“Compelling closing arguments bring federal trial over Pa. gerrymandering to an end”

…WHYY: The federal trial over Pennsylvania’s congressional district map wrapped up in a Philadelphia courtroom on Thursday with a string of stirring closing arguments before a three-judge panel. During four days of deliberations, a group of more than 20 Pennsylvania voters challenged the way Republican lawmakers drew the state’s congressional districts in 2011, asserting a gerrymandering scheme that violates the U.S. Constitution….

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“In Pennsylvania gerrymander case, experts can’t defend the indefensible”

…r the rest of the decade. It would take a five-point swing for Democrats to capture just one more seat. For the map’s skew to disappear, Democrats would need to improve on their 2016 showing by 14 points — a bigger wave than Pennsylvania has seen in generations. And the map’s tilt can’t be explained by the clustering of Democratic voters in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. In hundreds of computer-simulated maps, Democrats usually win nine or 10 of…

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The Measure of a Metric, Part Three

…states has no impact on delegations’ ideological makeups. The conclusion we draw from these studies is that in the competitive states where most recent partisan gerrymandering lawsuits have been filed (e.g., North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin), all of the common gerrymandering metrics can and should be used. But if scholars or litigants want to analyze gerrymandering in uncompetitive states, they should not use partisan bias or the…

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“Older Voters Stymied by Tighter ID Requirements”

…ttle enforcement and resources devoted to ensuring that older Americans and others with disabilities can vote,” said Wendy Weiser of the Brennan Center for Justiceat New York University. More recently, a wave of onerous state voting requirements has added to the problem, with an outsized effect on older voters, argues a new report by Senator Robert Casey, Democrat of Pennsylvania, and Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota….

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“Pennsylvania Congressman Is Under F.B.I. Scrutiny, Court Records Show”

NYT: The F.B.I. is investigating whether Representative Robert A. Brady of Pennsylvania, the top Democrat on the House Administration Committee, illegally paid a political opponent $90,000 to drop out of a 2012 primary race, court documents show. Two of Mr. Brady’s political consultants have already been charged in a campaign finance investigation of the congressman’s 2012 re-election. But a recently unsealed application for a search warrant…

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“Gerrymandering suit can proceed, Pa. Supreme Court rules”

Philly.com: In a case that could force the redrawing of congressional maps before the 2018 elections, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Thursday ordered a Commonwealth Court judge to hear a gerrymandering lawsuit by the end of the year. …The high court’s 4-3 vote overturned a Commonwealth Court decision. In a hearing last month, Commonwealth Court Judge Dan Pelligrini said he did not see the case being decided before the 2018 elections,…

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“How states can fix the Electoral College and prevent future Trumps”

…th the Electoral College’s original intent, and how states already are empowered to remedy the defect. Trump was able to win these states without a majority because there were more than two candidates on the ballot. Without Jill Stein and Gary Johnson in the mix, Clinton might have received more votes than Trump in some of these six states. If she had done so in just Florida and either Pennsylvania, Michigan, or North Carolina, that would have…

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“Pedro Cortes, Pa. secretary of state, steps down”

Phil. Inquirer: Pedro Cortes, Pennsylvania’s secretary of state, abruptly resigned from office Wednesday, three weeks after his agency came under criticism for a glitch that may have allowed thousands of ineligible immigrants statewide to vote. Cortes’ departure was announced in a 349-word “personnel update” emailed from Gov. Wolf’s office that offered no reason and focused almost entirely on his replacement, interim Secretary of State Robert…

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“Senate Democrats worry Russia could jeopardize reelection bids”

Politico: Democratic senators such as Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Jon Tester of Montana — who hail from states President Donald Trump won in 2016 — know they’re already facing stiff reelection challenges. Now they’re concerned the Trump administration is dragging its feet on thwarting sophisticated Russian cyber operations that could have significant impact on their races — and could even sway which party…

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“The most and least transparent companies for political spending”

