States United Action Statement in Response to Senate Failure to Advance the Freedom to Vote Act

Washington, DC — In reaction to the Senate failure to advance the Freedom to Vote Act, States United Action released the following statement from States United Action CEO Joanna Lydgate and Co-Chairs former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman and Ambassador Norman Eisen. 

“We are deeply disappointed by the Senate’s failure to even open debate on the Freedom to Vote Act. That is especially true since the vote failed on a party-line tally at a time when the democracy reforms in the bill earn widespread support from the American people and election administrators alike. 

While we remain hopeful there will be federal democracy reform on a bipartisan basis in the future, today’s vote is the latest example of the dangerous unravelling of a decades-long consensus across the aisle on the fundamental role the freedom to vote plays in ensuring our democracy is of the people, by the people, and for the people.  

As a nation, we are at an inflection point when it comes to protecting the will of the American people and safeguarding our federal elections from partisan interference. Access to the ballot box and the way elections are run are under attack in state houses across the country. This crisis requires swift and bold action from leaders at all levels of government. 

We must stand united against the anti-democratic efforts to politicize, criminalize, and interfere with election administration — and today’s Senate vote only adds urgency to the need for bipartisan leaders to speak out.”

States United spokespeople and experts are available for interviews on this story. 

Additional Resources:

  • The Freedom to Vote Act includes multiple provisions that limit election subversion attempts at the state level. The States United Democracy Center, Protect Democracy, and Law Forward released the report “A Democracy Crisis in the Making” documenting this alarming national trend and analyzing the more than 200 bills introduced in state houses seeking to politicize, interfere, and meddle with election administration. 
  • Following the passage of Texas’ SB1, an omnibus voter suppression bill, States United Action Co-Chairs former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman and Ambassador Norm Eisen joined Protect Democracy counsel Jess Marsden in an op-ed urging Congress to address election subversion.
  • The Freedom to Vote Act includes a number of provisions from S.1, The For the People Act, including automatic voter registration and early voting requirements. In March, the States United Democracy Center released a first-of-its-kind report, “The Impact of H.R.1 & S.1 on Voting: An Analysis of Key States.” The report examines how federal standards would affect federal elections in particular states, with a focus on how federal legislation would protect the freedom to vote and help thwart voter suppression efforts sweeping statehouses across the country. Much of this state-by-state analysis applies to the newly announced Freedom to Vote Act.

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About States United Action

States United Action is a nonpartisan section 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization with a mission to protect our elections and our democracy. States United Action advocates for policies that protect election integrity, hold democracy violators accountable, and prevent political violence that threatens to undermine the will of the American people, and amplifies the voices of state leaders and law enforcement leaders who share these values.

States United Action Statement on the Freedom to Vote Act

9.14.2021

Washington, DC — In reaction to the Senate unveiling the Freedom to Vote Act, States United Action released the following statement from States United Action Co-Chairs former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman and Ambassador Norm Eisen and CEO Joanna Lydgate. 

“The surge of attacks on the freedom to vote and the attempts to subvert our elections require leaders from all levels of government to act boldly to protect our democracy. Today, a group of U.S. senators took a big step in the right direction. The Freedom to Vote Act is a landmark compromise bill to protect the will of the American people and strengthen our elections. It takes best practices from red and blue states across the country and hinders attempts to politicize and interfere with election administration. We believe the compromise unveiled today goes a long way to address the dangerous election subversion trend sweeping the nation.” 

Additional Resources:

  • The Freedom to Vote Act includes multiple provisions that limit election subversion attempts at the state level. States United Democracy Center, Protect Democracy, and Law Forward released the first report “A Democracy Crisis in the Making” documenting this alarming national trend and analyzing the more than 200 bills introduced in state houses seeking to politicize, interfere, and meddle with election administration. 
  • Following the passage of Texas’ SB1, an omnibus voter suppression bill, States United Action Co-Chairs former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman and Norm Eisen joined Protect Democracy counsel Jess Marsden in an op-ed urging Congress to address election subversion.
  • The Freedom to Vote Act includes a number of provisions from S.1, The For the People Act, including automatic voter registration and early voting requirements. In March, the States United Democracy Center released a first-of-its-kind report, “The Impact of H.R.1 & S.1 on Voting: An Analysis of Key States.” The report examines how federal standards would affect federal elections in particular states, with a focus on how federal legislation would protect the freedom to vote and help thwart voter suppression efforts sweeping statehouses across the country. Much of this state-by-state analysis applies to the newly announced Freedom to Vote Act.

