Threats to Democracy in the States

Government corruption at the state level has flourished — and has often gone unchecked thanks to the decline in local journalism and the urgency of addressing federal misconduct. With one party controlling the governorship and both legislative houses in more than half of the states, feeble checks on power combined with underutilized state open records laws have allowed state and local governments to avoid the same scrutiny devoted to federal agencies. American Oversight’s State Accountability Project is filling the void, channeling its expertise in open records litigation to expose state-level corruption and threats to democracy.

Priority One: Voter Suppression

Corruption of all kinds is rampant in state governments, but the most systemic and insidious form of it is the corruption of our democracy itself. States, often considered “laboratories of democracy,” have over the past decade — and especially since the 2013 Supreme Court decision that severely weakened the Voting Rights Act — systematically been making it harder for people to exercise the right to vote. Multiple states have inappropriately purged hundreds of thousands of names from their voter rolls; others have enacted strict voter-ID laws; and others still have moved, closed, or underfunded voting locations. The pretext for these efforts is often the purported fear of voter fraud, though evidence of any real threat from such fraud remains nonexistent.

American Oversight is currently investigating voter-suppression efforts in Florida, Georgia and Texas. Each has one-party control of its government, and each has seen voter-suppression efforts. We’ve filed records requests for state officials’ and county officials’ communications with prominent voting-restriction advocates, such as former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and the Heritage Foundation’s Hans von Spakovsky. Other records requests seek communications with certain state lawmakers or representatives of the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative political organization that supplies state legislatures with draft model legislation.

 

What We’re Seeking: Georgia

  • Communications between voting-restriction advocates and elections officials in the following counties: Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Dougherty, Fulton, Gwinnett, Hancock, Jefferson, Macon-Bibb, Randolph, Rockdale
  • Communications between Georgia’s Office of the Secretary of State and county officials about changes to precinct or polling locations
  • Communications that the offices of the governor and the secretary of state had with voting-restriction advocates, with representatives of ALEC, or with certain state legislators

What We’re Seeking: Florida

  • Communications between voting-restriction advocates and elections officials in the following counties: Broward, Collier, Duval, Hardee, Hendry, Hillsborough, Leon, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Palm Beach
  • Communications that the offices of the governor and the secretary of state had with voting-restriction advocates, with representatives of ALEC, or with certain state legislators
  • Communications that Florida State Legislature staff had with state elections officials or voting-restriction advocates about voter registration issues, Amendment 4, or H.B. 7089, which requires people with felony records to pay all court costs before their voting rights are fully restored
  • Communications that State Rep. James Grant, the author of H.B. 7089, and two staff members had with voting-restriction advocates and state elections officials

What We’re Seeking: Texas

  • Communications between voting-restriction advocates and elections officials in the following counties: Cameron, Dallas, Harris, Hidalgo, Starr, Tarrant, Travis, Zavala
  • Communications that the offices of the governor and the secretary of state had with voting-restriction advocates, with representatives of ALEC, or with certain state legislators

 

More to Come

State-level corruption takes many forms, not just voter suppression. American Oversight plans to target as much of it as possible, wherever we find it. It was Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis who referred to states as the laboratories of democracy, and first said that sunlight is the “best of disinfectants.” Using transparency tools backed by litigation, American Oversight takes that truth to heart.

Related Documents

June 7, 2019

FOIA to Texas Secretary of State Seeking Voter Roll Maintenance Directives

Texas Secretary of State
FOIA Request
June 7, 2019

FOIA to Starr County, TX Seeking Voter Roll Maintenance Directives

Starr County - Texas
FOIA Request
June 7, 2019

FOIA to Zavala County, TX Seeking Voter Roll Maintenance Directives

Zavala County - Texas
FOIA Request
June 7, 2019

FOIA to Hidalgo County, TX Seeking Voter Roll Maintenance Directives

Hidalgo County - Texas
FOIA Request
June 7, 2019

FOIA to Cameron County, TX Seeking Voter Roll Maintenance Directives

Cameron County - Texas
FOIA Request
June 7, 2019

FOIA to Harris County, TX Seeking Voter Roll Maintenance Directives

Harris County - Texas
FOIA Request
June 7, 2019

FOIA to Dallas County, TX Seeking Voter Roll Maintenance Directives

Dallas County - Texas
FOIA Request
June 7, 2019

FOIA to Travis County, TX Seeking Voter Roll Maintenance Directives

Travis County - Texas
FOIA Request
June 7, 2019

FOIA to Tarrant County, TX Seeking Voter Roll Maintenance Directives

Tarrant County - Texas
FOIA Request
June 3, 2019

FOIA to Hancock County, Georgia Seeking Communications from the State Elections Director Regarding Voter Roll Maintenance

