Today, Protect Democracy released a new report titled, Democracy Crisis in the Making: How State Legislatures are Politicizing, Criminalizing, and Interfering with Elections, written with Law Forward and the States United Democracy Center. The report describes an under-reported trend: Across the country, state legislators are proposing bills that would give partisan state legislators greater control over elections while hamstringing experienced state and local election administrators who have traditionally run our voting systems.
As of April 6, at least 148 such bills have been introduced in 36 states. Many of the bills would make elections more difficult to administer or even unworkable; make it more difficult to finalize election results; allow for election interference and manipulation by hyper-partisan actors; and, in the worst cases, allow state legislatures to overturn the will of the voters and precipitate a democracy crisis. If these bills had been in place in 2020, they would have significantly added to the turmoil of the post-election period, and raised the prospect that the outcome of the election would have been contrary to the popular vote.
Accompanying the release of the report, current and former state and local election officials from across the political spectrum briefed reporters on this nationwide trend of proposals to shift control over election administration away from expert election officials and towards state legislatures. The briefing was hosted by Protect Democracy, Law Forward, and the States United Democracy Center.
Briefing attendees included Jocelyn Benson, Michigan Secretary of State, Trey Grayson, Former Kentucky Secretary of State, and Tammy Patrick, Senior Advisor to the Elections program at Democracy Fund and Former Elections Official.
For a PDF of the Democracy Crisis in the Making: How State Legislatures are Politicizing, Criminalizing, and Interfering with Elections report, click here.
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.