Louisiana Dem Governor Re-elected

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Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards will return to the governor’s mansion for another four years in what is being considered pushback against President Donald Trump, who stumped for his Republican challenger.

Now, with just months before the 2020 presidential primary election, Edwards will need to work with state lawmakers and election officials to upgrade Louisiana’s decades-old voting system.

Last year Edwards refused to reinstate a voided multimillion-dollar contract to Dominion Voting Systems after election integrity experts recommended against purchasing their ballot-marking devices (BMD), which have been known to have numerous security flaws.

Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin said in April that he planned on using $2 million set aside for election security to rent voting machines during the 2019 election. The plan was scrapped after state lawmakers reallocated the funds for other programs.

However, early voters in Louisiana did use new voting machines: Ardoin’s office leased Dominion’s BMD called ImageCast X.

WhoWhatWhy’s Election Integrity Weekly focuses on who wants to tip the scales, what they are planning, and why they are doing it. Check out previous newsletters here.

New Report on Voting Rights

Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH), who chairs the Subcommittee on Elections of the Committee on House Administration, released a report last week on the state of voting rights and election administration in the US — and it’s not pretty.

“As the Subcommittee found and has thoroughly documented, the evidence is clear: discrimination in voting still exists,” the report states.

The report lays out how the 2013 Supreme Court ruling in Shelby County v. Holder enabled states around the country to pass restrictive voting laws and purge hundreds of thousands of citizens from voter rolls.

Voter suppression extends to Native voters; the report emphasizes the pervasive nature of what tribal communities must overcome. There have been efforts in Utah to dismantle some of the barriers, such as providing residential addresses to the Navajo Nation through open-source mapping.

Some states have passed bills to increase access to the polls and allow a tribe to designate a building as a polling place or have a person pick up and drop off ballots, and others are working with tribal communities to make voting easier. (read more)

What We’re Watching

It’s debate week! The previous debate was the first since the impeachment inquiry began, giving candidates the opportunity to talk about foreign interference in U.S. elections. With public hearings underway, it’s unlikely that moderators will skip this issue this week.

Ten Democratic presidential candidates will gather in Georgia Wednesday night: former Vice President Joe Biden; Senators Cory Booker (NJ), Kamala Harris (CA), Amy Klobuchar (MN), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Elizabeth Warren (MA); Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI); Mayor Pete Buttigieg (South Bend, IN); hedge fund manager Tom Steyer; and entrepreneur Andrew Yang.

Candidates faced a higher requirement to receive an invitation than in previous debates: they needed to reach 3 percent in four qualifying national polls since September 13 or 5 percent in two early voting states. They also needed to raise money from 165,000 unique donors, with at least 600 of them from 20 different states.

In the Courts

Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty v. Wisconsin Election Commission: Complaint filed

The GOP-backed institute filed a lawsuit Friday that alleges that state election officials failed to comply with a law that requires the commission to contact voters that may have moved and remove them from the voter rolls if they do not respond after 30 days.

Priorities USA v. Nessel: Complaint Filed

The Democratic-backed Super PAC Priorities USA wants to overturn two state election laws: one that bans paying for transportation for voters to get to polling places and another that prevents third parties from submitting absentee ballots for voters that are unable to. They allege that the laws make it harder —for young voters in particular — to participate in elections.

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