WhoWhatWhy has been a leader in covering election integrity. That makes us uniquely qualified to inform our readers about the threats to US democracy from within and from abroad.

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February 3, 2020

Let the horse race (officially) begin

Georgia’s primary election is still a few weeks away, but it looks like it may be another mess in the Peach State. Once again, Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is under scrutiny for the state’s new touchscreen voting machines. Raffensperger reportedly has repeated that paper ballots would be given “a physical recount,” but a proposed election rule will bar hand recounts and require any recount to be done through a machine. (read more) ICYMI: Last week, we learned that a cybersecurity expert found evidence that suggests the state’s central election server was hacked as recently as 2014. (read...

January 27, 2020

Felon Voting Rights and Vulnerable Voting Machines

High school students in Illinois that are eligible to vote will be allowed a two-hour excused absence to cast a ballot during the 2020 election. (read more) It’s a novel idea that came from high school students themselves, and Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) signed the bill last week. Efforts to expand voting rights has been a key issue for Democrats over the past few years. For example, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear signed an executive order just days after his inauguration to automatically restore voting rights to felons once they finish their sentences. Meanwhile, in Georgia... A cybersecurity expert for the Coalition for Good Governance,...

January 20, 2020

10th Anniversary of Citizens United

A few Oklahoma state senators want to offer residents “Make America Great Again”-themed license plates, a move that could violate campaign finance laws. Welcome to 2020… it’s going to be a bumpy ride. A Not-So-Happy Anniversary: This week marks the 10th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark and controversial ruling in Citizens United. Ridiculous amounts of money in politics is not a new phenomenon, but it’s definitely gotten worse since then. That is why the Seattle City Council is taking up the charge and challenging that decision in its local elections. Since the Federal Election Commission can’t do much without a quorum (it’s been more...

January 13, 2020

The Hofeller Files Return, Part 2

Remember those files we shared with you last week? Well, we did some digging and found out that President Donald Trump’s nominee to the Federal Election Commission James “Trey” Trainor was also involved in gerrymandering schemes. Emails suggest that Trainor worked closely with the deceased GOP gerrymandering guru Thomas Hofeller and numerous local officials in Texas from 2011 to 2013 to draw maps that benefited Republican candidates in one of the largest counties near the greater-Houston area. Dozens of emails show that their work ramped up just weeks after the Supreme Court struck down Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which required...

January 6, 2020

The Hofeller Files Return, Part 1

The Hofeller Files Return: We received a massive document dump over the weekend with thousands of files to review regarding the deceased GOP-gerrymandering guru Thomas Hofeller and his efforts to help draw districts that favor the Republican party. We’ll have more information to share about what exactly these files contain, but after an initial review, we’ve found evidence that the Republican National Committee paid Hofeller tens of thousands of dollars, that race was considered in map proposals throughout the country, and that Hofeller was a fan of sharing his gerrymandering tips on poorly designed powerpoints. In the meantime, if you’d like...

December 30, 2019

Voter IDs and Roll Purges

No More Voter ID… for Now: A federal court in North Carolina foiled the GOP-majority legislature’s effort to require photo ID for voting last week. The decision comes as the state chapter of the NAACP awaits a trial regarding its December 2018 lawsuit against this law. If successful, the voter ID requirement could be struck down in its entirety before the 2020 primaries. Critics of the 2018 law argued that it was not an effort to combat voter fraud but a blatant effort to suppress turnout for communities of color and college students, as a federal court previously struck down a...

December 23, 2019

Automatic Voter Registration Efforts Face Setbacks

Automatic Voter Registration Efforts Face Setbacks: The Massachusetts state legislature passed a bill in 2018 that would automatically register eligible voters once they interacted with the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV). But once voting rights advocates learned that the RMV was working to implement a more confusing version of what the legislature passed, they urged lawmakers to reinforce the language of its automatic voter registration bill. So the legislature included language in its budget bill that would have delayed implementation until April 1. But GOP Gov. Charlie Baker vetoed that section because state agencies “have worked diligently to prepare for its January...

December 16, 2019

Are Lawmakers Protecting Our Elections?

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) is using the platform she established while running for president to make sure that every vote counts in 2020 — and that other countries stay out of US elections. “Russia attacked our elections to make Donald Trump president of the United States. They — and others — will try it again. Hand-marked paper ballots and upgrades to our election infrastructure are vital to protecting our democracy,” Harris tweeted last week. We know that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election — not Ukraine, as Trump, Republicans, and Fox News will have you believe. We also know that...

December 9, 2019

Gerrymandering Prisoners

Earlier this year, a federal court in Connecticut allowed the NAACP to proceed in a first-of-its-kind lawsuit to challenge a widely overlooked population impacted by gerrymandering: inmates. The plaintiffs in the case allege that prison gerrymandering — counting inmates in districts with prisons during the census instead of where that person last lived —particularly disenfranchises low-income and communities of color. If successful, this case could lay the groundwork for other fair maps advocates to challenge prison gerrymandering in the courts. What may seem like a small difference has sweeping consequences. States rely on census data to draw new legislative maps and allocate...

December 2, 2019

Campaign Finance Reform News

It all started with an effort to get big money out of politics. Now, lawmakers and campaign finance reform advocates might end up right back where they started. Last week, the Supreme Court remanded a Ninth Circuit Court ruling that upheld Alaska’s strict campaign finance laws for further review. The legislature passed a $500 contribution limit for individuals and banned corporations from directly contributing to campaigns in 2015 — one of the lowest limits in the country. The Ninth Circuit will reconsider whether the $500 limit violates Alaskans’ First Amendment right after not taking into consideration the Supreme Court’s 2006...