…l spending on their web sites and adding more board oversight to monitor it, according to a new study. The report released Tuesday, by the nonpartisan Center for Political Accountabilityand researchers at the University  of  Pennsylvania’s Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research, creates an index that ranks companies based on the disclosure, oversight and policies about their election-related spending. It found that 50  companies in…

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3d Circuit Rejects ACRU’s Voter Purge Suit in Philadelphia, Saying Suit Threatens Goals of NVRA and Integrity of the Vote

…on, the ACRU argues that the National Voter Registration Act requires the Commissioners to remove them from the voter rolls. For the reasons that follow, we will affirm the District Court’s dismissal of this suit….. In Pennsylvania, individuals convicted of a felony are citizens who can vote the moment they are released from prison, regardless of probation or parole status. If an individual is purged from the rolls while incarcerated, he…

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“Trump Pick for Civil Rights Role Is a Lawyer Who’s Pushed Voting Restrictions”

…oters through restrictive laws. ACVR and its nonprofit arm attempted to assemble evidence of voter fraud with their own research reports, submitted court briefs, and hired lobbyists to help pass voter ID laws in Missouri and Pennsylvania. They were aided in this effort by the Republican National Lawyers Association, where Quinn was a member and served in various leadership roles over the years. (A few years later, as an independent consultant,…

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Sam Wang: A Manageable Federalist Approach to Partisan Gerrymandering

…t, and does not burden courts, so the Court need not fear that they will invite a flood of new lawsuits post-2020. The landscape is more likely to resemble the current one, in which major suits are pending in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Maryland – but with the difference that the existence of a clear standard can be applied to those cases, and even act as a deterrent to future offenders. In addition to using courts to limit extreme…

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“Charlottesville and the Problem of Donald Trump’s Constitution”

…llions of [fraudulent] votes, in my opinion,” he proclaimed,  and “of those votes cast, none of them come to me. None of them come to me.”  Of course, they “came” out of “certain areas” in urban areas, such as in Pennsylvania and Michigan. This corruption of the political community was the one way—sometimes, he suggested, the only way—he could have lost, and he declared that if he did lose, we would “have a whole different country…

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On What States Does Partisan Control of the House Turn?

…fluid enough to provide the marginal forces that determine national political outcomes.  For the House, he concludes that six states essentially determine which party controls that chamber:  Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Then he goes on to offer the following perspective on the distribution of control over these seats from 2008-today: Following the 2008 election, those six states had 51 Democrats and 46…

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Tam Cho on the Efficiency Gap

Important piece at the University of Pennsylvania Law Review Online by Wendy Tam Cho on the “efficiency gap,” at the centerpiece of the Wisconsin redistricting case. It begins: The efficiency gap has recently been touted as a general partisan fairness measure with the ability to “neatly slice the Gordian knot the Court has tied for itself, explicitly replying to the Court’s ‘unanswerable question’ of ‘[h]ow much political . . ….

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“Analysis indicates partisan gerrymandering has benefited GOP”

…the two dozen most populated states that determine the vast majority of Congress, there were nearly three times as many with Republican-tilted U.S. House districts. Traditional battlegrounds such as Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida and Virginia were among those with significant Republican advantages in their U.S. or state House races. All had districts drawn by Republicans after the last Census in 2010. The AP analysis…

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“How Democrats Gerrymandered Their Way to Victory in Maryland”

…that followed the 2010 census, but reinvented the partisan gerrymander. The GOP executed a strategy called REDMAP, short for Redistricting Majority Project. They successfully targeted control of state legislative chambers in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina, Wisconsin and many other states, earning total control of the new lines even in bluish swing states. The GOP emerged from 2010 with unilateral power to draw 193 U.S. House seats…

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Top Recent Downloads in Election Law on SSRN

…e posted to database: 21 Apr 2017 Last Revised: 22 Apr 2017 5 59 Faces of Bias in Politics: Evidence from Elite and Voter Conjoint Experiments on Gender Dawn Teele, Joshua L. Kalla and Frances McCall Rosenbluth University of Pennsylvania, University of California, Berkeley and Yale University – Department of Political Science Date posted to database: 22 May 2017 Last Revised: 22 May 2017 6 44 The Lost History of the Millionaire’s…

