By Democracy Docket

December 2020

What a difference a year makes.

One year ago, I sent out the first edition of On the Docket. In it, I wrote that “my goal is to provide thoughtful updates on important voting rights cases and initiatives as well as to highlight topics and trends that are developing but might otherwise be overlooked in a busy election year.” Little did I know just how busy 2020 would be for voting rights and voting.

We’ve come a long way since then. In one year, On the Docket has grown from 2,000 subscribers to more than 50,000. And it turned out that a monthly newsletter was not all that 2020 had in store!

In March we launched our flagship website, Democracy Docket, to serve as a platform for expert opinion and commentary on voting, as well as provide detailed information about important litigation that will shape our elections and democratic institutions for years to come. Throughout the year it offered sharp, honest opinions that helped frame the fight over voting rights as well as content that helped explain the voting process. Most famously, it tracked court cases in the pre and post-election period that shaped our elections and posted key court filings so that anyone could see the argument and results for themselves.

Most importantly, Democracy Docket has highlighted the work of those protecting voting rights and our democracy. In the last two years, I have had the honor to work with amazing organizations and individuals in over 150 voting rights cases in over 20 states. When people ask how we did, I say we won more than we lost and more than I thought we would. But I also say that the fight is not over.

In recent weeks, attention has turned from improving voting rules, to larger questions of protecting democracy. In December I wrote two pieces: A Threat to Democracy and Profiles in Cowardice that focused on the long term damage to our democratic institutions the Republican’s handling of the post-election period has caused. Trumpism has taught us that, for our democracy to survive, we cannot allow ourselves to be exposed to public evils from private vices. This means hardening our institutions of democracy and making them more explicit. This will need to take many forms, but we must start with those that force our nation’s leaders to do better. I expect to continue to speak out and advocate on prospective measures to re-strengthen our democratic institutions in the new year.

One of the immediate tests we will face will be Republican state legislatures using the lies of Trump to justify restrictive voting laws. I know people are tired of politics and elections, but it is critical that we stay vigilant and yield no ground to voter suppression.

The other big test facing our democracy is reapportionment and redistricting. Every ten years we reapportion and redistrict based on the Census. Like other aspects of democracy, Trump and his allies have systematically undermined an accurate Census count. Between that and the Supreme Court’s rulings gutting Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act and greenlighting partisan redistricting, we will all have our hands full.

But before we can turn fully to those items, we must first finish out the 2020 election cycle with victories in two crucial Georgia Senate elections and the swearing in of a new Congress and President. Earlier this month, Stacey Abrams shared the blueprint for How Georgia Went Blue in November and will again in the January run offs.

The entire Democracy Docket team and I are extremely grateful for all of your support. Whether you’ve received every newsletter for the past year or recently subscribed, if you signed up to support voter protection or retweeted our latest case updates, your advocacy for voting rights helped change the outcome of the election and helped shine a light on disenfranchisement.

I expect next year to be full of important voting rights litigation, fights against Republican schemes to disenfranchise voters and a struggle over the very basics of American democracy. Until then, I hope you and your family have a safe and relaxing holiday. I am excited to show you what Democracy Docket and I have planned for 2021 and beyond.

Litigating Post-Election

Last month, I told you about all of Trump’s unsuccessful post-election challenges. Since then, Trump and his allies have continued to worsen their record, losing 59 total cases and winning one case that only affected a few dozen ballots. It’s hard to believe that almost two months after Election Day, we’re still mopping up the Republicans’ mess in the courts. None of these efforts will change the outcome of the election.

The safe harbor deadline on Tuesday, December 8th brought a flurry of court decisions at the beginning of the month. Republicans lost their biggest case brought by the state of Texas against four battleground states in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. Here is a summary of some of the most notable post-election cases in December:

Arizona

After an extensive hearing and ballot review, Republicans’ election contest in Arizona was dismissed on all claims. The Court found “no misconduct, no fraud, and no effect on the outcome of the election.” After again losing in front of the Arizona Supreme Court, the Republican plaintiffs appealed to SCOTUS, where we expect another loss.

Georgia

The Eleventh Circuit dismissed the Georgia “Kraken” case appeal led by Sidney Powell. The lawsuit—which in case you forgot was littered with typos and other glaring misspellings —was then dismissed by the district court. Upon losing, the Kraken filed an emergency petition to SCOTUS, where we expect them to lose once again.

Michigan

Trump lost another appeal attempt in front of the Michigan Court of Appeals. The lawsuit tried to stop Michigan from counting all absentee ballots. After losing in the lower court and appealing in early November, the Trump campaign failed to file a brief in support of their appeal until November 30th. As the Court of appeals wrote in their decision denying the motion, “The Michigan Board of State Canvassers certified the presidential election results on November 23, 2020, a full week before the plaintiff perfected its application. Plaintiff does not address whether the certification of the election result by the Board of State Canvassers had any impact on the viability of its suit below or on the viability of the instant application. Perhaps the reason for the plaintiff failing to discuss the impact of the certification is because such action by the Michigan State Board of Canvassers clearly rendered the plaintiff’s claims for relief moot.”

Minnesota

The Minnesota State Supreme Court dismissed a Republican petition asking the court to stop the State Canvassing Board from certifying the results of the election. The court dismissed the petition and its call for a full recount because of the “unacceptable burdens” and uncertainty it would cause for voters and election officials alike.

Nevada

The Trump-backed election contest in Nevada was dismissed by the Nevada Supreme Court. The frivolous lawsuit again made false claims of voter fraud and attempted to question the use of a ballot sorting machine—a claim that has already been thrown out of court in four different Nevada lawsuits. The Court found no evidence of fraud and denied the contest.

Texas

Texas’s Attorney General Ken Paxton sued Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia and Wisconsin. 17 other attorneys general and 126 Republican House members also signed on to the lawsuit, despicably showing their alliance to Trump over their own voters. The U.S. Supreme Court denied the meritless petition.

Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Supreme Court denied a right-wing group’s petition that challenged the election. As one of the conservative judges wrote in his concurring opinion, “Something far more fundamental than the winner of Wisconsin’s electoral votes is implicated in this case. At stake, in some measure, is faith in our system of free and fair elections, a feature central to the enduring strength of our constitutional republic…The relief being sought by the petitioners is the most dramatic invocation of judicial power I have ever seen. Judicial acquiescence to such entreaties built on so flimsy a foundation would do indelible damage to every future election.”

Too-Close-to-Call House Races

Despite the Electoral College affirming Joe Biden’s victory, some conservatives are still grasping at straws in an attempt to claim voter fraud. Just yesterday, Senator Josh Hawley announced he would object to the results when they are presented to Congress on January 6th. Let’s be clear: no matter what stunt they pull on January 6th, or how many additional meritless lawsuits they file, on January 20th Joe Biden will be sworn into the presidency.

