“Meet the Vote Suppressors and Conspiracy Theorists on Trump’s ‘Election Integrity’ Commission”

…Ari Berman: The likes of Kobach, Blackwell, von Spakovsky, and Adams have for years spread debunked lies about voter fraud and have championed efforts to make it harder to vote, often in violation of federal law. Putting them on an “election integrity” commission is as bad of an idea as Trump forming a “cybersecurity unit” with Vladimir Putin….

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Beyond Words: J. Christian Adams Appointed to Pence-Kobach Commission

If you look at this list of people on the Pence-Kobach commission: Kobach Blackwell von Spakovsky and now Christian Adams… it is hard to imagine a list of people less credible on the issue of the extent of voter fraud in the United States, and who have done more to raise the scourge of voter fraud as a means to advocate for laws to make it harder for people to register and to vote. This is not a list meant to inspire bipartisan…

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Kobach Relies on “Bipartisan” Nature of Election Commission for Legitimacy, But It is Hardly Bipartisan

Speaking to Anderson Cooper at CNN, Kobach defended the Faux Commission by stating: “First of all, the commission is not to prove or disprove what the President speculated about in January,” Kobach said. “The purpose of the commission is to find facts and put them on the table. Importantly, it’s a bipartisan commission.” (My emphasis.) Kobach and his allies are desperate to claim that the Commission is bipartisan…

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President Trump Appoints Country’s Worst Vote Suppressor to His “Election Integrity” Commission

[Bumped to top] I thought it could not get worse with the Pence-Kobach faux election integrity commission with the appointment of Kris Kobach, the Secretary of State of Kansas who has trumped up claims of voter fraud to advance his career and to make it harder for people to register and vote, and former Ohio SOS Ken Blackwell, who once rejected voter registration forms based upon the weight of the sheet of paper. But I was wrong. The President…

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Why Didn’t Trump Announce All 15 (or 12?) Members of His “Voter Fraud” Commission? And Why Announce Now?

The Executive order establishing the “voter fraud” commission provides for the VP to chair and up to 15 additional members. Yet the NYT report says it will have “about a dozen” members, and so far we only know the names of Kobach, Lawson, Blackwell, Gardner, Dunlap and McCormick. That’s 6 names. So unusual to announce the formation of a commission without saying who the members are and passing along their bios;…

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Breaking: Trump to Launch a Voting “Commission” with No Credibility, with Pence, Kobach, and the EAC’s McCormick

ABC News: President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order today establishing a commission to review alleged voter fraud and voter suppression in the American election system, multiple senior administration officials tell ABC News. The officials say Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach will be announced as Chair and Vice Chair of the ‘Presidential Commission on Election Integrity’ in a press release…

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“Redistricting challengers used data and emails to piece together signs of conspiracy”

Tampa Bay Times: The legal team that uncovered the shadow redistricting process that invalidated Florida’s congressional and Senate districts didn’t rely just on maps and cloak-and-dagger emails to prove that legislators broke the law. The best clues came in the form of data — millions of census blocks — delivered electronically and found in the files of political operatives who fought for two years to shield it. The Florida Supreme Court ruled…

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“California State Appeals Court Hearing Goes Badly for Minor Parties”

Ballot Access News: On January 15, the California State Appeals Court based in San Francisco heard oral arguments in Rubin v Bowen, the case in which minor parties sued to overturn the top-two primary system on the grounds that the system disenfranchises voters in the general election who wish to vote for minor party candidates. The hearing began badly when the first question asked by any of the three judges was to the attorney for the minor…

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Breaking: Federal Court Order Rep. Conyers Name on Ballot

A federal court has ordered Rep. Conyers name to be put on the ballot. I had said that Conyers had a very strong argument that the law limiting petition circulators to residents was likely unconstitutional. The court agreed today, holding that the case was indistinguishable from earlier Sixth Circuit precedent, binding on the trial court, Nader v. Blackwell.  The arguments that the state made to try to distinguish the Nader case seemed quite…

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Weigel on Backlash over Republican Voting Laws

Here: In the short term, the risks of a backlash look intense. In the long term, Republicans can probably live with that. In 2008 and 2012, sure, they pulled low-single-digit numbers with black voters, and they lowballed black turnout. Those elections happened to feature the first black nominee of a major party. In 2004, when the Democrats nominated a white ticket, their campaigners waved the bloody shirt of Bush v. Gore and reminded everyone…

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“Ohio elections chief Jon Husted restricts methods to notify voters of absentee ballot errors”

…Jon Husted is starting to look a lot more like Ken Blackwell and Jennifer Brunner than I had hoped (h/t Maddowblog). And he’s got more decisions to make as counties start deadlocking on early voting for those last three days, as ordered by the Sixth Circuit. How about some uniformity there too?…

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“Ohio’s Jon Husted, the New Bad Boy on the Voting Rights Block”

…This item appears at The Nation‘s “Voting Rights Watch” blog. My own view of Husted is more complex—and I certainly would not  call him a “new bad boy” or compare him to hard-core partisans, including his two Ohio Secretary of State predecessors, Ken Blackwell (R) and Jennifer Brunner (D).  (I discuss the actions of both in Chapter 4 of The Voting Wars)….

