Corruption of all kinds is rampant in state governments, but the most systemic and insidious is the corruption of our democracy itself, specifically the wave of state laws that have made it harder for people to exercise the right to vote. The Supreme Court’s 2013 Shelby County v. Holder decision, which struck down the preclearance provision of the Voting Rights Act, has only made it easier for states to enact strict voter-ID laws, close polling locations, and remove names from voter rolls.
Heavily gerrymandered maps and suppressive laws have often been revealed to be purely partisan exercises — consider the files of deceased Republican strategist Thomas Hofeller, which detailed the redistricting motivations of a census citizenship question, or the public statements of proponents of North Carolina’s 2013 “monster” voting law. Voting restrictions have also received support — and instigation — from outside actors operating under the purported fear of voter fraud, despite evidence of any real threat from such fraud being nonexistent.
Those voter-fraud activists and groups include well-known names like former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (who also co-chaired President Donald Trump’s now-defunct voter-fraud commission); the Heritage Foundation’s Hans von Spakovsky; and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a conservative group that supplies state governments with draft model legislation. American Oversight has requested records of communications those and other activists have had with state officials in Florida, Georgia and Texas — all states with one-party control of government, and all having seen voter-suppression efforts in recent years — to learn whether and to what extent such outside entities are influencing state elections policy.