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Ballots & Boundaries Newsletter
July 20, 2021, 4:38 PM Coordinated Universal Time

The taxpayer tab to replace voting equipment in Arizona’s biggest county is roughly $2.9 million.

Equipment that Maricopa County used in the 2020 election will be decommissioned over concerns it could have been compromised by Cyber Ninjas, a company new to election audits. “Imagine leasing a car and then loaning it to someone who totals it,” Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jack Sellers (R) said in a statement.

The board voted to add hundreds of new precinct tabulators and other equipment to its contract with Dominion Voting Systems. The state Senate’s audit contractors, who took possession of the machines under a legislative subpoena, said at a July 15 hearing that their work didn’t interfere with the configuration of voting machines. — Brenna Goth

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SNEAK PEAK: WE GATHERED THE RECEIPTS

One of the umbrella questions hanging over from the 2020 presidential election is whether new state laws are important safeguards against voting fraud or whether they amount to using a sledgehammer to kill a gnat. So we looked for documentation on whether election fraud is a big, medium, or insect-sized problem.

Bloomberg Government and Bloomberg News reporters contacted all 50 states and counted up the cases in which prosecutors landed convictions or had enough evidence to press charges since the 2018 general election. We got responses from 47 states.

Here’s a preview: Officials in 23 states couldn’t identify any prosecutions for voting fraud.

Project anchor Alex Ebert will discuss the findings later today in Bloomberg Law’s On The Merits podcast. Check back here tomorrow morning for the exclusive story.

COLORADO AND CALIFORNIA: MORE TIME PLEASE

Colorado’s Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission has filed a petition asking the state Supreme Court to push back the Sept. 1 deadline for approval of a final remap plan. Given the Census Bureau’s pandemic-related delays, the panel wants its target to be Oct. 28.

The California Supreme Court, meanwhile, ruled that the Citizens Redistricting Commission should finish its line-drawing no later than Dec. 15 if the U.S. Census data comes July 31, and allowed a one-day extension for each day after that it takes to get the essential data. The commission asked for a Jan. 14 deadline.

The Census Bureau has committed to providing unformatted redistricting data, also known as “legacy” data, on or before Aug. 16. The more user-friendly version is promised by Sept. 30. Tripp Baltz and Tiffany Stecker

TEXAS, OHIO, FLORIDA: OLD-MAP FINALE

Four congressional special elections will be among the final contests held before revised maps take effect.

Texas Republicans Susan Wright and Jake Ellzey are competing in a July 27 special election in the Fort Worth-area 6th District, which the Republican-led state legislature will redraw, with the next decade’s lines starting with the 2022 election.

In Ohio, Aug. 3 primaries in the strongly Democratic 11th District and the Republican-leaning 15th District will be more competitive than the Nov. 2 general elections. The other vacancy is in Florida’s 20th District, a Democratic bastion where the winner of the Nov. 2 party primary will be a member-in-waiting until the Jan. 11 special election.

If any other vacancies pop up, those, too, could be filled in special elections under the old maps. That happened in 2018, when Pennsylvania Democrats Susan Wild and Mary Gay Scanlon won seats after new maps were drawn but before they took effect. — Greg Giroux

MINNESOTA: 2010’s a LONG TIME AGO

The Minnesota Supreme Court is being asked to block Secretary of State Steve Simon from holding any more congressional or statehouse elections based on the 2010 Census.

A petition asserts that last decade’s data doesn’t adequately enfranchise the state’s Black, indigenous, “and other disenfranchised communities.” Those groups currently comprise 21.4% of Minnesota’s population, an increase from 16.8% in 2010 and 11.8% in 2000, according to the complaint.

Minnesota has a Feb. 15, 2022, deadline for redrawing legislative and congressional boundaries. Simon’s spokeswoman didn’t respond to a request for comment. — Stephen Joyce

Must Reads:

  • Surgery kept this Democrat from fleeing Texas over the voting legislation. He fears missing a moment in history more than arrest.Texas Tribune
  • High school and college students in Georgia are turning their attention to redistricting and what new boundaries could mean for their future. — NPR
  • Companies allegedly persuaded the government to allow wireless modems in voting machines, introducing potential security vulnerabilities, according to a federal commission advisory board member’s suit filed in federal district court in Washington. — Sylvia Carignan

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