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 25, 2022

(Police keep crowds from disrupting the vote count in Detroit, November, 2020)

Trump Planned to Seize Voting Machines After His November 2020 Loss

Politico has gained access to two documents obtained by the House committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol that show Donald Trump was on the verge of ordering seizure of voting machines across the country in December 2020.

The draft executive order, dated December 16, 2020, was never issued. It would have empowered the defense secretary to “seize, collect, retain and analyze all machines, equipment, electronically stored information, and material records required for retention” under a U.S. law that relates to preservation of election records.

It also would also have ordered appointment of a special counsel to probe the 2020 election.

Interestingly, the draft executive order also cites two classified documents, one of which had never been made public before. Says Politico, “The fact that the draft executive order’s author knew about the existence of [the secret] memorandum suggests that they had access to information about sensitive government secrets.”

The basis for the draft order? A report on voting machines by Russ Ramsland, who apparently confused the names of Michigan precincts with precincts in Minnesota (

Also obtained by the January 6 committee was the draft of a speech Trump would have given after issuing the executive order. In it, he was slated to say, “But as for THIS election, Congress has now certified the results. The election fight is over. A new administration will be inaugurated on January 20th. My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power.”

As we know, that is the opposite of what Trump and his allies have been saying for the past year.

You can read the entire draft executive order, plus more information on the previously unknown, classified memorandum at



Illinois GOP Proposes Non-partisan Redistricting Committee

An Illinois GOP state senator is proposing a constitutional amendment that would create a non-partisan redistricting committee for Illinois.

The proposal from  State Sen. Dan McConchie (R-Hawthorn Woods) would allow the Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice and longest-serving justice from the opposing party to select 17 commissioners for an independent redistricting commission no later than March 1, 2023. Legislative and congressional maps would then be redrawn by the new commission in 2024, after which redistricting would revert to every 10 years.

McConchie’s amendment would also allow for voter referendums on recently passed legislation, the ability for voters to circulate petitions to change the Illinois State Constitution except for its Bill of Rights, and the right for citizens to recall any of the state’s executive officers, Auditor General, House Speaker, Senate President, state lawmakers, or local elected officials. Currently, only the governor can be recalled.

Previous attempts to pass similar legislation have failed.



DeSantis Proposes Creation of Police-like Office to Hunt Out Suspected Voter Fraud

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is proposing spending $5.7 million to create a new Office of Election Crime and Security, a first in the country.

Envisioned as an investigative unit, it would be authorized to look for violations of state election law and supposed election irregularities and would have the power to take control over any investigation conducted by local police or prosecutors. With a proposed staff of over 50 investigators, the agency would have a larger staff than most police departments have to solve murders, even though only five Floridians have been arrested for alleged voter fraud in the 2020 election. It would be the first in any state dedicated to investigating and prosecuting election-related crimes.

Not to be outdone, a bill in the Arizona legislature would authorize the state’s auditor general to investigate state and local election administrators’ performance of their election duties. Normally the auditor general investigates financial practices, and has no election law expertise. Now, that office would be investigating voter registration and mail voting processes at the state and local level. The bill would also give the Legislative Audit Committee, another entity with no experience, the task of shaping the auditor’s investigations.


Texas’ Giant Raft of Voter Suppression Bills Already Causing Problems

Texans applying for mail-in ballots under the state’s new draconian voting laws are already encountering difficulties.

About half the applications received by the county clerk of Travis County, which includes the state capital of Austin, have been rejected, a trend that’s also been reported by the counties containing Houston and San Antonio. Worst yet, the Travis County Clerk’s office says they haven’t yet received instructions from the state on how to help voters fix the problem with their applications.

The biggest reason for rejection? A new provision requires voters applying for a mail-in ballot to provide their driver’s license or Social Security number. The catch? It must match the number they used when first registering to vote. If they forgot which one they initially used, their application will be rejected. The deadline for applications is February 18 for the March 1 primary. 



Elections Have Consequences for Voting Rights

Five years ago, Virginia was the second-hardest state to vote in across all 50 states. In 2020, it was the twelfth easiest state, thanks to Democratic control of the state’s House of Delegates and a Democratic governor.

In Virginia’s November 2021 election, however, all three came under Republican control. The result? Republicans in the Virginia Legislature have already introduced over 20 bills to restrict mail-in voting after its widespread use during the 2020 and 2021 elections. These include bills to restrict the use of drop boxes, end no-excuse absentee voting, shorten the early voting period, and repeal same-day voter registration. ( .

Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, a Waukesha County judge, Circuit Court Judge Michael Bohren, has ruled that absentee ballot drop boxes are not allowed under Wisconsin state law, stating that state statutes provide no specific authorization for them. He ordered the Wisconsin Elections Commission to rescind its guidance to clerks on how to use the drop boxes ( On January 24, an appeals court reinstated drop boxes for the state’s February primary (

County judges in Wisconsin are elected officials, but Bohren will not be up for election again until 2025.


The Best Way to Talk About Voting Rights to Voters? Identify the Villains

Want to motivate voters to care about the defeat of the Democrats’ two flagship voting rights bills? For the majority of Democratic voters, forget about pointing out that Republicans are making it more difficult to vote.

“People don’t necessarily think voting should be that easy,” says Celinda Lake, one of President Biden’s lead pollsters in the 2020 election. “They feel like it’s a responsibility, so if you have to go to a little effort, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.”

How to overcome that problem? She suggests naming the villain outright–warn voters that Republicans are trying to thwart the will of the people and deny the right to vote. “It’s a pitch that resonates with all Democratic voters,” she says.

Democratic pollster Margie Omero suggests talking about values when making the case for voting rights legislation. Most Democratic voters think voting rights are a fundamental core value that should not be subject to the whims of state legislatures or candidates who are upset they lost an election. Only a third of Republicans think so ( When we speak in the language of values, that’s something that voters respond to,” says Omero.

So, how to do it right? Lake says President Biden had it just about right in his January 11 speech when he said, “The facts won’t matter, your vote won’t matter. They’ll just decide what they want and then do it.”

Want more advice on good messaging? Check out Indivisible Illinois’ Truth Brigade at!


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