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Minnite: Propaganda and the Voter ID Campaign

Below is a must-read guest post from Lorraine Minnite of Rutgers.  Thanks to Lori for taking up my invitation to delve into the recently discovered 1984 grand jury report from Brooklyn; as I’ve mentioned, her book, The Myth of Voter Fraud is required reading for anyone who wants to understand the facts surrounding voter fraud allegations.  –RH By Lorraine Minnite Propaganda is playing a crucial role in the fast-moving campaign to…

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A Happy Ending Over Ohio Absentee Voter Application Flap

Ohio SOS Husted said that counties, including Cuyahoga, could not send out absentee ballot applications because to allow some counties to do so rather than others could violate the equal protection clause (a questionable interpretation of the clause, but not out of the realm of reasonable argument).  Cuyahoga was going to make an end run around this by having another part of the government pay for the mailing, leading Husted to threaten to…

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“A Major Ruling on the Meaning of Bush v. Gore”

Don’t miss Ned Foley’s analysis of the Sixth Circuit decision filed yesterday in the provisional ballots/wrong precinct case. Here’s a taste: The link, then, between Bush v. Gore and conventional Equal Protection analysis is the unacceptability of “arbitrary” distinctions among voters that results in the disenfranchisement of some but not others in the context of the same election. This linkage manifests itself in…

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Two in Yale Law and Policy Review

…J. Kenneth Blackwell and Kenneth A. Klukowski have written The Other Voting Right: Protecting Every Citizen’s Vote by Safeguarding the Integrity of the Ballot Box. Dan Tokaji has written The Future of Election Reform: From Rules to Institutions. I have not yet had a chance to read the Blackwell/Klukowski piece, but I read the Tokaji piece in draft and recommend it highly….

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The Misguided Effort to Explain Obama to the Court–or–Why Obama Really Matters and What the Court Should Do About It

Here is a guest post from Ellen Katz: On April 29, the Supreme Court will hear argument on whether Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act remains constitutionally justified. The question has long been anticipated and many people, myself included, have written on the issue. But while most of the arguments being presented to the Court are familiar ones, a remarkable new claim has emerged in the briefs and commentary surrounding the case: Barack…

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The Return of Ken Blackwell?

Politico reports here and the Hill here on former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell’s quest to become the next RNC chair. You can find Blackwell’s letter to RNC members here. Among the qualifications Blackwell touts are that he “prevented voter fraud from overturning the results of a U.S. presidential election and fought the left in federal court more times than you can imagine.” In terms of future plans, Blackwell

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Foley: Voting Next Time–and in 2020

Ned Foley offers the following guest post in my Fixing Election Administration series: Election reform should embrace a long-term perspective and include non-partisan administration of the voting process. Meanwhile, eliminating unconscionably long lines at the polls is a short-term imperative, as is the need for more data on which to base long-term reform. It is too soon after the casting of ballots this year for any definitive pronouncements…

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Just in Case It Comes Down to Ohio…

Moritz reports: “This evening, federal district court judge Algenon Marbley has granted Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner’s motion to consolidate the case of Ohio Republican Party v. Brunner (ORP), filed last month and amended this morning, with the case of Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless v. Blackwell (NEOCH), filed two years ago. In an oral ruling from the bench, Judge Marbley noted that the as yet unresolved…

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“Ballot snafu endangers votes”

The Cincinnati Enquirer offers this report, which begins: About one-third of the absentee ballot applications received at the Hamilton County Board of Elections have been ruled invalid because Republican Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign printed a version of the form with an extra, unneeded box on it. In a narrow interpretation of Ohio law, Democratic Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner says many of the McCain forms have not been…

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Injunction for Libertarian Party of Ohio and Barr

U.S. District Judge Edmund Sargus, Jr. has issued this order, requiring that the Ohio Secretary of State place on the general election ballot the names of various Libertarian Party candidates, including Bob Barr. The order is based upon the Sixth Circuit’s 2006 decision in Libertarian Party of Ohio v. Blackwell, which declared Ohio’s ballot access statutes unconstitutional — and the Ohio legislature’s subsequent failure…

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Ohio Election Bill

The Columbus Dispatch reports here on a pending Ohio election bill, which includes some but not all of the changes requested by Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner. The bill approved by a state senate committee reportedly would require bipartisan teams to transport ballots and memory cards, and would allow absentee ballots to be counted if received within 11 days of the election. Perhaps most significantly, the bill would limit the Secretary of…

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“Ohio’s Primary: What Will Go Wrong?”