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About States United Action

States United Action is a nonpartisan section 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization with a mission to protect our elections and our democracy. States United Action advocates for policies that protect election integrity, hold democracy violators accountable, and prevent political violence that threatens to undermine the will of the American people, and amplifies the voices of state leaders and law enforcement leaders who share these values.

NEW POLL: Pennsylvania Voters Oppose Fake Election “Audit” Proposed by State Sen. Mastriano

7.30.2021

Polling Reveals the Audit Cannot be Trusted by Fourteen-Point Margin 

Washington, D.C. – States United Action released a new poll revealing that Pennsylvania voters oppose the fake 2020 election “investigation” proposed by State Senator Doug Mastriano and trust the official results already certified. The survey finds that seventy-four percent (74%) of Pennsylvania voters have heard at least a bit about the proposed investigation and that these voters already believe the audit cannot be trusted by a fourteen-point margin (47% to 33%). After all voters hear more background, they say they trust the official vote count already certified by Pennsylvania’s election officials more than any results from Sen. Mastriano’s attempted operation by a fifteen-point margin (53%-38%). The Mastriano-proposed “audit” closely mirrors the unpopular so-called “audit” happening in Maricopa County, Arizona, including having similar concerns around transparency, election security, and cost to taxpayers. 

“Pennsylvania voters get it: county officials have already certified and audited the 2020 election and this partisan attempt to conduct a fake ‘audit’ is just a sad sequel to the damaging situation playing out in Arizona,” said Joanna Lydgate, CEO of States United Action. “We applaud the bipartisan leaders in the state who are pushing back on this bad faith effort. Pennsylvania voters deserve leaders who are focused on working for Pennsylvania families, not wasting time and taxpayer dollars on a conspiracy theory-based effort to rehash an already settled election.”

Conducted by The Mellman Group from July 15-20, via landline, cell, and text-to-online, the poll surveyed 600 registered voters in Pennsylvania, using a registration-based sample. In one of the nation’s most closely divided states, where President Joe Biden won by one percentage point, other key findings from the polling include:

  • Seventy-four percent (74%) of Pennsylvania voters have heard at least a bit about the proposed investigation. 
  • Those voters believe the audit cannot be trusted by a fourteen-point margin (47% to 33%). After hearing more background information, voters say they will trust the official vote count already certified by Pennsylvania’s election officials more than the results from this new investigation by a fifteen-point margin (53%-38%).
  • The most concerning aspects to respondents of Senator Mastriano’s so-called “audit” were the following: 
    • Need for a Republican Party that works in the best interest of Pennsylvanians and isn’t embroiled in division over a settled election.
    • Fact that Pennsylvania counties confirmed the results were accurate through audits required by state law.
    • Lack of transparency and security surrounding the investigation.
    • Cost to taxpayers of replacing election equipment due to potential security breaches resulting from this investigation. 
  • By a nineteen-point margin (57% to 38%), Pennsylvania voters believe that President Biden won the election in their state. 

Earlier this month, States United Action, Fair Fight Action, and United to Protect Democracy launched a first-of-its-kind web tool designed to track state-specific attacks on election integrity via sham election reviews, like the ongoing so-called “audit” in Maricopa County, Arizona and the proposed on in Pennsylvania. The tracking tool, found at NotAnAudit.com, details the commonalities between the chaos unfolding in Maricopa County and other attempts at fake investigations into the 2020 election results in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. In June, States United Action released a poll that revealed Arizona voters oppose the fake “audit” in Maricopa County. The survey also found that a large majority (89%) of respondents have heard about the “audit” and that the more people know about the operation the more they distrust it. 

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About States United Action
States United Action is a nonpartisan section 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization with a mission to protect our elections and our democracy. States United Action advocates for policies that protect election integrity, hold democracy violators accountable, and prevent political violence that threatens to undermine the will of the American people, and amplifies the voices of state leaders and law enforcement leaders who share these values.

