“North Carolina lawmakers OK new 2020 congressional maps. Now it’s up to the courts.”

News and Observer: The Republican-led North Carolina Senate approved a new congressional district map Friday to be used in 2020 that is likely to shrink the GOP’s edge in the state’s congressional delegation.But Democrats plan to challenge the map in court again.The map passed the N.C. House on Thursday, part of a swift process completed with the Dec. 2 opening of the filing period for congressional candidates in mind. Lawmakers drew the new…

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“Democrats could pick up seats in Congress under proposed North Carolina map”

News & Observer: The new map that started advancing on Thursday would likely have an 8-5 Republican advantage. U.S. Rep. GK Butterfield, a Wilson Democrat, said Democrats have little chance of winning a sixth seat.“To have a fair map we need a 6-7 map or a 7-6 map or a 6-6-1 map. Those would be fair maps,” said Butterfield, who had copies of the map printed out and showed them to other members of the congressional delegation at the U.S….

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“Redistricting activists brace for wall of inaction as battle moves to states”

WaPo: In North Carolina, lawmakers have been forced back to the drawing board yet again after a state court ruled last month that the current congressional map was drawn illegally along partisan lines. It’s the latest judicial rebuke of gerrymandering in North Carolina, where state and federal judges have repeatedly tossed congressional and legislative maps since they were drawn by GOP lawmakers after the 2010 Census. But activists say that…

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“Skeptics Urge Bevin To Show Proof Of Fraud Claims, Warning Of Corrosive Effects”

Miles Parks for NPR: Bevin isn’t the first politician to question the results of a race after the fact, and occasionally, if infrequently, those concerns have been founded in reality. After the 2018 midterms, then-Florida Gov. Rick Scott alluded to “rampant voter fraud” that was never borne out in his Senate race.Democrats also have continued to blame the results of the Georgia gubernatorial election on election…

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“Could Matt Bevin Steal the Kentucky Governor’s Election?”

I have written this piece for Slate. It begins: Will the Kentucky Legislature assist Matt Bevin in stealing the governor’s race from Democrat Andy Beshear, who appeared to have won Tuesday’s election by about 5,000 votes? Ordinarily, I would consider the possibility preposterous. We do not live in ordinary times, though, and on Wednesday Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers raised the prospect that his institution, not the voters, could…

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“NC’s congressional district redraw starts Tuesday”

WRAL: The nuts and bolts of yet another North Carolina redistricting will start getting laid out Tuesday when legislative leaders huddle on the state’s court-challenged congressional maps.House and Senate leadership announced the committee late Monday, appointing the usual suspects to oversee the process. The interim committee on redistricting plans to meet at 1 p.m. Tuesday in Room 544 of the Legislative Office Building.The meeting is…

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“Court Lifts Confidentiality on Hofeller Files in Several Key States”

Common Cause: Today Wake County Superior Court Judge Vince Rozier lifted a confidentiality designation on more than one hundred thousand documents created by the late Thomas Hofeller, the Republican operative responsible for many of the most controversial GOP gerrymanders of the last decade. The order lifts a confidentiality designation on documents pertaining to Arizona, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia,…

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“Plaintiffs in Common Cause v. Lewis file appeal asking NC Supreme Court to review eight NC House districts that remain partisan gerrymanders”

Release: Plaintiffs in the case of Common Cause v. Lewis on Friday filed a petition with the NC Supreme Court asking the justices to immediately review the Superior Court’s approval of eight NC House districts that remain extreme partisan gerrymanders after the legislature’s court-ordered redraw. The districts in question are in two county groupings: Columbus-Pender-Robeson and Forsyth-Yadkin…. On Sept. 3, a panel of three judges in the…

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NC Republicans Could Have Drawn an 11th or 12th Republican Congressional District, Producing an All-White Congressional Delegation

David Daley: “I PROPOSE THAT we draw the maps to give a partisan advantage to 10 Republicans and three Democrats,” said North Carolina Rep. David Lewis, in 2016 in a legislative committee hearing, “because I do not believe it’s possible to draw a map with 11 Republicans and two Democrats.” This might be the most infamous gerrymandering confession ever — a rare moment of clarity exposing the GOP’s ambition to control the state’s map through…

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3-Judge North Carolina State Court Blocks Use of NC Congressional Districts as Likely Partisan Gerrymanders; Approves New Legislative Maps for State District Elections: What It Means and What Is Next?