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“Commentary: Dunlap badly mistaken in agreeing to serve on Trump voter fraud panel”

…’s the right thing to do…. President Trump raised the voter fraud rhetoric to an unprecedented extent by claiming before the election that there was massive voter fraud taking place in “urban” (read: minority) areas of Pennsylvania and elsewhere. After the election, he made a totally debunked claim that 3 million or more noncitizens voted in 2016. So far, the most credible count of such votes, by the Brennan Center for Justice, is 30…

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“Why did Trump win? More whites — and fewer blacks — actually voted.”

…acial/ethnic groups between 2012 and 2016. Black turnout declined dramatically; white turnout increased noticeably; and Latino and Asian American turnout went up even more. In the key swing states of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, those shifts were especially strong. How strong? Without those shifts in turnout from various racial and ethnic groups, these pivotal states might have gone not to Trump but to Clinton — giving Clinton an…

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“The Morning Risk Report: An Easier Way to Track Corporate Political Spending”

…, sector or state. The freely available database builds on the organization’s CPA-Zicklin Index, which was started in 2011 by CPA and the Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and ranks companies according to how transparent they are about political spending. “We wanted to create a one-stop-shop” for those interested in tracking this type of spending, said Bruce Freed, president of…

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“Judge midtrial throws out Pennsylvania pay-to-play case”

Morning Call: A federal judge on Monday threw out a case in the FBI’s wide-ranging pay-to-play investigation of Pennsylvania government, acquitting a wealthy investment adviser accused of bribing ex-state treasurer Rob McCord to get lucrative contracts to manage public dollars. U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III took the rare step of dismissing the 79-count case against Richard Ireland in the middle of the trial. Jones agreed with…

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“Mathematical theorem finds gerrymandering in PA congressional district maps”

…Phys.org: Pennsylvania’s congressional district maps are almost certainly the result of gerrymandering according to an analysis based on a new mathematical theorem on bias in Markov Chains developed by Carnegie Mellon University and University of Pittsburgh mathematicians. Their findings are published in the Feb. 28 online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)….

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“Who Is Registered to Vote in Two States? Some in Trump’s Inner Circle”

…ted twice. Registered in two states • Steve Bannon, Mr. Trump’s strategist, was registered to vote in Florida and New York, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune found. • Tiffany Trump, Mr. Trump’s youngest daughter, was registered in Pennsylvania and New York, NBC News reported. • Sean Spicer, his press secretary, was registered in both Virginia and Rhode Island, according to The Washington Post. • Jared Kushner, his son-in-law and close adviser, was…

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“What We Learned from the Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania Recounts”

…“aggrieved,” but the Michigan law doesn’t set a threshold and nobody should want states exercising those judgments after the vote has taken place. Finally, in Pennsylvania, the recount effort never got off the ground. Due to Pennsylvania’s arcane laws, the use of touch screen voting machines, and organizing challenges, the effort to obtain a statewide recount failed. Similarly, the efforts to obtain a forensic examination of voting systems…

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Stein Campaign Claims “Every Dollar” Raised for Recount Went to Recount Expenses

…                           $4,488,939                           60%                                 Wisconsin:          $3,499,689                                 Michigan:            $973,250                                 Pennsylvania:    $16,000* Legal expenses for recount:                                                        $1,630,200                           22% Legal expenses for ongoing litigation:                                    …

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Federal Court Denies Stein Attempt to Force PA Recount

Opinion: Unsuccessful Green Party Candidate Jill Stein and Pennsylvania voter Randall Reitz allege that because Pennsylvania’s voting machines might have been “hacked” during last month’s election, I must order the Commonwealth to conduct a recount of the votes cast for President. There are at least six separate grounds requiring me to deny Plaintiffs’ Motion. Most importantly, there is no credible evidence that any “hack” occurred, and…

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“Accuracy About Voting — Needed on Both Sides of Debate”