States United Action, Fair Fight Action, and United to Protect Democracy Release Digital Tool To Track Sham Election “Audits” Across the Country

7.12.2021

Washington, D.C. — On Monday, States United Action, Fair Fight Action, and United to Protect Democracy launched a first-of-its-kind web tool designed to track state-specific attacks on election integrity via sham election reviews, like the ongoing so-called “audit” in Maricopa County, Arizona. The tracking tool, found at NotAnAudit.com, details the commonalities between the chaos unfolding in Maricopa County and other attempts at fake investigations into the 2020 election results in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Earlier today, Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law, Fair Fight Action, Protect Democracy and States United Action hosted a briefing to share the latest updates on the trend of fake election reviews and to highlight the threat they pose to our democracy and trust in our elections. 

“These fake election reviews are costing us more than time and taxpayer dollars; this is an organized attempt to undermine people’s faith in our elections,” said Joanna Lydgate, Founder and CEO of States United Action. “But, in this country, it’s the voters who choose our leaders – not the other way around. The American people deserve elected officials who are focused on governing and bringing us together, not fueling division over an election that has been proven fair again and again. Luckily, people aren’t buying it—the more Americans know about these so-called ‘investigations,’ the more they distrust them. We’re going to continue to put a spotlight on the truth: the 2020 election was free, fair, and accurate.”

The microsite details the similarities in these bad faith election reviews and spotlights the facts on the ground in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Each sham election review is fraught with election protection and security issues, lack of clear procedures and protocols, and links back to lies about the 2020 election that led to the January 6 insurrection. These efforts have been discredited by election experts and bipartisan leaders across the country. 

“Across the country, anti-democratic conspiracy theorists are using private, partisan investigations of election results in an intentional disinformation strategy that is undermining American democracy and fueling threats of violence and harassment against election workers and officials forced to repeatedly engage with dangerous propaganda,” said Esosa Osa, Research and Policy Director at Fair Fight Action. “These sham reviews have spread to at least four states and provided baseless fodder for a nationwide push to restrict voting as over 400 anti-voter bills have been introduced this year alone, including 216 bills directly undermining election administration. Not since Jim Crow have we seen such blatant, anti-democratic election subversion tactics used to suppress the vote in America. It is incumbent upon the media to report responsibly on these widely discredited investigations and help protect voters and election workers from the growing tide of dangerous election disinformation.”

“These bad-faith reviews are an unprecedented attack on the foundations of our democracy. What’s transpired in Arizona is embarrassing and dangerous to our democracy, and is not something that anyone should copy. Unprofessional, inexperienced partisans who have already expressed an interest in claiming fraud should not be given unfettered access to voters’ ballots and the government’s election machinery,” said Sara Chimene-Weiss, counsel at Protect Democracy. “Bi-partisan voices have condemned these ‘audits,’ and no one should take them seriously.”

NotAnAudit.com highlights the following reasons to trust the official results and oppose these attempts to undermine voters’ confidence in the integrity of our elections

  • IN ARIZONA: From November 4 through November 9, 2020, as required by Arizona law,  a physical hand recount of roughly 2% of in-person votes and 5,000 early voting ballots was conducted in all fifteen counties, including Maricopa County, and found no discrepancies.
  • IN GEORGIA: From November 11 through November 19, 2020, Georgia’s 159 counties conducted a hand audit of nearly 5 million ballots, and found no evidence of voter fraud.
  • IN MICHIGAN: The state conducted its most comprehensive series of audits in 2020-21, consisting of 250 different audits—the most in the state’s history and that confirmed the results of the election. The Secretary of State said that all of the audits provided “concrete evidence that November’s election was fair, secure and accurate, and that the results reflect the will of Michigan voters.”
  • IN PENNSYLVANIA: Pennsylvania allows observers from each party to watch ballot counting. Their ability to get close enough was subject to a number of lawsuits that were all rejected and the courts held that observer requirements were complied with during the 2020 election.
  • IN WISCONSIN: Prior to certification of the election results, the Wisconsin Election Commission ordered a full, hand recount of close to 800,000 ballots in Milwaukee and Dane counties—the state’s two largest population centers—following a demand from the Trump campaign. Trump campaign observers observed the recount, and the Trump campaign paid approximately $3 million for it. That recount resulted in net gains for Biden’s vote totals and confirmed that Biden carried the state.