Hancock County - Georgia
FOIA Request
June 3, 2019

FOIA to Macon County, Georgia Seeking Communications from the State Elections Director Regarding Voter Roll Maintenance

Macon-Bibb County - Georgia
FOIA Request
June 3, 2019

FOIA to Randolph County, Georgia Seeking Communications from the State Elections Director Regarding Voter Roll Maintenance

Randolph County - Georgia
FOIA Request
June 3, 2019

FOIA to Jefferson County, Georgia Seeking Communications from the State Elections Director Regarding Voter Roll Maintenance

Jefferson County - Georgia
FOIA Request
June 3, 2019

FOIA to Dekalb County, Georgia Seeking Communications from the State Elections Director Regarding Voter Roll Maintenance

DeKalb County - Georgia
FOIA Request
June 3, 2019

FOIA to Clayton County, Georgia Seeking Communications from the State Elections Director Regarding Voter Roll Maintenance

Clayton County - Georgia
FOIA Request
June 3, 2019

FOIA to Fulton County, Georgia Seeking Communications from the State Elections Director Regarding Voter Roll Maintenance

Fulton County - Georgia
FOIA Request
June 3, 2019

FOIA to Cobb County, Georgia Seeking Communications from the State Elections Director Regarding Voter Roll Maintenance

Cobb County - Georgia
FOIA Request
June 3, 2019

FOIA to Rockdale County, Georgia Seeking Communications from the State Elections Director Regarding Voter Roll Maintenance

Rockdale County - Georgia
FOIA Request
June 3, 2019

FOIA to Gwinnett County, Georgia Seeking Communications from the State Elections Director Regarding Voter Roll Maintenance

Gwinnett County - Georgia
FOIA Request
June 3, 2019

FOIA to Dougherty County, Georgia Seeking Communications from the State Elections Director Regarding Voter Roll Maintenance

Dougherty County - Georgia
FOIA Request
June 3, 2019

FOIA to Georgia’s Secretary of State Seeking Communications from the State Elections Director Regarding Voter Roll Maintenance

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
May 29, 2019

FOIA to Florida State Department Seeking Voter Roll Maintenance Guidance

Florida Secretary of State
FOIA Request
May 29, 2019

FOIA to Leon County in Florida Department Seeking Voter Roll Maintenance Guidance

Leon County - Florida
FOIA Request
May 29, 2019

FOIA to Duval County in Florida Seeking Voter Roll Maintenance Guidance

Duval County - Florida
FOIA Request
May 29, 2019

FOIA to Broward County in Florida Seeking Voter Roll Maintenance Guidance

Broward County - Florida
FOIA Request
May 29, 2019

FOIA to Miami-Dade County in Florida Seeking Voter Roll Maintenance Guidance

Miami-Dade County - Florida
FOIA Request
May 29, 2019

FOIA to Hillsborough County in Florida Seeking Voter Roll Maintenance Guidance

Hillsborough County - Florida
FOIA Request
May 29, 2019

FOIA to Hendry County in Florida Seeking Voter Roll Maintenance Guidance

Hendry County - Florida
FOIA Request
May 29, 2019

FOIA to Palm Beach County in Florida Seeking Voter Roll Maintenance Guidance

Palm Beach County - Florida
FOIA Request
May 29, 2019

FOIA to Hardee County in Florida Seeking Voter Roll Maintenance Guidance

Hardee County - Florida
FOIA Request
May 29, 2019

FOIA to Monroe County in Florida Seeking Voter Roll Maintenance Guidance

Monroe County - Florida
FOIA Request
May 29, 2019

FOIA to Collier County in Florida Seeking Voter Roll Maintenance Guidance

Collier County - Florida
FOIA Request
May 17, 2019

Open Records Request to Taylor County in Florida Seeking Communications Regarding Cybersecurity or Election Security

