Overseas Voter Crisis Averted: The Trump administration resolved last week a trade dispute that election officials worried would make it much harder for overseas voters to cast ballots. The U.S. will not be withdrawing from the Universal Postal Union, as the President previously threatened to do. A withdrawal from the regime — which regulates international mail service — could have made the cost of sending ballots to and from overseas voters as much as $70. The administration backed down from its withdrawal threats after securing reforms to the UPU regime it had been seeking.
Two More Tranches Of Hofeller Files Become Public: After his initial report in the New Yorker, David Daley has two more stories — this time in the Intercept — based on the files he obtained that were found on the hard drives of the late GOP gerrymandering guru Thomas Hofeller. Here are some of the bombshells:
- One memo brags that gerrymandered maps helped Republicans hold on to the House and state legislatures despite an election where Democrats maintained control of the presidency and Senate.
- Other memos describe a tactic of packing minority voters into districts in order to reduce Democratic seats while also making minorities the face of the Democratic Party in the eyes of white voters in the South.
- Hofeller’s files contain detailed work he was doing for Republicans in Florida, Alabama and West Virginia — work that was not previously known.
Courts In North Carolina Staying Busy In Voting Rights Cases: North Carolina is a hotspot of voting rights controversies and this past week much of the action was in the courts:
- The State Supreme Court said on Wednesday that it will not at this moment take up a case challenging North Carolina’s newly enacted voter ID law.
- Democrats — with the support of an Eric Holder-tied redistricting reform group — filed a lawsuit in state court Friday challenging the state’s U.S. congressional maps. The challenge comes after a state court invalidated the maps for the state legislature for being a partisan gerrymander.
- With regards to the state legislative map, the group that brought that successful partisan gerrymandering case is objecting to several districts North Carolina legislators drew to remedy the gerrymandering.