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Voting Rights: Controversial Federal Elections Official May Be Ousted

Voting rights primer
September 23, 2019 2:56 p.m.

Redistricting Reform Officially Dies in New Hampshire: Redistricting reform advocates fell short in their effort to secure enough votes to override Republican Gov.  Chris Sununu’s veto of a redistricting reform bill. While the bill originally had broad bipartisan support, the failed veto override vote was cast, basically, along party lines.

Shake-Up At A Federal Elections Agency: A controversial staffer at the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission may be out, after the Democratic commissioners refused to join their GOP counterparts in renewing the term of executive director Brian Newby. The Republican EAC Chair Christy McCormick reportedly played hardball in trying to keep him on by packaging his reappointment vote with the reappointment vote of a general counsel for the commission, but the Democratic commissioners still refused to keep him on. A brief look at Newby’s scandals:

  • He went behind the commission’s back to okay a change to federal voter registration forms to facilitate the proof-of-citizenship requirement that Kris Kobach — whom Newby worked with when he previously was a local Kansas official — was pushing.
  • After he was hired, reports emerged alleging that when he was a county elections commissioner, he improperly used of taxpayer money and that he was having an affair with the official in charge of approving the expenses.
  • The HR scandals followed Newby to the EAC, where he was accused of undermining the agency’s work on election security and undermining its staff

His executive director term will now end in October, however he is reportedly trying to find a new gig within the agency.

More Federal Election Funding Approved For States: Mitch McConnell, who Democrats have dubbed “Moscow Mitch” for his lack of action on election security, ushered through the Senate $250 million in funding for election security for states. However, the funding lacks the conditions Democrats have been pushing for — such as attaching it to a requirement thats voting machines have a paper trail. In fact, under the bill, states aren’t even required to use the funding on security measures.

GOP Escalates It War On MI’s Redistricting Commission: Republicans took their attack on Michigan’s new independent election commission to new levels by seeking to take over budgetary control of the commission’s administration. Under the new GOP budget proposal, the budget for the commission would be moved from under the secretary of state’s purview to under the legislature’s. In a sign of things to come, the proposed budget also shortchanged the governor’s funding request for the commission by more than $1 million. The budget maneuver comes in addition to the two lawsuits Michigan Republicans have filed to dismantle the commission.

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