…required ID receive a provisional ballot. To be sure, some poll workers may fail to enforce the mandates of HAVA, but in volumes exceeding Trump’s margins of victory in Michigan (about 11,000), Wisconsin (about 23,000), and Pennsylvania (about 44,000)??? If there had been a massive failure of election administration on that scale, which could have accounted for the outcome of the presidential election, presumably we would have heard news…

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Cottrell, Herron & Westwood on Trump’s Fraud Allegations

…ot uncover any evidence consistent with Trump’s assertions about widespread voter fraud. Moreover, we do not observe any striking abnormalities in two sets of states recently highlighted as potentially problematic: Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin (the subject of ongoing recount efforts) and California, New Hampshire, and Virginia (three states cited personally by Trump). Our results do not imply that there was no fraud at all in the 2016…

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Recount Roundup

…we know” The Hill:  “Annoyed Dems Dismiss Recount as a ‘Waste of Time’” New Yorker:  “The Recount Road to Nowhere” NPR:  “Trump Officially Wins Michigan As Possible Recount Looms” Politico:  “Clinton team shrugs off recount effort” Salon: “Jill Stein sues Wisconsin to go through with vote recount” Slate:  “Jill Stein Requests Recount in Pennsylvania but Has No…

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Marc Elias: “Listening and Responding To Calls for an Audit and Recount”

…eyond the post-election audit, Green Party candidate Jill Stein announced Friday that she will exercise her right as a candidate to pursue a recount in the state of Wisconsin. She has indicated plans to also seek recounts in Pennsylvania and Michigan. Because we had not uncovered any actionable evidence of hacking or outside attempts to alter the voting technology, we had not planned to exercise this option ourselves, but now that a recount has…

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“U.S. Officials Defend Integrity of Vote, Despite Hacking Fears”

…the results “accurately reflect the will of the American people.” The statement came as liberal opponents of Donald J. Trump, some citing fears of vote hacking, are seeking recounts in three states — Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania — where his margin of victory was extremely thin. A drive by Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, for recounts in those states had brought in more than $5 million by midday on Friday, her campaign said, and…

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Stein Recount Could Endanger WI Electoral Votes in the “Safe Harbor”

…top election official said. Stein — who received just 1% of the vote in Wisconsin — has promised to file for a recount by Friday’s 5 p.m. deadline in Wisconsin. She is also planning to ask for recounts in Michigan and Pennsylvania, which have deadlines next week. A federal “safe harbor” law requires states to complete presidential recounts within 35 days of the election to ensure their electoral votes are counted. This year,…

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“Hillary Clinton Supporters Call for Vote Recount in Battleground States”

…roughly 30,000 votes behind Donald J. Trump in the key swing states of Michigan and Wisconsin — a combined gap that is narrowing. Her impassioned supporters are now urging her to challenge the results in those two states and Pennsylvania, grasping at the last straws to reverse Mr. Trump’s decisive majority in the Electoral College. In recent days, they have seized on a report by a respected computer scientist and other experts suggesting that…

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Looks Like Someone Mangled Alex Halderman’s Views to Make Case for Recount to Help Clinton

…likely than the other. The only way to know whether a cyberattack changed the result is to closely examine the available physical evidence — paper ballots and voting equipment in critical states like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, nobody is ever going to examine that evidence unless candidates in those states act now, in the next several days, to petition for recounts. This makes a lot more sense. As I wrote in my post…

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New Claims of Electronic Vote Rigging Used to Steal Election from Clinton: What to Think?

