman and the vote comes a week after Vos flew with Trump to a campaign rally in Alabama where the two discussed the Wisconsin investigation. “I think it’s outrageous,” Evers said of the GOP election probe, saying the money would be wasted.
National: Facing Foreign Election Foes, States Hire ‘Cyber Navigators’ | Matt Vasilogambros/Stateline
After more than a year of virtual meetings, Bill Ekblad showed up last week at eight southern Minnesota election offices to deliver a simple message to county election chiefs and information technology directors: You don’t need to face the massive cybersecurity threat alone. A Navy veteran who served 26 years as a cybersecurity strategist, Ekblad is Minnesota’s first cyber navigator, charged with helping local election offices defend against the ongoing menace from foreign foes. “Savvy adversaries are finding new ways to wreak havoc, and that could be leveraged in the election world,” he said from the road. “Counties don’t have to face these challenges by themselves.” If a phishing attempt targeted one county election official, it’s likely officials in one of the other 87 counties got a similar email, Ekblad said. Getting ahead of that threat by communicating with every election official around the state is essential, he added. Local election officials are on the front lines of election defense, but they often are underfunded or lack the technical knowhow to protect systems from cyber threats. Seeing this vulnerability, at least seven states—Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota and Ohio—in recent years have launched cyber navigator programs that offer local election officials state-backed contacts to meet the challenge. Several other states are considering following suit. Mark Lindeman, an acting co-director of Verified Voting, an election security nonprofit, said cyber navigators are akin to personal trainers or financial advisers.
House Democrats have passed legislation that would strengthen a landmark civil rights-era voting law weakened by the Supreme Court over the past decade, a step party leaders tout as progress in their quest to fight back against voting restrictions advanced in Republican-led states. The bill, which is part of a broader Democratic effort to enact a sweeping overhaul of elections, was approved on a 219-212 vote, with no Republican support. Its Tuesday passage was praised by President Joe Biden, who said it would protect a “sacred right” and called on the Senate to “send this important bill to my desk.” But the measure faces dim prospects in that chamber, where Democrats do not have enough votes to overcome opposition from Senate Republicans, who have rejected the bill as “unnecessary” and a Democratic “power grab.” That bottleneck puts Democrats right back where they started with a slim chance of enacting any voting legislation before the 2022 midterm elections, when some in the party fear new GOP laws will make it harder for many Americans to vote.
Full Article: House passes bill bolstering landmark voting law
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland urged state and local election officials on Thursday to immediately provide the FBI any threatening communications they receive following a rise in threats against U.S. election administrators. “To help us help you, I urge that you preserve and immediately provide to the FBI any threatening communications you receive in any form,” Garland told a meeting of election officials that was also attended by the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and senior Justice Department officials. In late June, the DOJ launched a task force with the FBI to investigate threats against election workers. “Our attention to this issue will not wane,” said Garland, according to a transcript of his remarks. “The Department is committed to investigating and prosecuting violations of federal law against election officials and election workers, and to supporting your safety and security.”
National: How a Defunct Federal Provision Helped Pave the Way for New Voting Restrictions | Nick Corasaniti/The New York Times
Georgia toughened identification requirements for absentee voting. Arizona authorized removing voters from the rolls if they do not cast a ballot at least once every two years. Florida and Georgia cut back sharply the use of drop boxes for mail-in ballots. All of these new voting restrictions would have been rejected or at least softened if a federal civil rights protection from the 1960s were still intact, experts in election law said. For decades, the heart of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965 was a practice known as preclearance, largely detailed under Section 5 of the statute. It forced states with a history of racial discrimination to seek approval from the Department of Justice before enacting new voting laws. Through preclearance, thousands of proposed voting changes were blocked by Justice Department lawyers in both Democratic and Republican administrations. In 2013, however, Section 5 was hollowed out by the Supreme Court, as Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote in a majority opinion that racial discrimination in voting no longer constituted a significant threat. As Republican-led state legislatures have tightened voting rules after the 2020 election, new restrictions have been enacted or proposed in four states that are no longer required to seek approval before changing voting laws: Georgia, Arizona, Texas and Florida. Those new restrictions would almost certainly have been halted, stalled or altered had Section 5 still been in use, according to interviews with former federal prosecutors and a review by The New York Times of past civil rights actions by the Justice Department.
