Guess What! In 2022, “Republicans Lost and Voters Won in Court”

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Yes, it’s true, though it may not have seemed this way. In addition to the defeat of some of the most extreme Big Liars last November, the year was marked by plenty of victories for voters seeking to exercise their rights–via the courts.

Much of the credit for these wins goes to Marc Elias and colleagues, whose indefatigable, nonstop litigation is ongoing. When state legislators and/or governors signal their intentions to make voting harder or nearly impossible, the Elias eagles soar in—often within days.

Sadly, in what is now a fact of life for Americans who are in the public eye fighting the good fight, Elias gets death threats. Fortunately, they seem to bolster his energy and determination.

In this issue of Democracy Docket, a newsletter I recommend (subscriptions are free; donations are welcome), the Elias folks provided an analysis of their work and the broad litigation scene over the past year. They “covered and tracked activity in the courts pertaining to voting rights, elections, redistricting, and democracy.”

They reported on a “steep jump in lawsuits filed by anti-voting advocates” in an election that saw a shift from “legislative chambers to courtrooms.” The litigation increased steadily as the November elections approached.

The good news is that “courts overwhelmingly protected the right to vote, particularly in advance of the midterm elections.”

Democracy Docket tracked a total of 175 new lawsuits in 31 states that were either “pro-voting” or “anti-voting.” Not surprisingly, more were anti-voting (93) than pro-voting (82). The anti-voting lawsuits involved restricting voter registration, making mail-in or in-person voting more difficult, and other tactics intended to suppress the vote. Pro-voting litigation was designed to protect or expand voters’ rights.

An interesting note: the numbers of anti-voting suits were similar to those filed in 2020 (95), but there were 27 more pro-voting lawsuits this year (55 in 2020, for a total of 82). Nice to see some proactive moves by the pro-democracy folks, don’t you think?

This analysis also examined the parties that were filing these lawsuits. The Republican party—including its various state and national entities—filed far more of these election challenges than did the Democrats (23 compared to seven).

Then there were the Big Liars who filed lawsuits in places like Arizona to protest the election results. Their party failed to back them (wonder why?). They probably fit into the numerous “fringe” anti-voting lawsuits that Democracy Docket monitored. Some of these—in Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, and elsewhere—were still beating the dead carcass of the former guy’s 2020 loss.

One important finding was that a majority of these lawsuits were filed in state courts, showing the central role the states and their constitutions are playing in our democracy—for better and worse.

Nearly sixty percent of the 133 lawsuits filed in state courts last year centered on democracy issues–that is, were voting-related, while only thirty-three percent of federal litigation pertained to vote suppression.

The biggest voting targets were vote-by-mail and election administration, with in-person voting and voter registration less often the focus. I found the percentage of voter registration cases (14%) interesting, as there have been so many stories about voters being disqualified due to alleged errors in registration.

Post-election, a total of 40 lawsuits were filed. Nine each centered on the election contests themselves or ballot counting/processing, four were on election certification, and three dealt with recounts. Another three were in a category called “other.” Apart from them, twelve suits involved Election Day Procedures and Election Day records requests.

It seems clear that we voters must keep a weather eye on our state courts as well as the federal benches. And all the elected officials responsible for every step of the election process are—we now know with greater certainty—people whose integrity and commitment to fair and unfettered access to elections and election reporting must be solid and unwavering.

As Marc Elias reminds us: Democracy Is On The Docket!

Annie

13 thoughts on “Guess What! In 2022, “Republicans Lost and Voters Won in Court”

    1. You’re welcome, Amy. I do love to share good news whenever possible. But your emphasis is just where I think it must be: WE the people need to keep up the good work. It’s already clear what a dangerous mess the Republicans are making.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Absolutely! I appreciate good news. It is really hard to find factual, good news. It’s always nice to read your posts, even if I cannot always comment 🙂 It will get worse before it gets better, and it is unfortunate; however, we can survive it with the right mentality and holding folks accountable. That’s my hope.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. This is not a good thing!
    “It would be a very good thing for all involved to kick their addiction to constitutional litigation, and return to their New Deal roots of trying to win elections rather than lawsuits.” Neil Gorsuch

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    1. Ah, yes: that paragon of democracy Neil Gorsuch. I’d say there’s litigious, Richard—and then there’s litigious. I can envision some really productive arbitration sessions in lieu of litigation between the pro- and anti-democracy forces…Not!

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      1. Curly Howard died the year I was born. Cheated out of adequate compensation during his lifetime his heirs were forced to live off the merchandising. Hi-jinks ensued. The litigation was settled in 1993. Sue away, a meaningless exercise for many of us. Timely too if you think two years after an attempted insurrection prosecutions for the leaders maybe coming. Civilization is a very thin veneer to be used as a shield against barbarians. I would recommend having a strong backup plan for when your litigation ends and your kumbaya moment fails to materialize.
        I’m sure Mr, Gorsuch’s thumb will not weight the scale much.

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      2. I think it’s important to realize who “started” this litigation, Richard. It stems from the Roberts Court’s dismantling the Voting Rights Act piece by piece. Dark Money folks have long been opposed to democracy and any government strictures that they feel impinge on their freedom—such as the Clean Air Act. Elias et al have recognized that the fight for democracy has moved to the courts—and they are bravely fighting for it at a time when the Senate couldn’t pass the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act. Now we have a Senate that would but a House that won’t. Meanwhile, Black and Brown Americans and younger Americans are being systematically denied or discouraged from voting.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.” Frederick Douglass
        You are playing on their turf.

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      4. Litigation is a maze in which to will get lost. We should enter the labyrinth and create a 24/7 GOTV. The only way out is to get the majority, those who can but don’t, something to vote for. Convince them there is a pony under all the bullshit.

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