An update out of south Florida: a federal court just rejected a claim by the ACRU that Broward County has a legal responsibility to purge voters more aggressively.
There’s plenty of detail in the opinion about what Broward does and does not currently do. One piece that may be of particular interest: on pp. 14-20, the court dug into the comparison of census figures and registration rates, and the talking point that there must be something funny going on when the data ostensibly shows more registered voters than eligible electors. “Ostensibly” is the key: as the court recognized, the comparison involves apples and oranges, and for many of the reasons I mentioned here, the math may look damning on the surface but is fundamentally flawed. Or, as the court put it:
ACRU’s argument that Broward County’s registration rates are unreasonably high is, therefore, unsupported by any credible evidence and necessarily fails to support ACRU’s contention that Snipes failed to comply with the NVRA’s list-maintenance requirements.
Political Wire conversations:
Rick Hasen, author of The Justice of Contradictions: Antonin Scalia and the Politics of Disruption, joins Chris Riback for a discussion of Scalia’s complex legacy as a conservative legal thinker and disruptor of the nation’s highest court.
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Not long after Gardner made those statements, I asked him if I could see the cases he was talking about. With all of the talk about people’s perceptions of voting fraud in New Hampshire, I wanted to know more about what kind of incidents had actually been documented.
In response, Gardner readily shared his references in the form of a stack of file folders that were filled with news clippings, letters to people who’d been accused of fraud and reports filed to the Legislature. But when I read through those files more closely, there were big gaps — and the records didn’t prove the point Gardner seemed to be trying to make.
For instance, the files didn’t actually include any incidents of voter fraud from 2002 or 2006. The only incident listed from 2010 was a man who voted twice in town elections — and while he was penalized, investigators said he might have cast two ballots simply because he was confused about where he was supposed to vote.
Since then, I’ve learned that part of the reason the Secretary of State’s voter fraud docket was incomplete is that no one in state government — not even the attorney general’s office, which is actually in charge of investigating complaints into suspected voter fraud — maintained such a case file until a few months ago.
In response, Secretary of State Gardner promises never-before-seen info on N.H. voter fraud
Docket. Here’s the question presented:
When the Government prosecutes a public official for soliciting campaign contributions in alleged violation of the Hobbs Act or other federal anticorruption laws, must the Government prove the defendant made an “explicit promise or undertaking” in exchange for the contribution, McCormick v. United States, 500 U.S. 257, 273 (1991) (emphasis added), as five circuits require, or “only . . . that a public official has obtained a payment . . . knowing that [it] was made in return for official acts,” Evans v. United States, 504 U.S. 255, 268 (1992), as three other circuits hold?
It’s a meaty issue, but I don’t have a good sense whether or not the Court will bite.
This University of Memphis/MLK 50 event should be outstanding, and especially the voting rights panel. I’m honored to be included.
I’ll be talking about this draft “Of Civil Right No. 1: Dr. King’s Unfinished Voting Rights Revolution,” which is forthcoming in a special symposium issue of the University of Memphis Law Review commemorating the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King.
Jonathan Blitzer for The New Yorker.