It’s long been difficult for Americans with disabilities to vote. Inaccessible paths are an obstacle to people who use wheelchairs. Long lines are a huge hurdle to people with chronic pain. Voting machines without audio or large-print ballots are an impediment to those who are blind or who have low vision. But last year, something different happened: As states passed pandemic-driven reforms to make voting easier for everyone, they inadvertently made voting a lot easier for most people with disabilities.And vote, they did. Nearly 62 percent of Americans with disabilities voted in 2020, a surge of nearly 6 percentage points over 2016, or 1.7 million more voters. The number of disabled voters reporting difficulties while voting also dropped significantly; in 2020, 11 percent of disabled voters reported having problems, down from 26 percent in 2012, according to an Election Assistance Commission report. That’s not to say voting was suddenly simple: Mail-in ballots aren’t easier for everyone, including those with visual or cognitive disabilities. And in 2020, disabled Americans were still roughly 7 percent less likely to vote than nondisabled Americans. But the changes made a real difference. Now state policy makers want to turn back the clock. Citing exaggerated concerns about voter fraud, state legislators have passed a wave of new bills that will make it harder for disabled people to vote in future elections. Overall, lawmakers have introduced more than 400 bills in 49 states this year that would restrict access to voting for people with disabilities. At least 18 states have already passed such laws. These laws either target mail-in ballots, reduce the amount of time voters have to request or mail in a ballot, restrict the availability of drop-off locations, impose stricter signature requirements for mail-in voting, or enact new and stricter voter-ID requirements.
Arizona: Covid Outbreak Delays Report on G.O.P.’s Election Review | Michael Wines/The New York Times
A draft report on a much-ridiculed review of the 2020 election results in Arizona’s largest county has been delayed by a Covid-19 outbreak on the team preparing the analysis, the Republican president of the Arizona State Senate said on Monday. The president, Senator Karen Fann, said in a statement that three people on the five-member team were “quite sick,” including Doug Logan, the chief executive of the Florida-based company, Cyber Ninjas, that is in charge of the review. A portion of the draft was still set to be delivered to Ms. Fann on Monday, but the remainder will await the recovery of the three team members. Lawyers for the State Senate will begin reviewing the partial draft on Wednesday, Ms. Fann said, and more meetings will be required before the findings of the review are made public. The statement offered no hint of the contents of the partial draft. Mr. Logan and others involved in the review have previously claimed to have found irregularities in the official results of the November balloting, only to see those allegations debunked by election officials. Mr. Logan’s company began reviewing 2.1 million ballots and election equipment from Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, in April on orders of the Republican majority in the State Senate. Ms. Fann has said that the review was conducted to address claims of voter fraud by supporters of former President Donald J. Trump, though no evidence of widespread fraud exists. She has also said that President Biden’s narrow victories in both the county and the state would remain official regardless of the findings.
California: Dominion Voting Systems sues Santa Clara County to block release of public records | Dustin Manduffie/Courthouse News Service
Dominion Voting Systems claims they were forced to submit private financial information to Santa Clara County when applying for a contract to supply voting systems. That information is now at risk of being disclosed through the Freedom of Information Act and the California Privacy Rights Act. Dominion ultimately won the contract for up to eight years, with an option to renew for two additional two-year terms, but they now face the possibility that their financials will be splayed across the internet for all to see, according to a complaint filed by the company Thursday. The company initially rose to fame during the 2020 United States presidential election because of unproven allegations that they rigged their voting machines to favor Democratic candidate, and now president, Joe Biden. Since that time, Dominion has come under increased scrutiny by Republican politicians, prompting the records requests that led to Thursday’s lawsuit. Dominion claims as part of the process that led to their winning the contract, they had to send the county detailed financial documents, along with proprietary information “about the technical and functional components of their voting systems, as well as the personal identifying information of key employees.” That includes 47 pages of audited financial statements produced between 2015 and 2017 — each page of which was marked “Confidential & Proprietary — No Part of this Document May Be Disclosed or Copied,” according to the complaint.