The outcome of the presidential election may be known, but we are also still fighting election results in two too-close-to-call House races. Last week, Rita Hart—Democratic candidate for Iowa’s Second Congressional District—filed a Notice of Contest with the U.S. House of Representatives. The race is the closest federal race in 2020, with a vote margin of only six votes. A review of the election following the recount showed there were 22 lawfully-cast ballots that were illegally excluded from the initial count. These voters were disenfranchised for miniscule discrepancies, often outside of their control, including location of a signature, receiving pre-sealed absentee ballot envelopes and returning their ballots to a drop box in a neighboring county. Once these ballots are counted, we expect that Rita Hart will lead the race by nine votes.

The other close House race is in New York’s 22nd congressional district. Democratic incumbent Anthony Brindisi is behind Republican challenger Claudia Tenney by only 30 votes. Election boards for the district are waiting to certify the election until about 2,000 disputed absentee and affidavit ballots are reviewed by the state judge. Due to the holiday break, the unofficial vote count won’t be known until next week. This race is the last undecided House election in the country this year. We are keeping a close eye on NY-22 and Representative Brindisi’s effort to keep his seat.

Eyes on Georgia

In the last several weeks, my full focus has been on the upcoming Senate runoff elections in Georgia. And, not surprisingly, there has been no shortage of voting rights litigation.

Picking up where Trump left off, the Republicans and their right-wing allies shamefully filed five different challenges to the runoff elections, all aimed at disenfranchising voters and slowing down the counting of absentee ballots. The DSCC and Democratic Party of Georgia intervened in each of them and all of these cases have already been dismissed.

Meanwhile, our side has filed seven lawsuits focused on protecting and expanding the right to vote.

Five of these lawsuits—filed on behalf of the New Georgia Project—challenged different Georgia counties for failing to offer early voting for all of the statutorily required dates and times for the runoffs. With these cases pending in court, other counties have agreed to expand voting opportunities for Georgians.

While we work to expand voting rights for Georgians, the Conservative group, True the Vote, announced their plan to challenge the eligibility of over 350,000 voters registered in all 159 counties in Georgia. These frivolous challenges would force voters to vote a provisional ballot instead of a regular ballot. Targeting voters in this way puts thousands of voters at risk for disenfranchisement during an unprecedented public health crisis, especially because they would have to show up in person to “prove” their eligibility.

Progressives immediately countered this affront to voting rights by informing counties that this scheme is illegal and should not affect who can vote a regular ballot. When two counties failed to heed our warning, Majority Forward and affected individual voters brought a lawsuit. Earlier this week, the court granted a motion for a Temporary Restraining Order, which the counties then appealed.

And then, on behalf of Fair Fight, my team and I went a step further and sued True the Vote in federal court for voter intimidation and for violating the Voting Rights Act.

I will continue to fight against Republican plots to suppress the vote at every level. Democracy Docket is committed to providing a platform for accurate information and advocacy so that every eligible voter in Georgia can cast their vote and have it counted in January.

Marc’s Redistricting Reading List

As mentioned above, every ten years, the constitution mandates a count of the entire population of the United States. This triggers the redrawing of equal electoral districts across the country at the federal and state legislature level.

Redistricting is vital to our democracy. The maps states will draw in 2021 based on the 2020 census will affect political control, state and federal budgets and, ultimately, who counts in America. I am already planning litigation strategies with the National Democratic Redistricting Committee to stop Republican gerrymandering and ensure fair maps for everyone.

Democracy Docket is planning to publish more explainers and spotlights to teach you what you need to know about the redistricting cycle. Until then, I suggest you read (or re-read): The GOP’s Greatest Political Weapon: Redistricting Control.

What Bode’s Barking About

“We will not allow out-of-state agitators to violate the law and disenfranchise lawful Georgia voters in an eleventh-hour, desperate attempt to create chaos, burden county boards, and tie up the election” AJC.

“The suits, which are backed by a combination of local, state and national Republican Party organizations, are an attempt to make successfully voting by mail harder in Georgia.” Politico.

“President Donald Trump had another brutal weekend in court, with the US Supreme Court and other judges across the country rejecting his latest efforts to overturn his loss to President-elect Joe Biden.” BuzzFeed News.

Image of Bode the dog

By Democracy Docket

November 2020

What a difference a month makes!

In my last On the Docket newsletter, published four days before the November election, I promised: “We won’t stop fighting for voting rights until the last lawful ballot is counted.” More than three weeks after Election Day, we’re keeping that promise.

Since November 3rd, Trump and his Republican allies have filed 45 lawsuits in seven states to halt vote counting, delay certification and create uncertainty around the election results. In each of these cases, we’ve met them in court, defending Biden’s win and preventing voter disenfranchisement. So far, we’ve won 36 of those lawsuits and only lost one case that affected a few dozen votes.

Two states are undergoing recounts—Georgia and Wisconsin—but the results are not in doubt. Indeed, this is the second recount of Georgia’s ballots. The first recount affirmed Joe Biden’s victory and led the state to certify the election. Other states are still continuing their certification processes. Despite political pressure from Donald Trump, Michigan certified its election results on Monday. Pennsylvania and Nevada followed suit and certified their results yesterday.

Despite the all-out attacks on our election processes, our democracy and democratic institutions still stand. In the coming months, we will need to revisit them to see what needs to be fixed, what needs to be bolstered and what might be beyond repair.

For now, however, we will continue to meet our promise to fight for every voter to have their vote counted. We will fight day-in and day-out until the new Congress is sworn in on January 3rd and President Biden and Vice President Harris take their oaths of office on January 20th.

Our Post-Election Victories

Since November 3rd, Trump and his Republican allies have filed 45 meritless lawsuits in a desperate attempt to delay the inevitable. Every time, we’ve met them in court, defending Biden’s win and preventing voter disenfranchisement. Their record: 1-36.

Republicans have focused their election challenges on six key states: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Here is an overview of our wins:

Arizona

We defeated all four of the Republican lawsuits brought in Arizona, including three rooted in the same conspiracy theory. The theory, notoriously known as SharpieGate, alleged that ballots were not being counted if they were filled out with a Sharpie. This claim was completely unfounded; the Secretary of State confirmed that ballots marked with Sharpies were counted. We intervened in all three cases and won! The third SharpieGate lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice meaning it can’t be filed in another court or amended. We also successfully stopped the Arizona Republican Party’s delay tactic—a bogus expanded audit.

