Category Archives: election administration

Weinstein-Tull on Federal Election Administration

Justin Weinstein-Tull, Federal Election Administration Laws (forthcoming, Oxford Handbook of American Election Law):

Although states and local governments administer elections in the United States, the federal government has also enacted laws that regulate election administration. Most prominent among these laws are the National Voter Registration Act, the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, and the Help America Vote Act. With its recent attempt to enact the For the People Act, Congress has demonstrated an interest in more aggressively regulating election administration.

This chapter discusses both the promise and the challenges of federal election administration laws. It discusses the good that these laws can accomplish, but also the difficulties enforcing them. It explains how federal election administration laws fit into voting rights scholarship, and suggests avenues for future research. Building on these insights, it concludes by suggesting novel ways that the federal government could effectively administer elections while retaining the benefits of local election administration.

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Green on Adversarial Election Administration

Rebecca Green, Adversarial Election Administration (forthcoming North Carolina Law Review):

As Americans, we are conditioned to believe that involving partisans in the administration of elections is inherently problematic. Understandably. The United States is a major outlier; virtually every other developed democracy mandates nonpartisan election administration. Whether on the left or right— especially since the 2020 election—we are barraged with headlines about actual or feared partisanship on the part of those who run our elections. What this narrative misses, however, is a crucial and underrecognized fact: by design, partisans have always played central roles at every level of U.S. election administration. What is more, partisans are baked into the U.S. election process for lofty reasons. Placing rival partisans in the election process increases transparency, enhances accountability, and (in theory) improves public trust in outcomes. Rival partisans populate election administration for the same reason we rely on the adversarial process in court: adversarialism leads to outcomes in which members of the public are more likely to abide. As with the justice system, adversarial election administration is not a perfect formula. But the better we understand the mechanisms of rival partisanship in election administration, the better our chances of improving them. This Article takes on this task, examining the history of adversarial election administration in the United States, describing how adversarial actors function in modern U.S. elections, and suggesting how states might better leverage adversarial election administration to bolster transparency, boost accountability, and secure election outcomes voters can trust.

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“Georgia plans security checks of voting equipment before ’24 elections”

Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Voting equipment across Georgia will undergo security “health checks” ahead of the 2024 presidential election, including efforts to verify that software hasn’t been altered, according to a plan announced Friday by Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

Voting touchscreens, ballot scanners, and election management systems will be tested to ensure they’re operating correctly and haven’t been tampered with.

The decision to examine Georgia’s voting equipment follows revelations last year that supporters of then-President Donald Trump paid tech experts to copy the state’s election software in Coffee County in early 2021. Raffensperger’s office replaced Coffee County’s voting equipment last fall.

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“Bruce Castor dumps Rudy Giuliani as a client: ‘He’s not cooperating, and he’s not paying me'”

Philadelphia Inquirer:

Bruce Castor, the former Montgomery County district attorney and county commissioner who represented former President Donald Trump during his second impeachment trial, filed an eight-page motion in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court on Tuesday, asking to no longer represent former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani in a civil suit.

Castor summed up his gripe about Giuliani to Clout more succinctly: “He’s not cooperating, and he’s not paying me.”

James Savage, a Delaware County voting-machine supervisor, sued Trump, his 2020 presidential campaign, Giuliani, and two local Republican poll watchers in November 2021, saying their unsubstantiated claims about the 2020 election made him a target of hatred, ridicule, and physical threats.

You can read the motion here.

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“Shasta supervisor renews unproven claims of voter fraud as he sets town hall on hand counts”

Rarely do you see an elected official claim his own election was tainted by fraud. You can see the elected official concede he did not win a free and fair election around 3:14:15, here. Perhaps a quo warranto action is coming….

Redding Record Searchlight:

Pressed once again to explain his distrust of Dominion voting machines when the same machines were used to tally votes in his election victory nearly three years ago, Shasta County Supervisor Patrick Jones said at Tuesday’s board meeting that there was fraud in his race.

. . .

But when a resident during Tuesday’s public comment period asked Jones, and Supervisors Kevin Crye and Chris Kelstrom if their own victories constituted a free and fair election, Crye and Kelstrom didn’t answer. All three voted to ditch Dominion.

Jones, however, spoke up.