Colorado: Mesa County commissioners vote to stay with Dominion to replace decertified voting machines | Robert Garrison/Denver Channel
Mesa County commissioners voted Tuesday to stay with Dominion Voting Systems to replace the voting machines that were decertified after an alleged security breach. The unanimous vote to stay with the voting software and hardware company came after about an hour of public comment, which at times became heated. The overwhelming majority of speakers that participated in the public comment portion of the meeting were in favor of ditching Dominion, many of them citing disproven voter conspiracy theories as the reason to replace the voting company with Clear Ballot, a competing voting software and hardware company, or hand counting. Despite the contentious meeting, commissioners Janet Rowland, Scott McInnis, and Cody Davis approved the measure to extend the county’s voting system and managed system agreement with Dominion Voting Systems, stating, in part, because of the cost associated with switching to Clear Ballot. A contract with Clear Ballot would cost the county over $570 thousand for the next two years, as opposed to around $194 thousand to stay with Dominion, commissioners said during the meeting. Another concern for commissioners was an approaching deadline imposed by the secretary of state’s office of Aug. 31, when the county must have new election equipment installed. “That’s the reality. We have to have something in place,” McInnis said.
Full Article: Mesa County commissioners vote to stay with Dominion
Georgia: Election reform group seeks ban on Dominion voting technology | Jeremy Beaman/Washington Examiner
A self-described election integrity group sued the state of Georgia on Tuesday, seeking a ban on the use of Dominion Voting Systems touchscreen ballot-marking technology across the state. VoterGA, which led a suit against Fulton County for an inspection of 2020 election ballots, asked the Fulton County Superior Court to declare the state’s use of Dominion Democracy Suite 5.5 Ballot Marking Device voting systems a violation of state elections law and to enjoin the officials from administrating future elections with those devices. Plaintiffs allege Democracy Suite systems fail to comply with the state’s election code, which provides voting systems must “print an elector verifiable paper ballot” and “produce paper ballots which are marked with the elector’s choices in a format readable by the elector.” The machines in use generate a paper ballot that voters can visually verify, but it also produces a QR code on the paper ballot reflecting the voter’s choices, which cannot be visually verified, according to the lawsuit. Ballot scanners then read the QR code to determine a voter’s selections, and the “written portion of the paper ballot is not used for counting or re-counting the elector’s intent,” the suit said, alleging a legal violation.
Michigan: Judge Orders Sanctions Against Pro-Trump Lawyers Over Election Lawsuit | Alan Feuer/The New York Times
A federal judge in Michigan on Wednesday night ordered sanctions to be levied against nine pro-Trump lawyers, including Sidney Powell and L. Lin Wood, ruling that a lawsuit laden with conspiracy theories that they filed last year challenging the validity of the presidential election was “a historic and profound abuse of the judicial process.” In her decision, Judge Linda V. Parker of the Federal District Court in Detroit ordered the lawyers to be referred to the local legal authorities in their home states for possible suspension or disbarment. Declaring that the lawsuit should never have been filed, Judge Parker wrote in her 110-page order that it was “one thing to take on the charge of vindicating rights associated with an allegedly fraudulent election,” but another to deceive “a federal court and the American people into believing that rights were infringed.” “This is what happened here,” she wrote. … The Michigan lawsuit, filed in late November, was one of four legal actions, collectively known as the “Kraken” suits, that Ms. Powell filed in courts around the country, claiming that tabulation machines made by Dominion Voting Systems were tampered with by a bizarre set of characters, such as the financier George Soros or Venezuelan intelligence agents. In the suits, she complained without merit that those conspirators began a complicated, covert plot to digitally flip votes from President Donald J. Trump to his opponent, Joseph R. Biden Jr.