Georgia

As soon as the Trump Campaign began to realize it might lose Georgia, it sued to stop the counting of mail ballots that it claimed had arrived after the state’s receipt deadline. The Trump Campaign had no evidence that the ballots in question actually arrived after the deadline, or that there was any appropriate basis for disenfranchising the voters who cast them. We immediately intervened on behalf of the Democratic Party of Georgia to defend these ballots and keep up the count. The judge ruled in our favor, finding that the Trump Campaign provided “no evidence that the ballots referenced in the petition were received after 7:00 p.m. on election day.”

A federal judge then dismissed another Republican lawsuit that sought to exclude the certification of all ballots because of signature matching on absentee ballots. The court found that the Republicans had no standing for any of their claims and that halting state certification would breed confusion and disenfranchisement. Republicans voluntarily dismissed their other election challenge in the state—making us undefeated in post-election litigation in Georgia.

Michigan

We intervened in and won three lawsuits in Michigan. The first case claimed multiple fraud conspiracies in the Michigan election—but had no proof. The judge agreed, writing in a fiery opinion, “It is not surprising that many of the votes being observed by Mr. Sitto were votes cast for Mr. Biden in light of the fact that former Vice President Biden received approximately 220,000 more votes than President Trump.”

The second, filed by the Trump Campaign, asked the court to order all counting and processing of absentee ballots to stop until an election inspector could be present at each counting board. Once again, after intervening, the judge ruled in our favor. The court struck down Trump’s claims of fraud, ruling that the little evidence produced was hearsay.

The third case was brought by the right-wing group Election Integrity Fund. In the challenge, the group attempted to block the lawful counting of ballots in Detroit. We intervened on behalf of the DNC. After a quick hearing, the judge ruled in our favor, again striking down the claims for lack of evidence.

After these loses, Republicans voluntarily dismissed three more of their election challenge lawsuits in one week—making us undefeated in Michigan post-election litigation. The first was in Wayne County, where the Trump Campaign attempted to halt the certification of election results in the biggest county in Michigan. In their notice, the campaign falsely claimed that the Wayne County Canvassing Board declined to certify the election results. The second dismissal was in a case challenging presidential election results from three heavily Democratic counties. Finally, in their third dismissal of the week, Republicans gave up on their attempt to start an unnecessary independent audit of the election.

Nevada

Republicans filed a flurry of lawsuits in Nevada last week, scrambling to find a non-existent path to victory. Down-ballot Republicans filed four separate—but identical—election challenges questioning the use of a mail ballot processing machine. A Nevada judge dismissed one of these cases in Clark County and another was voluntarily dismissed by the Republican plaintiff. A third was dismissed yesterday, when the judge again found nothing wrong with the machines used in the state’s election.

We also defeated the Election Integrity Project’s second attempt at undermining vote by mail. The judge dismissed the group’s request to throw out the lawful votes of over 1.3 million Nevadans. And after an unsuccessful pre-election challenge to signature matching technology used to count ballots in Nevada, Trump allies filed another lawsuit after the election raising many of the same claims. We again intervened on behalf of the DNC; the judge denied the Republicans’ requests to halt vote counting and to alter rules for signature matching and observation.

Pennsylvania

Trump has focused the majority of his litigation on Pennsylvania—but with little success. The week following the election was a total bust for the Republicans. In a Philadelphia lawsuit, the Trump Campaign sued to stop votes from being counted until they could have their observers present. The lawsuit was denied within a day of filing. Then, a GOP case challenging the canvassing process in Montgomery County was outright denied. Republicans also voluntarily dismissed another baseless lawsuit in Bucks County that challenged the certification of election results. Finally, in a lawsuit brought by the Northampton County Republican Committee, we intervened in the group’s appeal of a ruling that denied their request to stop the county board of elections from disclosing the identity of canceled ballots for canvassing purposes. After we intervened, the Republicans filed an application to discontinue the case, which was accepted by the judge.

The next week, we won seven cases in Pennsylvania. The Third Circuit upheld our lower court win protecting the extended ballot receipt deadline. Then, the Trump Campaign lost five different appeals seeking to stop the Philadelphia County Board of Elections from counting certain types of absentee ballots. Finally, we prevented the RNC and Trump Campaign from stopping Montgomery County from counting its mail-in ballots.

Our winning continued though the weekend. We defeated the Trump Campaign’s biggest attempt at undermining the election results. A federal judge dismissed their case in a scathing decision, writing, “This Court has been presented with strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations, unpled in the operative complaint and unsupported by evidence. In the United States of America, this cannot justify the disenfranchisement of a single voter, let alone all the voters of its sixth most populated state.” The Trump Campaign quickly appealed the decision, but we will continue to defend our win in court.

Most recently, we defeated the Trump Campaign in front of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. In a sweeping opinion, the court affirmed our five victories from Trump’s Philadelphia appeals and reversed a lower court ruling addressing mail ballots in Allegheny County.

Wisconsin

Last week, Republicans voluntarily dismissed their lawsuit in Wisconsin, which sought to delay certification. Two other certification-related lawsuits remain on the docket, and we continue to monitor them closely. On Friday, the recount requested and paid for by the Trump Campaign started in Dane and Milwaukee County. Although a recount is underway, let’s be clear: Biden leads the state by 0.6%, over 20,000 votes. The recount and corresponding lawsuits will not change the winner of Wisconsin.

We’re Still Fighting

While much of the recount attention has been focused on the presidential race, there are still a few House races that are still counting and recounting ballots. For example, we’re currently working on an extremely close recount in Iowa’s Second Congressional District. As of yesterday, there were 36 votes separating the two candidates. We’re also paying close attention to the two January Georgia Senate runoff races, ensuring every Georgian has the right to vote and have their vote counted. You can follow the count for the closest races in the country via Democracy Docket’s War Room.

Many people are asking what Trump’s one win was and how it affected the vote count. It’s important to know that this small win only affected a few dozen ballots in Pennsylvania—nowhere near Biden’s, now certified, lead of over 80,000 ballots in the state.

The remaining active lawsuits are being tossed out of courts for lack of standing and lack of evidence. Judges across the country are upholding the rule of law, throwing out Republicans’ attempts to challenge the results of the election. In one of our victories in Michigan, the judge said outright that, “Plaintiffs’ interpretation of events is incorrect and not credible.”

In a Pennsylvania case, Republicans lost again after appealing to the Third Circuit. In response to their argument, the judge wrote, “That is not how the Equal Protection Clause works.”

The Trump Campaign and the Republicans also have had many embarrassing filings in court. For example, Republicans were forced to file a “notice of mootness” in their second Sharpie Gate case, admitting that “the tabulation of votes statewide has rendered unnecessary a judicial ruling as to the presidential electors.

Although we’re still fighting Republican attacks on the election, I have no doubt that President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be sworn into office on January 20th, 2021.