Today a three-judge considering partisan gerrymanders under the North Carolina state constitution issued two orders. In one order, the court approved the North Carolina General Assembly’s maps for state legislative district lines passed after the court had earlier found a partisan gerrymander. In the other order, the court held that the congressional districts used in North Carolina likely are also partisan gerrymanders under the state…

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NC: “Latest redistricting process led to much fairer maps, analysis shows”

WRAL: The General Assembly’s mad scramble last month to redraw nearly half of the state’s House and Senate districts under a tight court deadline appears to have produced something new for North Carolina – fair maps.That’s according to a new analysis by WRAL News, which used a technique developed by Duke University mathematicians to compare the performance of the newly proposed districts to thousands of computer-generated…

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“Facebook Finds New Disinformation Campaigns and Braces for 2020 Torrent”

NYT: Facebook said on Monday that it had recently found and taken down four state-backed disinformation campaigns, the latest of dozens that it has identified and removed this year and a sign of how foreign interference online is increasing ahead of the 2020 presidential election.Three of the disinformation campaigns originated in Iran and one in Russia, Facebook said, with state-backed actors disguised as genuine users. The campaigns were…

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“Ohio Was Set to Purge 235,000 Voters. It Was Wrong About 20%.”

NYT: Ohio, where the Democratic presidential candidates are set to debate Tuesday, is both a battleground state and the site of some of the country’s strictest voting laws, from voter ID requirements to a “use-it-or-lose-it” provision that lets officials drop voters seen as inactive. The combination has led voting rights advocates to contend that parts of the state are regularly disenfranchised, largely in purges aimed at those who have died…

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“How to Get Away With Gerrymandering”

David Daley: Luxury cabanas atop Austin’s JW Marriott kept state legislators cool poolside as August-in-Texas temperatures soared above 103 degrees during each day of the American Legislative Exchange Council’s 2019 annual meeting. The gathered Republican officials could enjoy a $14 rooftop Peppered Paloma cocktail with Patrón silver, housemade grapefruit poblano soda, and Chilean salt, all while gazing over Lady Bird Lake and the nearby state…

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“Mark Meadows and the Undisclosed Dinosaur Property”

New Yorker: Three years ago, the North Carolina congressman Mark Meadows sold a hundred-and-thirty-four-acre property in Dinosaur, Colorado. The buyer was Answers in Genesis, a Christian nonprofit based in Kentucky, which was founded by the Australian creationist Ken Ham. Answers in Genesis is dedicated to promoting young-Earth creationism, which holds that the Earth was created in six days, several thousand years ago. According to documents…

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Democrats File New Lawsuit Challenging North Carolina Congressional Districts as Unconstitutional Partisan Gerrymandering Under the State Constitution; Too Late?

You can find the complaint here. Here is what I wrote when a three-judge state court struck state legislative districts as a partisan gerrymander: First, it is not clear that there is enough time to bring such a challenge and get it done in time to affect the 2020 elections, the last elections to be used under the existing maps before the next round of redistricting. I am surprised there was not a state case against the congressional districts…

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“Did NC skip a step? New voting machines questioned again”

WRAL: Activists and computer scientists have raised questions about the process used to certify new voting machines in North Carolina that, for weeks, the State Board of Elections hasn’t answered. The board’s chairman and its executive director say answers are coming and that staff plan to bring detailed information to the board at its meeting next Tuesday. But at least two board members, along with a string of academics and activists,…

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The Proposed North Carolina Remedy

Earlier today, the North Carolina legislature approved remedial maps to replace the state house and state senate plans that were recently struck down as partisan gerrymanders. PlanScore assessed the remedial maps, and here are the results. For the state house, the old plan had an efficiency gap of 9%, a partisan bias of 7%, and a mean-median difference of 5% (all in a Republican direction, and based on a model using 2016/2018 data). On the…

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“NC Senate passes new political maps. Democrats are divided in their support.”