Michigan: Federal judge sanctions Sidney Powell, Kraken team over election case | Dave Boucher/Detroit Free Press
Attorneys allied with former President Donald Trump who tried to use a conspiracy-laden lawsuit to overturn Michigan’s election results have received federal sanctions from a judge in Michigan and could face a host of other disciplinary measures. The attorneys must also pay legal fees for the city of Detroit and others that defended against the lawsuit and take 12 hours of training — including six hours focused on election law — in the next six months. The punishments foreshadow far more potentially devastating problems for Sidney Powell, Lin Wood and a cadre of other attorneys who used their so-called “Kraken” lawsuit to push a false claim that an international cabal worked to steal the election away from Trump in Michigan and several other states. In addition to harshly chastising the attorneys who filed the suit in her ruling, U.S. District Judge Linda Parker ordered her sanctions be sent to the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission and similar associations around the country. Other courts and state bar associations have the capacity to disbar or otherwise punish these attorneys. “The attorneys who filed the instant lawsuit abused the well-established rules applicable to the litigation process by proffering claims not backed by law; proffering claims not backed by evidence (but instead, speculation, conjecture, and unwarranted suspicion); proffering factual allegations and claims without engaging in the required prefiling inquiry; and dragging out these proceedings even after they acknowledged that it was too late to attain the relief sought,” wrote Parker in a 110-page opinion, issued Wednesday. “And this case was never about fraud — it was about undermining the people’s faith in our democracy and debasing the judicial process to do so.”
Michigan: Hearing scheduled in dismissed Antrim County election lawsuit |Mardi Link/Traverse City Record-Eagle
A hearing is scheduled in an Antrim County election-related lawsuit in which Michigan’s Secretary of State intervened, despite a judge’s earlier decision dismissing the case. A local man, Bill Bailey, filed suit Nov. 23, accusing the county of voter fraud and of violating his constitutional rights, after initial results of the 2020 Presidential election showed about 2,000 votes cast for then-President Donald Trump had mistakenly been assigned to then-challenger Joe Biden. Antrim County Clerk Sheryl Guy acknowledged her office’s human error, an assertion backed by the state’s Senate Oversight Committee, which in June released a 55-page report rejecting claims of widespread election fraud in Antrim County and in Michigan. Bailey had also accused the county of diluting his vote, after a marijuana proposal, allowing a single dispensary in the Village of Central Lake, passed by a single vote. Records show Bailey is registered to vote in Central Lake Township, and only voters registered in the Village of Central Lake received ballots which included the marijuana proposal. Bailey — represented by Matthew DePerno of Portage — accused Antrim County of using what he called intentionally compromised Dominion voting equipment, that deliberately “switched” votes from Republican to Democratic candidates during the 2020 election. These claims have been repeatedly debunked by Dominion CEO John Poulos, and by national, state and county election officials including Chris Krebs, the former chief of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, Ryan Macias, former acting director of U.S. Election Assistance Commission Voting Testing and Certification Program and Alex Halderman, a professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Michigan.
Missouri elections hearing dominated by conspiracies, misinformation | Galen Bacharier/Springfield News-Leader
A meeting of a Missouri House elections committee Tuesday was dominated by conspiracy and misinformation, as lawmakers heard hours of testimony about election security that often had little to no basis in truth. Several people speaking to the panel also recommended changes to the Show-Me State’s ballot initiative process, recommending that it be more difficult for voters to directly amend the state’s constitution or pass laws. The bulk of false information surrounding elections came from those who attended or followed a conference in South Dakota hosted by My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell. Lindell, who has earned a national reputation as a close ally to former President Donald Trump, said he would reveal proof at the conference that showed the November 2020 election was fraudulent — but he and his theories have been widely discredited by both election and cybersecurity experts. Rep. Ann Kelley, a Lamar Republican, testified in front of the committee, telling them she attended Lindell’s conference and that there was an urgent need to reinforce security around Missouri’s elections. Kelley was invited to speak by a member of the committee and “encouraged to bring what she learned” from the conference by chairman Rep. Dan Shaul, an Imperial Republican. County clerks around the state and Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft have said that the Show-Me State’s 2020 elections took place securely, and there were no widespread instances of voter fraud. Trish Vincent, who serves as Ashcroft’s chief of staff, told the committee the state has “a very secure system” with “layers of security.”