What Bode’s Barking About

Even conservatives are questioning Trump’s legal strategy. Conservative legal blog, Power Line, wrote on Thursday about a “catastrophic error” found in an affidavit filed in the Republican’s Georgia lawsuit. The mistake: the GOP’s researcher trying to prove voter fraud mixed up Michigan and Minnesota. The article concludes with what I’ve been saying after every new Republican lawsuit is filed, “they will have to do a great deal better than this if they hope to succeed.

A second recount is underway in Georgia, but President-elect Biden has already been certifed the winner. As I told the New York Times on FridayTrump’s legal strategy seems to be aimed at denying the inevitable. At the end of the day, more people voted in Georgia for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris than voted for Donald Trump and Mike Pence, and there isn’t anything that a count or a recount or a legal action is going to do to change that fact.”

Image of Bode the dog
By Democracy Docket

October 2020

We’re just 4 days away from Election Day! In honor of our last On the Docket before Election Day, this edition will cover some of our cases that have impacted voters so far this cycle.

I launched Democracy Docket in March to shine a spotlight on voter suppression and our litigation efforts to combat it. Since then, Democracy Docket has transformed into the leading platform for progressive advocacy and information on voting rights, elections, redistricting and democracy. Over the past seven months, we’ve educated thousands of voters, called out problems with the USPS, advocated for ballot drop boxes and partnered with other advocacy organizations to protect the vote in 2020.

With the launch of Democracy Docket, we’ve also brought more awareness to our litigation than ever before. Our Voter Dashboards allow thousands of voters to learn, in real-time, how our voting rights lawsuits are changing election laws in their state. Democracy Docket has grown into a community for policy makers, thought leaders and activists across the country—all in less than a year.

We won’t stop fighting for voting rights until the last lawful ballot is counted. To keep up with Democracy Docket’s post-election litigation, follow us on Twitter and stay tuned for up-to-the-minute updates on DemocracyDocket.com coming soon.

Here’s what happened this cycle:

Where We Won

Arizona

In Arizona, we achieved a favorable settlement with the state, leading the Secretary of State to agree to expand early voting and outreach efforts to Hispanic and Latino communities. This is critically important, as Hispanic and Latino voters living in rural counties are five to six times more likely to be disenfranchised than white voters.

Florida

We had several litigation victories in Florida.

  • The first was a successful challenge of Florida’s standard-less process for rejecting ballots that had mismatched signatures. Because of our litigation, Florida implemented signature matching training and an extended cure deadline.
  • In our Florida Early Vote case, we successfully struck down the Florida Secretary of State’s interpretation of the early voting statute, which prohibited placement of early voting sites on college campuses.
  • Finally, in our Florida Four Pillars Case, the state agreed to engage in a massive voter education campaign for voters and election supervisors.

Iowa

Last September, we won an important voter ID lawsuit in Iowa. The Iowa Voter ID case challenged a 2017 state law that instituted a voter identification requirement for in-person voting. The court ruled in our favor, prohibiting the state from rejecting absentee applications and ballots based on a purported signature mismatch and ordering the state to issue all voters a free voter ID card upon request.

Michigan

In Michigan, we successfully challenged two restrictive voting laws.

  • In our Michigan Signature Matching case, we successfully challenged the state’s unconstitutional signature matching process. As a result of our lawsuit, the Michigan Secretary of State revised her guidance to adopt new cure procedures and trainings on signature matching.
  • Finally, in our Michigan College Student Voting case, we successfully pressured the Secretary of State to issue a directive informing elections officials that a statute that would’ve had a disproportionate impact on college students was invalid. The statute originally required individuals who registered to vote for the first time by mail to vote in person.

Minnesota

We successfully challenged two state laws in Minnesota.

  • In our Minnesota Second Congressional District Postponed Election case, we struck down the use of a disenfranchising statute.Following the death of a major party candidate, the law would’ve required the state to not count any votes for CD-02 in the November election and instead postpone the election until February 2021. The Republicans appealed our win twice—first to the Eighth Circuit and then to the U.S. Supreme Court. We won both times.
  • In our Minnesota Four Pillars case, we were able to stop the enforcement of the state’s witness requirement for absentee ballots for both the primary and general elections.

Missouri

In Missouri, we knocked down a Voter ID law that was specifically designed to make voting harder. In 2019, we challenged Missouri’s Voter ID law that imposed strict restrictions on voters who lacked photo ID, including forcing them to execute a misleading affidavit. In January, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that the voter ID affidavit requirement was unconstitutional—successfully protecting thousands of voters from potential disenfranchisement.

Montana

In Montana, we successfully built one of our Four Pillars—community ballot collection—and defended the expansion of vote by mail.

  • After a hard fought victory, we were able to strike down Montana’s restrictions on ballot collection that had, for too long, deprived voters of critical assistance. Ballot collection is especially important to Native American voters, who often lack access to reliable mail service.
  • In our Montana Intervention case, we successfully stopped the Trump Campaign and the RNC’s lawsuit that challenged the Governor’s expansion of vote by mail in the state. Thanks to our intervention, all counties in Montana have been able to expand access to early voting and vote by mail for the November election.

Nevada

In Nevada, our Four Pillars case led the Nevada Legislature to pass a bill that addressed 100% of the claims brought in our lawsuit. The bill—AB4—legalized ballot collection, adopted a new signature matching standard and more generous cure options, required polling locations on Nevada’s reservations, required county clerks to mail ballots to active registered voters during a state of emergency, and guaranteed a minimum number of early vote and Election Day polling locations by county. Shortly after it was passed, Trump and the RNC took the bill to court, but we fought them and won. In addition to this lawsuit, we successfully defended AB4 in two different interventions.

North Carolina

After months of litigation and struggle, we had two major voting rights victories in North Carolina. In September, we entered a consent decree with the North Carolina State Board of Elections. Our win was immediately appealed by the state’s Republican legislature in the state court and attacked by the legislature and the Republican Party in two additional federal court lawsuits. But in late October, the North Carolina Court of Appeals dissolved the Republicans’ temporary stay of our agreement with the State Board, which: extended the ballot receipt deadline, allowed ballot drop-off stations to be established at each early voting location and county board, and instituted revised cure guidance. The state Supreme Court upheld this decision and, on Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court denied Republicans’ attempt to undermine the consent decree.

Pennsylvania

Our litigation in Pennsylvania successfully helped build three of the Four Pillars.