Taylor County - Florida
FOIA Request
May 17, 2019

FOIA to FBI Seeking Records to Identify Florida County Governments Breached by Russian Intelligence in 2016

Federal Bureau of Investigation
FOIA Request
May 17, 2019

FOIA to DHS Seeking Records to Identify Florida County Governments Breached by Russian Intelligence in 2016

Department of Homeland Security
FOIA Request
May 17, 2019

FOIA to CISA Seeking Records to Identify Florida County Governments Breached by Russian Intelligence in 2016

Department of Homeland Security
FOIA Request
May 17, 2019

FOIA to DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis Seeking Records to Identify Florida County Governments Breached by Russian Intelligence in 2016

Department of Homeland Security
FOIA Request
May 17, 2019

FOIA to DOJ Seeking Records to Identify Florida County Governments Breached by Russian Intelligence in 2016

Department of Homeland Security
FOIA Request
May 17, 2019

Open Records Request to Gadsden County in Florida Seeking Communications Regarding Cybersecurity or Election Security

Gadsden County - Florida
FOIA Request
May 17, 2019

Open Records Request to Hardee County in Florida Seeking Communications Regarding Cybersecurity or Election Security

Hardee County - Florida
FOIA Request
May 17, 2019

Open Records Request to Washington County in Florida Seeking Communications Regarding Cybersecurity or Election Security

Washington County - Florida
FOIA Request
May 9, 2019

Open Records Request to Dougherty County Seeking Communications with Voter Fraud Activists

Dougherty County - Georgia
FOIA Request
May 1, 2019

Public Records Request to Georgia Secretary of State Seeking Communications with Tarrant County

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
April 26, 2019

Public Records Request to Florida House of Representatives Seeking Elections-Related Communications With Voter Fraud Activists

Florida House of Representatives
FOIA Request
April 26, 2019

Public Records Request to Florida House of Representatives Seeking Communications Between Rep. James Grant and Voter Fraud Activists

Florida House of Representatives
FOIA Request
April 26, 2019

Public Records Request to Florida House of Representatives Seeking Communications Between Rep. James Grant and State Officials

Florida House of Representatives
FOIA Request
April 26, 2019

Public Records Request to Florida House of Representatives Seeking Elections-Related Communications with State Officials

Florida House of Representatives
FOIA Request
April 23, 2019

Open Records Request to Rockdale County Seeking Communications with Voter Fraud Activists

Rockdale County - Georgia
FOIA Request
April 23, 2019

Public Information Request to Cameron County Seeking Communications with Voter Fraud Activists

Cameron County - Texas
FOIA Request
April 23, 2019

Public Information Request to Dallas County Seeking Communications with Voter Fraud Activists

Dallas County - Texas
FOIA Request
April 23, 2019

Public Information Request to Harris County Seeking Communications with Voter Fraud Activists

Harris County - Texas
FOIA Request
April 23, 2019

Public Information Request to Hidalgo County Seeking Communications with Voter Fraud Activists

Hidalgo County - Texas
FOIA Request
April 23, 2019

Public Information Request to Starr County Seeking Communications with Voter Fraud Activists

Starr County - Texas
FOIA Request
April 23, 2019

Public Information Request to Tarrant County Seeking Communications with Voter Fraud Activists

Tarrant County - Texas
FOIA Request
April 23, 2019

Public Information Request to Travis County Seeking Communications with Voter Fraud Activists

Travis County - Texas
FOIA Request
April 23, 2019

Public Information Request to Zavala County Seeking Communications with Voter Fraud Activists

Zavala County - Texas
FOIA Request
April 22, 2019

Public Records Request to Broward County Seeking Communications with Voter Fraud Activists

Broward County - Florida
FOIA Request
April 22, 2019

Public Records Request to Collier County Seeking Communications with Voter Fraud Activists

Collier County - Florida
FOIA Request
April 22, 2019

Public Records Request to Duval County Seeking Communications with Voter Fraud Activists

Duval County - Florida
FOIA Request
April 22, 2019

Public Records Request to Hardee County Seeking Communications with Voter Fraud Activists

Hardee County - Florida
FOIA Request
April 22, 2019

Public Records Request to Henry County Seeking Communications with Voter Fraud Activists

