In Voting Rights Gazette

“Your place for all the information you need about voting rights, 

voter suppression, and voting trends to prepare you to fight in the 2022 election.” 

January 11, 2022


Pro-Trump Groups in Arizona & Michigan Sent Forged Election Certification Documents in December

Politico has learned that pro-Trump groups in Arizona and Michigan attempted to file forged election certification documents with the National Archives in an attempt to prevent the certification of Joe Biden as President.

As reported in December by the Arizona Republic, a so-called “sovereign citizens’ group in Arizona submitted a facsimile of the official certificate of ascertainment in early December after attending a post-election rally in Phoenix headlined by Donald Trump’s then personal attorney, Rudi Giuliani ( The National Archives alerted the secretaries of state of both the Arizona and Michigan on Dec. 11 of the forgeries and that the Archives would not accept certifications.

Because the Arizona group used the official state seal on its forgery, the secretary of state referred the matter to the state attorney general. In Michigan, no action was taken against the group who filed the false documents. The documents form part of Congress’ investigation into the January 6 attack on the Capitol. 


McConnell & GOP Propose Minor Voting Rights Tweaks

The future of voting rights legislation may be coming to a head this week, with Democrats determined to pass sweeping voting rights bills and Republicans now proposing what Democrats are calling trial balloons created as distractions.

Last Monday, the Heritage Foundation’s Yuval Levin posited the notion that Democrats and Republicans should turn to narrowly tailored legislation focused on post-election administration, not voting rights writ large.

Actual election fraud is exceedingly rare, Levin admitted, but still, each party is “telling its supporters not to trust our elections unless its favored bills are passed while implicitly persuading its opponents that those bills are illegitimate and dangerous.”

His solution? A bill to limit the ability of state officials to remove local election administrators without cause, prohibit the harassment of election workers, and mandate clear standards for post-election audits. This kind of legislation, Levin says, would have bipartisan appeal.

Not two days later, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell started floating the idea of fixing the Electoral Count Act of 1887, whose loose wording was the basis for Trump supporters’ briefs stating that the vice-president had the power to overturn an election (see the September 28 Voting Rights Gazette.

Democrats consider the timing of McConnell’s announcement suspicious, coming shortly after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer made clear his plans to bring the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act up for a vote by mind-January. Without these two bills, Democrats point out, millions of voters may be disenfranchised—they won’t be able to cast the votes that are the basis for the electoral count in the first place.

Says Democracy Docket’s Marc Elias, who is considered the Democratic Party’s top lawyer, “Don’t believe their lies–fixing the ECA alone will not prevent GOP election subversion and will do nothing to stop suppression.”


Redistricting Not So Bad for Dems? Not So Fast

Several recent news reports have opined that the current redistricting process so far has not been as bad for Democrats as was expected. Their bottom line: there will be a handful more Biden-won districts after redistricting than there are now, producing a congressional map slightly less biased in the GOP’s favor than the last decade’s. Take a deeper look, however, and things are not so rosy.

For one thing, says a recent Cook Political Report, if President Biden’s approval ratings don’t move up into the 50% range, Democrats may not win marginally Democratic districts. There are currently 48 House Democrats sitting in seats where Biden won by less than 55% in 2020. Depending on just how slim those margins were, the Democratic hold on those districts could be tenuous.

More important than that is the fact that current redistricting is creating more of what the Report calls hyper-partisan seats at the expense of competitive ones. The result, says the Report, is “a House even less responsive to shifts in public opinion, with more ideological ‘cul-de-sac’ districts where candidates’ only electoral incentive is to play to a primary base.”

But the bad news doesn’t stop there. As the Brennan Center’s redistricting & voting counsel Michael Li points out, both Republican and Democratic redistricting is disproportionately affecting communities of color—not a new development, but particularly egregious this year considering changes in population growth. In Texas, for instance, Republicans “surgically dismantled emerging natural coalition districts in the suburbs of Houston and Dallas where diverse, multiracial communities were on the verge of winning power,” says Li.

Li also has a warning for states like Illinois, where Democrats have drawn what he calls aggressive maps. “This assumes a stability of the electorate that may not be there,” he says, pointing out what happened in Virginia, where a state Biden won by 4 points voted in a Republican governor last year by 8 points. “A lot of aggressive maps in Illinois and elsewhere have a lot of vulnerability for the party if Republicans have even a medium good year.” (

Republicans only need to gain five seats in the House to become the majority.

Non-partisan Redistricting Creates Fair Maps for First Time in Two States

As reported in the October 26 Voting Rights Gazette, a bipartisan redistricting commission in Virginia that was approved by voters in 2020 was unable to overcome partisan bickering last fall to create a new legislative map. The fallback was a built-in fail-safe provision to let the Virginia Supreme Court draw the maps.

Now the Court has unveiled the new maps, and the results show the benefit of non-partisan redistricting.

The resulting map, created by two experts, one nominated by Democrats and the other nominated by Republicans, plus input from two public hearings , show Democrats favored by six seats in both the Virginia Senate, 23-17, and in the House of Delegates, 53-47. This is the first time Virginia’s elected officials have had no say in the redistricting process.

Meanwhile, a similar process has played out in Michigan, where a citizen ballot initiative passed in 2018 took redistricting out of the hands of partisan legislators for the first time in history. The result? According to the New York Times, Michigan’s new districts will much more closely reflect the overall partisan makeup of the hotly contested battleground state (

Several Detroit-area representatives, however, are planning to sue, arguing that the new state legislative and Congressional maps are unfair to Black voters and violate the Voting Rights Act.

Texas Finds No Fraud in 2020 Election Recount

A recount of Texas votes that was ordered last September, a week after Donald Trump demanded the recount, has come up empty-handed.

The results, which were announced on New Years Eve, showed that in the four counties that underwent the review, there were few discrepancies between electronic and hand counts of ballots in a sample of voting precincts. The discrepancies were so few that they would not have changed the election outcome in the state, which Trump won by an unexpectedly small margin of 5 percent.

A second phase of Texas’s “audit” effort is scheduled for later this year. It will include reviews of records of voting machine accuracy tests, rosters for early voting, and forms detailing chain of custody for sealed ballot boxes and other election materials maintained by the counties.

As for the Arizona “audit” that started the trend last spring? The county that was under investigation, Republican-led Maricopa County, last Wednesday released its 93-page official report showing that no fraud was found (  Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, where Republican lawmakers want to hold a similar “audit,” Dominion Voting Systems has  asked a court to order that any inspection be conducted by a federally accredited voting system laboratory or a national laboratory used by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. Republicans had planned to use an unaccredited contractor with no election experience.

USPS Agrees to Ensure Prompt Handling of VBM Ballots Through 2028

A December legal settlement between the NAACP and the US Postal Service has ensured that changes the Postal Service was forced to make during the 2020 election to ensure prompt delivery of ballots to and from voters will continue through 2028. The agreement also requires the Postal Service to meet with the NAACP in the months leading up to all primary and general elections, and provide status reports on mail service in the six weeks before an election.

Meanwhile, a new report shows that in Texas, over 1.5 million voters used online voter registration. Texas actively resisted allowing online voter registration until it was forced to do so by a U.S. district judge, who found Texas was “legally obligated” to allow it.

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