  • After we filed our Four Pillars litigation, Pennsylvania agreed to pay for postage on all absentee ballots and to not throw out ballots with mismatched signatures. In a petition parallel to our lawsuit, the state Supreme Court extended the received-by deadline to a postmarked-by deadline, allowing ballots to be counted as long as they’re postmarked by Election Day and received within three days after Election Day. On Wednesday, the U.S Supreme Court denied the Republicans’ attempt to undermine the state Supreme Court and upheld the extended ballot receipt deadline.
  • The same petition also related to our intervention, where the state Supreme Court ruled against the RNC and affirmed that Pennsylvania was permitted to use ballot drop boxes and that poll watchers must be from the county they’re monitoring. The Republicans went on to appeal this decision and lost in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in October, preserving our win.
  • In a related case, we joined the Secretary of State’s petition to the state Supreme Court. The court ruled in our favor and struck down the Republicans’ attempts to institute signature matching procedures.

South Carolina

In South Carolina, we achieved two major wins this cycle:

  • Similar to Pennsylvania, our South Carolina Four Pillars lawsuit influenced the state to provide prepaid postage to all absentee voters in November, likely saving voters over $1 million on postage.
  • In our South Carolina SSN Voter Registration case, we challenged the state’s requirement that people provide their full Social Security Number on their voter registration application. The state quickly agreed to only require the last four digits of the registrant’s Social Security Number, allowing thousands of voter registration drives to thrive without voters having to worry about disclosing too much personal information.

Texas

We had a major victory for voter registration in Texas. In our Texas DMV Voter Registration litigation, a court said the state must abide by the National Voter Registration Act and allow for simultaneous application for voter registration along with any online transaction with the DMV. Texas agreed to not appeal the decision. This change has made it easier for thousands of voters—especially young voters—to register to vote when they change their address or apply for a driver’s license renewal.

Successful Interventions

We promised to always meet Republicans in court to defend voting rights. This cycle, we defeated several Republican attempts to suppress voters and denigrate our litigation wins.

  • Nevada: We successfully defended our Four Pillars win in two separateRepublican attacks.
  • Illinois: We intervened to defend Illinois’ election legislation that allowed more people to vote by mail, expanded early voting hours, improved the signature verification process and made Election Day a state holiday.
  • California: We successfully intervened in an RNC case that challenged the state’s plan to conduct the election primarily by mail.
  • Montana: Our intervention in Montana stopped the Trump Campaign and the RNC’s lawsuit challenging the Governor’s expansion of vote by mail.
  • New Jersey: We successfully stopped the Trump Campaign’s attack on New Jersey’s plan to run a primarily all-mail general election.
  • Pennsylvania: Our intervention stopped two Republican congressional candidates from suppressing voters in Pennsylvania. They sued to invoke a non-existent right to poll watch in satellite early voting sites.

What Bode’s Barking About

Each time the Republicans threatened voting rights, we met them at the courthouse.

From the very beginning, the Republicans have screamed the quiet part out loud:  they know that the more votes that are counted, the fewer chances they have at winning. As the AP reported on our North Carolina win, “The Supreme Court will allow absentee ballots in North Carolina to be received and counted up to 9 days after Election Day, in a win for Democrats.” More coverage of our signature matching win in Pennsylvania showed the same trend, as Politico wrote, “The ruling is a defeat for President Donald Trump’s campaign and other Republicans, who had challenged the decision by Pennsylvania election officials, arguing that efforts to match signatures on ballots to signatures on voter rolls were necessary to prevent fraud.”

Are you planning to vote in person, either early or on November 3rd? Make sure to read our latest voting process explained article, “The Dos and Don’ts of Voting in Person.” The article covers important polling place rules, such as taking pictures of your ballot and campaigning.

As we get closer to the election, I sense an increasing impulse among many progressives to simply give up on the courts. I fully understand the anxiety that people feel right now. I know how big the stakes are. And I am not blind to the effect Trump and Senator McConnell have had on our federal judiciary—including the Supreme Court. The question is what do we do today as our democracy hangs in the balance? Read my answer in my last op-ed before November 3 on Democracy Docket now.

By Democracy Docket

September 2020

Committed to Justice

Less than a week after the loss of a cultural, intellectual and historical icon, we are still grieving.

As I wrote in my piece, “The Urgency of Now,” all of us have a moral obligation to continue the fight for freedom and justice that was the cornerstone of Justice Ginsburg’s life and career. We are, as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said in 1963, “faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now.”

The fierce urgency of now requires all of us to stand up in public and speak out for what is right and oppose what is wrong; to take political action through registering ourselves and our friends and family to vote. The fierce urgency of now requires us to hold our elected officials accountable by voting and making sure others we care about do the same.

Generations from now, when people ask who Ruth Bader Ginsburg was and what she did at this time, when the stakes were this high, the answer will be that until her dying breath she fought for justice with the fierce urgency of now.

We must honor her with the same commitment to justice, not with words but with actions. Keep up the fight, every day counts.

40 Days and Counting

With 40 days left before the most important election of our lifetimes, Kamala Harris’s call to action in her nomination speech serves as a daily mantra: “Where were you when the stakes were so high?”

So far, in the 2020 cycle we have filed 56 lawsuits in 22 states—all for the purpose of protecting voting rights in November. Of the  lawsuits, we have already won 21 cases to help ensure every ballot counts. In the past week, we’ve had some of the biggest voting rights wins of the cycle. We successfully removed South Carolina’s witness requirement for absentee ballots. A Wisconsin court ruled in our favor and extended the registration and receipt deadline for absentee ballots. Thanks to our litigation in Michigan, voters can now get free rides to the polls, utilize ballot collection starting the Friday before Election Day and have their ballot count as long as it is received within two weeks following Election Day and postmarked by November 2nd.

On Tuesday, North Carolina agreed to settle claims related to three of our Four Pillars lawsuits in the state. As a direct result of our litigation, the state will extend the ballot receipt deadline, institute a process to fix ballot deficiencies and establish separate absentee ballot drop-off stations

The largest victory of the month came in Pennsylvania, where we successfully built three of the Four Pillars. Pennsylvania voters will now have prepaid postage on their absentee ballots, a receipt deadline that will count any ballot received within three days after Election Day and no signature matching requirements. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court also ruled that drop boxes are allowed and will require that poll watchers be residents of the county they are monitoring—both developments are crushing to the GOP’s voter suppression plans.

However, now is not the time to stop and celebrate. Republicans are appealing virtually all of our victories and are filing new lawsuits to make voting more difficult for voters. Indeed, even after the victory in Pennsylvania state court, the RNC amended their complaint in the federal court. We will continue defending our victories and fighting voter suppression in court.

The changes in the law due to court cases and interpretations is all the more reason to stay informed. Democracy Docket recently released a brand-new voter education resource to better inform voters of the rapidly changing legal landscape. Our Voter Dashboards aim to help you—and voters everywhere— make a plan to vote by providing accurate information about the voting laws in your state. Because of our ongoing lawsuits, election laws are changing every day. Our Dashboards provide up-to-the-minute information on the status of voting in your area. You can now find all our Voter Dashboards in one place—the Democracy Docket Voter Dashboard Hub. Check it out and make your plan to vote!