Hendry County - Florida
FOIA Request
April 22, 2019

Public Records Request to Hillsborough County Seeking Communications with Voter Fraud Activists

Hillsborough County - Florida
FOIA Request
April 22, 2019

Public Records Request to Leon County Seeking Communications with Voter Fraud Activists

Leon County - Florida
FOIA Request
April 22, 2019

Public Records Request to Miami-Dade County Seeking Communications with Voter Fraud Activists

Miami-Dade County - Florida
FOIA Request
April 22, 2019

Public Records Request to Monroe County Seeking Communications with Voter Fraud Activists

Monroe County - Florida
FOIA Request
April 22, 2019

Public Records Request to Palm Beach County Seeking Communications with Voter Fraud Activists

Palm Beach County - Florida
FOIA Request
April 22, 2019

Open Records Request to Clayton County Seeking Communications with Voter Fraud Activists

Clayton County - Georgia
FOIA Request
April 22, 2019

Open Records Request to Cobb County Seeking Communications with Voter Fraud Activists

Cobb County - Georgia
FOIA Request
April 22, 2019

Open Records Request to DeKalb Count Seeking Communications with Voter Fraud Activists

DeKalb County - Georgia
FOIA Request
April 22, 2019

Open Records Request to Fulton County Seeking Communications with Voter Fraud Activists

Fulton County - Georgia
FOIA Request
April 22, 2019

Open Records Request to Gwinnett County Seeking Communications with Voter Fraud Activists

Gwinnett County - Georgia
FOIA Request
April 22, 2019

Open Records Request to Hancock County Seeking Communications with Voter Fraud Activists

Hancock County - Georgia
FOIA Request
April 22, 2019

Open Records Request to Jefferson County Seeking Communications with Voter Fraud Activists

Jefferson County - Georgia
FOIA Request
April 22, 2019

Open Records Request to Macon-Bibb County Seeking Communications with Voter Fraud Activists

Macon-Bibb County - Georgia
FOIA Request
April 22, 2019

Open Records Request to Randolph County Seeking Communications with Voter Fraud Activists

Randolph County - Georgia
FOIA Request
April 12, 2019

Texas Governor’s Office Communications with the Heritage Foundation

Texas Office of the Governor
Agency Record
April 8, 2019

Texas Attorney General Calendar Entries Mentioning Meetings with ALEC

Texas Attorney General
Agency Record
March 29, 2019

Open Records Request to Georgia Governor’s Office Seeking Communications with Voter Fraud Activists

Georgia Office of the Governor
FOIA Request
March 29, 2019

Public Records Request to Florida Governor’s Office Seeking Communications with ALEC

Florida Office of the Governor
FOIA Request
March 29, 2019

Public Records Request to Florida Governor’s Office Seeking Communications with Voter Fraud Activists

Florida Office of the Governor
FOIA Request
March 29, 2019

Public Records Request to Florida Secretary of State Seeking Communications with ALEC

Florida Secretary of State
FOIA Request
March 29, 2019

Public Records Request to Florida Secretary of State Seeking Communications with Voter Fraud Activists

Florida Secretary of State
FOIA Request
March 29, 2019

Open Records Request to Georgia Governor’s Office Seeking Communications with ALEC

Georgia Office of the Governor
FOIA Request
March 29, 2019

Open Records Request to Georgia Secretary of State Seeking Communications with ALEC

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
March 29, 2019

Open Records Request to Georgia Secretary of State Seeking Communications with Voter Fraud Activists

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
March 29, 2019

Public Information Request to Texas Attorney General Seeking Communications with ALEC

Texas Attorney General
FOIA Request
March 29, 2019

Public Information Request to Texas Attorney General Seeking Communications with Voter Fraud Activists

Texas Attorney General
FOIA Request
March 29, 2019

Public Information Request to Texas Governor’s Office Seeking Communications with ALEC

Texas Office of the Governor
FOIA Request
March 29, 2019

Public Information Request to Texas Governor’s Office Seeking Communications with Voter Fraud Activists

Texas Office of the Governor
FOIA Request
March 29, 2019

Public Information Request to Texas Secretary of State Seeking Communications with ALEC

Texas Secretary of State
FOIA Request
March 29, 2019

Public Information Request to Texas Secretary of State Seeking Communications with Voter Fraud Activists

Texas Secretary of State
FOIA Request