Dan Tokaji has this must read post on his Equal Vote blog. Here is a snippet: “It appears that Secretary of State Brunner is behind the decision to oust [Franklin County election director Matt] Damschroder. Damschroder has been a leader among county election officials in criticizing some of Brunner’s decisions, and was subpoenaed to testify in support of the ACLU’s lawsuit challenging Cuyahoga County’s decision. If in…

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ACLU Seeks Injunction to Stop Cuyahoga County’s Voting Machine Switch

The ACLU has filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to stop Cuyahoga County from replacing its touchscreen voting system with a central-count optical scan system. The ACLU’s press release and papers may be found here, and the AP has this report. Plaintiffs in ACLU of Ohio v. Brunner argue that the planned switch would deny voters notice and the opportunity to correct mistakes, in violation of the Equal Protection Clause and Section 2…

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Ken Blackwell on Crawford, the Indiana Voter ID Case, and a Brennan Center Response to Fraud Allegations

The former controversial Ohio Secretary of State has penned this oped in the NY Sun. Among the statements made by Sec. Blackwell: “Briefs in the case show that the number of votes cast in Wisconsin in 2004 exceeded the number of registered voters by over 4,600. Since you can’t have more votes than you have voters, there was clearly fraud going on there.” I’d suggest that Mr. Blackwell read this new 75 page release from…

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“Democrats may resist bill to restrict state elections officials’ campaigning”

This is distressing, but not surprising. The Hill reports: “Congressional Democrats, including those with executive-branch aspirations, may offer significant resistance to a Democratic bill that would affect how presidential campaigns operate in 2008. Rep. Susan Davis (D-Calif.) introduced legislation that would control and prevent chief state elections officials from actively participating in federal campaigns, responding to the…

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“Elections suits may be settled; Brunner, Dann to rethink those with constitutional merit”

The Columbus Dispatch offers this report, which begins: “Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner and Attorney General Marc Dann want to resolve election-related lawsuits filed against former Secretary J. Kenneth Blackwell, a move Brunner said yesterday could cost the state ‘large sums’ in attorneys’ fees. The 20 pending lawsuits include a sweeping complaint filed in 2005 by a group of advocates led by the League of Women…

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Stewart v. Blackwell Dismissed as Moot

…Via How Appealing comes news of this order from the Sixth Circuit vacating the district court’s decision with instructions to dismiss the case as moot. You can access my earlier posts on this case via this post, “First Major Post-Bush v. Gore Case to Go Out Not with a Bang But a Whimper.” From the point of view of clarity of election law, this development is unfortunate….

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“The Voting Rights Act and the Racial Gap in Lost Votes”

Paul Moke and Richard B. Saphire have written this article for the Hastings Law Journal. Here is the abstract: Recent presidential and gubernatorial elections have exposed serious flaws in the process by which American voters participate in the democratic franchise. Studies have shown that African-Americans who use inferior punch card technology are more likely than non-African-Americans to be disenfranchised because of unintentional errors in…

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First Major Post-Bush v. Gore Case to Go Out Not with a Bang But a Whimper

Plaintiffs’ attorneys in the Sixth Circuit’s Stewart v. Blackwell case filed this letter in the en banc court asking for the case to be dismissed as moot. The Sixth Circuit responded with this letter asking if the state objects to this dispostion (highly unlikely, since the state has been arguing for some time that the case was moot). (Information via Dan Tokaji, one of the plaintiffs’ lawyers). So it looks like this case…

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“And the Winner Is….Me”

Yesterday’s NY Times offered this editorial, which begins: “Voters in Ohio can be forgiven if they feel they have been beamed out of the Midwest and dropped into a third-world autocracy. The latest news from the state’s governor’s race is that the Republican nominee, Kenneth Blackwell, who is also the Ohio secretary of state, could rule that his opponent is ineligible to run because of a technicality.” Besides the other…

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Continuing Partisan Gap in Views of Fairness of the Election Process

In my Beyond the Margin of Litigation article, I noted (page 943) the growing gap between Democratic and Republican views of the fairness of the election process. Nationally, Democrats are much more skeptical about the fairness of the election process than Republicans. But the pattern was reversed in Washington state after the contested 2004 gubernatorial election, leading me to hypothesize that losers in elections are more likely to have lower…

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“NVRA Lawsuit Filed in Ohio”

Lisa Danetz has this post at Demos’s Democracy Dispatches, which begins: “This morning, we at NVRI in conjunction with Demos, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Dechert LLP, Project Vote, and ACORN, filed a lawsuit in Ohio charging Secretary of State Ken Blackwell and Director of Department of Jobs and Family Services Barbara Riley with violation of Section 7 of the National Voter Registration Act. You can read…

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Cert Petition Filed in Wexler Case

Here is the petition. Here are the questions presented: After the events that gave rise to Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 98 (2000), States, with federal encouragement, purchased new voting mechanisms to overcome problems associated with the older equipment. In Florida, as in many States, voting equipment is purchased on a county by county basis. As a result, counties within the same electoral jurisdiction can purchase different equipment that produce…

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