Pennsylvania: Months after its launch, risk-limiting election audit pilot comes under review by Senate panel | Marley Parish/Pennsylvania Capital-Star
As Senate Republicans coordinate an investigation into Pennsylvania’s two most recent elections, an audit initiative is under review — 10 months after it launched — by an executive branch committee with election oversight. Acting Secretary of State Veronica Degraffenreid and members of the Department of State’s post-election audit workgroup testified before the Senate State Government Committee on Tuesday to outline the risk-limiting audit, a post-election review piloted during the 2020 general and 2021 primary elections. All counties are required to conduct a statistical sample of at least 2 percent of the ballots cast or 2,000 ballots following every election. But 63 out of 67 counties conducted risk-limiting audits, a review developed by the workgroup that examines a random sample of paper ballots, and compares the paper votes to the totals reported by the vote-counting machines to ensure that the winner of the race is valid. Neither type found evidence of widespread voter fraud or misconduct. Any post-election review should be “transparent and bipartisan,” Degraffenreid told lawmakers. Although the risk-limiting audit is a pilot, she said the goal is to implement the review as an alternative to the 2 percent statistical sampling.
Pennsylvania GOP lawmaker says hearings will begin this week to start ‘forensic investigation’ of 2020 election | Andrew Seidman/Philadelphia Inquirer
Almost 10 months after the presidential election, the Pennsylvania Senate will open hearings this week as it launches a “forensic investigation,” the top Republican senator said Monday. Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (R., Centre) said lawmakers will seek voting records, ballots, and machines — and suggested the Senate will use subpoenas to get them. “We can bring people in. We can put them under oath. We can subpoena records, and that’s what we need to do,” he said in an interview with the pro-Trump radio personality Wendy Bell. “That’s what we’re going to do.” Corman said he has spoken with former President Donald Trump about the issue: “I think he’s comfortable where we’re heading.” The development came days after Corman ousted fellow GOP Sen. Doug Mastriano (R., Franklin) as the leader in Harrisburg of the push for an Arizona-style “audit” of the 2020 election, saying Mastriano was more interested in “grandstanding” than in getting results. Corman installed Sen. Cris Dush (R., Jefferson) as the new chairman of the committee that will lead the review. Corman, who was first elected to the Senate in 1998, has long been seen as a steady hand and protector of the legislative institution. In a matter of days, he has gone from mostly keeping quiet about Trump supporters’ demands for an Arizona-style “forensic investigation” into President Joe Biden’s victory to plunging full steam ahead into baseless election fraud claims.
Wisconsin: Reince Priebus says subpoenas will be issued soon in review of election that will cost $680,000 or more | Patrick Marley/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Wisconsin lawmakers will spend hundreds of thousands to review the presidential election and will soon issue subpoenas as part of their effort, according to Reince Priebus, the former head of the state and national arms of the Republican Party. Priebus, the first chief of staff to former President Donald Trump, made the comments Tuesday on former Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s podcast. He described the plans three days after Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos of Rochester met with Trump about his plans to review the election. Vos has faced pressure from both the left and right as he seeks to examine an election that courts have determined was conducted properly. Joe Biden narrowly won the state and gained a handful of votes in recounts requested by Trump in Dane and Milwaukee counties. Priebus told Bannon that Republicans who control the Legislature had agreed to “fully fund” an investigation that would cost “about $680,000, at least to start.” He did not say whether the funds would come from taxpayers, donors or a mix of the two. Vos this summer hired former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman to oversee the review. Gableman in November contended the election was stolen.
National: Election officials call for audit guidelines after Trump-fueled surge | Yach Montellaro/Politico
The nation’s top election officials are calling for more stringent guidelines for post-election audits, as supporters of former President Donald Trump continue to relitigate his defeat in 2020. At the summer meeting of the National Association of Secretaries of State, secretaries voted nearly unanimously on Monday to approve a series of recommendations for post-election audits on everything from a timeline, to chain of custody of election materials. The guidelines were shared first with POLITICO. During the vote, only two Republican secretaries present didn’t back it: West Virginia Secretary Mac Warner, who voted against it, and Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, who abstained. Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, a Democrat who was part of a bipartisan group of 8 secretaries who helped draft the guidelines, told POLITICO after the vote that they had been working in secret for months to come to an agreement, comparing the pact the secretaries took to not speak about their work until it was completed to the movie “Fight Club.” The vote came at the tail end of the group’s four-day conference, the first time the organization has gathered in person since before the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
Arizona’s sham election ‘audit’ report delayed after Cyber Ninjas CEO and others test positive for Covid-19 | Eric Bradner and Stephanie Becker/CNN
The report detailing the findings of contractors who conducted Arizona’s sham “audit” of last year’s election results — which had been expected Monday — will be late because three of the five members of the auditing team have tested positive for coronavirus, the state’s Republican Senate leader says. Cyber Ninjas Chief Executive Officer Doug Logan, whose firm was hired by the Republican-led Arizona Senate to audit the 2.1 million votes cast in Maricopa County in 2020’s presidential race, and two other members of the five-person audit team tested positive “and are quite sick,” Senate President Karen Fann said in a statement. Logan and other members of his team were often seen during the recount process without masks. It is not clear whether those who tested positive had been vaccinated. CNN reached out to Cyber Ninjas requesting comment. Elections experts in both parties have said for months that results of the “audit” — pushed for by Republican lawmakers and conducted by the Florida-based company, which had no experience auditing election results and whose chief executive, Logan, has repeated wild conspiracy theories about election fraud — will not be credible.