News and Observer: Raleigh Sen. Dan Blue, the top Democrat, vouched for the maps as well as Hise. Blue, a former N.C. Speaker of the House, has been involved in numerous redistricting efforts in past decades in North Carolina and was in the thick of this one as well. “I think it was a remarkable experience, especially when you consider the current political climate,” he said. Of the state Senate’s 50 members, 21 are Democrats. Most followed…

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“Canada Does Elections Right”

That’s the title of an op-ed today in the NY Times, by David Shribram of McGill University, with the subtitle: “The campaign for prime minister just started. And it’s almost over.” The piece points out many ways in which Canadian elections [and those in most democracies, I would add] differ from American elections. One reason the piece highlights is the absence of American style primaries. As the op-ed says: And though the…

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“A Surprise Vote, Thrown Phone And Partisan ‘Mistrust’ Roil N.C. As Maps Are Redrawn”

NPR: Despite the assertions of Senate leaders, there remains some skepticism about whether the court will agree to enact the maps the legislature approves. Stanford University professor and election law expert Nathaniel Persily was appointed Friday to help the court review the maps — and help draw new maps if the General Assembly’s lines are deemed unlawful.“I would be surprised if this court accepts the maps that this General…

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“Letter to NC Election Board: Voting equipment approval didn’t follow law”

Carolina Public Press: North Carolina’s recent decision to certify new voting systems for use next year did not follow state law, according to a letter that a group of experts on election security and administration sent to the N.C. Board of Elections late Wednesday night.North Carolina has been in the process of reviewing new voting systems for certification for over two years. The system that is currently in use across the state was…

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Nate Persily Appointed as Referee in North Carolina State Partisan Gerrymandering Case: What It Means

The three-judge state court which found North Carolina’s legislative districts to be unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders under that state’s constitution has appointed Stanford professor Nate Persily as the referee/special master in the case. This means that Persily at the least will evaluate for the court the maps that the state’s legislature is expected to pass this week, and if the judges are dissatisfied with what the…

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“New Clues Show How Russia’s Grid Hackers Aimed for Physical Destruction”

Wired: For nearly three years, the December 2016 cyberattack on the Ukrainian power grid has presented a menacing puzzle. Two days before Christmas that year, Russian hackers planted a unique specimen of malware in the network of Ukraine’s national grid operator, Ukrenergo. Just before midnight, they used it to open every circuit breaker in a transmission station north of Kyiv. The result was one of the most dramatic attacks in…

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While North Carolina House Democrats Were at 9/11 Ceremony, NC House Republicans Voted to Override Governor’s Veto of Budget, After Promising No Substantive Votes

…Disgusting: https://twitter.com/mjs_DC/status/1171800665204633600 More: https://twitter.com/mjs_DC/status/1171799384746582016 This is not going to go over well with the three judge court which was giving the North Carolina General Assembly a chance to draft a bipartisan redistricting plan (or else court will appoint special master to do it) ….

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“Republican Bishop beats Democrat McCready in tight NC District 9 race”

News & Observer: Republican Dan Bishop narrowly defeated Democrat Dan McCready on Tuesday in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District, with a strong showing in suburban Union County and three rural eastern counties.With 99% of precincts reporting, Bishop led McCready 50.8% to 48.6% in a race that analysts saw as a harbinger for 2020. Bishop rolled up big margins in Union County and carried Richmond and Cumberland counties, which…

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Must Read: Hofeller Files, Leaked to David Daley in New Yorker, Show Use of Race in Gerrymandering and Considering Impact of Voter ID

Blockbuster: Hofeller did not follow his own advice. Before his death, in August, 2018, he saved at least seventy thousand files and several years of e-mails. A review of those records and e-mails—which were recently obtained first by The New Yorker—raises new questions about whether Hofeller unconstitutionally used race data to draw North Carolina’s congressional districts, in 2016. They also suggest that Hofeller was deeply involved in…

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What’s Going to Happen with a Challenge to North Carolina’s Congressional District Partisan Gerrymander? Two Significant Hurdles to a Lawsuit.