We filed many new voting rights cases this past month. Across the country, states rushed to finalize their November ballots, bringing a flurry of last-minute ballot design litigation.

Counties are also starting to implement how voters will return their absentee ballots. One method, in particular, has come under Republican scrutiny: ballot drop boxes. Drop boxes are an important option for voters, especially amid the current public health crisis. They offer a convenient, no-contact ballot return solution for voters.

Despite the obvious benefits, Republican election officials continue to restrict access to drop boxes for voters. In Iowa, the Secretary of State issued guidance that directs county auditors to place ballot drop boxes only inside or directly outside their office buildings: all other locations are strictly prohibited. These restrictions came after some county auditors had already installed drop boxes in locations other than their county offices. In July, the Linn County Auditor set up ballot drop boxes at grocery stores, saying “the three major reasons [Linn County] decided to install [the ballot boxes] were convenience, lowering postage costs, and because some voters don’t trust the mail system.” We challenged the Secretary’s drop box restriction on behalf of the League of United Latin American Citizens of Iowa and Majority Forward.

Despite efforts by Democratic legislatures to expand voting options for November, the other side continues to relentlessly challenge good election laws. The Republicans have made fighting our voting rights cases “a top priority and they are willing to put forward whatever resources necessary, including expanding the budget for such battles.” But we are committed to meeting them in every courtroom through interventions to defend voting rights.

In September alone, we intervened in 4 Republican cases. In Michigan, we intervened to stop Republicans from purging the voter rolls. In Montana, we intervened to defend the Governor’s vote by mail expansion. In Nevada, we successfully stopped both a conservative group and the RNC from undermining the state’s election reform bill. We will continue to monitor Republicans’ litigation efforts every day through the election.

September Spotlight: Recruiting Lawyers to Protect Voters

We are always overwhelmed by the number of people who reach out to Democracy Docket asking how they can help protect voting rights in November. If you are a lawyer looking to help protect the vote, our partner We The Action is the place to go. Launched in July 2017, We The Action is a community of lawyers dedicated to progressive causes. They recently launched their volunteer recruitment campaign for the election. Sign up now to help protect democracy.

What I’m Reading

Early voting has already kicked off in several states, which means voter suppression is also underway. In North Carolina, Black voters’ ballots are already being rejected at more than four times the rate of white voters. FiveThirtyEight has done extensive reporting on this disproportionate disenfranchisement occurring throughout the state and discusses how the majority of these ballots were rejected over simple mistakes. Read more here.

Tired of looking at your screen? Here’s what I’m listening to: NPR’s All Things Considered did a story on the history of presidential campaign legal challenges. Going back to the 2000 election and discussing the now elapsed RNC consent decree from the 1980s, the story discusses what we could see in post-election challenges this year.

What Bode’s Barking About

“There have been at least 245 coronavirus election cases filed in 45 states.”

CBS News

“That shift is a problem for the GOP during a time when people may be reluctant to vote in person because of the coronavirus pandemic. And it’s been a particular headache in places like Florida, where the Republican Party has traditionally had a strong vote-by-mail program and uses it to turn out its supporters.”

The Huffington Post

Democrats, including the DSCC and DCCC, have invested millions this election cycle in legal efforts aimed at voting laws, including trying to make it easier for voters’ ballots to be accepted and for those ballots to be ‘cured’ if a ballot is rejected.

CNN

By Democracy Docket

August 2020

Democracy Docket 2.0

At last, we have a full Democratic ticket for November—Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

As Democrats were choosing their nominees and holding a virtual convention, Democracy Docket was undergoing a facelift of its own. In addition to newer, brighter colors, we have expanded our site to include a new explainer series. We also opened up a new Spotlight series for guest opinions. Our first Spotlight was by Senator Michael Bennet, “We Can’t Let the Pandemic Keep Students from Voting.” You can expect even more content in the coming days, including articles by elections experts and, of course, new cases. So stay tuned and make sure you follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

In addition to the website, we also expanded our litigation. Not only did we continue to protect vote by mail (VBM) and fight Trump (details below), but we also took on the problems facing in-person voting, starting with long lines in Georgia. We all remember Georgia’s chaotic primary election where voters waited for hours in line to cast a ballot. Well, we have filed suit to prevent that from happening again this fall. We also sued to expand early voting days in North Carolina, where many voters prefer in-person early voting.

Our balanced approach to protecting VBM and in-person voting tracks closely with Kamala Harris’ VoteSafe Act. I was proud to be one of the first to endorse the bill when it was introduced in April. In addition to containing all Four Pillars, it also reflects many of the reforms for in-person voting I wrote about in The Atlantic and which we are litigating in court.

Our Rebuttal to GOP Lawsuits

In July, I warned about the Trump Campaign and RNC-sponsored lawsuits directly attacking VBM. Just as I predicted, every day we get closer to November, the GOP mounts additional attacks on voting rights. Republican state committees are following Trump’s lead and bringing their false claims about VBM to courtrooms across the country.

But we are fighting back. In the past few weeks, we have intervened to defend against Republicans’ cases in Illinois, Iowa, Nevada, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Wherever Trump and the Republicans try to deprive people of their voting rights, we’ll be there fighting back.

Luckily, we don’t have to rely solely on our successes in court. Elected officials are also taking the lessons of our litigation into consideration as they create new laws and regulations for November. In Nevada, the state addressed the concerns raised in our lawsuit by passing a new law—sparking Trump’s outrage and resulting in another Republican lawsuit. The new law addressed 100% of our Four Pillars case challenges, including legalizing ballot collection, adopting new signature matching standards and expanding early voting days.

Active Cases

Another example of state officials improving their election laws as a result of our litigation came in Pennsylvania. After filing our lawsuit, the state changed its position on two of the Four Pillars. Thanks to our litigation, all voters in Pennsylvania now have prepaid postage on their absentee ballot. The state also agreed that voters should have their ballot counted if it is postmarked by Election Day and received by three days after.

As a result of a different Four Pillars case, Minnesota will no longer enforce its burdensome Witness Requirement and Election Day Receipt Deadline. Because of our litigation, sponsored by the National Redistricting Foundation, voters will now have their ballot counted if it is postmarked on or before Election Day and received within one week of Election Day. A few weeks later, Republicans threw in the towel and dismissed their appeal of our victory, further cementing what the lower court judge wrote:

“Moreover, as to the question of voter safety, and with deep respect to Committees’ counsel, his clients can’t have it both ways. As the Defendant noted at argument, the President’s own tweets suggest a recognition that voter safety will be compromised in November. The day before this hearing, the President of the United States tweeted “Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???”

