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 to help us sift through the files, you can view them here. If something interesting catches your eye, send us an email at FairElectionsTips@whowhatwhy.
GOP 2020 Playbook — Purge the Voter Rolls: If it feels like Republican-backed groups are trying to kick people off voter rolls every week, then it shows you’ve been paying attention. It is tough to hide that the GOP and its allies are making a concerted effort to keep people from voting who are unlikely to support them — especially in swing states.
Last week, we wrote about the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty’s lawsuit to remove hundreds of thousands of voters from the rolls. Now, they’re back in court and demanding that a judge find the Wisconsin Elections Commission in contempt and impose $12,000 a day in fines until they remove more than 200,000 voters from the rolls. (read more)
Felon Voting Rights Restoration Hits Roadblock: The Iowa caucus is just weeks from now, but the clock is ticking for eligible voters with a past felony conviction.
Despite efforts by Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds to simplify the process, the state legislature blocked a bill that would’ve automatically restored voting rights to people once they finished their sentences. There are more than 300 Iowans still waiting for Reynolds to answer their voting rights restoration applications. (read more)
Counties Wait for Crucial Election Equipment: Despite having received dozens of new voting machines — which election integrity experts say are just as vulnerable as previous models — Georgia county election officials are still awaiting the software needed to run these machines during the 2020 election. (read more)
What’s happening in Georgia is not a one-off, either. Throughout the country, election officials are scrambling to prepare for the next election. In North Carolina, the State Board of Elections rushed to approve new voting machines, similar to those purchased in Georgia. The problem, however, is that both states are using touch-screen voting machines that have serious security flaws and have been proven to be hackable. (read more)
The FEC Is Broken, But Who’s Willing to Fix It? Democrats have slammed the White House and Senate leadership for allowing five months to go by without a functioning FEC. But as of now, that’s as far as anyone is willing to go. The current commissioners have all overstayed their terms, and the agency has been paralyzed by a lack of a quorum to vote on enforcement measures, issue advisory opinions, or even hold public meetings.
President Donald Trump nominated someone to join the FEC in 2017, but an aide of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that there’s no scheduling announcements — and we probably shouldn’t hold our breath for one, either.
Hundreds of complaints have caused a major backlog for the agency, and many are reaching the five-year limit for the FEC to take official action. Just how many cases are pending? More than 300, and dozens of those relate to illegal foreign interference in US elections. (read more)
Get your read on with our picks of the week:
The GOP Is Campaigning Against Voting — and It’s Winning in Some States (Washington Post)
Voter Purges: Are Republicans Trying to Rig the 2020 Election? (The Guardian)
‘Your Body Being Used’: Where Prisoners Who Can’t Vote Fill Voting Districts (NPR)
Gerrymandering Is Alive and Well. The Coming Battle Will Be Bigger Than Ever (NBC)