…ing-rights attorney John Bonifaz and J. Alex Halderman, the director of the University of Michigan Center for Computer Security and Society, believes they’ve found persuasive evidence that results in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania may have been manipulated or hacked. The group is so far not speaking on the record about their findings and is focused on lobbying the Clinton team in private. Last Thursday, the activists held a conference…

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“Independent Spending Dominated the Closest Senate and House Races in 2016”

…ering all Senate races, lists the candidates’ receipts through pre-election disclosure reports alongside summary information for all independent spending through the election. The top race for spending in 2016 was the one in Pennsylvania between incumbent Sen. Patrick Toomey against Kathleen McGinty. Independent spending in that race alone topped $116 million – more than triple the amount raised by the candidates themselves. Seven other Senate…

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Democrats Blame “Voter Suppression” for Clinton Loss at Their Peril

…million votes) compared to Obama in 2012. People stayed home for reasons unrelated to voter suppression. From Philip Bump: In Michigan, Clinton got 13 percent fewer votes than Obama. Trump got 7 percent more than Romney. In Pennsylvania, Clinton got 5 percent fewer votes than Obama. Trump got 9 percent more than Romney. In Wisconsin, Clinton got 15 percent fewer votes than Obama. Trump did slightly worse than Romney — in a state that was…

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“How Gary Johnson and Jill Stein helped elect Donald Trump”

…232 for Hillary Clinton, as of Wednesday evening, with Clinton topping him in the popular vote. But had the Democrats managed to capture the bulk of third-party voters in some of the closest contests — Wisconsin (10), Pennsylvania (20), Michigan (16) and Florida (29) — Clinton would have defeated Trump by earning 307 Electoral College votes, enough to secure the presidency. The entire scenario conjures up memories of Ralph…

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Did Restrictive Voter ID Laws and Other Voting Laws Matter to the Election Outcome?

…e was due to attempts to make it harder to vote, compared to other factors, such as less enthusiasm for Clinton than Obama? (After all, with no new voting restrictions, Democratic and African American turnout was way down in Pennsylvania.) Again, I will have to leave this to others to tease out. Now, on why this is the wrong question: Of course pundits and partisans care about election outcomes, but when it comes to laws making it harder to…

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Roger Stone: “we will not allow the dark forces behind Hillary’s campaign to engage in voter fraud and tampering.”

…win these efforts and secure a fair vote for ALL AMERICA. If you are signing into our system to do exit polls, please see the counties where help is especially needed below:  Ohio Cutahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, Arizona  Pima County Colorado Arapahoe, Jefferson, Larimer Texas Bexar, Harris, Jefferson Florida Broward, Hillsborough, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Palm Beach Pennsylvania Allegheny, Montgomery, Philadelphia…

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PA: The Most Important Election-Related Court Ruling Remaining Isn’t About Election Law: It’s About Transit Strikers in Philly

…enied an injunction Friday but will revisit Monday potentially issuing an injunction ordering workers back in light of the election. Getting Philadelphia voters to the polls Tuesday is key to the Democrats’ strategy in Pennsylvania, a crucial state for Clinton and for control of the Senate. Meanwhile, as the negotiations continue: In the meantime, some Philadelphia residents have started offering free rides to the disabled and the elderly….

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“Not Intimidated: A court has gotten the Trump campaign on the record promising not to intimidate voters on Election Day. That is huge.”

…case being heard on an emergency basis this week: Democrats have filed suit against Donald Trump, Republican state parties, and Trump ally Roger Stone in the battleground states of Arizona, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. In the Nevada suit, Stone has been ordered to explain at a separate Friday hearing what his questionable “Stop the Steal” organization is planning for Election Day. But regardless of how these hearings go…

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“Hundreds in Montco say they haven’t received absentee ballots”

Philly.com: Days before the Pennsylvania deadline to return completed absentee ballots, hundreds of voters in Montgomery County are complaining that they have not yet received their absentee ballots in the mail.  Democrats and Republicans have expressed concern about the issue, and the GOP filed an emergency petition last week requesting an extension of the deadline to return completed absentee ballots because “a great number” had…

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Breaking: Federal Court Rejects PA GOP Efforts to Send Poll Watchers to Different Counties to Look for Voter Fraud

Under Pennsylvania law, poll watchers must be from the same county in which they are registered to vote. Republicans failed to change that law in the legislature, and the PA Republican party filed a federal lawsuit seeking to make the change. When the suit was filed, I indicated I thought it had little chance of success. And now a federal district court has issued this 28 page opinion rejecting the challenge. Part of the reason is timing…

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