“It was not with me and I can prove it,” Jones said as some chuckling and clapping rang out in the chamber. “So, in 2020 on my race, if you take a look at the statistics and analyze that race, you will see the Mesa, Colorado, ‘pattern of fraud’ existed in my race. Explain it to me.”

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Johnson County, Kansas sheriff’s election probe results so far? 1 case, no criminal charges

Records request from the Shawnee Mission Post:

Earlier this spring, Johnson County Sheriff Calvin Hayden painted a distressing picture of the county’s elections during a hearing before a Kansas Senate committee.

According to his testimony, there had been more than 15 statutory violations of election laws his office had turned over to the district attorney that were awaiting action. There had been no criminal penalties for most of those violations so far, he said, but crime mapping went “all the way to China.”

Hayden has been investigating Johnson County election results for over a year but has so far largely failed to produce any evidence publicly to back up complaints he says he’s hearing from residents that there was widespread voter fraud in 2020 and 2021, frequently saying he can’t because of the ongoing investigation.

Following Hayden’s testimony in March, the Post sought public records related to the 15 violations Hayden referenced to lawmakers.

That open records request produced a single case that has been referred to District Attorney Steve Howe. And for that one case, Howe told the Post there was no evidence to support bringing criminal charges.

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Sudden switch in Fulton County, Georgia elections board chair nomination

Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

In a surprise switch-up, Fulton County commissioners on Wednesday chose Patrise Perkins-Hooker to chair of the Fulton County Board of Registration & Elections for the next two years.

Commission Chairman Robb Pitts had nominated former Republican county commissioner Lee Morris to chair the elections board — a move that would have flipped control from Democrats to Republicans.

But that proposal drew strong pushback from the public and some other commissioners.

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“Jury splits verdicts for former inmate charged with Florida voter fraud crimes”

Gainesville Sun:

Another Florida man has been sentenced for election-related voter fraud crimes following a fraud investigation in Alachua County.

After a day-long trial John Boyd Rivers was found guilty of willfully voting as an unqualified elector, but not guilty of the charge against him for registering to vote in the first place. He was sentenced to two years of supervised probation and 50 hours of community service. He is also ordered to pay off all his court fees.

Rivers was among the near two dozen inmates facing various voter fraud crimes related to the 2020 general election that followed a voter drive held by the Alachua County Supervisor of Elections Office at the county jail after the passage of Amendment 4.

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“Why Kari Lake is still, six months after losing, in Arizona courts arguing the 2022 election was stolen”

Jen Fifield at Votebeat with a deep dive into the process, claims remaining, and time frame:

GOP candidates for Arizona’s top offices who claim the November election was stolen from them have spent months presenting shape-shifting arguments in court — and six months after races were called, they aren’t done.

A Maricopa County judge on Monday granted losing GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake a trial on a claim initially made in December that has changed over time as it made its way up to the Arizona Supreme Court and back down again. That trial begins Wednesday. 

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“Virginia becomes the latest GOP-governed state to quit a voter data partnership”

NPR: Virginia on Thursday joined several other Republican-led state in withdrawing from a multistate partnership (ERIC) that until recently was viewed as a bipartisan effort to share voter information. The shift came after “[a] far-right website targeted the organization last year with a series of articles claiming ERIC was a left-wing plot to steal elections. That set off a chain reaction of grassroots pressure in conservative states.”

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“Texas Republicans Push New Voting Restrictions Aimed at Houston”

N.Y. Times: Texas’s Republican-dominated state Legislature is targeting Harris County — the newest urban area to show signs of becoming a Democratic Party stronghold in the state — for voting restrictions. If passed, the law would limit polling places, increasing penalties for voting illegally, and, most importantly, allow the state to order a new election in Harris County alone when there have been issues with voting. Harris County did experience administrative bumps in the last election, but local voting rights advocates are not persuaded this law is a genuine effort to address those missteps.

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“Sort the mail-in ballot envelopes, or don’t?”

Andrew Appel at Freedom to Tinker has a four-part series offering a guide to local election officials about how best to handle mail-in ballot envelopes. He argues that how local officials handle them can make a huge difference in the cost of recounts and can also affect the security of elections. The series compares Montgomery County, Maryland’s practices to Los Angeles County’s.

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