Court Asked to Block Release of Voter Data: Ballots & Boundaries
Pennsylvania Senate Democrats are suing to block subpoenas from Republicans seeking voters’ personal information.
The GOP-led Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee approved subpoenas to the Pennsylvania Department of State as part of a probe into the November 2020 general election. (Members of the Republican leadership in the state House aren’t participating.)
The subpoenas seek communications and training materials between the Department of State and Pennsylvania’s counties. They also demand all voter names, addresses, driver’s license numbers, partial Social Security numbers, voter history, and methods of voting.
No details about how the data would be protected, or even what company would be reviewing it as part of the lawmakers’ probe, have been publicized so far.
Gov. Tom Wolf (D) and Democrats on the committee have said the subpoenas are partisan and waste taxpayer money. — Jennifer Kay
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IOWA: MAPS WOULD SIGNIFICANTLY SHIFT DISTRICTS
If the congressional redistricting maps proposed by the nonpartisan Iowa Legislative Services Agency had been used for the 2020 presidential election, Donald Trump still would have won the state but would have carried two rather than all four of Iowa’s four congressional districts.
“That raises the prospect of a 2D-2R delegation, which Republicans probably aren’t going to like,” Dave Wasserman, the House editor of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report with Amy Walter, said on Twitter.
The proposal would shift Rep. Ashley Hinson(R) from representing the state’s northeast to a more compact district touching the state’s southern and eastern borders. The district of Mariannette Miller-Meeks(R) would move north (she now represents about half the state’s southern border), while Randy Feenstra ‘s (R) solidly Republican 4th District would pick up all of the state’s western, largely rural border.
The district of Rep. Cindy Axne (D) would go from slightly red to slightly blue. Axne, who was re-elected by fewer than 2 percentage points in 2020, hasn’t announced whether she’ll run for re-election in 2022.
Iowa District Map Faces Uphill Sell to Republican Legislature
The agency also released its proposed redrawings for state legislative districts. “Given that state legislators vote on the new plan, how it affects state legislative districts might be more important to them than the congressional districts,” Tim Hagle, a political scientist at the University of Iowa, said in an email. — Greg Giroux and Stephen Joyce
ARIZONA: ROUTERS, RESULTS, AND RECORDS, OH MY
The battle between Arizona state senators and Maricopa County officials over routers used in the 2020 election appears to be over—just ahead of a hearing on findings in the Republican-led audit of President Joe Biden’s win in the state. Senate contractor Cyber Ninjas is slated to present an audit report Friday at a public hearing, Senate President Karen Fann (R) said in a text message.
The county risked losing hundreds of millions of dollars in state funding when leaders, citing security concerns, refused to comply with a Senate subpoena for the routers. County supervisors agreed to pay for a “special master”—former Congressman John Shadegg (R)—to work with technology experts to answer Senate questions.
The Senate also is on the hook to provide more information after unsuccessfully arguing that documents held by Cyber Ninjas aren’t subject to disclosure. The Arizona Supreme Court rejected a request to review a lower court decision that found they are public records.
An investigation by The Arizona Republic found Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan was working with allies of former President Donald Trump on election-related issues months before the Arizona audit began. — Brenna Goth
OREGON: CITIZENS TO THE RESCUE?
Some 760 Oregonians are betting state lawmakers will blow a Sept. 27 court-imposed deadline for redrawing state legislative district lines. That’s how many people applied to serve on the up-to-20-member People’s Commission to advise Secretary of State Shemia Fagan on crafting new statehouse district boundaries if the legislature fails to submit maps on time to the Oregon Supreme Court.
Congressional boundaries would be drawn by a judicial panel if lawmakers fail. The announcement follows Gov. Kate Brown (D) calling lawmakers into special session yesterday to deal with redistricting. — Joyce E. Cutler
FLORIDA: OUT OF THE SHADOWS
Florida is “taking steps against the shadow process” that marred the state’s last round of redistricting, according to the chairman of the state Senate Committee on Reapportionment.
Sen. Ray Rodrigues (R) warned committee members that emails, text messages, and other correspondence could be made public in the process. No maps from outside parties will be accepted unless legislators request them in writing. And anyone speaking at public hearings or submitting materials to the committee must attest that they haven’t been compensated by any organization with an interest in the redistricting process.
Florida voters in 2010 approved constitutional amendments intended to prevent gerrymandering. But courts found lawmakers still had allowed Republican political consultants to conduct a “shadow” redistricting process. Current state Senate and congressional maps were either adopted or drawn by the courts after years of lawsuits.
The Florida House redistricting committee holds its first public hearing tomorrow. — Jennifer Kay
COLORADO: REDISTRICTING PANEL NEARING AGREEMENT
The Colorado Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission is proceeding with a proposed U.S. House map that would place the state’s new 8th District north of Denver and leave the existing seven districts largely intact.
Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert‘s hometown of Rifle would remain in the 3rd Congressional District instead of in the same district as Boulder Democratic Rep. Joe Neguse. Fort Collins would stay in the 2nd District with Boulder, and Denver and Colorado Springs would have their own districts.
Commissioners plan to meet Saturday to consider additional changes. At least eight of the 12 commissioners must approve the final congressional plan by Sept. 28; it must be filed with the Colorado Supreme Court by Oct. 1. — Tripp Baltz.
WISCONSIN: CASE MANAGEMENT
A Wisconsin federal judicial panel has consolidated some redistricting cases, granting intervenor status to federal and state elected officials, and signaling a preference for the state legislature to handle the map-drawing rather than relying on court action.
The three-member panel ordered consolidation of two August 2021 cases launched by nonprofit groups and Wisconsin voters who intend to vote for Democrats in 2022 elections, permitted five Republican congressmen and Gov. Tony Evers (D) to intervene in the consolidated case, and denied a Republican motion to dismiss it.
The panel said the court may issue “a more limited stay” to give the state’s legislative process “the first opportunity to enact new maps. But the court will demand “timely resolution of the case should the state process languish or fail.” Federal magistrates had the final say on redistricting in 1982, 1992, and 2002. In those cycles, as now, the state had divided control of the government. — Stephen Joyce
PENNSYLVANIA: MORE PUBLIC MAPS
Pennsylvania’s governor has created a new oversight panel for public comments to advise him as he evaluates the redrawing of maps of Pennsylvania’s congressional districts. His office also launched a website where members of the public may submit comments and draw their own maps.
The Republican-controlled state House also accepts public comments and map submissions through its own redistricting website. Pennsylvania is losing one U.S. House seat. — Jennifer Kay
- BGOV Q&A: Redistricting Now That Preclearance Is (Mostly) Gone
- BLAW Podcast: On The Merits examines the prosecution of voting fraud
- REDISTRICTING TRACKER: fivethirtyeight.com
- PRINCETON GERRYMANDERING PROJECT
- ELECTION LITIGATION TRACKER: Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law
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To contact the reporters on this story: Joyce E. Cutler in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.org; Jennifer Kay in Miami at email@example.com; Brenna Goth in Phoenix at firstname.lastname@example.org; Tripp Baltz in Denver at email@example.com; Greg Giroux in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org; Stephen Joyce in Chicago at email@example.com
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