Publish Date:June 16, 2023
News Roundup: Lawsuits Against Louisiana and Ohio Secretaries of State
Here are some stark reminders from this past week not only of the staying power of election denialism, but also of the way conservative leaders continue to bow to pressure from the anti-democratic movement’s most vocal activists:
- Election-denying members of the Wisconsin legislature could oust Meagan Wolfe, the administrator of the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission, who became a target of the movement before and after the 2020 election. “There are fears that the state Senate could refuse to reappoint Wolfe and instead engineer the appointment of a staunch partisan or an election denier, tilting oversight of the state’s voting operations,” ProPublica reported.
- The Washington Post reported on “intra-Republican conflict in Michigan that centers on ideological differences, personality clashes, disputes over religion and arguments about whether to continue stoking false claims of a stolen election.” On Monday, a judge imposed $58,000 in sanctions on Kristina Karamo, the state’s Republican Party chair, for her part in a lawsuit filed last year that claimed without evidence that there was corruption in Detroit’s election.
- Last weekend, the Georgia Republican Party elected several election-denying activists to leadership positions. In Texas, a voter fraud activist is a finalist to run elections in Tarrant County.
- Election officials are still worried about the potential for violence against poll workers, reported Politico.
One of the most clear examples of the depths to which conservative leaders are still beholden to election deniers is the number of states that in the last year and a half left the bipartisan Electronic Registration Information Center — a data-sharing consortium used by states to maintain up-to-date voter rolls and that has been the victim of right-wing conspiracy theories and false claims.
- On Thursday, we sued the Louisiana and Ohio secretaries of state for records surrounding their states’ exits from the program.
- Louisiana was the first state to leave ERIC. NPR reported that Secretary R. Kyle Ardoin had first announced the decision to a group of conservative activists. The announcement was in January 2022, shortly after a popular right-wing website published misleading articles about the program.
- In addition to records of communications that could shed light on Ardoin’s decision, we’re also seeking communications with U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, a vocal election denier, as well as records from a December 2021 meeting of the Louisiana Voting Systems Commission that included Trump ally Phil Waldron.
- Since Louisiana left, seven other states followed suit. Ohio Secretary Frank LaRose announced his state’s withdrawal in March, just a month after he had praised the system, calling it “one of the best fraud fighting tools we have.”
- Our lawsuit against LaRose seeks the release of communications and assessments related to the ERIC withdrawal, along with communications about election-related data and the fringe independent state legislature theory.
Other Stories We’re Following
Election Denial and Threats to Democracy
- Why what happened in 2021 Arizona election ‘audit’ still matters (Arizona Republic)
- John Eastman devised a fringe legal theory to try to keep Trump in power. Now he may be disbarred (Politico)
- Billionaire backing effort to raise Ohio amendment threshold funded election deniers, Jan. 6 rally (Ohio Capital Journal)
- Shasta County scrapped its voting machines and didn’t replace them. A new bill would bar that (Sacramento Bee)
- Cyber Ninjas documents show close ties to Trump lawyer Christina Bobb (Arizona Republic)
- Some GOP states depart, but Alaska will stay with voter fraud prevention network ERIC (Alaska Public Media)
- Colorado Republicans set to push mail ballots, voting methods they previously blasted as recipes for fraud (Sentinel Colorado)
- ACLU sues PA county for rejecting primary 2023 ballots (Spotlight PA)
- Justice Department to meet with Tarrant County Democrats about voter suppression letter (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
- Woman behind voting integrity letter has ties to Fort Worth Police Department (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
- At least 11 states have enacted restrictive voting laws this year, new report finds (CNN)
- Legislature approves hand counts in Arizona elections (Arizona Mirror)
- Voting maps throughout the Deep South may be redrawn after surprise Supreme Court ruling (ProPublica)
In the States
- Lawmakers passed a bill to stop insurers from considering ESG criteria in setting rates (Texas Tribune)
- Thousands lose Medicaid in Arkansas: Is this America’s future? (Politico)
- The Great Grift: How billions in Covid-19 relief aid was stolen or wasted (Associated Press)
- Native adoptions can give priority to tribal families, Supreme Court rules (Washington Post)
- U.S. spy agencies buy vast quantities of Americans’ personal data, U.S. says (Wall Street Journal)
- Florida anti-LGBTQ laws prompt families who feel unsafe to flee (Washington Post)
- Texas Gov. Abbott signs bill banning transgender athletes from participating on college sports teams aligned with their gender identities (CBS News)
- Lawmakers in blue states are linking protections for abortion and gender-affirming care (19th News)
- Transgender care suits succeed so far rin countering rising bands (Bloomberg Law)
- The right boosted trans hate — and ran up their follower counts (Rolling Stone)
- Detroit-area city bans LGBTQ+ pride flags on public property (Associated Press)
- Documents show how conservative doctors influenced abortion, trans rights (Washington Post)
- Justice Department charges Marine in firebombing of California Planned Parenthood clinic (CNN)
- DHS’s newest target: Atlanta “Cop City” activists (Just Security)
- This surveillance system tracks inmates down to their heart rate (Wired)
- Missouri governor’s office hid plans on gender-affirming care, transgender athletes bills (Missouri Independent)
Threats to Education
- Moms for Liberty rises as power player in GOP politics after attacking schools over gender, race (Associated Press)
- Number of legitimate reports to teacher complaint hotline unknown (Arizona Mirror)
- GOP lawmakers to take aim at NC’s Democratic-controlled State Board of Elections, in advance of 2024 (WRAL.com)
- Gov. Abbott signs DEI bill into law, dismantling diversity offices at colleges (Dallas News)
- Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signs ban on ‘sexually explicit’ books in school libraries into law (Austin American-Statesman)
- College Board defends AP course amid Florida restrictions on LGBTQ lessons (Washington Post)
Government Transparency and Public Records Law
- ‘Black hole’: Public faces long delays obtaining records from Missouri attorney general (Missouri Independent)
- Migrants say Florida contractors pushed to get them to board planes to California (Los Angeles Times)
- U.S. extends temporary protected status for more than 330,000 immigrants (Washington Post)
- Texas Gov. Greg Abbott buses 42 migrants to Los Angeles (NBC News)
- Immigrant rights advocates applaud new Colorado law banning local jail agreements with ICE (Colorado Newsline)
- CBP reassigns chief medical officer after child’s death in border custody (Washington Post)
- Trump rejected lawyers’ efforts to avoid classified documents indictment (Washington Post)
- Mar-a-Lago sought 380 foreign workers during time Trump had access to classified documents (Forbes)