Happy Monday! Here is your roundup of news. The constant reminder when it comes to “You Should Know This” is that none of the articles contain opinions. Don’t forget to take a look at the previous “You Should Know This!”
Happy reading! Hopefully, you’ll leave knowing something you didn’t before.
Monday, March 28, 2022
Battleground: Ballot Box | What survived Georgia lawmakers’ internal Crossover Day deadline
Georgia Public Broadcasting (by Stephen Fowler & Riley Bunch)
On this week’s episode, host Stephen Fowler and GPB public policy reporter Riley Bunch discuss major legislation approved before the close of the Georgia General Assembly’s Crossover Day. We’re heading into the final stretch of the 2022 legislative session. Now that Crossover Day is behind us, some bills are moving forward while others are dead, at least for now. From this point until lawmakers finish up on April 4, the legislature will only consider bills that have passed — or crossed over — one of the chambers. But there are ways around that rule, so no measure is truly dead until the final gavel rings out. From voting changes to horse racing, cityhood movements to a suspension of the gas tax, there’s a lot of legislation that’s made headlines during this General Assembly.
Elections office determining if Brown Bridge residents are Covington voters
The Covington News (by Tom Spigolon)
The Newton County Board of Elections may change the voting status of some Covington apartment dwellers after finding they had been city residents but unable to vote in municipal elections. The elections office did not know Leafstone Apartments on Brown Bridge Road was partially inside the city limits, officials said recently. County GIS coordinator Scott Sirotkin said his staff recently determined about 23 of the apartment complex’s units are inside the Covington city limits.[…] State legislators redrew Georgia House of Representatives districts in late 2021 in response to population shifts found in the 2020 federal census. Board chairman Phil Johnson said GIS staff workers discovered the oversight as they surveyed the county’s geographic area as part of the process of determining the boundaries of the new House districts in Newton County.
Investigation blames human error for issues in Fulton election audit
Atlanta Journal-Constitution (by Mark Niesse)
Georgia election investigators reported Wednesday that they found repeated human errors during an unofficial hand recount of the 2020 presidential election in Fulton County, but the overall results appeared to be correct. The State Election Board then voted 3-1 to refer the case to the attorney general’s office for further investigation into whether Fulton’s elections office violated election rules. Investigators reviewed Fulton’s recount in response to concerns raised by Gov. Brian Kemp, who told the board in a November letter that he had vetted allegations of inconsistencies in the hand recount, part of a statewide audit of all 5 million ballots cast. Overall, the results of the hand recount — both in Fulton and all of Georgia — were similar to two machine counts, showing that Democrat Joe Biden won the state by about 12,000 votes against Republican Donald Trump.
Georgia House passes election reform 2.0
Capitol Beat (by Dave Williams)
Republicans and Democrats in the General Assembly are refighting the war over election laws sparked by the controversy that continues to swirl around the 2020 presidential results. The GOP-controlled Georgia House of Representatives passed legislation Tuesday night Republicans said provides ballot security measures aimed at restoring trust in elections but Democrats criticized as more voter suppression on top of an election law overhaul lawmakers passed last year. House Bill 1464 passed 98-73 along party lines shortly before 11 p.m. Tuesday. It was the last vote on Crossover Day, the deadline for bills to pass at least one legislative chamber to stay alive for the year. The 37-page bill includes provisions aimed at securing the chain of custody of ballots. “Chain of custody is important,” said Rep. David Knight, R-Griffin. “This is about the integrity of elections [so] everybody knows the procedures and rules are followed.”
Latest election overhaul on state Senate agenda as poll supervisors fret more change
Georgia Recorder (by Stanley Dunlap)
A Georgia Senate panel could take up as early as Monday a sweeping voting bill that’s raising alarms over concerns its provisions could intimidate election workers and voters and hamper a county’s ability to run local elections. County election office directors, Democratic lawmakers, and a coalition of voting rights groups say the most troubling aspect of House Bill 1464 is that it gives the Georgia Bureau of Investigation the ability to initiate election investigations, a significant change that would divert jurisdiction from the Secretary of State’s Office and State Election Board to the crime fighting agency.
Warnock pushes to lower drug prices for seniors, diabetics
Georgia Recorder (by Ross Williams)
Georgia U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock announced a plan Thursday to lower drug costs for seniors in his latest efforts to revive provisions from the Democrats’ stalled social spending bill. “This bill focuses specifically on lowering the cost of prescription drugs for seniors on Medicare Part D,” Warnock said during a virtual press conference. “I think that this is a bipartisan issue, and so I’m talking to my colleagues on both sides of the aisle. Hopefully, we can get this done sooner than later. It certainly can’t happen soon enough for seniors who are feeling the pinch right now.”
U.S. Senate winds up grueling Supreme Court hearings on Ketanji Brown Jackson nomination
Georgia Recorder (by Jacob Fischler)
It may get the most attention, but partisanship not the only way to measure Representatives of the American Bar Association reiterated their finding that Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is well qualified to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court, and law enforcement groups rebutted GOP accusations Jackson is soft on child pornographers during the final day of Jackson’s confirmation hearings Thursday. Republicans, however, called in witnesses to continue hammering away at Jackson’s record, while the Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee singled out Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Ben Sasse of Nebraska for praise for not joining in attacks on Jackson.