This month, we also successfully foiled Republican dirty tricks in Montana. Weeks after voters signed a petition to get the Green Party on the ballot, Montana voters discovered that the Montana Green Party had absolutely no connection to the petition. The misleading petition was actually led by a professional, out-of-state, for-profit consulting firm funded by the Montana Republican Party. When petitioners requested their names be withdrawn, the Green Party did not meet the political party qualification requirement to be listed on the ballot. We won in both the District and State Supreme Court, where the judge said, “The actions of the MTGOP and its agents demonstrate that its misrepresentations and failures to disclose in violation of Montana campaign finance law were intentionally designed to create an advantage for the MTGOP at the expense of unwitting signers.”

Keeping USPS delays and fears over mail ballots arriving after state deadlines in mind, we continue to work on implementing the Four Pillars to safeguard VBM ahead of November. We filed two new Four Pillars cases in August—one in New Hampshire and one in Missouri. New Hampshire lacks three of the Four Pillars: prepaid postage, ballot receipt deadline and third party collection. We also challenged New Hampshire’s witness and documentation requirements and the state’s overly-complicated absentee registration request process that relies on voters registering in person. In Missouri, we challenged the state’s notary requirement, restriction that voters return their ballots only by the USPS, received by deadline, ban on third party collection and signature matching protocols.

We are preparing to take on every legal challenge the GOP will throw our way in November. We must ensure no one is disenfranchised by Trump’s malicious voter suppression tactics that prioritizes maintaining power over eligible voters’ inalienable right to cast a ballot.


August Spotlight: Empowering Latino Civic Engagement

This month, we’re spotlighting Mi Familia Vota, an organization empowering Latino communities through their seven pillars model of community engagement. Mi Familia Vota is a national, non-partisan organization that operates in six states and identifies voting rights as one of their six key issues. In addition to citizenship workshops, voter registration and organizing voter participation, they are also on the ground on Election Day as a resource to fight voter suppression. Learn more about ways to get involved here, or donate directly to their Education Fund here.


What I’m Reading

Despite the President’s constant bashing of VBM, support for voting by mail in the United States is quite high. In July, researchers at the COVID-19 Consortium for Understanding the Public’s Policy Preferences Across States conducted a 50-state survey asking voters if they support making it easier to VBM in November. The results showed 64% of likely voters support making it easier to VBM.

Last week, the U.S. Postal Service sent detailed letters to 46 different states, warning election officials that mail-in ballots may not arrive in time and that ballot receipt deadlines should be changed accordingly. These letters are blaring alarms, warning states of the potential disenfranchisement of tens of millions of Americans who plan to VBM in November. You can read all of the letters to the states here.


What Bode’s Barking About

“Trump’s remarks are part of a pattern of comments in which he has suggested he is willing to take actions to impede how people cast their ballots this fall. He has repeatedly sought to undermine confidence in the November vote, making false claims about the integrity of mail-in balloting and raising the specter of widespread electoral fraud.”

Washington Post

“The United States Postal Service has warned election officials in 46 states and the District of Columbia that their absentee voting rules are “incongruous” with the agency’s mail delivery service standards and may result in uncounted ballots, raising further alarms with the viability of a voting platform millions of Americans are expected to use in the run-up to the November vote.”

ABC News

“Getting politically active may feel intimidating if you’re not sure where to start, but it’s never too late to get involved and make your voice heard. Here’s a primer of some of the most essential steps you can take.”

InStyle

 

By Democracy Docket

July 2020

There are now less than 100 days until the November election and Republicans are in a full-scale panic. Posed to lose control of the White House, the Senate and see their numbers dwindle in the House, Republicans are turning to the only trick they have left—voter suppression.

And, increasingly, they are turning to the courts for help in blocking the vote.

As Politico recently wroteTrump volunteered that the thing he’s most worried about is those lawsuits not sufficiently suppressing the vote. ‘My biggest risk is that we don’t win lawsuits… We have many lawsuits going all over. And if we don’t win those lawsuits, I think—I think it puts the election at risk.’”

Our job is to not let him win. This is why I started Democracy Docket and this newsletter to serve as a resource for people worried about the Republican assault on democracy.

I am pleased to announce that in August, we will be expanding the reach and scope of the site to provide even more information about voting, elections, voting rights and threats to our democratic systems. While it will continue to serve as a clearinghouse and resource for people or groups looking for information about our voting rights litigation, it will do even more to protect voting and democracy.

Stay tuned for more later this Summer.

Looking for a way to take action? Sign Democracy Docket’s latest petition asking colleges and universities to commit to protecting student voting rights this Fall.

 


Race to the Courthouse

In the past four months, we have filed 14 new cases to expand voting rights for as many eligible voters as possible for November. While it took them a few months to catch up, the Republicans are starting to fight back with a vengeance. Not only did they double their litigation budget to $20 million and commit to recruiting 50,000 poll watchers, they recently switched their focus to filing their own cases to limit voting. And just this week, new reporting revealed that “deep-pocketed and often anonymous donors are pouring over $100 million” into this litigation, substantially coming from “Donors Trust, a nonprofit often referred to as the ‘dark money ATM’ of the conservative movement.”

But we won’t sit by quietly as Republicans and the Trump campaign maliciously suppress voters for their own political gain. In July, we intervened in their cases against California and won. One month after we filed to intervene, the RNC was forced to concede defeat after the California legislature passed a bill requiring election officials to mail a ballot to every registered, active voter in California ahead of the November election.

Just last week, we intervened in the GOP’s Pennsylvania lawsuit. The lawsuit, filed by the Trump campaign and the RNC, attacked the state’s implementation of vote by mail (VBM) safeguards in the June primary. Unsurprisingly, their lawsuit falsely claimed that providing VBM to voters in Pennsylvania gives “fraudsters an easy opportunity to engage in ballot harvesting, manipulate or destroy ballots, manufacture duplicitous votes, and sow chaos.”

We promised we would fight this lawsuit from the moment it was filed. On behalf of Priorities USA and the Pennsylvania Alliance for Retired Americans, we intervened in the case to protect VBM. 1.9 million Pennsylvanians have already requested mail ballots this year, compared with just 107,000 in 2016. With Trump and the GOP’s poll numbers dropping daily, this surge in VBM is a direct threat to their re-election. This lawsuit, and others like it, is their only chance at winning.

Meanwhile in Iowa, the Republican-controlled Legislature passed a new law that restricts elections officials from helping voters who incorrectly fill out their absentee ballot request forms. Prior to the law, election officials could quickly fill in any incomplete or incorrect information using the state’s voter database.

