The Florida conservatives likely heading to Congress, thanks to DeSantis

“Several Florida conservatives who question President Joe Biden’s 2020 victory could be heading to Congress in November, thanks to the state’s contentious redistricting process muscled through the Legislature by Gov. Ron DeSantis.”

The Wisconsin Supreme Court Just Made Ballot Drop Boxes Illegal

“the Wisconsin Supreme Court..rendered most ballot drop boxes illegal in the state. The Court found that state law, which requires that mail-in ballots be delivered to a “mailbox,” does not allow “delivery to an unattended ballot drop box.””

The Forgotten Constitutional Weapon Against Voter Restrictions

“perhaps a largely forgotten provision of the Constitution offers a solution to safeguard American democracy. Created amid some of the country’s most violent clashes over voting rights, Section 2 of the 14th Amendment provides a harsh penalty for any state where the right to vote is denied “or in any way abridged.”

A state that crosses the line would lose a percentage of its seats in the House of Representatives in proportion to how many voters it disenfranchises. If a state abridges voting rights for, say, 10 percent of its eligible voters, that state would lose 10 percent of its representatives — and with fewer House seats, it would get fewer votes in the Electoral College, too.”

The challenge of turning pro-choice Americans into pro-choice voters

“Pollsters say there are arguments in favor of abortion rights that can resonate across the ideological spectrum. The most popular messages, researchers find again and again, are those that emphasize freedom from government control, and those that stress that abortion should be a decision between a woman and her doctor.

For the past decade, these concepts haven’t always been prominent in abortion access debates. As the procedure came under increasing attack nationwide, reproductive rights supporters mobilized Democrats and allies to stand up more forcefully for abortion access, and challenged the idea that some abortions — like in the event of rape or incest — are more worthy than others.

Rather than accept the “safe, legal, and rare” messaging popularized by Bill Clinton in the 1990s, celebrities, lawmakers, and activists have encouraged amplifying abortion stories, even, or especially, less sympathetic ones. Activists have also emphasized that messages about a “woman and her doctor” could diminish the reproductive agency of the pregnant woman herself. As feminist writer Rebecca Traister put it earlier this week, “It’s at the heart of the attitude that a person who can be pregnant… cannot simply get access to that procedure by their own damn self, without consultation or permission from anyone.”

The issue now is that, although a majority of American voters have repeatedly said they believe Roe should be upheld, roughly one-third of that majority personally opposes abortion. Those who believe abortion should be legal only in some cases primarily cite rape, incest, or a threat to a woman’s life.

Navigator Research, a group that works to provide messaging guidance to progressives, including Planned Parenthood, has conducted a few surveys on reproductive rights over the last few months: one in April before the leak of the draft Dobbs decision, one in May after it, and one following the Supreme Court’s final ruling. They found that respondents found a few consequences of the ruling especially concerning and believable: that women would have to seek unsafe abortions and that victims of rape and incest would be forced to give birth.

These ideological tensions between reproductive activists and other self-identified pro-choice people were not of huge concern when Roe was the law and defending the decision was a collective rallying point. But it makes building a coalition in a post-Roe world a more delicate balance.”

Campaigns may have lost their most effective — and annoying — outreach tool

“Text messaging — with their markedly high “open rates” — is an especially potent form of political outreach: Since 2016, texting has become one of the most appealing ways for campaigns to engage voters or supporters, especially as so many have ditched their landlines.

But as part of a broader effort to crack down on the fast-growing problem of spam calls and texts, mobile carriers like AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon have been rolling out a new policy that affects any business, nonprofit, union, or campaign that intends to send at least 3,000 messages per day.

It means that political campaigns and advocacy groups have fewer rights to text you, if you haven’t affirmatively opted in to receive the messages — and it’s causing distress among those groups ahead of the midterms.

The changes — known as “10DLC” for the 10-digit long codes that high-volume businesses and apps use to text local numbers — will require organizations to register with the Campaign Registry, a subsidiary of the Milan-based communications firm Kaleyra. Carriers will impose higher messaging fees and slower delivery rates for any group that fails to register, and in some cases block them from delivering messages altogether.

Every registered group must also limit their texts only to users who have opted-in to receive them, a massive change from the status quo. Progressive groups warn this new requirement will yield dire democratic consequences — particularly for the most marginalized who are typically ignored by elites and politicians. Others suggest these groups have grown too reliant on unsolicited texting, and that it’s not essential to successful mobilization.”

What It Would Mean For Elections If The Supreme Court Embraces An Extreme Legal Theory

“Do state courts have the power to interpret their own state constitutions? The Supreme Court could be poised to say “no” — at least when it comes to redistricting and election law.

Last week, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case Moore v. Harper in the coming fall term. In that case, Republican legislators in North Carolina are asking the court to overturn the state Supreme Court’s decision to throw out their gerrymandered congressional map and impose one of the court’s own.

Their argument rests on an extreme reading of the elections clause of the U.S. Constitution that posits that only state legislatures and Congress have the authority to decide how federal elections are run. Under this school of thought, known as the “independent state legislature” theory, state courts would no longer be able to intervene — even when a legislature violated the state’s constitution, as was found to be the case in North Carolina.

The independent state legislature theory is fewer than 25 years old, and for most of its life, it’s been relegated to the fringes of academia. But it was widely promoted by former President Donald Trump and his allies as they attempted to first undermine — and then overturn — the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. And several Supreme Court justices have already suggested that they’re on board with the theory. During litigation over election laws in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin in 2020, Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch endorsed some version of the idea that state legislatures should have nearly unfettered power over how federal elections are run, and earlier this year, they said in an emergency-docket ruling that they would have ruled in favor of the North Carolina legislature.

If the Supreme Court sides with North Carolina Republicans in this case, it would have massive implications for election law. Depending on how the court rules, state courts might no longer be allowed to strike down legislatures’ proposed congressional maps for being gerrymandered. And if this happens, the way American elections are conducted would change in dramatic and destabilizing ways.”

“An extreme embrace of the theory by the Supreme Court would hand legislatures power over every aspect of how federal elections are run, to the exclusion of not only state courts but also possibly other state actors like governors and election administrators. “It would be a voter suppressor’s fever dream,” Wolf said.”

“the impact wouldn’t stop at redistricting. The Constitution’s elections clause also covers every aspect of how federal elections are run. That includes the 56 voting restrictions passed since the 2020 election — laws that require ID in order to vote, discourage absentee voting, move up voter deadlines, cut early voting, purge voters from the rolls and ban giving food and water to voters waiting in line.”

“Similarly, courts would not be able to unilaterally change federal election laws in an emergency, like the Pennsylvania Supreme Court did in 2020 when it extended the deadline for absentee ballots to be received amid widespread delays in postal service. “If the state legislature says, ‘Polls close at 7 p.m.,’ and on Election Day, there’s a hurricane and the [state] Supreme Court says, ‘Keep them open until 10,’ the legislature wins,” Vladeck said.”

“Some Trump allies have also argued that the independent state legislature theory empowers legislatures to appoint an alternate set of state electors — which, in 2020, could have overturned the presidential election. However, Leah Litman, a law professor at the University of Michigan, said that it’s important to remember that even the independent state legislature theory doesn’t mean state legislatures would be completely unchecked, because the U.S. Constitution would still apply. But she added that part of what alarms her about the theory is that it’s so unclear what embracing it would actually do. “It’s just kind of a mess,” she said of the theory. “We really don’t know what it would look like.””