It’s been more than nine months since Election Day 2020, but as the nation’s top election officials met in Iowa over the weekend, it was clear the shadow of that race will stretch far into the future of American democracy. The conspiracy theory that the 2020 election was somehow stolen from former President Donald Trump has upended almost all aspects of election administration: Local officials who a decade ago would have gone about their bureaucratic business in relative anonymity are facing threats and intense pressure, and a large chunk of American voters have no confidence the system is fair. “This is the very unfortunate new normal,” said Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, who had dozens of armed protesters visit her home in December after last year’s election. Elections are run in the U.S. at the state and local levels, so the top voting officials across the country are usually secretaries of state. They met this weekend in Des Moines for their first in-person gathering since January 2020.
National: House Democrats Introduce John Lewis Voting Rights Legislation | Nicholas Fandos/The New York Times
Democrats on Tuesday unveiled a long-awaited linchpin of their drive to protect voting rights, introducing legislation that would make it easier for the federal government to block state election rules found to be discriminatory to nonwhite voters. House leaders expect to pass the bill, named the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act after the late civil rights icon, during a rare August session next week. They say it would restore the full force of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 after a pair of adverse Supreme Court rulings and that it would help combat a wave of restrictive new election laws in Republican-led states. “Today, old battles have become new again as we face the most pernicious assault on the right to vote in generations,” said Representative Terri Sewell, the bill’s chief author and a Democrat from Alabama’s civil rights belt, where Mr. Lewis and others staged a national campaign for voting rights in the 1960s. “It’s clear: federal oversight is urgently needed.” But like other voting rights legislation to come before Congress this year, its chances of passing the evenly divided Senate are exceedingly narrow. Only one Republican, Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, is likely to support the legislation, leaving Democrats far short of the 60 votes they would need to break a Republican filibuster and send the bill to President Biden’s desk. Senate Republicans already blocked Democrats’ other marquee voting rights bill, the For the People Act, which would establish national mandates for early and mail-in voting and end gerrymandering of congressional districts. And while Democratic leaders in the Senate have vowed more votes on the matter in September, unless all 50 Democrats unite in a long-shot bid to change Senate filibuster rules, they are headed for an identical outcome.
National: As Democrats Renew Voting Rights Push, Offsetting Roberts Court Is Top of Mind | Carl Hulse/The New York Times
When Judge John G. Roberts Jr. faced the Senate for his Supreme Court confirmation hearing in September 2005, critics sounded the alarm about his longstanding skepticism toward the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which many view as crucial to the political gains of Black Americans over the last half century. “I fear that if Judge Roberts is confirmed to be chief justice of the United States, the Supreme Court would no longer hear the people’s cries for justice,” Representative John Lewis, the civil rights leader from Georgia, said in urging the Senate Judiciary Committee to reject the nomination. Judge Roberts was easily confirmed by the Republican-controlled Senate despite pleas from Mr. Lewis and other civil rights activists. He went on to oversee the court in rulings that weakened the Voting Right Acts, compromising its decades-long role as a protector of minority access to the ballot box across much of the South. Mr. Lewis died last July, just months before Republican state legislatures enacted an onslaught of voting restrictions after the 2020 elections. But it is not only those legislatures that Democrats see as their adversaries on election issues. “We are also up against a Supreme Court that is keen on destroying our nation’s most consequential voting rights law,” Representative Terry A. Sewell, Democrat of Alabama, said this week during a Democratic call celebrating the anniversary of women’s right to vote.