Also on Monday, Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law, Fair Fight Action, Protect Democracy and States United Action hosted a briefing to share the latest updates on the trend of fake election reviews and to highlight the threat they pose to our democracy and trust in our elections. Last week, the Brennan Center, the R Street Institute, and Protect Democracy released a report analyzing the spread of these “audits” and how they fail to measure up to legitimate audits by unbiased professionals. 

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About States United Action
States United Action is a nonpartisan section 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization with a mission to protect our elections and our democracy. States United Action advocates for policies that protect election integrity, hold democracy violators accountable, and prevent political violence that threatens to undermine the will of the American people, and amplifies the voices of state leaders and law enforcement leaders who share these values.

About Fair Fight Action
Founded by Stacey Abrams, Fair Fight Action promotes fair elections around the country, encourages voter participation in elections, and educates voters about elections and their voting rights. Fair Fight Action brings awareness to the public on election reform, advocates for election reform at all levels, and engages in other voter education programs and communications.

About United to Protect Democracy
United to Protect Democracy is a 501(c)(4) organization focusing on advocacy efforts to confront threats to our democracy.

New Poll Finds Arizona Voters Oppose Sham Election Review in Maricopa County

Polling Reveals a Large Majority of Arizona Voters Know About the “Audit”; The More Voters Know About the Operation, the More Likely Voters are to Distrust It

Washington, D.C.–States United Action released a new poll revealing that Arizona voters oppose the sham election review in Maricopa County. The survey also finds that a large majority (89%) of respondents have heard about the “audit” and that the more people know about the operation the more they distrust it.  

“It’s no surprise that the more Arizona voters know about the sham election review in Maricopa County, the more they distrust it. It’s a mess created by members of the Arizona Senate and the unqualified companies running the whole thing,” said Joanna Lydgate, CEO of States United Action. “The 2020 election results were litigated, certified and officially audited more than once in Arizona, and voters rightfully want their elected leaders focused on governing right now, not in disarray over an already settled election.”

Conducted by the Mellman Group on May 22-27, 2021 via landline, cell, and text-to-online, the poll surveyed 600 registered voters in Arizona, using a registration-based sample. In one of the nation’s most closely divided states, where Joe Biden won by less than one percentage point, other key findings from the polling include:

  • The more people know about the audit, the more likely they are to distrust it. Among the 41% who have heard a “great deal” about the audit, 56% believe it cannot be trusted, with only 34% reporting confidence in the audit.
  • Those voters believe the audit cannot be trusted by a ten-point margin (42% to 31%). After everyone hears more background information, voters statewide disapprove of the audit by an even larger 15-point margin (53% disapprove, 38% approve).
  • Arizona voters found that the strongest arguments against the audit were the need for a Republican Party that works in the best interest of Arizonans and isn’t embroiled in division over a settled election (44% very convincing, 13% somewhat convincing), and complaints about security breaches resulting from handing voting machines to private auditors, likely forcing Maricopa to spend millions of taxpayer dollars on new machines (44% very convincing, 12% somewhat convincing). 
  • A near majority (49%) would be less likely to vote to re-elect a state senator who supported the audit, while only a third (31%) were more likely to vote to re-elect, and 20% were unsure. Republicans, plus those independents who did not support Biden, who are also both angry about the audit and less likely to vote for a senator who supported it (4%) combine with Biden supporters (49%) to yield a clear majority (53%) opposing those backing the audit. With the GOP controlling the State Senate by a mere two-seat margin, the backlash against the audit could have a significant impact on the Republican Party’s prospects. By fifteen points, Arizonans believe Biden won fairly, not because of fraud (55% to 40%).

“This whole thing has been an embarrassment to Arizonans,” said Grant Woods, former Arizona Attorney General and States United Advisory Board member. “The people running this process are unprepared, unqualified, and potentially costing taxpayers millions of dollars to replace mishandled election equipment. I am proud of the state and local leaders from both parties who are calling this out for what it is: a sham. Arizona voters deserve local officials who are actually committed to good governance not chasing already settled elections.”

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About the States United Action 

States United Action is a nonpartisan section 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization with a mission to protect our elections and our democracy. States United Action advocates for policies that protect election integrity, hold democracy violators accountable, and prevent political violence that threatens to undermine the will of the American people, and amplifies the voices of state leaders and law enforcement leaders who share these values. For more information, visit https://statesuniteddemocracy.org/states-united-action/.