“House committee subpoenas 15 Biden Cabinet secretaries to hand over documents on voter mobilization ‘scheme'”

That’s the Fox headline for the continuing swirl of nonsense around Executive Order 14019 – but as I’ve mentioned before, the reality of the alleged “scheme” is an instruction to federal agencies to help facilitate customer service in a profoundly nonpartisan way, and only as consistent with each agency’s legal authority.  (Disclosure: as mentioned before, in my role as a federal official, I had a hand in helping to implement the Executive Order.

Here’s the set of cover letters for the subpoena mentioned in the piece.  One of the cover letters is to the Department of Defense, and asserts that “Congress’s delegation of authority to the Department of Defense does not include using funds and resources to provide Americans with voter registration materials.”  Which, as just one example, is a pretty weird understanding of the NVRA’s designation of DOD recruitment offices (52 U.S.C. 20506(c)), not to mention UOCAVA’s requirements (52 U.S.C. 20301(b)(2) and (b)(5) and 20305), all of which very explicitly authorize (indeed, mandate) the Department of Defense to provide Americans with voter registration materials.

Agency implementation of the Executive Order varies, because different agencies have different touchpoints with the public and different legal authorities.  Agency brainstorming that hasn’t crystallized into final agency action hasn’t been made public, but individual agencies that have made concrete decisions have announced those efforts.  And the Administration has periodically posted updates on agency steps in connection with the Executive Order, including cooperation with a bipartisan roster of state election officials. 

Here are the updates I know of: Sept. 2021, Mar. 2022, Sept. 2022, Mar. 2023, Feb. 2024.  Since then, I’ve seen the SBA accept designation by Michigan as a voter registration agency (joining the Department of the Interior in Kansas and New Mexico, and Veterans Affairs in Kentucky and Michigan), pursuant to the express requirement of 52 U.S.C. 20506(b).  There may have been other releases I don’t know of (and I’d welcome reliable news of other agency actions).  But none of those announcements of agency efforts to implement the Executive Order amount to the mysterious nefarious boogeyman the House committee seems to be suggesting.

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Could the Court’s unanimous decision in FDA v. AHM upend some federal election litigation?

In order to sue in federal court, a plaintiff must have “standing,” an actual or imminent concrete and particularized injury in fact caused by the defendant and redressable by a federal court. Many lawsuits are thrown out for lack of standing. In particular, and of particular relevance in election cases, many lawsuits are thrown out because the plaintiffs allege a “generalized grievance,” an injury shared in common with the public and not “particularized.” In federal court, an increasing number of plaintiffs have been non-profit organizations alleging a distinct harm to them, and they have survived the standing inquiry.

But the Supreme Court’s decision today in Food and Drug Administration v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine might have just disrupted this litigation path in election cases.

Continue reading Could the Court’s unanimous decision in FDA v. AHM upend some federal election litigation?
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“U.S. spy agencies are ready to warn voters about foreign election interference — if it’s severe enough”

An excerpt from the NBC report:

U.S. intelligence agencies are closely tracking attempts by foreign adversaries to influence the 2024 election through “deepfakes” or other false information and are ready to alert the public if necessary, officials said Wednesday.

A decision to notify the public about attempted election interference by foreign actors would be up to the leaders of the country’s intelligence agencies, including intelligence chief Avril Haines, officials from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, or ODNI, told reporters.

The decision to issue a public warning would follow a review by digital forensic experts and intelligence analysts, the ODNI officials said. It would be based on an assessment of whether the disinformation was serious enough that it “could affect the election outcome,” an official said.

UPDATE: A slightly different take on the briefing here, from the AP.

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“Alabama GOP chair used homemade ID to vote. AG doesn’t seem to care.”

A very weird story about the chair of the Alabama Republican party using a very weird homemade photo ID to vote, in a way that sure seems like it doesn’t meet Ala. Code 17-9-30.  (And allowing a one-person exception might well be a violation of federal law – 52 USC 10101(a)(2)(A) – too.)

I’m all for flexibility to allow a wider variety of ways for eligible voters to show that they are who they say they are.  But that flexibility should be available to everyone, even if you’re not the state party chair. 

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