Democrats are now pondering a state court challenge to North Carolina’s partisan gerrymandering of the state’s 13 congressional districts, following a state court ruling that the state legislative districts are a partisan gerrymander. The U.S. Supreme Court in the Rucho case rejected a challenge to North Carolina’s congressional districts based on the U.S. constitution but that would not preclude a state constitutional…

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“The Battle Over the Files of a Gerrymandering Mastermind”

NYT: At the heart of a decisive court ruling on Tuesday striking down North Carolina’s state legislative maps was evidence culled from the computer backups of the man who drew them: Thomas B. Hofeller, the Republican strategist and master of gerrymandering, who died last year. Documents from the backups, which surfaced after his death, were also central to the legal battle over adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census. An enormous…

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The Supreme Court as Gerrymandering Outlier

Remarkably, yesterday’s decision striking down North Carolina’s state legislative maps as partisan gerrymanders was the eighth straight ruling against gerrymandering by a state or lower federal court. Florida and Pennsylvania state courts preceded yesterday’s decision by a three-judge North Carolina trial court. And federal district courts invalidated gerrymanders in Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, and Wisconsin before their efforts…

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North Carolina Republicans Won’t Appeal Gerrymandering Ruling, Promise “Nonpartisan” Map. What’s the End Game?

Following up on this post about today’s state court ruling, North Carolina Republicans have thrown in the towel: https://twitter.com/byamberphillips/status/1169008388077969415 Why aren’t the Republicans continuing to fight this, given the unrelenting path they’ve taken before? Here are a few possibilities: They know they will lose in the Democratic-dominated state supreme court, and there is no viable path to federal court…

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Breaking: Unanimous State Court in North Carolina Holds State Legislative Districts Are Unconstitutional Partisan Gerrymanders Under State Constitution; What It Means and What Comes Next

You can find the 357-page unanimous ruling at this link. Given the state Supreme Court has a 6-1 Democratic majority (including now Justice Anita Earls), this ruling could well be upheld on appeal. This is a huge development that will put the Republican-led North Carolina General Assembly in a tough position. Because this is decided as a matter of state constitutional law, it would be very hard to find a federal issue to take this to the…

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“Maryland was never in play in 2016. The Russians targeted it anyway.”

WaPo: Russia’s Twitter campaign to influence the 2016 presidential election in Maryland began in June 2015, 17 months before Election Day, when the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency opened an account it called @BaltimoreOnline and began tweeting about local news events.Its third tweet was a retweet of a WBAL-TV story about a 5-year-old boy who’d shot himself in the foot in an alley on North Mount Street, the same street where 11…

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APSA Panels Sponsored by the Law and Political Process Study Group

Bruce Cain and I , who organize the panels for the Law and Political Process Study Group, hope to see many of you at these: The Electoral College: New Theoretical and Empirical Thinking Thu, August 29, 10:00 to 11:30am, Marriott, Taft Session Submission Type: Created Panel Session Description Interest in the Electoral College has grown with the continuing possibility of a split between the popular vote and Electoral College vote for…

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“NC officials vote against new election-security rules, citing time crunch for 2020 election”

News and Observer: North Carolina elections officials upset a packed room of advocates for election security Friday, voting down a proposal to require stricter anti-hacking provisions in the 2020 elections and beyond. The State Board of Elections approved three new types of voting machines that counties will have the option to buy. The main difference among them, and the source of much controversy, is whether voters will be using machines that…

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“Democrats, citing GOP-imposed voting restrictions, aim to flip secretary of state offices in five states”

WaPo: The Democratic Association of Secretaries of State is launching an initiative to try to wrest control of those offices from Republicans, who the group claims have used their power to make it harder for certain demographics to vote. Buoyed by successes last year in Arizona, Colorado and Michigan, the group has set its sights on flipping five more states in 2020. In addition to recruiting and supporting Democratic candidates, the…

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“Mail-In Absentee Ballot Anomalies in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District”

Michael Herron has written this article forthcoming in the Election Law Journal. Here is the abstract: The aftermath of the 2018 midterm election in North Carolina was marred by allegations of absentee ballot fraud in the state’s 9th Congressional District, most notably in Bladen County, one of eight counties in North Carolina that intersects this district. We show with a difference-in-difference design that Bladen County’s…

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Top Recent Downloads in Election Law on SSRN

Here: Top Downloads For: LSN: Election Law & Voting Rights (Topic) Recent Top Papers (60 days) As of: 08 Jun 2019 – 07 Aug 2019 Rank Paper Downloads 1. Deep Fakes, Bots, and Siloed Justices: American Election Law in a Post-Truth World Richard L. Hasen University of California, Irvine School of LawDate Posted: 11 Jul 2019 Last Revised: 03 Aug 2019 119 2. Election Integrity and Electronic Voting Machines in 2018 Georgia, USA…

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