Category Archives: The Voting Wars

“Under the Radar, Right-Wing Push to Tighten Voting Laws Persists”

N.Y. Times article bout a second, concerted wave of republican-sponsored legislative efforts to restrict voting, funded by “billionaire-backed advocacy groups” allied with Trump. The key point is that this new wave is based on a strategy of “radical incrementalism”–an effort to make changes without grabbing attention. Their next target: rank-choice voting.

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“A group offered cities money to opt in to ranked choice voting. State elections office warns accepting that is likely illegal”

In response to a question at a city council meeting, an advocacy organization’s representative apparently noted that one county’s implementation of RCV might cost an extra $36,000 for software licensing, ballot design, and the like … and that the organization would be willing to cover the gap.  It’s not exactly an inducement to participate, but likely still violates Utah’s new law against accepting private donations.  (And the advocate, saying she wasn’t aware of the law, has since backed off of the suggestion.)

I think it’s likely that the laws restricting private funding are going to end up with more complicated impacts than the legislators have foreseen, and not in ways that help local officials administer elections.

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Election Litigation Fell Almost 25 Percent in 2021-22 Compared to Last Midterm Election Season (2017-18), But Slump May Not Last [Corrected]

My latest data crunching of a sample of election law cases shows a steep drop in the rate of election litigation, with litigation averaging 257 .5 cases per year in the 2021-22 midterm election period, down almost 19 percent compared to a 339-per-year case average during the last midterm period of 2017-18.

Source: Richard L. Hasen, Election Challenge Litigation, 1996-2022,

But there are reasons to believe the drop may be short-lived. Derek Muller reports a 30 percent increase in the amount raised by the political parties for election litigation. Derek Muller, Democratic, Republican fundraising for election litigation tops $154 Million in 2021-22 cycle, 30 percent increase over 2020 Presidential Cycle, Election Law Blog, Apr. 3, 2023.

More generally, with the Trump factor and covid, it is difficult to discern overall trends of election litigation in recent years. The year 2020 saw the highest rate of election litigation at least since 1996, and probably ever. See Richard L. Hasen, Research Note: Record Election Litigation Rates in the 2020 Election: An Aberration or a Sign of Things to Come?, Election Law Journal, (2022).

Note: This post originally appeared April 25, 2023 and was posted as corrected on April 26, 2023.

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“Massive turnover in local election officials likely before 2024, says new survey; A new survey suggests that more than 1 in 5 local election officials will have never worked a presidential election next year.”

NBC News:

new survey from the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law predicts huge turnover in local election officials before the 2024 election.

According to the survey, 12% of local officials began working in their roles after the 2020 election and 11% said they were very or somewhat likely to quit before next year’s election. A small number fell into both categories: new employees who suggested they will leave.

Such turnover — approximately 1 in 5 of all election workers — is significant, the Brennan Center said, and equivalent to one to two election officials’ leaving office every day since the 2020 election.

Harassment and threats may be driving some of the departures.

Thirty percent of respondents said they’d been personally harassed, abused or threatened, while 22% said they personally knew of election officials who had left their jobs “at least in part because of fear for their safety, increased threats, or intimidation.” (Just 4% of respondents said they knew “many” election officials who were quitting for that reason; the rest said they knew “one or two.”)

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“Top GOP lawyer decries ease of campus voting in private pitch to RNC”


A top Republican legal strategist told a roomful of GOP donors over the weekend that conservatives must band together to limit voting on college campuses, same-day voter registration and automatic mailing of ballots to registered voters, according to a copy of her presentation reviewed by The Washington Post.

Cleta Mitchell, a longtime GOP lawyer and fundraiser who worked closely with former president Donald Trump to try to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, gave the presentation at a Republican National Committee donor retreat in Nashville on Saturday.

The presentation — which had more than 50 slides and was labeled “A Level Playing Field for 2024” — offered a window into a strategy that seems designed to reduce voter access and turnout among certain groups, including students and those who vote by mail, both of which tend to skew Democratic.

Mitchell did not respond to a request for comment, and it is unclear whether she delivered the presentation exactly as it was prepared on her PowerPoint slides. But in addition to the presentation, The Post listened to audio of portions of the presentation obtained by liberal journalist Lauren Windsor in which Mitchell discussed limiting campus and early voting.

“What are these college campus locations?” she asked, according to the audio. “What is this young people effort that they do? They basically put the polling place next to the student dorm so they just have to roll out of bed, vote, and go back to bed.”….

Some advisers to other elected officials were frustrated the RNC allowed her to speak at a major event, given her role on behalf of Trump after the election and her repeated false claims about voter fraud. But they did not want to criticize her publicly.RNC officials noted that other speakers who were critical of Trump were also given prime billing at the event.

In Trump’s private comments to donors at the event, he said that he eventually wants to end all mail and early voting, according to audio obtained by The Post. But until that happens, he said, Republicans had to get better at it.

Mitchell advised Trump and was on the call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in January 2021 when Trump asked Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to overturn the result.

“All we have to do, Cleta, is find 11,000-plus votes,” Trump said on the call, which is now under investigation by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis as part of a broader inquiry into efforts to overturn the 2020 result in Georgia.

Lauren Windsor:

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