How This Redistricting Cycle Failed To Increase Representation For People Of Color — And Could Even Set It Back
FiveThirtyEight (by Nathaniel Rakich)
It may get the most attention, but partisanship not the only way to measure how fair the country’s new congressional maps are. Equally important is how well they represent communities of color. And on this front, the congressional lines that will be used in the 2022 election leave a lot to be desired. In theory, under the Voting Rights Act, every racial group must be given equal opportunity to elect candidates of their choice. When it comes to redistricting, this means drawing districts where nonwhite voters are the dominant voting bloc — enough to reasonably ensure they can elect their preferred candidate — whenever possible.
Texas mail ballot rejections soar under new restrictions
Associated Press (Paul J. Weber & Acacia Coronado)
Texas threw out mail votes at an abnormally high rate during the US’s first primary election of 2022, rejecting nearly 23,000 ballots outright under tougher voting rules that are part of a broad campaign by Republicans to reshape American elections, according to an analysis by the Associated Press. Roughly 13% of mail ballots returned in the 1 March primary were discarded and uncounted across 187 counties in Texas. While historical primary comparisons are lacking, the double-digit rejection rate would be far beyond what is typical in a general election, when experts say anything above 2% is usually cause for attention.
“Throwback to Jim Crow”: New Texas voting law means Black voters’ ballots get tossed
Salon (by Igor Derysh)
The rate of rejected mail ballots soared in the March primary elections in Texas — and those rejections disproportionately affected Democrats, especially Black voters in the state’s biggest county. Nearly 23,000 ballots, or about 13% of all returned mail ballots, were thrown out across 187 Texas counties in the March primaries, according to an analysis by the Associated Press. In past election years, the rejection rate was around 1% to 2%, according to the Texas Tribune. The rejection rate hit more liberal areas of the state with more than 15% of mail ballots thrown out in Democratic-leaning counties, compared to 9.1% in Republican-leaning counties. In Tarrant County, election officials rejected 813 ballots in the Democratic primary under the new voter ID rules, but just three ballots in the Republican primary, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Republicans Push Crackdown on Crime Wave That Doesn’t Exist: Voter Fraud
The New York Times (by Reid J. Epstein & Nick Corsaniti)
The Florida Legislature last week created a law enforcement agency — informally called the election police — to tackle what Gov. Ron DeSantis and other Republicans have declared an urgent problem: the roughly 0.000677 percent of voters suspected of committing voter fraud. In Georgia, Republicans in the House passed a law on Tuesday handing new powers to police personnel who investigate allegations of election-related crimes. And in Texas, the Republican attorney general already has created an “election integrity unit” charged solely with investigating illegal voting.
Florida Governor DeSantis wants to eliminate 2 proposed Black voting districts
NPR (by Greg Allen)
States around the country are drawing up new boundaries for congressional districts to reflect the 2020 census results. In Florida, Republican Governor Ron DeSantis is threatening to veto the maps that have been approved by the legislature. He wants to reconfigure two districts so that Black candidates would not be likely to win those seats. NPR’s Greg Allen reports. […] Now he’s setting his sights on overturning laws that protect the voting rights of African Americans. Florida’s Legislature recently drew up maps maintaining protected African American voting districts approved after the 2010 census. In recent years, the Supreme Court has weakened the Federal Voting Rights Act, and DeSantis believes discrimination to stop Black voters in the past is no longer a problem.
Pro-Trump group sent armed members door-to-door in Colorado to “intimidate” voters: Lawsuit
Salon (by Igor Derysh)
Voting rights groups have filed a lawsuit seeking to stop a pro-Trump group from going door-to-door in Colorado in search of evidence to support voter fraud allegations that have already been debunked and rejected by courts. The lawsuit alleges that the U.S. Election Integrity Plan — led by Shawn Smith, an ally of former Trump strategist Steve Bannon and MyPillow founder Mike Lindell — is sending armed members door-to-door in areas with large numbers of voters of color, questioning people about how they voted and taking photographs of their homes. The lawsuit, which is backed by the state chapter of the NAACP, the League of Women Voters and Mi Familia Vota, alleges that the “voter intimidation” campaign violates the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, a post-Civil War law aimed at preventing white vigilantes from terrorizing Black people to stop them from voting.
First on CNN: January 6 committee has text messages between Ginni Thomas and Mark Meadows
CNN (by Ryan, Nobles, Annie Grayer, Zachary, & Jamie Gangel)
The House Select Committee investigating the January 6 riot has in its possession more than two dozen text messages, 29 in total, between former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, a conservative activist and the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, according to multiple sources familiar with the messages. These text messages, according to sources, took place between early November 2020 and mid-January 2021. Thomas recently revealed that she attended the pro-Trump rally that preceded the US Capitol attack on January 6, 2021, but says she “played no role” in planning the events of that day. The text messages, reviewed by CNN, show Thomas pleading with Meadows to continue the fight to overturn the election results. “Help This Great President stand firm, Mark!!! … You are the leader, with him, who is standing for America’s constitutional governance at the precipice. The majority knows Biden and the Left is attempting the greatest Heist of our History,” Thomas wrote on November 10, 2020. CNN first reported that the text messages were in the committee’s possession. The Washington Post first described their content.
I hope this post helped you know a bit of what’s going on in our state and in our nation. See you next week! ✨