The law creates an unnecessary burden on VBM and makes it more difficult for county election officials to send out absentee ballots—and we’re fighting back in court. On behalf of LULAC of Iowa and Majority Forward, we challenged this restriction that, if left intact, is sure to disproportionately disenfranchise Black, Latino, and young voters.

It’s no coincidence that the day before this law passed, a poll came out showing Iowa Democrat Theresa Greenfield leading incumbent Republican Senator Joni Ernst by three percentage points. Make no mistake—the Republican Legislature in Iowa got the signal to pass this restrictive law from the GOP. I have no doubt that similar orders are being given to legislatures across the country, especially in places where Trump and the Republicans are losing.

Where We’re Litigating

We had a series of wins in July. In South Carolina, the State Election Commission agreed to part of our lawsuit, saying they will provide pre-paid postage for absentee ballots for the November 2020 general election “regardless of the number of voters deemed qualified to vote by absentee ballot.” This agreement will save South Carolina voters an estimated $1 million on postage. Our case on the remaining voting restrictions remains ongoing.

The next settlement came from our Florida Four Pillars case, where the Florida Secretary of State agreed to engage in a massive education campaign for voters and election supervisors before the November General Election. This will include:

  • Encouraging Supervisors to use first-class mail for delivery and return of mail ballots.
  • Educating Supervisors on the use of intelligent mail bar codes to track ballots and using CARES Act funds for pre-paid postage.
  • Committing to contacting eligible but unregistered Floridians to inform them of the available methods to vote.
  • Maximizing the use of ballot drop boxes and early voting days.
  • Creating a social media campaign to inform voters of the available voting options, with specific efforts made to promote these options to college-age voters and minority groups.

The lawyer for the Republican Secretary of State spoke eloquently to the court in describing our plaintiffs as the victors of this settlement:

“The victors include the black teen in overtime in Miami who will be voting for the first time, the hurricane refugee from Puerto Rico who is now casting a vote in Kissimmee, the rural voter, the single mom, the dad who works two jobs, the civic-minded first generation college student. These are the victors to this agreement.

“These victors are those who sometimes need a helping hand in exercising the franchise and are afraid of asking for it by exercising the constitutional right to come to this court and demand it. These people are to be applauded, Your Honor. This agreement will help these Floridians and many others like them to exercise their franchise.”

Finally, we had several victories in Minnesota. First, the Secretary of State agreed not to further challenge our Ballot Order case after the District Court judge ruled in our favor last month. The court granted our joint motion to stay the case until the end of the 2021 Minnesota Legislature session. This is a double win for Minnesota voters. In the November election, there will be no unfair Ballot Order and the stay will give the Minnesota legislature the opportunity to permanently remove the Ballot Order rule for future elections.

Also in Minnesota, we entered into a consent decree with the state regarding two important VBM rules. First, the state agreed to suspend the witness requirement for November, meaning voters no longer need a witness to cast a mail ballot. Second, Minnesota agreed that ballots postmarked by Election Day will count, even if received afterwards. This is a critical Four Pillars requirement for fair VBM. We await the court’s sign-off on this agreement.

Our most recent win in Minnesota was in our Four Pillars voter assistance case. The court granted our preliminary injunction motion, which will stop Minnesota from enforcing two election laws that collectively made it a crime for people to assist with ballot collection and voter assistance. This is a huge win for Minnesota voters, especially for language-minority groups and disabled voters who often rely on voter assistance and third-party ballot collection to ensure their votes are counted.

Every day we get closer to the general election, Democracy Docket is fighting to protect voting rights, especially for young and minority voters who face high rates of disenfranchisement. For a complete list of our current cases and recent victories, check out our website.

July Spotlight: Communities Building Movements

Our July spotlight is Movement Voter Project: a progressive organization that helps people directly support community-based action. Focusing on youth and communities of color, Movement Voter Project supports organizations that turn out unlikely voters and organize communities. Ahead of each election cycle, they identify areas in most need of investment and develop individual state-by-state targets. Recently, the Movement Voter Project created the Black-Led Organizing Fund, where any donation is re-granted directly to 42 Black-led organizing groups in key 2020 states. To support these groups directly, check out the full list of on the ground organizations here to support them directly.

We want to hear from you! If you want us to highlight what you or your organization is doing to fight voter suppression, please tell us here.

 


What I’m Reading

Earlier in July, the Inspector General for the United States Postal Service released the report “Timelines of Ballot Mail in the Milwaukee Processing & Distribution Center Service Area.” In the report, the IG “identified potential nationwide issues integrating election office’s vote by mail processes with the Postal Service processes which could impact future elections.” The IG also reported concerns that if states don’t change their deadlines, the problems found in Milwaukee’s primary will only be repeated across the country. Read the full report to better understand the importance of our Four Pillars lawsuits.

Recently, we’ve seen Republicans’ litigation strategy shift from intervening in our lawsuits to filing their own. A Slate article published earlier this month described this troubling new front in the voting wars. The article, “Conservative Groups Sue to Make Pandemic Voting Even Harder” is a much-needed explainer for people wondering why we are litigating so many more cases this cycle than ever before. As the piece explains, these new GOP lawsuits flip the script, targeting “states that have facilitated voting during the pandemic by loosening electoral regulations.”

 


What Bode’s Barking About

“More than 14,000 mail ballots were rejected in the March 3 primary because the signature on the vote-by-mail envelope didn’t match the one on the voter registration card. Thousands more were counted only after voters were required to provide a new signature for scrutiny.”

San Francisco Chronicle

“Some voters in Fulton County are receiving absentee ballots with envelopes that lack a mailing address for them to be returned. The space for the address of the county elections office is blank. Voters would have to fill in the address of the Fulton elections office themselves. Otherwise, the U.S. Postal Service wouldn’t be able to deliver their ballots.”

AJC

“Numerous studies have found that voting by mail has not traditionally favored one party over the other. But as the president falsely denounces the process as “corrupt,” Democrats around the country are requesting ballots at a far higher rate than Republicans are.”

The New York Times

 


 

Watch Secretary Clinton talk about Democracy Docket on The Daily Show.

Trump: “My biggest risk is that we don’t win lawsuits. We have many lawsuits going all over. And if we don’t win those lawsuits, I think it puts the election at risk.” Referring to lawsuits that fight against mail-in voting & seek to suppress the vote. https://t.co/mvRJpMA0Rz

— Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II (@RevDrBarber) July 19, 2020

 

It shouldn’t be a partisan issue to say we need to protect and invest in our Postal Service. Grateful @marceelias and Democracy Docket are focused on this important issue. https://t.co/crcAuNube1

— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) July 21, 2020