Washington, D.C. — The States United Democracy Center, Protect Democracy, and Law Forward released an update to their report, Democracy Crisis in the Making, which analyzed the nationwide trend of partisan state legislatures trying to seize control over election administration away from trusted, expert elections officials. As of early June, there have been at least 216 bills introduced in 41 states that would interfere with election administration. The update spotlights two of the most alarming trends on the forefront right now in Arizona and Texas: criminalization of election administration and legislature-driven partisan reviews of settled elections.
The Texas spotlight in the update takes a closer look at some of the unprecedented ways S.B. 7, an omnibus voter suppression bill, seeks to criminalize election administration. In Arizona, the update takes a look at the sham election review taking place in Maricopa County. The report reads, “While Texas has blazed a new path in criminalizing election administration and possibly overturning election results, Arizona has demonstrated the consequences of direct legislative meddling in election administration. There, the legislature has ushered in new ways to sow confusion and distrust of our democratic systems: legislature-driven, post-election partisan ballot inspections, which they call an ‘audit.’”
To put a spotlight on this alarming trend, the States United Democracy Center and Protect Democracy hosted a briefing today with bipartisan state leaders including Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman, former New Jersey Governor and States United Co-Chair Christine Todd Whitman, and States United Democracy Center Outside Counsel and Senior Advisor Victoria Bassetti. The discussion focused on the current election interference landscape, particularly the increase in criminalization legislation. The concern is echoed in the report conclusion, which states:
“Many of the bills we have chronicled will force public officials who are attempting to administer elections to constantly look over their shoulder, comply with byzantine rules, seek permission for standard operating practices, work without being able to accept special funding in a crisis, and live in fear that a mistake will land them in a middle of a criminal investigation. They will know that even after they have professionally counted and certified the votes, their decisions may be subject to relentless and baseless attack. This is no way to run a democracy.”
About the States United Democracy Center
The States United Democracy Center is a nonpartisan organization advancing free, fair, and secure elections. We focus on connecting state officials, law enforcement leaders, and pro-democracy partners across America with the tools and expertise they need to safeguard our democracy. For more information, visit www.statesuniteddemocracy.org.
About Protect Democracy
Protect Democracy is a nonpartisan, nonprofit with an urgent mission: to prevent our democracy from declining into a more authoritarian form of government. For more information, visit https://protectdemocracy.org/.
About Law Forward
Law Forward is a nonprofit law firm focused on protecting and advancing democracy in Wisconsin. We use impact litigation, the administrative process, and public education to protect Wisconsin’s fundamental democratic principles, and revive Wisconsin’s traditional commitment to clean and open government. For more information, visit LawForward.org.