6/20 The Next 10 Days

Last week, we learned more about the extent of the pressure ex-President Donald Trump put on the Department of Justice to investigate unsubstantiated claims of election fraud in 2020. While the emails released by the House Oversight Committee reveal DOJ leadership refusing to comply with requests from Trump and his allies, they underscore just how pervasive the Big Lie was at top levels of government. As Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro shared with MSNBC’s Nicole Wallace, “There was a pattern that began with the lies, that led to the litigation, that led to the efforts to disrespect the will of the people in my state of Pennsylvania and others that led to…the attempts to use the DOJ to overturn an election.” If you haven’t seen the emails, it’s worth taking a look.
 
In a stark and welcome departure from the previous administration, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced a new plan to combat domestic terrorism, following a sweeping assessment of existing and emerging threats at the state and national level. The strategy is, in part, a response to the violent extremism that led to the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and includes recommendations on how to confront the risks these threats pose to our democracy.
 
As we look ahead, the next ten days are critical for election protection and advancing the freedom to vote. Next week, the Senate will take up S.1, the For the People Act. While the current version of the bill faces an uphill climb in the chamber,  several senators and advocates have “expressed optimism” over a compromise plan proposed by moderate Democratic Senator Joe Manchin. As a reminder, States United released a report detailing how the landmark voting rights bill would impact the states and thwart the worst of the voter suppression efforts sweeping the country.  And with only three decision days left on the calendar for the Supreme Court, we await the decision in the pivotal case of Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee. 

Here’s this weeks update:

National Updates

New York Times: “Manchin presents his wish list for a voting rights and ethics bill.” By Jonathan Weisman. (June 16, 2021)
“Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, showing some flexibility on major voting rights legislation, indicated on Wednesday that he opposed the blanket prohibition on all voter identification laws in the Senate Democrats’ current version and would not support public financing of elections.”
 
Axios: “Stacey Abrams says she supports Manchin’s voting rights compromise.” By Oriana Gonzalez. (June 17, 2021)
“Stacey Abrams said on CNN Thursday that she could ‘absolutely’ support the policy demands that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has outlined for a compromise on voting reform, including voter ID.”
 
Washington Post (opinion): “This is the Republicans’ back-up plan in case they can’t suppress enough votes.” By Fred Hiatt. (June 13, 2021)
‘“The commitment of many state legislatures to attacking the foundations of our democracy appears to have deepened,” says the report from Protect Democracy, States United Democracy Center and Law Forward. ‘The trend toward threatening election administrators with criminal penalties is more pronounced and aggressive, and attempts by legislatures to perform core elections functions has grown more brazen.’”
 
CNN: “‘Eyes on the prize’”: Two activists set aside personal threats to fight new voting restrictions.” By Fredreka Schouten. (June 17, 2021)
“This week, voting rights activists Cliff Albright and LaTosha Brown will board a 53-foot bus and kick off a tour through the South. Their task: Rally public support for federal legislation to combat the raft of new state laws aimed at restricting voting rights.”
 
Bloomberg: “Republicans Fall Short in Voting-Rights Crackdown While Adding Hassle at Polls.” By Ryan Teague Beckwith, Allison McCartney, and Mira Rojanasakul. (June 17, 2021)
“Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., opened the door to a compromise on federal voting and campaign finance legislation Wednesday with a memo outlining provisions that he would support.”
 
Reuters: “Kamala Harris launches campaign for voting rights across U.S.” By Nandita Bose.” (June 16, 2021)
“U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris on Wednesday promoted the Biden administration’s efforts to advance voting rights when she met 16 fellow Democrats from the Texas state legislature who successfully blocked a bill they said would make it harder for Blacks and Hispanics to vote.”

State Updates

Arizona
 
MSNBC: “Why it matters that Republicans keep flocking to Arizona’s ‘audit.’” By Steve Benen. (June 16, 2021)
“Arizona Republicans’ utterly bonkers ‘audit’ of Maricopa County’s presidential ballots is reportedly nearing its end, but the damaging effects of the fiasco are just getting started. The conservative Washington Times reported overnight, for example, on the ridiculous ‘audit’ becoming a ‘mecca’ for Republican officials and candidates nationwide.”
 
Georgia
 
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “COVID grants for Georgia elections funded drop boxes and supplies.” By Mark Niesse. (June 17, 2021)
“Georgia election officials distributed about $192,000 in federal coronavirus relief money to counties last year, helping them pay for ballot drop boxes and personal protective equipment, according to state records.”
 
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “Georgia faith leaders rally in Washington, urge passage of federal election law.” By Tia Mitchell. (June 16, 2021)
“The worship service Tuesday night was the beginning of a multiday trip for the clergy and a small group of parishioners and local activists hoping to help change the minds of members of the U.S. Senate who thus far have been unwilling to commit to passing new voting laws.”
 
Michigan
 
Detroit News: “Michigan Senate leader Shirkey ‘watching carefully’ Arizona’s election audit.” By Craig Mauger. (June 16, 2021)
“Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey said Wednesday he’s been ‘watching carefully’ an effort to audit the election in Arizona’s largest county but he didn’t commit on whether he supports something similar in his state.”
 
North Carolina
 
The Times News: “North Carolina election bills unlikely to become laws after Senate votes.” By Gary Robertson. (June 17, 2021)
“North Carolina Senate Republicans pushed a trio of election measures through their chamber on Wednesday, including one that would prohibit counting mail-in absentee ballots that aren’t received by local officials by Election Day. But unlike other GOP-led legislatures in battleground states that have passed voting restrictions this year, North Carolina has a Democratic governor who could veto the measures, leaving Republicans powerless to override Gov. Roy Cooper if Democrats continue to stay united in opposition.”
 
Pennsylvania
 
Penn Live: “Poll results shows Pennsylvania residents largely in favor of tougher vote security measures.” By Charles Thompson. (June 17, 2021)
“A new survey of Pennsylvania voters shows widespread support for some of the most central – and controversial – planks of an election reform bill drafted by House State Government Committee Chairman Seth Grove, R-Spring Grove.”
 
Texas
 
Texas Tribune: “Vice President Kamala Harris says Texas is key example of why a new federal elections law is needed.” By Alexa Ura.“ (June 16, 2021)
“Vice President Kamala Harris on Wednesday pointed to Texas Republicans’ push for sweeping new voting restrictions as a key illustration of the need to restore federal oversight of elections.”

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